Activity 3

INVESTIGATE AND DESCRIBE TWO EXAMPLES OF FLEXIBLE TEACHING AND LEARNING.

In this activity I will explore two external courses and assess the elements of flexible teaching and learning embedded within the courses. The degree of flexibility for the two courses will be analysed against the Flexibility Grid, available in Appendix 3, p. 41-44 in A practical guide to providing flexible learning in further and higher education by Casey, J. & Wilson, P

 

EXAMPLE 1:

Otago Polytechnic, School of Design, Master of Design Enterprise

Master of Enterprise programme is a postgraduate course that is offered in both full time and part time bases.

WHO ARE THE LEARNERS?

This masters programme is designed to accommodate students who are in the work force and are wanting to study for their professional development. Both part time and full time study options are offered to cater for students who are in full-time and part-time employment.

This programme is also offered to both local and non-local students. Currently most of the students are based in Dunedin with a couple of students based in Central Otago and in North Island.

HOW ARE CASEY AND WILSON’S  (2005) FIVE DIMENSIONS OF FLEXIBILITY INCORPORATED?

Casey and Wilson assesses the flexible learning through five areas,  time, delivery and logistics, entry requirements, content and instructional approaches and resources.  The degree of flexibility in the masters programme varies between the three modules.

Module 1 of the course offers medium degree of flexibility, while Module 2 and 3 is taught in highly flexible self-directed way . This is explained in the flexibility chart below.

COURSE DELIVERY MODULE

Modules

SUMMARY

In Module 1 offers medium level of flexibility.  Students are expected to attend Monthly Weekend long lecture Series and Workshops, which drives the pace of course content delivery, making this module fixed and not flexible. However a high degree of flexibility is offered in the way students are able to negotiate their topics and assessment deadlines .In contrast Module 2 and 3 offers higher degree of flexibility as monthly workshops ceases and students are asked to be more self-directed. Details of the flexibility measures are compiled in below tables, Flexibility Grid Module 1 and Flexibility Grid Module 2 + 3.

 

FLEXIBILITY GRID MODULE 1

Flexibility  Measures Masters of Design Enterprise  Module 1 Delivery Degree of Flexibility
Time    
1  Starting and finishing a course Once an Academic Year in May Not Flexible
2  Submitting assignments and interacting with in the course Assignment deadlines and times for interactions are stated, but students are able to negotiate. Medium
3  Tempo/Pace of studying Monthly weekend lecture series and workshops are offered full days from Friday to Sunday. The monthly pace is selected to suit students who are in employment and non-local students Medium
Content    
4 Topics of the course Design philosophy, strategies, approaches and operations materials are taught. Students are asked to  negotiate their topics to which they can apply the course contents. Very Flexible
5  Sequence of different parts of the course Mixed to suit the self-negotiated topic and the course content delivered during the monthly lecture series and workshops. Medium
6  Assessment standards and completion requirements Students are required to compile a written report that is visually rich in design language. Content of the report can be adjusted to suit individual topics Medium

 

Entry Requirements    
7  Condition for participation Bachelor of any degree is accepted Medium
8  Social Organisation of learning This course incorporates communication tools such as Facebook, Skype, Individual meetings, Workshops in groups of students with facilitators. Students are able to choose as suitable Very Flexible
9  Location, technology for participating in various aspects of the course Blended –  Monthly workshops offer face to face participation. Sype, email, moodle and face book are also offered. In some cases, a lecturer has travelled to meet a student in Central Otago for face to face meeting Medium

 

 

FLEXIBILITY GRID MODULE 2 + 3

Flexibility  Measures Masters of Design Enterprise  Module 2 + 3  Delivery Degree of Flexibility
Time    
1  Starting and finishing a course Any time after the completion of Module 1 Medium
2  Submitting assignments and interacting with in the course Assignment deadlines and times for interactions are stated, but students are able to negotiate. Medium
3  Tempo/Pace of studying Self – directed with option of weekly face to face supervision. Very Flexible
Content    
4 Topics of the course Students are able to negotiate industry placement and content of the dissertation Very Flexible
5  Sequence of different parts of the course Module 2 must be completed before Module 3, however, sequence with in each model is flexible Medium
6  Assessment standards and completion requirements Students are required to compile a written report that is visually rich in design language. Content of the report can be adjusted to suit individual topics Medium

 

Entry Requirements    
7  Condition for participation  Completion of Module 1 of Master of Design Enterprise Medium
8  Social Organisation of learning This course incorporates communication tools such as Facebook, Skype, and weekly supervision meeting. Students are able to choose as suitable Very Flexible
9  Location, technology for participating in various aspects of the course Blended –  Monthly workshops offer face to face participation. Skype, email, Moodle and face book are also offered. In some cases, a lecturer has travelled to meet a student in Central Otago for face to face meeting Very Flexible

 

EXAMPLE 2:

Stanford University, Design School

Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking

WHO ARE THE LEARNERS?

This very short online course is aimed at designers, business entrepreneurs, social enterprise and developers. The learners are taught the fundamentals of  Design Thinking strategies, which can applied by various innovators.

HOW ARE CASEY AND WILSON’S  (2005) FIVE DIMENSIONS OF FLEXIBILITY INCORPORATED?

This course is very flexible in its course delivery in terms of timing, content, location and entry requirements, while offering medium flexibility for delivery and logistics.

SUMMARY 

The Virtual Crash Course is an online course that has been set up with a consideration to provide a self-directed course and provides no further input from the Stanford University staff. This makes this course highly flexible for anyone to participate. However, the aspects of this course that offers little flexiblity is the fact that a self-appointed facilitator is required for this course to run. Therefore, this course is useful when a business organisation or institution has an individual who is familiar with the course content to facilitate to project.

This course does not offer assessment or qualification, therefore, is suited to be delivered as a part of a larger course, for example as a tutorial or as a part of professional development in businesses and institutions.

 

Flexibility Grid:  Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking

Flexibility  Measures Masters of Design Enterprise  Module 2 + 3  Delivery Degree of Flexibility
Time    
1  Starting and finishing a course Any time. The course duration is 90 minutes. Students are able to split the time. Very Flexible
2  Submitting assignments and interacting with in the course No Assignment N/A
3  Tempo/Pace of studying Pace of study is provided by the video and facilitator’s instructions during the 90 minutes of the course. Students and faciliators are able to slow down the instructional video as required Very Flexible
Content    
4 Topics of the course Fixed to Design thinking strategies – Students are able to apply the strategies to topics of their own interest. Medium
5  Sequence of different parts of the course Fixed within 90 Minutes Medium
6  Assessment standards and completion requirements N/A N/A

 

Entry Requirements    
7  Condition for participation  Open Very Flexible
8  Social Organisation of learning Highly detailed instruction is given in the online course outline. A facilitator of this course needs to be appointed, who will provide face to face feedback to the students. The minimum of 2 students are required to participate for group discussions. Medium
9  Location, technology for participating in various aspects of the course Blended delivery. Video and written instructions are available online.  Could be run at any location that has internet connection available. Very Flexible

 

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Activity 2

Q: What does the term Flexible Learning mean to you?

A: Flexible Learning to me means offering various ways to students to learn course content. This is important aspect of teaching a group of students with diverse back grounds, strengths and learning styles. Offering course content through various approaches would help allow these students to learn course content in ways that suit them. Flexible Learning can also allow students to be more independent learners when course contents are offered on line. A well-developed online course resources can make learning for students more efficient, in their self-directed time. This is especially important in the current online environment where endless amount of both useful and irrelevant resources are available.

Q: Why is it necessary to use a more flexible approach in your work? Hint: think about what might help the learners and your teaching.

A: Flexible learning acknowledges that students have varying learning styles as well as personal circumstances, such as distance learning or learning while working full time. Understanding these learning styles and circumstances to cater for through flexible learning approaches would make learning more effective for the students.

Design as a discipline require students to develop understanding of course content from multiple learning approaches, including skill based, theory based and conceptual ideation. Providing Flexible Learning approaches that are suitable for each of the learning approaches would ensure better learning outcome.

  • What do you need to explore to help this happen?

Exploring the needs of different learners in the programme would be important to help develop flexible learning. In particular how students use self-directed hours, what kind of resources would be helpful and who would take advantage of the flexible learning would be good start.

It would also be helpful to understand what Flexible Learning tools are available.

 

Q: What goals do you have for using Flexible Learning in your work?

A: 1.  Resources for self-directed learning 

To provide Flexible Learning that would allow students to make the most of self-directed learning time away from the face to face class time. While students should be motivated to use self-directed times efficiently, Flexible Learning tools may provide useful prompts and resources for students to build on from class room learning.

A: 2. Reading and Writing Difficulties

It is not rare for, product design programme to attract students with reading and writing difficulties, including students who are diagnosed with dyslexia. I would like to explore technology options, such as visual presentation methods, where these students are able to can communicate their work more effectively both during the course and when they enter the workforce. 

Activity 1

Introduction

Hi my name is Machiko Niimi. I am an academic leader and lecturer for Product Design at School of Design, Otago Polytechnic. My area of interest in the discipline is design for sustainability and human centered design processes. In particular I am currently looking into sociological approaches to gaining better understanding of our user needs.

In this blog I will document my progress in the Flexible Learning course for Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Learning and Teaching. Through this course I intend to learn how flexible learning can support and enhance our current teaching methods.