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Durham 3-5 Sept 2002
A personal review by Rod Ward

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Marueen Smojkis The first paper of Thursday morning for the flexible learning theme group was A preceptorship programme for mental health nurses. A collaborative venture between education and a local mental health trust by Maureen Smojkis, Lecturer University of Birmingham. She considered the desperate support systems mechanisms in place and the role(s) of preceptors, and then went on to describe some of the organizational issues in the development of the programme. A reflective "Solutions Focussed" model is used in a series of study days to help preceptees in their adjustment to a new role.
Liz Clark, Head of Lifelong Learning, RCN Institute was the next presenter with a paper entitled Rhetoric and reality: Sharing outcomes and lessons learned from a web-based learning project in which she described Project GOLD (Guidance On-line for those Learning at a Distance. Liz described some issues surrounding the large number of Masters students undertaking distance learning from across the world and the bid funded under FDTL3 exploring the use of technology to support these learners, particularly in providing "discussion" opportunities and student support. A brief description of the external evaluation undertaken by a team from the University of Edinburgh was given which provided insights into the experiences of students and tutors during the project. Liz Clark
Due to worries about train travel I (and several others) left the conference at this point, so i can not comment on the final open forum and international panel.

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