Home' Facility Perspectives : Vol 13 No 1 Contents FP: How do you ensure students
receive quality training that aligns with
SC: Our aim is to deliver experientially and
research-informed vocational education
and training courses that are practical,
contemporary, customised and unique in an
Australian vocational sector dominated by the
delivery of standardised training packages.
UNE Partnerships has a long history of
closely partnering with key industry bodies
– such as the FMA – to ensure that the
needs of the industry are reflected in course
design, delivery, content and assessment.
We also select trainers and assessors based
on their reputation and standing in their
sector to ensure students are receiving
contemporary and informed knowledge and
skills from leaders in the field.
The content development process for the
Diploma of Facilities Management included
two expert review stages for each module.
Members of the FMA education committee
were invited to review content at the first
and second drafts to ensure the concepts,
case studies and assessment expectations
aligned with best practice in the FM sector.
We also make the most of our relationship
with the University of New England (UNE)
to ensure that the knowledge-based
components, especially in relation to the
leadership and management components
of our higher-level qualifications, remain
aligned with current applied research
findings and trends.
FP: The Diploma of FM is a self-
directed/paced online course. How do
you ensure students remain engaged
when they have the freedom to learn at
their own pace?
SC: UNE Partnerships students are
generally mature adults working in a
role directly related to their area of
study, and are strongly motivated to
succeed. While many find it difficult to
fit study around existing professional and
personal commitments, they appreciate
the flexibility of the UNE Partnerships
approach, and the encouragement and
support of our staff.
Attention to individual students is a
key factor in their success. Each student
is provided with an individual study
and submission plan in their enrolment
dashboard so that they can easily benchmark
their progress. UNE staff review individual
student progress monthly and follow up
those that appear to be falling behind in
their studies to offer encouragement, advice
and assistance to keep them on track.
Assessment submission dates are adjusted
to suit individual needs and commitments,
helping them to manage their own time and
take responsibility for their own success.
In addition, over the next 12 months,
UNE Partnerships will be rolling out t wo
new initiatives to help students remain
engaged with their studies. Firstly, we will
be introducing a mentor scheme, matching
students with industry representatives
or academic coaches depending on the
needs of the students. Secondly, we will
commence sector-level webinars aimed at
all students, regardless of how far advanced
they are with their studies, to provide
students with not only knowledge and
skills pertinent to their field, but a chance
to engage as part of a learning community.
We are also exploring a new student
engagement platform, which we hope to roll
out in 2019.
FP: Digital technology has radically
changed the process of teaching
and learning over the last 20 years.
What are some of the drawbacks and
advantages of new technology in the
SC: While excellence in teaching can mean
different things in different contexts, I
am a firm believer that ‘good teaching is
good teaching’ regardless of the mode of
delivery, as the basic skills are transferable
across modes and media. Nonetheless,
providing dynamic learner engagement
opportunities in an online environment can
be more challenging than in a face-to-face
environment. Opportunities for peer-to-
peer and student-to-teacher interaction,
and opportunities to learn and practice soft
skills, such as spoken communication skills
and effective group work, are technology
dependent and, conversely, limited by
technology and access to it.
Suzanne Crew, CEO, UNE Partnerships
FACILITY PERSPECTIVES | VOLUME 13 NUMBER 1 | 13
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