Teaching Matters

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Teaching Matters 2018 | Presentation Details | 2018


Making meaningful connections: A disruptive approach


Cherie Hawkins, University College
Christine Angel, University College


Excellent teaching happens by design

Presentation Type

Lightning Presentation


Tamar Room




The University College (UC) approach to learning and teaching is designed to be different and disruptive. It is different because it is based on a pedagogy of practice-based learning and teaching underpinned by discipline content at AQF levels 5 and 6, which lead into Bachelor-level study. It is disruptive because it turns away from legacy methods while retaining excellence of teaching and a place-based focus. Units of teaching are designed and delivered in partnership with local industry on each campus. Student learning is facilitated by discipline experts, and by experiential education experts through the Practice and Portfolio (P&P) Team.

UC is designed for cohorts who might not otherwise have the opportunity to undertake higher education: Year 12 leavers who do not achieve a required ATAR score to enter traditional undergraduate degrees; the unemployed; and the employed who wish to upskill or to change their careers. The UC approach provides the opportunity for students to make meaningful connections between theory and practice through experiential education, which is ‘an effective, collaborative and enjoyable approach’ to supporting students to gain ‘practice wisdom’ (Higgs, 2011, p. 2). Through this approach, students develop skills and attributes that are transferable into their academic, professional and personal lives. They exit the course knowing how, why and when to apply theory to practice. Students have reported the benefits of practical learning outside the classroom and how the course supports career and personal development. Following the graduation of the first cohort early in 2019 it is expected that further data will be available, sufficient to justify the UC’s approach.


Higgs, J. (2011). Practice-based education: a framework for professional education, Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Sydney.

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