Sunday, December 14, 2008

Planning for educational resource development

Thanks Leigh for your comments about funding and wiki books. I had not fully considered the possibility of OER (open educational resources) but think this is a great idea now I have read a bit more about it.
I am slowly working on the plan of attack and presentation of this resource development idea - I see the need for an accessible sustainable design tool/model available to both students and designers working within industry. Building on ideas from Thomas & van Kopplen (2005) from RMIT and van Kopplen's LIDA (low impact design approach) & “Fashion Design/Production Loop”. (page 6,7). This prompt and reflective tool enables students to make good/sound ethical and sustainable choices throughout the design process and the supply chain.
In my quest to create a design "sustain-ability" (Fry 1999 pg viii) resource tool I will begin within fashion design. Future intentions include creating a model that can be adapted by other disciplines and used by students and industry based designers. It is essential that the resource I develop although informed by Anthea van Kopplen's extensive research and development is a stand alone project. However on saying this I believe it would be beneficial (prudent) to approach Anthea van Kopplen with my project/resource development plan. Consulting and/or collaborating with experts within this area will be a crucial part of the development of this resource. Liaison within the fashion & design industries will further ensure currency. Developing the actual resource will require input from others including funding, education and IT support as well as design for print. This resource development is to be tied into my ongoing research into the most effective teaching and learning strategies for sustainable design education.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Funding support for flexible learning development

I recently attended the Spotlight on Teaching Colloquium at Otago University in conjunction with Otago Polytechnic. A great 2 days encouraging excellence in teaching practice.
Ako Aotearoa the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence were present and I was able to approach Bridget O'Regan, the Southern Hub coordinator about my ideas for producing a resource. The Regional Hub Project Fund has been set up "to support small projects designed to enhance tertiary teaching and learning." Applications can be made at any time for "implementation/developmental projects or to support research." I will be approaching Ako Aotearoa with a proposal next year and am very happy to be in the position of being able to develop a 'plan of attack' as part of the Flexi course. The funding could be directed toward the actual physical development of the resource: prototypes; printing costs; costs of consultation. The colloquium was an exciting event on several levels as I also discovered like minded teachers and researchers in the area of sustainability and was able to validate my own teaching and learning practices.
UNESCO has available the Beeby Fellowship - offered once a year with applications due in the November of the previous year; funding is available to research an innovative programme with a focus on enhanced practice and student learning. The Fellow is required to prepare a book or resource based on the innovation. This could be an opportunity for 2010 and the $25,000 + expenses would cover a leave of absence from the Polytechnic to research and develop a resource further.
Another possible area for funding is the Otago Polytechnic's Teaching Innovation Fund - this could be utilised in the same manner as the Ako Aotearoa funding for development (including further research) of the actual resource. I am keen to develop a resource and teaching & learning tool that helps direct fashion designers toward making the best sustainable decisions possible within their practice and/or business initiatives.

Flexi learning in educational organisations

Otago Polytechnic has developed an extremely thorough charter/strategic plan: outlining in detail philosophies specific to the needs of staff and students/stakeholders alike. In particular there is a focus on excellence and development of teaching and learning. Flexible teaching and learning is an obvious focus too - the second paragraph of the Introduction of the charter (pg1) makes a statement about engagement with diverse stakeholders regardless of location. This is a theme throughout the charter and is included in the Vision "The flexibility of our delivery and our willingness to accommodate the specific learning aspirations of students through individualised and cross disciplinary programmes of learning." (pg2)
Such statements as " accessibility for all learners"; "valuing diversity" ; ''personalised programme delivery" and among the Strategic Goals (pgs 4-5)" Learning: to provide relevant, flexible and accessible learning opportunities which build capability, are stimulating and challenging and foster lifelong learning" build on this theme. Issues of equal opportunity, ethnicity, age, abilities and disability are addressed under the heading of Equity. Under 'Meeting Learner Needs' (pg 7) there is a focus on personalised learning, quality assurance, support and access. Ongoing consultation with local Iwi diverse communites and stakeholders is addressed. (pg 15)
Overall the Otago Polytechnic charter is an inclusive document highlighting the needs of a diverse group of students, staff and stakeholders. Flexible teaching and learning is in fact a focus and addressed throughout the document.
The focus for my flexi learning development plan is on the development of a teaching and learning resource related to the fashion design process/supply chain and issues of sustainablity and will need to address all the issues discussed within the Polytechnic Charter to be relevant to a diverse group of learners. This resource will need to be accessible online as well as in an easy to use hard copy format and as a CD. I would like this resource to be made available to students and industry alike and to be in a format that could be adapted for other disciplines. There is the need for funding for this development so I will be looking into AKO Aotearoa and Otago Polytechnics Teaching Innovation fund as possible sources for funding.

Cultural diversity revisited

Great feedback Leigh - many really good ideas to consider in terms of language barriers, translation and teaching and learning possibilities. Agree that it is important to distinguish a student with a more personalised view and knowledge of their specific nationality rather than putting all students under the "international" umbrella. It is extremely important as you suggest that we dont "regionalise" students and have an understanding that within one particular geographical area there are many diverse cultures. I have found it helpful to encourage students to note take and reflect/design within their visual diaries in their own language - this tends to lead to a greater development of ideas - we can see they have developed these ideas without having to actually understand the written word + the student can verbally explain ideas as required. Thanks also for the comment posted by Brian UK about Esperanto - had a vague knowledge of this language and the video link was a great introduction. Certainly an international common language would be extremely valuable especially in education.