Thursday, March 27, 2008

Week 4. Examples of Flexible Learning

Having listened to the paper on "Reorganizing Universities for the Information Age" the first comment I took from the paper was from Peters 2004. His view, the Learner may become more autonomous with the availability of digitally based courses and information leading to more self paced learning. He also said this may lend itself to the student being able to complete the course without a predetermined schedule or timetable.
Without the direct contact of other students and tutors in a Trade based course, the necessary timing of the practical portion of assessments and practice demonstrations could not be achieved on ones own. As I have witnessed on far too many occasions the usual reason for unsafe and incorrect procedures away from the learning and practice environment is the less experienced person is called upon to complete tasks that they have not been correctly critiqued on and have had little practice at.
I would venture to say if a trade course was to go too far into the digital realm
the student would find themselves in that situation far to often. Not fair on the student and could lead to the course's reputation being damaged.
My reference to these comments would be Taylor 2001. "The fifth generation" he dubbed, "Intelligent Flexible Learning" From the same paper: "Besides the relatively commonplace features found in most on line learning systems, fifth generation distance education also incorporates business technologies that streamline instructional material production. These permit multiple types of media outputs from a single source document.
This is what we are trying to move forward in our course, not to have a "Fordist approach" where the Teaching Craft is diminished (Stevens 1996)or the students needs are not fully satisfied, but to cover as many bases as we can for as many learning styles as we can sensibly put in place without sacrificing any of our course content.
On reading the Wiki's: Distance Education/Types of Distance Education Courses, Testing and Evaluation and Electronic Learning I would like to look into using an automated practice system (in the future) for some of our theory based units such as Nutrition and Food Costing. I could have a blend of multi choice and written response to practice questions relating directly to unit standard requirements and to our own more in depth requirements. Posting the assessments with required completion times would certainly give a more flexible approach to what is traditionally the not so favored compulsory portion of our course.
This would free up time for one on one or small group sessions, speed up marking and would show up any individuals problems before the Learner may have to sit the unit exams.
Also the fact that most of our students would feel more comfortable with using this style of "Formative Assessment" than sitting in a classroom at 9-15 on a Monday morning may lead to higher completion rates in these topics. Not to mention the benefit for Learners from out of town that could complete these whole units from home or work.
4 - very good - several examples of this type of learning mentioned with reference to several readings and discussion of ideas from the readings and relevance to their practice

Monday, March 17, 2008

Week 3, Why do we need flexible learning?

Some of the reasons for Flexible Learning.

Offering short courses in selected units may lead into part or full time courses being taken up by the student. In offering the selected unit or course the advertising of the path of study is increased, raising the profile of the course and the institution.
Being prepared with adequate resources to cover the specific needs of each learner on the selected courses in technology based information so as to cut down the lecturers need for constant contact.
I would disagree with all resources being "free to air" as in totally on blogger or wiki as you would need to have information re-issued for further short courses you wish to sell.
Short courses or Flexible courses could be linked by there unit standard and students informed as to their progress towards L3 and L4 Cookery qualifications.
(Reference, Leigh Blackall, Flexible learning in New Zealand pt 4)

"Is all this choice a bad idea?"

From my own point of view I take reference from Collis and Moonen but couldn't support all of their views in regard to my own course, being:
Key dimensions in flexible learning, flexibility related to time and content.
These concepts must be synchronized with standard industry practice and diverting the course to a more flexible delivery may dilute the discipline needed by industry for these two outcomes.
Where as their views in regard to entry requirements, that has been already decided at the board level and I feel that is a mostly economic argument so not easily argued with.
Flexibility related to instructional approach and resources and delivery and logistics are fluid concepts especially as technology is made more available, gets more advanced and is excepted by institutions and students so should be accepted as being part of any course and updatable as and when required.

What situations can I site to support my position.

That is very easy, my own course, as we do have part time students also people who wish to complete part of, or finish their qualification as a chef and if we weren't flexible in our approach to our course the student would have to enroll in the complete year and re-do units already achieved. I don't believe however there should be any difference in the structure or assessment criteria between those on distance or part time courses and our full time programe students expected results.
4 - very good - several examples of this type of learning mentioned with reference to several readings and discussion of ideas from the readings and relevance to their practice

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Interesting video on over-loading information.

Please click on the link and watch the video, just for fun, maybe a look at things to come?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is flexible learning a new concept or just a fancy new word for an old way of doing?

Having looked into what is available through the University of Canterbury, "Teacher education qualification via the UC Flexible Learning Option." It seems to me "Flexible Learning" is using the same teaching methods one would use in a classroom setting coupled with the latest technology to enable delivery. If presented with care and relevance to the student it can only grow as a market for education.

3 - average - provides examples of online learning and distance learning, mentions correspondence

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Distance Package Example

In the last week we have put together a distance learning package for one of our students living out of Dunedin.
He will be completing Certificate in Professional Cookery (level 4) this year.
We have structured the package around the full time level 4 timetable as well as meeting the students time requirements.
We have interviewed the student early on to establish his time frames then agreed to a schedule that fits the needs of both parties.
The final result is a mix of "theory by distance" in which the student will complete work books. Practical demonstrations via pre-recorded Windows Media Video. The student will practice these dishes and will be assessed either in his work place by us or will able join the full time students for assessment. These demonstrations are available from a number of different platforms.
Scheduled face to face theory units that require the use of taste, touch and smell are agreed to in advance.
We will load our demonstration videos on the students I-POD for use when he has no access to his computer.
Also the use of our blackboard site to communicate and update his course as needed.
I have included a link here with one of our other students who has been using the I-POD as a refresher tool before assessment.

4 - very good - several examples of this type of learning mentioned with reference to several readings and discussion of ideas from the readings and relevance to their practice;

Friday, March 7, 2008

Breakdown of "Flexible learning, not just about distance"

Overview of handout one,
Introduction of 4 flexible learning components. Technology, Pedagogy, Implementation of strategies, institutional framework for drawing on previous experience from all components.
More flexibility to meet the needs of the learner i.e. media styles and formats, considering the learning patterns of the learner, have they any special needs that are to be defined.
"What have I drawn from this first hand out?"
The challenges I would face in considering flexible learning as a whole are :
1. Our Stakeholder input from industry would suggest a clearly defined time frame for all practical work as comparable with standard industry practise.
2. With our course being so condensed it would be hard for anyone falling behind (due to illness or lack of experience because of open entry) to catch up before the next semester.
3. We have an on-going and fluid approach to delivery but find it difficult to deliver what we envisage with less than desirable equipment and resources, I'm sure with the help of this course I will have new ideas and a foundation to launch them from.
Rating 3 - average - provides examples of online learning and distance learning, mentions correspondence

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My reasons for signing up on this course

This course was one of the options for myself for my GCTLT.
Also we as a department are very interested in expanding our flexible delivery for our distance students. Because our trade relies so heavily on all our senses, (sight, smell taste and touch) if we are going to be able to deliver in a flexible manner we would require the very best approach and tec support we can have. I'm hopping this course will open a few doors so we can access these tools.


this blog site has been set-up to track progress and have discussion on flexible learning specifically in my case for cookery students from all over (and any one that would like to join in) Compiled by Steve Ellwood.