Every teacher at Unitec will spend the next 18 months developing the skills needed to implement a new and innovative style of learning.
Our vision is for all of the programmes we offer to be technology-rich and work-integrated by 2017.
In the next 10 years we are planning to spend over $200m upgrading and consolidating our Mt Albert campus, and $40m on support for technology, people and change.
CE Dr Rick Ede says the vision is to become a leader in contemporary applied learning, with the primary goals of creating highly employable and enterprising graduates, responding to industries and employers who need the skills and talent Unitec creates, having engaged and inspired staff equipped with the capabilities they need for the future, and financial stability.
“Basically the working world is changing dramatically and like most tertiary institutions we haven’t been able to keep up by trying to evolve current ways of doing things,” Dr Ede says.
“The value of qualifications and credentials as a proxy or benchmark for capability and potential of graduates is being increasingly challenged. Students are questioning the value they gain from an investment of tens of thousands of dollars and years of their lives for an uncertain employment outcome.”
Dean of Teaching and Learning Linda Keesing-Styles says the new direction is both exciting and demanding.
“We are asking teachers to confront their current approaches to learning and teaching and to stretch their practice into new approaches that are aligned with contemporary trends,” Keesing-Styles says.
“This includes highly student-centred practices, the utilisation of significant components of web-based learning and employing new practices such as gamification and makerspaces. These approaches can give both better learning of the subject matter, and help build the vital soft skills like teamwork, problem solving and collaboration.
Over the next three years every course we offer will be remodelled so students can be taught in these new ways.
To understand what works and what doesn’t we have built prototype classrooms to trial the new methods and technologies with teachers. Ongoing feedback from staff and students is informing how future spaces will be designed.
“We opened a prototype space in February and have been trialling it with a group of about 10 teachers and their classes, and we have opened more than 100 classes to small-group observation by other teachers,” Keesing-Styles says. “We ran an evaluation from February to May and will use the results to inform the rest of the build as well as other parts of our operation.”
The opening of a further, larger space in July will allow more staff and students to participate in and help design the future of contemporary applied learning.