Sunday, September 14, 2008

The joys of open access education

This week I am feeling a tad vindicated with regards to my enthusiasm for blogging and open access education.

Nutrition in pregnancy
One of my colleagues Megan Gibbons, has been running a short course on nutrition in pregnancy for midwives. It was only seven weeks long, but during that time she used an open blog for a role play scenario. I joined in, mainly to support Megan and the students. But I found it to be a really useful way of revising my own knowledge about nutrition.

What was even more fun was that hbacmama joined in the discussion and brought a very different perspective as a ' real woman' as opposed to midwife. She made some wonderful contributions and got us all thinking.

The students really enjoyed themselves and felt they became far more engaged with the subject matter and discussions than they did using a similar format in BlackBoard.

Small beginnings
OK. So in the grand order of things, you might ask what I am getting all excited about. After all, what are we talking about - three students - six of us all up - that's hardly going to break records or completely change the world view on open access education.

And that would be a fair comment.

At the same time, this small event perfectly illustrates the opportunities for open access education. At the very least the outcome been one updated midwife and three happy students who have had a positive learning experience.

Another fine mess, Stanley
The other outcome has been that we have all wanted to continue the dialogue about nutrition, so Megan has been 'forced' into continuing the debate on her personal blog: Megan's Mutterings.

So if you have any questions or comments about and nutrition and diet, in pregnancy or in general, drop in on Megan.

Image: 'A Vintage Kind of a Day' Niffty


Leigh Blackall said...

Its a great example.. I wish wish wish it wasn't such a struggle to get others to see the virtues AND benefits to their current bottom lines.. (let alone simply testing it properly). Think of the impact Otago Poly (and CPIT) could make to the world Health information and education sector! I mean, Otago has a disproportionate number of health educators.. one by one they are seeing the benefits of open access and teaching practice.. true grass roots action going on here. Great to see. I hope it geeps growing and that no one with a mower comes along

Sarah Stewart said...

Just had a comment by email contrasting this very small course with the huge free course about connectivism run by Siemens and Downes, in which about 2,000 people are enrolled.

I wonder how what the 'outcomes' of the huge course will be? Or is the fact that it 'is' is the outcome? Anyway, that aside, I am hoping that this very small step is the first of many for us in midwifery. Maybe, one day, we too will have 2,000 midwives flock to do a free online midwifery course. I hope I'm the one running it!