Thursday, 28 June 2012

Horses II


Here's the basis for my next painting. I'd love to tell you that I did this sketch in just five minutes, but that's not really the truth. The truth is that last week I was going to start a new painting and I needed a subject. Couldn't think of anything, but horses. So an hour before my class was about to start I searched the net on my iPad and found a couple of nice pictures. Then my iPad ran out steam, so I had to leave it home to recharge and use my iPhone.

Well, that iPhone screen was really too small to work from - couldn't get the dimensions right. During that class my tutor couldn't believe that I was looking at this small screen, and he gave me (very old) picture books with English landscapes, African scenery (including zebras), and some 18th-century farm scenes, but that was not what I wanted. So after going through these books, I went back to my iPhone and started sketching. After my first sketch I got a lesson in 'horse-leg-anatomy', which was actually really good. Just so you know: horse legs are made up of 6 parts, and no matter from which side you're looking at it, you always need those six parts. You can see these parts clearly in the left front leg of the little horse: thigh, big knee, shin, bulb at the end of the shin, 'ankles', and hoof.

My horses at the end of that class looked really terrible. Legs too long, heads too small, legs too far apart... In the last five minutes I rubbed everything out and went back home with a 'blank' canvas.

This time I was a bit better prepared. Found the right picture, blew it up, colour-printed it and took it with me. But still - it took me three hours to sketch the above! A lot of rubbing again, as those legs are very difficult - you got to have the dimensions right, and initially, again, they were way too long.

But I'm getting there now. Need to do some tweaking of the bodyshape of the big one, but that will be okay. Can't wait to start with paint now. I asked the tutor how to start, and he said to do the dark parts of the horses first, and then removing paint where the highlights are - like on top of the knees of the little horse.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Sneak peek into my work

I thought I'll tell you something about my work at the university. As you know I am an Educational Technologist, and people like me work on the development of learning solutions. Whenever someone or an organisation has a 'problem' related to teaching, learning, education or training, we'll step in (if we are invited) and work on finding a suitable solution, like a new course, a training program, a whole curriculum, a workshop, often integrated with the use of new techologies.

Sooooo, at the university I'm working in the role of Instructional Designer at the Division of Health Sciences. I was taken on board as the second instructional designer of a project around Aged Care. The project's aim was to increase student placements in Aged Care, to offer interprofessional learning (IPL) activities (working together with other health disciplines on the treatment of a resident), and to develop learning resources for students around aged care to use while on placement.

The first instructional designer on the project was busy with the development of these learning resources, and something else: a workshop for clinical educators. Clinical educators are health professionals who supervise students on placements. In the health professions students have to learn the profession from doing it in practice, and that requires a lot of supervision. It is probably fair to say that almost every health professional, no matter in what discipline, will have to supervise students at some point during their career. Interestingly enough there are no formal qualifications for these clinical educators. It is just something that comes with their job and that they (have) to do.

In Adelaide we have three universities with health-related programmes, which means a lot of students who require placements. Our Health Division alone has 7000 students. These students have to go on placement for a certain amount of time each year of their studies, so you can see it coming: tons of students walking around in our hospitals, health clinics and aged care organisations. And almost just as many clinical educators trying to supervise and assess these students as best they can.

The feedback after each workshop for clinical educators made clear that clinical educators wanted more professional development opportunities, so we decided in December last year to develop a new program that would lead to a university qualification in practice education. I liked the idea of developing this program and took it up, as the other instructional designer was still immersed in the aged care project resources. I didn't know it at the time, but I made a good move there by creating my own work, as the aged care project was about to end in June (which is now) and the other instructional designer has to go as the funding ends with it. For my work we secured new funding up till the end of this year.

So I started the new year with analysing what the competition is doing in this area, what the feedback has been of participants of workshops and other training we have offered in the past around practice education, and where the gaps are. This led to a high-level design of the contents and structure of the new program, which will initially consist of two courses (Professional Certificate) and later on (next year) of four (Graduate Certificate). I have now finished the development of the first course, which is currently being reviewed by a small panel of content specialists. And last week we've secured approval of this new program, which means that we're allowed to offer it - our planned start date is the end of July / early August.

We are busy promoting the new programme and hear a lot of good feedback along the way. In April I've been to Tasmania delivering two workshops for practice educators, and I'll be going back to Tasmania in a fortnight to a conference - all part of promoting and finding out what's happening around us.

I think the didactic approach of the courses and the structure of the program is quite innovative for the university, and that's where the benefits are with having an instructional designer on board: the program will be offered fully online, we have weekly virtual classroom sessions for those who want contact with peers, participants can start with the whole program, just one course, or just a couple of modules that they are interested in, we'll hand out iPads on loan for those participants who don't have a reliable internet connection or computer (yes, there are rural and remote areas here in South Australia and internet connectivity is a huge problem, and there are lots of health professionals who share a computer a work), and we'll offer an individual coaching programme for the duration of the courses to those who want it. Oh, and each course has an (optional) face to face study day too.

So I'll be busy the coming time, as I'm also the course facilitator, in reality: the teacher. And the coach. Luckily I've got very good support from my team, which means we're all busy with this at the moment :-)

This program in itself will offer us a wealth of data on learning and teaching, so much so that I've started exploring the possibilities of a PhD. To be continued..

And then there are some smaller bits and pieces I'm working on or have been working on, and one thing was the redesign of the Interprofessional Learning Module for first year students. This was an existing module, where students from various health disciplines work in virtual teams together on a health scenario, but the module website wasn't very good and the learning activities could be improved too. So I've worked on that with a small group of others (a couple of tutors and my admin support), and the module ran successfully in May with about 800 students who went through it (when I was in The Netherlands). I think shere is still a lot to improve, but it's such a small component for students, it's not worth the effort.

Back to work now!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Finished my painting!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Painting class

First time painting with oil - result after my first class yesterday. Will work on it more next week.

Finding 'the right' art group is not easy, it took me some searching, as I wanted something that wasn't necessarily in town, but a bit closer to home. Artists aren't the best internet advertisers, and when you're new somewhere word of mouth advertising doesn't always work that well yet. But I found this tutor who'd founded an art group in the suburb next to us, and I found it quite nice.

He'd attached to his house this studio, where a group of about eight people could work on their paintings. So around 7.30pm one after the other arrived with all their stuff, set themselves up and proceeded where they'd finished last time. The tutor (Peter) walks around, asks you what you want to achieve, and corrects some things here and there, or gives hints. There are no 'lessons' with topics as such, it's more a workshop where everyone does their own thing, but in the meantime learns from each other as well.

I'm always amazed by what the most ordinary people can achieve, and this time it's no different. Quite a mixed group, four men, five women, all age groups. One German lady with a huge accent - I asked her how long she'd been in Adelaide: 47 years :-)

Peter gave me a board to paint on, he had some blobs of paint on a sheet of paper and a few brushes, asked me what I wanted to paint (no idea), if I wanted to paint the painting that hung on the wall (okay), so that's how I started off. First time with oil, so the behaviour of the paint in the beginning was a bit unfamiliar. But I think I like it a lot, as it's very forgiving, contrary to acrylic or watercolour, and the colours are rich and creamy.

To be continued, I said I'd come back next time.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Great match

Yesterday I played my second match for my golf team. My first match last week wasn't very memorable. I didn't like the course as it was very hilly, I didn't like the way I played either, and I was a bit impressed with my opponent, who (I told myself) was probably on this handicap (19) for years as she was an old dear and I just got there and needed to play really wel to play to it. Well, telling yourself stories like that don't help :-)
I lost big time.

This week I did some reading about match play strategy. There are basically two strategies: 1) be aware of everything your opponent does and react to that, and 2) forget everything your opponent does and just play the course. I decided to go with the second strategy, as playing on a different (and unfamiliar) course each time is difficult enough in itself, and also because last time I was really focused on my opponent and forgot my own game.

That strategy helped me a lot in keeping my cool.

We played at Mt Lofty (yes, another 'mount'), and the first tee had the nickname 'heart attack hill'. It goes very steeply straight up. The sun was shining, it was lovely out there. But rain was on its way. While we were waiting till it was our turn to tee off, someone told us that she'd seen the rain radar and that we didn't want to know what was coming our way. Instantly most ladies decided on the spot to deck themselves out for a deluge: rain covers, umbrellas, weatherproof trousers, rain coats, a whole transformation took place.

Then is was my turn. My first tee shot was okay, not great, but okay, and my opponent's one was fairly the same. Walking up the hill we noticed how wet and muddy the course was - we'd had a lot of rain lately in Adelaide and it was certainly noticeable.

I won the first hole, the next one and the third. An excellent start. We squared the fourth and by then the rain settled in. But it was more a persistent drizzle than anything else. On the 7th I was still 3 up, but I lost the 8th, the 9th and the 10th! Eeks. My opponent started to play a bit better, and I did a few stupid things. I have to say though, that my rescue shots were quite impressive, but I'd rather stay out of trouble to begin with.

So we were all square again. By then the rain became heavier, the course wetter, the balls didn't roll anymore, hands wet, glove wet, mud everywhere. But we had to keep going. At first we were looking forward to an early finish as I was up so much early on, but now we had to battle it out. And from here it was up one hole, square, down one hole, square, ...

We ended up all quare on the 17th. And I lost that hole! The match could now only end in an all-square if I'd win the 18th, or a loss for me if my opponent would win, as she was one up.
We both had great tee shots. Then my opponent had to hit first, ... and stuffed up her shot! It was pretty nerve-wrecking to the end, but I finished with a 2m putt that she couldn't match. So I won that hole, which made us all square again.

The hot soup afterwards, and later at home a very hot shower were the best part of the day. And The Voice :-)

Age is in Canberra at the moment, one can even say that he has dinner with Lois and Richard on an almost weekly basis.
Next weekend is a long weekend - Queen's birthday weekend. Did you see the water flotilla on tv on the Thames? With the music boat with all those dripping wet singers on top, singing on top of their lungs for the Queen? And that Prince Philip has a bladder infection now?

I'll have a couple of girls over for dinner tonight, and tomorrow I'll probably start another painting class.