Sunday, 3 March 2013

Introduction to Midwifery; a flexiblity checklist.


At this point it is only fair that I bring my hidden agenda out into the open. I have a project this year to develop an exisiting midwifery course into an Open Education Resource. Much of the reasoning and conceptualising for this fits within Flexible Learning, so to use the old addage of 'killing two birds with one stone' I will focus much of my development on the Introduction to Midwifery course.


Currently the Introduction to Midwifery course is a 10 credit course run as an elective paper option for students enrolled in the Certificate in Health course. It is delivered in a blended style with a mixture of face to face, online, group and peer to peer learning. Assessments are by way of an assignment, contributions to an online discussion forum and a group presentation.

The aim of redesigning this course into an OER resource is to provide greater access to information as to the practicalities and realities of being a midwife in New Zealand, particulary for those considering it as a study option. Reduce the current staffing needs to deliver the course and provide a course that still meets the needs of those completing the Cert in Health but also provide the option of engaging with the content without having to enroll or complete the course assessments.

Flexibility Checklist.

Adapting the grid and tables from Collis and Moonen (2004) and Casey and Wilson (2005) I have created a checklist of degrees of flexibility within this course design and provided a contrast between the current course and the intended OER course.



Key: Black = current course. Red = what will change in new course. Green=things that will not change.

FIXED (not flexible)
MEDIUM (or able to change)
Starting and finishing the course.
Must be completed within Cert in Health timetable.
Can be completed at any time, but if enrolled as part of Cert in Health will be done according to their timetable.
Submitting assessments and interacting within the course.
Assignment deadlines are set and interaction is scheduled.
Assessment not required by all participants.
Tempo, pace of study.
Somewhat fixed to assessment and face to face timetable, but self-directed learning is at own pace.
Able to be completed at own pace unless enrolled in Cert in Health.
Moments of assessment.
Will remain fixed.
Topics of the course.
Fixed and defined by learning outcomes.
Scope to alter topics but would require new course outline.
Sequence of the course.
Fixed in timetable.
Potential to sequence individually by having resources open all the time. However some suggested sequencing in order to build on learning may be recommended.
Orientation of the course (theoretical or practical)
Conditions of participation.
Must meet Cert in Health entry requirements.
Open access.
Social organisation of learning (face to face, group, individual.
Mix of face to face, group work and some self-directed work.
Completely online, perhaps face to face for those enrolled in Cert in Health.
Language to be used
Could be translated into numerous languages.
Learning resources: modality, origin.
Online, face to face and peer to peer.
Instructional organisation of learning.
Meeting OP standards for course level and outline.
Need to meet OP standards for Cert in Health, but no fixed institutional needs for OER re assessment but must meet institutional policy for OER, such as the educational platform used.
Time and place where contact with instructor and other students can occur.
Methods, technology for obtaining support and making contact.
Email, web forum, phone.
Types of help, communication available, technology required.
Tutor, institutional support.
Facilitator, peer to peer discussion forum. Admin institutional support.
Location, technology for participating in the course.
Delivery channels for course information content, communication.
Online, and face to face.


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


11 areas of the new course design become more flexible.

1 remains with the same degree of flexibility.

2 become less flexible.

1 comment:

  1. Great use of the Flexibility grid Emma. It looks like your plans introduce a great deal of improved flexibility. I was wondering how you intend to: "Reduce the current staffing needs to deliver the course"?

    I am surprised that this aspect is not being made more flexible - Methods, technology for obtaining support and making contact.

    Have you thought about introducing some social media tools such as a Facebook group, twitter for use on mobile phones and other devices so that participants could have increased contact and interaction about topics?

    Also is there much opportunity for participants to share resources they find? Media sharing sites such as Youtube, (social bookmarking), and Picassa (image sharing) are great for this.

    Also, if students use something like Pocket ( or they can save material for offline reading on mobile devices - ipads, smartphones, tablets. Students could set up a class account for sharing.

    One of the issues with Moodle discussion forums and content (according to students) is that they are not as easy to access as open sites on mobile devices. What do you think about using these web 2.0 tools?