Getting started on my E-Portfolio

I am well behind my colleague Sarah Stewart in terms of online presence and developing and e-portfolio but I have made a start with this on the Wetpaint wiki site.Wetpaint have agreed to provide an advert free site for educational sites. You have to apply for this and I have been granted this status for my site.

Your thoughts comments and suggestions are very welcome.

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E-Portfolios

Background

I have been pondering E Portfolios and what these might be. I feel that I need to really think about this, to be clear in my own mind, and perhaps to help others to understand  how these might be developed with students in our undergraduate midwifery programme. We continuously highlight the importance of life long learning with our students. Undergraduate midwifery education needs to provide midwives with the knowledge and skills of  basic midwifery competencies but, more importantly perhaps, midwives need to be aware of the importance of best practice based on reliable evidence. Keeping pace with  the speed of change requires life long learning and reflection on practice. When midwives follow routine or accepted traditional practice they may be unaware of changes in evidence. Women deserve the best care from competent and knowledgeable midwives. This can only be achieved through reflection and continual questioning of practice decisions (Taylor, 2006).

Portfolios

Midwives in New Zealand are required to maintain a  professional portfolio as evidence that they are competent and reflective practitioners. Items which may be included in a portfolio are

  • Record of employment, education and personal and professional development
  • A performance based analysis of previous and current practice
  • A competence based analysis of previous and current knowledge, skills and experience
  • Learning based on knowledge acquisition and skill development
  • Future goals and career development based on consideration and analysis of the previous two points
  • Individual reflective processes

(Andre & Heartfield, 2007)

It is important that midwifery students develop skills in maintaining a professional portfolio from the beginning of their midwifery career, at the commencement of midwifery education. A portfolio can be kept in any form that meets the needs of the profession  and the midwife who owns it. The portfolio will be an important part of the professional identity of the midwife and will reflect her personal needs as well as those of her professional body. She will able to present aspects of her portfolio as evidence of competency and will include personal reflections on her goals and attainments.

Students in our undergraduate degree programme are required to submit assignments in electronic form. It is sensible therefore that we should encourage and support students to begin to develop their portfolio in an electronic format. I met with one of my current students recently and was reviewing her reflective log which is part of our current course requirement. She had struggled with this and found it difficult as the written work is not her preferred way to to reflect. She is much more comfortable speaking about aspects of practice or her learning. One of the advantages of an electronic portfolio would be that  students could reflect in writing or with audio or video recording, through art, music poetry or any other medium they desire. This is something we should consider if we are requiring students to submit components of their e portfolio for  assignments and as evidence of reflection.

E- Portfolios

My friend and colleague, Sarah Stewart has developed an e portfolio using a variety of online resource. She has a blog with blogger in  which she reflects on midwifery, education and web 2.0. She also has a wiki where she provides evidence of her achievement and links her blog posts to highlight her thinking on issues. This is an excellent example of using freely available online resources to create an e portfolio. Sarah has also used video uploaded onto youtube and powerpoint presentations uploaded onto slideshare. All of these are useful resources for reflection. It is also possible to load documents into google docs which can then be linked into an eportfolio. I have my Masters thesis loaded into google docs. Some of these are open for all to see (for example youtube videos) and some can either be open for all to see, of can be hidden and only available to those who are invited to view them, for example the wiki or google docs. I have also commenced a portfolio in Wetpaint, at this point it is very early in development and I have not made it open for all to view. In time I intend to make aspects of my portfolio freely available.

According to JISC Uk ‘An e-portfolio is a purposeful aggregation of digital items – ideas, evidence, reflections, feedback etc., which ‘presents’ a selected audience with evidence of a person’s learning and/or ability.’

Sutherland, S. and Powell, A. (2007), CETIS SIG mailing list discussions3 9 July 2007. Rae Tolley, in a comment on Raewyn’s blog states ‘It is obvious that an institutional portfolio cannot be hosted within that institution for ever. For several reasons it is therefore obvious that the e-Portfolio should be hosted externally, which, apart from anything else, avoids problems of portability and degradation.’ In his website Rae states ‘It is noticeable that those schools which are coping with the latest initiatives such as VLEs, E-Portfolios or PLEs are invariably the schools that have learnt the lesson of ‘whole-school adoption’ and have been working together as a team, often for many years’.

While creating an eportfolio midwives and midwifery students can gain skills in using information technology for reflection, research, communication, information sharing and networking as well as producing a resource to demonstrate their competence and continuing skill development. These will be valuable skills for continuing development and professional development throughout a lifespan. The reflective processes involved with eportfolios will help midwives identify personal learning goals and strategise how to achieve these.

Proprietary resources have been developed to assist with preparing and presenting eportfolios, such as Mahara. Mahara has to be accessed though an institution, similar to the Moodle resource. Individuals can register but the full functionality is not available until it is accessed through and institutional website. If midwives commence a portfolio using Mahara they will either have to rely on the institution to continue to provide them with access to their eportfolio, or they will need to start again once their formal education is complete. Neither of these options seem optimal.

E portfolios can also be created on an individuals computer in their hard drive. Over time as the portfolio grows it may become difficult to organise and store all the variety of artifacts. It is also more difficult to share items of the portfolio with prospective employers or to demonstrate competence. If it is kept in an internal hard drive there is also no opportunity for sharing with others or developing community learning opportunities.

Midwifery practice and eportfolios

My masters thesis identified the desire of rural midwives to establish connections with other rural midwives, to share information and learning opportunities. Midwives would have this opportunity by sharing aspects of their eportfolio with others. Midwives can invite others in a particular group to view and contribute to aspects of their portfolio or could have some of their achievements available freely on the world wide web. Confidentiality issues associated with midwifery practice means that some aspects of the midwives eportfolio will always need to be a private reflection for the midwife alone.

E portfolios and midwifery students

In conclusion, having considered the different options for eportfolios I believe that students should be supported and guided to create their eportfolio with freely available learning resources such as wikis and blogs. I think we need to make a decision as an institution which of these we wish to support for our students and encourage staff to gain experience in their use so that they can provide the necessary support and guidance to students.

References

Andre, K., Heartfield, M. (2007), Professional portfolios. Evidence of comptency for nurses and midwives. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone.

Taylor, B. (2006). Reflective practice: A guide for nurses and midwives (2nd ed). Glasgow: Open University Press.

Evaluating course development resources

At the end of the DFLP course Bronwyn raised the question of evaluation, and invited us to consider why evaluation is important in education. She discussed the role of evaluation during all stages analysis, design, development and implementation of a course ( the Addie model)

As I have been developing the learning units I have been working on I have been loading them onto the CPIT and OP Moodle LMS for other lecturers to view and have invited them to comment. I have not initiated a formal process for these comments however and I have not had a great deal of feedback from this. I am wondering if I should seek answers to specific questions about these resources from other lecturers. I also wanted to get feedback from students and discussed this with the larger group at one of our regular meetings through Elluminate. Although there was general approval for this idea I did not want to give students access to all the work we are developing in its raw stages. On discussion with Terry Marler, who is supporting us with the IT side of development of this programme, we decided to create a special course where students could be enrolled and material could be loaded specifically for this purpose.

I asked the current first year students if they would be interested in reviewing some material. Several said thy would but to this point only two have actively pursued this. Here is the feedback from these students. I asked them to consider how long it would take to complete this resource, how easy it was to navigate, how easy it was to understand, did it flow well etc.

Student one

“I went through the unit this morning. It was very thorough and well thought out. I liked the videos, its nice to not have to read everything and get the change in learning style. Under the heading “how does infection spread” when you click on it, it only goes to the page with the objectives for a split second and then takes you elsewhere to a page that has the heading at the top corner: “up to date for patients”. I think it may just be a problem with the link where it goes there automatically so you can’t read the introduction page. I thought that things were worded very clearly, and that the quiz at the end explained the answers if you pressed the wrong answer.
I have to admit I was skeptical about how the whole online learning thing would work, but this is incredibly easy to follow and very thorough. This may actually be better than what we’re doing because people can go at their own pace and go over the material and refer back to it all at their fingertips. Even though blackboard does this for us, I think that this moodle is a lot easier to follow and you have done a great job with covering all your bases in this topic without having to download a powerpoint presentation. I wouldn’t mind seeing another one just to compare the two, but this one I found was really good.”

Student two

“I have been to have a look at the moodle course. I worked through it over the weekend, although it didn’t take very long maybe 3 hours.
The things I liked were the combination of media and sources giving a variety of ways to access the information. The little videos and quiz things were particularly good. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of information. Each topic flowed to the next and was not to difficult to process and understand.
The things I didn’t like. It took a moment to figure out the flow of the pages, when I got to the bottom I expected to be able to click next and move onto the next section. I don’t know if it will be available when the full course is up and running. But if I knew nothing about this topic I would have liked to be able ask questions of the topic tutor, maybe something like a feedback page?? I would have liked to have known which text book (and pages) to refer to If I wanted.
Overall it was rather good and would be happy to do this type of module in future.”

This has given me some useful feedback on the material reviewed from a students perspective. I have some ideas of things that I can change to improve the learning unit. I believe this has been a useful exercise and I would like to try to get more feedback if I can.

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.

E-Portfolios

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.

Lets keep talking! Distance students need to too.

Ting of Brodgar in Orkney

Ring of Brodgar in Orkney

This post is taken from a comment I left on Sarah Stewart’s blog posting “How spontaneous and serendipitous can we be online”

I have been spending a great deal of time working at home on the new curiculum development. This is good use of my time, avoids a great deal of travel, and allows me to just get on with it. I do feel increasing isolated in this environment. I love that Sarah and I are connected through Skype and I am often able to spontaneously ask a question on text or have a voice chat online. I have also had the opportunity occasionally to ask other colleagues for help and advice in this way. I wish more of us were on Skype, or Gtalk. I too think these are important tools for students if they are going to be sitting at computers at home working on their course material. The really incongruous thing is the absolute importance in midwifery of the relationship between the woman and midwife and the importance of communication to this relationship. I value the ability to work at home but I have a much greater appreciation of the importance of communication and the need to provide students with opportunities to talk to each other. I agree with Pauline (infomidwife) that the range of IT communication resources can be overwhelming and risks students losing interest and not engaging because of this. I agree with free choice but wonder if we, who have a little knowledge of these resources, need to be somewhat directive. This would mean expecting students to use Skype or Gtalk and making sure that they all have contacts with each other through these resources.

I also really want students to blog about their learning experiences and would love to establish a blogging network. As a lecturer however I can see that this could significantly add to my work load. Keeping track of blog postings, considering how to respond and then making appropriate responses. Sarah has developed a really nice easy blogging style, I still struggle and postings seem to be taking me longer and longer to author as I struggle to get the language right. Making sure that students do not breach the confidentiality of women with whom they are working and are not making inappropriate comments about individual midwives practices is another concern and potentially time consuming as a lecturer. It is this aspect, workload, that makes me reluctant to pursue this too vigorously. I would love to know how lecturers who do have blogging networks with students find this. How does it fit into your general workload?

Image from shadowgate photos on flickr.com

Beginning to construct a course which supports flexible learning

While completing courses myself around flexible learning and course construction I am also working on the development and construction of the midwifery practice skills course. There are several features of this course which could be described as ‘flexible learning’. Students will be able to enrol from a  variety of locations and study predominantly from those locations supported by a local facilitator. They will also be able to come together as a larger class for some face to face  learning. Learning resources will be delivered face to face during the class ‘intensives’ and during tutorials with their local facilitator, students will also have midwifery practice time, working alongside midwives. Learning resources will also be available on-line for the students to access. They will be able to pace themselves through these learning resources and move backwards a forwards through them as they wish, however there will be  structure around the course and students will e expected to have completed the learning resources at each stage so that they can discuss and gain practical hands on skills in the face to face intensives and tutorials. Some features of this course delivery will be (following categories from; Gluc, 2006)

Individualised learning – As part of  this course students will be developing a portfolio which will include a learning contract. This will allow them to idenrify their own learning needs and to track their own learning and progress towards their individualised learning goals.

Peronalised learning support – Students will  have support from their local facilitator and the course co-ordinator and will be able to meet and discuss with them both within the class or local groups and on an individual basis as required. This contact and discussion can take place face to face or online through Elluminate meetings, discussion forums, personal emails, cell phone text messaging or telephone or cell phone chats.

Collaborative learning – Students will meet together as a whole class and will be supported to develop connections and networks with each other through a variety of online resources such as skype, weblogs cell phone text and chat groups. They will also have a local group which will be 2 or more students in a particular location and will be encouraged to support each other through the learning journey. Some course work may be required to be completed in group activities which will involve them working with other students from different locations and networking with them  online or by cell phone.

Virtual learning environments– We will not be using virtual worlds initially but we are continuing to explore the possibilities for using a virtual environment for scenario based learning. Each aspect of the learning resources will be accompanied by formative assessments scattered throughout and some of these will include case studies, where the students are invited to consider situations, decisions and actions that they might make.

Flexible study– All aspects of the course will have a thorough online component, which will allow the students to study at their own pace in their own time and wherever they have internet access.

The first step in course construction

After considering our learners and different learning styles that need to be incorporated. We established our collaboration teams to work on course development. I have been working alongside a Christchurch colleague Lorna Davies .  We started by brainstorming  with everyone from the two schools what the content  would be. We then had to consider how this content might be divided up into the three trimesters (This course will be delivered in three trimesters rather than two semesters) of the year.  It seemed important that the skills the students would be learning should have some context around them rather than task specific skills. to do this it made sense to develop modules focused around antenatal, labour and birth and postnatal care. These are all in the context of normal uncomplicated birth at this stage of the students learning journey. Some basic skills that need to be covered do not easily fit within these aspects and so a fourth module was decided on which would focus on therapeutic interventions that may be required, either in the community or hospital setting. We then divided these modules Lorna is developing the antenatal and postnatal modules and I am developing the labour birth and therapeutic skills modules. Lorna and I decided very early in the process that we needed to have good communication between us and established weekly meetings on Elluminate where we can discuss progress and brainstorm issues as they arise.

Using EXE as a development platform and moodle for course delivery

Lorna was able to attend a conference where she learned about EXE for developing course content which can then be loaded onto moodle. We decided to give this a go and found it very easy to use, none the less getting to grips with these two new technologies has been a learning curve which is ongoing.

Developing the modules

It became evident that these modules would need to be broken down further into learning units otherwise they would be too large. This has largely been up to our own discretion but we discuss and share ideas in our weekly meetings. I decided that I would like to evaluate the material that I am developing with current students. I would also like to get some feedback from midwives in practice eventually. To this end we have established a separate development portal on our Moodle to allow current students access to modular components that have been developed. I will develop an evaluation tool to get some feedback from these students about the resources.

References

Gluc, E. (2006). Using Blended Learning to Accommodate Different Learning Styles. University of Hertfordshire. Online retrieved 17th October 2008 from: http://escalate.ac.uk/downloads/2917.pdf

Image: Red sky construction from poagao’s photos on flickr.com

Connecting students with course content, lecturers and each other.

I was just exploring the Unitec concept map mentioned in a previous post. I was looking at this section of the map on cell phones.

Unitec source smartphones and provide a 1GB/month mobile broadband account to all staff and students. Students pay for their own voice and txt messaging and the 1GB plan is paid by Unitec. These phones are used to deliver course content as well as communication devices. Students have also been issued with a wireless keyboard to facilitate data entry. This at a cost of $700 NZ.

I wonder a little about the screen size however I can see this could be something that might be really useful for us as well. Any thoughts about this?

Image: 3 Cell phone calls, from Wonderlane photos on Flickr.com

Week 16 DFLP

Well I have finally come to the end of this course. I have presented my draft flexible learning plan and completed my final learning plan. I have also considered how my postings have met the assessment requirments of this course and have created a table from the DFLP wiki site, included how I have met these criteria, self assessed and saved this as a google document which can be downloaded from here

I now have to summarise my postings and plan as to how I have met the following course objectives

  1. Discuss principles and processes of flexible teaching and learning to facilitate culture sensitive adult learning;                                                                                                                                                           I have considered the particular issues of adult learning in several postings particularly here where I discuss learning theories related to adult learning. And in this post where I discussed the benefits of blended learning particularly in relation to adult learning. These postings discuss the aspects of adult learning where adults come to new learning situation with a variety or previous experiences which will influence their current learning. These experiences form a platform on which further learning will build. Sometimes previous assumptions will be challenged and new ways of considering the world will be necessary, none the less all knowledge is built on previous experience connected with the current learning. Previous experience is strongly influenced by who we are and where we come from and I explored cultural issues related to blended learning here.
  2. Critique the design and application of existing flexible teaching and learning options in relation to the literature;                  During this course I have continually been  exploring aspects of flexible delivery. I consider that flexible learning is not something new, in fact human beings learn best in a flexible way and always have done. I have looked at learning theories and how the apply to learning in flexible model.
  3. Explore and justify the strategies for the development of flexible learning environments;                              I have considered all the various ways in which flexibility can be achieved and also what support structures may need to be considered for learners at a distance
  4. Analyse and evaluate challenges that arise in the design of flexible learning environments;         There are many challenges  when considering my flexible learning plan. In particular are the issues of accessibility, sustainability. There are also issues around open access consideration of earners preferred learning styles and many more. I have tried to address these in my pla.

I have learned a great deal form this course. Thanks to my fellow participants and to the staff who guided us through this learning journey.

MY MIWIFERY FLEXIBLE LEARNING DESIGN PLAN: WORKING WITH WOMEN REQUIRING THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTION

Project Name

Working with women requiring therapeutic intervention.

A module contained within the midwifery practice skills course for first year bachelor of midwifery students.

Date:

3rd October 2008

Organisation:

Otago Polytechnic
Project plan author contact details

Carolyn McIntosh

Email: carolynm@tekotago.ac.nz

skype: carolynmcintosh

Delicious: carolynmcintosh

Executive summary

This plan outlines the process that will be involved in developing a new module within a new course in a revamped program for midwifery undergraduate education in the South Island of New Zealand. The programme is to be delivered as a collaborative exercise with Otago Polytechnic and Christchurch Polytechnic. The course this focuses on is the midwifery practice skills course and the module it relates specifically to is Working With women Requiring Therapeutic Intervention. Various selected skills will be learned through engaging with modular learning resources delivered through the Moodle learning management system, through face to face learning in the intensives delivered at the beginning, middle and end of the year and through weekly face to face tutorials. Student learning will be supported by encouraging group interaction and learning communities, through interaction and support from preceptor midwives in practice, through interaction and support from midwifery practice facilitators and through interaction and support from midwifery lecturers. This aligns well with the Otago Polytecnic strategic direction for a move to greater flexibility in course delivery and collaboration with other educational institutions.

My Plan

Background

There are some challenges in teaching first year midwifery students. The students are a diverse group of women (we have not had any men in our programme to this point although it is always possible that a man may join the programme at some point in time). Students vary in age and ability. All have met the academic criteria for entry, which requires the equivalent of university entrance qualifications and ability to work at an academic degree programme level. Some have birth experience of their own, working as a doula or childbirth educator right through to recent school leavers with no experience of childbirth at all. So providing learning resources which will keep everyone stimulated and satisfied but understanding and able to keep up with the programme is a challenge. Giving students enough practice experience, while also recognising that they have not yet got the theoretical knowledge to support this experience, is also a challenge. Students need to understand that they have a very limited scope of practice and need to be supervised at all times when involved in midwifery practice. Careful consideration needs to be given to scaffolding learning to meet the learner’s level of understanding and learning needs.

Valliathan discusses three models for blended learning, skill driven, attitude driven and competence drive. I believe all three of these come into play for blended learning in the midwifery practice skills context. Clearly this is a skills based course and skills acquisition is an important part of the course. Attitude is also an important aspect of learning about midwifery practice. Students often come into the course with preconceived ideas which can change dramatically as they are exposed to practice and actual childbirth experiences. They need the opportunity to consider, reflect, share and discuss these experiences and consider the implication for their own midwifery practice. Confidence and competence will grow when students work with mentor or preceptor midwives in practice. These aspects must all be considered within the overall plan. In Valiathan’s discussion of these three aspects of blended learning there are different strategies that accompany each. In the skill model there needs to be a clear plan which can be self paced for the student but requires a strict schedule. There needs to be close contact and overview from the instructor with demonstration of techniques which can be achieved in face to face and supported by synchronous online labs. The attitude model is supported by synchronous online discussion, group work and role plays, and the competence model is achieved through working with mentors and access to a repository of information in a learning management system. All aspects involve close overview and support from a midwifery instructor.

Taking these models and learning requirements into consideration it is necessary in the learning plan to have systems in place for regular contact between lecturers and students and also to have a clear structure and learning goals. Students need a high level of motivation and will need to come prepared to face to face learning ready to interact with one another and to engage with the practical skills learning experience. Students will need to identify their learning goals. They need to identify what they already know about particular skills, and will need clear targets, criteria, standards and exemplars to help them to identify their learning goals (Nichol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006). As these will differ from student to student it will be necessary for each student to develop individualised goals and an individualised learning plan.

It is recognised that individuals differ in the way in which they learn best. There are several different ways in which this has been represented. Perhaps the best known of these is the VARK model of learning styles. These are visual, auditory reader and kinesthetic. According to this model learners prefer to learn by seeing pictures or video etc, by hearing either the spoken word or learning is enhanced by listening to music while studying, by reading or by actively doing. The VARK model recognises that while individuals may have a strong personal preference they may also have a mixture of learning styles. If students understand how they learn best themselves then they can use the resources that will best support their learning. As educators we need to provide material to the students in a variety of ways taking into account all of these styles so that there is something there for everyone. Opportunities need to be provided for students to consider new skills, to see the proper process, to reflect identifying implications for practice and to actually use the skills in practice (Kolb, 1984; Atherton, 2005). Reflection leads to a deeper level of learning it helps the student to contextualise and is a key component of learning. The reflective process is a key component of lifelong learning in midwifery (Taylor, 2000).

This model of education follows a constructivist approach as described by Friere (Gadotti, 1994) and Knowles (Knowles & Knowles, 1972). Friere believed that individuals learned best in groups and that learning is enhanced by reflection, while Knowles asserts that adults learn through working together and building on previous experiences. Much of this ‘big picture’ aspect of planning for the students learning experience is considered in the overall midwifery programme but also needs to be considered in planning of each learning experience.

Aim

What am I going to do?

The midwifery practice skills course has been divided into four modules. Pregnancy, labour and birth, postnatal and therapeutic interventions. For this plan I am focusing on the module ‘therapeutic interventions’. Unlike the other three this modules will run across the entire first year but principally in the first and second trimesters. The aim of this module is to familiarise students with certain specific skills which are sometimes required during the childbearing year.

Objectives

I will design a learning program for selected midwifery practice skills. Face to face learning will occur during the three, two week intensives, through weekly tutorial session with their midwifery practice facilitator in their local area and with midwife preceptors with whom they will be gaining midwifery practice experience. Students will be able to access course material and learning resources through the moodle learning management system. Students will also have the opportunity to attend elluminate class sessions from their own home, or local area where they have computer access.

Performance indicators

Students need to be able to

1. demonstrate an ability to use communication skills to develop effective professional relationships with their peers and colleagues.

2. utilise an awareness of effective communication to enhance the quality of the childbearing experience for women and their families.

3. safely perform a range of selected practice skills and be able to outline their underlying theories and rationale.

4. accurately perform drug calculations and demonstrate skill of medication administration.

What are the perceived flexible learning needs of the people that my plan is targeting?

Levels of prior knowledge

As stated in previously students enrolled in the program will have a variety of previous experience and prior knowledge on which they can build their learning. Some students come with previous nursing experience, as enrolled nurses for example. Some may have completed university study and may have a strong knowledge of biology and body systems while others will have only very basic knowledge.

Levels of literacy and numeracy

Students have to have NCEA level 3 entry requirements. Although this should mean that all have good literacy and numeracy skills in reality the level of skill will vary from individual to individual. It is likely that students may range from school leavers who have good digital literacy skills to mature adults who have very little knowledge of computers and digital resources.

Ability and disability

Midwifery practice is physically demanding work which may discount many people who have a physical disability from applying or being able to enter the programme. None the less there are many levels of physical and mental ability and disability and it is possible that our students will vary considerably in these characteristics.

Learning at a distance

Students will vary in their geographical distance from the Polytechnic. Some may be based in Christchurch or Dunedin but others will be centred around other centres such as Nelson Marlborough, Central Otago, Southland etc.

Flexibility in time

Some students may have part time employment. Mothers may need fit in study around family commitments and rural women may be involved in farming activities.

What type of flexible learning services will there be?

Enrollment; There is little ability to be flexible with enrollment. Students will commence the course at the start of the academic year. Students may however choose to enroll part time initially doing mainly theory papers the first year and practice papers the following year.

Assessment;

Summative assessment.

Students will be encouraged to develop an Eportfolio. This will allow them to identify their own learning goals and to reflect on their learning. As part of this eportfolio students will develop a learning contract. They will be able to choose which skill they feel they would like to concentrate on for this learning contract. They will identify what prior knowledge they have of this skill. They will then identify their learning needs and expected outcomes. Together with the lecturer they will identify what they need to do and what resources they will need to be able to achieve their learning needs and finally they will provide evidence that they have accomplished this. This will form part of the summative assessment. The other assessment is a practice skills assessment where the students role play a scenario in examination conditions. Although this is not particularly flexible the students will be able to build the scenarios on which they may be tested themselves as a group. The performance indicators of communication will be assessed during this role play assessment. Women from the community will play the role of a woman and will provide the students with feedback on their communication and will also contribute the the mark the student is allocated for this skills. In addition there will be an examination which will be conducted during the final intensive where students will be tested on their knowledge of drug calculations.

Formative assessment:

A variety of formative assessments may be used to help with structure of the course material. This will also add interest to material the students are accessing at a distance and will help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Formative assessment should be closely linked to the skill which is being learned. It should stimulate the students interest and provide feedback which will stimulate further learning (Crossuard, Pryor & Torrance, 2000)

Communication strategies;

Students require good computer literacy skills to enable access to all the resources they will need for this course and also to communicate with each other and with lecturers. Students who need extra help will be supported with resources such as the Otago information literacy resource. Flexibility in
terms of communication will be assured through the opportunity to communicate in a variety of ways at times that are negotiated and suitable to all. Students will be able to engage with many of the online resources for communication at any time that suits them, for example discussion forums and preparing material for inclusion in Eportfolios.

Student to lecturer

Students will be able to maintain regular contact with lecturers online by email , through regular Elluminate group discussion, through participation in discussion forums online and by sharing parts of their Eportfolio work. They will also be able to communicate directly with the lecturer by telephone or by text messaging.

Students to midwifery practice facilitator

Students may be able to communicate with Midwifery practice facilitators through discussion forums and sharing part of their Eportfolio work. Students will be able to communicate regularly to face with the midwifery practice facilitator through on-site weekly tutorial group meetings, regular contact and catch ups while working with midwifery preceptors and during midwifery and other clinical practice placements.

Student to student

Students will be able to communicate with each other through online discussion forums, through sharing parts of their Eportfolio work and through contact during tutorial groups and face to face intensives. Students will be encouraged to develop close networks with other students to provide support and shared learning experience through a learning community (Kilpatrick, Barrett & Jones, 2008).

Midwifery practice facilitator to student

Midwifery practice facilitator will be located in the area where the student is practicing. They will be meeting face to face with students on a weekly basis and will negotiate with students individually around communication needs at other times. they will also have access and contribute to discussion forums and students Eportfolio work.

Lecturer to student

Lecturers will also be midwifery practice facilitators for some of the students in the class. They will maintain contact with the class through online discussion forums and email contact. They will also be able to communicate directly with students through cell phones and text messaging and during face to face in the intensives.

Information formats;

Students will be accessing course material through the Moodle learning management system. They will also be sharing information in groups through tutorials. They will be able to discuss and share information through discussion forums and through sharing learning through their Eportfolio work. Student learning will be enhanced through the use of quizzes which challenge the students and provide instant feedback. Learning packages will be developed and will be accessible online for

Standard precautions

Working with a sterile field

Medication administration

Urinary cathaterisation

Working with women with limited mobility

Basic knot tying and suture technique

These learning packages will be supported by group discussion in online discussion forums and during weekly tutorial group meetings. Some such as working with a sterile field, urinary catheterisation, and administering injections will be taught face to face and reinforced with the learning packages.

In addition a resource is being developed to run alongside which will support student learning about drug calculations. Students will also have access to open access freely available drug calculation software packages.

Learning support services including technical support.

Students will be supported by each others through the development of learning communities. They will also be supported by their midwifery practice facilitator and by midwife preceptors. They will have overarching learning support from their lecturers. They will also be supported by having constant access to learning materials online. Students who are have a disability and need extra support with this can access this through disability support services either at Otago Polytechnic or at Christchurch Polytechnic. All students will be made aware how they can access this support if they need it and lecturers will be aware of how students can access this support. Students who need extra support with literacy, numeracy or digital literacy will be given extra support through online resources which can assist them. Otago students can access learning support services on campus at Otago Polytechnic or through the various community centres maintained by Otago Polytechnic. Support with information technology systems will be provided through the IT services at Otago Polytechnic and Christchurch Polytechnic. Moodle help is available online through moodle.

The type of services which already exist that compliment and/or compete with the plan.

As this is a whole new way of delivering the programme there is a lot of development work to do. Not just te material I am working on but across the entire programme. Currently we use Blackboard as our learning management system so getting familiar with Moodle is a bit of a challenge. Transitioning to delivering more content online would lend itself to more content being available in an open forum. This is happening and is an exciting aspect of the new courses. We are using blip TV to store some video material which can then be linked into courses. Not only does this mean that the material is available for our own students but it will mean that it is also available for others. Existing course material has been developed for face to face teaching and so most needs major changes and updating and a lot of new material needs to be developed.

How complimentary or competitive services will be used favorably?

There is a great deal of material and learning resources which have developed by others and made freely available online for anyone to use. Some of these are suitable and will enhance the students learning experience. Some are excellent and would be very hard for us to replicate in any way. At the same time we will be developing some new learning resources which are not available or where those that are do not match our needs. It behooves us to make these freely available for others to use as we are using resources developed by others.

Outline of how the following items will be addressed:

Sustainability social, ecological and economical factors;

Sustainability will be addressed in the programme through a special course. It also needs to be integrated into all aspects of the program and will be addressed in the course work I am developing. Therapeutic skills involves the use and disposal of items which needs to be discussed with students as well as maintaining there own and their clients safety they also need to consider the impact on the environment of these items. No all women will need therapeutic intervention and how to keep the use of these interventions to a minimum will be addressed here and in other aspects of the course. We seem to be entering an era of greater awareness of personal, social and environmental impact of all our actions and it is likely that new resources will be developed which reduce the impact on the person society and the environment. It is important to keep abreast of these changes and students will be encouraged to identify how they can do this.

Access & equity;

I have little control over access. Students participating in this part of the course will be enrolled in the larger course. As stated above, resources are available online which will support student learning of this topic, we will also be developing resources which will be available online. I plan, over time, to build these into a structured format online that anyone anywhere can access. Therefore, although the entire course will not be available online, components which will enhance any midwifery students learning anywhere, will be.

Cultural diversity.

All students will be considered as autonomous individuals whose rights and values are respected. They will have obligations within the course to treat women as clients with the same respect.

How this plan aligns with Otago Polytechnics strategic direction

This new course, as part of the larger midwifery practice course aligns with the strategic direction.

Otago polytechnic is committed to providing relevant, flexible and accessible learning opportunities (p, 7). In addition it is committed to collaborating with other tertiary providers and organisation, (p, 13) (Otago polytechnic council). the flexible and multifaceted delivery of this course accessible in a variety of ways through a variety of resources and in collaboration with Christchurch Polytechnic, meets these objectives of the Polytecnic.

References.

Atherton, J. S. (2005). Learning and Teaching: Experiential Learning [On-line] UK: Retrieved October 2, 2008 from: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/experience.htm

Crossouard, B., Pryor, J. & Torrance, H. (2004). Creating an alternative assessment regime with oneline formative assessment: Developing a researcher identity. Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, Crete, 22-25 September, 2004. Retrieved October 2, 2008 from http://www.onlineassessment.nu/onlineas_webb/products/sussexFinal041001.pdf

Gadotti, M. (1994) Reading Paulo Freire. His life and work, New York: SUNY Press.

Kilpatrick, S., Barrett, M., Jones, T. (2008). Defining learning communites. Faculty of education. University of Tasmania, Australia. Retrieved October 3, 2008 from: http://www.aare.edu.au/03pap/jon03441.pdf

Knowles, M. S. and Knowles, H. F. (1972) (Revised Edition) Introduction to Group Dynamics, Chicago: Association Press. published by New York: Cambridge Books.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential Learning: experience as the source of learning and development New Jersey: Prentice-Hall

Nichol, D. J., Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in higher education. 31 (2) 199-218. Retrieved October 2, 2008 from http://tltt.strath.ac.uk/REAP/public/Resources/DN_SHE_Final.pdf

Otago Polytechnic Council (2005). Charter document. Retrieved October 3, 2008, from://www.otagopolytechnic.ac.nz/fileadmin/Corporate/PDFs/About/Otago_Polytechnic_Charter_2006-2010_.pdf

Taylor, B. J. (2000). Reflective practice: A guide for nurses and midwives. London: Alyn and Unwin.

Budget

This is what I think the cost of this development work would be. Not the reality of how it will actually be.

Staff time

Lecturer time to develop course material

4 months at 0.3 FTE = $5,800

IT support to development work

4 months 0.3= $5800

Other IT support roughly $5000

Purchasing course material that isnot freely available such as Catherisation model

$2000

Total $18,600

As other course work is being developed at the same time these costs may be reduced in the overall development costs.

Timeline

July 2008

Commence development of midwifery practice skills course in collaboration with CPIT.

Consider how the course will be framed and what it will look like overall.

August 2008

Course is now divided into four modules for development. Primary responsibility for these divided into two. Two for CPIT and two for OP.

Mid September 2008

Complete general framework of modules therapeutic skills and labour and birth (OP) and antenatal and postnatal (CPIT).

MId November 2008

Complete preparation of online content and structure of modules

November 2008

Seek feedback and evaluation of course material from current first year midwifery students and adjust as required.

January 2009

Finalise course and make final adjustments to structure, Elluminate sessions, content for face to face tutorials and intensives etc.

February 2009

New course begins pending final sign off.

As you will see this development is well underway now and we have been meeting all deadlines we have set to this point.

Mahara in Moodle

Following is an interesting video I came across about wroking with Mahara in Moode. This is of interest to me as our midwifery students will be working with eportfolios in the future, probably Mahara. As we are also moving into using Moodle as our learning management system, away from Blackboard it is interesting that Mahara can be used through the moodle interface. I have a lot of learning to do in order to become familiar with all of these tools and Youtube How to videos cerainly help. None the less it is a time consuming process as the only way to really learn is to get in and give it a go, make mistakes and try again.

Blended learning in midwifery education.

Do we really understand the potential?

I have been looking at this video. Wouldn’t this have been a great conference to be at? How exciting that we are entering a new era of midwifery education at this time and potential that is there for us and our students, as long as we leave the doors open enough to be able make the most of what the world wide web has to offer. As Myles says the virtual world has a lot to offer but needs to stay connected to the real world. We can do that, we can make the most of both!

Survey results

This is the report  of the survey I conducted on the presentation of my plan.

There were only 5 respondents. Many thanks who took the time to respond. I advertised this widely and would have liked more responses. Those who did respond were generally positive.  Most stating it totally or mostly met the needs of the course, students and profession, one respondent did not answer whether it met the needs of the course and this respondent stated that they did not have information about the course. One respondent choose the more neutral option that it somewhat met these needs.

As there were only 5 participants it is possible to include all of their comments here (NB 2 comments from one respondent).

  • The thing that I found really difficult in this assignment Carolyn was the inclusion of all the different aspects of flexible learning in the write up with supporting evidence but your plan at the moment covers them all so remember to include them all in the write up
  • I dont know what the course outlines are
  • Make more clear what it is that you are designing in terms of flexible learning practice. You have made your considerations clear, but not so much your designs
  • i think you have shown us what you will need to consider as you plan your course but you have not actually considered these things in the detail yet.
  • this looks like the very beginning – and it is a very well planned beginning – but will you be populating it with more detail?
  • maybe more resources

So the consensus seems to be that I have not included enough detail and need to have more  about the design. However all seem to feel that it is generally moving in the right direction which is gratifying.

Open and closed learning communities

I know I have not finished this course yet and I am definitely dragging the chain here. I will get to the final part of this very soon promise.

from Hagit's photos on Flickr.com

Open door: from Hagit

Image Open door. From Hagit’s photos on flickr.com

One reason for the delay is that I have already enrolled in, and I am participating in another course through Otago Polytechnic. This one is Constructing Courses to Enhance Learning in Midwifery and I cannot give you a link to this course as, unlike the two other similar courses I have participated in over the last year, this one is closed. It is delivered entirley through the moodle learning management system.

The first course, along this line, that I participated in was Facilitating Online Communities. This course was an enormous amount of work for me, but mostly I was self driven as I enjoyed it so much. It opened up my eyes to the possibilities for open access  to educational material. This was not totally new or foreign to me. As a rural midwife I often bemoaned the tantalising tit bits of information that could be accessed for free, from midwifery and medical journals, and then you are asked for an enormous some of money, for an article that is quite possibly of no real relevance. I was very enthusiastic when I discovered Biomed Central and Rural and Remote Health journals which send email alerts of their articles and give full access to everyone for free, Wonderful!! So I was very open to open access. I started blogging and got a bit carried away with that from time to time. I enjoyed sharing learning with others and learned about RSS feeds to keep track of everyone. I also learned about del-ici-ous and other Web 2.0 social networking tools. So many things that I truly do not believe I could have learned had the learning not been open and accessible with all the potential that the world wide web has to offer.

The next course I engaged with is this one Designing for Flexible Learning Practice, which is taking me longer to get through and is a bit more of a struggle for me, not because it is any less interesting but because I had to take a break in the middle and so have lost that sense of community that I believe drives one forward and inspires one to keep going and explore. Also my soul mate in the previous course dropped out of this one, how sad :(. She is now flying high in lots of other directions and I am left plodding on. None the less the learning I have achieved through this course has also been quite amazing I think. And I do think the openness of the course contributes to that for me. I like communicating with others through a blog. When I blog I am writing for myself and my own learning but happy to share that with others too. I do not find the moodle discussion groups or other moodle communication tools, at least those I am so far aware of, as liberating for me. I feel constrained and do not want to explore too much as I am aware that others are being forced to look at what I am writing in this shared learning space. In my blog, I can write what I like, others can read it if they like, it is just a totally different concept.

In the open access courses I felt quite happy to use open access resources such as slideshare to share my learning with the group or anyone else, and for presenting my work. I am not concerned about it being out in the WWW. If people find my work useful and applicable to their situation, fine. If not they can leave it alone. Yes, I need to make sure my work is based on the best available evidence, wherever that evidence exists. I am acutely aware that my writing may somehow reflect on my institution, who are the first Polytechnic in the world to have embraced an open access policy to staff work, something of which I am very proud. I am free to publish my work wherever I wish and to make it as open and available as I desire. I have been storing several of the resources I am developing in slideshare.

As I have been working towards the development of the new curriculum for undergraduate midwifery education I have become aware of the discomfort and distrust of others toward and open environment for midwifery education. Despite this I have found it to be enormously helpful to have access to the open resources that others have made freely available on line such as this. I retain a belief that we should be as open with our edcuational material as we can be. I will continue to work towards this as a personal goal. Open access definitely suits something in my personality, which I believe is open and honest and some would say is too open and honest. I know that openness leaves many feeling uncomfortable and unable to contribute and for this reason perhaps it will take a  long time before we see a broad policy of open access in midwifery education in New Zealand.

eXe

I have just been introduced to this and really just putting here so that I have a handy place to come back and find it. I am going to have a look at using this for course development.

survey for my plan

I have created a survey which I am supposed to be able to embed. I am having trouble working this out for wordpress so here is a link to the survey. This is to enable you to give me honest and annonymous feedback on my development plan.

I do value your thoughts and suggestions so please take a few minutes to give me some feedback. Many thanks.

Presentation of flexible learning draft plan

DFLP initial plan

I have edited this post. In the original post l asked for help with the audio files. Amit from Slideshare kindly pointed me in the right direction. unfortunately I still have a problem as the slideshare is having difficulty loading the sound files from Archives. So I am posting the slide show and link to the Audacity sound files separately . I am not sure if this will work for you and I will keep trying to get the slidecast working properly. Please open the sound file first then you can scroll thorugh the presentation and the sound will play. When Archives opens you will see a black box in the top right hand corner with the audio files in it. If you click on the play arrow it will automatically go frm one sound file to the next.

My email for any comments or feedback on this presentation is cardacs@gmail.com

Link here to the survey for your feedback

Disclaimer: I would like to stress that the thoughts and ideas presented here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer or the midwifery profession.

DFLP08 week 12. Strategic direction, towards flexible delivery.

Phil Kerr, the CEO of Otago Polytechnic, spoke recently with the DFLP course participants about flexible learning and the direction for Otago Polytechnic. It was really interesting to hear about Phil’s own experiences of flexible learning (or blended delivery of courses) and his ideas about the why what and how of flexible learning. This post is my impression of the discussion that occurred with Bronwyn, Heather, Terry, Michelle and Phil. From the recording of this Elluminate session.

Why flexible learning

Flexible learning and blended course delivery is a key teaching and learning strategy for Otago Polytechnic. This will allow Otago Polytechnic to better serve the needs of the Otago region as opposed to just the city of Dunedin. It will provide an opportunity to engage with more learners. it is believed that this will enhance teaching and learnign and encourage greater learner autonomy and independence.

What is the vision of flexible learning

Phil described this as a continuum thus

Our place __________________________Your place

Our time _________________________your time

Our objectives _____________________your objectives

Our way __________________________your way

Lots of steps can be taken to move courses towards the right side of this continuum. We do not need to jump everything all the way all at once.

We need to take advantage of tools such as video conferencing, Elluminate, guided workbooks and other ‘traditional’ distance learning resources. Phil highlighted areas in Otago Polytechnic that have developed blended learning, for example CAPL and Vet nursing. Terry discussed the need to consider learning styles, in particular kinesthetic learners, in practical courses and the value of video which can then be played through mobile devices such as PDAs or Mobile Phones. All agreed that blended delivery with components of distance and face to face learning are very important however Phil said it was important to also consider the needs of students who cannot come to campus and need a total distance package.

How to move towards blended learning

Phil suggested we need to learn from examples of good practice. The most important and time consuming aspect of the process is the design phase. Structured to support independent learning with students. Students need to prepare for face to face learning opportunities which should be used to discuss issues rather than for the delivery of content. With blended delivery the lecturer becomes a facilitator for student learning rather than the font of knowledge. The lecturer is an expert resource who can direct students to useful learning resources. Phil agrees with the concept of curatorial teaching in a blended learning design as described by George Siemens. The role of coach comes to the fore, good at observing and giving feedback. We need to look at the balance of the teachers role in a blended environment, developing learner autonomy is a worthy objective.

Assessment

We need to consider more closely formative assessment and reduce the amount of summative assessment that we require of students. Summative assessment is a highly stressful activity for students whereas formative assessment is supportive of independent and autonomous learning. Motivation is a key factor. Phil believed this is supported through the face to face component the courses. Bronwyn pointed out that motivation can also be supported through elluminate sessions and regular feedback to student work, for example blog postings. Students need to be scaffolded through their learning experience, starting with a lot of hand holding which we gradually let go as they move through the course and gain confidence and skill.

Conclusion

This audio recording was a really useful insight into thinking behind the Otago Polytechnic strategic direction towards flexible delivery of courses. It did not really bring up anything new for me but definitely reinforced a lot of the things I have been learning about and thinking about lately. It ‘tied the package’ together quite nicely. Definitely some thing to think about in my plan in relation to , degrees of flexibility (what is and what is not possible in this way) , encouraging learning for students rather focusing on content delivery (providing opportunities for them to discover, consider and discuss learning resources), building in opportunites for connection between students and with lecturers which are designed to motivate and stimulate students, think carefully about assessment (formative and summative). Clearly this is a complex process.

Image: I wanna hold your hand. From Batega’s photos on flickr.com

Sustainability Week Nine: DFLP08.

These two posts on sustainability had been posted as pages. I have just corrected this and put them in posts. This means they are a wee bit out of sequence as they were originally posted in early May 08.

I am falling behind a little with the posting on the DFLP course and will try to catch up so that I can complete week 10 this week.

This post relates to the week nine topic of sustainability . The following bullet points are taken from Dr Sam mann’s blog on the issue of sustainability at Otago Polytechnic. There is a wiki which has been developed which demonstrates how the school of midwifery is supporting the concepts of sustainability and preparing students for sustainable practice. The blogs where Sarah Stewart and myself have been blogging on matters pertaining to midwifery and midwifery education are featured as components of this movement towards sustainability.

1.What does it mean

to be a sustainable practitioner in your field? (and what progress are you making towards this)

The concepts of sustainability towards the environment fit very well with the concepts promoted by midwifery as the guardians of normal childbirth. Normal intervention fee birth is acknowledged as having the best outcomes for birth the mother and child both emotionally and physically. Intervention free birth also reduces the amount of resources and consumables that are required to facilitate the birth of the baby. Breast feeding is also an environmentally friendly option for feeding and nourishing a baby.

Personally I have had a dislike for the use of disposable nappies and disposable baby wipes, but acknowledge that their use is a decision for the parents to make. I now feel some greater justification discussing th benefits of disposable nappies and would also mention nappy free babies as an option for new parents The decision is still ultimately the parents to make.

As a midwifery educator I need to be aware of the issues of sustaining midwives in practice and consider how I can play part in supporting them. I can do this by helping students to reflect on what they might need to support and sustain them in practice and help them to plan towards sustainable practice from day one. I can also help by providing locum cover for midwives as I do now to allow rural midwives to have some time off. The presentation I attended recently by Christine Webb made me consider undertaking systematic reviews on topics that my be of interest and support to midwives in practice. I could research what evidence in availale and compile a report, perhaps writing an article for publication form this.

2. How is this understanding being reflected in your programmes (Graduate profiles, learning outcomes etc)

I believe that we have always been concerned about these issues in the School of Midwifery and have been adapting and changing he program we deliver to make it sore sustainable and more available to prospective students. I do beleive that providing open access to courses of interest to midwives would be another way in which we as am educational institution could support midwives in practice, allowing greater access and flexibility for midwives in how they access and engage with the material of the course.

3. Evidence of how this is making a difference in teaching and learning.

Although the School of Midwifery has no been moving in the direction of providing open access to course material we have been moving towards more flexible and sustainable midwifery education. Nest year we will be delivering the first year of the program in a much more flexible way. supporting women to remain in their own community for most of the course and developing course material designed for delivery at a distance or blended face to face and distanc.

Week 9 DFLP: Sustainability issues with flexible learning

One of the topics for consideration in week 9 is the issue of sustainability as it relates to flexible learning. One of the resources we were pointed to was the blog of Samuel Mann who blogs about sustainability issues at Otago Polytechnic and is involved in coordinating the progress of this institution towards a ‘living campus’. Sam presents the following questions which were asked of departments around the Polytech and contributed to a wiki demonstrating the moves made towards sustainability. I was pleased to see that my own and Sarah Stewarts midwifery blogs were used as evidence of the the commitment of midwifery towards sustainability, along with a wiki on sustainability contributed by Lorna Davis.

1. What does it mean to be a sustainable practitioner in your field? (and what progress are you making towards this)

Midwifery has guardianship role in relation to low risk, normal birth. The midwifery profession is interested in ensuring interventions in childbearing are used appropriately and kept to minimum. Part of this role involves promoting and supporting breast feeding in the first year of life. Intervention free birth and breast feeding have health benefits for both the mother and her child and also involve less use of expensive resources and reduced waste.

2. How is this understanding being reflected in your programmes (Graduate profiles, learning outcomes etc)

Their is growing concern about sustainability of midwifery practice. Their is recognition that midwives are and aging workforce and that their is a looming midwifery shortage. It is necessary to increase the numbers of new midwives entering the profession and to support midwives to in areas of high need to meet the requirements of the three year degree program. Otago Polytechnic are now joining forces to provide a joint program which is South island wide, this will allow efficient use of resources. Students will also e able to remain in their local area for most of the three years of the program.

3. Evidence of how this is making a difference in teaching and learning.

In recent years the midwifery school a Otago Polytechnic has moved to delivering the theory component of the course in blocks. Some courses have developed as distance courses and others are delivered in blended design with some courses still taught exclusively face to face. We are now developing a new curiculum with courses designed to be delivered in a blended form. This will be different to the existing program which has developed in a more ad hoc fashion. We now have an opportunity to maximise student learning with  more learner focus meeting the individual needs of students, midwives and their communities.


Changed the theme again

I love the fadtastic theme I have been using on this blog but frustrated that it is virtually impossible to view all the posts so I have changed the theme again to this new one. Any comments about this, is it good or not, would be appreciated.

The new picture in the banner at the top of my blog is a photo from my holiday. It is the pool at Seaview Resort, Koh Chang.

Just changed the picture again. this time it is part of the opening ceremony from ICM Glasgow 2008. With school children waving the flags of all the nations represented. 3.500 midwives attended this conference.