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Enabling Flexible Distributed Learning (FDL) at Oxford Brookes University


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Presentation to Scottish Enhancement Themes Conference in 2004

Presentation to Scottish Enhancement Themes Conference in 2004

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  • 1. Enabling Flexible Distributed Learning (FDL) at Oxford Brookes University George Roberts Development Director Off-campus e-Learning Oxford Brookes University Scottish QAA Seminar 06/12/2004
  • 2. Beyond Flexibility Enabling Flexible Distributed Learning
    • 1) Background
      • Personal
      • Policy
    • 2) Strategic Definitions: Flexibility
      • Agenda(s)
    • 3) Brookes context
      • Institutions and structures
      • Values
      • Criteria
      • Examples
    • 4) Frameworks, Standards, Quality
      • Pedagogical Pragmatism
  • 3. Life before and around Brookes
    • Education
    • 1968 - DEC PDP8 & FORTRAN
    • 1972 - BA (English Lit)
    • 1986 - MPhil (Historical & Comparative Linguistics)
    • 2001 - MA (Education w/Open and Distance Education)
    • 2004 - PhD study at U of Southampton
      • The extent to which beliefs (ideologies) about learning and teaching are embedded in the artefacts of learning technology
    • Work & Related
    • 1987 PEP Preparatory Education Project
    • 1988 ACE adult community continuing education tutor
    • 1989 College of Petroleum and Energy Studies
    • 2000 Brookes
    • 2003 Open University
    • ALT
    • Writing
  • 4. Role at Brookes
    • Identify opportunities for off-campus e-learning development
    • Undertake research on e-learning nationally and internationally
    • Advise SMT on:
      • potential and actual partnerships in e-learning
      • feasibility of specific off-campus developments
      • resource requirements to underpin off-campus developments
    • Establish and maintain strategic relationships with actual and potential partners
    • Stimulate internal development of e-learning for external use and application
    • Advise and work with
      • academic staff preparing and delivering off campus e-learning
      • admin staff on adaptation of systems to support off-campus e-learning
    • Facilitate sharing and dissemination of best practice across boundaries
    • Ensure off-campus and on-campus developments are complementary and co-ordinated
  • 5. Policy: the Big Picture
    • Globalisation
    • Liberalisation
    • Participation
    • Innovation
    • the Code is based on the key principle that collaborative and FDL provision, wherever and however organised, should widen learning opportunities
    • Education and training policy replaces industrial policy as the means by which governments seek to make regions economically competitive
  • 6. What’s happening, then? Chips with e-verything
    • e-Society: ICT is becoming
    • Everywhere Ubiquitous
    • Background Ambient
    • Personal Adaptive and Aware
    • Fast High-speed
    • Mobile Wireless (wifi and telephony)
    • Merging Convergent (TV, radio, learning, work, leisure)
    • Multi/multiple media All Connected, Always on
  • 7. Learners Empowered Creativity & Innovation Flexible Provision Professional Workforce Better Value for Learners Objectives of Current DfES Strategies Raising Standards Improving quality Removing Barriers Preparing for employment skills Widening Participation early years Primary Secondary 14-19 Skills Post-16 HE Contributions from e-Learning Personalised support, Online communities, Flexible Study Virtual Environments, Individualised Study, Collaborative Learning, Tools for Innovation, Quality at Scale Strategic Actions Leading Sustainable e-Learning, Supporting pedagogical innovation, Staff development, Unifying Learner support, Aligning assessment, Building a better market, Assuring tech and quality standards A 21st century education system
  • 8. Widening participation
    • Widening participation policies are focused in two conflicting directions:
      • emancipatory and empowering for the individual : stimulate the growth of autonomous, entrepreneurial, IT-literate, multi-skilled individuals capable of creating and taking advantage of the opportunities inherent in a post fordist economy
      • ensuring a supply of appropriately skilled workers for industry : create a compliant low-expectation labour force inured to the demands of flexibilisation in order to attract inward investment not on the basis of high skills available but on the basis of low costs
  • 9. Covert Curricula
    • The less obvious--but more important curriculum--is the covert curriculum, which is composed of the skills and characteristics the student develops as a result of successfully completing the overt curriculum. (Appleby)
    • Industrial era
      • Overt
        • “ 3 Rs”: reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic
      • Covert
        • punctuality, subordination, repetition
    • Postmodern era
      • Overt
        • flexibility, community, personalisation
      • Covert
        • piecework, normalisation, surveillance
          • see Roberts (2004)
  • 10. Quick discussion
    • What is flexibility?
  • 11. Learning Technology Affordances
    • Flexibility with respect to time
      • Time shifting
    • Flexibility with respect to place
      • Location shifting
    • Flexibility with respect to sequence
      • Tutor directed learning
      • Student directed learning
    • Enhanced communication
    • Distributed collaboration
    • Access to resources
    • Simulations
  • 12. Strategic definitions
    • Flexible Distributed Learning
    • Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education, Section 2: Collaborative provision and flexible and distributed learning (including e-learning) - September 2004
    • The term 'e-learning' will be used here to refer to modes of learning that are ICT-based
    • Flexible and distributed learning (FDL) denotes educational provision leading to an award, or to specific credit toward an award, of an awarding institution delivered and/or supported and/or assessed through means which generally do not require the student to attend particular classes or events at particular times and particular locations.
  • 13. DfES e-Learning Consultation
    • Broad and inclusive
    • If someone is learning in a way that uses information and communication technologies ICTs, they are using e-learning … playing an interactive game, … collaborating using the Internet, … watching an animated diagram, … taking a driving theory test online - it all counts as e-learning.
    • (DfES Consultation, “Towards a Unified e-Learning Strategy”, July 2003)
  • 14. Axes of Flexible Learning
    • Individual
    • Organisation
    • Identity
    • Culture
    • Technology
    • Standards
  • 15. Axes of Flexible Learning
    • Individual Identity Technologies
    • Organisational Culture and Standards
    • Individual
    • Identity
    • Technologies
    • Organisational
    • Culture
    • Standards
    • Hierarchy (Estate), Network or Market
    • Pedagogies, orthodoxies
    • Personal, Team, Collaboration, Collegiality
  • 16. Blended learning
    • The variety of approaches represented by FDL in the UK and elsewhere is now considerable, and embraces a continuum of pedagogical opportunities.
    • 3-C matrix:
    • collocation low/high (face-to-face vs. distance learning)
    • collaboration low/high (individualised vs. collaborative learning)
    • computerisation low/high (e-learning vs. traditional print and communication technologies)
  • 17. Blended learning: 3-C hi collocation hi collaboration traditional laboratory lo computerisation hi collocation whiteboards in classrooms hi collaboration virtual field trips hi computerisation lo collocation CACL, online forums hi collaboration “Learning to teach online” hi computerisation hi collocation lo collaboration video link lecture hi computerisation lo collocation lo collaboration “traditional” OU DL lo computerisation lo collocation lo collaboration CBT training hi computerisation
  • 18. Techniques
    • Large class teaching
      • Personal response systems
      • Prior reading: fewer plenary lectures
    • Formative assessment
      • CAA
      • Simulations
    • Distrubuted (online) discussion forums
      • Work-based learning
      • International / distributed cohorts
      • Multi-professional learning
      • Collaborative working
    • Reflective learning
      • Blogging
      • ePDP/ ePortfolio
  • 19. VLE/MLE
  • 20. Thinking Outside the Slots
    • “ More or less off-campus more or less most of the time”
      • and/or Semester Calendar
      • and/or Room slotting
      • and/or Modular degree
    • BUT Systems issues embed certain (traditional?) practices
      • Workload planning
        • unit of academic resource expressed as ratio of time in classroom : time in preparation
      • Resource allocation model
        • DL does not use Library = Learning Resources
        • but.. Learning Resources also = Computer Services (VLE, eJournals, etc)
  • 21. Flexibility: Multiple Learning and Teaching Styles
    • Contingent
    • Inherent
    • Relative
    • Political
  • 22. Contingent Flexibility
    • Organised
    • Managed
    • Funded
    • Directed
    • Accredited
      • Bureaucratised
    • Wired Infrastructure
      • Wired-in, connected
    • Networked
  • 23. Inherent Flexibility
    • Latent
      • Potential & Kinetic
      • Emergent & Evolutionary
    • Located in domains
      • Disciplined
      • Sectored
      • Nationalised
    • Symbolic Capital
      • Personal, Social, Cultural
    • Experienced, Phenomenal
      • Prior Learning
    • Cognitive
      • Modelled & Theorised
      • Taught & Learned
  • 24. Relative Flexibility
    • zero sum
      • worth asking if an increased flexibility in one part of a system will result in decreased flexibility (+inflexibility) in another
    • digital/analogue : particle/wave
      • granular (objectified)
      • modular / linear
      • lifelong & continuing
    • genetic/mimetic
      • inherited
      • preventable/unstoppable
    • recreational/re-creational
  • 25. Political Flexibility
    • Work-related
    • Valued (high/low)
    • Classified (Property)
    • Controlled
    • Democratic … or not
    • Pragmatic
    • Global
    • Shapable
    • Standardised
    • Assured
    • Necessary?
    One of the cavaliers, those Bonny Princes, said: If I have freedom in my love and in my heart am free, then Angels who dwell in heaven above shall know no such liberty.
  • 26. Brookes Context
    • 16,000 students (12,000 fte)
    • 1,600 DL (all “part time” 0.4 fte)
      • More or less off campus more or less most of the time
      • Outside UMP, semester calendar and slotting system
      • Increasingly “Blended”
    • Funding
      • Self
      • Employer
      • TTA/NHS
      • Other
    • “ Full price”
      • Financial models problematic
      • Economics embeds practice: RAM & PWP
  • 27. Archaeology
    • Modular Programme
    • RBL
    • IT Term (the Hypothetical)
    • LTTF
    • Brookes Virtual
    • Brookes Online
    • e-Learning at Brookes
    Mists of time Today
  • 28. Institutional Structure Partners New Project-Based Management Approach Academic Development including C4eL Directorates Directorates Directorates Directorates Schools Schools Schools Students Union Academic Board Learning and Teaching Committee e-Learning Forum Widening Participation CPD Forum Research Committee Resources and Planning Committee Undergraduate Forum Postgraduate Forum Executive Board Board of Governors
  • 29. Networks and Critical Distance Vice Chancellor Deputy Vice Chancellor Deputy Vice Chancellor Pro Vice Chancellor Pro Vice Chancellor Registrar
  • 30. Networks of Influence: Flexibility Inherent
    • Structure
    • Leadership
    • Responsibility
    • Budgets
    • Authority
    • All derive from institutional utility based on knowledge, experience and information.
    • Chaos model of management allows individuals to gain influence on the basis of charisma and hermeneutic approaches.
  • 31. Institutional Structure: Networks University School Department Admin & Support Polity Social Centres for e-Learning?
  • 32. Institutional Structure Partners New Project-Based Management Approach Academic Development including C4eL Directorates Directorates Directorates Directorates Schools Schools Schools Students Union Academic Board Learning and Teaching Committee e-Learning Forum Widening Participation CPD Forum Research Committee Resources and Planning Committee Undergraduate Forum Postgraduate Forum Executive Board Board of Governors Institutional Structure: Networks
  • 33. Why e-Learning? (Brookes e-L Strategy 2002-04)
    • to encourage active learning in all domains
    • to support and develop independent, reflective learners
    • to maintain high levels of support and guidance to a diversity of learners
    • to develop key transferable skills:
      • IT, teamwork, self-management, learning, problem solving and communications
  • 34. University e-Learning Strategy 2002 - 03
    • 1. Provide a Managed Learning Environment
    • 2. Personal computer ownership and connectivity for all
    • 3. Library development and support
    • 4. Develop and provide of learner support resources
    • 5. School support for the development of e-learning
    • 6. Stimulate e-learning and provide a University framework for development of e-learning
    • 7. Create Centre for Higher Education e-Learning Development
  • 35. Centre for e-Learning
    • support for the achievement of the Academic Plan
    • leadership in all aspects of learning technology; guide the University’s vision of the future for e-learning
    • ensure that the e-learning strategy is coherent, focussed and in-line with national policy recommendations
    • determine central e-learning strategy and take responsibility for cross-University decisions relating to e-learning
    • steer and advise on the balance between innovative developments in e-learning and practical applications support for e-learning
    • co-ordinate, conduct and disseminate research into e-learning and commission, or undertake as appropriate, research and development projects in e-learning
    • co-ordinate and steer ongoing staff development and evaluation of the impact of e-Learning on the University community
  • 36. E-Learning at Brookes : Supporting e–learning through curriculum design and development Developing, enabling and valuing e–Learning practitioners Improving and expanding environments for e–learning Researching and evaluating e–learning aims to apply Learning Technology to the provision of flexible, active, collaborative and professionally authentic learning … and 5 key projects Widening participation and creating effective e–learning partnerships E-Learning at Brookes values: innovation, enterprise, equality, scholarship and social responsibility … with these underpinning values Excellence at Brookes : E-Learning at Brookes :
  • 37. Good learning
    • based on
    • reciprocity
    • authenticity
    • credibility
    • independent of the mode of engagement
  • 38. Good teaching
    • sets ground rules
    • provides alternative modes of participation
    • exemplifies models of engagement
    • gives access to the experience of the instructor
    • (cf. Brookfield 2001, Jones 1999)
    • independent of the mode of engagement
  • 39. Good practice
    • encourage student-tutor contact
    • encourage student-student co-operation
    • encourage active learning
    • give prompt feedback
    • emphasise time on task
    • have and communicate high expectations
    • respect diverse talents and ways of learning
    • independent of the mode of engagement
  • 40. Good design
    • Permeability: multiple pathways
    • Variety: multiple learning & teaching styles/preferences
    • Legibility: multiple literacies, modes and systems of meaning
    • Robustness
    • Visual appropriateness
    • Richness: complexity at scale
    • Personalisation
    • independent of the mode of engagement
  • 41. Modes of Engagement Mode 1: baseline admin and support Mode 2: Blended Learning Mode 3: FDL
  • 42. Approaches in the Schools   Collab’ tive working   Blogs   PDP/ Portfolio    Multi-professional learning   Technology  Arts & Humanities  Biological & Molecular  Built Environment  Social Science and Law   Health and Social Care    Education     Business International / distributed cohorts Work-based learning Diagnostic testing Large class teaching
  • 43. Quality Reflections: Frameworks & Standards
    • Process/outcomes
    • Frameworks
      • Standards & Standardisation
    • Beliefs
  • 44. FDL Precepts
    • Overall, the revision may be characterised as moving from the 'process-based' style of the earlier version to a more 'outcome-based' approach.
    • The focus now is on ends rather than means. Institutions … will see that the basics remain in the content of the revised version but will, it is hoped, appreciate the flexibility now offered by the greater attention to outcomes.
    • Flexibility has become an epi-phenomenon, part of the meta-curriculum
  • 45. Learning Technology Support Architecture Embedded in systems architectures (source IEEE LTSA)
  • 46. Source: Bill Olivier, CETIS, 2003-04
  • 47. … and, Conditioned by beliefs
    • positivism : knowledge is “out there”, categorical
      • objective-led (behaviourist) pedagogies of external motivations such as enquiry-based learning, physical simulation and experiment
    • social perspective : knowledge emergent, constructed
      • dominant approaches are exploratory learning and constructivism
    • tacit communitarianism : common-sense normalisation
      • knowledge engineering, and computational approaches such as organisational learning and intelligent systems
    • new critical : cognitive disconnect in L&T practice
      • project and problem-based learning, applied and action research are characteristic
  • 48. Final thought
    • Flexibility is not an end in itself
      • Contingent
      • Inherent
      • Relative
      • Political
    • Questions/Comments/Discussion
  • 49.
    • Thank you!
    George Roberts Development Director, Off-campus E-learning Oxford Brookes University [email_address] +44 (0) 1865 484871 +44 (0) 7711 698465