Learning and teaching

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Learning and Teaching Strategic Framework

This strategic framework gives effect to Otago Polytechnic's overarching strategic direction by setting a philosophy and strategic objectives for learning and teaching.

Background and context:

The New Zealand Government's Tertiary Education Strategy (2010 - 2015) envisages "a world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century". In particular tertiary education is expected to contribute to productivity and economic growth by:

  • providing New Zealanders of all backgrounds with opportunities to gain world-class skills and knowledge;
  • raising the skills and knowledge of the current and future workforce to meet labour market demand and social needs;
  • producing high quality research to build on New Zealand’s knowledge base, respond to the needs of the economy and address environmental and social challenges; and
  • enabling Māori to enjoy education success as Māori.

New Zealand's economy has contracted significantly due to the global downturn, local recession and rising costs. While the recession has increased demand for tertiary education the Government has signalled that funding will be targetted to high-quality qualifications that benefit New Zealanders and contribute to economic growth. Providers are expected to manage costs, make efficiency gains, offer qualifications that best meet student and employer needs and find additional sources of revenue.

Internationally the costs of tertiary education are also increasing and governments are expecting more for less funding while consumers are increasingly resisting the high costs of education being passed to them. There is an increasing global demand for higher education  and UNESCO predicts 98 million more learners gloablly by 2025.  Education is changing in response with a significant increase in high quality online learning and a profliferation of 'for free' learning opportunities including those from leading American universities. Current learners are demanding a different approach to education including the ability to choose what, where, when and how they study, increased participation and collaboration with other learners and with workplaces and technology-aided access to resources that meet their need for flexibility. New educational businesses are already developing that use new technologies, educational analytics and different qualification pathways to enable more personalised provision of education to learners seeking alternatives to traditional educational provision.

Otago Polytechnic has already entered the open educational resources (OER) space with its default intellectutal property Creative Commons Attribution license, its hosting of the headquarters of the OER Foundation, its membership of the OERuniversity initiative and its committment to sustainable practice. Otago Polytechnic is also a New Zealand leader in Work Based Learning (WBL) and Assessment of Prior Learning (APL). OER, WBL and APL provide opportunities for learners to teach themselves, for employers to collaborate in education that builds learner capabilities, for reducing the costs of education, for teachers to develop new capabilities as faciitators and assessors, for the development of new educational business and for changes in educational policy.

Otago Polytechnic is committed to retaining its position as a high performing tertiary education organisation achieving excellent learner outcomes. In positioning itself to lead the sector in achievement of educational excellence, to take advantage of a new global educational context, and to become recognised as New Zealand's leading polytechnic, Otago Polytechnic has developed a learning and teaching strategic framework that will take it into the future.


Every learner enjoys outstanding and successful learning that develops both their capability and their readiness for work 

Our learning philosophy:

At Otago Polytechnic we believe in:

  • creating the conditions for each learner to succeed to their fullest potential
  • learning that gives learners flexibility and choice over what, when, where and how they learn
  • facilitating learning through partnerships and collaborations (with teachers, other learners, industries, professions and communities)
  • facilitating learning through doing and reflection (experiential learning)
  • building learner capability and work readiness

Therefore our learners can expect:

Learning that:

  • is active and participatory
  • builds on existing knowledge and experience
  • challenges, inspires and transforms
  • extends learners' personal effectiveness
  • encourages personal growth, success, confidence and satisfaction
  • builds work readiness
  • develops learners as a sustainable practitioners
  • is underpinned by research
  • instills a passion for lifelong learning

Teachers who:

  • care about and respect individual learners and what they bring to their learning
  • are culturally competent
  • are skilful teaching practitioners, able to share their expertise
  • facilitate and support learning and design effective learning experiences
  • bring leading edge knowledge and innovation in their field
  • are current in their specialist field and well-connected to their industry/profession
  • are engaged in applied research
  • value learner feedback to reflect on, evaluate and continuously improve learning experiences
  • are sustainable practitioners

 A learning environment that:  

  •  is inclusive and celebrates individual and cultural diversity
  • is safe and supports individual learner needs
  • has high quality physical, technological and supportive learning resources
  • includes work experiences as part of learning
  • is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable
  • includes applied research as part of learning

A curriculum that:

  • meets current and future needs of employers, industry, professions and communities
  • is informed by current research findings; involves learners in research activities
  • is sustainable, using open educational resources and blended delivery models
  • enables learners to design their own learning pathways
  • enables multiple pathways to qualifications
  • is flexible and accessible to students on and off campus, within and outside of New Zealand
  • enhances and measures learning and capability through assessment
  • develops capable and successful graduates

In turn Otago Polytechnic expects that its learners will:

  • be positive about their learning
  • respect their classmates and Otago Polytechnic staff members
  • actively participate in all learning activities including face-to-face, online, group work and self-directed activities
  • keep up tp date with learning activities
  • ask for help if they need it
  • complete their assessments on time
  • take responsibility for their learning
  • provide constructive feedback to help us to improve