Vol. 26 No. 2 (2022): Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning

Issue 26 (2) of the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning (JOFDL) is now available to the world. It begins with an editorial looking at readership and research trends in the journal post-COVID, followed by a thought-provoking Invited Article about the nature of distance learning by Professor Jon Dron. This general issue follows with 7 articles on different aspects of research after COVID-19.
Alison Fields and Simon Paul Atkinson, JOFDL Joint Editors. 


Post-pandemic TrendsReadership and Research After COVID-19

Alison Fields, Simon Paul Atkinson
Image of Jon Dron

Invited Article

Technology, Teaching, and the Many Distances of Distance Learning

Jon Dron

Position Piece

Definitions of the Terms Open, Distance, and Flexible in the Context of Formal and Non-Formal Learning

Simon Paul Atkinson

Articles – Primary studies

Images of Hulbert and Koh

The Role of Non-Verbal Communication in Asynchronous Talk Channels ‎

Josiah Zhan Xiong Koh, Tara Hulbert
Image of Leomar Miano

An An Initial Assessment of Soft Skills Integration in Emergency Remote Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Learners’ PerspectiveA Learners Perspective

Leomar Miano
Image of small child at a laptop

Supporting English Language Development of English Language Learners in Virtual Kindergarten: A Parents’ Perspective

Sara Shahbazi, Geri Salinitri
Image of Lockias Chitanana

Parents’ Experience with Remote Learning during COVID-19 Lockdown in Zimbabwe

Lockias Chitanana
Image of Martin Watts & Ioannis Andreadis

First-year Secondary Students’ Perceptions of the Impact of iPad Use on Their Learning in a BYOD Secondary International School

Martin Watts, Ioannis Andreadis
venn diagram for AIM

Teaching, Engaging, and Motivating Learners Online Through Weekly, Tailored, and Relevant CommunicationAcademic Content, Information for the Course, and Motivation (AIM)

Andy Kenah, Catherine Nash

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., et.al. (2022). Innovating Pedagogy 2022: Open University Innovation (No. 10). Open University.

New Issue: Vol. 26 No. 1 (2022): Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning

New Issue: Vol. 26 No. 1 (2022): Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning

JOFDL publishes articles from around the world relating to primary research investigations, literature reviews, the application of open education innovations, and experiences of blended learning as well as teaching at a distance in any sector of education or training. Theoretical and empirically-based research articles as well as case studies of practice and book reviews are invited for submission. ISSN: Print 1179-7665; Online 1179-7673.

Connecting Past and Future Educational Practice: A Post-COVID-19 Present
Simon Paul Atkinson, Alison Fields (pp 1-4)

Articles – Primary studies
Through their eyes: Student perspectives
Alexandra Hartline, Sheri Conklin, Amy Garrett Dikkers (pp 5-26)

Student expectations of peers in academic asynchronous online discussion
Dianne Forbes (pp 27-41)

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education students in New Zealand
Michael P. Cameron, Barbara Fogarty-Perry, Gemma Piercy (pp 42-62)

Sociodemographics and Psychosocial Experiences of Distance Learners in Nigeria: A Comparison of Single-mode and Dual-mode Universities
Tajudeen Adebisi, Taiwo Olatunji (pp 63-83)

Please feel free to share notification of this open access journal with your professional networks

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

ODLAA Webinar: Home broadband and student engagement during COVID-19 emergency remote teaching



ODLAA are hosting their July Webinar ‘Home broadband and student engagement during COVID-19 emergency remote teaching
(Distance Education, 42(4), 465-493)

During 2019–2020, school buildings worldwide closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This webinar reports on the findings of a study that assessed the influence of high-speed broadband availability on student engagement with distance learning within 206 secondary schools in Ireland.

What are the implications for schools and government?

Ciarán Mac Domhnaill, Gretta Mohan and Selina McCoy
Economic and Social Research Institute, Ireland

Join us to find out.
Webinar Details are as follows
Thursday July 28th – 15.30-16.30pm (AEST) 17.30-18.30 (NZST).
Register here


Webinar: Embedding interactivity successfully into courses

Four highly experienced learning designers discussed ‘Embedding interactivity successfully into courses’ in a lively panel conversation at the FLANZ webinar on 22 June 2022. The presenters were Hinerangi Eruera Mānuera Murphy (Ngāti Awa; Te Whare Wānanga ō Awanuiārangi in Aotearoa New Zealand), Stephen Bright (Ngāti Kahungunu; University of Waikato), Sue Tickner and Jacqui Thornly (both from Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland).

The presenters shared their experiences and design principles through a presentation each, followed by a joint discussion. Their individual stories combined different threads about designing for interactivity in higher education. Sue, Stephen, Hinerangi, and Jacqui presented their thoughts about the relevance of appropriate interactivity, enabling and hindering factors, and the role of theory. Sue emphasised the community of inquiry framework and the three presences as a useful tool to design for interactivity and engagement. Stephen suggested the use of personas as a tool to design for diversity, which led to an engaged discussion between audience members. The need to put whanaungatanga at the centre of everything was emphasised by Hinerangi with examples from Te Whare Wānanga ō Awanuiārangi. Jacqui outlined a five phase framework to design and facilitate online and face-to-face, and recommended course design resources. Jacqui’s suggestions include:

Conrad RM. & Donaldson JA. (2012) Continuing to Engage the Online Learner. Jossey Bass; California

Ratima MT. Smith JP., McFarlane AH., Rik NM., Jones KL& Davies LK (2022) NgāHau e Whā o Tāwhirimātea – Culturally responsive teaching and learning for the tertiary sector

Nicols, M. (2020) Transforming Universities with Digital Distance Education. Routledge; New York

Sankey M.D (2021) The state of Australasian online higher education post pandemic and beyond. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, Vol19, Issue 2 Quarterly

This is only a snapshot of a highly engaging conversation between our panelists who left their audience with plenty of ideas to consider. If you are interested to follow the whole conversation, you can watch the recording and view the transcript. The panel was chaired by Bettina Schwenger (Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland) and Kristina Hoeppner (Catalyst IT).

Join FLANZ to support the efforts in Aotearoa New Zealand around flexible learning, and follow up on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about upcoming events. If you have a topic that you think we should discuss in one of our webinars, please get in touch.



Thank you for a successful AGM

Screenshot of AGM 2022 meeting
The 2021-2022 Annual General Meeting was held on 09 June, during which the 2022-2023 FLANZ committee was elected, including all officers other than the Treasurer.

The meeting thanked the previous executive committee, and noted the mahi completed during the 2021-2022 year. The contribution of our administrator Kalina Vladinova-Aylor, who had provided support for the committee over the last eight years, was noted. Kalina has decided not to continue in that role and the membership thanked her for the substantial contributions she had made to FLANZ over that time.

The AGM welcomed the 2022-23 executive group, which included two new members. We are a small voluntary association and rely entirely on the time and commitment of volunteers from our community to allow us to function. We are grateful to those colleagues who are willing to dedicate a portion of their valuable time in the interest of the wider community.

The refreshed strategic plan was noted as a more focussed guiding document. It seeks to target enhancements to member services recognising the limitations on resources, principally executive committee member’s time commitments.

The financial report was well received, with outcomes demonstrating the association’s ability to pivot to a blended conference and minimise the financial impact. FLANZ remains in a strong financial position going into the 2022-2023 financial year.

The Minutes of the AGM are available: AGM2022 Minutes

Embedding interactivity successfully into courses (Free Webinar)

Wednesday 22nd June 2022, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm New Zealand Time

ZOOM Webinar

In the last couple of years, educators and institutions have faced rapid changes to fully online learning and teaching. However, online learning can lack flexibility and interaction, due to a number of reasons. This webinar focuses on the highly relevant topic of how to embed interactive, flexible learning successfully into courses.

To achieve interactivity and flexibility in the online and face-to-face mode, expertise in design for learning has to be developed alongside technical competency so that the questions of how? and why? are considered in tandem. It is also important that educators move from technical questions and how a tool functions to the rationale for the use of a certain pedagogical strategy for which a tool could be used. Furthermore, underlying concepts need to be considered about how people learn, the type of learning required and ways to support learning to achieve a particular learning outcome.


Join this free FLANZ webinar to hear our presenters consider the following questions and more:

  • Why should we care about what students do and offer activities?
  • How can we utilise online learning to add value to face-to-face learning?
  • What are the underpinning principles?
  • What could embedding look like?
  • Which strategies work in certain situations and with a certain class size?

Our presenters will share their experiences through a short presentation or activity each, followed by time for questions and discussion. Their individual stories will combine to a rich canvas on how to achieve interactivity at various levels and contexts of learning.

Our presenters

  • Hinerangi Eruera Murphy (Ngāti Awa; Te Whare Wānanga ō Awanuiārangi in Aotearoa New Zealand)
  • Jacqui Thornley (University of Auckland)
  • Stephen Bright (Ngāti Kahungunu; University of Waikato)
  • Sue Tickner (University of Auckland)

Register for this free FLANZ webinar to receive access.