Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Activity Ten -How do your ideas and strategies for flexible learning fit with your organisation?

How do your ideas and strategies for flexible learning fit with your organisation?Institutional Vision:-
Developing a course for return to practice midwives fits well with the priorities of Otago Polytechnic (OP). To lead our sector in educational excellence. Midwives engaging with OP for recertification may return to the institution for ongoing education i.e. postgraduate studies through having had a positive flexible learning experience. To achieve the highest level of confidence from our communities. Midwives will have empathy for the undergraduate midwife as they will be increasingly familiar with the blended model of distance education through participating in a component of these themselves. Commitment to Kai Tahu is reflected in the integration of Tauranga Kaupapa in curriculum development and in midwifery practice which is always a highly consultative process.  Workforce turning to OP for education supports OP remaining financially sustainable. Building on a collaborative relationship with the midwifery council ensures a steady stream of students. Distance study means that return to practice midwives who are often heavily committed in other areas of their lives such as children/grandchildren/voluntary work will not have to leave their communities. Easy access to study resources means that OP is functioning in as a socially responsible and sustainable organization. Not having to travel reduces the financial burden on the student and having the majority of resources on-line means that less trees are sacrificed as students are discouraged from printing documents as they are easily saved on their computers. Re-engaging an inactive workforce within communities especially in rural settings is surely the ultimate in recycling!

Some readings I have been reflecting on in relation to flexibility and content
"As a rule, you should only think of authoring new content as a last resort. Remember, the ‘value’ in flexible learning – as in face-to-face teaching – is in the teaching and interaction with students and creating the right conditions in which they can learn. It is a common mistake to equate the creation and delivery of content with teaching (both on-line and face to face) – it is not the same. Do not be afraid to use textbooks and third-party resources to support your e-learning content strategy; this is very commonin the e-learning ‘hotspots’ of the USA and Australia. Following this strategy allows you and your team to concentrate on teaching and developing your students’ understanding, and avoids you getting sidetracked into content creation," Casey, J. & Wilson, P. (2005) p.3-4.

 “In the popular vision of lifelong learning, students take more control of their own learning. This is a fine ambition, but we need to recognise that the capacity to do so varies at different points in an academic career. There can be a danger of projecting an inappropriate learner model onto prospective student”, Casey, J. & Wilson, P. (2005) p.9.

Casey, J. & Wilson, P. (2005). A practical guide to providing flexible learning in further and higher education

In the words of Ron Miller, editor of Holistic Review: cited by David Orr
"Our culture does not nourish that which is best or noblest in the human spirit. It does not cultivate vision, imagination, or aesthetic or spiritual sensitivity. It does not encourage gentleness, generosity, caring, or compassion. Increasingly in the late 20th Century, the economic-technocratic-statist worldview has become a monstrous destroyer of what is loving and life-affirming in the human soul."

This is an important reminder to ensure that the student is always at the forefront of our minds. Wouldn't it be wonderful if our teaching ignited a passion for learning or in my case midwifery. Our greatest success might lie no in the A grade student but in the recruitment and retention of passionate students who have valuable life experiences and despite challenging circumstances themselves can bring their own special dimension to being 'with women' as midwives.  Facilitation of their sucess by celebrating their strengths and shoring up their weaknesses surely a privilege :-)  Flexibility must be one of these tools
Regards Fee

Monday, 28 May 2012

Activity Nine Culture

I like this description of culture
“More recently, however, culture has been seen as an entity that transcends ethnic and national boundaries. Viewed from this perspective, culture encompasses “the patterns shaped by ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, geography, profession, ideology, gender, and lifestyle” (Branch, 1993, p. 7). This more recent definition of culture embraces the idea that every person and human group is both cultural and multicultural (Uzuner, 2009)”.
Uzuner, S. (2009). Questions of Culture in Distance Learning: A Research Review. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 10(3), Article 10.3.13. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/690/1273
What approaches can you utilise to meet the needs of indigenous learners?“Those who provide instruction or design materials in such cross-cultural  situations should increase their own knowledge of target learners. In particular they might ensure the presence of instructional components that include explanations of vocabularly and intendant concepts, historical sketches, brief overview of disciplinary procedures (such as those used in archeology), and pictures and illustrations( to illustrate unfamiliar architectural elements, for instance)” (Wilson, 2001, p62). 
Wilson, M. S. (2001). Cultural considerations in online instruction and learning. Distance Education, 22(1), 52-64. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/217784208?accountid=39660

It would be interesting to explore the concept of ethnocentrism  and in turn share our own everyday experiences of same within my course. Turanga Kaupapa is part of midwifery standards of practice culturally appropriate practice is an important part of meeting clients needs holistically . For example as a relatively new midwife I once suggested to a young Asian woman that she get into a bath in labour for pain relief.  I duly ran same and left the room. I returned to the room to find her in the bath with clothing on. I was a bit taken aback and did not want to compound her embarrassment by suggesting she remove same especially as I suddenly realised she was probably wanting to cover up for her male doctor returning soon also. I had made many assumptions about this woman i.e. that she would be comfortable in front of me undressed, that she would understand the purpose of the water and that she felt free to decline. I was in a position of authority and may have imposed my cultural birthing practices on her.
As a student nurse I was required to interview someone who identified with a culture other than my own and write a report about my findings (we had set questions). Our entire class was informed we had all failed the assignment as we had all interviewed someone too similar to ourselves, we were all suitably horrified. I challenged the lectures that they were making cultural assumptions about me as they had not interviewed me to make this determination and I asked them how they knew what my cultural identity was?  I was informed that I was the only student that had passed the assessment and was asked to leave the meeting. Until you explore issues deeply cultural variance may not be clear e.g. curry is now as popular in England as fish and chips! Just because we eat some things in common does not mean we prepare food the same way (pray before preparation), eat it the same way (with utensils, on the floor, children or adults first etc). What we eat may be a superficial question compared to how we go about having or preparing a meal? 
“instructors should be cognizant of variations in students’ experience and learning styles and at the outset of the course remind learners that learning activities in ALNs may be different from what the learners are accustomed to. It is also equally important that instructors model the target behavior or learning outcome expected from the students. For example, in distance education environments such as the American one, critical reflection is highly valued. The instructors in these contexts should not assume that all students are familiar with reflection processes. In fact, as Biesenbach-Lucas’s (2003) and Thompson and Ku’s (2005) studies show, challenging and criticizing others’ ideas may not be considered culturally appropriate  in some cultural groups (Uzuner, 2009).”
Uzuner, S. (2009). Questions of Culture in Distance Learning: A Research Review. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 10(3), Article 10.3.13. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/690/1273

Outline any experiences you have had working with indigenous learners.I have had few experiences with indigenous learners. We have very few Maori students within the midwifery curriculum or other ethnic minorities unfortunately. One particular student who springs to mind appeared to enjoying sharing her own maternity experiences but did not appear to give any credibility to other class participants who did not identify as being mothers themselves despite other rich life experiences to contribute. Perhaps this student was more philosophically aligned with the traditional origins of midwives as mothers who tended other birthing women in their communities.  This student was also older than the other students and may have wanted to have some age related respect afforded?
There was conflict with this student and other members of the class regarding group work participation, communication and general ability to collaborate. This may have been predominately personality and learner style related (which can link to culture). 
What were some of the challenges that you and the learners faced?
Finding common ground was a challenge. Tension developed outside the classroom setting that resulted in suggestions of mediation and student counseling services for members of the class.
How did this affect their learning?Having relaxed non-judgmental debriefing were students felt ‘safe’ required vigilant facilitation. Food, a cuppa and some team building exercises such as sharing your favourite, book, movie or secret indulgence were good ice-breakers during these sessions. Students needed more individual input from me face-to-face in private and via phone and email.
I could have considered asking students to bring other methods of sharing into our reflective setting e.g. articles, poems, journal entries.

I found these articles which were interesting reading contextually

Chevannes, M. (2002). Issues in educating health professionals to meet the diverse needs of patients and other service users from ethnic minority groups. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 39(3), 290-298. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2002.02276.x

Cairns, J. (2005). Maori maternity in the land of the long white cloud. British Journal Of Midwifery, 13(2), 74-7

Phew thats it folks, I hope my reflections with a clinical emphasis where not too long winded
Regards Fee

Activity Nine – Sustainable Flexible Learning

The Otago Polytechnic sustainability vision is that our graduates, our practitioners and our academics understand the concepts of social, environmental and economic sustainability in order for them to evaluate, question and discuss their role in the world and to enable them to make changes where and when appropriate.  Our goal is that every graduate may think and act as a “sustainable practitioner”.      
Education for sustainability
“All new programmes under development are required to contain EFS content and process. An OP ‘graduate profile’ across all disciplines will now include being action competent as a sustainable practitioner in their field”.
I would like to introduce the concept of mentorship and professional supervision not just for graduates but for midwives in practice ongoing as a module focused on ongoing professional development for midwives participating in return to practice education.  These support systems may help in prevention of burnout and therefore sustainability in practice. I believe this is in keeping with the strategic goal for OP mentioned. Sustainability has to be about more than just about recycling and reducing waste but also a bigger picture of not allowing our workforce to end up on the ‘scrap heap’ after all a lot of resources went into their education. We can essential assist in recycling midwives!
This article would be an interesting for me to put in the preparation for standards reviews courses recommended reading in encouragement of professional development and reflection.
Lennox, S., Skinner, J., & Fourer, M. (2008). Mentorship, preceptorship and clinical supervision: Three key processes for supporting midwives. New Zealand College of Midwives(39), 7-11.
Here are some important concepts I would like to introduce:-
“The mentoring relationship is one of negotiated partnership between two registered midwives. Its purpose is to enable and develop professional confidence. Its duration and structure is mutually defined and agreed by each partner. A mentor listens, challenges, supports and guides another midwife’s work. A mentor does not always give answers but encourages the mentored midwife to research, explore and reflect on her practice. The mentored midwife remains responsible and accountable for her own practice in accordance with statutory obligations of a registered midwife” (NZCOM 2000 as cited in Gray, 2006, p. 24).
Gray, E. (2006). Midwives as mentors [corrected] [published erratum appears in NZ COLL MIDWIVES J 2006 Oct; 35:9]. New Zealand College of Midwives Journal, 34, 24-27.
An important tenant of mentorship appears to be self reflection. This enables a midwife to determine her own areas of strength and weakness. As a facilitator in this process the mentor helps the midwife make connections. A mentor is not a passive listener, they can challenge, validate and explore area’s of development together (Bloom, 1995).
Bloom, M. (1995). Multiple Roles of the Mentor supporting Women's Adult Development. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education(65), 63-72.
Within my own employment setting it would be good to explore the benefits of formalised support networks as part of employment conditions as the sounding board of a good ear never goes astray in maintaining job satisfaction 
Regards Fee

A bit more research to add to the post about sustainability 

 “All new programmes under development are required to contain EFS content and process. An OP ‘graduate profile’ across all disciplines will now include being action competent as a sustainable practitioner in their field”.

Strategy 2008 – 2012
Our Distinctive Contribution to Applied Teaching and
Learning and Research
􀂾We inspire capability
􀂾 We build capability
􀂾 We are a learner centred organisation
􀂾 We act with integrity and are guided by:
• Our respect for people
• Our respect for the environment
• Our respect for Kai Tahu as tangata whenua
• Our engagement with our communities
• Our willingness to be accountable

Our Strategic Goals
By 2012 we will:
4. Lead the tertiary sector as a socially responsible and sustainable organisation,
and in education for sustainability.
Success indicators:
• A benchmark for sustainable organisation practices
• Strongest uptake in the sector of learners engaged in sustainability
• Learners report “sustainability” as a reason for studying with us
• Reduction of environmental footprint
• Organisational practices meet ILO and UN conventions and declarations
(adopted by NZ)
All 8 of Otago Polytechnics priorities to achieve strategic goals link to sustainability. References are made to important sustainability concepts e.g. flexibility, staff retention, research, creativity, innovation, community engagement and treaty integration (i.e. partnership, participation & protection, guardianship rather than ownership is a cultural perspective that gives us intergenerational responsibilities). These are all tenants that can help us be respectful or the resources we use and our general environmental impact.

Activity Eight Adult learning theories for Flexible Learning.

Theoretical perspective appropriate to course and learners
I have chosen constructivism as it is based on the premise that the individual constructs and interprets their own reality based on their own experiences. The process of going for a standards review is an experiential reflection of the practice context. Social constructivist theories based on Vygotsky work have found that the development of cognition and understanding is facilitated by peers, adults and experts though dialogue, socialization and collaboration (Lockwood &Gooley, 2001). Midwifery as a profession heavily reliant on these constructs in everyday practice.
Lockwood, F., &Gooley, A.(Eds.). (2001). Innovation in open & distance learning. London: Kogan Page
“The Assumptions of Constructivism - Merrill
  • knowledge is constructed from experience
  • learning is a personal interpretation of the world
  • learning is an active process in which meaning is developed on the basis of experience
  • conceptual growth comes from the negotiation of meaning, the sharing of multiple perspectives and the changing of our internal representations through collaborative learning
  • learning should be situated in realistic settings; testing should be integrated with the task and not a separate activity”

    (Merrill, 1991, in Smorgansbord, 1997)
http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/mergel/brenda.htm#The Basics of Constructivism

Jonassen (Jonasson, [On-line]) lists the following implications of constructivism for instructional design:
"...purposeful knowledge construction may be facilitated by learning environments which:
  • Provide multiple representations of reality - avoid oversimplification of instruction by representing the natural complexity of the world
  • Present authentic tasks - contextualize
  • Provide real-world, case-based learning environments, rather than pre-determined instructional sequences
  • Foster reflective practice
  • Enable context- and content-dependent knowledge construction
  • Support collaborative construction of knowledge through social negotiation, not competition among learners for recognition
"Although we believe that constructivism is not a prescriptive theory of instruction, it should be possible to provide more explicit guidelines on how to design learning environments that foster constructivist learning"

http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/mergel/brenda.htm#The Basics of Constructivism
It is important that midwives are able to undertake standards review in a two yearly cycle with confidence and competence.  Midwives need to be able to draw on the skills they have developed from this course and apply this to their everyday practice and professional development ongoing and report on this accordingly. This is a very individualised task but a collective professional requirement.
“The constructivist teacher provides tools such as problem-solving and inquiry-based learning activities with which students formulate and test their ideas, draw conclusions and inferences, and pool and convey their knowledge in a collaborative learning environment. Constructivism transforms the student from a passive recipient of information to an active participant in the learning process. Always guided by the teacher, students construct their knowledge actively rather than just mechanically ingesting knowledge from the teacher or the textbook.”
There are many benefits of constructivism. Learning is centered on thinking not just memorisation. Knowledge becomes transferable through creation of organizing principles. Constructivist students have more ownership of their work as they get to focus on their own explorations and often have input into the design of assessments and opportunity for creative expression of knowledge. Engagement is fostered by the real world context and students innate curiosity to apply knowledge into practice. Collaboration and exchange of ideas is promoted in a constructive learning environment. This negotiation is an important skill outside the class room as students will need to consider and co-operate with the ideas of others.

Midwifery gives strong emphasis to reflection and a constructivist approach I believe facilitates making connections to practice and innovation ongoing.
Regards Fee

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Activity Seven - Open Education Resources and Philosophies.

Hi everyone early in the year I completed learning for content a free open education resource within Wiki educator and I would recommend it to everyone. I became an apprentice level 2 which meant I learnt all about Wiki's their development, formatting, open resource content and issues such as copy right and intellectual property.
Open education practices provide the opportunity for extensive collaboration and of course do not have the same financial restrictions as traditional qualifications. This depends on what you consider 'free' to be as I know time is a precious commodity and internet connections and technology needed to engage are still not cheap!
Within the school of midwifery we have a site called  midwifery junction
"Junction is defined as a place where two or more things come together and connect. The principal aim of this website is to connect midwifery educators, midwifery students, practising midwives, childbearing women and anyone else interested or involved in our midwifery programme.
The Midwifery Junction hopes to build partnerships and develop communities by providing mechanisms for communication, networking, learning, reflection, and developing practice. The website provides access to a wide variety of resources including a ‘digital toolbox’ for those wanting to build confidence in using various digital technologies for learning and communicating"

I believe that if more content can be developed onto this site more midwives will recognise Otago Polytechnic as a leader in midwifery and select us for their post graduate studies. Providing free modular study here with professional recertification points especially for those that support undergraduate students will certainly enhance industry relations ongoing.
Regards Fiona

Activity Six – Continue developing the Flexible Learning plan

Sorry Team can't seem to get the template to transfer despite the instructions so I have adapted it a little to post it my own way. Here are a couple of strategies I am pulling together that with the ongoing benefit of constructive  feedback may eventually be useful in preparing midwives for midwifery standards review requirements? What do you think?

Strategy One
Give students an opportunity to integrate NZCOM consensus statement into practice (establish relevancy). Reflective practice.
- provide link to NZCOM website get students to navigate around same
- give suggestions for topics related to practice settings e.g rural, primary care, tertiary  hospital
- providge recommend reading on change management within workplaces
- Get students to select a consensus statement
- Ask students to make a discussion forum posting of how that statements topic is currently managed in their practice setting and how well that consensus statement is currently integrated
- Ask students to give feedback to two other posting with practice tips on positive implimation of consensus statement in their area
Lecturer to acknowledge the forums postings on a weekly basis (with encouraging commentary and suggestions)
makes a posting on their selected consensus statement
engages with two other postings

Strategy Two
Evidence based practice, provide students the opportunity to explore integration of research into practice.
Guide students to select a stastistic within their work setting that needs improvement necesary for midwifery standards review.
Provide links to data bases, library
Provide a journal articles on how to read/critique research and the importance of evidence.
-Find a professional article less than 10 years old that discusses the issue in need of improvement e.g episiotomy rate and write a 300 word anotated biblography and a 300 word analysis on the implications of this to their current practice setting (word limit +/- 10%)
-Post anotation and analysis to discussion forum
-Provide feedback to atleast one other forum posting
Schedule Adobe connect session to introduce topic
Acknowledge posting to the forums on a weekly basis (with encouraging commentary and suggestions)
Posts anotated biblography of  professional article (less than 10yrs old) with commentary on practice implications
Post feedback to another student

Thats it for now. Thanks

Activity Five – Design and describe flexible learning strategies for your context.

Hi all some reading I have been thinkingt about in regards to designing strategies:-
“Interaction Equivalency Theorem: Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (student–teacher; student-student; student-content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience. High levels of more than one of these three modes will likely provide a more satisfying educational experience, though these experiences may not be as cost or time effective as less interactive learning sequences. (Anderson, 2003) (Rhode 2009, p.4)”.
Rhode, J. (2009). Interaction Equivalency in Self-Paced Online Learning Environments: An Exploration of Learner Preferences. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 10(1), Article 10.1.6. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/603/1179

In my experience midwives love to talk (and eat) I anticipate return to practice midwives will need a high degree of interraction with each other and lecturers.

I am really interested in the conversation I have had with lecturers about video learning and integrating technology such as ipad recording of skills such as in carpentry. This is being trialed for some of our undergraduate midwifery practice skills this year and I think it is a very exciting innovation which may remove some performance anxiety in front of 'examiners'.
Video LearningWell-designed video learning can have the potential to take students beyond surface into deeper learning as it “capitalizes on
1) It’s distinctive customizability of tapes,
2) High visual impact,
3) Student control of pace of learning, and
4) The ability to direct student tasks from the screen, or the accompanying materials(Lookwood&Gooley, p.196, 2001).”
The ability to suspend time means that lecturers can collect their thoughts as they make the video producing a more polished product. Students can reflect and pursue relevant learning activities returning to the video as needed (Lookwood&Gooley, 2001).

I'm not sure how this would go for return to pratice midwives but I am mulling over how to pull them into the world of I.T and midwifery and am sure that innovations used in the undergraduate programme will be worth keeping a close eye on.
Regards Fiona