Purpose of CFL - Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL)



Purpose of CFL

The Center for Flexible Learning (hereafter CFL) provides leadership and direction to stakeholders in all aspects of flexible approaches to learning and teaching at the University. Flexible learning is a state of being in which learning and teaching is increasingly freed from the constraints of the time, place and pace of these activities. For learners, flexibility in learning may include choices in relation to entry and exit points, selection of learning activities, assessment tasks and educational resources in return for different kinds of credit and costs. For the teachers it can involve choices in relation to the allocation of their time and the mode and methods of communication with learners as well as the educational organization. Flexible learning, as such, is a value principle, much like we see diversity, equity or equality in education and society more broadly. And in the contemporary world, both in the developed and developing contexts, technological tools and infrastructure are key components of it. The role of CFL is to support and help the University achieve its Strategic Plan KPIs in this area.

This work involves working with Faculties in the design and development of their academic programs for flexible learning and teaching, hosting and managing online learning technologies such as Moodle, including orientation and onboarding of students and staff in their use of Moodle, Lecture Capture, Mahara (eportfolio tool), TurnItIn, REACT and other learning technologies as they become available. It also includes the provision of a wide range of services to the University community in the production of educational multimedia, audio, video, graphics, photography, animation, and web design.

Developments in this space that will impact the core functions of CFL in 2018 and beyond include:

  1. Online education: Interest in online learning and teaching at USP is going to rise exponentially along with greater awareness and adoption of technology in teaching and learning more generally. Like print-based distance education, its predecessor, online line education is the great leveler as it affords access to educational opportunities to the disadvantaged and disempowered.

  2. Open educational resources: Awareness of, and interest in the adoption of open educational resources (OER) will grow in order to make education more affordable and accessible more broadly. When seen within the broader conversation around open educational practice in which the University of the South Pacific is a pioneer, the case for adoption of OER at USP will be clear and strong.

  3. Learning analytics: With growing interest in the use of technology and particularly digital technologies in learning and teaching at the University, as well as OER, there will be a commensurate rise in the need for data on staff and student use of these technologies and resources in their learning and teaching as well as perceptions of their value more generally. A great deal of this kind of big data is already routinely being generated by many of these technologies such as Moodle.

The role of CFL in providing leadership and direction to the University in these areas is going to be pivotal. In the coming years and beyond, this will involve:

  1. Hosting a plethora of technologies including Moodle to support the adoption and integration of flexible approaches to learning at teaching at the University;
  2. Orientation and onboarding of staff and students in these technologies for effective and efficient use;
  3. Leadership and direction in the conversion and revision of courses and programs for online and flexible learning to meet USP Strategic Plan KPIs;
  4. Nurturing of awareness in the University community about OER and its imperatives for teaching and learning;
  5. Development of an institutional policy in the adoption and integration of OER in learning and teaching at the University;
  6. Working with staff initially on the adoption of open textbooks and other OER in their courses;
  7. Collection and analysis of data on the behaviors and perceptions of students and staff of digital technologies in order to inform and promote excellent practices in a technologically enhanced educational environment.
  8. Leading and promoting research and scholarship in learning and teaching generally, and more specifically into the adoption and integration of learning technologies in flexible learning towards meeting the relevant USP Strategic Plan KPIs.

The role of CFL in these activities, and in the support of the professional development of academic staff in relation to these activities will be crucial, as it will be in the professional development of its own staff. This will include continued participation of CFL staff in courses/programs, workshops, symposiums, conferences and in quality enhancement programs like Quality Matters etc. that are consistent with the achievement of the relevant KPIs in USP Strategic Plan 2013-2018.






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