Wednesday, June 4, 2008

4th June - Response to Wk12 Phil Ker illuminate session

Phils talk was "illuminating" and of course what we would expect from a forward thinking CEO. This session was actually the first time I have experienced using Illuminate and in fact I was a little impatient with the start up - understand how it works now tho.
Whilst reading the very first course reader Collins & Moonen (2001), "Flexible learning:its not just about distance", I had had a query about Institutional Policy and Otago Poly and what the general feeling about implementation was. The complex task of developing a "consenus" within an institution has been mostly answered by Phil Ker and has further enlightened me to the possibilites within this institution as well as giving support and validity to much of the teaching (pedagogy) myself and others within the fashion school are already doing. Access to resources etc is something that technology can generally overcome but creating learner autonomy is the key to the success of flexible engagement within a course I believe. Blended delivery and course content is integral to the success of a course that is trying to cater to a variety of learning styles - does the blended approach to teaching always have to include a digital component though?; Currently the courses I am involved in use both the Aquisition model (e.g.lectures) and the Participation model (e.g.workshops, critiques, projects). Perhaps it is the actual delivery in terms of variety (flexability) that is going to be the biggest challenge. We currently have a low enrollment and retention of males within the fashion school so perhaps we are not catering to their needs (could of course be that males are not so intrested in a career in the fashion industry)We have looked at the idea of the block course and do run several papers as blocks - this seems to be successful in terms of hands on aquisition of skills but is not always successful in terms of depth of knowledge gained and retained as ongoing practice is the key - depends on the length of the block. Offering ongoing top ups of information and projects by distance or online could be something to consider here.
Considering flexible assessment and flexible outcomes for students is a real challenge and an area that I am only beginning to explore. The maturity and ability of students to work independantly I believe is also a key to the success of providing flexible options in this area. We are already offering flexibility in terms of outcomes to a point within Design projects as designed outcomes are entirely up to the student, working within a brief that ensures the requirements of the course/content are met. The students work within a studio environment where the teacher is the facilitator and the timetable is based around teacher present and self directed sessions - the students decide when and how they work and how they utilise the facilities and resources available to them. As long as students are able to justify design decisions with thoughtful research based references the outcomes from Design projects are up to them. Is this flexible though? they still have to handin and present at the same time. A point to consider is that meeting deadlines is an essentail skill in the fashion industry so having strict deadlines is an important aspect of the course and in some cases a motivational tool for students!


Leigh Blackall said...

Good to see you're starting to consider some of the inflexible aspects of your course Tracey. Perhaps an interview or 2 with your students would reveal areas of need you may be missing? Asking the right questions will be the trick.

Leigh Blackall said...

Tracy, (sorry about the misspell in the last comment) what do you plan to do with the missed weeks in your blog? I see you are gearing up for your flexible learning plan, but without including posts from the other weeks and topics in the course. Don't feel pressured by a perceived deadline Tracy, you have some catching up to do in terms of assignment one, and it would be a shame I think to go into your plan without having considered the relevant topics. Some people prefer to take their time with this course - you may be considering this also? Have another look at the wiki, especially the assignments. Put to your blog what you plan to do regarding assignment 1.