Orientation to OFDL- A FREE course

The orientation is an Ako Aotearoa-funded project led by DEANZ.

About the project

The project aims to provide a series of introductory resources for students, academic staff and education managers seeking to learn the basic ideas, concepts and theories related to open, flexible, and distance learning (OFDL). The resources will form a self-paced professional development programme that will provide linkages into the global community of OFDL organisations and research. A major focus will be on the application of theory, using a well-designed, self-directed series of modules. The professional development programme will also link participants together through peer-based forums and reflective activities.

OFDL has a rich heritage. The project aims to draw attention to various foundational ideas, and their expression in practice. The project will draw together foundational readings, video interviews with New Zealand professionals in the areas of OFDL (drawing on professional association memberships), and opportunities for reflection and discussion. While many institutions are exploring OFDL as means of providing education, staff across the tertiary sector tend to be unaware of pedagogical options or the affordances provided by digital technologies.

The project seeks to introduce a common theoretical base and vocabulary for OFDL practitioners, and to assist with the further development of an OFDL community. The orientation will also spur new research activity in the area of OFDL that build on the basis of foundational ideas. Those completing the professional development modules will be issued with a DEANZ Certificate of Completion.

Intended outcomes

A free online professional development opportunity, based on the foundational ideas and theories related to OFDL. The objective is to orientate OFDL practitioners, both academic staff and managers, to the international OFDL community, effective practice models, and theoretical frameworks. Five professional development topics, consisting of a total of fourteen modules each requiring about one hour’s worth of learning activity, will be developed. Modules will be self-directed and asynchronous, using a variety of video clips, multimedia presentations, readings, asynchronous discussion opportunities, and reflective questions. Modules will introduce participants to what OFDL is; key theories and ideas underpinning OFDL practice; teaching and research; and the international OFDL community. Some clips will be case-study based.