Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wk 4: Examples of Flexible Learning - distance, correspondence, online

Hi everyone out there in blog land. yet again, i'm attempting to chase my tail with the required reading, blogging and think that is required to ensure i keep on track. So i've posted a picture alongside this blog of a place which i have always found inspiring...Kapowairua/Spirits Bay which is located in the Far North Cape of NZ. My reading around and thinking around flexible learning has come full circle as i've been ploughing through the course resources over the last few weeks. I have returned to thinking about the unique aspects of the course which co oridnate in the undergraduat bachelor of nursing programme Contemporary Issues in Maori health. The course requires students to explore the range of social, economic and political issues which have impacted and continue to influence maori health status. Many students find the content challenging as they are required to explore such things as the history of new zealand using a revisionist framework in order to gain a critical perspective of how maori health status has become so negatively disproportiante to other new zealanders health status. Further challenges occur for them when they expand their knowledge around such concepts as cultural safey The concept of cultural safety is one which underpins all undergraduate nursing programmes in new zealand. It is also a core competency which all Registered Nurses must maintain as part of their registration requirements. For more information you can explore the late Dr Irihapeti Ramsdens PhD thesis on this topic. For many students examining their "own attitudes and beliefs" and how this can impact on the people they are caring for can cause some unease as it requires them to examine their own cultural background ie: personal culture, their attitudes to others and how these impact on their nursing practice.. To this end the question of

How correspondence, online /distance learning could be used to enhance learning in this context?.... is something which i have been keen to explore.

As distance learning hasn't ever been offered in my course this is a difficult concept for me to think about however, I began my exploration of this question with a check in on
Nga Kiwai Kete I found this site to be awesome as it is a beginners guide to teaching online which again. whilst i know isn't the ONLY way we can be flexible in our teaching is something which I do wish to include into my mix of teaching strategies. I also liked it as it is bilingual capacity which also assists me to develop new vocabualary in Te Reo Maori in this speciliast field.
I do see the potential to correspondent at distance as having positives and negatives. Some of these will be obvious= such as not being able to read/respond to body language signals. However the positive side of allowing studnets to engage with their learning at a time and venue that suits them could be advantageous.
For the students who are on campus here in dunedin and whom i have face to face contact with - the potential for online learning resources has become a more tangible option for me to think about in regards to this topic, I have to admit these would only be a compliment to the exisiting learning activities as i consider it appropriate to have a face to face component in the education of nurses. I like the idea of having a discussion board aspect to the course which will faciliate a social networking aspect for my students. Elluminate sessions would also be a potential way of connecting students to resources such as guest speakers and or/ myself for topical discussions. One resource that did solidify my thinking around this topic was an resource aptly titled "what you need to know about online learning for nurses"

again. just some musings...I'm terribly behind time with all areas of my blog so best keep 'thinking' and blogging!!!