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.