Posted by & filed under mosomelt.

This post links to the following element of CMALT:

Wider Context
a) Understanding and engaging with legislation, policies and standards

[Statements here should show how relevant legislation, has influenced your work. You are not expected to have expert knowledge of all of these areas, but are expected to be aware of how they relate to your current practice. These issues will vary depending upon the country and Government policy.]

New Zealand legal context

Education Act 1989

For my first piece of NZ legislation to reflect upon I have chosen the Education Act 1989, specifically Section 162 (4) (a), which sets out the requirements for being a tertiary institution in NZ.

Section 162 Establishment of institutions

Section 162 (4) (a) (v)

In recommending to the Governor-General under subsection (2) that a body should be established as a college of education, a polytechnic, a specialist college, a university, or a wananga, the Minister shall take into account—


that universities have all the following characteristics and other tertiary institutions have 1 or more of those characteristics:

(i) they are primarily concerned with more advanced learning, the principal aim being to develop intellectual independence:
(ii) their research and teaching are closely interdependent and most of their teaching is done by people who are active in advancing knowledge:
(iii) they meet international standards of research and teaching:
(iv )they are a repository of knowledge and expertise:
(v) they accept a role as critic and conscience of society;

Section 162 (4) (a) (v) of NZ’s Education Act (1989) provides the requirement for universities in NZ to “accept a role as critic and conscience of society”.

Being very aware of my role as critic and conscience of society has always been a core part of my role as an ethics lecturer. In essence, like Socrates, in my role as ethics lecturer in a health faculty, I am trying to facilitate the ‘thinking student’ rather than a compliant, passive health professional. To achieve my own crusade in this direction I am very fortunate to sit outside the various disciplines I teach. Not only is my background not that of a nurse, an oral health professional, a medical laboratory scientist, a psychologist, an OT or any other of the 8 disciplines I teach but the small team of health law and ethics where I am situated resides outside all these departments as well. This creates distance, which may be disconcerting for students who anticipate being taught by ‘one of their own’- a nurse, an oral health practitioner,  but at the same time it facilitates the luxury of being the outsider, the naive inquirer – the person who asks – why do you think that? why do you do things that way? Where do you get advice? What is your purpose as a nurse, as a medical laboratory scientist?

So, you get the picture- I get to ask questions- lots of them. I get to ask questions that have no answers. I get to pose questions to students who are used to answers, to certainty, to absolutes, to things that can be measured, things that count.

I am not diminishing the fact that teaching content and knowledge is a core role of an health educator – to equip future health professionals with knowledge of skills for what can be known. To also equip them with research and enquiry skills so they can adequately keep abreast of knowledge as it changes in their field.

But aside from teaching and research there is this other part of my role- this critic and conscience- what an awesome job description – it is a licence to provoke, to challenge, to be that naive inquirer, to model provocation so that students will learn to think for themselves and, to challenge those in authority if need be.

Within my academic networks we often refer to this role of critic and conscience and as we have adopted many of our university practices from overseas, including the UK, I had assumed this was a common component of being an academic.

It was only when I came across The January 2017 Times Higher Ed article by Graham Virgo, pro vice-chancellor for education and professor of English private law at the University of Cambridge that I realised that this isn’t an attribute or responsibility of academics in other countries. Professor Virgo argues it ought to be and cites our NZ Education Act as legislation to aspire to. As he says, academics needs to “ embrace the freedom to develop new ideas, test received wisdom and examine controversial and unpopular positions.

In a climate where free speech is under threat it is good to know the law protects me but also mandates that I must be that critic. Health care can be a very political industry. Not only do I need to be that critic but I need to help my students develop their responsibility to also be those critics and the conscience of society; to be the ones who stand up for their patients, to challenge inequitable structures and ask the difficult questions.

This law definitely impacts on my use of educational technologies. Technology helps me  to be that critic and conscience but also to foster these skills in my students.

Critic and conscience enabled through technology

The Values Exchange is web and App-based learning community for ethical deliberation of health and social care issues, based on the Socratic approach of questioning. It supports students to consider controversial scenarios independently but upon submission of their views they gain access to the thinking of all other respondents. It has a fairly flat structure in that all users can load scenarios and all respondents get full access to all response. It is underpinned by values-based decision-making, which values all perspectives.

Screenshot 2017-11-09 08.43.40

The AUT Values Exchange home page;

This semester we have explored social issues, for instance the legalising of recreational marijuana and whether more companies should offer reproductive egg freezing but also we have used this technology to debate technology itself, with recent deliberations on whether parents should be banned from posting photos of their children on Facebook or whether CCTV surveillance is justified.  Students report that through its use they build confidence to better understand how they think, and why, as well as valuing being able to learn broad perspectives from their peers – perspectives that are arguable all ‘ethically’ correct. They say this helps them better understand others they work alongside as well as their patients as well as helping them thinking more deeply about everyday issues as well as ethical issues related to their practice.

I see them taking on the mantle as critic and conscience when they tell me they are now initiating family and peer discussions on ethical issues in society and when they get in touch after graduation to post a topical issue for current students to consider. For other colleagues who teach topics with greater objectivity (eg anatomy and physiology), there is perhaps less room for being that critic. That places extra onus on me to carry the critic role given the nature of the topic I teach. I am legally obligated to be outward looking and that role seems somewhat easier with technology.

Posted by & filed under mosomelt, 手记-blog.

A year ago, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) “temporarily” closed the Parent Resident Visa Category (PRV), aiming to clear out the 2000 applications that are already in the system. This is a decision made by monkeys with no brains, and I can’t see it getting any better under the new coalition government.

By doing this, INZ sent a very strong message to all the migrants in New Zealand:”Don’t make plans to get your parents here in New Zealand to stay permanently, because we can’t cope with too many applications.“, which is an indefinite statement that’s detrimental to their confidence in ever getting into a family reunification here in NZ.

I understand all the concerns INZ had, but INZ could lower the quota of the application selected, delay the process, or create a system for random, indiscriminate selection of applications, or create a support programme to make sure that by the end of the day, the number of visas granted stays the same but people’s confidence is not damaged. However, the INZ foolishly closed the application, and there is no definitive answer on the re-opening date.

I don’t want to get into the discussion of “Why getting your parents live here permanently?” sort of twaddle because it is obviously a wrong starting point; nor do I want to discuss Winston Peters’ “retirement home” bullshit, since it was all based on the false and misleading information. What I am saying is, stopping the PRV seems merely like a reckless reaction to a PANIC due to a lack of strategic planning, capability, creativity or simply common sense.

From what I have heard from within the local Chinese community and my own experience, parents come to join their children with a lot more than just a burden to our welfare system which the Chinese seldom take advantages of, they come with:

  1. their life savings,
  2. devotion to taking care of their children or grandchildren,
  3. peace of mind for the children to not have to worry about them being so far away,
  4. a treasured culture tradition that their children haven’t learnt in depth in their home country,
  5. their love
  6. their connections from their home country
  7. good medical insurance in their home country and NZ

Now all of these above were cut off directly or indirectly by INZ, which could have been avoided if INZ was more sensitive and creative about its policies. Moreover, their children’s hearts were broken because the future is indefinite, and INZ didn’t give them any other options but either no parents here or leaving. It makes me sad to say this, but if you add all the listed above up and translate it into monetary value, you will see how much INZ has dumped because its incapability to deal with issues like this.



Posted by & filed under mosomelt, 手记-blog.

As the front pages were all occupied by Ardern-Peters handshakes and their oversized grins, a very important hui was held in China, which will create a visible impact across the globe, including New Zealand.

You might have read it somewhere else over the media, telling you nothing inspiring but how Chinese president is gaining more power,  but I have to say, it is so very sad to see the ignorance and despair of the media to merely feed the readers with such a bias-provoking statement.

I would like to share with you what I’ve heard, read and understand the messages from the hui, and how they are relevant to our lives here in New Zealand.

The hui in China is called the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and it is about VISION, STRATEGY, AND ACTION PLAN for the next 30 years in China.

Unlike NZ government who isn’t able to make a plan for over a few years, the Chinese government works very hard to light a longer pathway for advancement without going through the industrial revolution and colonial expansion as the Western countries did.

But, is this even possible planning for 30 years ahead? Who’s making the decisions, on what basis? Let’s see the report in more detail:

1. Achievements


With decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. This is a new historic juncture in China’s development.

First, CPC recognised the achievements over the past years and identified that China has entered a New Era. Therefore, new solutions need to be created to overcome new challenges.

“Chinese characteristics” refers to a socialist country led by a major party: Chinese Communist Party, which means, unlike the Western political systems, the democracy in China is indirect, which means the Chinese people could elect their representatives to place votes at the People’s Congress to elect the government and make laws in China, in contrast to a national election. This is the current political system in China protected by the country’s Constitutions. If anyone believes this system is flawed, and some other better systems should be used, feel free to leave me a message about your reasons and evidence.

2. Change of the major challenge

中国特色社会主义进入新时代,我国社会主要矛盾已经转化为人民日益增长的美好生活需要和不平衡不  充分的发展之间的矛盾

As socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved. What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.

So the development in China is exceptionally fast, but it is not balanced or adequate. What is the indication?

Kenneth Jarrett, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, commented: “The era when China emphasized economic growth at any cost is now over. China enters an era of smarter and more balanced growth.”

3, Xi’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era 

On 24 Oct. 2017, CPC added “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” to the party’s Constitution. The amendment, approved by the 19th CPC National Congress, juxtaposes Xi’s thought with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. (Xinhua)

The sinicization of Marxism has never ended in China and the theories serve as the guiding values that are vital in the decision-making process in China. Xi’s Thought made amendments to the train of thoughts at different times of history to outline a strategy, based on reality and the results from the empirical evidence, so that the system can be bettered and bettered over time.

This is important because it is called a “thought”, sharing the same name with Mao’s thought, indicating the theoretical breakthrough is phenomenal.

A wide range of new ideas, thinking and strategies put forward by the CPC Central Committee with Xi at the core have been added to the constitution, including giving a bigger role to free market in resource allocation, imposing deeper changes in the optimisation of supply chains and structure, and renovating cultural products, etc. It also underpins 14 fundamental principles, ranging from ensuring Party leadership position, to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Xi believes that the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics means “Scientific socialism is full of vitality in 21st century China, and that the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics is now flying high and proud for all to see.”

4. Action Plan

▌ 综合分析国际国内形势和我国发展条件,从二〇二〇年到本世纪中叶可以分两个阶段来安排。

▌ Based on a comprehensive analysis of the international and domestic environments and the conditions for China’s development, we have drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of this century.

2020 – 2035, China will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized.

2035 – 2050, China will work hard for a further 15 years and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

The report is a 80-something pages long, you can read Xi’s book or the full report if you are really into it. However, you can see from the abovementioned, China is developing in its unique way to seek an effective and fast development, and in the meantime, maintain a peaceful and stable society.

Lin Yutang once said:”It is evident that the Chinese as a nation are more philosophic.” Here we can see how the Chinese government is leading the country under a set of philosophical theories based on the reality and empirical evidence tested and collected from the past decades.

It is not hard to see that China is rising to become a powerful country in the world, but from its long history and its policies, we could come to the conclusion that China is not seeking power through violence, war, intimidation or punishment, but through cooperation, genuine friendship and partnership, with mutual respect, understanding and support.

The Chinese see the nation itself as “礼仪之邦” (a country of decency and honour), it always treats other countries with warm hospitality (just ask anybody who has been to China). The CPC, being the major party in China for almost 80 years, cares for the people they serve.

Many western media claimed that China is rising and it is dangerous for other countries. But is China interfering into any other country’s business, like the war in Afghanistan? in Iraq? No! China is building roads and infrastructure, not military bases; to make friends, not to enslave them; to share a different point of view, not to impose an ideology and use it as the justification for their greed.

I think we should be happy to see a strong leadership team in China, since China is closely connected to New Zealand economically, and a stable and peaceful growing China is a good partner, isn’t it?

I once heard an Auckland councillor commented that:”it’s just a matter of changing the powerful mates, Americans, Chinese, British, it doesn’t matter. In my experience, the Chinese is a much better bully.” :) So, my last message is if you are going to do something that has any relevance to China, you need to learn about its government policies and its culture, and try to understand its way of thinking as a completely different perspective to ask the ultimate questions.




Posted by & filed under #cmaltcmooc, mosomelt.

G+ Hangouts have now been integrated into YouTube Live – so you don’t get Hangout event notifications via G+ anymore 😦

To join a Hangout Live discussion you need an invitation from the creator of the Hangout – you should be sent an invitation that will popup either in the Hangouts App on your mobile device (if you are signed in with the same email as your G+ account) or via being signed in to the Web interface at

We will invite participants to join the Hangout discussion 5mins before starting the YouTube Live broadcast, so login to either the Hangouts App or the Hangouts web page early.

If you follow the creator of the YT Live Hangout you should get an automatic notification when the Hangout starts as well – My G+ name is +Thom Cochrane

If you simply click on the YouTube Live link for the Hangout you will be able to view the Hangout once the broadcast has started, but not join in the discussion directly  – although we will enable the text comment feature of YT Live.

Posted by & filed under mosomelt.


There is something about a start line that seems foreboding – a point of no return. Self-doubt creeps in – am I ready to start? Have I done enough? Will I last the distance? But on reflection perhaps there is no good time to start; no time of perfect preparedness. And so, I’m launching into the CMALT accreditation process. I’m also trying to get my doctoral studies off the ground, complete the HEA Fellowship process and build a house so sometimes I feel I am squeezed to even find time for my day job!

I began the accreditation process last year but really only got as far as doing a draft of the contextual statement so hoping that the #cmaltcmooc will provide the structure and support I need to not only start but to finish. What happens in between is at present unknown, but I relish the experiences and shared learning along the way.