Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cultural Aspects of Flexible Learning

I'm responding to http://flexible-learning-course.blogspot.com/2009/05/considerations-for-flexible-learning.html

Tasmania is outwardly a uniform culture but as in any part of the world, I expect, there is a significant level of diversity. Mountainous, but not quite as much as New Zealand, the island has many valleys. The Huon Valley with its long history of fruit growing, once apples now other fruits like cherries too. Below the Huon lies Cygnet where alternative lifestylers live side by side with the established community. The Derwent Valley, once known for its hop growing (still some), small fruit (raspberries and currants) and logging industries. Hobart, once a busy port with whaling and ship building industries at the end of the 1800s - now a sprawling riverside city of some 200,000 people. And I've only mentioned a very small part of the state. Ethnically we are a mix of the original inhabitants (descendants of the Tasmanian Aborigines) and the descendants of convicts and free settlers from Britain and migrants from all parts of Britain, Italy, Greece, Lebanon, most of Eastern Europe and more recently from Vietnam, Laos, Japan, China and Sudan as well as many other places.

What is the biggest source of variation amongst Tasmanian is not culture but whether you are in city or the country. Often as not the country has no broadband (although there is whisper that that might change soon), no piped water, no local doctor, maybe a local shop that sells bread, milk and basics while doubling as the local post office. As an inhabitant of country Tasmania I am passionate about flexible learning because it is one of the few ways available to me and others like me to access formal learning, that is via distance learning, online learning or skills recognition.


  1. Thank you for your comments on my blog about my ideas for a plan ! A question for you Dzyanna - do you have broadband yourself - you mention that the area that you live does not often have access - how do you find this type of study if you don't have access to the faster speeds? Is it sometimes frustrating for you? I agree that skills recognition is very much a part of learning, and something we should encourage more of.
    P.S. Tasmania sounds like a lovely place to visit.

  2. Hi Dzyanna.. ( I want to say Dizzy Anna!) From Australia originally myself, I've always wanted to live there - especially around the hauntingly beautiful Hobart. I think the writing of Richard Flannagan captures something of the spirit of Tasmania, The Sound of One Hand Clapping captures something of the late 20th Century migrant experience, and Death of a River guide capturing a similar feeling of loss and alienation for younger Tasmanians. My first trip to Tazzy was to join the protests down the west coast in the mid 90s, then again to walk South West and Overland. In early 2000 I was one of a group of digital artists staying out on Maria Island. All stunning scenery and wonderful vibes.

    I sometimes think Dunedin has something similar in feeling to Hobart.. but not being kiwi, I think the truth of it alludes me most of the time.