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Award recognises UTS's world-class teaching and learning

23 December 2015

Students using collaborative spaces in UTS's Faculty of Engineering and IT building, the first and largest of three state-of-the-art buildings constructed as part of UTS's billion-dollar City Campus Master Plan. Picture by Anna Zhu

The University of Technology Sydney has been recognised as a world leader in innovative teaching and learning practices, winning the Hybrid Learning Innovation category of the 2015 Wharton-QS Stars Reimagine Education Awards in Philadelphia.

UTS was nominated for its learning.futures initiative, a several-year-long program aligning future-focused curriculum with informed technology use, designed in tandem with a $1 billion transformation of the UTS City campus.

The award, for the most innovative blended pedagogy to enhance student learning, was accepted by the UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) Professor Shirley Alexander, one of the architects of learning.futures.

learning.futures builds on the UTS model of practice-oriented, research inspired learning, integrating the best of online and face-to-face experiences.

Students' on-campus learning experiences typically include group problem-solving, simulations, real life case studies, debates and role-plays. The development of graduate attributes such teamwork and communication skills is embedded.

It has involved systematic change across every faculty, in every course, and has resulted in changes to every building in the university.

"It is an extraordinary achievement to be considered the world leader in blended learning," Professor Alexander said. "There were more than 500 entries across 40 countries for about 10 award categories, so I think we can truly say that we are a world-leading university of technology.

"Our project team is probably the biggest in the history of the awards as we couldn't have implemented learning.futures without every UTS academic, backed up with the considerable support of the university's Institute for Interactive Media and Learning, the library and the UTS Student Services Unit."

A joint initiative of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Quacquarelli Symonds, publisher of the QS World University Rankings, the Reimagine Education Awards have been dubbed the "Oscars" of higher education innovation.

This year an international panel of 40 distinguished judges evaluated the best projects from around the world in higher education pedagogy and educational technology.

Byline: Terry Clinton