Embracing the digital frontier and providing its students with a personalised and borderless education experience are key features of Deakin’s new Strategic Plan, launched in Geelong today by Victoria’s Higher Education Minister Peter Hall.
Titled Live the Future: Agenda 2020, the new Deakin plan outlines a radical new approach to student engagement and learning over the remainder of this decade.
Deakin seeks to be Australia’s premier university in driving the digital frontier - to enable globally connected education for the jobs of the future, and research that makes a difference to the communities it serves.
Increasingly, Deakin will provide opportunities for students to engage with the university and each other via digital technology and mobile devices so that education is provided anywhere and at any time.
The digital frontier
As well as off-campus students engaging via the internet, education resources will be provided for all students to learn and interact via the ‘cloud’. Students will also have the option to participate at one of Deakin’s Victorian campuses or in workplaces, hospitals, schools, in fieldwork placements either in Australia or overseas.
Deakin Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, said the new plan responded to the rapidly changing landscape of tertiary education and harnessed the power and opportunities of the new digital economy.
‘Learning at Deakin will be personalised and unchained from location,’ she said.
‘Today’s students rightly expect a premium learning experience which is user-friendly, self-serviced and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week as they have come to expect in all other aspects of their lives such as banking and retail services.’
‘Students use a variety of mobile devices to socialise and to access information, resources and expertise and have come to expect that access everywhere, anytime and on any device.’
Professor den Hollander said that international experience, as well as local Victorian experience, had shown that in the digital age, there were new ways of doing business and universities were no exception.
‘We are in a brave new world of higher education, where universities are no longer the sole providers of knowledge, and where content is increasingly free and accessible to all,’ she said.
‘Just in the last twelve months, some of the world’s most highly regarded educational institutions have embraced digital opportunities to offer course content online and have established new ventures to attract global learning communities,’ she said.
‘Learning has been unleashed from the previous constraints of time, location and expertise. The universities which continue to succeed will be those which embed the opportunities of the internet in their culture and in the way they enhance the student experience.’
‘These changes force us to think about university credentials in a new way and to embrace the opportunities that they provide to deliver greater value in our own marketplace - and particularly to our students,’ she said.
Deakin’s new Strategic Plan is built on four key themes:
- Learning - offering brilliant education, wherever students are geographically or academically
- Ideas - making a difference through world-class innovation and research
- Value - strengthening communities, enabling partners and enhancing the university’s enterprise
- Experience - delighting students, staff, alumni and partners.
The new Strategic Plan will see Deakin expand its international research footprint in areas where it is regarded as world’s best by collaborating both physically and in the ‘cloud’ with research partners in Asia, Europe and North America.
The university’s efforts will focus on innovation and research that has impact and makes a difference to the communities it serves.
Deakin will also build economic, social and human capital in the community by bringing thought leadership, advocacy and innovation through community engagement and partnership activities.
‘A primary objective of the new strategic plan is to delight our students, staff, alumni and community partners by facilitating a highly personalised and customised relationship with the university,’ Professor den Hollander said.
She said that a highly accessible, mobile, visually rich and interactive digital presence combined with Deakin’s trimester system would enable students to achieve at their own pace no matter where they were geographically or academically, or where they were in their life or career stage.
As a demonstration of the new Strategic Plan, Deakin today conducted a virtual launch event, linking via ‘the cloud’ more than 1000 staff and invited guests who attended at its campuses in Geelong, Burwood and Warrnambool and at its offices in India and Melbourne CBD.
The event was also web-streamed to thousands of students, staff, graduates and partners who were unable to attend in person but wanted to participate via the internet.
‘Our future has arrived. In delivering learning opportunities that are highly personalised and accessible, we want to ensure that our graduates are equipped for the jobs and skills of the future,’ Professor den Hollander said.