Posted by 4 July 2012on
The Open Polytechnic 2011 Annual Report tabled in Parliament recently shows a year of significant achievement for the flexible learning provider and its distance learning students.
New Zealand’s specialist provider of flexible distance learning services, the Open Polytechnic is one of the largest polytechnics in the country, enrolling over 41,000 mainly adult learners a year from across the nation.
One of the key focuses for the Open Polytechnic during 2011 was to lift its educational performance results to be amongst the highest in the world for distance education, a goal the organisation achieved says Chief Executive Dr Caroline Seelig.
“The Open Polytechnic already had some of the strongest educational performance results in the world for distance learning, and in 2011 we further increased our range of initiatives to support student success, and the results now firmly place us as one of the leaders in distance education globally.”
The Open Polytechnic services a mainly adult constituency of learners who fit their studies around work and family commitments, meaning learners have a range of competing pressures on their time. Successful course completion levels in 2011 rose to 73 per cent, and qualification completion levels climbed to 59 per cent.
The flexible learning provider achieved the improved results by implementing additional measures to improve student success, as well as extra initiatives to support first-time distance learning students. The institution also improved its tracking and reporting processes which allowed it to capture, for example, qualifications achieved by Open Polytechnic students but which are awarded by external bodies - such as its legal executive programme.
The Open Polytechnic also returned a strong financial result, reporting a surplus of $3.7 million. “Our surplus is within the recommended Tertiary Education Commission guideline of between 3-5 per cent, and the TEC financial risk assessment for the Open Polytechnic remains in the ‘low’ ranking”, says Dr Seelig.
Other highlights in 2011 were the launch of new qualifications such as the graduate primary science teaching qualifications.
“The graduate primary science teaching qualifications will be a big help to practising primary school teachers who want to gain the skills to help them teach science confidently in the classroom, and will enable them to be science leaders in their schools and wider communities,” say Dr Seelig. “The Government is very focussed on lifting science competency across New Zealand, and these qualifications have been purpose built to help teachers create interest in the sciences for young New Zealanders.”
Further highlights for the year included the Open Polytechnic becoming one of the 13 founding members of the Open Educational Resource University, and winning the ‘Excellence in Professional Services’ Award at the Westpac Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.
The 2011 Open Polytechnic Annual Report is available to view online at: www.openpolytechnic.ac.nz/about-us/corporate-publications