Monday, September 8, 2008

Issues with Flexible learning - Sustainability + NEW FLEXIBLE TEACHING AND LEARNING PLAN IDEA

Toward sustainable practitioners - Sam Mann blog - I attended a presentation from Sam Mann as part of reflecting on the Graduate profiles for the whole design department earlier in 2008. Questions asked:

1. What does it mean to be a sustainable practitioner in your field? (and what progress are you making towards this)
2. How is this understanding being reflected in your programmes (Graduate profiles, learning outcomes etc)
3. Evidence of how this is making a difference in teaching and learning.

Some answers: Use of materials is an ongoing area of concern within the fashion industry as is the ethical use of the workforce - sustainable design considers the process from conception of the idea through to the finished article/object - reference to the concept of 'cradle to cradle' (McDonough and Braungart 2003) and the 'triple bottom line' is an essential part of this process. Students within the Yr2 Bachelor of Design (Fashion) programme currently undertake a series of lectures and workshops to increase awareness of these issues and are encouraged to incorporate these ideas into their design practice.
A study of current Yr2 BDes fashion students carried out this year by Tracy Kennedy & Caroline Terpstra has highlighted the understanding and awareness of these students and possible teaching and learning methodologies that can be employed to insure our students are responsible designers of the future and capable graduates. The outcomes and recommendations from this study/paper have yet to be fully realised (need to create a link to this paper yet - any ideas of the best place to put it - would actually like to put it somewhere on this blog)

Teaching and learning of sustainability and sustainable design practice requires overall institutional 'buy in' including a willingness to fund, support and participate in initiatives. Student centred teaching and learning projects incorporating action competency that enable students to fully participate and integrate sustainable knowledge have been shown to be the most effective.


  • It is intended that the outcomes and recommendations from the study above will be put to use within the programme
  • I intend to use the knowledge gained through this study to develop a sustainable fashion business model/plan that can be utilised by students within a current course
  • There is potential for this model to be used within other courses/programmes and by industry
  • Fashion Design Studio 4 (Production Block) is a Term 4 paper at Year 2 of the BDes (Fashion) - a group project that involves students setting up a hypothetical fashion business/label and designing a range of garments for a local retailer
  • Actual local retailers are part of this project and participate as part of the market research for a group and as buyers and moderators of outcomes
  • The potential to gain industry 'buy in' is enormous
  • Students are exposed to small business and marketing materials/resources including an introduction to sustainable business practice and manufacturing
  • The current business plan will be developed further to fully incorporate sustainable practice principles and the fashion (design) outcomes will also reflect sustainable practice
  • How is this flexible? - in terms of delivery this still needs "nutted out" but I imagine incorporating an online business plan template would be a good start
  • There is the possibility of collaboration with an existing offering from Trade and Enterprise yet to be investigated:
  • The Trade and Enterprise template is extremely thorough and takes a long time to navigate in its current form something that I believe may work against its use
  • A more simple template with links that can be explored by those wanting extra information could be an alternative here
  • I will review my current teaching and learning resources for this academic year and upcoming course however a complete revamp will require time and will be fully implemented next year 2009.

Finally to answer the question: What is the equivalent transparent design for teaching and flexible learning?

- socially aware teaching and flexible learning:

  • no hidden agendas - clear directives
  • equity for all learners
  • managable workloads - time management
  • access to resources and materials
  • support services available
  • blended delivery - online and face to face

Thats all for now............................

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