Today my course "Pedagogies for Flexible Learning supported by Technology" started. The course is part of the mastertrack Curriculum Instruction and Media Applications (CIMA) from Educational Science and Technology (EST) at the University of Twente (UT). The course deals with the issues and opportunities of flexible learning, different pedagogical approaches and the possibilities to support this with different kind of technologies. In relation to this we will be discussing the TPACK framework and the relation of all this with teacher support and professional development of teachers.
Today the main topic of the course was Flexibility. The interesting thing is that this topic has been part of my course for several years now (since 2004). During the discussion about what flexibility is and what this means for educational programs there really is a shift in the way people think about flexibility. 5 to 10 years ago people would talk about flexibility options that were mostly related to time and place (and predominantly about distance education). Today's discussion was more about flexibility in relation to choices with regard to content, entry requirements and teaching approaches. On the one hand all these flexibility options seem very attractive for both teachers and students, but when you think about putting all this in practice... a big challenge!
One other topic that we discussed today was the use of a weblog for doing the assignments. Not many students have experience in using a weblog and some of them think it is a bit scary that everyone can read what you are writing. Understandable, but my experience is that once they start posting messages they also start liking this way of communicating. Not only with me, but especially with their fellow students. And (very important for me as a teacher) I really think that students learn more deeply from posting on a weblog, because they are not only submitting assignments, but they are also reflecting on what they write and what they have learned!