Virtual School Meanderings

May 30, 2011

Article Discussion – The First Blended Or Hybrid Online Course In A New Zealand Secondary School: A Case Study

A few days ago I mentioned this discussion in the entry [DEANZ] News To Interest School Members + ACODE Learning Technologies Leadership Institute, but I wanted to highlight a little more today.  The article, published in Computers in New Zealand Schools, is described as:

The first blended or hybrid online course in a New Zealand Secondary School: A case study

Sue Parkes, Pinelopi Zaka and Niki Davis

Abstract: Aiming to generate some guidance for effective online blended/hybrid education in secondary schools, this study examines a teacher’s first implementation of online learning in a Learning Management System (LMS) as part of a Home Economics course in a New Zealand high school. Further research is urgently recommended to inform professional and organisational development at a time when the government is ‘rolling out’ ultra-fast broadband to 95% of New Zealand schools. The research was embedded within the postgraduate programme in eLearning in which the teacher and researcher studied. Data collection included observations of the online and face-to-face learning environments plus interviews with the teacher and selected students. The positive outcomes of the blended course implementation in this case study included: opportunities for extended and flexible learning, development of ICT confidence and skills, enhanced interactions; independent learning with increased self management and higher order thinking skills; a variety of authentic resources; and the teacher’s professional growth. Challenges included students’ limited access to ICT, confidence, ability to self direct their learning and interact online; the teacher’s lack of previous blended teaching experience and limited school support and infrastructure. This study tentatively suggests that New Zealand schools adopting online learning consider the following strategies: ongoing review of student needs; design of concise course structure and outcomes; provision of onsite support for students including face-to-face interaction. Implementation requires commitment of teachers and school leaders plus ongoing professional development.

To read complete article, visit

The discussion, an asynchronous one, will be monitored until Friday, 03 June 2011.  Please visit to participate!

October 24, 2009

DEANZ Discussion – Video Conferencing In Distance Learning: A New Zealand Schools’ Perspective

deanzI believe this is the final item in The Journal of Distance Learning’s Online Discussions series.

Hello DEANZ member,

First, many thanks to Terry Stewart of Massey University for his availability and interaction this week based on his paper, “Interactive Scenario Design: The Value of Flowcharts and Schemas in Developing Scenario-based Lessons for Online and Flexible Learning Contexts”.

Next week (w/c Monday 26 October) we have Rachel Roberts (ePrincipal of Taranet) discussing her paper, “Video Conferencing in Distance Learning: A New Zealand Schools’ Perspective”. Rachel’s discussion is the last of the series associated with the latest volume of the Journal of Distance Learning. I will distribute the discussion thread link once Rachel has added her introduction.

A reminder on how to participate and how things work:

In order to take part in the DEANZ discussions you will need to login to the DEANZ website. On the left hand side of the site you will find a login block. Enter your username and password to login. A link to the forum will appear under the Members menu. If you cannot remember (or do not know) your username and/or password please click the [Forgot Login?] link under the member login block and follow the instructions. In the event that this fails contact Carol Cooper-Taylor at, but please try to retrieve your login details yourself first.

Authors will prepare an introductory post for the start of the week, along with some possible questions for discussion. Please make the most of this opportunity to engage with the ideas raised in your journal. Discussions are limited to DEANZ members only.

Please note that in order to best participate you will need to subscribe to the first message in the “Journal discussions” forum once logged in. Follow these steps:

  1. Click the “DEANZ Forums” link that appears in the Members Menu, following your successful login.
  2. An RSS feed is available for all forums from this page.
  3. You can also subscribe to email notifications (subscribing to a particular thread) by clicking the “Journal Discussions” forum, then the “Journal discussions for Volume 14, No.1” post. Above and below the actual message is a red “Subscribe” option. Click it to activate.

Please make the most of this opportunity to engage with our authors. I trust you will find them engaging! If you need any help whatsoever in participating (besides password issues), please email me or else Skype me – mark_nichols_nz (please mention you are a DEANZ member in your initial contact).

Best regards and enjoy the extended weekend!


Mark Nichols
E-Learning Specialist
Laidlaw College
Website:;; my ePortfolio

If you want to know more about this article, you can check out Article Notice: Video Conferencing In Distance Learning: A New Zealand Schools’ Perspective.

October 9, 2009

[DEANZ] DEANZ Notes October 2009

From my inbox yesterday.

Hi DEANZ members

The October DEANZ Exec meeting was held recently. Here are some snippets from that meeting.

Online discussions that follow on from the articles published in the most recent issue of our  Journal of Distance Learning are now well under way. Contributors Michael Barbour and Hamish Anderson have both completed their week of discussion and Chan Chi Wai will be wrapping his up as I write this.

The discussions are being held on the DEANZ Forums which you can access from the DEANZ site. Carol Cooper Taylor recently sent out information about gaining member access to the Forums. Simply follow those instructions and join in.

Thanks to Mark Nichols for organising the forums for DEANZ members. I hope you will take the opportunity to join in the remaining discussions. There are three more opportunities to join in these week long discussions.

  • 12 October Gary Mersham, “Reflections on E-Learning from a Communication Perspective”.
  • 19 October Terry Stewart et al, “Interactive Scenario Design: The Value of Flowcharts and Schemas in Developing Scenario-based Lessons for Online and Flexible Learning Contexts”.
  • 26 October Rachel Roberts, “Video Conferencing in Distance Learning: A New Zealand Schools’ Perspective”.

The Exec had an initial discussion about the possibility of moving the journal to an online format. The Exec agreed that this was a discussion that must include input from all members. You will be hearing more about this issue in the future. In the meantime Mark Nichols is continuing with the next issue and is still  seeking contributions.

We are still looking for contributors to the 2010 DEANZ Webinar series. This is an opportunity to share successful and innovative practices in distance education and e-learning. Let one of the Exec know if you are prepared to contribute or know someone who could do so.

Planning for the DEANZ Conference – DEANZ2010 – has proceeded at considerable pace. There was a lot of discussion about the conference at the Exec meeting and it was great to see the progress being made.

Keynote speakers are confirmed and a call for papers/presentations of various kinds has been circulated. Your input will help to make this conference highly successful. There are many ways you can be involved in the conference as a presenter. Most importantly, start writing your abstracts and/or papers now. Check out the conference dates, deadlines keynote speakers and information today.

Carol reported that she has ‘tidied up’ the DEANZ Blog. There is plenty to read there, as well as the opportunity to comment on the posts….

The next issue of the DEANZ Newsletter is being prepared. Nick McGuigan has things underway and several people have been approached to provide reports. It would be great if a steady stream of articles about distance education in New Zealand and the Pacific was making its way to Nick’s email address. If you would like to contribute to DEANZ this is a very low-stress way to do so!

Finally, a report entitled “The Horizon Report: 2009 Australia-New Zealand Edition” has recently been published. Gordon  mentioned this report and it was great to see that Derek Wenmoth had been a contributor to the report. The report “aims to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry within education around the globe over a five-year time period.” Read more…


Bill Anderson


Dr Bill Anderson

The New Zealand Association for professionals working in Flexible, Open and Networked Learning


Director, Distance Learning

University of Otago

PO Box 56

New Zealand

ph +64  3 479 5809

October 7, 2009

Online Discussion This Week: ‘Choice a la Carte’

inacolThis was posted to the iNACOL forums earlier today.

Online Discussion This Week: ‘Choice a la Carte’ Preview Day Today!

Current discussions of choice in education are generally restricted to choosing a school. But what if school choice meant every student could have a personalized education experience beyond the current school-centered vision?

Join us starting today, for a two-day online discussion with Education Sector’s Erin Dillon and Bill Tucker, Courtney Bell of Education Testing Services, Julie Evans of Project Tomorrow, Curt Johnson of Education/Evolving and co-author of Disrupting Class, Brian Dixon of High Tech High Flex, and Tom Vander Ark of Vander Ark/Ratcliff Partners to explore how new technologies and opportunities for learning are changing the context of education and whether choice can evolve to offer greater customization for all students within a public system.

Get your questions in today and join the conversation!…?doc_id=1030563

September 26, 2009

DEANZ Discussion – Today’s Student And Virtual Schooling: The Reality, The Challenge, The Promise…

journalcover2008smAs I mentioned at the beginning of the week in The Journal of Distance Learning – Online Discussion, over the past seven days I have been participating in an online discussion forum with DEANZ members surrounding my Journal of Distance Learning article entitled “Today’s Student and Virtual Schooling: The Reality, the Challenge, the Promise…” (see DEANZ Notes for additional information).  Here is a portion of the message that I posted to begin that discussion:

I graduated high school from Herdman Collegiate in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada in 1993. The year I graduated Herdman (a grade 10-12 school), located in a city of about 30,000 (the third largest city in the province) had 857 students and was the third largest school in the province. My school offered a wide range of elective courses, and when the Advanced Placement (AP) program was introduced into Newfoundland in my grade twelve year, my school was among the first to offer it. The AP program allows students in high school to take university level courses and challenge an annual exam that could grant them university credits for their efforts. Because my high school was big enough, I was among the first students in Newfoundland to enrol in an AP European History course.

Then I graduated from high school, went off and got my B.A. and then came back to Newfoundland and got my B.Ed.. After a year of substitute teaching in the capital region, I got my first full-time teaching position at Discovery Collegiate (a grade 8-12 school with 644 students) in 1999-2000. Discovery was located in a rural community of about 3500 people and its student catchment area was thirteen communities that combined had a population of about 5000. The only AP offered at Discovery were online AP mathematics and science courses offered through a district-based program. You see, in order to get enough students who were capable of and interested in taking AP courses they had to pull students from the 10 schools with secondary grades in my district and the 13 secondary schools in the neighbouring district.


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