UWA launches its Education Futures Vision

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The University of Western Australia has launched an ambitious new vision for the future of teaching and learning across its undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

The Education Futures Vision is the first stage of the UWA Education Futures Project and is designed to respond to the changing nature of students, technology and workplace expectations.

Project Director and Dean of the Faculty of Education, Winthrop Professor Helen Wildy, said the blueprint aimed high but was conceivable and sufficiently flexible to allow for as yet unforeseen developments.  It was designed to engage students, create a rich campus experience which encouraged them to be on site as much as possible rather than just learning remotely, and give them the practical skills they needed to succeed in the workplace.

"The world is a different place now and the students who come to us have different needs and expectations to those who came even 10 years ago," Professor Wildy said.  "There's a big difference with mobile technology and the vast, endless amount of education that is available.  Our teaching will need to reflect not only acquisition of knowledge but the kinds of higher order skills that employers are now looking for."

She said the days of lecturers simply standing in front of students and talking were gone.

"We have to move away from content delivery," Professor Wildy said.  "Talking isn't teaching, telling isn't teaching, and technology isn't teaching.  Technology can be used as a tool.  It's what you do with it that matters.

"Our vision is aimed at transforming the way we teach and learning to incorporate the level of knowing; applying and critiquing content knowledge; and the broad array of interpersonal skills such as team work, problem solving, independence, creativity, initiative and leadership that are required in today's workplace.  We need to give them the capacity to adapt to the workplace life of the future."

The Vision, formulated with input from a broad range of academics, University staff, students and external stakeholders, spells out seven key statements designed to build on practices already in place and encourage new initiatives.  They cover:  

  • Transformative Teaching
  • Evidence-Based Teaching
  • Experiential Learning
  • Integrated Research Experiences
  • Optimised Resources
  • Vibrant Campus Environment
  • Global Citizenship and Leadership

Professor Wildy said UWA's high research profile had already driven its international ranking to 91st in 2014 on the Academic Ranking of World Universities.  The Vision will further raise the University's profile as a leading institution for innovative, evidence based, experiential and research-led learning.

The Launch of the Vision for Education Futures was accompanied by a series of short movies showcasing impressive teaching innovations which illustrated aspects of the Vision already embedded in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at UWA.

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