Thursday, June 26, 2008

Final Flexible Learning Development Plan, Assignment 3

Final Flexible Learning Development Plan
Assignment 3

Project Name:
Demonstrate knowledge of complex fish dishes in a commercial kitchen (example only)
Otago Polytechnic, Level Four Cookery.
Author Details:
Steve Ellwood, Catering Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic Level four
Executive Summary:
To take a unit standard from the Hospitality Standards Institute, in this case "Demonstrate Knowledge of Complex Fish Dishes in a Commercial Kitchen" and deliver this unit via a range of flexible platforms.
Using our Otago Polytechnic Blackboard site as a central hub from which links to practical demonstration videos of the summative assessments are available as well as theory notes and PowerPoint's, study hints and announcements on new and upgraded information.
In addition to the above I will have the demonstration videos loaded on a ipod for each student, this will be an optional extra for their course (although recommended) and available through course related costs at the time of enrollment.
This will enable the student to study their assessments at any time which fits into our students requirements as they are mostly working and have varied shift times, not always allowing them to attend the required classes.
Highlighted are range of creative opportunities and provide a framework for introducing visual learning strategies in a catering context.
1. To flexibly deliver examples of unit standard assessments online from a central access point, namely Otago Polytechnic’s Blackboard site.
2. To use learning technologies as a means of encouraging students in a Certificate in Professional Cookery (Level 4) programme to better prepare for assessment tasks.
1. Incorporate video links to YouTube sites with summative assessment demonstrations available on line from our "Blackboard" which is the Otago Polytechnics Central server hub.
This platform will enable me to post the student workbooks in a digital PDF format which will be printable and should be manually completed and then graded by the tutor. This would provide the physical evidence required for the theory part of the unit standard.
2. An optional available resource will also be a I-pod with all the video assessments for the course pre-loaded along with revision quizzes which will be in apples multi choice quiz format and updateable podcasts (upgradable from students i-tunes library) for new information.

Project Background:
In June 2007 the cookery lecturers began filming the assessment dishes for their Level 4 programme. They also created a blog-site and posted movie clips on You Tube,
The project originally came about from the need to give the opportunity to students who missed practical classes due to illness or work commitments a pre-recorded demonstration of the required practical classes that could be referred back to by the students and as a refresher for the whole class.
We have come to the point where we have filmed about half our required resources and the project is ongoing.
Initial feedback from absentee learners indicated that they regularly viewed the movies, but more surprisingly, learners who had attended the demonstrations were also repeatedly viewing the demonstrations. Learners commented that the movie clips acted as a refresher prior to their assessments and that they were easier to follow and interpret than conventional typed recipe formats.
One of the leading points for industry in regard to flexible training is can the flexible plan be delivered in the workplace with little down time for the apprentice, or the need for assessors to be overloaded with extra work on their already valuable time. With the dual formats of written recipes and video demonstration of the unit’s requirements, the need for excessive amounts of practical sessions is reduced to a minimum, lowering the cost of resources used, and wage costs in time required. If the workplace has no 4089 qualified assessors the tutors from our department can organise and we indeed encourage, ourselves to assess the learner in their own work environment.
Outcomes & Performance Indicators:
1. Flexible learning materials for use in the workplace.
a. Online videos of cookery demonstrations on an open web site e.g. YouTube;
b. Materials organised and linked within a Learning Management System e.g. Blackboard;
c. Podcasting using Ipods.
d. Online workbooks and quizzes.
2. More efficient practical assessment.
a. Less “down-time” for cookery apprentices.
b. Reduced demand on the time of workplace assessors.
3. Improved pass and grade rates.
a. Students have better results in assessments already
b. Less resources used on resits
c. Tutors perception so far in comparison to previous years.

Flexible Learning Analysis:
The needs of the learner the flexible plan is aimed at, encompasses the whole of our programme. Not only will the distance learner or the part time or block student be able to access and use all these resources, but they will be available to all our students in catering for them to use; providing a refresher for those completing assessments, as well as an inspiration for those starting or just coming into this level of cookery.
Enrolment into the specific unit courses would be by the usual means of enrolment through our administration offices with an interview with the tutor on the relevant course to set individual requirements if any, either in person, phone, skype, web conferencing etc.
In general my students are visual and kinesthetic learners, so the use of a visual, repeatable demonstration of a physical act suits their learning style.
While having no problems at all with digital media my students also have a high rate of literacy and numeracy problems and the availability of specialised help from our student resource centre is available to individual learners.
The flexible learning materials would be available to the students workplace assessors and any support they require i.e. 4098 qualified assessors, could be taken on case by case.
Communication Strategies:
My own concern with communication, having dealt with part time students last year, is that our students who are working sometimes may not always get to every class and can fall behind fairly quickly with a very condensed and time constrained, structured course. But with the flexibly delivered proposed course, time constraints disappear and assessment can be timetabled at anytime when resources in the workplace allow. If the student feels they would like to take more time to be assessed, flexible course delivery accommodates this.
The Blackboard system has e-mail embedded for updates as well as any enquires. Also live illuminate conferencing (web conferencing) could also be timetabled through the course for question and answer sessions as well as face to face sessions.
The first two days at the start of every year are set aside for blackboard introduction, and computer and portable media demonstration with general course introduction.
Information formats:
As already described the information formats vary from PDF downloads, I-pod and YouTube video, I quiz ( this is apple mac's, I-pod's multi choice quiz software) and podcast updates as well as the base platform, in my case blackboard. Also available on dvd when requested for those with limited Internet access. We would have the original resources in various formats i.e.; WMV windows media video, MP4 for use on quick time and apple hardware and FLV for general video playback on most systems, etc for use on virtually any delivery system.
Technical Support:
I would expect if this form of delivery is taken up by our department the need for IT support would be paramount and would be budgeted for within the framework, indeed expected from such a large institution as ours.
As the video resources will need updating and new dishes will constantly be implemented the IT support for hard and software will always be needed.
The Blackboard system is supported by the polytechnics IT department and with our induction days for introduction to our flexible delivery systems and on going support from ourselves I don't envisage many problems.
In the development plan template you ask:
What types of services already exist that compliment and or compete with our plan, and how will we use complimentary or competitive services favourably.
We already have an ongoing relationship with the Canadian, Niagra Catering College which started when we were surfing the net for like minded people who may have produced their own video demonstrations. After emailing and commenting on YouTube back and forth we have an understanding to use our work between ourselves at anytime. Also Celina Chans work on flexible learning in catering from Christchurch Polytechnic has also given us some direction, and from talking to her have found common resources available.
My view of sustainability, through the triple bottom line:
1. Ecological,
My flexible plan along with the use of portable assessment material will reduce the need for extensive resits helping in the reduction of waste.
2. Economic,
And as above the cutting down of resits due to better pass rates reduces the repeat resources being used as well as cutting down on extra time from lecturers and students on repeating assessments.
3. Social sustainability.
In relation to access and equity I have all the demonstrations free to air on a public viewing area for anyone to pick up. The method behind the madness is to educate for free but to have our school in full view while the student watches.
As a institution we are fully aware of our requirements to be "sustainable practitioners" Samuel Mann 2008, and we are working with our students and in our teaching resources to incorporate this as a matter of course.
Access & Equity:
From my blog on this subject I would reference Professor Barrie O’Connor and his many papers on the subject with one of his main points being, “Equitable use, maximize the usefulness of design for everyone, identical whenever possible and equivalent when not, so to avoid segregating or stigmatizing any user”
This (I believe) would be the base statement for our
Access and Equity policy.
For any individuals needs in regard to disability or other special requirements, our student support services are more than qualified to help with any concerns.
Cultural Diversity:
There aren’t many more culturally diverse jobs than being a chef. As well as we can we would try to adhere to the original recipe from any given country but with such a wide ranging field and with such diverse differences between regions within countries there are bound to be differing opinions. We will just try our best not to offend and if we receive good constructive feedback from any quarter we take it on board. That doesn’t mean the fundamentals are rejected because of fashion or by some, not so well informed, we will flag what is a proud and proven tradition for the sake of political correctness.
If there are any problems with learning or literacy the student would be referred to the appropriate student support but there are criteria to be meet and outcomes and standards to be achieved, as with any trade base course.
My plan aligns perfectly with the Otago Polytechnics strategic plan,
I quote (page 2 # 2),
Student retention, success and satisfaction indicators top the sector. Recognition at national and international level in our claimed areas of excellence (external validation).
· Our satisfaction surveys on our course and of our tutors relate to the first statement and our recognition in cookery competitions speaks for itself at national level, all of the tutors on the level 4 programme have achieved national awards in cookery over many years, r.e. external validation
· Create an outstanding experience for learners in a supportive, inspiring ad stimulating environment. (Page 4, priority 1, 2, 7).
· Again our student satisfaction surveys are a testament to our ongoing commitment.
· Develop more flexible pathways and learning opportunities for learners, including learning in the workplace.
· I refer to my plan, flexible learning analysis.
· Develop facilities and systems which support flexible teaching, learning and work practices, and which enable excellence in the services we provide.
· We are in the middle of creating such facilities and systems and from the results so far we believe we are on the right track.
References to Learning theories:
I believe my flexible delivery of my unit/course fits into the “social constructionist” model of learning theory. “All knowledge of everyday reality is derived from and maintained by social interactions.” Peter L Berger and Thomas Luckmam, the social construction of reality 1966.

The above is a perfect fit for what I’m trying to achieve with mixed delivery system for the workplace where the students interacts with the blackboard video then goes back to the workplace to practice assessment structure where they will be helped along with their practical’s by peers as well as assessors.
Here is where I step into the unknown. As far as the hardware to produce the resource is concerned we are there. We received a grant from the innovation fund for $5000 to purchase a new video camera, Mac computer and training in editing production. This will be invaluable in the future for more professional results.The question of staff time doesn’t really come into our equation because we film our demonstrations on the days when our assessment demonstrations are timetabled (so as not to have to purchase extra resource) as for the editing and producing of the films we try to incorporated this into our weekly non contact time, not always possible but not really an issue that needs to be of any concern. If I had to put a figure on each video for time and resourses, it could run into $4-5 hundred each.
As for future funding there is a possibility of some support from apple through their education arm where we may be able to be sponsored with I-pods or at least software and training to implement.Because i don’t really have any issues with budgets for my plan i would leave everything i have in place. Later down the track we hope to ask for AKO research funding to help in the comparisons between assessment outcomes before the availability of video demonstrations and the current open source availability in so many formats
Time line:
Development is ongoing but I do believe by the end of the year I will have the current year’s resource available in many formats for delivery next year. As the NZQA requirements change along with directives from the Polytechnic the resource will always be fluid and changing, upgrading and be, above all, current to industry requirements.
Feedback from my poll on my blog, although small has been very positive and everyone I have talked to and asked to critique this pathway to flexible learning had had nothing but positive things to say.


Niagara Catering College, Canada.
Professor Barrie O’Connor
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

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flexible learning development plan

Thanks very much......Steve

3 - average - provides examples of online learning and distance learning, mentions correspondence - discusses some features and references some readings

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Week 13, National and International support for flexible learning development

From my last post......

we applied for and were successful in funding from the

Otago Polytechnics Teaching and Learning innovation fund.
This was primarily to buy and fund training for hardware and software video editing equipment.This is a great first step in producing high quality video resources for ourselves and down the track for use in industry workplaces.

The main points in the application were:

The funding is required to purchase an iMac computer, new editting software and new video camera, to present all course material on iPods. The aim of the project is to:

Improve the presentation of existing and future practical lesson movies.

Present all course material on iPods for flexible delivery.

Further enhance the course material for the kinaesthetic and visual learning styles of cookery students.

Have the hundreds of gigabits of information stored and backed-up within the polytechnics computer network.

Goals and Outcomes:

To create a full collection of movie clips and photos that covers all the practical dishes produced on the level 3 and 4 cookery programmes.

Film the movies with two cameras then edit the movies on an Apple computer using Final Cut Express to improve the professional appearance of these movies.

Upload the movies and photos to iPod for all cookery students to access whenever they want, without the need for broadband

Too improve storage on movie file to a “backed up system” covered by the Polytechnics IT department away from an external hard drive.

The other funding we have looked at was the AKO fund,
National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence which has "the facility to fund small projects of up to 10k that are designed to improve and/or research tertiary teaching and learning.
This application is being looked at but at the moment our main focus is on producing the resource and supporting assessment evidence as well as our blended teaching elements before trying to publish them as a saleable or complete programme.
3 - average - provides examples of online learning and distance learning, mentions correspondence - discusses some features and references some readings

Week 12, Flexible learning in educational organisations.

Looking at the strategic plan backed up some of the work we have been doing in catering with our use of ipods and portable media.
Referring to Otago Polytechnics "Strategy 2008 - 2012".
Our strategic Goals.
Success indicators - Student retention, success and satisfaction indicators.
For us, the lecturer surveys as well as one to one sessions with our students tell us the availability of recorded practical sessions is used and appreciated.
Recognition at national level in our claimed areas of excellence.
Our Level 4 course is a finalist in the HSI inovation awards and we have secured a grant to upgrade our video hardware to increase quality of our video clips.

Listening to Phil Kers elluminate session gave me a few thing to work into our plan, mainly, Learners autonomy, letting the learner take more control of their learning and maybe little less directed teaching and looking at how much of a blended approach should be looked at when considering a flexible program.

Referring to the same paper (strategic Plan) under Our Priorities.

  1. Create an outstanding experience for learners in a supportive inspiring and stimulating environment.

Supported by student surveys and lecturer feedback, documented back to our programme managers.

2. Develop more flexible pathways and learning opportunities for learners, including learning in the workplace.

Development is on going and available in the workplace and is being followed through by our more senior lecturers.

Priority 7. Develop facilities and systems which support flexible teaching, learning and work practices and which enable excellence in the services we provide.

Again going by the awards we are currently running for as well as feedback from other departments and from industry we are on the right track.

Sounds like blowing our own trumpet, but why not, the work we have completed so far tells us we should carry on with a combination of flexible learning combined with our current face to face teaching, when fully developed we will have a huge resource for the learner as well as ourselves to draw from.

3 - average - provides examples of online learning and distance learning, mentions correspondence - discusses some features and references some readings