Online development for school BoT members

MEDIA RELEASE – Distance Education Association of New Zealand (DEANZ)

27 May 2009

Online training for Boards of Trustees members a good move says DEANZ

Online training for school Board of Trustees members, supported by the Ministry of Education, recognises the tremendous contribution that distance education methods can make to training environments, says Distance Education Association of New Zealand (DEANZ) President Dr Bill Anderson

“Distance education is a proven way of delivering cost-effective high-quality training to large numbers of widely dispersed people. The training of the approximately 10,000 Boards of Trustees members provides considerable opportunity to leverage the cost benefits that distance education can create,” says Dr Anderson.

Dr Anderson says that while this initiative has its origin in an Auditor-General’s report that considered the cost effectiveness of Trustee training; cost alone should not drive the initiative. “Online training is as effective as any other means of training.”

“As with all forms of education and training its effectiveness is a result of the combination of good planning, good design of learning materials and resources, appropriate choice of technologies and effective online teaching.

The Ministry’s move toward online training for School Trustees must take account of all these requirements”, says Dr Anderson.

School Trustees are typically leading busy lives, often working and inevitably involved with their communities in a range of ways.

Distance education provides flexibility for such people and enables them to undertake the necessary training for their valuable role at places and times convenient to them.

It provides the benefit that they can easily make contact with a much wider, potentially national range of fellow Trustees to share ideas and develop new perspectives on their role and tasks, and still allows them to come together in groups when that is valuable.

The flexibility of online training also means targeted just-in-time training is possible.

“Many schools that Trustees are involved with will be using online resources and capabilities to enrich the learning of their students.

There are many examples of the use of distance education techniques in primary and secondary schools that illustrate just how effective distance education can be. Training for Trustees could take advantage of some of the lessons learnt through the experiences of schools” says Dr Anderson.

DEANZ sees the Ministry of Education’s initiative as a valuable example of the ways in which distance education can support education and training across all sectors of the New Zealand economy.

Global Six recognises Derek Wenmoth

GlobalSix.jpgI am pleased to be able to report that Derek Wenmoth, a long standing member of DEANZ, has been designated one of this year’s “Global Six” by the George Lucas Educational Foundation’s Edutopia, who, each year, select twelve US and six global educators who they consider are making a difference in education.

I am sure everyone at DEANZ feels like me that this is well deserved.

Open Content, Otago Poly and

Leigh Blackhall has posted an update on his blog on the developments in their Travel and Tourism courses.  They have an innovative IT policy down there!!

“Otago Polytechnic has adopted a Creative Commons Attribution copyright license and has been using the Wikieducator platform with other popular media sharing services to develop and publish Open Educational Resources and Practices. This article outlines some of the steps that the Polytechnic has taken, as well as some of the challenges being faced, and a vision for the future. It should be noted that this article has been written from the perspective of the author, and not necessarily from Otago Polytechnic as a whole”

As an aside: Quite a cool little article open content [Via the TALO list] “A little piece of thought food for you. It’s an article in the Educational Technology Magazine entitled “Towards a Global Learning Commons: ccLearn”, discussing the goals and problems facing open educational resources.  Link on

If you haven’t already done so, you should check out WikiEducator.

Open Poly wins award . . .

A ground-breaking Kiwi eLearning project led by The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand has gained a prestigious US$100,000 award from the United States-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Open Polytechnic received the award for its leadership role in a project that makes it easier and cheaper for organisations to deploy eLearning platforms to support online learning for students and employees.

Supported by $1.5 million in funding from the Tertiary Education Commission, The Open Polytechnic project team selected an open source eLearning system, Moodle, and made improvements to it for widespread release.


The Open Polytechnic was one of 10 winners in this year’s Mellon awards and the only recipient in the Asia-Pacific region. It was also the only winner outside the United States to receive the maximum US$100,000 in prize money.

“From The Open Polytechnic’s perspective it is very gratifying to have this kind of recognition both for our expertise and for our ability to take a leadership role in large-scale collaborative eLearning projects.”

Project leader Richard Wyles attended the awards ceremony in Washington DC on December 11 with Open Polytechnic Chairperson Douglas Langford.