- How do your ideas for flexible learning, and those of your organisation or consultancy fit (or not) with the TES for NZ?
I am guided by Otago polytechnics emphasis on blended delivery- which drives part of the flexible learning of the OT school. So, one aspect of flexible learning such as blended delivery is cost saving. (Those costs being that of time in the classroom although costs do come in other parts for lecturers and students). Cost savings or efficiencies are part of the Tertiary education strategy 2010-2015 (TES) with 'Providers will need to manage costs, continue to seek efficiency gains' (p.10).
There was a correlation between the TES priorities about Maori students needing to be increased or pass levels increased, and Otago Polytechnics strategy to 'lead the tertiary sector as an organisation committed to working with and meeting the needs of its Māori communities'. Otago Polytechnic is working with communities whereas the TES did not have specific strategies but did point institutions in the direction of what the expectation was. With working within communities, Otago Polytechnic has flexibility in the way it delivers courses and can ensure that the content of the material is positioned where the needs of the communities are at.
'Strengthen collaboration and shared resources for greater efficiency' (TES, P.15) fits with the satellite program of Otago Polytechnics Occupational therapy school venture with Wintec. Students can choose the location but achieve the same qualifications, materials, and teaching. Students can transfer from one campus to another. RPL is also used for the course- which is cost effective to both the students and the polytechnic in terms of resources.
The TES also discussed informal education 'can play a key role in literacy, language and numeracy learning, in particular by targeting people whose initial learning was not successful' p. 13.- so this could be linked to sustainability and Otago Polytechnic's innovation on Open Education Resources (OER) and Open education learning. Whereby a person may access information, informally complete the course and this may give the person the confidence and increase their skill base to then formally enroll.
Although the TES has a target priority group as 18-25, it was written during an economic downturn where mature students enrolments may be peaking due to a need to upskill or change career pathways in order to remain employable. There was very little written about mature students in the university or polytechnic environment. In my experience, flexible learning is needed for both younger students and mature students alike- often with more responsibilities outside of the school system.
- What do you need to include in your plan to fit with the TES for NZ?