Posted on 27 September 2022
Aotearoa New Zealand’s Open Polytechnic has received the Commonwealth’s top award for institutional excellence in distance learning.
The national online learning provider and Te Pūkenga subsidiary received the prestigious award at the recent Tenth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Calgary, Canada (PCF10).
The award of excellence is presented every three years by the Canada-based Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the world’s only intergovernmental organisation solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning.
COL President and Chief Executive Officer, Professor Asha Kanwar, says the award was developed to recognise the significant achievements by institutions throughout the Commonwealth in the innovation and effective application of appropriate learning technologies.
“The Open Polytechnic was unanimously selected by an Adjudication Panel for its outstanding achievement in providing learning access to thousands of learners, including Māori and Pasifika learners, disabled learners, and those in rural communities.”
Professor Kanwar added, “The Open Polytechnic’s real-time analytics for educational performance is an exemplary innovation that fulfils the promise of technology to foster an enhanced learning environment for all.”
Open Polytechnic Chief Executive, Dr Caroline Seelig, says the distinguished award is a wonderful recognition of the excellence in design and innovation that exists across the Open Polytechnic, that combined with the approach and expertise of staff, creates an environment focussed on learner success.
“The Open Polytechnic achieves world-class outcomes for vocational distance learning delivered to 35,000 learners who are upskilling for the changing world of work.
“As a specialist provider, our strategic direction ensures we foster opportunities for life-long learning and facilitate anytime, open access enrolment,” she says.
Dr Seelig says that over the last two years Open Polytechnic also made a significant contribution supporting other tertiary education providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the start of the pandemic, we provided our iQualify learning platform free to tertiary providers no longer able to deliver face-to-face learning. This enabled continued provision for over 40 tertiary providers and teachers were able to rapidly convert learning activities and assessments for online delivery.”
Open Polytechnic Executive Director of Learning Design and Development, Mark Nichols, was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the Open Polytechnic at the Tenth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Calgary, Canada.