Saturday, 5 July 2008

Wk 12: Flexible learning in educational organizations

I was the only “brave soul” student that present at the elluminate session. By listening to Phil’s presentation and reading the strategic plan, I am convinced that the Polytech, along with its staff are committed to provide the flexibility for students. Open entry policy, variation of studying options, CAPL and EDC courses etc. we (as educator) have done everything we can to create the flexibility, but how to apply this flexibility and ensure all students will be benefiting from this flexibility scheme. When we consider the accessibility and equity of say “open entry policy”, does this policy provide the accessibility to all learners? YES… what about equity? We are asked to identify the diversity of students and yet treat them as “individual”, but how is one set of study schedules and the same course coverage make the “highly personalized program delivery” possible??

In statistics, there is a term called “maximum likelihood estimation”, that’s when you try to find a mathematical model that fits the best to random data, the composition of the model is entirely determined by how the data is distributed. This theory can be extended to education situations, we are trying to find the best “flexible” course model to fit in best with our various “students” and again, the design of “flexibility” is not up to how “flexible” we can be, students’ needs are really what we are dedicated to, they are the ones to determine when they need the “flexibility” and how “flexible” it is going to be and therefore to maximize their likelihood to be successful!

In the project that I am planning. I am not trying to modify any particular existing course, still a new kid to the block, I am quite happy to observe than criticize. Maths is not an essential paper but basic numerical skills is crucial for many courses and again with “open entry policy”, people come with all sorts of maths background and sometimes don’t necessarily met the “assumed” entrance requirement. My plan simply provides the “life jacket” for those students who are struggling with competent maths skills for their course. No particular target student group, no particular course material prepared, anyone (polytech students of course) who have any questions regarding maths or statistics or even someone has no course related questions but would like to improve their maths skills, we are happy to help out. There will be a tutorial website which has been divided into different sections; students can choose the section that they really need to practice on along with some on-line communication for urgent and specific questions. That way, students are getting the help that what they want and when they need. I think the plan I developed can really be outlined the “accessibility and equity”, “individual needs” and “highly personalized programme delivery”.

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