Bringing together some key points in blended, distance and online education

Hazel Owen

I found these videos from Hazel Owen for the DEANZ conference 2008. This is her Bio from you tube. “Hazel Owen is an Academic Advisor (Education Technology Consultant) at Unitec, NZ. She has been involved with implementing ICT enhanced learning for nine years and provides training for faculty, as well as developing blended and online courses. Her research interests include communities of practice/ICT enhanced learning and teaching (ICTELT) underpinned by Sociocultural principles”.

Although the programme she is discussing is far removed from midwifery education none the less aspects of the course are applicable and share common features with our programme.

Facilitating learning communites

Hazel discusses the previous students’ educational experience as being teacher led, content specific and didactic in nature. This may also be the case for our students. The need for student to be supported to move to a learner centered system is described and the tools which facilitate this are demonstrated briefly. In particular is the need for students to develop learning communities which will not only support their current learning but will also prepare them for life long learning. We have discussed this in our programme development but I believe it is integral to the success of the programme and needs to be considered each step of the way. for example in the midwifery practice course we have been working on the preparation of content. We have not yet completed this but we do need to consider how the students will use this content. How will they communicate with each other and share their learning. We have decided to have weekly face to face tutorial groups meetings with the practice facilitator and this will meet this need in part. There needs to be a clear understanding that these tutorial sessions and not for the delivery of content but are to facilitate open discussion and shared learning. We also need to facilitate opportunities for students to connect with each other and we need to make some decisions about how we will encourage them to do this.

Developing a glossary of midwifery terms

Some of the resources that Hazel describes in these videos have been included in our midwifery practice course. For example she discuses the students developing a translation dictionary and, in the CPIT Moodle LMS, Lorna and I have started a Glossary of midwifery words and terminologies which we hope the students will add to and create for their own use. I am a little concerned that perhaps we have been adding too much content already to this, which may make the students feel that they do not own it and discourage them form contributiing.  However it is a useful tool.


Hazel also discusses the development of an e-portfolio as one of the assessment requirements. The requirements for these students to be computer literate for their future work is very clear and may not be seen as a high priority for midwifery students, none the less there are some good ideas which could overlap into our courses. I believe the importance of online communication is a universal requirement. It will be as important for midwives in the future to be able to access information and communicate with each other through online resources as it will for any other professional group. Providing this learning opportunity for out midwifery students is therefore of particular importance to their future learning and professional development. The importance of clear guidelines and instructions and making sure that the links between what is being learned and the applicability to future practice needs to be apparent in everything the students are doing.

I am embedding only the first and third videos which have more generalisability. The second video concentrates on the specific programme for the arabic male students to a greater extent.

I found these videos interesting and they have helped me to consider once again some of the key points which I believe are fundamental to the success of our programme.

Leave a comment


  1. Thanks for these, Carolyn. You’ve got me thinking, thinking, thinking…..!!

  2. Thanks for stopping by Sarah, come back and share your thoughts.

  3. Hi Carolyn. Really pleased that you found the vids etc useful. More than happy to answer any questions you may have…sounds as though it’s a big project.

    You mentioned encouraging students to communicate and share ideas and experiences. In the Vet Nursing course at Unitec the students are using PBWiki to record their ideas, experiences, videos of processes with animals and interactions with their owners, presentations etc etc. The students were initially introduced to the wikis in a face-to-face tutorial where they set up an account, and their concerns were discussed. They are now on placements, and although this is a pilot, and we don’t have any definitive results as yet, the initial anecdotal feedback is really encouraging, including decrease in a sense of isolation, really good to see what others are experiencing, and a good forum to share resources.

    Thought you may also find the following interesting: (this a session about e-portfolios), and (this is a link to students/faculty talking about their experiences with e-portfolios).
    Cheers. Hazel


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