Monday, November 3, 2008

Week 9- Sustainability

I can't believe how much i've heard this word in the last 18 months around our campus!! but despite this "buzzword' and targetted information sessions for staff around the OP core competencies i have had minimal knowledge about this until prompted by our DFLP work! so hats of to you Leigh and Bronwyn for getting us to examine this !! Listening to Sam Manns elluminate session on sustainability issues along with exploring the triple bottom line articles/links relating to flexible learning gave me food for thought.

Some of my musings are: The OP Graduate Profile context /target of having all OP graduates working as ' sustainable practitioner's by mid 2009 sounded like a tall order however, when i linked through the OP wiki which outline departmental progress lead me to consider how this approach could and would inform any potential changes to the courses which i facilitate.Within the School of Nursing profile its noted that one of the key contexts which requires consideration for discussion relating to sustainabilty is that of the Nursing Council of NZ Registered Nurse Comptencies around Professionalism require nurses (ie: our graduates) to demonstrate knowledge and practice which ensures we are accountable to our actions and descision whilst promoting environmments that promote health and safety of clients. Furthermore, our focus on cultural safety (yet another of Nursing Councils Registered Nurse Competencies)extends this concept to ensure that students can examine the social, historical, cultural and structual context of health. each of these align with the sustainable practitioner particularly within the social sustainablity.

Cultural safety is a core concept in the course which i am focusing on in this programme. ie; providing students with the knoweldge, skills necessary to work across a wider range of clinical setting with diverse range of clients who identify as Maori. Some of this involves providing them with case study /scenario examples which allow them to consider what descision making processes need to be made by the nurse to ensure their practice is 'culturally safe'. Currently this is facilitated by utilising a range of printed materials which require replication for each student to utilise - The ecological sustainability issues that Sam Mann and the refer to have prompted me to consider how this could be facilitated in a more sustainable way. Digital mediums such as Course Genie / Moodle sites would permit each student to access the case study work at times/venues that suit them with the added advantage on reducing costs of printing etc. The aspect of economic sustaintability is causing me some minor consternation! Sam Mann identified the wider political context that sits outside why we (OP ) are doing what we are doing... " as Sam stated in his session we (OP) are leaning into the political - we do want to change peoples values" is a reminder to us all that we part of the educational ethos that to some extent is beyond our direct control as educators. however, with that distractor aside i can see that revisiting the flexiblity of course delivery to ensure that learners can potentially remain in their own home/environment lends itself to advancing econonomic and ecological sustainablity. reduction in travel time/costs/carbon emissions/etc could be considerable. The workload implications for myself as the facilitator is something which i have yet to be clear of. Changes which i am proposing are minor in some aspects however, whilst much of the media /IT knowledge that is related to them is unfamiliar i have a bias towards if changes will reduce workload are not as clear to me.....more thinking/reading needed on this one!

1 comment:

Leigh Blackall said...

hmm, it is certainly the case that more work is typically needed before a reduction in workload can be expected. Take this DFLP course for example. We set out hoping to achieve 10 hours a week facilitator time. The first time we ran the course - this blew out totally! The second time round we got it down to about 15-20. This third time round we are on the mark, but continuing to facilitate beyond the official course finish date.

The good news is that we are getting feedback from participants that there is too much work for them in it too! We need to consider this in terms of the course being a level 7, but it tells us we can look into further reductions. We must keep the flexibility in start and finish dates - clearly there are a number of busy people who need that :) so we perhaps need to reduce the weekly facilitator hours to 5 and spread that over a longer period.

We are close and I think we can do it. The point is that this development process is very typical in my experience - even harder in larger courses. So we need to break our courses down into very short and manageable tasks, and plan for a sudden increase in workload that will gradually settle to something better, including an eventual reduction in workload.

If digital literacy is an issue, then this needs to be factored in on top of it all. Personally, if I was in charge of a course that involved a number of teachers who knew next to nothing about Internet and online learning, I would invest at least 5 hours a week for 1 year professional development. And I don't mean the sort where you take a course and hope it all goes away either. I mean committed, life long learning style. And then, after that year, I would start developing the course they teach on.