Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gettling flexible - Strategies to put in place

To further add to my plan I will discuss my strategies in more depth. My main aim for this course is to encourage that the students will be more holistic in their thinking at the end of this paper. They will not only have their analysis of their own value and meaning of their chosen occupation but they can view it from another persons perspective. In order to strategise this I have read (Thank you Bronwyn) part of John Heron's book entitled "The Complete Facilitators Handbook". The two main aspects that I have concentrated on are 1) John Heron's Model of Holistic Learning and the Experiential Learning Cycle.

1) Experiential Learning Cycle- After much thought and reflection of how this paper rolled out this semester I have decided the main focus to concentrate on is how I introduce this paper to the students. For them to gain greater understanding at the start then the rest of the paper will roll out with the students being able to reflect back on the initial introduction.

1) Discuss the aims of the paper, bring in what they will be doing ie going to learn their own occupation e.g. skateboarding and look at the process of learning and why or why not they would carry on with this occupation. The reason for this is to understand themselves. Then they will look at what others may get out of learning skateboarding. I will then bring in a video of someone discussing why they enjoy and carry on skateboarding and what they get out of it. I can then show them on the internet a site called 'Skateistan' which is a website that discusses a group of people that have set up skateboarding activities for Afganistan youth to redirect them into a positive activity to promote a better quality of life. This can also be backed up by an audio clip from the National programme in which a person working for this organisation discusses why they got into it and whay they are involved and what they see the children getting out of it e.g. it leads them away from the drug problem and gives them a constructive activity to look forward to.

I will reafirm after this how occuaptional therapists can be involved in such organisations and activities in New Zealand and worldwide so they can now see that there are real organisations that provide activities. Relating back to the theories of occupation and linking the key concepts back to the practical situations. In groups I can ask them to think about what information would be needed to think about before starting up such an activity e.g. funding issues.

The students then go and learn their own occupations. The students can get together and discuss maybe via elluminate or discussion board the learning process and how they are going with this occupation. The key themes being Environment setup (include materials equipment used) Faciliator method of learning (online, a course, a friend) history of the occupation (when did this start and by who and why). As the process continues I will get them to record via journal individually their learned experiences. AS a lecturer I can measure their experiences by the depth of their discussions via elluminate or discussion board and the information on their journal which can be attached to their opinion piece essay which is the formal assessment at the end of the semester.

In regards to the holistic element when they are learning and relating the component of this paper dedicated to looking at overseas activities I will get them to look online for real organisations such as "skatizstan and reflect to the rest of the group why these organisations have been set up and what promotes ongoing participation for the people involved. Bringing in the feeling component which is the base of the holistic framework we can discuss the real issues that would be faced by an OT working in a war torn country as an example. I can again back this up by a video of someone discussing the emotional impact working in these areas can have on the individual.

Overall I feel I need to continue to work on this paper to bring in the experiential learning cycle within and through aspects of this paper. By concentrating on the initial introduction and filtering these ideas throughout the paper is a start.

To elaborate on Access and Equity, Sustainability and Cultural Sensitivity.

1) Access and Equity- As discussed in my powerpoint the OT dept has set up an equivalent course at Wintec in Hamilton. These students are ones that mey have found it difficult to relocate to either Auckland or Otago where the course is held. The students come from a variety of backgrounds and situations. In order for the course to be accessable the blended delivery system can allow fro greater flexibility for these students to conduct the course outside of the regular face to face times. By introducing videos, audios (National programme as discussed above) tand elluminate/discussion board for students to reflect together would allow these students to be flexible with their time and resources.

2) Sustainability - by using more online methods and reflections posted on an online way we are avoiding the transport costs using petrol to get to class and slowing down the use of paper led course that historically was the way to communicate.

3) Cultural Sensitivity- With the introduction of looking at other countries and reflecting on other cultural issues and situations I am wanting the students to gain a deeper understanding of cultural issues. By also allowing a more blended delivery way of communicating will allow those students that may not have English as a first language to participate in communicating in various other ways than face to face.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Overall conclusions

Well if I could describe my journey through this course I would say that I started with a hiss and a roar with great feedback on being the first to write up a short story of a day in the life and felt very proud of my feedback of my ideas that have struck me at that stage of the course. I started to dawdle through the middle being way laid by other commitments but still keeping up with the course. Then I fell off the cliff at the end where I fell behind in the considerations for flexible learning and how to interview a colleague. Due to not having interviewed using digital media before I waited for assistance and waited to grab my colleague and interview her when she had the time. Then my colleague was away on holiday and I finally realised I needed to interview someone else if I was going to complete this course this century. With that finally underway I was spooked by a colleague who showed me her presentation and assessment criteria from the year before. She stated "You must get an extention" There seemed so much to do and so little time to do it. Having attended the presentations I realised that I could have got my A into G and actually presented on the day if I had had the gumption and was not persuaded by others. I found my self slowly chipping my way back up the cliff by starting my powerpoint. I spent time looking at pictures and trying to convey what I felt about my plan. I read articles and reflected on the paper I wanted to change to see what had worked or not during the semester. I did find that I could not convey in great detail what my plans were and all the intracacies surrounding the changes but felt I had portrayed what I wanted via powerpoint and finally audio. Hence I could finally send to Bronwyn a draft of "How to get flexible in the future".
This course has definitely challenged me to use media I have not used before. It has also challenged me in good timing with the changes that are taking place within the poltechnic and within the OT dept. These changes are to promote a more flexible way of delivery and hence I could reflect on a plan to change this paper in good timing for next year. I also understand the issues surrounding flexible delivery and the positive benefits for students that can be gained from blended delivery learning.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flexible learning Plan

My idea for a flexible learning is to develop flexible strategies for an existing paper called Participation in Occupation 2 within the Occupational Therapy second year Bachelors Programme. The existing paper taught is one that has in the past focused on hands on face to face style of delivery to get the information required to the students. With the development of Wintech in Hamilton delivering the Occupational Therapy bachelors programme there is a need to think outside the box on how we deliver the curriculum.

The aim of the paper is for the students to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of ongoing participation in occupation. By understanding occupation we can quote the following from Christensen and Townsend who defines the term "occupation as viewing the daily pursuits of humans..., to be occupied is to use and even seize control of time and space or place as a person engages in a recognizable life endeavour. Daily human occupations are invested with form and a sense of purpose, meaning, cultural style and social/economic significance or power". Some of the questions that this paper brings up are the following:

- What makes someone want to engage in an occupation on an ongoing basis
-What meaning do people get out of engaging in occupation
-What is the meaning for you and what could be the differences and similarities to the meaning for others
-What can be the barriers to engaging in occupation

The interesting parallels with the paper I'm teaching, flexible delivery itself and the flexible delivery course can be found in why people would want to engage and what do they achieve in a flexible learning programme or course compared to a face to face structure.

How the paper "Participation in Occupation 2" is currently been delivered is to discuss face to face the theoretical components behind occupation. The paper also engaged students in face to face activities to encourage meaning to be developed. The students were asked when off campus to learn a new activity they had not learnt before such as learning to play guitar and were given a time frame to look at the learning process.

My idea is to try and change how this information is delivered by adopting a more flexible approach to engaging students in the process of gaining deeper meaning for themselves into why and how people might engage in occupation in an ongoing way. Some ideas behind this is to use a standard basic text that the students can rely on for information. This text includes use of the Internet as a means of interacting with the book. This will enhance understanding of the human experiences discussed within the book. Other ideas include getting the students to develop a blog and or wiki to relay various chapters allocated to them and answer and review the chapters allocated to them. For the students at the Otago Polytechnic and Wintech students in Hamilton this can be done in groups using a discussion board with an allocation of a number of posts required to ascertain involvement.

Tutorial times for this semester will be not be face to face but this time will be used for students to flexibly find and develop on the information required for this paper. The use of blackboard this semester but changing to moodle will outline the requirements on how to use this time effectively and be used as a guide. For this semester standard face to face lectures will be needed every two weeks for one hour to guide the students to the more autonomous way of learning.

How this fits with the Educational strategy is that these ideas once developed and tweaked over time will allow a range of people to be able to be part of this paper that may have not necessarily been able to attend the existing structured timetable and curriculum. By enabling and catering for those that may have time constraints disabilities, other commitments etc we are allowing a more sustainable financial future by being able to access a greater number of students. We are also opening up a way of students being more self directed, autonomous and therefore if done well allowing a greater intellectual capacity for gaining knowledge in a variety of different ways. My aim for occupational therapy students is for them to be holistic and self aware and independent.

The risks considerations and concerns are the following. Will the students have the motivation to engage in a more self directed way and gain the benefits from this approach. This new flexible way is for some a step away from the basics of occupation within the occupational therapy programme. The need for face to face activities has been seen as the best way to allow engagement of students in occupation and therefore greater meaning has been attached to this. Occupation is about doing. How we classify "doing" may be different in a flexible learning context.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Flexible learning interview interview.mp3

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Design Principles applied to my plan

The following Design principles are applied in my plan:

- Equitable- By utilising a more flexible approach to the paper "Participation in Occuaption 2" It will create less face to face get togethers. These get to gethers are gender dominated by european young hetrosexual females. This dominance of culture and gender may influence how others from a different culture or gender or sexual orientation participate. By allowing a blended delivery approach it may encourage others from a different gender or ethnicity to participate and communicate more fully.

- Flexibility- By creating a blended approach those people with time constraints may be able to conduct their tutorials at a time that suits them. People that study part time or have families may find that having an element of self directed tutorials with access to a book with internet information can complete the work outside of the usual face to face time slots of the past.

Simplicity- Going from lecture pedagogy lead lectures to explanations coming from books articles, research led self direction. People can find out the meaning of this paper in an increased variety of ways.

Intuitive/Perceptable- The nature and aim of this paper is to increase the understanding of value and meaning in occupation. By changing some of the ways this information can be given and found by the student could lead to a greater understanding of this concept.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My cultural identification

I identify myself as having a mixture of scottish, irish, australian and unknown heritage. My unknown background stems from my mother being adopted and although we do have some knowledge of her blood relations there are some gaps as to their cultural history. I am a New Zealander and was born in New Zealand. When I joke about how I see myself culturally its when I say that I have the posh Christchurch side of me with my down to earth rougher side from my blood that comes from the West Coast of the south Island. So for me culture is not just about the geography but the behaviour or status that is generalised of people that inhabit these places.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Critique of Phil Kerrs discussion on flexible learning

The discussion started with Phil wanting to clear misunderstandings around the concepts of flexible learning. The main reasons or motives for flexible learning were the following:

1) Enable better access to learning therefore engage with more learners
2) Flexible delivery strategies will enhance learner autonomy and independence
3) Cost efficiencies in delivery of information to learners.

The discussion went on to the question " what is flexible learning" which was described as a continuum from teacher centred learning to learner centred learning. The focus that learner centred learning develops better flexibility and control for the learner. Discussions then looked at the variety of ways to implement flexible learning and the nature of blended delivery.

I found the information informative as it was honest in the nature of looking at not only the benefits for both staff and students but also the perpetual process of needing to assess how the blended delivery can work in a positive manner to ensure quality and consistency. It also brought home the need to put time and people aside consistently when developing a flexible programme to keep the flow of information and ideas coming. I have found that my department can work in isolation at times and I wonder whether this isolation is to the detriment of providing a good flexible delivery package. Without regular cohesion of communication I believe time could be wasted for those new to developing these packages. Time wasted on computer techniques or reinventing the wheel could be avoided. Phils own experiences discussed the way that they all got together and made time on a daily basis to go through the process of creating a good programme.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thoughts and Ideas from readings

Many ideas and thoughts and mainly questions have arisen from the readings from this course. Questions like the following:

- Where is Otago Polytechnic heading with flexible delivery? Are we going to lead the way and create a distinct flexible delivery opportunity and or just use flexible delivery as more of a conjunction to enhance traditional methods of teaching

- How do the academics within the polytechnic view the future using flexible delivery?
a) People that are against change may be concerned they will lose the quality of their papers, lack the computer skills, unable to replicate some face to face skills online
b) People may see this as an opportunity to reach more people, exciting opening for new opportunities in learning, create better independent learners

Another thought that went through my head was the importance of the use of language in marketing flexible and or online learning opportunities. As I googled the words "flexible learning, occupational therapy, pros and cons" a myriad of occuptional therapy online opportunities came up. The nature of the language and marketing came accross like an informercial on television. It felt slightly tacky and unprofessional. As an example the following from "schoolsgalore" . The title reminded me of James Bond 'Pussygalore". The phrasing "Find a school today" and "Find a programme that interests you today. Receive complementary information...." reminded me of the informercial "but wait theres more you can get a set of knives if you ring now".

What language may be ok for one culture may give another impression for a different culture. If we are looking at providing a flexible delivery service to a variety of cultures how do we cater for this?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Course requirement- Sams story

This is a story of a girl named Sam who has wanted to be an Occupational Therapist. When Sam enquired about the course she found out the following information:

-Course is in Dunedin or Auckland
-Generally five hours of lectures per day
-Fieldwork Component which means she would have to travel to a destination around New Zealand
-95% of lectures are face to face with the majority being delivered by powerpoint.

Sam suffers from mild dyspraxia this affects how she learns. She can sometimes have difficulty following verbal instructions and planning tasks. Sam can get easily distracted in a classroom environment. Sam had extra tuition at school to enable her to pass her subjects. She is now 21 years of age and has a two year old son living in Balclutha. Sam has been out of the paid workforce as she is at home with her child.

The main issues Sam faces as to why she has not pursued her Occuaptional Therapy Course is the following:

-Geography- The course is in Dunedin however Sam does not want to shift as she has family support in Balclutha
-Face to Face lecturing style is a concern for Sam as she struggled with this style of teaching at High School
-Finances- Sam is concerned at the costs of travelling if she decided to try and commute
-Fatigue- Sam easily tires trying to concentrate in a classroom set up and she finds that mornings are the best time for her energy levels.
-Childcare- Sams has some supports in Balclutha including childcare but the hours do not correspond realistically with the course.

Sam has discussed these issues with her family and with the Occuaptional Therapy Department but at this stage how the courses are run cannot meet Sams requirements.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flexible Learning Delivery Course

My name is Michelle Holland and I am a lecturer in the Occupational Therapy Department at Otago Polytechnic. The Department is currently rolling out the first year of a flexible learning package to OT students at Wintec in Hamilton NZ. I have been involved in communications with Wintec lecturers, but was not involved in putting the paper online initially.

I am involved in this course as part of the Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning. I am also wanting to utilise the skills gained from this course to add to my development knowledge of how to best use technology for both Otago and Hamilton students.