Open learning OP Scenario planning workshop

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Taking Otago Polytechnic into the future

Our strategic plan

Otago Polytechnic must operate in the future from the “outside-in”. This means understanding what different markets need and expect and providing “fit for purpose” services in response. Our challenge is to be market led, not sales led, i.e. what is important is not what we have to sell but what others want to buy.

—Otago Polytechnic strategic plan

Our strategic pillars

Our strategy, which acknowledges the forces impacting on our sector, consists of three interrelated pillars of services intended to meet the needs and expectations of the market segments on which we want to focus. The three pillars are:

  1. On-campus programmes. Where an on-campus context is key to the learning value for the students. On-campus programmes are experiential and blended (as per our learning and teaching strategic framework) with a mix of face to face, online, practical and work experience. The key feature is that the learner comes to us. There are two categories of on-campus programmes.
    • Destination programmes - where the programmes have compelling features that attract national and international learners to them.
    • Local programmes - that mainly serve learners from our region.
  2. Off-campus programmes and services. We go to the learner via their laptops/tablets and smart phones, and to their homes and work places. Learners have flexibility and choice over what, when, at what pace, where and how they learn. Off-campus programmes and services cover a spectrum from wholly online learning (with full services), WBL, independent study through open resources (with optional services), distance and cross-region programmes, and APL through to academic mentoring services and assessment services. Off-campus programmes are also experiential (as per L & T) but they are principally taught in the workplace, in other regions, by distance; or through on-line learning. The key feature is that we go to the learner.
  3. Knowledge transfer services. We go to our clients - helping to solve their problems, applying new technologies or techniques, researching and developing primarily through our Centres of Research Expertise (COREs).

Our strategic targets

Performance indicator Now (2012) 2017 2022
 % of Revenue destination programmes 80% 55% 35%
 % of Revenue NOT from domestic students (i.e. NOT from SAC funding and student fees) 12% 20% 40%
 % of Students NOT from Otago 42% 65% 80%
 % of International students 5.2% 10% 15%

In short, by 2017 Open Learning OP will need to support Otago Polytechnic to:

  • Triple the proportion of current revenue generated from off-campus delivery.
  • Double the revenue base from non-SAC funded students.
  • Double the current number of students from outside of Otago.
  • Double the current number of international students.
  • Strengthen on-campus programmes through good learning design and high quality online learning resources.

Aims of the scenario planning workshop

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The primary aim of today's workshop is to generate the inputs required to inform decision-making for the operational plan for Open Learning OP for 2013 - 2017. We will do this by illustrating three possible pathways for how Open Learning OP can contribute to achieving our corporate strategic objectives.

Objectives for the day

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Staff from Open Learning OP will:
  • Identify the major drivers of change facing Open Learning OP
  • Take current context into account
  • Present three possible pathways and corresponding views of what Open Learning OP will look like in 2017
  • Develop a story line for how we get there.


  1. Introduction to scenario planning (10.30am - 10.40am)
  2. Considering the DEANZ 2016 Scenarios (10.40am - 11.00am) - Small groups to summarise the scenario and identify the top 3 decisions Open Learning OP would need to take today if the scenario under consideration were to materialise. Record any ideas worth sharing with the group.
  3. Feedback on the DEANZ 2016 scenarios (11.00am - 11.30am)
  4. Conceptual building blocks for deductive scenarios (11.30am - 11.40am)
  5. Thought-leader perspectives on key uncertainties in higher education (11.30am - 11.45am)
  6. Small group brainstorm on the key uncertainties (top 5) which will impact on Open Learning OP. (11.40am to 12.00pm)
    • Distinguish between trends versus uncertainties (i.e the outcome of an uncertainty is fundamentally unknown).
    • Impact: Uncertainties will have a major impact on the way we operate at Open Learning OP today.
  7. Feedback from groups on key uncertainties for Open Learning OP. (12.00pm to 12.30pm).
  8. Lunch break (12.30pm - 1.00pm)
  9. Prioritise uncertainties (1.00 - 1.30pm)
  10. Small group work Activity: Draft three headlines for your group (1.30pm - 2.00pm)
    • Consider the following;
      • Decide on the defining question you are aiming to answer with your scenario, for example: What will Open Learning OP look like in 2017?
      • Select two key uncertainties and plot a scenario matrix.
      • Identify the main characters for your storyline, for example, individuals or departments.
      • Consider possible plots for your scenario.
      • Identify the major events on the timeline of your scenario.
    • Generate news headlines for the following dates:
      • January 2014
      • December 2015
      • December 2017
  11. Feedback on headlines (2.00pm - 2.10pm)
  12. Scenario story lines - Outline for Newspaper article on Open Learning OP in Dec 2017 (2.10pm - 2.45pm)
    • Choose a compelling headline for your article.
    • Develop the lead statement for your article. The lead statement is a sentence which should grab the interest and attention of your reader and cover the topic or major theme of your article.
    • Generate bullet points of the story line (major events) from today till 2017 documenting how Open Learning OP arrived at this point in the future.
  13. Feedback on scenarios (2.45pm - 3.00pm)