The start of the year’s been pretty rocky for the massage therapy programme. Over the last couple of months there have been 3 major shocks to deal with.

  1. Last December, I found out that the additional funding that we were expecting for developing online was not going to be available. This has put us in the position of needing to develop an online programme with the same level of teaching resource that we would have for delivering the programme as it stands.

    I think this is do-able. Our development model is to transfer our lesson plans to Activity Sheets (e.g.) on the WikiEducator platform. From these Activity Sheets, students will be directed to readings from their textbooks, individual or group activities, web-based resources, work on assessments, etc. This is much less intensive than the approach of developing textbooks and/or reading material online. However due to necessity, we will have to take the no-frills approach to development. 😦

  2. Just before Christmas, I was informed that our Bioscience lecturer was downsizing her workload and would not be coming back. This is a big deal for the programme. Bioscience is a pretty major part of our programme, and the plan is for it to be all online in 2008 (starting in semester 1).
  3. We’ve been talking with another department who has a communication module that exactly matches our requirements for communication in the first semester of the programme. They were also planning to deliver their module largely online with some block practical tutorials. It seemed a perfect fit until a week ago when I found out that they had decided not to deliver it online in 2008.

You can imagine how I felt at this point. Still no Bioscience lecturer, no Communication 1 lecturer, and 3 weeks to the start of the course!!!!!!

Sourced from Flickr.  Image courtesy of Lastexit

Luckily yesterday I managed to find a Bioscience lecturer who I’m very happy with, and is happy to take on the job of teaching for us. We also now have a communication teacher for our semester one course. What a relief. 🙂

To provide both teachers with some development time, we’re going to have to delay the start of both Bioscience 1 & Communication 1 for several weeks, but the flexibility of online teaching means that this is not too much of a drama.

Staff training is underway. I’ve had two training sessions with Ash & Irene, introducing them to the delivery model, and the technology platforms. Both have gone well. I’m now going to need to repeat this training with the newbies to get them up to speed. Luckily our new Bioscience lecturer (Ruth Lawson) has already authored an entire textbook on Wikiversity, and so is well ahead of me in the use of wiki-text.

It’s exciting to be almost into the term after 6 months of learning & planning, but there is still an insane amount of work to do….I guess that’s the case at the start of every year really.