New horizons: Conceptualising and commencing a new offering in Outdoor Education and Recreation at Flinders University.

Mr Joss Rankin1
1Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia; 2Outdoor Educators Association of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia


Flinders University has traditionally offered only one elective topic in Outdoor Education to students undertaking a Physical Education major or minor in a Bachelor of Education. In 2016 the question was raised as to whether there was value in continuing this offering or removing Outdoor Education completely from the program and the university. 2017 saw new staff appointed and the rhetoric shifted with strong advocacy for studies in Outdoor Education resulting in the offering of new topics and a formal study pathway in Outdoor Education and Recreation within the Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Activity. This presentation describes the conceptual underpinnings that helped structure the current offerings and plans for future intentions. We will explore how the program combines theoretical underpinning, practical experiences, threshold concepts, work integrated learning, curriculum and micro-credentialing in the delivery of its Outdoor Education studies. Insight will also be given into the outcomes and challenges from the first iteration of new topics. Future directions and lessons learnt will be a focus of conversation.

Joss is a lecturer in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University and a member of the Sport, Health and Physical Education teaching team. After some time working as an outdoor instructor and sport coach during his studies Joss worked in education for 9 years, predominantly as a Health and Physical Education and Outdoor Education teacher. His roles were in a range of schools in both regional and metropolitan South Australia as well as Cambridgeshire in England before moving to tertiary education to work as a lecturer in Health and Physical Education at the University of South Australia. In 2017 Joss moved to Flinders University and currently coordinates and teaches into Foundations of Physical Education, Introduction to Education in Outdoor Environments, Outdoor Adventures, Introduction to Outdoor Activity Leadership and Facilitating Learning and Development in Outdoor Environments. A major focus for Joss in beginning at Flinders University was to advocate for, design and implement their new offering in Outdoor Education. Joss has been involved in a range of sporting, physical education and outdoor organisations and continues to connect with schools through a range of partnerships. As a member of OEASA and ACHPER, Joss enjoys sharing his work at a range of conferences and continues to advocate for Health, Outdoor and Physical Education.

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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