EDUCATION REVIEW series
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Recognising Tertiary Teaching Excellence Tertiary education inquiry: Productivity Commission’s findings Should University Entrance be abolished? Special Education Funding: Why we shouldn’t rob the secondary school sector Mind the gap: the void between a PhD and an academic career
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EDUCATION REVIEW series
The Productivity Commission’s recently released draft report on its inquiry into new models of tertiary education tentatively raises the suggestion of Student Education Accounts, the idea being that the Government’s annual investment into tertiary tuition and training could instead be divvied up between every resident. The upshot would be every 16-year-old having access to $45,000 to spend on training of their choice, at a time that best suits them. As I read about these Student Education Accounts, some immediate alarm bells went off in my mind, as I thought about the implications for many providers if such a radical funding change was to come to fruition. And as anticipated, there has been much press release-bashing of the concept, with some valid concerns being made. But these doubts aside, as someone who is passionate about lifelong learning, I can see real merit in the idea. The Commission’s report emphasises that students should be free to transition easily between providers. It also proposes a stronger advisory system for students prior to tertiary education. These measures, combined with the opportunities afforded by the Student Education Accounts, would certainly put students in the driving seat for their education. I also like how the Student Education Account concept brings much-needed equality to tertiary education, helping to remove the obvious and often insurmountable cost barrier for many young people. What excites me the most, however, is the departure from the same-old, same-old sort of policy discussions, to which we’ve become so accustomed in this sector. The Commission’s report doesn’t have all the answers. In fact, it has received a fair amount of criticism. But what it does do is open up the door to conversations about the potential for innovation and growth within a sector that can’t afford to sit still. Are Student Education Accounts the way forward? Let’s discuss it and find out.
Editor, Jude Barback
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John Boereboom, Gillian Dobbie, Stanley Frielick, Gus Gilmore, Jacinta Ruru, Judith Selvaraj, Chris Whelan
Education Review is distributed to key decision makers in the education sector and its distribution is audited by New Zealand Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). Distribution: 6450
Recognising New Zealand’s Finest Tertiary Educators
Blazing the trail for Māori lawyers
The link between research funding and rankings
Draft report: What the Productivity Commission found
The road less travelled: inspiring graduate journeys
Connecting with silicon valley: masterclass for ICT grad school students
Auckland ICT grad school: one year on
University Entrance: always a bridemaid?
Hitting the high notes: cool new quals for 2017
Special education funding: why we shouldn’t rob the secondary sector
Inclusion in our secondary schools: is policy at odds with practice?
Accessing New Zealand education from abroad: how easy is it?
Offshore delivery of education boosts economic growth
Turning research into real-world solutions
Mind the gap: the void between the PHD and an academic career
NCEA pass rate targets: a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
What does the tertiary education amendment bill have in store?
Showcasing New Zealand’s best research
Researching teaching: the importance of SoTL
Meeting mit’s new CEO
New tertiary education models around the globe: would they work in NZ?
Editor Jude Barback 07 542 3013 email@example.com Advertising & marketing manager Belle Hanrahan 04 915 9783 firstname.lastname@example.org COMMERCIAL Manager Fiona Reid production Aaron Morey Subscriptions Gunvor Carlson 04 915 9780 email@example.com images iStock
Postgrad & Research Vol 7 Issue 5
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Education Review series Postgrad & Research 2016 1
Back row (L-R): Associate Professor Martin East, James Oldfield, Dr Judith Bateup, Matthew Thompson, Dr Megan Gibbons, Richard Nyhof, Professor Darryl Tong. Front row (L-R): Associate Professor Tracey McIntosh, Dr Jian Yang – Chairperson of the Education and Science Committee, Hon Steven Joyce, Rt Hon John Key, Professor Jacinta Ruru, Dr Margaret Brunton.
Recognising New Zealand’s
top tertiary educators This year’s Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards saw a diverse range of tertiary educators recognised for their outstanding teaching efforts.
he Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards (TTEAs) celebrate New Zealand’s finest tertiary teachers, as recognised by their organisations, colleagues, learners and broader communities. Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, administers the awards, aiming to recognise and celebrate excellence in tertiary teaching and share good practice that has proven benefit for learners. A parliamentary dinner to celebrate this year’s awards was hosted jointly on 23 August by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Hon Steven Joyce, and Dr Jian Yang, Chairperson of the Education and Science Committee. A total of 12 awards were presented on the night for sustained excellence in tertiary teaching. Two were presented under the Kaupapa Māori category and a further nine in the General category. All Sustained Excellence winners received $20,000 and the Supreme Award winner received an additional $10,000.
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The awards were presented to: Dr Judith Bateup Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago Dr Margaret Brunton Associate Professor, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University Associate Professor Martin East Faculty of Education and Social Work, the University of Auckland Dr Megan Gibbons Head of School, Institute of Sport and Adventure, Otago Polytechnic Associate Professor Tracey McIntosh Kaupapa Māori category Faculty of Arts, the University of Auckland Dr Azra Moeed Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Victoria University of Wellington
Richard Nyhof Principal Lecturer, School of Engineering, Otago Polytechnic James Oldfield Senior Lecturer, Learning Capability Developer, Unitec Institute of Technology Professor Jacinta Ruru Kaupapa Māori category Faculty of Law, the University of Otago Matthew Thompson Senior Lecturer, Architecture, Building and Engineering, Otago Polytechnic Professor Darryl Tong Department of Oral Diagnostics and Surgical Sciences, the University of Otago Dr Rachel Zajac Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, the University of Otago
Blazing the trail for future Māori lawyers Professor Jacinta Ruru (Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui, Pākehā) from the University of Otago’s Faculty of Law was presented with the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence by Rt Hon John Key at this year’s Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards. Here, she shares her thoughts with Education Review on what makes an effective tertiary educator.
Congratulations on winning the supreme award at the TTEAs this year. What does this accolade mean to you? Ruru: It is an incredible honour to be recognised in this way by Ako Aotearoa and provides an amazing opportunity to highlight the possibilities of kaupapa Māori teaching within a tertiary environment including within a discipline like law. It is a real privilege to be kaitiaki of the korowai ‘Rau Aroha’ for the next year and to share what this means with my past and present students and colleagues. I also feel as if it is now creating a whole lot of new opportunities to connect with Ako Aotearoa past winners from many different disciplines, which is going to be great.
What do you think gave you edge over the rest of the winners, in terms of being selected for the Supreme Award? Ruru: I don’t know! All of the winners are so passionate about teaching and care deeply about tertiary student learning. I know I have been fortunate to have had many amazing students choose to do law and come into my classrooms. I am passionate about creating a new learning experience of law for students that is rooted in respecting the first laws of the country – Māori law. And I want to contribute significantly towards ensuring Māori law students enjoy the study of law and do well in the study of law.
Why are such awards important? Ruru: They provide an opportunity to deeply reflect on what and why we teach and how we do this. They provide an opportunity to honour all of the students who have come into our classrooms. They celebrate the importance of tertiary teaching and showcase some best practices to inspire others.
What led you to became a tertiary educator? Ruru: In some ways it was all chance and luck! I fell into tertiary study and then later in my third year at university I found law. I loved it as discipline of understanding society and the opportunities in law to create a more respectful society. At the end of my undergraduate law studies, the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago asked me to apply for a lecturing job: assistant lecturer, three-year fixed term. I’m not sure if universities still have this model but it was wonderful for me and the
university as it enabled them to develop a ‘grow your own’ model of the academic providing me with the chance to see if I liked academia, to enable me to experience researching and teaching. I loved it and have never looked back!
What do you relish about your job? Ruru: Seeing students succeed in the classroom and beyond in their careers. Inspiring students to learn more about the challenges and opportunities in law for social justice.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role? Ruru: Being the only Māori staff member in the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago in a discipline that has mostly been hostile to Māori ideas of law and Māori notions of justice has been hard.
What advice do you have for new or aspiring educators? Ruru: To have the confidence to create a learning experience that makes sense to you. To learn from mistakes and not be afraid to try different things. To think about learning in an holistic manner creating opportunities for learning beyond the classroom and for students to feel engaged and part of discipline and department. To believe in and recognise the depth of knowledge that all students bring with them into the classroom.
Where to from here? What are your next goals? Ruru: At Otago we have a new multidisciplinary research programme named ‘Poutama Ara Rau’, which is a five-year study exploring how matauranga Māori can transform tertiary teaching and learning. I’m really excited about this and how it will hopefully lead to some great national and international collaborations as we contribute to building up published research on indigenous learning at the tertiary level. Nationally, I’m really loving the opportunities with Nga Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence as we work towards helping to realise Māori leading New Zealand into the future. This centre brings together 21 partners and more than 150 Māori researchers from across the country, all committed to transformative research and learning including building the capacity and
capability of Māori postgraduate research and shining a light on the desperate need for New Zealand tertiary institutions, especially universities, to significantly increase the number of Māori academic staff to match the fast-growing numbers of Māori students. And of course to build on the momentum within the Faculty of Law at Otago for even greater student success, especially Māori student success.
s the first Professor of Law of Māori descent in New Zealand and the only Māori Law Faculty staff member at Otago University since 1999, Professor Jacinta Ruru is designing a new experience for students learning law. Her strategy brings greater focus to Māori experiences of the law, Māori relationships with land and Māori challenges for change in the classroom. In addition to being founder and director of an annual year-long programme for Otago’s Māori law students: Te Īhaka; Building Māori Leaders in Law, supervising PhD students and undertaking the role of Kaiāwhina Māori in the Law Faculty (primary support person for Māori law students), Ruru’s accomplishments include: two Fulbright Scholarships ninety publications promoting researchinformed teaching used as teaching material in law schools around New Zealand establishing the Māori Law Moot Competition at Otago co-designing a new multidisciplinary Māori programme focused on providing solutions to transform Māori learning founding and co-chairing Te Poutama Māori (Otago’s Māori Academic Staff Caucus) to encourage Māori research, teaching and service excellence co-director of Nga Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence. Ruru is described by colleagues as “incredibly generous in sharing her teaching experiences and expertise”. A former student comments, “In succeeding at the highest level and carving out a unique niche in her field, she gives others the confidence to do the same.”
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The link between
research funding and rankings Universities New Zealand Executive Director CHRIS WHELAN says research funding levels go hand in hand with international university rankings.
or those who take an interest in universities, one topic that comes up time and time again is the importance of international university rankings. And, every time rankings are discussed, the issue of research funding is invariably raised alongside them. The link is rarely obvious to those outside the university system, but it makes a lot more sense when you consider how the main ranking systems operate. There are three main ranking systems – Times Higher Education (THE), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (AWRU, sometimes referred to as Shanghai Jiao Tong). By necessity, the three ranking systems all tend to focus on what is relatively easy to measure and compare across the large number of universities that are ranked. For example, it is easy to measure the number of citations that academic researchers get in international publications, so all three rankings agencies measure this. By contrast, it’s much harder to measure teaching quality so only two rankings agencies attempt this. At a high level, the rankings for all three agencies are derived across four broad categories. In the table opposite, ‘Ratios’ refers to things like staff:student ratios, and the proportion of international staff and students to domestic staff and students – the argument being that international staff and students are drawn to higher quality institutions and higher ratios are a proxy for quality as staff and students vote with their feet.
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As you can see – research accounts for between 60 per cent (QS) and 90 per cent (AWRU) across the three ranking systems. In addition to research citation rates, research measures include surveys of academics (asking who they think are the best universities in their field of study), numbers of PhDs graduating annually, income from industry, and research income from all sources. This focus on research is somewhat deliberate, given how important knowledge production and knowledge transfer has become in the role of universities internationally as economies have become increasingly focused on growth through innovation and knowledge management. In New Zealand alone, universities generate more than $500 million annually through commercialisation of research. But what about teaching quality? Do rankings tell us much about teaching quality? The answer is ‘yes – sort of’ and it’s also partially linked to research. Two of the ranking systems have actual measures for teaching quality. THE tries to measure teaching quality by surveying academics at other universities and asking them which universities (other than their own) they think provide excellent teaching. By contrast, QS surveys employers of graduates and asks them to rate the skills and work-readiness of the graduates. AWRU doesn’t try to measure it at all. On top of that, scores for research are also an indicator, of sorts, for teaching quality. The main thing that differentiates a university education from other forms of teaching and learning is that it focuses on teaching students how to approach real-world problems, for which there either isn’t a straightforward solution or for which analysis, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are required to create new or innovative solutions. Partly because of this, universities typically require the majority of their teaching staff to be research active and at the forefront of knowledge in their field. This has a range of benefits:
Education Review series
Firstly, it means that the knowledge and problems being discussed are current and relevant. Secondly, it means the teachers can help students gain real-world skills in researching and carrying out all problem solving, critical thinking and critical reasoning that is required of good research. Thirdly, it means that teaching can be more interactive and responsive to student needs. Research-active teachers can pose questions of their students and bring their own knowledge and experience to whatever pathway the student thinking goes down. This approach to education is often referred to as ‘activelearning’ and internationally it is associated with significantly higher levels of student engagement, student satisfaction and student academic success. Fourthly, it means these academics typically have connections and reputations nationally and internationally. That greatly assists the research students who do master’s or doctorate-level qualifications under them and helps them produce the relevant impactful research that prepares them for careers in academia, industry and society. So, why did I say ‘sort of’ above when I asked whether rankings implied much about teaching quality? The reality is that an academic who is research active and highly knowledgeable about their field is more capable of being an effective university teacher than one who is not. However, that doesn’t mean they actually are a good teacher. Universities separately invest large amounts of time and money in developing, maintaining and measuring the teaching effectiveness of their academic staff. For example, university academics have received 66 per cent of National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards over the past five years, while only making up 46 per cent of all teaching staff across the wider tertiary education system. But little of that is measured directly in the ranking systems.
Broad ranking metrics clustered
The Productivity Commission’s recent draft report on tertiary education includes a recommendation that providers develop or adopt frameworks “for assessing and rewarding the capability and performance of tertiary teachers”. So there will be further discussions on this issue. In the 12 years since rankings were introduced they have become an almost universally used tool for universities to: 1. recruit academic staff. The job market for academic staff is international. A good academic teacher and researcher can get a job anywhere in the world. Half of New Zealand’s academic staff were recruited from overseas. In many cases New Zealand universities brought back New Zealanders who were studying or working abroad. Rankings provide a signal of quality to a potential academic staff member who may not know whether it is better to work for Harvard University or the University of Luxembourg. 2. recruit international students. Because there are no other robust mechanisms for students to compare one university against another,
rankings have become the default standard. Surveys show that around 90 per cent of international students at least consider the ranking of universities they are deciding between and for 40 per cent ranking is a critical part of their decision. 3. get access to international research partnerships. Governments internationally are looking to fund international research collaborations – recognising that these projects usually generate knowledge and benefits that greatly exceed what would be possible using just local researchers. Governments are increasingly targeting funding to joint-research based on the ranking of the overseas university. If New Zealand universities want to access these funds and to work with some of the world’s best researchers, they need good rankings in the relevant disciplines. 4. get access to international scholarships. As with research partnerships, many governments offer a range of scholarships for their brightest citizens to study abroad.
It is increasingly common for governments in countries like Brazil and Chile to limit the scholarships to universities that are, say, ranked in the top 100 or 200. If New Zealand universities want to attract these bright young people to study in New Zealand, they have to have the appropriate rankings. So, for a university to get access to good international staff, top international students, research collaborations with overseas universities and access to students via international scholarships, it has to score well in international rankings. To score well in international rankings it has to perform well and have a good international reputation – particularly with regard to research. And to have a good research reputation, a university has to have the funds to support a highquality research programme. This is why universities continue to talk about the importance of international rankings and research funding levels in the same breath. And it’s why universities keep pushing the Government to increase investment in research.
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Tertiary education inquiry
What the Commission found The education sector has had much to say about the Productivity Commission’s eagerly anticipated draft report on its inquiry into new models of tertiary education.
he New Zealand Productivity Commission says there is “considerable inertia” in New Zealand’s tertiary education system, with many tertiary providers clinging to traditional models rather than exploring more innovative options. This was one of the key findings discussed in the Commission’s draft report on its inquiry into new models of tertiary education. Reactions to the draft report’s 68 findings, 33 recommendations and 11 questions have been varied. Universities New Zealand is concerned that the Commission has failed to support many of these recommendations with in-depth analysis and evidence. “Our key concern is that this draft report does not yet provide a vision for a coherent and connected tertiary education system,” says executive director Chris Whelan. Industry Training Federation (ITF) chief executive Josh Williams, who has described the report as “wide-ranging” and “brave in places”, agrees that this should be the end goal of the Commission’s inquiry. “This inquiry is an important chance for the Government and all parts of the tertiary system to engage in a joined-up conversation about how our system is coherent, competitive, and innovative,” he says. The Government asked the Productivity Commission to investigate how trends in technology, internationalisation, population, tuition costs and demand for skills may drive changes in models of tertiary education. In February 2016 the Commission released an issues paper that looked at how the tertiary education system might respond to these trends. In response, the Commission received 102 submissions from interested parties.
More student-centred approach needed
The Commission says the prescriptive regulatory and funding rules are stifling tertiary education. The rules are limiting flexibility and constraining providers’ abilities to innovate. “The system is not good at trying and adopting new ways of delivering education and does not have the features that will allow it to respond flexibly to the changing needs of New Zealand and New Zealanders,” the report states. The Commission believes we need to move towards a system that is more focused on the student.
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“The system does a good job of supporting and protecting providers that are considered important, but it is not student-centred. Nor does it reach out, as much as it could, to extend the benefits of education to groups that have traditionally missed out on tertiary education.” Quality Tertiary Institutions co-chair Tommy Honey says the ideal outcome would be the tertiary education system picking up to ‘cruising speed’, allowing providers the freedom to get on with meeting student need and innovating more. The Commission’s push towards a more studentcentred system includes proposals for more flexibility for students to move between tertiary institutions. It says students should be able to mix and match courses from different providers more easily. The NZUSA is supportive of this idea. Study should be able to move with a student and their life needs, rather than penalise them by not acknowledging prior study,” says president Linsey Higgins. However, the New Zealand Union of Students’ Association is not so sure about the Commission’s suggestion of the Student Education Account. The Commission has raised the idea of changing the current funding approach to a Student Education Account system and is keen to get submitters’ views on this. It proposes that the $2.8 billion that the Government spent on tertiary tuition and training in 2014-15 is instead distributed to every resident who turned 16 that year; a young person could have access to $45,000 to be spent on qualifying courses of study that they and their advisors judge are best suited to their future. The Commission claims such an approach would result in a more student-centred system by improving access to education and providing more options to those who are currently missing out. The ITF is also cautious. “We support a student-centred system, but are not convinced that giving purchasing power to 16-yearolds will most reliably line up with industry skill needs, or promote high-quality provision,” says Williams. Sandra Grey from the Tertiary Education Union agrees. “Rather than tinkering with the measurement dials and privatising the system with a student voucher scheme, let’s free up the people in public tertiary education, staff and students, to get on with teaching and learning,” she says.
Other key recommendations The Commission recommends that competent institutions should be able to self-accredit.
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It also views the EFTS (Equivalent Full-time Student) as a barrier to more innovative education models that accelerate the delivery of learning. It recommends that the Government alter the definition of an EFTS to allow alternatives to the input-based ‘learning hour’ as a basis of calculation. The Commission recommends that the legislative requirements to bundle teaching and research are relaxed. It states that some of the more innovative models of tertiary education delivery in other countries involve greater specialisation in teaching. It says the performance-linked funding should be discontinued owing to the weak incentives it provides for good performance. It recommends that the Government has less control over tertiary education institutions, allowing them more autonomy and responsibility to provide them with the capability and incentive to direct capital investments towards new models of education. In a similar vein, it recommends that the Ministry of Education systematically identifies and removes regulatory barriers to new entrants of suitable quality in the tertiary education system. “While these may be threats to the market share of incumbent universities, the successful introduction of new models (such as international or aggregator providers) into the New Zealand tertiary education system could be a boon for students. It could offer students greater choice and access to new programmes and modes of delivery,” the report states. It also suggests that we should be better preparing students for tertiary education by reviewing career education in schools and the University Entrance standard. Ako Aotearoa director Dr Stanley Frielick welcomes the emphasis on developing career management skills and making it easier for learners to move between organisations and have their prior learning recognised. “As the Commission notes, this is especially important given the increased importance of retraining, upskilling, and lifelong learning. “This is a major opportunity to shape the future of New Zealand’s tertiary education system. We encourage all organisations with an interest in education outcomes to read and respond to the Commission’s report,” says Frielick. The Commission is now seeking submissions on the draft report by 21 November 2016.
The road less travelled:
inspiring graduate journeys Education Review shares the compelling stories of nine determined graduates from around the country.
Judy’s story Graduating with a PhD from the University of Auckland at the age of 68, Dr Judy Selvaraj is a poster girl for lifelong learning.
Judy Selvaraj graduated on 27 September this year with a PhD from the University of Auckland on policy analysis of inclusion and special education. Her journey to get to this point hasn’t always been easy, something that is evident as she reflects on how far she has come.
“For me to do the last two degrees [Master of Education and PhD)] involved much personal sacrifice. I have worked so hard over the past 20 years that I sometimes get teary about where I am now and how a girl from a poor suburb could achieve to these levels,” she says. The ‘poor suburb’ she mentions was Grey Lynn; while hard to comprehend now, when Judy was growing up it wasn’t the sought-after suburb it is now. She attended Auckland Girls’ Grammar School (AGGS) until the fifth form, where she was awarded a commercial prize for shorthand and typing. Judy relished her education – “learning came easily for me” – however, her parents needed income to help pay the rent and it was clear that her attention needed to be focused more on employment than further education. Upon leaving school Judy continued to develop her shorthand and typing skills at night classes. A teacher shortage in 1971 helped her find employment at AGGS as a commercial teacher of shorthand/typing and bookkeeping. Judy says she hated the inferiority she felt among the other teachers due to her lack of a university degree, and higher education beckoned to her. She officially trained as a teacher in 1974 and continued to work as a secondary school teacher right through into the 1980s, becoming a single parent in 1981. However, it wasn’t until her mother passed away in 1985 that Judy decided to pursue a university degree. Her mother was a huge inspiration for Judy as shown in the dedication to her at the start of her PhD thesis: “She passed, far too soon at 57, and she left a legacy of inspiration as I began my journey as the first female in our family to enter university.” “Some people probably think it’s a bit over the top,” says Judy of the dedication. “But I thought it was important to include. I’m glad I did.” Her mother had never attended secondary school herself, yet had supported Judy on her own path toward education and self-fulfilment. Judy completed a New Start Course at the University of Auckland; her A grades allowed her to enrol on a psychology degree there. She juggled
full-time teaching, solo parenting and working for the teachers’ union with her university studies, graduating with a BA (Psychology and Education) in 1994. She went on to complete an MA (Hons) in Psychology in 1997. She became interested in special education and took up a position in North Carolina that allowed her to pursue more research in this field. Returning to New Zealand in 2005, Judy then set up her own practice as an educational psychologist working with families and schools. She then completed a Master of Education, graduating in 2012 with first class honours, paving the way for her PhD in education, which she completed while continuing to run her business.
“I have worked so hard over the past 20 years that I sometimes get teary about where I am now and how a girl from a poor suburb could achieve to these levels.” Judy’s story is inspiring. It’s about hard work, beating the odds, and breaking the cycle. She sums it up beautifully in her introduction to her thesis: “As the first female undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD candidate in my extended family, ownership of this doctoral pathway also belongs to those single mothers and grandmothers who stoically ‘manage’ their households, despite having smaller incomes. Their time constraints and the wearing of ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ hats present daily parenting responsibilities and extra challenges above and beyond the call of duty. When embarking on a tertiary journey, their lives take on different meanings and they are immersed within the need to balance parenting and studying. To these ‘angels’ and others beginning this awesome journey, the message is simple. Education is lifelong and worth it. You can make that difference for your children.”
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records manager at the Waikato District Health Board but a project management course enabled him to take on the management of a charitable trust, the Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust, which aims to mobilise reading resources for underprivileged rural schools in Zimbabwe. “During the course of my studies, I managed to juxtapose the differences in the provision of library services for children in New Zealand and those in Zimbabwe and concluded that something had to be done to help to improve access to information for children in less developed countries,” explains Driden.
“The Open Polytechnic is the only institution that I know of in New Zealand that offers a degree programme in library and information science and you can study at a time that is convenient for you.”
Driden’s story After completing his degree at the Open Polytechnic, Driden Kunaka is finding ways of making a real difference to education in Zimbabwe.
childhood dream of being able to bring books to his primary school has driven Driden Kunaka to pursue his passion for books. He is now making a huge difference to the lives of school children in Zimbabwe. Having completed his Bachelor of Arts (Communication and Information & Library Studies) with the Open Polytechnic, Driden is realising his dream. Driden says the degree courses he completed were not only relevant in his current role as a
A Zimbabwean colleague who lived in Auckland asked Driden for advice on what he could do for the primary school he went to in Zimbabwe. “I told him if he had money to ship books to Zimbabwe I could get some books for him. He gave me the go ahead to look for books, and I did and got nearly a thousand books, which he shipped to Zimbabwe and were delivered to the school,” Driden says. The books made a huge impact. The head of the school said that academic results improved at the school after the books were received and used. “I then thought we could start a programme that mobilised resources for a few more schools. This led to the establishment of the Zimbabwe Rural
S Seteuati’s story Victoria University of Wellington postgraduate student and future secondary school teacher Seteuati Tulafono-Nofoaiga was awarded the Ministry of Education’s prestigious Kupe Scholarship. 8 Postgrad & Research 2016
eteuati Tulafono-Nofoaiga, of Samoan heritage, was among the 30 Māori and Pasifika student teachers from around the country to receive the Kupe Scholarship, presented by Education Minister Hon Hekia Parata. Kupe Scholarships are awarded to highly accomplished Māori and Pasifika student teachers based on strong academic success and demonstrable leadership experience. The scholarship helps fund course fees, and provides a study allowance, mentoring and job-seeking assistance. Seteuati Tulafono-Nofoaiga has been a tertiary and secondary school teacher in Samoa for 13 years, but began a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) at Victoria this year in order to teach in New Zealand. Seteuati says he is “very honoured and humbled” to receive the award that he hopes might encourage other Māori and Pasifika to study hard and apply for scholarships. Seteuati plans to teach Samoan studies at secondary school after he graduates.
Education Review series
Schools Library Trust, which has been registered as a charitable trust in Zimbabwe and in New Zealand. The trust intends to develop a model for library development for rural schools in developing countries.” Driden hopes that once the model is established in Zimbabwe he will be able to replicate similar projects in other countries where there is a similar need – something he has wanted to do since he was at school in Zimbabwe. “As a young child attending Nyamasanga Primary School in Chitomborwizi rural area in Zimbabwe, I used to visualise myself driving a truck full of books past the school assembly. I didn’t know about libraries then, but in the last year at primary school, I was selected to work in the book storeroom where textbooks that were not in use were stored,” he explains. “In 1985, unaware that there were courses offered in librarianship, I saw an advertisement in a local Zimbabwean newspaper calling on people to train as librarians. I applied and was called for interviews, and eventually accepted for the threeyear diploma in library and information science course offered by the Harare Polytechnic College. I wanted to advance to degree level, but there were no degree programmes in Zimbabwe at that time. When I moved to New Zealand in 2005, I found the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand to be the only option for me to up skill to a degree.” Working full-time and studying through the Open Polytechnic was the best option for Driden. “The Open Polytechnic is the only institution that I know of in New Zealand that offers a degree programme in library and information science and you can study at a time that is convenient for you.” While juggling a full-time job, family and charitable work was difficult at times, Driden, who celebrated his graduation this year, encourages those who are looking to upskill to pursue their study goals.
“I have an undergraduate degree in English and geography, and a Master of Education from Victoria University in Melbourne. But when I came to New Zealand, I felt it was important I promote my language. Too many Samoans have lost the language and the aim for me is to encourage Samoan descendants to have pride in their language, and their culture.”
“Too many Samoans have lost the language and the aim for me is to encourage Samoan descendants to have pride in their language, and their culture.”
Ben’s story Fulbright scholar Ben Simons reflects on the joys and challenges of researching the Yasur volcano in the remote Vanuatuan island of Tanna.
have always wanted a career that takes me to new, exotic and exciting places. This is most probably a result of my experiences as a child growing up in South East Asia. I returned to New Zealand to finish my secondary education, and shortly after started a BSc in earth science at the University of Waikato. I quickly fell in love with the natural sciences and continued with an MSc (my thesis topic was on the deposits of Blue Lake Crater, Tongariro).
After completing my MSc in 2013 I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in volcanology. I am currently working towards this goal by undertaking a PhD at the University of Auckland. My PhD research is focused on Yasur volcano, a small scoria cone located on Tanna, a rural island of 25,000 inhabitants in the southern end of the Vanuatu archipelago. Yasur is a persistently active volcano, one of only a handful on the planet. These volcanoes exist in a near-continuous state of eruption. Activity at Yasur consists of small Strombolian-style explosions that occur almost every minute from a number of summit vents. It is believed that this activity has continued without significant pause for the past 1,500 years. My research seeks to understand the controls on the processes that sustain such consistent activity over such long timescales. These processes, for the most part, are currently poorly understood. I hope to bring together an understanding of the deep internal dynamics (e.g. magmatic processes) with shallow-level processes (such as eruption dynamics) to build a unified model of the factors that control explosive eruption behaviour. The main body of my research involves three months of uninterrupted fieldwork at Yasur in which I am deploying a suite of monitoring and data collection methods (including thermal cameras, gas spectrometers, seismometers, ash and rainfall collection, etc). At the time of writing, I am living several kilometres from Yasur, having just completed my first month of fieldwork. Tanna is a rural island of roughly 25,000 inhabitants, which brings with it several challenges. There is very little infrastructure on the island and no electricity.
Charging my many pieces of equipment every night can be a struggle on generator power. If equipment breaks it may take several weeks to bring in a replacement, so learning to repair and adapt has been a huge part of my first month of work. Staying in communication with my family and work colleagues is also difficult as internet and telecommunications are limited. This is particularly taxing on my wife and son, both of whom I miss greatly.
“I learnt from some of the best volcanologists in the world.” In 2015 I was awarded a Fulbright Science and Innovation Award. I spent the time on my Fulbright exchange in Hawaii working as a visiting student researcher at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. This experience was an invaluable one. I learnt from some of the best volcanologists in the world, and brought back with me a great deal of knowledge that I can apply to my own research. While there I was fortunate enough to visit the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and get up close to the lava lake at Kilauea. My family and I (my wife and nearly two-year-old son) were able to experience life and culture in the United States, and we are happy to have been able to reciprocally impart some of our ideas and experiences as Kiwis. The Fulbright programme exposed me to an international community of brilliant minds and world leading researchers and I am truly honoured to count myself among them.
Jane’s story Jane Adams juggled raising young children while tackling an Otago PhD on the history of infertility in New Zealand.
hile working as a lawyer at a large Melbourne commercial firm, Jane and her husband conceived their first child after multiple rounds of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. Delving into IVF history, Jane discovered that New Zealand’s infertility history hadn’t been written and was inspired to take it on as a PhD topic, instinctively looking to Otago as an academic base. “I had graduated from Otago in 2001 with an Honours degree in history and a Bachelor of Laws. Professor Barbara Brookes had been my Honours supervisor and I was confident I’d work well with her again – she also had the expertise in my broader PhD area of reproductive health history. “My research centres around the history of infertility in New Zealand from the 1950s to 2004 with a particular focus upon medico-legal
responses. My other supervisor, Law Associate Professor Colin Gavaghan, is director of the Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies, so he had the requisite expertise in assisted reproductive technologies law. Otago, of course, is also home to New Zealand’s first medical school so the resources for studying the history of medicine are unparalleled.” Dunedin also appealed to Jane for being a relatively affordable and compact city for young family life. “Both my supervisors have been really supportive. I began my PhD in 2011, changed from full- to parttime in 2012 and deferred after my second child was born. The university’s personal performance and development coach Brian Johnston has been great, too, helping me figure out how to juggle part-time study and family commitments.”
Jane says her research interests include how the introduction of various new assisted reproductive technologies over time may have affected the way infertility was approached. “Gaining an understanding of this can reveal what factors shaped our current attitudes towards parenting and childlessness, be that involuntary or voluntary.”
“Both my supervisors have been really supportive.”
Education Review series
Postgrad & Research 2016 9
Ellyn’s story Ellyn Proffit, who is currently completing her Master of Nursing at Wintec, recently won Waikato DHB’s Nurse of the Year.
aikato Regional Cancer Centre clinical nurse specialist and Wintec postgraduate student Ellyn Proffit has been named Nurse of the Year by the Waikato District Health Board. The award is announced annually by the Waikato DHB as part of International Nurses Day, which took place last month. “It just doesn’t feel real,” Ellyn says. “The response I’ve had from people has been overwhelming. I even had the woman who helped birth me and my twin sister send me a message of congratulations!” Ellyn’s role at Waikato Hospital is to support, advocate for and educate young adults living with cancer across the Midland region. “I see it as an honour and a privilege to be a nurse. You get to help people when they’re at their most vulnerable. They will often share their deepest thoughts with you so you’re privy to a lot of things that people normally wouldn’t express,” she says.
“Cancer hits all walks of life and it can be a really scary time for these young people. My job isn’t just about helping people with their physical needs it’s also about being there for them emotionally and psychologically. I feel like I’m making a real difference in people’s lives.” Waikato DHB’s Director of Nursing Sue Hayward has been particularly impressed with Ellyn. “Ellyn has quietly and competently, while using her skills, worked with her patient population ensuring they and their families are as engaged as possible with their health journey. She seeks direction from this group so as to improve how services and care is delivered. “In a world where the focus on adults can take over, she presents and represents the needs of this group and their families extremely well.” Ellyn completed Wintec’s Bachelor of Nursing 20 years ago as part of the country’s first Tihei Mauri Ora class – a study stream of the nursing degree offered to Māori and Pasifika students. It provides
Wiremu’s story From struggling reader to doctoral candidate at AUT, Wiremu Tipuna’s journey is truly inspiring.
“I loved every moment of my Master of Arts journey as the topic I chose became my voyage of rediscovery and connection.” 10 Postgrad & Research 2016
iremu Tipuna’s journey through the education system to the point of doing a doctorate has been long and arduous. As a child he never really learned to read, write or spell and suffered humiliation and embarrassment at the hands of his teachers, family and peers. At secondary school he read – “if you can even call it that” – one book, so entering university was never an aspiration. Later in life, with the encouragement of his wife, he visited a specialist and discovered he was dyslexic, a diagnosis that brought a sense of relief. At the same time, he started a course in te reo Māori at Unitec which brought another realisation; the curriculum included Māori history and purakau Māori (mythology). “It was interesting what they considered to be knowledge and I realised I did have knowledge. I wanted to be able to articulate this in te reo Pākehā also but came unstuck.” Wiremu followed his reo Māori learning at Unitec by enrolling in a Bachelor of Arts (Māori
Education Review series
a culturally supportive environment and integrates areas of knowledge from both the western and Māori worlds. She’s now back at Wintec completing her Master of Nursing. Ellyn says that if it wasn’t for the supportive family environment the Tihei Mauri Ora stream provided 20 years ago, she wouldn’t have gotten through the programme and be where she is today. “It was such a supportive environment that set me up for what has been a versatile and rewarding career, and the continued support I get now from the Wintec nursing department while I complete my master’s is so valuable,” she says. Alongside her nursing role and full-time study at Wintec, Ellyn has spent the last 18 years volunteering with her twin sister at Camp Quality, a children’s camp for 5–16-year-olds living with cancer. She’s also a strong supporter of Canteen as a volunteer for the past nine years.
development) at AUT. To help with his dyslexia he began the Danks Davis tutoring programme, which he did for two years, attending workshops in the weekends where he developed coping strategies. “In my undergrad years I also received some fantastic support from the AUT disabilities office, which provided me with a note-taker during lectures and a reader-writer with extra time and my own space during exams. My undergraduate years, although they were very difficult and stressful, were the years where I further strengthened and developed the coping mechanisms learned with Zannie [Danks].” Wiremu planned to go no further than an undergraduate degree, but that all changed in his last year when he attended the Māori Pasifika Postgraduate Student Wānanga at the AUT Marae. “It was an eye opener for me and very refreshing to see Māori and Pasifika students of different ages pursuing postgraduate study, thus the excitement of being around those Māori higher-level thinkers became the stimulus for my postgrad journey. I loved every moment of my Master of Arts journey as the topic I chose became my voyage of rediscovery and connection. “The tools developed during my MA journey and the Intergenerational Knowledge Transmission model based on a whānau, hapū whakatauākī, has become the notion of knowledge I would like to further explore and develop. My passion within my current employment role is to assist Māori to find academic success and thus my EdD journey excites me.”
Mahonri’s story University of Waikato’s PhD student Mahonri Owen is developing a prosthetic hand that can perform the basic functions of a human hand.
ahonri Owen was awarded a Health Research Council Māori PhD Scholarship worth $111,550 at the start of 2016, and more recently he received a $30,000 Rose Hellaby Postgraduate Scholarship. “Life is never the same when you lose a hand or any body part for that matter – through injury, or
warfare, genetic dysfunction or illness,” Mahonri says. “What I’m attempting is to design a braincontrolled prosthetic hand that is easy to produce, easy to adapt to and affordable – one that can restore function and quality of life in a better, faster and cheaper way than we’ve seen before.” He is making progress. His research has seen him make several different hands using an Arduino micro-controller and off-the- shelf components. His skeleton hand was made using on-screen CAD (computer-aided design) to map out the mechanism. He then created the 50-plus components using an Objet 30 3D printer, which lays the design down in resin 0.3 of a millimetre at a time. As one layer hardens, another is added until the skeleton is built up. The first hand took seven hours to print.
Using electroencephalography (EEG), the hands are able to execute basic movements, such as open and close. What Mahonri wants to develop is a more sophisticated hand. “I want to make my own EEG headset specifically for hands. So when the brain says ‘pinch’ or ‘point’ that’s what the hand will do.” Mahonri says being able to control a robotic device with the brain is a hot topic worldwide and as far as he knows he’s the only person in New Zealand who is working on an anthropomorphic robotic prosthetic hand. He says the use of neural interface (brain control) would also increase the rate of prosthetic acceptance. “The trauma and pain that accompanies the loss of a limb is hard to overcome, physically and mentally, and if my research can make recovery easier, then I’ll be very happy.” Mahonri (Ngāti Tuwharetoa and Ngāpuhi) has had good support from his iwi over the years, but he says he wouldn’t be able to complete his doctorate without the help of his scholarships. He was one of two New Zealanders to be awarded a Rose Hellaby Postgraduate Scholarship this year. Rose Hellaby was a visionary and benefactor who in 1969 established the Māori Education Fund with the New Zealand Guardian Trust (now Perpetual Guardian) to provide education opportunities for young Māori.
Keith Tetzlaff completed a Master of Educational Leadership and Management at Unitec.
raduation is a nice culmination of four years of solid work!” says Keith Tetzlaff, Papakura Central School’s principal, who has just completed a Master of Educational Leadership and Management from Unitec Institute of Technology. His students might ponder why their principal “at the older end of the spectrum” keeps studying. “As an educator I am always on a learning journey, taking my learning further, and developing skills and knowledge. The master’s is engaging and challenging – a process of ‘reading, research, practice and reflection’ – which has changed how I practice leadership. “The whole programme is in the context of teaching and learning with children at the centre, always considering the implications for schools and what is happening for the children.” Keith’s thesis covered the nature, leading and development of senior leadership teams. “I was surprised that leadership teams in primary schools were not already well researched. The topic is personal and relevant and I feel great satisfaction contributing to the extension of knowledge in this field.
“My thesis shows leadership is a shared responsibility. School principals need to promote and share leadership responsibility with their senior leadership teams and understand that as teams develop they go through stages of forming, storming, norming and performing – it’s not always an easy process. Relationships are the single most important feature of senior leadership team success.” Keith says completing his degree has “had its moments”. “You have to have perseverance and selfmotivation, but that’s good because perseverance and self-motivation is a requirement of my role as a principal.” Leading up to study, Keith took his time to find a programme with a strong reputation and practicality. “Unitec’s Master of Educational Leadership and Management is a well-recognised qualification with minimal impact on the school day. The way the programme is structured allowed me to study part-time and had block courses during the school holidays which meant not having to go to lectures at the end of a busy work day so I could give 100 per cent to work and study.”
“The whole programme is in the context of teaching and learning with children at the centre, always considering the implications for schools and what is happening for the children.”
Education Review series
Postgrad & Research 2016 11
ict grad school
Connecting with Silicon Valley:
masterclass for ICT Grad School students
The first cohort of master’s students at Auckland ICT Graduate School had their eyes opened to all sorts of possibilities when they were treated to a masterclass from a Silicon Valley tech guru.
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olycom’s co-founder and chief evangelist Jeff Rodman joined students live from Silicon Valley using video collaboration technologies to deliver a masterclass on creativity and innovation. Auckland ICT Graduate School master’s students from both the universities of Auckland and Waikato participated in the masterclass and Q & A session. Rodman says he was “absolutely delighted” to meet with the New Zealand students to share his experiences about what a truly great idea can achieve. “It has never been a more exciting time to be joining the ICT industry as the impact of digital transformation and ideas like the workplace of the future continue to reshape the way we work, regardless of industry,” he says. His presentation focused on creativity and how to harness innovative ideas. “When people ask me what is creativity, I often talk about blue sky ideas. More often than not blue sky ideas don’t always tie to existing ideas or the way people think. Part of the fun is translating these ideas into something that brings value to the users.” Students were split into breakout groups to complete a series of ‘Practical Creativity’ problems developed by Rodman. Three groups then reported their findings to the wider audience. The students got a lot out of the class, many relishing the chance to interact with someone like Rodman, who holds over 40 patents and has built Polycom into a billiondollar organisation since co-founding it more than 25 years ago. Student Ashwin Silveira says Jeff Rodman provided a different insight into how IT actually functions.
Education Review series
“It wasn’t just about having the skills for a specific job or task but also some added ingredients like creativity, ability to solve problems, communication that actually helps you flourish in an ICT industry,” he says. Fellow student Mark Rodrigues agrees. “Deep subject knowledge and technical skill is mandatory – you need that, but it is not enough. Given the rapid changes in our area of study, in the IT sector, the ability to retain enthusiasm and love for the subject is what will lead to success, however you may define the term. Jeff showed us in practical terms, directly and indirectly, how we need enthusiasm, commitment and passion to succeed.” These students are at the forefront of New Zealand’s technology sector, which NZ Tech has described as the fastest growing and third largest export earner for the country. Auckland’s ICT Graduate School started in November 2015 and is a collaboration between the universities of Auckland and Waikato. It is one of three graduate schools to which the New Zealand Government has committed more than $28 million over four years to develop. In its first academic intake year, students are studying towards a Master of Information Technology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology. University of Auckland computer science professor (and director of Auckland ICT Graduate School) Gillian Dobbie was pleased to give students a taste of Silicon Valley with Jeff Rodman’s talk. “Auckland ICT Graduate School aims to give students industry experience while they study, providing them with the opportunity to make and build connections with the ICT industry,” she says.
ict grad school
Auckland ICT Grad School
one year on
As Auckland ICT Grad School approaches its first birthday, the school’s director PROFESSOR GILLIAN DOBBIE talks to Education Review about getting the new school off the ground and how it is well placed to help meet the needs of a rapidly growing IT sector.
How do you think the Government has approached the skills shortage in ICT at the training level so far? Dobbie: The approach to solving the ICT skills shortage is two-pronged. The first prong trains people, who have a degree in another area, in IT. The second prong takes those with IT training and prepares them for industry. We offer two qualifications, the Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology and the Master of Information Technology. The postgraduate certificate provides technical training to people who have a degree in areas as diverse as business, law, medicine and the arts. The master’s provides complementary skills and an internship to those who have an information technology undergraduate degree. The approach seems sound, offering IT training to those who already have critical-thinking skills and ensuring those who are IT trained are industryready.
combination of technical-skill focus courses and complementary courses, the internship component and the extracurricular activities. These prepare students for industry, developing professionalism and business awareness. The companies that we have spoken with were excited about our existence as the Auckland ICT Graduate School provides a platform for companies to find the ‘right-fit’ talented IT graduates. The companies that have taken interns have all reported that it has been a very positive experience for them, and the students rave about their experience with the companies.
The ICT grad school is a recent addition to the university – how have students and industry found it? Dobbie: There has been a lot of support from many quarters of both universities to enable us to do things outside the usual structures. In our first offering of the postgraduate certificate, we had students from a range of backgrounds, including one who had just completed his law degree, engineering students and a statistics student who had been in industry for a couple of years, and an arts student who had majored in languages. They have different backgrounds and different skill sets, so one of our challenges is making the material relevant to each of them. The students have reported that the feeling of cohort and working as a part of a team helps them in their learning and their sense of belonging in the programme. Industry representatives on the Industry Advisory Board have been impressed with the topics that are being covered in the master’s. Industry likes the programme structure that Auckland ICT Graduate School offers to students. The differences between this programme and traditional programmes are the
With technology such as what we saw in Jeff Rodman’s masterclass, do you think that this could potentially work on a wider scale, especially when you’re now competing with so many courses that are online only and don’t have that class interaction? Dobbie: We trialled video conferencing between Waikato and Auckland over the 2015–16 summer for some of the academic and industry presentations. It works well and can save travel time. Having said that, the postgraduate certificate is quite intense and students learn programming better in labs with face-to-face contact with the instructor, tutors and their peers.
“It wasn’t just about having the skills for a specific job or task but also some added ingredients like creativity, ability to solve problems, communication that actually helps you flourish in an ICT industry.” How does the University of Auckland ensure that the skills are always relevant, given the rapid speed at which technology evolves? Dobbie: The currency and relevance of skills is ensured through our close ties with industry and the most current research in IT. Industry relevancy is ensured through our independent advisory group and a governance board, which are both chaired by industry representatives who meet regularly. Working as interns also exposes students to current industry practice. The academics and university staff who teach into the programme and present at workshops are experts in their own fields, attending either academic or professional networking events.
Have you found more strength and resources when partnering with the University of Waikato? Dobbie: Through partnering we are able to combine our geographic and academic strengths. The school can draw from students and serve industry north of Taupo, instead of only north of the Bombays. This enables us to tap into students and industries with different characteristics and demographics. Each university has its own strengths. The partnership enables us to take advantage of those strengths.
It was mentioned that the students studying in the masterclass come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including one who was a police officer. Given the skills shortage, how enthusiastic do students seem to be when it comes to learning higher technologies? Dobbie: The students are keen to learn. The postgraduate certificate can be taken part-time or full-time. Many of the full-time students have been working in industry and have chosen to come back to study. The part-time students are in full-time employment, so they are choosing to give up their spare time to learn about current technologies. The master’s students cover technical and complementary courses. The technical courses introduce new technology, while the complementary courses cover topics such as innovation and management. The students are really interested in new technologies, and find the complementary courses completely different from courses they have taken in the past.
Education Review series
Postgrad & Research 2016 13
University Entrance: always a bridesmaid? DR JOHN BOEREBOOM says University Entrance (UE) has always been the bridesmaid of the New Zealand secondary school qualifications. In this article he questions whether the present requirements for entry into universities are fair and valid.
enerally, eligibility for entrance to New Zealand universities is controlled by the University Entrance (UE) qualification, which is administered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Universities often impose additional requirements for competitive selection into limited entry programmes. In particular, universities set various rank score requirements for performance in the best 80 credits at Level 3 of the New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Entry into some programmes or year 1 courses may also require special prerequisites in terms of students’ performance in specified NCEA Level 3 subjects or Achievement Standards. The present structure of UE evolved as a result of a major paradigm shift in assessment for New Zealand school qualifications from a normreferenced system to a standards-based system. Prior to the introduction of the current Level 1–3 NCEA, the senior secondary school qualifications in New Zealand in year 11–13 consisted of School Certificate, Sixth Form Certificate, and University Bursary. For each of these qualifications student achievement in a year-long course was represented by a single global grade. This enabled students to be easily ranked and compared. Entry to university required an A or B Bursary, or three C grades or higher in University Bursary subjects. In addition, students needed Higher School Certificate as evidence of the completion of five years of secondary schooling. The NCEA is the main secondary school qualification in New Zealand. It was introduced at Level 1 in 2002 and fully implemented at Level 3 in 2004. NCEA is a standards-based qualification comprising internally and externally assessed Achievement Standards and Unit Standards, which have a credit value. Student performance against the standard is reported using a Not Achieved, Achieved, Merit or Excellence grade. The transition from a norm-referenced to a standards-based national assessment system required NZQA to reformulate the requirements for entry to university. Currently the requirements for entrance to New Zealand universities consist of completion of NCEA Level 3, including at least 14 credits in each of three subjects selected from a list of NZQA approved subjects. In addition,
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students need to have completed 10 credits at Level 2 or above of literacy (five credits in reading and five credits in writing) and 10 credits at Level 1 or above of numeracy. NZQA is currently reviewing the current University Entrance requirements to “ensure they are working as intended and are relevant and up to date”. The current numeracy requirement of 10 credits at Level 1 or above seems insufficient as a preparation for successful study at a New Zealand university. International comparisons show that starting in 2017 the requirements for admission to a German university for students who completed their secondary schooling in New Zealand has been raised to “14 credits in mathematics or calculus made up of seven credits at Level 3 and seven credits at Level 2 or above” (Assessment matters, 2015).
It is time for NZQA to abolish University Entrance and replace it with a more simplified and transparent system that does not need a website to explain it. The current literacy requirements for UE are 10 credits at Level 2 or above, including five credits in reading and five credits in writing. On the surface this seems adequate. However, there has been a gradual expansion of the Achievement Standards, which can contribute credits towards meeting the literacy requirement. It is difficult to see how some of these standards can be used to demonstrate reading and writing skills. Examples are ‘Chemistry 91387: Carry out an investigation in chemistry involving quantitative analysing’, which predominantly involves students in practical work and graphing and tabulating data. Another example is ‘Drama 91517: Perform a substantial acting role in a significant production’. While both of these standards involve reading and writing, it is difficult to argue that this prepares students adequately for writing an essay or a
Education Review series
report at first-year university level. A tightening of the range of standards that contribute to the literacy requirement would enhance the predictive validity of UE. The disappearance of norm-referenced scores and the new University Entrance regulations required universities to develop a new mechanism for selection of students for entry into limited entry programmes. This was somewhat problematic since it is difficult to rank students in a standardsbased system when students present with a Record of Learning that contains a multitude of A, M and E grades. A process was needed for the conversion of NCEA grades into numerical grades that could be aggregated into a single indicator. This led to the pragmatic adoption of the NCEA rank score for the best 80 credits, which is currently used by some universities as a selection tool for programme entry. Students applying to study at university are allocated a rank score based on their best 80 credits at Level 3 or higher over a maximum of five approved subjects and 24 credits per subject, weighted by the level of achievement attained in each set of credits. The maximum rank score is 320. The weightings used to calculate the rank score are shown in the table below.
NCEA rank score weightings NCEA grade
There are several challenges to the validity of the NCEA rank score as a selection tool for entry and as a predictor for future academic achievement. Prioritising credits that are attained with excellence in the calculation can cause a disproportionate contribution of a single subject to the NCEA rank score. This limits its usefulness as a predictor for academic success in a broader range of first-year university courses. The weightings allocated to A, M and E grades in the NCEA rank score are arbitrary. The proportions of students gaining A, M or E grades vary from
University Entrance subject to subject. Some subjects are more difficult than others. The number of students gaining excellence may be lower and consequently these subjects do not contribute equally to the NCEA rank score. Internally and externally assessed achievement standards are treated equally in the rank score calculation, even though the proportion of students gaining excellence in internally assessed standards is generally higher. The rank entry score is only based on Level 3 NCEA grades and does not include a compulsory student attainment requirement in the literacy and numeracy components of University Entrance, even though these skills are vital for successful study at university. In addition to the requirements for programme entry, universities often have NCEA prerequisites for entry into particular courses. For instance, at Victoria University (2017) entry to MATH 177 requires at least 16 AS credits in NCEA Level 3 mathematics or statistics, including AS 3.6 (differentiation, AS91578) and 3.7 (integration, AS91579). There are differences between universities in the way the rank score is calculated and applied and prospective students need to study the requirements carefully. Clearly the present NZQA award of University Entrance is inadequate for universities to use as a standalone tool for determining entry to university
and needs to be supplemented by the use of the NCEA rank score and course and programme entry requirements that vary from university to university. The NCEA rank score for the best 80 credits may be a reliable tool for ranking students but lacks validity because it does not provide a balanced representation of students’ abilities in the courses for which they are applying and ignores the vital literacy and numeracy components of UE. Since the days of getting UE accredited, University Entrance has always been the bridesmaid of the New Zealand secondary school qualifications. It is underpinned by an inadequate numeracy requirement and convoluted literacy requirements and lists of approved subjects. It is poorly understood by students and parents and is constantly under review. The following quote from the NZQA website shows how convoluted the requirements have become: “Where standards count for either Reading or Writing, an individual student may not count credits for both Reading and Writing. Nevertheless, it is possible to split a standard to satisfy the requirement for at least four credits in Reading and at least four credits in Writing.” University Entrance is irrelevant to employers and universities have had to supplement it by introducing rank score requirements that are useful for selection but often invalid for specific programmes.
It is time for NZQA to abolish University Entrance and replace it with a more simplified and transparent system that does not need a website to explain it. The obvious answer is to use NCEA Level 3, which “is designed to: acknowledge achievement across a range of learning fields, particularly those identified in The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, and to attest to minimum levels of literacy and numeracy”. This would show faith in the robustness of NCEA and allow it to come of age. Universities can then set prerequisites for specific courses and programmes, based on attainment in Achievement Standards which are relevant to the proposed course of study and are a more useful and valid indicator of the likelihood of success in the proposed course of study. Dr John Boereboom is the director of the Centre for Educational Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at the University of Canterbury. For references to this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Teaching Languages Positive Behaviour Support * TESOL Complex Educational Needs Computer-assisted Language Learning • Specialist Teaching • Curriculum and Pedagogy • Maths and Science Education *
EDUCATION, HEALTH & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
Subject to NZCUAP approval
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Postgrad & Research 2016 15
Postgrad quals Dame Malvina Major will lead Waikato University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Opera Studies.
hitting the high notes:
Cool new quals for 2017
Education Review highlights a number of exciting new courses on offer for New Zealand postgrads next year, ranging from opera studies to disruptive technologies to community leadership. University of Waikato: Postgraduate Certificate in Opera Studies
Singers keen to have an international career in opera will be able to refine their vocal skills and learn techniques for career survival in a new course being offered at the University of Waikato’s Conservatorium of Music. Led by Dame Malvina Major, the Postgraduate Certificate in Opera Studies is the first and only one of its kind in the New Zealand university system. It involves a 12-week intensive programme, designed to engage students who are interested in developing a career on the international opera circuit, to prepare them for competitions and auditions, emerging artists’ programmes and performance – a bit like a finishing school for would-be opera singers.
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“We’ve brought together a group of high-calibre musicians and teachers to lead the course and who’ll work with the students on language, acting and stagecraft and recitative – all the essential elements needed to be an opera singer,” says Dame Malvina. Some of those visiting teachers are Stuart Maunder, head of Opera New Zealand, tenor Simon O’Neill, mezzo sopranos Helen Medlyn and Isabel Cunningham, sopranos Catrin Johnsson and Anna Pierard, musical director Jose Aparicio, and vocal coach Michael Blake. The students are required to perform oratorio excerpts for the public after six weeks and at the end of the programme they’ll stage part of an opera. The next intake for the Dame Malvina Major Postgraduate Certificate in Opera Studies is in A Semester 2017, running March to June.
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Unitec: Master of Applied Practice (Technological Futures)
From early 2017 (subject to approval) professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs working in the technology and business sectors will be able to study for an innovative new Master of Applied Practice – Technological Futures, through Tech Futures Lab. Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of relevant emerging technologies, their impacts, and how to forecast disruption and lead through unprecedented change. The specialisation is designed for those who want to harness the opportunities emerging technology presents, including those who want to re-engineer their careers. Tech Futures Lab and its partner Unitec Institute of Technology co-designed the flexible and
intensive specialisation that allows participants to tailor study to individual professional aspirations and the needs of their workplace. They’ll be able to develop specialist knowledge in new and emerging disruptive technologies such as automation and robotics, data science, machine learning, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. Unitec and Tech Futures Lab engaged with a range of iwi, as well as community and industry stakeholders, including Orion Health, Datacom Limited, Callaghan Innovation and ASB Bank, during the specialisation’s development. Masterate candidates will customise for approval their own assessment criteria and then map how they’ll meet it over an intensive one-year master’s work-based research project. “It’ll be an intensive year for professionals and leaders who will bring their work context and understanding of their profession or business and in a research environment design, complete and evaluate a project that contributes both to their professional development and the development of their workplace, business or profession,” says Dr Craig Hilton, associate professor in Unitec’s Te Miro transdisciplinary network.
Massey University: Te Aho Paerewa, new Māori-medium teaching degree
One of the country’s first postgraduate qualifications in Māori-medium initial teacher training is being launched by Massey University. Te Aho Paerewa will help provide kura kaupapa Māori with highly qualified teachers and give people with degrees the opportunity to move into teaching. Programme coordinator Professor Huia Jahnke says Te Aho Paerewa builds on the success of the university’s refreshed undergraduate programme Te Aho Tātairangi, which delivered its first graduates this year. “We’ve seen how a collaboration between the university and the kura kaupapa community has worked for Te Aho Tātairangi and we feel excited to extend the options and offer a postgraduate qualification.” says Professor Jahnke. The programme, which is delivered entirely in te reo, is field based. Students are hosted by a kura hāpai or community that provides them with support and practical experience. Study is done through Massey’s distance portal, with students coming together to attend on-campus wānanga or block courses throughout the year. The programme is delivered in partnership with Te Rūnanganui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa, giving the students access to many of the key experts and leading architects of kura kaupapa Māori. The programme is currently recruiting students and is set to start in 2017.
University of Auckland: Master of Social and Community Leadership
The University of Auckland has two proposed new qualifications for 2017, the Postgraduate Certificate and Master of Social and Community Leadership (subject to approval).
Both programmes connect to provide those working in the sector with the opportunity to grow their knowledge and expertise and have been developed to meet changing needs across the sector. These changes include the need for more innovative solutions to complex social problems and the idea of working creatively alongside other sectors such as politics, business and social services to make a difference. As well, there is increasing demand from government for more accountability from the sector and organisations are monitoring and evaluating the impact of social and community programmes to ensure they are actually working. Strong leadership is intrinsic to meeting these changes and making them work. The master’s programme spans 18 months and has been designed for flexibility with part-time options. Lectures and block courses will be held at the university’s Faculty of Education and Social Work based at the Epsom Campus and supported by online resources and independent study. It will include a 90-point supervised research thesis – from field work settings for many students, and from home organisations for others. Core components of the course will include learning by doing, case studies and external guest lectures from those who are leading the way in social innovation and entrepreneurship. Students will learn leadership skills across a broad range of key areas and gain a critical understanding of social change and innovation within a social justice and human rights framework. They will develop advanced skills and approaches in applied social research, sector leadership, programme design, implementation and evaluation.
Victoria University: Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice)
A new arts degree, launching at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017, will enable graduates to hone their design, film making, film scoring, sound design or theatre skills for a career in the creative industries. The Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) has a unique focus on developing professional skills alongside practice-based research. As well as completing a major self-directed creative project over the summer, students in the intensive one-year degree study arts management and marketing, and are given an internship at one of Victoria’s creative industry partners. Open to both domestic and international students, the interdisciplinary degree will be taught across the School of English, Film, Theatre, and Media Studies, Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music and the School of Design. Each year there will be at least 20 prestigious scholarships available, 10 for international students ($24,000 each) and 10 for domestic students ($6,000 each). Professor John Psathas, professor of composition at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music, says the Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) will give students a high level of professional mastery, as well as critical, collaborative, craft and practical skills. The intensive nature of the qualification also adds to its appeal. “Students will undertake a creative project where they will be mentored to showcase their abilities and push boundaries. The internship will provide invaluable workplace experience and contacts, helping students find their feet in the world of the arts.”
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Postgrad & Research 2016 17
It is an untimely and woeful move to remove funding from the compulsory education sector, based on an assumption that an older student with learning needs will not require this long term.
T Special education funding: why we shouldn’t rob the secondary sector DR JUDITH SELVARAJ says we need to seriously consider whether pitting the compulsory sector against the non-compulsory sector is a good idea.
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he Special Education update published recently by the Ministry of Education has been criticised by Sandy Pasley (Secondary Principals’ head) who says that “to lose some funding from secondary sector would be quite dramatic”. Dr Wales, Special Education head, argues that spending rises sharply when children turn five and peaks when they are seven to eight years old. He claims that the funding is best distributed at a younger level. That proposal is flawed as previous special education reviews have said otherwise and to take funding away from the compulsory sector to another that is bulk funded will inevitably place thousands of students at risk and is a move to privatise special education. Equally, it does not fulfill the intentions of the Education Act, 1989 and places the Government in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 4). The New Zealand compulsory sector has waited nearly 27 years for a national commitment to inclusive education. And now the Government is pushing an agenda, similar to that of the 1990s, of bulk funding special education, retaining language foreign to that of ‘inclusion’ and ‘inclusive educational practices’ and setting up a funding mechanism that does little to foster the rights of all individuals within the current law to be educated regardless of disability. We need to seriously consider whether this radicalisation of a new funding model for special education that removes an entitlement from the compulsory sector to that of the non-compulsory sector is ideal and why this Government is pitting one sector against the other. Questions of who will monitor the spending of the special education bulk fund in the early childhood centres must be answered, as these are private businesses whereas the compulsory education sector is not permitted to make a profit. Secondly, early childhood educators are trained by many different providers and who will monitor the training programme and will the compulsory sector teachers have to pay for their up skilling? Thirdly, how will these private providers train their teachers? Will they increase their early childcare costs so that parents will be paying? After all, the private educators are in business to make a profit. Fourthly, has the Government seriously considered the disastrous outcomes for those students with learning support needs within the compulsory sectors if their funding and support ceases? Does the Government have a transitional plan for these students for the next 10 years? It is an untimely and woeful move to remove funding from the compulsory education sector, based on an assumption that an older student with learning needs will not require this long term. Simply put, it is the wrong move and will seriously derail previous input for these students. The OECD funding spent per student by this Government, as indicated by the NZEI, suggests that New Zealand is not in the range that we should be given the ‘richness’ of our country. It appears that, under this proposal, there are two groups of special education funding in New Zealand: those students in the compulsory sector who are funded by the Ministry of Education and those who will be bulk funded. That system does not juxtapose well with either New Zealand’s commitment to the Salamanca Statement or alongside the argument of the rights of the individual student. Simply put, it does not enhance the idea of social inclusion.
Inclusion in our secondary schools: is policy at odds with practice? With the Government poised to make dramatic changes to special education policy, Education Review looks at Dr Judith Selvaraj’s recent research, which investigates the mismatch between policy and practice when it comes to implementing inclusion in New Zealand’s secondary schools.
ith a background in secondary teaching, special education and educational psychology, Dr Judith Selvaraj is well placed to cast scrutiny on the quality of services available for children with special educational needs in New Zealand. Earlier research undertaken for her Master of Education found there were ongoing concerns among parents that the compulsory sector was not adequately catering for these children, with many students’ families being required to pay for their assessments to access Ministry of Education support. Selvaraj wanted to delve deeper into the idea of inclusion and how it was implemented; this was to form the basis of her PhD, completed this year. Guided by expert supervisors in the School of Education at the University of Auckland, she set out to gain a comprehensive understanding of the divide between the policy rhetoric of inclusion and its experiential reality. Three questions formed the basis of Selvaraj’s doctoral thesis, involving the development of special education policy in New Zealand; how teacher education looks at inclusion; and how secondary schools respond to their students’ additional needs in relation to current Special Education policy. Selvaraj’s motivation for this topic grew from her earlier experiences as a secondary school teacher and polytechnic tutor in the mid-1980s. At this time neo-liberal reforms swept across the country; the Picot Report and Tomorrow’s Schools triggered huge administration changes in New Zealand education. One significant change was that all students could be enrolled at their local schools. The word ‘inclusion’ was used for the first time in this context. However, critics of the notion of inclusion have also indicated this was a way to ‘manage disability’ within the notion of neo-liberalism and so began the debates amongst educators about the notions of inclusion, special education and disabilities. In covering the history of inclusive policy development and implementation, the research also looked at the events following the Education Act 1989 and how the plethora of special education policies and changes took hold and created confusion for educators in the 1990s and 2000s. Selvaraj used the multiple study model of thesis presentation as it encouraged a mixed methods approach and enabled careful triangulation to corroborate data from various sources. This enabled her to provide a context-specific snapshot of inclusion within teacher education, secondary schools and within national and school documents about inclusion. It was imperative that the study
was able to make more explicit the typically messy intersection of policy and practice. The challenge was how to bring these three distinct aspects of the problem together in discussion and analysis. In this complex examination of inclusion, Study One examined a large sample from the standard one-year graduate secondary teaching education programme to gather their attitudes about inclusion and experiences of inclusive education practices. Study Two wanted to consider, by interview, the in-depth understandings about attitudes towards inclusion and how each secondary school approached their inclusive educational practices from principals, heads of learning support and classroom subject teachers. Study Three used document analysis alongside the empirical data and was positioned as a frame against which the emerging findings of Study One and Two were considered. Collectively the three studies made convincing claims concerned with forging inclusion and policy, inclusion and special education, inclusion and links between teacher education and secondary schools, and funding. Moreover, the research exposes a system that is underserved by policy and that relies on administrators and practitioners in schools to embrace their own strengths in making inclusion a reality. Questions are raised about the role of pre-service teachers’ education; questions that are underscored by the less than favourable findings that suggest graduates of secondary pre-service teacher education are ill-equipped to operationalise the goals of inclusive educational practices. The evidence generated by the pre-service teachers – and further supported by the voices of the secondary teachers – showed an alarming lack of awareness of how to construct, sustain and engage with students through inclusive educational practice.
Barriers to inclusion in secondary schools
Selvaraj believes that secondary education is ideally positioned to be a major site of social and educational inclusion. However, she notes several barriers to this. There is a compromised funding system in place that does not support all students and strongly argues for a national commitment. There is a complacent and muddied understanding about how existing secondary school teachers would be upskilled and whether the Ministry of Education is committed to providing a funding mechanism, outside school’s operational grants, for the current secondary teaching sector and its educators. Terminology is another barrier. The persistent use of the term ‘special education’ that arises
from separatist logic of some educators creates barriers to securing broader educational and social changes. The overuse of the word ‘diversity’ as a synonym for inclusion is misleading and belies the use of the term special education and makes invisible precisely those students who have additional learning needs. Conversely, the term ‘special education needs’ has allowed attention to be drawn from a student’s disability since these students are not a homogenous group. The Ministry of Education website that forges inclusion and inclusive educational practices is, in Selvaraj’s opinion, a generic plan only to assist schools. The use of words such as ‘diversity’, ‘disabilities’ and ‘special educational needs’ do little to clarify how school practitioners, families and educators can understand the definitions and operationalise these within schools. The use of these words also suggests that the Ministry itself is grappling with the terminology, despite the reality that the three secondary schools in Selvaraj’s thesis were getting on with the job of developing inclusive educational practices. However, even though secondary school educators have embraced the notion of inclusion there remains a disconnection between the Ministry of Education policy and national guidelines for all schools. Selvaraj believes involvement is needed between ministry policymakers, government officials, schools, boards of trustees, secondary teachers and secondary teacher educators in promoting future inclusive policies that reflect a national commitment across New Zealand. With regard to forging links between teacher education and secondary schools, there was evidence that the Ministry of Education is aware that teachers need support in this area. Yet findings suggest urgent action is needed for secondary preservice teachers and tertiary education providers and their staff to debate how inclusive educational practices can become a core and compulsory part of the secondary teacher education programme. “Secondary teacher education programmers are at the forefront of pedagogical change and they are ideally positioned to liaise with secondary schools to develop initial and ongoing practices of inclusion. They have the capacity to model the theories and practices of inclusion and are agents of change as the idea of just fostering inclusive practices is insufficient,” says Selvaraj. “An inclusive society is the term for the 21st century and the pathway is not perfect. However, New Zealand policymakers, school educators and secondary teacher education programmers must get this right.” Dr Selvaraj recently graduated from the University of Auckland with a PhD Education. For references to this article please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Accessing New Zealand education from abroad:
how easy is it?
The New Zealand Productivity Commission says we need to continue to develop new models of tertiary education. Here, we look at examples of distance education that are crossing borders and challenging traditional tertiary education models.
Open Polytechnic’s Nicola Barry.
rom the isolated Australian mining town of Whyalla, New Zealander Nicola Barry felt the urge to further her education and rethink her career choices. The obvious choice was to enrol with an Australian tertiary provider, but it wasn’t straightforward. As she wasn’t an Australian citizen, study costs were higher and she had access to very little financial support. So Barry looked to her home country for answers and discovered that enrolling with a New Zealand provider was easier than anticipated, despite the distance. She enrolled with the Open Polytechnic on a Bachelor of Arts programme majoring in social sciences, with a career in local government in mind. Barry was able to qualify for a student loan through StudyLink. Online learning made study flexible. Collaboration with teachers and other students was easy with the use of online forums. She never looked back. In May 2016, she attended Open Polytechnic’s graduation ceremony in Christchurch where, due to her academic success, she was selected to be the graduate speaker. “It was an amazing way to celebrate my achievement of completing a degree. It is something that I will always remember and be extremely proud of,” says Barry.
Barry’s story highlights the growing internationalisation of tertiary education. In its 2016 issues paper as part of its inquiry into new models of tertiary education, the New Zealand Productivity Commission highlighted the Open Polytechnic for recently committing to
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a fully digital business model that allowed greater mobility of education. The Open Polytechnic also launched a new online learning platform called iQualify to deliver online courses and teaching across multiple devices. This approach means that course delivery is highly scalable, providing the opportunity to widen access to higher education without compromising quality or increasing tuition costs. In the past New Zealand’s tertiary education system has been described as ill-equipped to respond to or capitalise on increasing trends in global mobility. In 1998 the Ministry of Education stated that “without a culture of internationalisation and without integrated approaches to internationalisation, New Zealand tertiary education institutions generally lack an institutional base for internationalisation”. However, in its report, the Commission identified that New Zealand tertiary education is becoming increasingly mobile and internationalised. Various factors have contributed to this. Free trade agreements have enabled the creation of multinational educational institutions. Technological advances have also made teaching across borders easier, as Barry’s story accentuates. Consequently new models are emerging that allow ease of delivery across borders. “Staff, students, teaching materials, qualifications and research can all move across borders and these factors have become more mobile over time,” states the Commission’s report. “Their mobility creates pressure for standardisation; so, for example, a bachelor’s degree conferred in one country means something equivalent in other countries. Standardisation further enables and encourages factor mobility. Factor mobility has increased the competitive pressure on tertiary providers. They now compete in an international market for both staff and students.”
What about MOOCs?
It is difficult to discuss borderless distance learning without mentioning MOOCs. The first MOOC (massive open online course) was in 2008; academics at the University of
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Manitoba offered a class that was free to join and open to anyone, and combined the use of blogs, wikis, online discussion forums, on-demand audio and video, RSS, Moodle, Second Life, Facebook and other technologies. Since then MOOCs have grown in popularity, with a number of private and not-for-profit MOOC providers becoming established, frequently in conjunction with established universities. By the end of 2013, however, enthusiasm for MOOCs was waning. While they were heralded as a way of enabling citizens of poorer countries to access education, a number of studies suggested that most participants in MOOCs were already well educated and employed. Critics also pointed to completion rates of between two and 10 per cent. The edX platform started by Harvard and MIT is one of the best examples of how the MOOC is transforming education. The platform includes 90 institutions and caters for more than seven million learners from around the world, with 23 million course enrolments. Where does New Zealand sit in all of this? Victoria University of Wellington recently announced that it has joined the edX partnership and will deliver eight free MOOCs over the next three years, as well as a number of SPOCs (small private online courses), a micro-master’s course and new forms of blended learning. Victoria University Provost Professor Wendy Larner says the contract brings many exciting opportunities to the university. “It will be a chance for us to collaborate with other edX universities, which are some of the best in the world, to deliver courses. It will increase our reputation internationally in teaching and learning and will also help us to expand our digital capability across the board – Victoria’s focus will be on playing a lead role in imagining and enabling the possibilities in a digital age.” Larner says the agreement means Victoria will be able to dramatically increase the scale and reach of its audience. “A number of courses we offer are globally distinctive and relevant to an international audience; by transferring some of our existing courses to edX, we will be able to capture people across the world who may not have previously had access to these topics.”
Distance education The Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission believe MOOCs have the potential for New Zealand institutions to extend their brand and reach a large international audience, including through offering MOOCs as a ‘taster’ to attract paying students, or offering courses that would otherwise be too niche to be viable. They also felt MOOCs offered an opportunity for institutions to experiment with innovative pedagogical approaches, to reduce costs, and to better support continuing education and professional education. Victoria’s edX partnership is a good example of the way MOOCs are becoming a part of New Zealand tertiary education. Auckland University’s MOOC approach delivered through UK-based consortium FutureLearn is another.
The challenges with distance education
Technology has enabled distance education to become an increasingly viable option. However, online delivery of education is not without its challenges. The Commission’s report noted that while it has the potential to improve productivity and improve access for students, there is also
good evidence that establishing positive peer and student-teacher relationships are important elements of success for some population groups who experience worse tertiary education outcomes than other groups. Massey University’s Dr Maggie Hartnett says social support is crucial to the success of online distance education.
“Clear guidelines, ongoing guidance and timely feedback ... allow learners to make accurate, ongoing judgements about their capability, necessary for ongoing motivation.” “Clear guidelines, ongoing guidance and timely feedback, for example, allow learners to make accurate, ongoing judgements about their capability, necessary for ongoing motivation. This is particularly important in online courses where
teachers may not be immediately available to answer questions. Social support, in the form of supportive learning relationships with the teacher, as well as other learners, can offer emotional benefits in addition to study-related assistance, which are known to foster motivation.” Hartnett says learner motivation is a key indicator of learner success. “Poor motivation is a decisive factor in contributing to high dropout and non-completion rates from online courses.” She says that many thing affect motivation, including how well the learning aligns with personal interests and goals. The curriculum, learning activities and the role of the teacher can also affect motivation. Collectively, these combine in complex and dynamic ways to influence the motivation, says Hartnett. Ultimately, online distance education, whatever form it takes, does not appear to be threatening traditional tertiary education models in the way people once predicted; rather, providers are becoming increasingly innovative as they integrate emerging models into their existing programmes to expand their reach and presence on a global stage.
Offshore delivery of education
boosts economic growth
new report shows the revenue from New Zealand’s education services delivered offshore rose to $171 million last year, an increase from an estimated $104 million in 2012. The report, Development and Implementation of a new Valuation Methodology for New Zealand’s Education Services Exports, was commissioned by Education New Zealand and produced by Covec Limited in partnership with Infometrics. The report also developed a new methodology showing that the added value or broader contribution to the economy of education services delivered overseas to the New Zealand economy was $242 million. It does not include the economic value of international students studying in New Zealand. International education (both onshore and offshore delivery) is New Zealand’s fifth largest export industry. Statistics New Zealand reported onshore education delivery to be worth an estimated $3.1 billion annually as at March 2016, which, combined with education services exports, gives a total estimated value of $3.3 billion. This compares with $3.6 billion for wood exports, our fourth-largest export earner. The report attributed the increase in value to 20 per cent revenue growth, and to the inclusion of a wider sample of firms and activities (including some outside the education industry) compared with the 2012 survey.
New Zealand’s education services exports are made up of a diverse range of products and services including consultancy, publishing, educational technology, and the provision of teaching services, qualifications, training and assessment to offshore customers and students. Offshore delivery can be institution or workplace-based and delivered physically or by distance and online delivery. Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce welcomes the report.
“There is a huge growth opportunity offshore for New Zealand education providers.” “This report provides us with a more reliable measure of the offshore education services sector, and the value it represents to the New Zealand economy,” he says. The Government aims to increase the value of international education to $5 billion by 2025 and, as part of that, to increase education services exports to $500 million. “There is a huge growth opportunity offshore for New Zealand education providers,” says Joyce. “It is not easy to break through internationally, but a number of highly innovative companies are showing the way.”
The New Zealand Productivity Commission’s issues paper on new models of tertiary education states that offshore course delivery is presently a small part of New Zealand’s educational exports. But concerns about the future demand for onshore international education has caused providers to focus increasingly on the potential expansion of offshore delivery. The offshore delivery of education can be by distance education (including MOOCs), the establishment of a commercial presence in another country, and through New Zealand staff delivering the education service in the foreign country. In recent years trade agreements have expanded the access of New Zealand institutions to overseas education markets. Data on programmes offered by New Zealand institutions offshore are sketchy, and there appears to be considerable ‘churn’ in ventures. The Ministry of Education reported that in 2014 six out of eight universities were “involved in offshore delivery”, which included bilateral credit recognition. The number of offshore enrolments was only 1,222 students, though universities reported plans to expand offshore delivery. There were increased offshore enrolments in the polytechnic sector, and a small yet growing number of offshore enrolments in private training establishments. There are around 3,000 offshore enrolments in total across all tertiary institutions.
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Turning research into
real-world solutions Bianca Grizhar discusses how the Easy Access IP programme is helping overcome barriers to commercialising research.
n a bid to turn more university-led research into practical, real-world solutions, Victoria University of Wellington is offering the region’s businesses simple, free access to selected university-developed technologies. The international initiative, known as Easy Access IP, was introduced into New Zealand by Viclink (Victoria’s technology transfer office) earlier this year to help break down barriers which prevent the commercial potential of some of its research developments being realised. “We wanted to make it easier for local companies to work with Victoria, so they can translate university knowledge into products and services that will ultimately benefit the community and the economy,” says Bianca Grizhar, Viclink’s Open Innovations manager.
The barriers to commercialisation
“Internationally, 80 per cent of the inventions and intellectual property developed at universities never find their way into productive use,” says Grizhar. “Often, that’s because the research is at a very early stage of development and requires significant investment to fully realise any commercial or social value. Universities only have limited resources to fully develop all of their IP, so have to focus on the technologies that meet their strategic goals, and which fit with their available resources.” Added to that, she says, the typical technology transfer and licensing process is often complicated, costly and drawn out, involving various stages of funding and patent applications, and complex legal transfer agreements. “Small companies and startups usually lack the capital, legal knowledge and experience to negotiate these complexities,” Grizhar explains. “Also, the traditional process is not well suited to development in the fast-paced digital and design sectors where speed and flexibility is crucial to success, and it can prevent students and researchers from continuing to develop their research commercially after they graduate.” Another major barrier is a lack of wider community awareness about potential inventions or technologies in the universities. Grizhar says that in comparison with other nationalities “Kiwis don’t tend to talk about their successes or the cool things they are working on, which means industry and
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investors are often unaware of potentially game-changing solutions being developed right here.” She says such obstacles equate to missed opportunities on many levels, as potentially beneficial innovations for society or local businesses may fall by the wayside and never have the impact they should. “Easy Access IP gives us a way to remove those barriers and open up otherwise-unrealised opportunities to industry,” says Grizhar. “It allows us to assign IP to a business with a simple one-page, royalty-free licence agreement. The licensees can then develop that IP into products and services as they see fit. “It’s also a big benefit for Victoria’s researchers, who will have more opportunities to showcase their research and create partnerships with industry – which could lead to more research funding and scholarships for students.” In return for the free IP, licensees agree to give the university continued access for research purposes, to report annually on progress and, if they have not developed a technology after three years, that ownership will revert back to the university so that somebody else may do so.
Making knowledge affordable and accessible
By making university knowledge affordable and accessible to businesses and other organisations, Viclink aims to create collaborative, mutually beneficial partnerships that will ultimately lead to more research, and more dissemination of university knowledge. “Universities exist to create and disseminate knowledge by publishing, so people can see our new knowledge and hopefully do something with it,” says Kevin Cullen, CEO of NewSouth Innovations at the University of New South Wales, and creator of the Easy Access IP programme adopted by Viclink. “Universities disseminate knowledge by teaching, so students can take our knowledge and hopefully do something with it. Can you see where this is going? “Universities disseminate knowledge through technology transfer so companies and other research users can take our knowledge and do something useful with it. “And there’s the key thing. It’s the companies and others who do something with our knowledge – they create products, services, jobs and real impact. So it should be a partnership, not a competition. “Don’t get me wrong, when a university has commercially valuable IP it should get a fair share of the returns, but for a lot of IP there is limited value until it’s put into use. Companies are the ones who can do that and we should be encouraging them and helping them to do so, because our research, our relevance and our reputation all gain from it.” Grizhar agrees. “It’s only through positive partnerships that universities and companies both benefit from technology transfer. We see the Easy Access IP programme as the start of ‘partnerships without complications’, to open up ongoing opportunities for collaboration and dialogue that will get IP out there and put to use. That way everyone wins.”
“The beauty of Easy Access IP is that we are part of an international network of 27 research organisations who have also adopted the programme, so we have access to a huge ecosystem of innovators who are happy to share knowledge.”
Viclink will continue to generate and protect IP that is commercially mature or capable of further development before licensing it at commercial rates. “We already have a great record at developing innovative technology, with notable spin-out successes such as Avalia, AuramerBio, Magritek and Boutiq playing a crucial role in benefiting the local economy – and that’s not about to change,” says Grizhar. “Easy Access IP complements the university’s existing commercialisation efforts, working alongside traditional research translation. It is not a replacement for the other routes we use to commercialise university IP, nor is it aimed at ‘clearing out’ IP that we have no interest in commercialising. “With Easy Access IP, we are simply acknowledging that we have limited capacity to exploit all valuable IP to its highest potential, and therefore wish to open up some of our portfolio so that others can develop it further to benefit us all.”
A healthy start
Grizhar says that the technologies in Viclink’s Easy Access IP portfolio are all based on innovative research, have identified commercial potential, and potentially link industry to Victoria’s researchers for further research and development. One such technology was recently adopted with great success by Ropata Medical Centre in Lower Hutt. As one of the Wellington region’s largest medical centres, with 19,450 registered patients averaging 6,500 consultations a month, the centre was looking for a way to streamline patient check-in. Practice manager Adrian Tucker knew of an automated patient check-in system developed by Victoria for the university’s Student Health Centre, which had also worked successfully in a Gisborne practice. “I contacted Viclink to see if we could purchase or licence the system. To be honest, I had my doubts, and thought that it might be too expensive or difficult,” says Tucker. “In fact, the opposite was true. I met with Grizhar, who talked to me about the Easy Access IP programme. I wrote a statement of intent outlining how we planned to use the software, and Grizhar prepared the contract. We had the software within a week.”
Leading the way
Chair of the Viclink board and Vice-Provost (Research) Professor Kate McGrath says this new commercialisation approach embeds the university in the international technology sector.
“As a global-civic university, and with its excellence in research, Victoria has a leading role to play in expanding New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem.” Viclink will initially focus on implementing the Easy Access IP programme in the schools of architecture and design, and engineering and computer science. “We want to open up the highly valuable research and development resources in these key schools to support local businesses in these sectors,” says Grizhar. “We’re excited to be among the first universities in the world to use the Easy Access IP approach for digital technology and open source projects.”
The importance of being open
As the world becomes more digitised, open source philosophies are being adopted across major industries as they look for ways to drive business forward. Open source is the ability to take IP and make it broadly available so people can look at it, develop it, and incorporate it into their own solutions. “To make the world a better place relies on innovation,” says Grizhar, “and open source collaboration is one of the key ingredients to achieving this. The ability to invite the entire world to continuously improve a product or technology is happening before our eyes, and has already resulted in some of the world’s most groundbreaking innovations in the areas of technology, medicine and engineering. “The beauty of Easy Access IP is that we are part of an international network of 27 research organisations who have also adopted the programme, so we have access to a huge ecosystem of innovators who are happy to share knowledge.” Without open source, many of today’s top technology initiatives − from cloud computing to big data and mobile − would simply not exist as we know them. Electric car manufacturer Tesla recently made the bold step of making its patents available for others (including its competitors) to use ‘in good faith’, in recognition of the fact that it could be a massive boost for the automotive industry and the environment, as the broader adoption of electric vehicles could slash emissions. “As the world changes and becomes more open, we need to change with it – and Easy Access IP gives us the opportunity to do exactly that,” concludes Grizhar.
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the void between the PhD and an academic career
Dr Inger Mewburn questions whether the modern PhD needs to be better aligned to the needs of an academic workplace.
hile the academic workplace has changed significantly in the last 60 years or so, the fundamental structure and nature of the PhD has remained relatively static. This creates a mismatch between the readiness of PhD grads for the academic workforce and the expectations of employers. Do we need to think about changing the PhD so it better prepares postdocs for employment? Or do academic employers need to take a reality check? Associate Professor Inger Mewburn from the Australian National University says it is one of the big issues confronting postgrads following the completion of their studies and research. In a post on her popular ‘Thesis Whisperer’ blog site, Mewburn discusses how the notion of a conventional academic career has changed. Back in 1980 ‘conventional’ would see a student complete his or her PhD, accept a permanent position as a lecturer and work at the same university from there on.
The ‘new normal’ academic
The ‘new normal’ academic, says Mewburn, has done a decade or so of adjunct teaching work, and/ or a ragtag bunch of jobs that last anywhere from a week to three years – the ‘post-post-postdoc’ or the ‘portfolio career track’. She points to some unexpected upsides to the new normal academic career. While jobs are based typically on the area of a person’s research expertise, people are usually required to learn new things fast and work out how to adapt to different university settings. Moving from one place to the next can turn people into very effective academic networkers. While transience may offer this sliver of silver lining, ultimately Mewburn suggests the hypermobile academic life can be physically and emotionally taxing.
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Such was the experience of Mewburn’s friend and fellow academic Rachael Pitt, who spent the better part of decade working for the neo-liberal university system, which Mewburn likens to a “bad boyfriend” because it offers little in the way of loyalty and job security. With funding running out and another contract nearing its end, Pitt began musing about the difficulties and general tediousness of the academic job application process. She had noticed that many job ads seemed impossible to live up to, or had conflicting, ambiguous criteria that were difficult to evidence. Selection criteria asking for both “a PhD and evidence towards submitting for your PhD in psychology” and “evidence of expertise in psychology?” appeared conflicting. Statements like “Effective organisational skills to plan and organise work to meet competing deadlines and ability to work independently with minimal supervision, showing initiative and flexibility” seemed impossible to evidence. “I guess you could write some lines about why you are awesome at that stuff, but why should someone believe you?” questions Mewburn, “Wouldn’t it be better just to ask your referees if you had these attributes and capabilities? No wonder many PhD students who are exploring the academic job market are so confused and demoralised.” Each application requires a response to the key selection criteria, a lengthy cover letter and a CV. Each application is bespoke, so every rejection letter represents hours, sometimes weeks of work. Mewburn advises against trying to make the process quicker by cutting and pasting between applications because, while each ad asks for essentially the same things, they ask in different ways.
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Connecting the dots
Mewburn and Pitt began connecting this problem with what is being taught in the PhD. Pitt had discovered that academic employers were often unhappy with PhD graduates after they hired them. “We found this both odd and ironic: academics design the PhD experience, put students through it, evaluate the outcomes and then employ around 40 per cent of the graduates – and they are unhappy with them? What the hell is going on with you academic employers?” asks Mewburn. One obvious solution could be to change the PhD so that it better matches academic employers’ expectations. Mewburn says that although there is some innovation around the edges, most PhD programmes still ask for the production of a long thesis document which shows you can think, be creative and write academically, but is decidedly not evidence that you can teach, sit on committees, write peer review, and design curriculum or any of the other myriad tasks with which you might be confronted at a university. Dr Mary-Helen Ward says that despite the wellstructured approach taken to research by PhD students, much of what they learn from their PhD study is unstructured and ‘accidental’ in nature. This makes it difficult to quantify and evidence exactly what is learned and achieved through the completion of a PhD. Mewburn and Pitt became preoccupied with this notion and together they started looking at how the PhD might be redesigned to explicitly include more of this “accidental stuff”, as Mewburn puts it. They analysed the text in ads to see what the jobs were asking for and see if they matched what was being taught in the PhD. Their research culminated in a paper titled ‘Academic superheroes: a critical analysis of academic job descriptions’
Academic career published earlier this year in the Journal of Higher Education and Policy Management. The paper queries the nature and purpose of the PhD, including its role as preparation for working in academia. It observes that while academic work has changed a great deal in the last 60 years, the doctoral curriculum has remained relatively static. “While there is increasing interest in matching PhD programmes to ‘real world’ needs, there is a surprising lack of research to inform research curriculum development at this level,” the abstract reads. “If we take the position that the PhD is still the best way to prepare for academic work, what skills and attributes should we help graduates develop for this destination?”
counselling students and other staff members in times of crisis. Other ads signalled that they want academics who will treat their non-academic colleagues with respect and courtesy. Mewburn says that job short lists usually involve some informal checks on people.
“While there is increasing interest in matching PhD programmes to ‘real world’ needs, there is a surprising lack of research to inform research curriculum development at this level.”
Mewburn and Pitt uncovered two unexpected findings. The first is that academic employers want people who play well with others, dispelling the myth that you can be, in Mewburn’s terms, “a clever, productive, asshole academic – and get away with it”. “This might be true when you are well entrenched somewhere and management are too scared to get rid of you, but watch out on the way through the door,” she says. Many ads they analysed were very explicit about wanting team players who could carry their burden of the emotional life of their department, including
“Your reputation is always in the process of being made – and not just with your academic colleagues. Good admin people know everybody; they are often highly trusted and excellent sources of gossip. If you are the type of person who is ‘too busy’ to treat everyone, regardless of status, with respect, you might be in trouble.” The second finding was that academic employers want your network – but probably not for the reasons you think.
“A big and solid, peer-to-peer academic network is like gold. You can get early news on jobs, warnings about funding cuts and other valuable intel, as well as a ready supply of people you can work with. “But it’s not just your academic network that academic employers are after. They want your connections outside too. If you have worked in a practice-based discipline such as architecture, nursing, education or the like, universities can get you to use people you know to help them place undergraduates in intern programs. Other departments are interested in what consulting monies you may be able to raise or even what philanthropy you might be able to encourage.” Mewburn says many PhD students are warned that if they ‘step off the academic road’, and become one of the 60 per cent who don’t go into academia on completion, they will never launch an academic career. However, she says that while this might have been true in the 1980s, the ads tell a different story. “I suspect that if you go ‘outside’ and actively maintain your ties by collaborating with academics, you might find yourself in an excellent position 10 years down the track should you decide to come back.”
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NCEA pass rate targets:
a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
DR JOHN BOEREBOOM says the increasing pass rates are masking concerns around the quality of the mix of achievement standards taken by different students to achieve NCEA.
CEA pass rates at all levels have been steadily increasing in the past few years and last year hit an unprecedented high with 83.5 per cent of 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2. To continue this trend, the Ministry of Education has been set the Better Public Service Target that by 2017, 85 per cent of young people will have achieved NCEA Level 2. Since NCEA is a standards-based system, the increase in the rates of qualification attainment means that students are gaining credits in more achievement standards than ever before and presumably must be progressing faster, learning better and developing more new skills each year. On the surface this appears very encouraging and bodes well for our education system. However, the 85 per cent target is a global summative indicator and does not reflect the quality of the mix of achievement standards taken by different students to achieve NCEA. This raises the question of whether all students, regardless of socioeconomic background or ethnicity, share equitably in this success story. A recent analysis of 2015 NCEA results carried out by the NZ Herald shows that Māori, Pasifika and low-decile students were less likely to take academic subjects than Pākehā, Asian and highdecile students and were more likely to be enrolled in internally assessed unit standards, core generics and vocational subjects. Analysis of the data showed that only 45 per cent of Māori students from decile 1 schools were enrolled in academic subjects at Level 2. The NCEA Level 2 pass rate is subsidised by non-academic subjects like barista, service industry and life skills training. From 1 April 2016, students can even earn New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) credits by obtaining a learner’s, restricted or full driver’s licence. While these areas are a valuable and necessary source of training, the pressure to achieve NCEA pass rate targets should not perpetuate or reinforce ethnic and decile disparities in enrolment patterns or dilute the academic curriculum. At the same time as the phenomenal rise in NCEA pass rates, the results of the Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) study
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paradoxically shows falls in the achievement of 15-year-old New Zealand students in the key areas of reading, mathematics and science between 2009 and 2012. While the global NCEA pass rates are a useful indicator, it needs to be considered in conjunction with data on how equitably different groups in the student population engage with the variety of possible pathways provided by the National Qualifications Framework and how this impacts on the school-based curriculum. Clearly there are differences in the level of engagement for students from different ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, overseas studies show that engagement in general declines as students progress through
Before we can make a judgement on the general health of NCEA, we need to collect, analyse and monitor widerreaching data on the factors that affect student achievement, engagement and participation in NCEA. primary and intermediate schools. Some studies estimate that as many as 40–60 per cent of students are disengaged by the time they reach secondary school. We can cautiously pat ourselves on the back for meeting the summative and global Better Public Service Targets but before we can make a judgement on the general health of NCEA, we need to collect, analyse and monitor wider-reaching data on the factors that affect student achievement, engagement and participation in NCEA. To use a medical analogy, while a quick pulse rate check is a useful indicator for the health of a patient, it needs to be followed up by a thorough blood pressure, cholesterol and ECG check.
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At a recent Education Leaders Forum I addressed the ambitious question: What would it take to optimise achievement for every student, at every year level in every subject area at every school? The Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Canterbury University provides two useful diagnostic and analytical tools to do just that. The first of these is measuring the value added to students by our education system. CEM analyses NCEA results of participating schools by measuring the growth or value added to each individual student in every subject relative to their performance in a baseline assessment at the start of year 9. Students’ NCEA results are compared against other students of similar ability on school entry. This provides schools with comprehensive data on the value added to each student and ethnic group in each subject area and provides an evidence base for schools to tailor programmes to students’ needs. The aim is to help all students achieve their potential. In addition to analysing summative and value added data from NCEA performance, schools need to survey the student voice on factors that affect learning, engagement and achievement. Students are in a unique position to contribute to a comprehensive view of school and classroom practice because they experience it more than anyone else in the education system. For many years CEM has run the SATIS survey for students in year 7–10 and last year introduced the Student Attitude and Engagement Survey (SAES) for students in year 11–13. The data is useful to schools because student engagement is one of the keys to building a safe, positive and engaging school climate and culture that increases student achievement, and decreases student boredom and disengagement. Data from year 7–10 students is particularly important given that research indicates that the middle years are a crucial time period for students where student engagement often declines and attitudes to further study are formed. Schools that participate in the SATIS and SAES can unpack what students have to say about what is happening in the classroom and their
school communities. The surveys provide data on students’ perceptions of their school facilities, teachers and the classroom environment. The data identifies effective teaching practices and barriers to learning and articulates student attitudes to learning, work experience, the classroom environment, assessment, future aspirations and career goals. Schools are starting to use the data to make important changes and improvements, and are seeing the enormous benefits of understanding and strengthening student engagement. The student engagement data is highly correlated to student achievement gains and when interpreted in conjunction with Value Added Assessment data it provides a powerful tool for reflection to improve teaching and learning at the student, subject and school-wide level. The surveys provide actionable feedback that schools and teachers can use to inform practice to
increase the level of engagement and achievement of all students regardless of their socioeconomic or ethnic background. In addition to assessment and survey data, schools also collect a wealth of demographic and process data which can be analysed. Attendance data is particularly useful. Students who are frequently absent are at risk of disengaging from the school community and dropping out of school. Rather than viewing absenteeism from a disciplinary perspective, school can use suitable intervention strategies to improve engagement and achievement. CEM advocates data-driven school level pedagogical decision-making to optimise the performance of every student in every subject area. This can be done by conjointly analysing the data from NCEA results, value added measures, student attitude and engagement surveys and school-based demographic and process data.
This analysis can provide an evidence base to identify and support at-risk students, nurture and accelerate able students, improve student engagement, highlight best practice, identify professional development needs and fine-tune school performance. While the 85 per cent Better Public Service target may be a laudable aim, we have to be careful that it does not become a wolf in sheep’s clothing by diluting the curriculum and accentuating disparities. Let’s broaden the discussion by focusing on the question: What would it take to optimise achievement for every student, at every year level in every subject area at every school? Dr John Boereboom is the director of the Centre for Educational Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at the University of Canterbury.
What does the Tertiary Education Amendment Bill have in store? The proposed Education (Tertiary Education and other Matters) Amendment Bill is looking to make things fairer for private training establishments (PTEs).
he proposed Education (Tertiary Education and other Matters) Amendment Bill is largely focused on increasing the flexibility of funding; strengthening monitoring and compliance, and creating equitable treatment of tertiary education providers. The Bill is also an opportunity to look at some minor matters that need updating, says Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce. The Government is seeking feedback from stakeholders on whether the draft legislation is clear and easily understood, whether there are likely to be implementation issues, and the potential impact of these proposals on tertiary education organisations and students. “The draft legislation proposes to adjust the Education Act 1989 to enable the plan-based funding system to operate as parliament originally intended,” says Joyce. “The proposals would allow for more flexibility in the funding framework and improve accountability in return.” The New Zealand Union of Students’ Association (NZUSA) is interested to see how the proposed changes to investment plans are directed. “If it gives flexibility that benefits students then we applaud this; however, if it’s for the Minister to choose the focus of tertiary institutions over the wishes of students, local communities and other stakeholders then this is a step too far,” says NZUSA President Linsey Higgins.
Higgins is also pleased to see the promotion of student involvement in decision-making through enhanced reporting requirements for the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF) in the Bill although, she says, the NZUSA would prefer to see structures that support jointdecision making with students as “required” and not merely “recommended”. Another change in the Bill is the requirement that private training establishments (PTEs) are funded on the same basis as public tertiary institutions for directly comparable programmes or activities. “This will ensure that tertiary education providers are treated equitably, regardless of whether they’re public or private,” says Joyce. Higgins says the NZUSA takes no umbrage with the proposed name change of private training establishments to ‘independent training establishments’, per se, since PTEs range from small not-for profit community groups to multimillion-dollar, profit-generating machines. “Yet we would rather we called a spade a spade,” she says. “The lumping all of them into a differently named homogeneous group obscures the real function of some of these institutions, which as we have seen in recent times put profits far above their educational focus.” Higgins says that in principle the NZUSA supports the use of the Export Education Levy to cover students left short by failing PTEs; however, using this fund to do so would
decrease the amount available for promoting international students to study at decent providers in New Zealand. “We would rather the Government lifts its game in getting rid of the bad eggs so the rest of the sector doesn’t have to pay for their poor performance,” she says. Another change in the proposed legislation will allow wānanga to apply for ministerial consent to describe themselves using the terms university, college of education, polytechnic or institute of technology. “This change would potentially allow wānanga to be able to promote themselves more easily to the international education market, and give them the same right to seek consent to use these terms that private training establishments have under the Act,” says Joyce. Consultation on the proposed Bill closes on 10 October 2016. The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) is surprised the Minister is pushing ahead with the Bill before he receives the final report from the Productivity Commission on tertiary education in February next year. “Why would he invest so much energy, time and public money in this report and then change the education system before the report comes out?” questions TEU President Sandra Grey.
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Postgrad & Research 2016 27
Postgrad and research events Left: Master’s student Stevie Noe won Waikato University’s 3MT competition.
Showcasing New Zealand’s best research Metro Group 2016 Symposium
The Metro Group 2016 Symposium ‘Turning innovation into opportunity’ was hosted and convened by WelTec’s Research and Enterprise office in July this year. It attracted a variety of participants from ITPs, local and central government, large, medium and small-scale industries, businesses, professional associations, universities, Callaghan Innovation and regional economic development agencies. The New Zealand Innovation Council announced their new awards category – Innovation in Education, Training & Development awards. The first session was dedicated to technology development for education and training purposes, with many examples of how new innovations in technology and services could assist and enhance teaching delivery. The innovative digital teaching model introduced by the Mind Lab illustrated how professional development for educators could be structured with built-in practicality that tied digital literacy capability in with contemporary teaching practice. The symposium enabled Metro Group members – New Zealand’s six largest institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) – to deepen their links with businesses and service industries so that ultimately they could help their students to obtain valuable apprenticeships, work-based training, student placements and future employment.
Waikato University: 3MT (3 Minute Thesis) Competition
University of Waikato Master of Science student Stevie Noe recently won the university’s 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition by presenting his research on how to improve the quality of nectar in mānuka plants. He was the top presenter among 10 finalists, who had to summarise their research in just three minutes. “The competition was a good experience and winning meant I got a $1,000 research grant to help fund my studies, which is a big help,” he says. That’s not the only support that Stevie has received. He’s managed to fund his master’s degree with two University of Waikato postgraduate scholarships and pre-seed accelerator funding from the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
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He’s in the final six months of a two-year academic journey and hopes his research findings will help mānuka honey producers in New Zealand and around the world. After completing a Bachelor of Science, Stevie decided to do his master’s on honey because the mānuka honey industry is booming. “Honey is a big deal at the moment. The industry is trying to grow as there’s more demand than there is supply, and the government is backing this growth,” he says.
University of Otago: Dance Your Thesis Competition
As Otago University now hosts the 3 Minute Thesis competition every other year, the university has branched out into other competitions in which students can impart the essence of their theses. In recent years there have been ‘Tweet Your Thesis’ and ‘Draw Your Thesis’. This year Otago’s Graduate Research School hosted its inaugural ‘Dance Your Thesis’ competition. The Otago Graduate Research School’s Facebook page provides a good introduction to the concept of ‘Dance Your Thesis’: “The harder you try to explain your thesis to others, the more you’re likely to create some misinterpretations in your audience. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of doing away with the words and using interpretive dance instead, and Dance Your Thesis was born. “What the #@!*?”, I hear you ask. Well, I don’t know either, so join us and find out at the Dance Your Thesis video viewing and prizegiving event...” Winner and placegetters’ dance videos have been posted on the Facebook page.
Wintec’s research symposia
Wintec’s Māori Rangahau/research symposium is scheduled for Monday 17 October at Wintec’s Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa marae. The theme for He Huinga Rangahau 2016 is ‘Ngā Mareikura Māori’, which acknowledges the female essence, innovation, passion and contribution to Māori achievement at Wintec. Kaupapa Māori research and rangahau practices are enacted, enabled and engaged with, by and for Māreikura Māori (not forgetting Whatukura Māori). Ngā Māreikura Māori aims to showcase female leaders and the broad range of spaces, places and people that operate
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Research symposia, postgraduate festivals, research awards, threeminute thesis competitions – and even a ‘dance your thesis’ event – are just a taste of some of the outstanding postgraduate and research events held across the country this year. from a Kaupapa Māori base. This symposium will feature a mixture of speakers selected to inspire, empower, educate, interact with and wānanga the female essence throughout their Kaupapa Māori research and rangahau contexts. Wintec will also host a Technology Enabled Solutions Symposium on 8 and 9 November 2016, which will focus on ageing well and elder care, and frugal and high-tech solutions supporting this sector. The symposium will bring together service providers in elder care as well as innovators in this space and has already attracted international interest. The accompanying tradeshow will focus on current and future technologies in elder care to improve elder care from a user experience.
Unitec Research Awards
Two computer science lecturers from Unitec Institute of Technology have won kudos for their research excellence in work on life-changing technology projects that have the potential to dramatically improve quality of life by reducing noise and amplifying voice. The first project is a bionic voice app, ‘Voxbax’, developed by Unitec’s Dr Hamid Sharifzadeh and aimed at converting whispers and distorted speech into a natural-sounding voice in real time. The app will eventually be an inconspicuous and effective non-surgical means of producing a voice for people who may have vocal damage from injury, paralysis or the effects of throat cancer. The non-invasive solution also means there is no risk of infection. The whisper-to-speech app will also allow people to have a private conversation in noisy public places such as buses, trains and cafes. Development of a prototype and validation with speakers with vocal damage disorders is currently underway. The second award winner is Unitec’s Dr Iman Ardekani, who is developing noise-cancelling technology for Sir Ray Avery’s Mondiale LifePod incubator. Neonatal incubators often have a fan, heater or electro-pump; the noise created by these can damage the health and development of cognitive skills in infants. The project uses active noise control that reduces unwanted sound by adding a second sound that cancels out the first.
Postgrad and research events
Above left: Unitec’s Prof Hossein Sarrafzadeh. Above right: Unitec’s Dr Iman Ardekani is developing noisecancelling technology for Sir Ray Avery’s Mondiale LifePod incubator. Left: AUT: Ka Haka symposium. Right: Unitec’s Hamid Sharifzadeh.
Dr Ardekani is building the new technology into the next generation of Sir Ray Avery’s LifePod, each one of which has the potential to save up to 500 lives over 10 years. Designed to withstand conditions in the developing world, the LifePod gives babies a much greater chance of survival than traditional incubators. Both projects are under development with New Zealand Health Innovation Hub funding. Professor Hossein Sarrafzadeh, director of Unitec’s new High Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network, has also been recognised for outstanding leadership and commitment to research excellence. Professor Sarrafzadeh has been responsible for overseeing both the Voxbax bionic voice app and the noise-cancellation research. He is the founder of the Cyber Security Research Centre, a collaboration with Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology. Professor Sarrafzadeh also founded the Centre for Computational Intelligence and Environmental Engineering, a joint venture with NIWA and partners in China that uses sensing technologies, GIS mapping and the Internet of Things to monitor and manage the built and natural environments.
The University of Auckland’s Postgraduate Festival The University of Auckland’s postgraduate festival took place from 29 August to 7 October with a number of events across all disciplines, including
the engineering postgraduate breakfast series, the arts impact postgraduate expo, the Graduate School of Management’s information sessions and many more. The festival also encompassed the university’s Thesis in Three Competition, the Postgraduate Science Poster Competition and the Convince Me in 3: Research Showcase, which involved a group of current postgraduate students presenting their research in just three minutes.
Victoria University of Wellington: 3 Minute Thesis Competition
Master’s student Lindsey Pointer’s presentation, titled Ritual and the Quest for Justice, described her experience when her only source of transport, a car affectionately nicknamed Janice, was stolen from outside her house overnight. The public policy student outlined the need for justice after a crime occurs and how restorative justice is able to meet those needs. The judges commended Lindsey, who received $3,000 for the top prize, for her engaging and confident style and her clear explanation of the research and theory to a lay audience. “I feel grateful to be studying restorative justice at Victoria University, a world-leader in this field. It was great to have the chance to share the work I’m doing with the wider community,” says Lindsey. Second place went to PhD education student Lisa Terreni, who received $1,000 in prize money for her presentation on young children’s access to and use of art museums and galleries.
AUT: Māori and Indigenous Performance Studies Symposium
New Zealand’s first Māori and Indigenous Performance Studies Symposium ‘Ka Haka: Empowering Performance’ was held on Ngā Wai o Horotiu Marae at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) on 8–9 September. Organiser Dr Valance Smith says Te Ara Poutama, the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development at AUT, created the event to provoke new ways of thinking about the relationship between performance and culture to address complex issues regarding indigenous performance, because ”those sensitive topics, are the topics that we need to discuss”. For two days more than 30 academics and artists contributed, through presentation and performance, to a conversation that explored power and performance in the development of indigenous identity, culture and community.
Whitireia and WelTec Research Symposium
2016 marks the fourth year of the annual Whitireia and WelTec Research Symposium, held in association with Open Polytechnic. The symposium showcases the diverse range of research undertaken at ITPs in the Wellington region and the beneficial ways this research contributes to teaching and learning, wellbeing, business, industry, and surrounding communities.
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Researching teaching: the importance of Sotl
The new director of Ako Aotearoa DR STANLEY FRIELICK discusses the evolution of research around the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and its importance to tertiary education.
ecent developments, such as the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into new models of tertiary education and calls for New Zealand frameworks for professional standards and recognition of teaching, will place a greater emphasis on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), in the tertiary sector. Whether your focus is on SoTL, or the scholarship of learning and teaching (SoLT), or even the scholarship of technology-enabled learning (SoTEL), Ako Aotearoa places a high value on this kind of research. It is a critically important aspect of improving teaching, evaluating its effectiveness, aspiring to excellence, and ensuring that all learners have the best possible outcomes. To date we have funded (and co-funded) several projects in these areas, including a major stocktake of New Zealand case studies, Neil Haigh’s subsequent publication, The Scholarship of Teaching & Learning: A Practical Introduction and Critique, and more recently, the national project Learners and mobile devices: A framework for enhanced learning and institutional change. While it is important that we explore new developments, models and frameworks, and consider how others are contributing towards shaping future directions for the sector, it is useful to understand earlier thinking in this area. The scholarship of teaching (SoT) movement was sparked by Ernest Boyer’s (1990) classic text Scholarship Reconsidered: The Priorities of the Professoriate. Boyer wanted to move beyond the clichéd ‘teaching versus research’ debate and put ‘scholarship’ in a wider frame of reference. In his reconsideration, scholarship meant more than engaging in original research. Academic work also involves reflection, seeking connections, making links between theory and practice, and effective communication of knowledge to students. Hence, the framing of the four scholarships – discovery, integration, application (engagement), and the scholarship of teaching. Interestingly, a similar distinction had been made some 17 years earlier by Joseph Axelrod
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(1973) in The University Teacher as Artist – a fact that was either conveniently or unwittingly overlooked by Boyer. Both authors, however, had a systemic understanding of education, which included the view that teachers should necessarily also be learners. This view resonates nicely with the Māori concept of ‘ako’. Although there is no literal equivalent in English, ako refers to an educational process, at the end of which the teacher is indistinguishable from the learner.
In the broadest sense SoTL is the notion that teachers both inquire into and critically reflect on aspects of their practice with the intention of improving learning. A growing realisation that teaching was inextricably linked with learning added an ‘L’ to the acronym, and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) soon became the default term for the process of research into one’s own teaching. In the broadest sense SoTL is the notion that teachers both inquire into and critically reflect on aspects of their practice with the intention of improving learning. It also emphasises that the findings of this process – like any other piece of research – should be public, peer-reviewed and disseminated for further uptake and development. While SoTL is now an established area of academic activity – with professional bodies, regular conferences, and a proliferation of journals and SoTL articles in discipline-based journals on teaching – the emphasis on ‘researching teaching’ has possibly relegated ‘learning’ to the sidelines and marginalised the field itself. As Boshier and Huang (2008) noted, one way to counteract this is to foreground ‘learning’ and change the acronym to SoLT. They also argued that SoLT
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activities needed to be widened out from a singular focus on classroom practice in universities to include investigation into adult education, lifelong education and learning, self-directed learning, farmgate intellectuals, communities of practice, and learning communities. This is an increasing focus for Ako Aotearoa in our work with the industry training, adult and community education, and independent tertiary education sectors. This expanded view of SoTL is now taking hold internationally. A recent report from the UK’s Higher Education Academy pointed to a new emphasis on undergraduate research and student engagement. There is a move away from the initial narrow focus on individual practice to a more strategic institutional and national policy view of SoTL that can inform the development of competence and excellence frameworks. SoTL activity is becoming collaborative, including large projects, and social media is more frequently being used for dissemination. As we hurtle further and inevitably into the digital era, the process of research into teaching becomes critically important and therefore the fifth frame – the scholarship of technologyenabled learning (SoTEL) – is shaping the future of teaching and learning. As Cochrane & Narayan (2015) suggest, mobile devices and social media necessitate the development of new literacies for both teachers and learners. In this new form of SoTEL, teaching and learning is framed around building authentic learning communities. The role of the teacher then shifts to a designer of ecologies where communities can interact, while the role of the learner becomes that of content creator and active participant. This brings us back to ‘ako’ again, but framed in a new digital dimension. Our role is to ensure that whatever the framework or definition of researching teaching – SoTL, SoLT or SoTEL – we work with the sector on innovative projects that keep ‘ako’ and learners firmly at the centre of everything we do. For additional references to this article, please contact email@example.com.
Meeting mit’s new CEo Education Review asks the new CEO of Manakau Institute of Technology (MIT) GUS GILMORE about innovation, enhancing opportunities for Māori and Pasifika students, and what he hopes to achieve in his new role.
Prior to your more recent role as deputy chief executive of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), I understand you worked for more than two decades for Air New Zealand. What initially inspired the move to the tertiary education sector? Gilmore: What initially inspired me was the opportunity to make a real difference and to give back after a long career in the private sector. So when the Tertiary Education Commission offered me the role it was too good to turn down.
In your time with the TEC I understand you were involved with overhauling tertiary education funding and looking at improving sector performance. I imagine this gave you quite an insight into how institutions could become more efficient and effective. In what ways will your experience with TEC aid you in your new role? Gilmore: My experience at TEC was a great training ground for the CEO role at MIT. I gained a thorough and in-depth understanding of how tertiary education organisations (TEOs) are funded and what their prime drivers are. And, most importantly, I worked with many senior people at TEOs who have all done very innovative things and been closely aligned to delivering their students’ needs.
What attracted you to the role of CEO of MIT? Gilmore: The role at MIT is in my view one of the best in the sector. MIT sits in the youngest and fastest growing population in the country. Our student population is 35 per cent Pasifika and 18 per cent Māori. While their educational achievement has been improving, these two populations are not yet achieving at parity with the total student group. So having the opportunity to work directly towards achieving parity for those students was too good an opportunity to pass up. I have worked in South Auckland for many years so I understand that while a great education is very important, equally important is sustainable employment for our students. MIT has many initiatives underway to ensure our students achieve both, and I want to lead the institute to be even more successful in those areas.
MIT has instigated some exciting new initiatives over the years, including its partnerships with the University of Auckland and its efforts to create more seamless transitions between secondary and tertiary education. What are your thoughts on this sort of innovation? Are these initiatives you would look to nurture and potentially develop? Gilmore: MIT has been at the forefront in creating pathways between secondary and tertiary education, particularly in the development of its tertiary high school, its wide suite of trades academy programmes at Levels 2 and 3, and the significant uptake by students of Youth Guarantee Fees-free Scheme places. I will continue to seek ways to further develop initiatives like these, which provide opportunities for students to enter tertiary education and training when they might not have considered it otherwise. Offering these pathways to a career is a really important way to retain students in education.
I understand you feel quite passionately about enhancing opportunities for Māori and Pasifika students, particularly in the South Auckland area. How do you intend to grow these opportunities in your new role? Gilmore: MIT is situated in the heart of large urban Māori and Pasifika populations and it has a strong focus on improving education and career outcomes for these communities. The Māori and Pasifika Trades Training programme is an example of an innovative approach as it combines contributions from MIT and other providers (including ITOs and community organisations) as an integrated effort to support these students.
MIT is a strong VET (vocational education and training) provider. As VET continues to grow in importance to our economy, is this an area you will look to continue/develop? Gilmore: VET has always been important to the economy of New Zealand. As it grows in sophistication with regard to technology, the boundaries between VET and what was traditionally seen as ‘academic’ education become somewhat blurred. MIT continues to review its programmes both to maintain currency and to
reflect such developments, to ensure we train people to get into great jobs and contribute to the New Zealand economy.
In what areas do you think you stand to add the most value to MIT as CEO? Gilmore: Adding value as a CEO is simply down to your leadership and the quality of the team around you. So building a high-performing and actionoriented team is front of mind for me. The sector at times is slow to move and change. I think I can add value to MIT by ensuring as an organisation we are more flexible and responsive to the needs of our students, whānau, employers and broader stakeholders. There isn’t time to ponder anymore, it’s time to get going and engage strongly with students and employers.
What do you anticipate will be your biggest challenge as you step into your new role? Gilmore: The biggest challenge right now is to equip MIT to respond to the changing pace of the sector we are in. Our digital and blended delivery strategies are critical to our future success. Making those shifts will define us over the next five years.
What is your vision for MIT as its new CEO? Gilmore: My vision for MIT is very clear – it’s for us to be wildly successful in supporting our students in achieving their educational goals and getting them into great jobs.
When you’re not working, what are you most likely to be doing? Gilmore: Outside of work I love watching rugby and cricket, in fact most sports. I am a rugby referee but haven’t refereed for a few years due to a recovering knee injury. I’m an avid movie goer, as are my family, so it’s something we all enjoy doing together.
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Postgrad & Research 2016 31
New tertiary education models around the globe:
would they work in New Zealand?
The New Zealand Productivity Commission’s 2016 tertiary education issues paper has highlighted several innovative new tertiary education models that are making an impact overseas.
n its inquiry into new models of education, the Productivity Commission noted in its issues paper published early this year, examples in other countries of innovations that, rather than being incorporated into existing business models at the margins, have significantly reshaped how providers plan and undertake the delivery of education to students. For example, providers striking out to deliver tertiary education online and through blended models that combine online and face-to-face delivery/provision to previously unserved groups of students; cutting-edge approaches to using administrative and other data to tailor learning support to individuals; the close integration of work and learning not just for vocational education, but also higher education; and ‘all you can eat’ models of education where students pay by subscription and sit as many credits as they wish. The Commission’s report notes that “none of these models would supplant existing delivery models in New Zealand. But a well-functioning tertiary education system would offer more diversity and specialisation on the part of providers, and students would be able to choose from models like these alongside more traditional options”.
Georgia State University: innovative use of student data to improve outcomes
Georgia State University (GSU) is a public research university with a total enrolment of 33,000 undergraduate students. GSU’s six-year graduation rate has increased from 32 per cent in 2003 to 54 per cent in 2014, while at the same time significantly increasing the share of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Much of this improvement has been attributed to GSU’s
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innovative use of student data, which is used to identify barriers to student progression and graduation. GSU has developed a database based on more than 10 years’ worth of academic data. The database displays real-time information about the academic progress of each student. The system includes over 800 alerts “signalling everything from registering for a class that does not count towards a designated major to receiving a low grade in a prerequisite class for that major”. This allows student advisors to proactively contact students and intervene to help resolve issues before they become acute.
Udacity: nanodegrees and job guarantees
In 2013 and 2014 three of America’s largest MOOC providers (Udacity, edX and Coursera) all switched from issuing single course certificates to issuing credentials that require students to complete a sequence of courses. The aim of these credentials is to provide a signal of competence for skills that are in demand in the workplace. For example, Udacity offers 12 information technology related programmes called nanodegrees. Each nanodegree costs US$199 a month, and takes between six and 12 months to complete. Students who complete the programme receive a refund of 50 per cent of their tuition fee. The individual courses that make up a nanodegree are free; however, only students enrolled in a paid programme earn the credential. In January 2016, Udacity launched ‘Nanodegree Plus’, which costs US$299 a month and includes a Career Advisor programme and Career Concierge services. The programme includes a job guarantee – course fees are refunded if students have not gained employment within six months of completing the programme.
University of Adelaide: new pedagogical models
The University of Adelaide’s strategic plan noted that the landscape for tertiary education will become more challenging over the next decade as a result of changes including technological progress, globalisation, increased competition for students, and less stability of government funding
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for universities. As part of their response to these challenges, the university has committed to a ‘smallgroup discovery experience’ as a central part of their students’ learning. The university identified many challenges associated with implementing this new approach, including finding ways to recognise and reward staff who wish to contribute more to teaching than research; rethinking the way that the university makes use of lecture theatres and other teaching spaces, and innovative use of the university budget, including significant investment in information technology and e-learning facilities. The university also identified a need to assist staff to adapt to new ways of working. For example, using ‘flipped’ classrooms, where lectures and other forms of preparation are put online for students to access before coming to a class, and class time is spent engaging with the material in a more interactive manner.
Denmark: teacher training for vocational education,
A recent legislative change in Denmark introduced new training requirements for teachers delivering vocational education. Within four years of employment, vocational teachers must acquire skills that, as a minimum, correspond to a completed pedagogical diploma programme. The training programme is provided by the National Centre for Vocational Pedagogy and requires the equivalent of one year of full-time study. However, this is generally conducted part-time in conjunction with gaining practical teaching experience. The National Centre for Vocational Pedagogy also provides education courses for vocational education teachers, such as specific programmes on teaching adults. The objective of the new requirement is to improve the teaching skills of those at vocational training providers to a level equivalent to teachers in compulsory education (where a bachelor’s degree is required). In a broader sense, it is hoped that setting minimum pedagogical training standards will contribute to the Government’s goal of a 95 per cent completion rate in vocational education. Sourced from New Models of Tertiary Education: Issues Paper, Productivity Commission of New Zealand (2016).
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