Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cold and wet in Alice Springs

I haven't said anything about my trip to Australia a couple of weeks ago. I had a fabulous time in Canberra and Alice Springs. The highlight of the trip was meeting old friends and networking with new contacts.

Thinking about granny-hood
The first few days I spent with Leigh Blackall, Sunshine and baby Eve. It's been years since I have spent any time with a wee baby, and those who know me know I'm not into babies. But Eve is an absolute sweetie and got me thinking about the joys of being a granny. I'm not getting my knitting needles out yet, but it hit home that it will not be many more years before Mark and I become grandparents. (To my darling children-I know you don't read your old mother's blog but can I make a plea...I'm far too young to be a granny, so don't think about it for at least another 10 years!!)

Evaluating "Facilitating Online"
The main thing that came out of my discussions with Leigh is a commitment to chart and evaluate the progress of the open, online course "Facilitating Online" which is just about to enter its fourth season. What I am interested to look at is how informal learners progress through the course - how many people complete the course and enrol to become formal students. I'm also interested to look at issues of motivation. This work will follow in the steps of the Antonio Fini who evaluated the 2008 Connectivism course.

Alice Springs
I am afraid I didn't get to see much of Alice Springs but plan to return to have a proper look around one day. What I did see was a buzzing little town which held no resemblance to my vision of a one-street town with dust and tumbleweed blowing around. What did make an impact was the fact I had to line up in a very long queue at a specified time for my bottle of wine and show my ID. But the queue turned out to be fun because just ahead of me was a midwife from Dunedin who has just joined the Flying Doctor Service so needless to say, we had a great chat and catch-up.

Beautiful country
I did have one day doing some sight-seeing and what I saw of the country was magnificent. I got a real sense of the vastness of Australia and how old the country is. And to make my day, I saw a family of kangaroos.

Old friends
Even though I spend so much time online, it is always a highlight to meet people face-to-face. I was delighted to meet a friend, Pauline Costins who is an Australia midwifery blogger who has been a great supporter of the Virtual International Day of the Midwife. I feel like I have known Pauline for many years but in reality we have only been talking online for three years.

And here I am with Jean Patterson and Deborah Davis who are very dear midwifery colleagues from Dunedin and Sydney.

More about the "Breathing new life into maternity services" conference in my next post.


M-H said...

You don't need to become a granny to pick up your knitting needles Sarah! It's how I relax all the time. I've been a granny for more than ten years (since I was 48) now and I absolutely love it.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hey M-H, lovely to hear from you...hows things with's that PhD going?

Knitting! urgh! I hate it almost as much as I hate sewing. The only thing I can do well is knit holes LOL

Dot said...

Not into babies?! Don't midwives have to be into babies at some level? Though I suppose they tend to stop seeing the actual baby at a rather early point in his/her post-birth life.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hey Dot...I always shock people why I say I'm not into babies LOL I don't see that I have to be into babies...I see my role as 'being into women'...I leave the 'being into babies' up to the new mothers :)