Friday, December 16, 2011

Review of 2011

This year is clearly one to remember. The earthquakes of September 2010, followed by the damaging February 2011 and large June 2011 aftershock, created a great deal of disruption for many and huge lose and sadness for large numbers of Christchurch residents. At work, we also had disruptions caused by two large snow storms (in July and August) and strikes from one of our teacher unions (September, October). So it has been a hard and trying year for students and staff. A year of having to continually cope with change. The good things that have flowed out of our experiences are the sense of community and solidarity that has arisen both at work, in our communities and with our families.

The challenges of rebuilding the city and its infrastructure continue. We are surrounded by constant reminders of the huge task ahead. Each day I view the shattered Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, situated across the road from CPIT. Workers steadily take it apart and carefully label and put aside each removed piece. For me the Cathedral represents what has happened over the year, shattered by the earthquakes but still symbolising that life goes on and that there is a future ahead involving the need to think creatively and to work hard at putting things back together again.

For me personally, the challenges of the year have been to complete projects, help staff cope with the disruptions and logistical issues brought about by losing access to CPIT for over 6 weeks. Completing these, along with completing final work on the PhD have been trying at times but rewarding now that all have been accomplished. Completing the ‘net tablets’ project with Katrina and Peter and their students has been particularly satisfying. This project has assisted much in building technology and research capability.

Over the year, I have also been supporting the writing of a new programme for approval both internally through the CPIT programme approvals committee and externally through NZQA. Despite the many starts and stops, the programme has now been approved and I am now working with the tutors on mapping the programmes’ learning activities and assessments.

A relatively quiet year for conferences but I managed to attend and present at the ones that were the most relevant. It was also good to be able to introduce Flip to the vocational education research circuit as we presented at the ITF NZ vocational education research forum and the NCVER no-frills in Coffs Harbour. I also did some good networking at the INAP conference that I hope to continue with.

As a whole, work on research outputs did slow down but one book chapter and one journal article (both on mlearning projects) have been published and there are two journal articles (from using video and multimodal discourse project) in press for next year. So overall, a good year to settle into my various roles as programme designer, staff developer, researcher and elearning advisor. I am now looking forward to a ‘thesis writing free’ summer with plans for several long tramping trips into the NZ Southern Alps / Mount Aspiring National Park.

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