Seven years with the FLANZ Executive Committee

It’s a long time to serve with any group, but as a member of the FLANZ Executive Committee, the last seven years have been well worth it. And now that I’m stepping down, I’m not even prepared to go very far, as I continue to serve as Co-Editor of the FLANZ Flagship Journal, the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning

The highlights of this Committee are threefold as far as I can see – it runs a valued Professional Association, works in a resoundingly topical subject area, and there is much joy and camaraderie working with the other Committee members to achieve things of interest to our profession.  

If anyone was ever in any doubt over the value of flexible learning (distance learning, online learning, open learning, or any flexible application or combination of these) prior to COVID-19, there is no doubt about its value now. These most recent years have meant flexibility over flexible learning itself is also needed, and the field is constantly pivoting to deal with new issues and ways of working as they arise. The pandemic led to much Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) and the FLANZ Executive responded with support for the transition not to ERT but to real flexible learning with its supporting theories, practical applications and nuanced deliveries. The more recent rise of ChatGPT and AI in educational settings has led again to leading professional discussions and webinars, and identifying quality resources to understand and harness the benefits of AI in education while minimising the downsides. Other things will be around the corner.

The FLANZ Executive Committee usually addresses issues head-on. And with a great team of energetic and passionate people, things just happen. It is the enthusiasm as well as the expertise of this group that makes it work. Everyone has the opportunity to take on a portfolio or a role, and we all get to play to our strengths to deliver a range of programmes, activities and resources to support the Flexible Learning communities in New Zealand and beyond. 

And with FLANZ’s biennial conference, a regular webinar series, an academic journal, blogs, newsletters, a professional pathways resource and other activities, there is always something happening and always a new way to connect with people working in online or flexible learning. 

To the FLANZ Executive Committee, it’s been great, and I’m genuinely sad to go. On the good side, it will leave room for someone else to step up to this role, and allows me to continue work with the Association’s Journal. It’s a win-win. For anyone reading this blog, this is your opportunity to be in for the win – consider joining in and being a part of the FLANZ Executive Committee. You can join a great team at a great time, and an AGM to make this all happen is just around the corner.

Note from the editor: It has been a pleasure working with you Alison. You contribution has been considerable and your work with JOFDL is invaluable.

FLANZ AGM Date Change to 24 August

The Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ) will be holding its Annual General Meeting via videoconference on 24 August at 12:15 – 1:00pm.

This is a change in date from the originally announced 20 July date
FLANZ invites all FLANZ members to attend this meeting. Members will receive the agenda pack and link to access the meeting ahead of the meeting.
The AGM will also be electing members to be part of the Executive Committee, and call for nominations for these, including the roles of President, Secretary and Treasurer. We strongly encourage anyone working in this area to consider joining our Executive Committee.
Please contact our current FLANZ secretary, Ralph Springett, to initiate the nomination process.

Costa Rica and UNED: Hosting the 29th ICDE World Conference

Cost Rica: A Gateway to Peace, Conservation, and Sustainable Education

In a landmark decision, the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) has chosen the beautiful nation of Costa Rica and its renowned distance education institution, Costa Rican Distance State University (UNED), as the hosts of the highly anticipated 29th ICDE World Conference. First time in Central America, and only the third time in Latin America, this prestigious event serves as acknowledgement to Costa Rica’s magnetism as a conference venue and its commitment to peace, conservation, and sustainable practices. As delegates from around the globe gather in this tropical paradise, they are presented with a unique opportunity to explore a country known for its natural wonders and immerse themselves in UNED’s innovating initiatives in distance education.

Costa Rica: A Paradise for Conferences:

Costa Rica, often referred to as the “Switzerland of Central America,” is a captivating destination for international conferences. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the country boasts a remarkable array of natural landscapes, from pristine beaches and dense rainforests to imposing volcanoes and breath-taking waterfalls. This incredible biodiversity provides conference attendees with a chance to unwind amidst nature’s wonders, offering a unique blend of adventure, relaxation, and inspiration. Costa Rica also serves as a cultural bridge connecting the magnificent heritage of ancient civilizations and diverse and vibrant social groups and peoples from North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean.

Conservation and Sustainability: A Global Leader:

Costa Rica has earned worldwide recognition for its firm commitment to conservation and sustainability. Home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity, the country has embraced progressive environmental policies, such as reforestation, protected area establishment, and renewable energy initiatives. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to witness first-hand the country’s ground-breaking efforts in ecotourism, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy practices, setting an example for the world in harmonious coexistence with nature.

UNED: Leading the Way in Distance Education:

As the host institution for the 29th ICDE World Conference, UNED (Universidad Estatal a Distancia) is a pioneering force in the field of distance education, not only in Costa Rica but also across Latin America. With over 45 years of experience, UNED has continually evolved to deliver high-quality, accessible, and flexible education to a diverse student body. Its innovative use of technology and commitment to lifelong learning have positioned it as a leading organization in the realm of online education, as well.

UNED’s Impact and Initiatives:

UNED’s impact extends beyond its academic offerings. The institution has been instrumental in promoting social inclusion, gender equality, and educational opportunities for marginalized communities. By leveraging technology and embracing open educational resources, UNED has been able to reach individuals in remote areas, covering 98% of the national territory, by bridging the educational divide and empowering learners from all walks of life.

Registrations are open for the 29th ICDE World Conference.

Our conference organisers are ready to provide an unforgettable experience in Costa Rica. go to to find out more and register for your conference of a lifetime.

Nominations are open for 2023-2024 FLANZ executive roles

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ) will be holding its annual general meeting via videoconference on 20 July, 2023 at 12:15 – 1:00pm. The AGM agenda will be made available prior to the meeting.  

We would like to invite all FLANZ members and people with an interest in distance and flexible learning to attend this meeting.

Call for nominations

FLANZ is seeking nominations to be part of the Executive Committee. We strongly encourage anyone working in this area to consider joining our Executive Committee. As part of this, FLANZ is calling for nominations for the following elected committee positions.

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

The FLANZ Executive Committee page has detail about the executive function. Further detail will be provided as part of the nomination process. Please contact our current FLANZ secretary, Ralph Springett to make your nominations. Ralph will guide you through the nomination process. Note that:

  • Nominations must be with the Secretary by 06 July (14 days before the AGM).
  • Nominations may be taken from the floor during the meeting if there are insufficient nominees for the vacancies. 

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM.

Ngā mihi

Ralph Springett

Secretary, FLANZ

New publication: Developing online teaching in higher education: Global perspectives on continuing professional learning and development

Dianne Forbes (University of Waikato) and Richard Walker (University of York) are pleased to provide a new publication of interest to FLANZ members, Developing online teaching in higher education: Global perspectives on continuing professional learning and development, a collection of approaches designed to support continuing professional learning and development (CPLD) of online teachers.

As editors of the above volume, we are pleased to bring to the attention of FLANZ members a collection of approaches designed to support continuing professional learning and development (CPLD) of online teachers.

In the spirit of learning from the COVID-19 pandemic, the book is dedicated to the students and teachers who made the rapid transition to online learning during the pandemic, and to those who lead in this space. For FLANZ members, long accustomed to teaching and learning online, the pandemic was not necessarily a sudden pivot, but rather an opportunity to share and extend longstanding knowledge and experience of online education. Those with an interest in developing teachers’ capabilities as online instructors will likely find much interest within the 16 chapters.

The book is focused on online teaching in the higher education sector. However, readers can determine the extent to which developing teachers’ pedagogical and technical capabilities may be a similar challenge across all sectors of education. Continuing professional learning and development (CPLD) has never been more important, not only for teachers who are new to online teaching but also for experienced teachers seeking to refresh and extend our online teaching practices. There is no universally accepted approach to CPLD for online teaching and diverse methods are needed to address wide-ranging development requirements. In our book, we present a CPLD model to capture diverse sources of support and learning development, across institutional boundaries, within institutions, at programme team levels, and for individual teachers. We explore how CPLD provision can address multiple needs and how different sources of support can be effectively combined to provide a coherent experience.


CPLD ecological support model for online teaching

Our book presents a collection of perspectives from around the world on how educators have been supported to teach effectively online. Authors from nine countries across Asia, North America, South Asia, the Pacific and Western Europe, have contributed chapters to share their approaches to online teaching development. Each chapter addresses the central question of the book: What continuing professional learning and development (CPLD) opportunities do teachers require to help them to develop their online teaching practice?

We hope FLANZ members will consider the collective evidence from this volume to be a useful contribution to the conversation around effective and sustainable learning for online teachers. Of interest to readers will be:

  • institutional frameworks and toolkits for CPLD
  • peer support networks, communities of practice, and cross-cultural mentoring
  • implementation of professional accreditation pathways
  • open education initiatives, MOOCs and resources
  • learning from theory and experiences of staff from different institutions and disciplines worldwide.

Forbes, D. & Walker, R. (Eds.) (2022). Developing online teaching in higher education: Global perspectives on continuing professional learning and development. Springer


Webinar: Equity and Inclusion in Flexible Learning (Part 2)

FLANZ will hold part two of the panel conversation ‘Equity and inclusion in flexible learning: Challenges across the sector’ and you are invited to this free webinar. Register for this free webinar on 5 April 2022, 2 – 3pm NZST. We are delighted to be talking again with Claire Amos (Albany Senior High School), Steve Leichtweis (University of Auckland), and Stephen Marshall (Victoria University of Wellington). The moderator will be Kwong Nui Sim (AUT).

Bringing different perspectives to the conversation, our panelists will critically discuss our current situation in education and look into the future. Where do they think we are going in Aotearoa New Zealand? What does the education sector need?

You can watch part one of this engaging conversation.

Newsletter Addendum

We have received a few notices since we emailed the August/September 2021 newsletter out to all members on the 31st August.
Here are some recently submitted updates.

Open Access Journals

International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL) – Issue Vol 22 No3 (2021)


 Transforming Assessment. Next session: 6 Oct 2021: Using video in assessment and feedback.
Two presentations:
  • “The impact and possibilities of video feedback in higher education – towards a model of care, trust, and social presence.”
  • “Video-enhanced dialogic assessment of teaching practice portfolios.”
    Further information and registration for this webinar:

Ako Aotearoa . Professional Development September/October Series
Essentials | The what, how and why of teaching reading comprehension  9 Sept
Transform your learners from passive to active readers

Enhancing Pacific Cultural Capability  10 Sept
Engage with Pacific Island learners in a way that makes them the centre of learning

Keep learners engaged: plan great lessons online and offline  13 Sept
Plan an engaging, learner-centred teaching and learning  session that helps learners meet a set of SMART learning outcomes

Reading Toolbox | Teaching learners with dyslexia  1 Oct
Learn how you can support learners and guide them on the road to reading excellence

Bullyproofing the learner experience: A Toolkit for Educators  5 Oct
Apply two multi-use skills for effective de-escalation of bullying aimed at learners and/or tutors

Workplace Language, Literacy and Numeracy | Extending professional practice  8 Oct
Develop assessment and planning processes, and a range of instructional approaches, activities and resources

Co-operative learning | A teacher’s guide to working with groups  27 Oct
Introduces educators to the concepts and techniques of co-operative learning and addresses the practical problems that often occur

Call for Chapters

The Higher Education Teaching and Learning group is inviting chapter proposals on the topic, Worldviews and Values in Higher Education, for a forthcoming edited book by Emerald Group Publishing. Details regarding the book are available on the submission form at

If you have notices that you would like included in the bi-monthly Newsletter please email them to

2021 FLANZ Conference Presentations now available for Members

Screenshot of flanz2021 conference video page

Video recordings of many of the presentations and workshops delivered the 2021 FLANZ conference held at Victoria University of Wellington on the 14/15 April are now accessible for members. The video are hosted by ETV and have been linked to (and embedded) on a Members-Only page at: . This page is accessible from the public Proceedings Page and the Members Area.

2021 Conference Proceedings now available

Cover of 2021 Proceedings

The proceedings for the 2021 FLANZ conference held at Victoria University of Wellington on the 14/15 April have now been edited and are now available publicly. Accessible here –– or by visiting the FLANZ exploring the options under the main menu item entitled ‘Conference’.

Congratulations 2021 FLANZ Award winners

The FLANZ Award

The FLANZ Award was shared between two equally deserving projects in 2021. As part of the Award recipients are asked to let FLANZ members know how the prize contributed to their research or professional development. We look forward to sharing that with you in the near future. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

Continue reading “Congratulations 2021 FLANZ Award winners”