Saturday, May 31, 2008

Week 11, Cultural Diversity

With the flexible learning resources I have produced so far, (i-pod movies, mp3 etc) I really hadn't thought of anything culturally insensitive that may be on our programmes.
We take the requirements from NZQA, interpret those into dishes or theory and post in the choosen style. Being in any way offensive hasn't really been thought of.
I suppose if we were sitting on a table in a video that may be offensive, as in our Moari culture or if we wrote or marked with red pen that may offend some Asian folks, writing about this now will ensure we think about those things for future projects.
But how do you know?
Alli's example with the clock, who would have thought of that, and it wasn't indended to be offensive. So if we all do something in our flexible delivery that may be seen as not ok by some as long as it wasn't intentional and is fixed in a timley way I don't think we should be overly worried or stressed about a mistake.
2 - some evidence - refers to an example of online learning and one of distance but does not discuss them or critique them or make comparisons

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Issues with flexible learning - access and equity

For this weeks task I looked at a paper given by Professor Barrie O'Connor, Deputy Head of School, Education and professional studies, Brisbane.
He is a board member of the Tertiary Education Disability Council (Australia)
In his paper he pointed to the "great potential that E-learning and flexible delivery holds for those with disabilities and how it supports people with different learning styles and paces"
This is backed up by my own experience with students who have had learning difficulties but are often more comfortable using the flexible resources we offer in our course i.e. blackboard, ipod, dvd, mp3 etc. I realize that some disabilities may need more individualized programming but with the resources available to students through our own disabilities unit, difficulties can be overcome.
One of the main points professor O'Connor made was the need for "universal design principles"
I know for myself the huge number of different formats available to lecturers to create programmes and usually that comes down to individual preference rather than a set format that everyone can use.
Professor O'Connor gave seven principles for universal design, copied below:
  1. Equitable Use: maximize the usefulness of design for everyone, identical whenever possible and equivalent when not, so that it avoids segregating or stigmatizing any users.

  2. Flexibility in Use, values design that accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. It should provide choice in methods of use, adaptability to the user’s pace, and facilitate the user’s accuracy and precision.

  3. Simple and Intuitive Use, seeks to create ease of understanding for users, regardless of their experience, knowledge and language.

  4. Perceptible Information, seeks to ensure that design allows information to be communicated effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.

  5. Tolerance for Error, seeks to minimize hazards and the negative consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

  6. Low Physical Effort, seeks to ensure that interaction with the environment can occur efficiently and comfortably and with minimal fatigue.

  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use, seeks to maximize approach, reach and manipulation capabilities of users irrespective of their size, posture and mobility.

His conclusion was flexible delivery and e-learning would give people with disabilities an equal footing in education "if we all become enlightened about it's potential uses"
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

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Week 9: Transparent design for teaching and flexible learning?

Dr Manns Web conference this week shared the view we may not look at the whole picture of sustainability as often as we might. I'm the worst one for looking as far as the recycle bin in the corner of the office and not really thinking of sustainability from the beginning of a project, usually it's an after thought. But we as a department are getting better. Procedures are being put in place for food waste etc but what we are trying to do with one hand is taken away by the other hand with the waste in energy alone coming from being in such an old building at the moment.
Reference above "John Carey and Pam Wilson" "A practical guide to providing flexible learning in further and higher education"
I'm not sure if this answers correctly "What is the equivalent transparent design for teaching and flexible learning?" but I'm sure someone will tell me if I'm not on the right track.
2 - some evidence - refers to an example of online learning and one of distance