Wednesday, July 20, 2016

University of Queensland Student Strategy

The University of Queensland (UQ) has issued a twenty page Student Strategy 2016-2020 White Paper (19 July 2016). The paper sets out five goals and twenty initiatives, mostly citing specific projects already underway. Some exceptions are Authentic assessment, Learning analytics and eAssessment, which have no specific projects listed to implement them.

It will be interesting to see how far UQ goes with online learning, offering short modules, competency-based credit, Learning analytics, Authentic and eAssessment. These require a high level of skill from course designers and instructors, otherwise they risk the reputation of the institution for high quality education. The old university approach of having someone with just a research degree design and teach courses will not work. UQ will need qualified educational specialists, working in teams. This approach has been routine at distance education teaching orientated institutions, but not research universities.

An interesting initiative is the  Employ101x: Unlocking your employability MOOC. One frustration with the white paper is the lack of hypertext links, or references, to initiatives cited. As an example, the VC’s flagship courses for ‘creating change’ sound interesting, but I could not find these on the UQ website. I have added links below, to some of the projects I could find.

Some of the initiatives do not appear very radial and perhaps do not go far enough. As an example, moving from two terms a year (Semesters) to three (trimesters), is not a very radical move. The universities in the Open Universities Australia consortium already offer four study periods a year. As a part-time postgraduate student I have found this a very useful option, allowing me to study at a steady pack all year and progress at a reasonable rate.

Goal 1: Game-changing graduates

  1. Work integrated learning and student employability program expansion ... BEL Student Employability Team; UQ Advantage OfficeEmploy101x
  2. UQ research fused with UQ teaching ... Undergraduate Research Program
  3. The VC’s flagship courses for ‘creating change’ ... Schools of Law and Political Science – Undergraduate Working Groups
  4. Idea acceleration ecosystem ... EAIT – Idea Hub
  5. Global extension experiences ... Short-Term Mobility Project
  6. Authentic assessment ... Develop a system of assessment that uses challenging and meaningful assessment tasks to engage and extend students across their programs.

Goal 2: Student-centred flexibility

  1. Initiative 1: Extended online and on-campus active learning ... Prioritise the online delivery of courses ... HASS – Strengthening the First-year Gateways: Aligned, Literate and Flipped; EAIT – Flipping the classroom
  2. Unbundled course options ... Offer key components of our courses in short modules that draw on UQ’s advanced digital learning resources and allow students to build competency-based credit. ... School of Psychology and UQx – Introduction to Psychology – Online Series: PSYC1030x
  3. Program schedule alternatives ... Move to a trimester system across selected undergraduate and postgraduate programs where a need for accelerated and decelerated study options is identified. ... UQ Business School – Flexible MBA options
  4. Learning analytics and eAssessment capability

Goal 3: Dynamic people and partnerships

  1. Students as partners ... UQ Students as Partners Fellowships
  2. Multi-point mentor program ... EAIT – MEET a Mentor Program
  3. Teaching innovation support ... UQ’s Learning Designer Teams
  4. Staff professional development and recognition provisions ... Teaching@UQ
  5. A teaching engaged staff profile ... School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences – The Alure project

Goal 4: An integrated learning environment

  1. Campus precinct development ... UQ student residential borough
  2. The student learning and support hub ... Provide a central, integrated physical location on campus that enables innovative teaching practices and effective student enquiry/support services.
  3. Enhanced multifunctional spaces ... UQ Library: Multifunctional, service-oriented spaces
  4. IT infrastructure renewal ... Invest in IT infrastructure renewal to enhance UQ’s online user experience and support the increasing demand of eService requirements across the University.
  5. Student support interfaces ... my.UQ

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