Distance Learning with NZIHT

NZIHT uses a mixed modeMixed mode education is a merger of traditional classroom based teaching with distance learning. distance learning model for the delivery of all its academic programmes. NZIHT is the lead provider of the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE) on a distance learning basis.

The delivery model is structured and timetabled such that all programmes can be accessed either through distance learning, on a part-time basis, or through full-time study. The distance learning option is of particular interest to persons who are unable to engage in full-time study because they wish to study while they work.

This delivery model, which was first introduced in 2003, has over time been refined into a successful distance delivery model in which student performance and completion rates are consistently above the national average in courses that are nationally examined. This is a remarkable achievement for any distance learning programme. The success of the model is ascribed to the fact that it is not a pure correspondence model.

The delivery model comprises of a combination of contact sessions, called Study Blocks, and structured self-directed study. The duration of the Study Blocks is kept short with a view to cause minimum disruption of work-place activities. All courses are delivered on a semester (½ year) basis, and courses are typically allocated two study blocks in a semester, ranging between 2 and 4 days per block depending on the specific requirements of the course. Student feedback consistently rate the study blocks as the most important feature of the model that contributes to their success. If circumstances are such that a student can for some reason not attend a block, he/she may apply for a block course attendance waiver if they can provide evidence that it will not impact negatively on their performance.

The self-directed study component is undertaken in the student’s own time and is supported by a set of course materials specially designed for the purpose. A web-based Course Management System (CMS) facilitates communication and interaction between course participants and the course presenter, and is used as a platform for dissemination of information and course materials, and for the engagement of emerging technologies into the delivery model.