The term flexible education is a broad container that can include everything from how, when and where courses are offered, to the use of emerging technologies, to the design of physical learning spaces. The TFFE interim report (August 2014) uses a deliberately broad definition that will be interpreted more concretely by the SFU community:
Flexible education at SFU encompasses the ways in which the university community collectively and individually designs, delivers and supports learner and instructor choice within academic programs in response to increasingly diverse student needs.
Technology is certainly an important part of the discussion—it is fundamental to online and blended learning and to learning models such as flipped-classroom formats, for example—but the Task Force believes that flexible education can encompass far more.
- What should classrooms look like?
- Do course schedules need to follow a semester system?
- What about giving students more choice in terms of how they are assessed?
- Can we support instructors who want to move their classes out of the lecture hall?
Ultimately, flexible education can be understood as the attempt to support creative and responsive teaching and learning approaches that lead to more engaging and effective student learning.