Unpicking the Online PODs

So we see that Skills Funding Agency in England now measures the Percentage of Online Delivery and calls it a POD. We also saw in the last post that there are some rough and ready indicators of what can and can not be funded as online.

Generally I have no argument with what is fundable and I welcome this move because for too long providers where very risk averse in this online area.  I am more concerned about what is unfunded but even more for the activities not even recognised.

  • An online webinar delivered by a lecturer

Why is this is not funded as a POD?  To give  a personal example I have delivered some really exciting live webinars from deep in the heart of France  to my French language students in Derby.   And even without such distance a webinar can be a way of engaging students at a different time in a different way with a range of online social interactions (its not just a lecture online)

  •  Homework assessments that are undertaken on-line

Well this is a tough one! In 21st century learning where is the distinction between ‘class work’ and ‘homework’ and what is a homework assessment? Is is a formative or summative assessment? This is target number ONE  for an SFA re-wording so that this can actually mean something to us teachers on the ground .

  •  Email/telephone or online tutorials or feedback discussions.

Well yes I can see that phone calls and 1to1 emails may not be countable as class time. but ‘feedback discussions’ – Come on SFA – We all know that it is through feedback and discussion around the feedback that real learning takes place. Making this unfundable gives all the wrong messages about value of formative assessment! How about moving this from unfundable to mandatory?

What’s Missing
This is the bit we really need to explore and help SFA to get this right next time. The fundable / unfundable division is quite frankly based on a behaviouralist, input/output model of learning. Where is the recognition that online is a fabulous environment for collaborative learning and constructing knowledge through discussion and connections?

I agree that this fits uncomfortably into parameters of time (guided learning hours) and space (location on line or in class room) . SFA are quite right to protect our tax payers’ money from fraud and cheapskate teaching and so I feel educators all over need to help them to articulate a richer and more imaginative vision of the online learning that makes up the POD.

FELTAG Recommendation

Remember this whole thing was kicked off by FELTAG . Here is recommendation number 3:


FELTAG recommendation


One Response to “Unpicking the Online PODs”

  1. Terry Loane Says:

    Woops! I think the comment I made on your previous post (https://stirringlearning.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/brutal-pods-for-bods-10-of-funded-feskills-learning-to-be-online-what-what-really-is-online/) should really have gone here. To repeat my main point from that comment, I don’t think the FELTAG 10% is really about online learning at all. No, it is about promoting activities that involve NO contact between teacher and learner. That is why they have omitted webinars, submission of assignments online and email feedback from their definition of so-called ‘online’. Are we perhaps to conclude that the real agenda of government/SFA is to limit contact time in order to drive down wage costs?

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