Recap: AI is here to stay: It’s impact on online, flexible, and distance learning

In collaboration with EdTechNZ, FLANZ hosted a panel conversation about artificial intelligence (AI) in online, flexible, and distance learning on 18 May 2023. This online event was part of TechWeek. As our panellists for this event, we welcomed Dr Rebecca Marrone (Lecturer Learning Sciences and Development, University of South Australia), Shanon O’Connor (Director, Tōnui Collab), Dr Mark McConnell (Professional Teaching Fellow, Director Teaching and Learning Commercial Law, University of Auckland), and Dr Truman Pham (Postgraduate Director, academyEX).

We asked, ‘What impact does AI have in primary, secondary, or tertiary education and learning in the workplace?’ Our panellists came from different areas of the education sector and provided their insights from the perspective of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and decolonisation of education.

In a well-supported event with 183 participants, Shanon, Mark, Rebecca, and Truman stated their understanding of the challenges and opportunities of AI in their educational work. As first panellist, Shanon acknowledged the potential of making learning more exciting but also outlined her concerns about Māori data sovereignty, digital inequality, and the bias resulting from the development of artificial intelligence. She made us aware of the research of Karaitiana Taiuru on Mātauranga Sovereignty. The balance between teaching students how to use AI in their workplace and how to build their digital literacy was a key concern for Mark who shared his department’s guidelines for students’ use of AI. Rebecca outlined how AI was used for personalised feedback and assessment, with the aim of creating a flexible, differentiating curriculum. Truman explained how AI, amongst offering other opportunities, can help with digital equality through its use in teacher training. We then entered into a short but lively session of Q&A in which Catherine Frost from the Ministry of Education shared insight into her and her team’s work around AI and the Curriculum.

The recording with corrected captions is available on YouTube. Additionally, the full transcript can be viewed as well as Mark’s slides and the Department of Commercial Law at University of Auckland’s guidelines for students’ use of AI.

Future FLANZ webinars will be announced here on our website where you can subscribe. If you’d like to receive an email notification when we publish announcements about new webinars, you can follow us on Humanitix.

Our next webinar will be on ‘Bicultural principles for teaching and learning online‘ with Arapera Herewini-Card and Dr Rosina Merry from Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand and examine the principles that were developed at Te Rito Maioha. This webinar will take place on 20 June 2023.

Webinar recap: Impact of COVID on students in Aotearoa

Michael Cameron from the University of Waikato provided insight into the impact of COVID-19 on students in Aotearoa New Zealand on 18 April 2023. Together with Barbara Fogarty-Perry (Otago Polytechnic) and Gemma Piercy (University of Waikato), he was part of a research team that administered an international survey to students during the lockdown in 2020. They published their results in JOFDL last year in the article “The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Higher Education Students in New Zealand”.

The survey brought to light logistical aspects, students’ feeling towards their emergency online studies, and their feelings while being in lockdown. Being mainly a quantitative survey as part of a larger international research project that collected responses from students in 62 countries, we can often only speculate about the ‘why’ behind their answers. Nevertheless, it was important to capture the data and be able to compare it with students in other countries.

The recent article “Enhanced or diminished attitudes: University students’ agency” by Maggie Hartnett, Cheryl Brown, Dianne Forbes, Dilani Gedera, and Ashwini Datt was shared during the webinar and provides additional insight into students’ experiences during the pandemic.

You can access the recording, the full transcript, and Michael’s slides.

Our free 2023 webinar series continues in May and June with the following two webinars:

Event: Bicultural principles for teaching and learning online

Arapera Herewini-Card and Dr Rosina Merry are two of the editors of ‘Bicultural principles of teaching and learning online | Ngā mātāpono kākano rua o te mahi ako tuihono’, a resource that sets out eleven principles for teaching and learning online in a bicultural delivery environment.

In conversation in our webinar, Arapera and Rosina will share insight into the principles that provide kaiako with an understanding of online teaching expectations that embrace tikanga principles and practices throughout their online teaching and how these can be applied.

These bicultural principles were originally developed, trialed, and refined by kaiako at Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand, and are applicable to other tertiary contexts. Come along to this conversation to learn from and with Rosina and Arapera.

Register for free for this webinar on 20 June 2023 at 1pm NZST.


Profile photo of Arapera Herewini-Card Arapera Herewini-Card, Masters of Indigenous Studies. BTch (ECE).
Pouhere Kaupapa Māori | Senior Advisor Māori
Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand

Arapera is of Māori descent and is responsible for ensuring that Te Rito Maioha (ECNZ) maintains its bicultural integrity by providing cultural leadership through integrating tikanga Māori (protocols), and kawa Māori (customs and practices) across the organisations programmes. Growing knowledge and learning of the language, culture and identity of the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, New Zealand is Arapera’s commitment to her ancestoral line.

Profile photo of Dr Rosina MerryDr Rosina Merry
Director Teaching, Learning and Research – Kaitohu Akoranga me Rangahau
Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand

Rosina is the Director of Teaching, Learning and Research for Te Rito Maioha (ECNZ) and is an Adjunct Professor UNITAR International University. She has the overall responsibility for the oversight and management of academic and research strategy for undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate programmes. This role also includes managing the quality, compliance, and national consistency of teaching, learning, and research delivery of Te Rito Maioha ECNZ)’s qualifications.

Through her doctoral study, Rosina developed a conceptual model, which supports initial teacher education providers to understand how student teachers integrate digital technology into their teaching practice. She has a passion for e-learning with a particular focus on student engagement and lecturer presence. Rosina’s research interests include the use of technology in the delivery of teacher education, language culture, and identity in online learning spaces and integrated curriculum.

Feature image by Sophie Turner on Unsplash of snowcapped Mt Taranaki.

Webinar recap: Female pioneers of online learning

For International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023, ODLAA and FLANZ hosted a webinar which showcases women’s role in online learning, including open, distance, and flexible learning. For this event we welcomed Dr Susan Bainbridge and Dr Norine Wark, authors of The Encyclopedia of Female Pioneers of Online Learning as our panellists. This landmark book is the first volume to explore the lives and scholarship of women who have prominently advanced online learning.

A lively event with 43 participants, we heard how Susan and Norine approached the work with the exciting stories of women pioneers. Susan and Norine outlined their research study and explained how the book evolved as they approached more women who agreed to participate in interviews. It is fascinating to listen to this webinar, finding out first about the search for the women pioneers in the research project, but also their reflections, the wins, and the challenges they faced over the years, including gender issues. Social justice was the prime motivator for all the pioneers interviewed.

You can watch the recording of the webinar and also view the full transcript.

Event: AI is here to stay: Its impact on online, flexible, and distance learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come to the forefront of the conversation with the release of ChatGPT at the end of November 2022. Since then, we’ve seen more and more AI tools being talked about, including those that create images, help write text, and make our lives easier.

What does this all mean for education be it primary, secondary, or tertiary? What about learning in the workplace? Our panellists come from different areas of the education sector and will provide insight into the impact of AI on online, flexible, and distance learning, looking at it from the perspective of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and decolonisation.

Register for free for this session on Thursday, 18 May 2023, 11-12 NZST to learn from our panellists and engage in a conversation with them.

Our panellists

Evo Leota-Tupou

Evo serves on the EdTechNZ Executive Council and is Director of Pacific Kids Learning (PKL). She is mum to five who are the reason why PKL started. Evo is a social entrepreneur, content producer, and founder of Pacific Kids’ Learning (PKL), an EdTech and Edutainment organisation dedicated to empowering children through digital stories and merging cultural practises, song and dance with technology.

Dr Rebecca Marrone

Rebecca is a Lecturer: Learning Sciences and Development for the Centre for Change and Complexity in Learning (C3L) at the University of South Australia Education Futures. Her research is primarily in the fields of creativity, educational psychology and human and artificial cognition across varying educational contexts. Rebecca serves on the organising committee for the Empowering learners for the Age of AI conference and the 1st International Conference on Change and Complexity in Learning.

Dr Mark McConnell

Mark is a Professional Teaching Fellow in the Department of Commercial Law at the University of Auckland Business School, where he also serves as the Department’s Director of Teaching and Learning. Mark has been involved in research projects relating to learning analytics to inform learning design, and vicarious learning through the use of videoed tutorials. Recently Mark has been leading his Department’s response to student use of AI tools such as ChatGPT.

Shanon O’Connor (Ngāti Porou me Ngāi Tahu)

With a background in both technology and education, Shanon is the founder and Director of Tōnui Collab, a charitable trust committed to creating equitable STEMM learning opportunities for rangatahi in Te Tairāwhiti so that their potential to be science and technology future problem solvers and innovators can be realised. Shanon has a Masters in Contemporary Education. Her Masters investigated the engagement of kōhine Māori in kaupapa Māori aligned tech education.

Dr Truman Pham

Truman is the Postgraduate Director at academyEX (previously The Mind Lab). He also teaches and supervises the blended/hybrid Master of Contemporary Education. His current research areas are applications of Artificial Intelligence in education and teachers’ self-identification of leadership. His PhD research was about industrial intelligence control which has now been applied in electric vehicles, wind turbines, and robotics. Truman was chair of EdTechNZ and is currently a member of its Executive Council.


We are pleased to partner with EdTechNZ on this session and offer it as part of the TechWeek23 programme.

EdTechNZ logo


Feature image by Robert Anderson on Unsplash

Webinar on the impact of COVID on students in Aotearoa New Zealand on 18 April 2023

The coronavirus pandemic and associated move to online learning for students in higher education has been disruptive and challenging. In this FLANZ webinar, Dr Michael Cameron reports on the New Zealand arm of an international survey of higher education students (n = 147). Using quantitative and qualitative data from the survey, they found that students coped reasonably well with the disruption to their studies and were generally satisfied with how their lecturers and institutions responded to unanticipated lockdowns.

In comparison with the global sample, New Zealand students demonstrated a higher level of satisfaction. New Zealand students reported the highest satisfaction with recorded video lectures, whereas the global sample preferred real-time teaching. Many New Zealand students felt that their studies were negatively affected, and vulnerable groups such as students with low financial resources were the most severely affected. Moreover, students reported a range of negative emotions during lockdown that suggest mental health impacts may be a concern.

The results indicate that clear communication from authorities, reducing the uncertainty for students, and ensuring that vulnerable groups are appropriately supported, may be the best avenues to reduce negative impacts on students during future significant disruptions to study, whether pandemic-related or otherwise.

This webinar is based on the JOFDL article by Michael Cameron, Barbara Fogarty-Perry, and Gemma Piercy and gives you the opportunity to ask your own questions and learn more about this study.


Michael CameronDr Michael Cameron is Professor of Economics in the School of Accounting, Finance and Economics (SAFE) at the University of Waikato. He is also a Research Associate in Te Ngira – Institute for Population Research. Michael’s current research interests include a range of topics in population economics, financial literacy, and economics education.






Register for free for this webinar on 18 April 2023 at 13:00 NZST.

Webinar ‘Women pioneers of online learning’ on 8 March 2023

This year for International Women’s Day ODLAA and FLANZ will be hosting an event which showcases women’s role in online learning, including open, distance, and flexible learning. For this event we welcome Dr Susan Bainbridge and Dr Norine Wark, authors of The Encyclopedia of Female Pioneers of Online Learning as our panelists. This landmark book is the first volume to explore the lives and scholarship of women who have prominently advanced online learning.


Register for free to join us for this live panel conversation to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March 2023 at 10:30 AEDT / 12:30 NZDT.


Dr Susan Bainbridge is Sessional Instructor of Distance Education in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Athabasca University, Canada, and with the Centre for Lifelong Learning at Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany.

Dr Norine Wark is a freelance researcher, writer, and consultant in the field of distance education.


There will be two prizes to win for one person each who is attending the webinar. Win

  • two copies of the eBook, compliments of FLANZ and ODLAA
  • a free FLANZ one-year individual membership
  • a free ODLAA one-year individual membership or organisation membership

October Webinar: Is Educational Research in Aotearoa in Good Shape?

Requires prior registration at Humanitix: Online event via Zoom. Check your registration mail for the link. You will also receive a reminder a day prior to the event.

Event description

This joint FLANZ and ODLAA webinar explores the New Zealand educational research funding landscape. Cathy Wylie will present the main themes of her recent occasional paper ‘Is educational research in Aotearoa in good shape?‘ She invites discussion, particularly around her recommendations for a connected suite of ongoing work in key areas, more in-depth understanding of the role of digital devices and access in student learning, and a new Equitable Education for the Future platform as a national research priority.

The recording of this webinar will be posted to YouTube. You will be able to change your name when joining the webinar and can interact in the chat if you don’t want your voice and image recorded.

Webinar time

Tuesday, 18 October 2022, 13:00-14:00 NZST / 11:00-12:00 AEST / 8:00-9:00 AWST

About the presenter

Cathy Wylie recently retired as a Kaihatū Rangahau Chief Researcher with NZCER. She is well-known for her research on educational and social policy and its impacts for teaching and learning. She is particularly interested in how we can better support teaching and learning to tackle longstanding inequities in our system, and the newer challenges we face. She was a member of the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce and the Pūaotanga Primary Staffing Review Panel.

Workshop review: ‘Innovating Pedagogy 2022’

Thursday 8th September I had the privilege of running an online workshop to explore the potential of a range of different pedagogical approaches that might apply to different educational sectors in New Zealand and Australia.

See Transcript

The Innovating Pedagogy 2022 is the 10th annual report from the Open University (UK) exploring new forms in interactive and innovative practice of teaching, learning and assessment. These innovations already exist in pockets of practice but are not considered mainstream. This collaboration between the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, UK, and the Open University of Catalonia, Spain, is the result of a filtering process and is compiled, based on a review of published studies and other sources. Ten concepts or themes are identified.

Hybrid models
Maximising learning flexibility and opportunities. Beyond the strict curriculum delineations in Blended Learning models, Hybrid forms aim to empower the learner to optimise their own learner choices at to where, when, and how to learn. Providing flexible choices requires teachers and institutions to adjust their systemic approaches.
Influencer-led education
 Learning from education influencers on social media platforms. Acknowledging the growth of edu-influencers, who optimise their use of social media tools to share their knowledge, experience, and passion for a range of subjects from the highly specialised to the generic. Evaluating the veracity of the message is a challenge for the learner.
Dual learning scenarios
Connecting learning in classrooms and industrial workplaces. A step up from work-integrated learning models, the expectation is that course designers fully meld both formal classroom and work spaces into a coherent experience.
Pedagogies of the home
Understanding the home as a place for cultural learning. Not the same as home-schooling. Rather, it seeks to leverage the wider socio-cultural environment that the learner inhabits. Also recognises the burden on marginalised communities to fully participate.
Pedagogies of micro-credentials
Accredited short courses to develop workplace skills. Existing approaches, snippets taken from existing programmes, fail to create an effective learning ecosystem for learners who require support to develop a patchwork portfolio meshing formal, non-formal, and informal experiences together.
Pedagogy of discomfort  
Emotions as powerful tools for learning and for promoting social justice. A process
of self-examination that requires students to critically engage with their ideological traditions and ways of thinking about issues such as racism, oppression, and social injustice.
Pedagogy of autonomy
Building capacity for freedom and independent learning. Explores the notion of incorporating informal, non-formal, and formal learning patterns into the learner’s experience, creating self-regulated learners with an emphasis on their metacognitive development and allowing them to reflect their true selves..
Wellbeing education
Promoting wellbeing across all aspects of teaching and learning. Wellbeing education helps students to develop mental health ‘literacy’ by teaching them how to manage their own mental health, recognise possible disorders, and learn how, where, and when to seek help.
Watch parties
Watching videos together, whatever the time or place. Leveraging the increased connectivity prompted in response to covid-19, and the move of media providers to provide educational tools, this is the notion of structured engagement around a shared viewing (or listening) experience.
Combining movement and conversation to enhance learning. Not just used in service of those in need of emotional support, where the therapeutic benefits have been proven, but across a wide range of learning activities where reflection and thought would be best served by being away from the classroom and being outside and mobile.
10 Themes from the 2022 Innovating Pedagogy report

The workshop used Mentimeter as an online polling tool. Of the 25 participants, 20 regularly voted and made 659 submissions. The tertiary sector dominated, at 15, with fewer representatives from the Private Training Enterprise and Commercial L&D sectors and only one from compulsory education. Only 2 Australians participated.

Despite having laboured the point in all publicity materials that it would be valuable to read the report before participating, only 8 said they had read it (or the summary), with 11 admitting they had not.

Of the 17 that responded to the question about their approach to new educational technologies, 12 saw themselves as ‘progressive’, 2 as ‘radical’, and 3 as ‘pedestrian’.

To get participants involved in thinking about each pedagogic approach, we ran a 2×2 square exercise, asking what the relative effort versus impact might be. See the video for responses.

Following breakout groups we ranked the innovations in terms of the amount of attention participants would pay to them in the next 12 months in their personal practice (see screenshot above).

The general consensus was that whilst there was nothing exceptional or radical in any of these innovations, they provided a focus for reflection and were deemed stimulating. Thank you to all who participated.  

Dr Simon Paul Atkinson 

Kukulska-Hulme, A., (2022). Innovating Pedagogy 2022: Open University Innovation (No. 10). Open University.

Online Workshop – Innovating Pedagogy 2022: Perspectives and Practice

Date and time
Thursday 8th Sep 2022, 13:00-14:00 (NZST) / 11:00-12:00 (AEST) / 9:00-10:00 (AWST)

Online Workshop
Free event, online via Zoom. Please make sure you have an up-to-date version of Zoom to ensure you can fully participate. Requires registration at Humanitix that can be made HERE

register now button



Event description
Are our national priorities for educational innovation the same as our European cousins? This FLANZ / ODLAA interactive workshop will examine the Open University’s 2022 Innovating Pedagogy report and negotiate its relevance to our socio-cultural contexts in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.

Your input will be focussed around the applicability of the innovations suggested by the report to your educational context. We will evaluate their potential impact and the effort required to implement them. We may want to dismiss some of these as hardly innovative at all, or to suggest that they are too aspirational. The results of our collective deliberations will provide the basis for future reflections.

Please have your mobile phone to hand (or a second browser window). Ensure that you have read the full report or the brief overview, written by the workshop convener, Dr Simon Paul Atkinson, prior to the workshop.

The recording of this webinar will be posted to YouTube. You will be able to change your name when joining the webinar and can interact in the chat if you don’t want your voice and image recorded.


About the workshop facilitator
Dr Simon Paul Atkinson is a Higher Education Strategy Consultant. He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, President of FLANZ, and joint Editor of the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning. He also serves on the International Advisory Board for Open University’s Journal of Interactive Media in Education. Simon has over 25 years experience in the tertiary sector at senior levels in both academic development and educational technology, in Aotearoa New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Lightbulb image by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash