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Flexible Delivery Workshop. Models of collaboration: UHI Millennium Institute David Green. Principal, Lews Castle College Vice Chair, UHI Executive Board.

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flexible delivery workshop
Flexible Delivery Workshop

Models of collaboration:

UHI Millennium Institute

David Green.

Principal, Lews Castle College

Vice Chair, UHI Executive Board

pressures to extend he into remote rural areas
Pressures to extend HE into remote & rural areas
  • political – (mass HE, equity & the concept of entitlement);
  • economic - (perceived benefits for local economies);
  • social - (retention of population);
  • cultural - (promotion or preservation of local history, cultures and languages)
issues to be addressed
Issues to be addressed
  • efficiency - (scattered population, small teaching groups);
  • quality in L&T & R - (multiple locations, small partner institutions, H.E. new to many staff);
  • access - (distances, remote locations, poor transport & communications);
  • participation - (no tradition of local HE, excluded groups)
uhi approach to these issues
UHI approach to these issues
  • use of ICT to support learning & administration over large distances;
  • local colleges & learning centres for easier access and local support;
  • colleges recruit non-traditional learners and bring them into HE;
  • links with other universities & institutes to develop research
  • strong staff development and QA policies
population density

400

350

300

250

200

Persons per sq km

150

100

50

Sweden

Finland

Greece

Austria

Norway

Scotland

Germany

Denmark

Netherlands

0

United Kingdom

Highlands & Islands

Italy

Population Density
features of the highlands islands region
Features of the Highlands & Islands region
  • huge area with low population
  • low incomes – c75% of EU average
  • peripheral region – 90+ inhabited islands
  • population loss from remoter areas
  • dominance of small/medium enterprises
  • some population growth (20% since 1960s),
  • economic diversification & localised growth
creating a university for the highlands and islands
Creating a University for the Highlands and Islands
  • began as a collaborative project 1992
  • sponsored by regional government & development agency
  • aims:

- bring HE to a remote area

- regional economic development

-social & cultural development

uhi partnership
UHI Partnership
  • 14 academic partners
    • community colleges
    • specialist colleges
    • research institutions
  • >50 learning centres
  • area >40,000 km²
  • >90 inhabited islands
  • students & campuses linked by ICT
progress
Progress
  • approved by the Scottish Parliament as a Higher Education Institution in 2001
  • granted university-level funding 2004
  • target for full University title –2007?

Creating the University of the Highlands and Islands

unique features
Unique Features
  • employs no academic staff per se
  • owns no buildings or equipment except the Executive Office
  • a Partnership/ Joint Venture
  • contractual supply agreements
  • built on existing institutions
  • federal and collegiate in structure
  • close links to local communities
  • innovative networked learning model
uhi students
UHI Students
  • mainly local
  • full-time 48%, part-time 52%
  • mature (25 years and over) c60%
  • male 46%, female 54%
  • more with non-standard entry qualifications
  • more from lower socio-economic groups
the uhi learning experience
The UHI learning experience
  • traditional face-to-face lectures, tutorials and seminars
  • flexible/supported/distributed learning:
    • video and audio conferencing
    • paper-based materials
    • web-based materials
    • e-communications, including net meeting
ict connectivity
ICT Connectivity
  • broadband connections between major centres
  • linked into UK academic network
  • provides:

- email, internet,VC, telephony

& student data systems

academic provision
Academic provision

3 main elements:

  • a broadly-based curriculum widely available throughout the network
  • specialist courses and centres
  • short courses tailored to CPD needs of local employers/professionals
uhi research
UHI research
  • environmental sciences – international standing
  • developing capabilities in other areas:
    • aquaculture and mariculture
    • rural development
    • language, culture and migration
    • archaeology and heritage
    • bio-medical and health care
    • renewable energy
    • nuclear de-commissioning
lessons learned 1 collaboration issues
Lessons learned (1) : collaboration issues
  • clarity:

- of aims, plans, resources, agreements, targets, responsibilities;

  • communication:

-of information (as above);

- with sponsors, staff, students, communities;

  • consultation:

-with stakeholders on issues that affect them

lessons learned 2 teaching research
Lessons learned (2): teaching & research
  • curriculum development:

-check the need

- prioritise the activity

- control the budget

  • research:

-identify strengths & opportunities

- prioritise areas to focus on

- research for some, scholarship for all?

lessons learned 3 organisation
Lessons learned (3):organisation
  • design simple, effective structures & processes for development;
  • modify these to match changing circumstances;
  • minimise the risk from individuals & institutions – publish agreements & maximise information flow
continuing challenges
Continuing challenges
  • organisational:

-maintaining the partnership;

- managing tensions

  • financial:

- cost of delivery across large areas

- small teaching groups

- maintaining infrastructure

  • academic:

-gaining credibility for an unconventional

institution

case study rural development studies
Case Study: Rural Development Studies
  • RDS was first UHI networked degree, validated by University of Aberdeen (1994)
  • Not closely identified with ICT
  • Modular structure
  • Inter-disciplinary studies
  • Variety of learning methods
  • Variety of assessment instruments
  • Close links with other degrees
how rds courses are taught
How RDS courses are taught
  • Face to face
  • Paper based
  • Telephone tuition
  • Email support
  • Video-conference link
  • Web-based resources
  • Net meeting
experiences with technology
Experiences with technology
  • Technical problems:
    • Breakdown
    • Complexity
    • Cost

People problems:

-inexperience

-Fear

-Personal touch

advantages of mixed format
Advantages of mixed format
  • Distance and time flexibility
  • Consistency of learning resources
  • Subject and student sensitive
  • Resource used in appropriate context
  • Allows rapid updating
  • Provides students with extra skills
  • Gives students more power
lessons for remote delivery
Lessons for ‘remote’ delivery
  • Needs to be responsive
  • Needs to be interactive
  • Needs to be reliable
  • Needs a stable platform
  • Needs to be consistent
  • Needs to be networked
  • Needs to be supported by training
case study conclusions
Case Study conclusions
  • A mixed format delivery is best
  • Optimum mix varies with module/course/academic level and individual
  • Local learning centres help stability
  • Needs careful management (ac+tech)
  • Needs staff development (ac+tech)
  • High or low tech – must be professional