Today was yet another discovery of complexity. I was talking to an amazing teacher (yes – another one!) and he was talking about how he has students who like to complete his internship unit outside the standard university timetable. This is fine with him as the convenor, it’s fine with the businesses these students are completing the internship with, it’s fine for the students as it suits their personal study needs. What it is not fine with is the payment systems.
Apparently, if a student enrols in a unit but doesn’t complete the unit when the administration information management says they should, they get a penalty. At best it’s a late payment charge (the student enrols in the unit after official dates) at worst they get charged twice for the unit (take the unit over January the system thinks you enrolled at both the end and the beginning of the year).
So far, the lecturer has handled this by knowing people who know the system and they do ‘work arounds’ on a case by case basis. However, if we are looking at flexible delivery of units, we need to consider flexibility in administration. If we offer units at different times of the year, students will need to enrol, pay and complete outside normal patterns.
Of course there are external impacts such as government census dates and funding allocation and the like. Which all means I have a new task – explore what is possible to create flexible administration to accompany flexible learning.