From a Distance
5 0 T H J U B I L E E O F D I S T A N C E L E A R N I N G
T O M P R E B B L E
FROM A DISTANCE: 50th Jubilee of Distance Learning
FROM A DISTANCE:
50TH JUBILLEE OF DISTANCE LEARNING
FROM A DISTANCE: 50th Jubilee of Distance Learning
© Tom Prebble and Massey University, 2010
First published in 2010
Private Bag 11 222
New Zealand http://ww.massey.ac.nz
Copyright: Except for the purposes of fair reviewing no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publishers.
Text and cover design: Nadia Blenkiron and Fiona Brown
Printed by the Massey University Printery
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985
Chapter 2: Managing growth
Chapter 3: Management by acronym – CUES
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching
Chapter 5: Students and study
Chapter 6: Media matters
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
Glossary of Acronyms
When Mark Brown invited me to write an account of the last 25 years of Massey
University’s Extramural programme I was seized with ambivalence. As Director of
Extramural Studies for the ﬁ rst 11 of those years and then Principal Extramural and
International for the following 3 years I acknowledged that I was probably as well informed as anyone about the fortunes of the Extramural programme during those years and would welcome the opportunity to do a bit of systematic research and reﬂ ection on the subject. On the other hand, it was immediately apparent that I could not hope to adopt a truly objective stance on the subject. Nor could I immediately see how I could write myself out of the account of those years or even produce the account in an impersonal voice. I warned Mark that he might be commissioning Prebble’s memoirs or worse, my apologia, rather than the scholarly account the subject deserved. Not seeing any other candidates for the task, he conﬁ dently dismissed my concerns. Several months later, with the task complete, Mark Brown may regret his breezy conﬁ dence.
It was also clear in those early discussions that this project should not attempt a comprehensive account of the early years of the extramural programme, the ﬁ rst twentyﬁ ve years from 1960 to 1985. That period was very ably treated by John Owens in Campus
Beyond the Walls: The ﬁ rst 25 years of Massey University’s Extramural Programme
. John was superbly qualiﬁ ed to write this account. He was a founding member of the teaching faculty of the Palmerston North University College, the precursor of Massey
University, and in the ﬁ rst small group of pioneering extramural teachers. He was also an academic historian who spent the greater part of his career at Massey, teaching extramurally and participating in the development of this novel educational enterprise.
Campus Beyond the Walls was, and remains, an outstanding institutional history and a very interesting read, especially for anyone closely involved with the extramural programme. It does not need to be rewritten and is not my intention to do so.
Writing an account of the second 25 years of an endeavour does however pose a few challenges. It is analogous to broadcasting only the second half of a rugby match: while it may not bother the announcer, the audience may be left in some confusion.
Unfortunately, the obvious option of republishing the earlier book as a companion volume is probably not viable. Institutional histories are seldom found in airport book shops and publishers are delighted and surprised when such publications avoid a ﬁ nancial loss.
One of my earliest business decisions on taking up the Directorship of Extramural Studies in 1986 was how to dispose of several thousand copies of Campus Beyond the Walls that
1 Owens, J.M.R. (1985). Campus Beyond the Walls: The ﬁ rst 25 years of Massey University’s Extramural
Programme. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.
Author’s Preface had failed to sell during the publication year. Peter Crump, the redoubtable Extramural
Registrar of the day, had been overcome with enthusiasm for the project and ordered a print run of some ﬁ ve thousand copies. They now sat in the corner of his ofﬁ ce mocking this moment of uncharacteristic largesse. We decided to give them away – to extramural students at regional gatherings, to extramural teachers and to the steady procession of international visitors who came to have a look at our extramural operations. Eventually, they were all gone. Instead of republishing the book in print form, the University has chosen to reissue it in digital form in the history section of the Massey website. I have taken the liberty of providing a précis of John Owens’ account in the ﬁ rst chapter of this book and tried to keep faith with the structure and emphasis of that earlier publication.
Throughout the writing process I have been conscious that my account is heavy on policy and institutional processes and perhaps a little light on the warp and woof of extramural study and the student experience in particular. The focus on policy and process is due no doubt to my own historic role and perspective on the extramural programme – if you ask an administrator to write about a process, he or she is likely to write a lot about administration. The limited focus on the student experience is more deliberate. The Extramural Students’ Society has also commissioned a history to mark the 50 th anniversary of the extramural programme. Peter Hawes, the author, has assured me his account will focus on the student experience and EXMSS’s role in supporting it.
I am hoping the two accounts will be complementary rather than cover too much of the same information.
Researching and writing this account has been a mixed experience. It is not often that one is given the opportunity to reﬂ ect at length on a series of events and activities to which one has devoted a large part of one’s working life. Memory tends to put an increasingly warm glow on past events and on one’s own contribution to them. Rereading some 80 sets of agenda papers for the Board of Extramural Studies and numerous reports on largely unsuccessful attempts to manage the growth of the extramural programme proved a robust corrective. The other salutary reminder was the large and increasing numbers of extramural teachers from the early years who have died in recent years, many of them friends I had worked with, most of them colleagues I had known and respected. The names of several of them appear in these pages. This book is dedicated to their memory.
Acknowledgments and thanks are owed to many people. To John Owens who has generously allowed me to include a précis of his book. I hope I can be equally magnanimous when someone attempts to write the account of the next twenty-ﬁ ve years. To the many current and past members of staff at Massey, both administrative and academic, who have patiently answered my questions. To the students whose photos and stories appeared in the 2000 extramural enrolment campaign and who have allowed me to share their stories as representative of extramural students at large. To Louis
Changuion, the University Archivist, for his invaluable assistance in retrieving records both text-based and photographic. To Mathew Pinfold of Massey’s ITS section who did his best to generate useful information from several mismatched data sets. To Rosanna
Couto-Mason and Erica Ramirez of the Ofﬁ ce of Strategic Management who produced tables from these data. To Anna Weatherstone and Glenda Stephenson for editing the draft text. And to Fiona Brown and Nadia Blenkiron of Massey’s Design Studio for their design of the publication and the cover.
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985
Chapter 1: The early years –
1961 to 1985
2010 marks the ﬁ ftieth anniversary of the launch of a small, branch university college in
Palmerston North. Its modest purpose was to offer undergraduate tuition to students – mostly schoolteachers at that time – who were unable to attend their regional university on a regular basis. The new institution was launched amid controversy. Many from the university sector questioned the efﬁ cacy of ‘extramural’ tuition and the validity of any qualiﬁ cation earned thereby. Fifty years on, the Extramural programme at Massey
University offers one of the largest university-level distance education programmes in Australasia. The quality of its extramural teaching and qualiﬁ cations has been found to meet all the standards that the sceptics were so doubtful about at the outset.
The extramural programme has become an inseparable and valued part of Massey
University. Most of the university’s one thousand academics are involved in teaching in the extramural programme, and the great majority of the university’s qualiﬁ cations can be studied in this mode
. Around 20,000 New Zealanders study extramurally each year with Massey and another 200,000, or one in every twenty, have studied extramurally with
The story of the Massey Extramural programme is one New Zealanders can be proud of. It was founded to overcome a longstanding inequity in the university system and to improve the levels of education of adult New Zealanders, both in the paid workforce and outside it. The programme has made a huge and continuing contribution towards both of these goals. It has also evolved its own approach to distance education, drawing on best international practice when appropriate, but seldom straying far from the ‘Massey model’ of extramural teaching and study that evolved within the ﬁ rst few years of the programme. It is a story that Massey’s thousands of current and past extramural teachers can be proud of too. While few of them would deny that distance teaching places great demands on their time and talents, just as few would regret their involvement with the highly motivated adult learners this mode of study attracts.
In 1985 Massey University celebrated the 25 th anniversary of the Extramural programme by commissioning a history of that ﬁ rst quarter century. John Owens, a founding member
1 The College of Creative Arts remains the exception and continues to deliver most of its qualiﬁ cations in a studio environment.
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 of the original Palmerston North University College and long-time member of the History
Department at Massey, produced an excellent account of those early years. Campus
Beyond the Walls was widely read on its publication, particularly by Owens’ teaching colleagues who valued this acknowledgment of their collective commitment. I found the account particularly helpful as I took on responsibility for directing the extramural programme in 1986. Even for an experienced extramural teacher, Campus Beyond the
Walls placed that personal experience in a wider historical and organisational context.
Campus Beyond the Walls is no longer in print. This poses a dilemma for the present project. Rewriting the history of those ﬁ rst twenty-ﬁ ve years would do a disservice to
Owens’ account and be unlikely to meet the standard of that work. Two options have been followed to meet this dilemma. Campus Beyond the Walls has been reissued in online form on the history pages of the Massey website. Those who would like the full-blooded, authoritative account of those important founding years of the extramural programme should take the time to read the book online or to track down a copy in a local library. The present account will be essentially a sequel to Campus Beyond the
Walls focussing on the history of the extramural programme since 1986. This chapter will provide essentially a précis of Owens’ account and give an overview of the events and issues described in Campus Beyond the Walls. It is recognised that this approach will be necessarily abbreviated and fail to do justice to the original account but hopefully it will drive a few readers back to the original.
Owens’ chapter titles and themes will be employed to try to ensure this summary remains as true as possible to the original. No additional material has been gathered for this section.
BATTLES LONG AGO
The extramural programme had its origins in the longstanding problem posed by
‘exempted students’. These were students who may have commenced their study at one of the campuses of the former University of New Zealand but now found themselves living out of reach of any of those campuses. These students could apply to be ‘exempted’ the requirement to attend lectures at their former campus but be permitted to attempt the ﬁ nal examination at the end of the year. Many lecturers would do their best to send these students reading lists and perhaps meet with them for an individual tutorial from time to time, but little more. It became a long-running embarrassment to the University
2 John Owens’ chapter headings have been used in this chapter.
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 particularly when many of these exempted students succeeded quite adequately in the ﬁ nal examinations without the beneﬁ t of attending any lectures!
The Second Royal Commission on University Education in New Zealand
carried out by
Sir Harry Reichel and Frank Tate in 1925 paid special attention to this problem. Finding that 10% of all enrolled students at the University were in the ‘exempted’ category, the
Report of the Commission endeavoured to ameliorate their plight. They recommended, among other measures, that all exempted students should receive reading lists, study notes and tutorial assistance. They also felt that even exempted students should be required to attend campus for at least one year of their degree.
The Commission may have highlighted the problem of exempted students but little was done in the following years to implement their recommendations. In fact, there seemed to be a growing consensus in the university community that exemption from attendance should be abolished altogether. Most academics were already overburdened with regular teaching commitments and viewed exempted students as an intolerable burden.
One expression of this feeling was the decision of the University’s Academic Board in 1948 to limit extramural study in arts and sciences to Stage I and Stage II (100 and
During the 1950s, this conservative response from the University began to run up against some large-scale shifts that were taking place in demography and employment. The post-war Baby Boom was hitting the primary schools and educational authorities were facing a huge challenge to train and up skill the teaching force. The teachers’ unions were pushing the University to make better provision for extramural study. They were assisted in their efforts by Dr C.E. Beeby, the high proﬁ le Director of Education, who used his ex ofﬁ cio seat on the University Senate to urge the University to make better provision for the education of the teaching profession. For several years the University ﬁ ercely resisted this pressure, giving way only to the extent of suspending its prohibition on students taking Stage III papers extramurally for the duration of the acute teacher shortage.
The impasse was broken in the late 1950s with a couple of parallel developments. At
Victoria University, the Principal, Dr James Williams, and Ian Gordon, Professor of
English, became convinced of the need for better extramural provision and began talking with their colleagues about an institutional response to this challenge. At a national level, the new Labour Government had promised the electorate an expansion of the university
3 Royal Commission on University Education in New Zealand. (1925). Report of Royal Commission on
University Education in New Zealand. Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives of
New Zealand, Vol. II, E 7A.
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 system, and Beeby was advising them that this would entail the development of new campuses in provincial centres. It was at this point that Palmerston North presented itself as a possible locus for a solution to the extramural challenge while also serving as an appropriate location for a satellite campus: Palmerston North was a marginal Labour electorate; it was the location of Massey Agricultural College which was hoping to teach pure as well as agricultural science; and the local teachers’ college had been seeking stronger links with Victoria University College for several years.
Williams and Gordon succeeded in getting approval for a University committee to investigate the extramural question once more. In October 1957, the committee recommended the establishment of a branch college in Palmerston North. Initially this was to teach a small selection of humanities courses on both an internal and an extramural basis. A second report a year later explored the various alternatives for afﬁ liating with the existing Palmerston North institutions or with the University of New
Zealand more generally. When the University’s Academic Board considered the reports and their recommendations, it continued to cast doubt on the value of extramural study but agreed that, if it had to be done, it should be under the aegis of Victoria University rather than continue to be borne as a responsibility of each constituent University college.
The ﬁ nal push came on 29 April 1959 when the Honourable P.O.S. Skoglund, the Minister of Education and Member of Parliament for Palmerston North, announced that branch university colleges were to be established in Palmerston North and Hamilton. A proposal to site the new college alongside Massey Agricultural College met difﬁ culties but the situation was recovered when the Palmerston North City Council offered the new college
25 acres of bare land alongside the Manawatu Golf Course.
THE ANXIOUS YEARS
Construction of the ﬁ rst teaching building for the new college began in the Spring of 1959.
The ﬁ rst few staff members arriving soon after. The founding staff comprised a Principal,
George Culliford; three lecturers in English; two in Education, Geography and History and one in Mathematics. They were supported by a librarian, an administrative secretary, a caretaker and a gardener. While construction on the new building proceeded, the small founding team was accommodated in Caccia Birch, the old wooden house on the other side of the Centennial Lagoon.
A commitment had been made to commence the ﬁ rst extramural courses in March
1960 so the newly appointed teachers were under some pressure to prepare some
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 study material. Few of the team had any experience of distance education and it was a question of learning by doing. Peter Freyberg, one of the lecturers in Education, was given the title and task of ‘Director of Extramural Studies’. With his colleagues, he set about establishing some basic administrative systems to service the extramural teaching task.
The ﬂ edgling initiative took a knock in January 1960 with the release of the Hughes Parry
Report on New Zealand Universities
. The report was supportive of the satellite college initiative though it recommended an early merger with Massey Agricultural College across the river. It was less positive about the prospects for extramural study. The report took the traditional university position that distance education was an inherently inferior mode of study, that its use should be restricted to sub-degree qualiﬁ cations, and that students should continue to complete the majority of their degrees on campus.
Internal teaching began on 14 March 1960 with 189 students, all but three of whom were part-timers. Extramural enrolments ﬂ owed in more slowly but by the time numbers were ﬁ nalised there were 510 students studying some 565 units between them. An Extramural
Committee was formed to monitor the developing programme and began to form policies for its development. In that ﬁ rst year, the Committee considered many of the services that would continue to feature strongly in the programme ﬁ fty years on: the use of outside tutors, the library service, the use of study circles, managing examinations and assignments, weekend and vacation courses and the development of study material.
The Committee also reviewed the experience of that ﬁ rst year and was able to suggest improvements that could be made in the following year.
The University of New Zealand dissolved at the end of 1961 to be replaced by separate universities. In 1962, the Massey University College of the Manawatu Act was passed bringing Massey Agricultural College and the Palmerston North University College
(PNUC) together as a single unit. The new institution was to operate under the monitoring eye of Victoria University of Wellington. The PNUC became the General Studies Faculty of the newly established College. Professor Keith Thomson, Principal of PNUC since the previous year, became Dean of the new faculty.
In 1963 the ﬁ rst extramural offerings were provided at the Stage II level. At that time, and for almost two decades after, extramural delivery was restricted to the ﬁ rst two years of an undergraduate degree. At this point, in spite of weathering the ﬁ rst couple of years, there was considerable scepticism about the future of extramural study. Following a study tour of distance education institutions in Australia, Peter Freyberg brought back a
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 more optimistic view of its prospects at Massey University. He reported that Australian colleagues saw no difﬁ culty in offering a full degree by distance and prophesied a steady growth in enrolments for the new programme. The following year, Massey forwarded proposals to the Curriculum Committee of the University Grants Committee
for the introduction of Stage III units. However, it would be 1979 before this proposal was ﬁ nally approved.
Between 1964 and 1966, half a dozen founding professors were appointed. Some of these appointees came with more traditional views about extramural studies than their junior colleagues who had been engaged in this mode for some years already. They feared for the credibility of the young university if extramural study were to remain a dominant stream of activity. Early in his tenure, Professor Oliver of History spoke dismissively of the quality of scholarship achievable through correspondence study 6 . The following year, Professor Frean of English produced a paper arguing for the replacement of correspondence study by intensive residential vacation courses along the lines of the
North American summer school. Professor Hill of Education tried to advance the debate by pressing for a comprehensive stock take of the extramural programme.
At this point Peter Freyberg left the University in October 1966 to take up a chair at
Waikato University. He was replaced initially by Hector McVeagh until his return to the
Correspondence School the following year, and then by Donald Bewley, Senior Lecturer in the University’s Education Department. Professor Bewley remained in this position until 1986 7 .
EVOLVING A POLICY
One of Bewley’s ﬁ rst tasks as Director was to carry out the requested stock take of the extramural programme. Owens credits the ﬁ nal report as a “feat of diplomacy”. On the one hand, the 1967 report conceded that for most students and academics internal study and teaching were likely to remain the preferred mode. But on the other hand, the report noted the bolder use of distance education in Australia and elsewhere. In many
5 The University Grants Committee [UGC] was established in 1960 following the break up of the University of New Zealand. Its primary task was to plan and fund New Zealand’s universities. The Curriculum
Committee was a subcommittee of the UGC and it was responsible for approving all major changes to academic offerings by any member university.
6 Professor Oliver was to adopt a more positive view of extramural study once he had conducted a few vacation courses (W.H. Oliver. (2002). Looking for the Phoenix, Bridget Williams Books..
7 Donald Bewley was awarded a Personal Chair in 1980. Most recently he was awarded an Honorary
Doctor of Literature at the 2010 Graduation.
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 distance education systems offerings were both broader and deeper. On balance, the report supported the model of distance education that was evolving at Massey and did not support a major reversal of those efforts.
Professor Donald Bewley, Director of
Extramural Studies 1967 – 1986
An important recommendation was the proposal to investigate extramural offerings beyond the current narrow focus on the teaching profession.
Speciﬁ cally, the report suggested courses in the biological and physical sciences, programmes to serve professions other than teaching that were seeking graduate status, and a Bachelor of Education programme. All three developments took place over the remainder of the 1960s.
This led both to a rapid growth in the numbers of extramural courses and students and to the increasing involvement of new departments and faculties in the extramural venture. Over the next few years the programme expanded to include
Economics, Psychology, Sociology and Social
Anthropology and the further development of
The Bachelor of Education programme created some important precedents in the way it collaborated with the local teachers college and with the teaching profession itself. This served as an example for the way Massey worked alongside other professions. Nursing
Studies followed in the early 1970s with the majority of its students studying extramurally.
Social Work followed in 1976 with extramural programmes offered for those already in the social work ﬁ eld. Perhaps the largest development in professional education was in Business Studies. The faculty developed a range of specialisations for its Diploma of Business Studies to complement its degree offerings. Smaller, targeted programmes developed in Regional Planning and Police Studies.
During the 1970s a bracket of introductory science and laboratory science papers came available extramurally. This allowed students to complete the Science Intermediate 8 in this mode. This development was possible in part because the previous unit system had given way to the paper system and it was now possible to cover the laboratory requirements of a science paper in a single residential campus course. In the1980s
8 The Science Intermediate was a ﬁ rst-year programme in science and mathematics that allowed students with an interest in medicine and several other professional qualiﬁ cations to complete the ﬁ rst year of those programmes at any of New Zealand’s universities.
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 extramural offerings in applied sciences were offered for the ﬁ rst time: Quality Assurance and Food Quality Assurance from the Technology Faculty, and Horticulture and Wool
Handling from the Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences Faculty. While extramural teaching was to remain a minor focus for the science and technology subjects, even this level of involvement gave these faculties a better appreciation and understanding of this important part of the University’s work. Just as importantly, it assisted heads of departments and deans from these faculties to develop a more informed and positive view of the extramural side of the University’s work.
Another issue canvassed by the 1967 Review of Extramural Studies was the possibility of offering extramural offerings at Stage III, or 300-level as they came to be known under the paper system. There had been considerable opposition to such a development, both across the sector and even within the University. The report was realistically cautious about the immediate prospects. In the short term, Massey was successful in pressing the Department of Education and the Public Service Commission to provide paid leave for their employees to enable them to complete their third year studies as full-time students. In 1971 the Extramural Enrolment Statute was amended to allow a degree to be taken entirely extramurally but it was nearer the end of the decade before this became common practice. For instance, for most of that decade, the Massey Department of Education offered a selection of 300-level BEd. papers through a combination of extramural materials and a one-month residential summer school.
By 1975 the rapid growth in the extramural roll and programme meant that the University needed to take another look at the directions it had taken since the 1967 Report. The
Ad Hoc Extramural Committee set up to undertake this review reported back in June
1976. Its most important ﬁ nding was that there was no reason why the University should attempt to set a limit on the number of extramural enrolments. Given continuity of Government funding and careful planning on Massey’s part, it should be possible to cope with a continued steady increase in numbers. It would be necessary to ensure strong infrastructure to support the growing programme. To this end the Committee recommended the establishment of a Centre for University Extramural Studies to assume this responsibility and the establishment of a sub-committee of Professorial Board to exercise governance over the programme.
The Committee also recommended the University reverse its earlier opposition to
300-level extramural tuition. This recommendation proved controversial within the
New Zealand university community but the University Grants Committee ﬁ nally gave its approval for the ﬁ rst 300-level extramural papers to be offered on “a trial basis” in 1979.
Members of the Curriculum Committee of the UGC subsequently had second thoughts about this approval when they observed the rapid expansion in both the numbers of
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985
300-level extramural courses and of students at Massey over the next couple of years.
Their response was to attempt to reimpose the old requirement that those wishing to study extramurally apply for a ‘Certiﬁ cate of Inability to Attend Lectures’ (CIAL). Massey opposed this measure strenuously and for the next few years a degree of confusion reigned; a few individuals found that their home universities were declining their applications for CIAL, while the majority slipped past the enforcers.
GROWTH AND ADMINISTRATION
The most striking feature of the extramural programme over its ﬁ rst 25 years was its constant growth. The programme began in 1960 with 510 students enrolling from a choice of four BA units. By 1984 over 10,000 extramural students were selecting from
350 extramural papers. These contributed to eight degrees, 18 diplomas and three certiﬁ cates offered by seven of Massey’s eight faculties. This represented an annual increase of around 10% in both numbers of papers and students. Owens points out that the impact of this growth in student numbers was not quite as severe as the head count might suggest. Unlike most internal students, extramural students were almost all studying part-time. Furthermore, the typical course-load for an extramural student dropped steadily over those years, especially after 1973 when it became possible to study single papers rather than the larger units of the earlier system. Even by the end of this period, extramural enrolments represented just a third of the University’s total teaching commitment. This was just over half of the load on the big extramural programmes in
Humanities, Social Sciences, Education and Business Studies, but a small fraction of the
Sciences and Applied Science programmes.
Nevertheless, the scale of the extramural operation required some signiﬁ cant infrastructural developments. For most of this period, the extramural programme was managed under two leadership lines. Professor Bewley was the Director of Extramural
Studies from 1967 to 1986. He provided academic leadership for the programme, worked closely with the Extramural Studies Committee and reported directly to the Vice-
Chancellor. He had a small team of assistants specialising in providing course advice and regional support to students, limited advice to extramural teaching staff on the development of their course materials, and research support for the development of extramural policy.
Peter Crump was Deputy Registrar (Extramural) throughout this same period and reported to the University Registrar. Mr Crump was responsible for all Registry operations with respect to the extramural programme. These comprised both the normal registry operations that would apply to any other student such as enrolment, fees,
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 examinations and student records plus a number of operations that were unique to the distance teaching mode such as managing the ﬂ ow of student assignments and the production, storage and dispatch of study materials. Both sets of systems functioned and were managed separately from the University’s Registry. The latter dealt exclusively with
Internal students. Peter Crump’s team comprised an Assistant Registrar (Extramural), a small team of extramural word-processors who prepared camera-ready study material on behalf of academics, a coordinator for the materials production process, a team responsible for storing and dispatching study material, a special duties team that spent most of each year organising and managing extramural campus courses and examinations, and a team that managed the ﬂ ow of extramural assignments in and out of the University. During the summer enrolment period, all but the word-processing team would be released from their normal duties to assist with the enrolment process.
Both groups worked side-by-side in the Centre for University Extramural Studies or
‘CUES’ as it was more commonly known. They were quartered for most of this period on the ground ﬂ oor of the Old Main Building.
THE MASSEY APPROACH TO EXTRAMURAL TEACHING
Owens suggests that the Massey approach to its extramural teaching mission was characterised by two key attributes: it was ‘community based’ and it was ‘dual-mode’.
The ‘community’ basis arose from the historic fact that Massey was providing a service on behalf of the New Zealand community at large and one that the community needed to support if it were to succeed. From the outset, local and regional communities were generous in their support. Regional universities were generally supportive of Massey extramural students using their libraries. This greatly assisted the efforts of the
Extramural Service of the Massey University Library. A number of university extension departments helped local students organise local study classes. As regional polytechnics and community colleges developed in the 1970s, these institutions extended a similar array of services for extramural students in their catchment. Staff of Rural Education
Activities Programmes (REAP) were another helpful resource. The Massey Extramural
Students’ Society developed a strong, regionally based network of ‘Communicators’ who were able to tap into local and regional resources to support and advise local extramural students. These regional networks proved very helpful when a few academic departments with large extramural enrolments began to establish their own networks of off-campus tutors scattered about the country. This strong community support was to weaken later in the 1990s when Government policy threw tertiary institutions into competition amongst themselves, but the collective, community ethos was still strong in the mid-1980s.
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985
A more enduring feature of the extramural programme has been its ‘dual-mode’ nature.
Distance education institutions tend to fall somewhere along a continuum between vesting responsibility for distance teaching in a specialised institution or unit at one end of the continuum and treating the distance education task as simply one of many responsibilities in an academic’s work at the other.
At one end of that continuum lie institutions such as The Open Polytechnic of New
Zealand or the Open University of the United Kingdom. These are specialist distance education institutions that are organised, managed and resourced speciﬁ cally with distance teaching in mind. Such institutions tend to adopt a more industrial approach to their task, disaggregating the various academic and management tasks associated with the job, appointing specialist groups to undertake each component of the task, and then carefully managing the whole process.
Half way along the continuum lie institutions such as the University of the South
Paciﬁ c. These are institutions that vest the planning, resourcing and management of their distance education programmes in dedicated resource units. These units tend to contract and even purchase teaching services from the university’s academic units and are required to manage the distance programme within the resources generated by that mode.
At the other end of the continuum lie institutions such as Massey University. In such institutions, the planning, development, teaching and assessment of distance education courses are carried out by the regular teaching staff of the institution. Commonly, academics will be teaching their subjects to both an internal, campus-based class as well as to a far-ﬂ ung class of extramural students and generally at the same time.
They may be able to draw on a range of support services to assist them in bridging the physical gap with their students. These are likely to include help in the production and distribution of study material and in organising services such as enrolment, examinations and managing other communications with their remote students. But, for the most part, academics are expected to bring the same level of commitment and responsibility to their extramural teaching as they do to their internal.
The choice of this model for Massey’s extramural teaching was driven originally by a combination of belief and pragmatism. From the outset of the programme, it was critically important to establish academic credibility. Given the serious doubts across the university sector about the academic rigour and value of correspondence study, it was seen as vital that the programme should be ﬁ rmly rooted in a traditional campus-based university. It was important that the programme should be taught by academics engaged in campus-based teaching and scholarly research. From a pragmatic point of view, the
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 ﬂ edgling programme needed the resource and infrastructural backing of a recognised university.
Later in this period, when the extramural programme had grown in size and complexity, questions arose once more about whether the dual-mode continued to offer the best option. The strengths and weakness of the dual-mode were becoming quite clear during the 1970s and 1980s. It is probably true to say they remain the same to the present day.
In terms of strengths, the dual mode of operation has enabled Massey to demonstrate the academic rigour of its extramural teaching and qualiﬁ cations and in particular their parity with internal qualiﬁ cations. What was once an optimistic claim by the University in the early 1960s had been generally accepted by the wider New Zealand university community by the mid 1980s. Teaching in the dual-mode is a challenging but generally rewarding experience. Most academics enjoy contact, albeit intermittent, with their classes of highly motivated adult learners. They also enjoy the high level of autonomy they are given in the planning, development and delivery of their courses. They are not cogs in a process that someone else is controlling; they enjoy almost as much discretion in their extramural as their internal teaching. Once they have taught for a year or two in this mode, teaching staff come to value their extramural teaching and not see it as an unwelcome imposition on top of their internal teaching. Students too appreciate the fact that the academic who planned and developed their study materials will be the person who teaches their campus course, who marks their assignments and ﬁ nal examination and who they can call or write to about any study problems 9 .
However, weaknesses in the dual mode started to become more obvious as the programme matured and grew in scale. The teacher-centric model of extramural delivery just described does not lend itself easily to central planning or control. At its worst, the extramural programme is the sum total of what several hundred individual academics want to teach. Individual teachers are likely to be relatively isolated from the pressures of budget management or even of strategic planning. Under this model, departments and academics are more likely to be interested in broadening their portfolios of extramural programme offerings than in pursuing efﬁ ciency through leaner arrays of courses. Rapid growth of course offerings will put any central service units under worsening pressure as the institution struggles to contain its expenditure within income limits. Managing the quality of extramural teaching and servicing is a challenge within this form of dualmode. The imposition of robust quality standards over the individual and sometimes
9 This was an assessment John Owens made in 1985. Little has changed in this regard in the intervening twenty-ﬁ ve years.
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 idiosyncratic teaching of several hundred academics can also be a particular challenge for this mode of delivery.
These tensions, inherent in Massey’s form of dual-mode, were quite clear by the mid
1970s and remain just as clear to the present day. Like so many organisation dilemmas, they are not easily resolved. Instead, successive leaders and managers have continued to grapple with both horns of the dilemma, attempting to preserve the real strengths of the Massey model while mitigating some of its weaknesses.
‘THE KNEES OF THE MIND DON’T GIVE OUT’
Owens concluded his account by reﬂ ecting on the nature of the extramural students themselves. Their rapid growth in numbers has been mentioned already. By the early
1980s it was calculated that one in every 33 New Zealanders had studied extramurally with Massey at some point over the previous two decades. The study interests and background of the student body had changed even more dramatically over that period.
At the outset, primary school teachers pursuing undergraduate programmes in the humanities and education made up the great majority of extramural students. By 1985, they were drawn from dozens of different occupations and professions.
Most of the students were in their late-twenties through to mid-forties. A great many had no formal university entrance qualiﬁ cation but had won admission through being over 20 years of age and therefore exempt from the requirement to have passed the University
Entrance examination. The success rate of these latter students bore favourable comparison with those who had been awarded UE and Massey won a well-deserved reputation as offering a second chance to those who had not beneﬁ tted fully from their ﬁ rst chance. At the extremes of age there was always a handful of extramural students in their seventies and even eighties, some of them completing degrees begun thirty and more years earlier. At the other extreme, the extramural programme catered for a small number of young prodigies who had well outstripped their peers at school and looked to
Massey to allow them to continue on their pathways of accelerated learning.
Extramural study at Massey also offered study opportunities for people physically unable to cope with a campus-based learning experience. CUES was generally able to provide special support for students with hearing and visual disabilities and other special needs. Prisoners were another group with challenging requirements. Special leave was occasionally negotiated to allow a prisoner to attend a compulsory campus course and
10 A quote from a middle-aged extramural student who realised that, while her jogging days were behind her, her mental faculties were likely to last a little longer than her knees.
Chapter 1: The early years – 1961 to 1985 care was taken to conceal the address of any such student when the rolls were made available to a wider group.
During the 1970s and 1980s, extramural study became a liberating and empowering experience for thousands of mid-career, mid-life New Zealanders. The challenge of extramural study and the experience of attending extramural campus courses along with a lot of other highly motivated adults, proved a life-changing experience for many thousands of New Zealanders. It was a particularly important opportunity for many women whose numbers increased from 35.6% of the extramural roll in 1966 to 63% in
1983. Extramural studies provided an important ﬁ rst step for many women starting to think about getting back into the workforce after several years at home raising children
By the nature of distance education much of this personal experience remains just that, a private appreciation of the value and impact of extramural study on the lives of these mature-aged students. Early in the life of the Extramural Students’ Society, that organisation began hosting an annual dinner at the end of Graduation Week. Each year, after the meal and the speeches, the EXMSS President would move about the room, microphone in hand, inviting the new graduates to talk about their experience of extramural study. While some would provide just a bare bones account of their degree and how long it had taken to achieve it, others would talk more expansively about the impact study had made on their lives and about the help and support they had received from friends and family. Some of these accounts were more colourful than others. Tales were told of assignments being washed out the window by ﬂ oods, of a request for an assignment extension on grounds of being attacked by pirates in the Coral Sea, of sitting extramural examinations in an Antarctic blizzard, and of a blind acupuncturist ‘pinning’ his clients to the table until they had read him aloud an article from his study materials.
For successive Vice-Chancellors and for other staff members fortunate enough to attend these occasions, these accounts were a heartfelt reminder of the importance and impact of the University’s extramural work.
11 In 1984, 13% of extramural students listed their occupations as ‘housepersons’.
Chapter 2: Managing growth
Chapter 2: Managing growth
THE AD HOC COMMITTEE’S REVIEW
The preface mentioned the difﬁ culty of beginning an institutional history half way through that institution’s development. It used the analogy of a rugby commentary commencing at half-time. The ‘second half’ of the extramural story begins somewhat ingloriously with a review of “the management of extramural matters”
. The trigger for this review was a crisis in the supply of extramural study materials during the 1985 enrolment. This was not a new problem. CUES had been struggling for several years to keep pace with the growing number of extramural courses and the changing nature of the materials themselves. Between 1984 and 1985 there had been a 6.2% increase in the number of extramural students. This rate of growth was typical of every other year since the programme started, but it was matched by a steady growth in the numbers of extramural papers and the number of printed pages issued to each student (see Table 1: Extramural
Students by Faculties, 1985-2009).
Growth in numbers of students and courses was one part of the problem; changes in the nature of the study materials themselves constituted another. During the 1960s, extramural study material consisted of stapled, cyclostyled sheets, many of which were produced by departmental secretaries. In the 1970s cyclostyling gave way to offset printing. Academic staff would generally submit ‘ﬁ nal’ draft material to the typists in
CUES. The latter would return a typescript to the course writer for a single tutor check and then the copy would be sent to the Printery. In the 1980s, with the move to wordprocessors, all parties seem to have been lulled by the promised ease of updating course materials inherent in the technology. Academics began submitting material in a more rudimentary state, anticipating the opportunity to revise it substantially when they had a draft back from the word-processors. The latter found that the improvement in presentation that was now possible with word-processing came at a cost in terms of time. The long-held lead time of one month for the production of camera ready material from draft form was now inadequate. Some jobs were taking twice this long and more to complete.
During the early 1980s, Richard Scott, Deputy Registrar Extramural, introduced a
Materials Production Schedule which required teaching departments to spread the
1 The committee was chaired by Professor George Shouksmith who was also Chair of the Extramural
Studies Committee at the time. ‘Ad hoc’ was the term commonly used in this period for a deliberative process undertaken by a specially selected group rather than by a standing committee of the University.
Chapter 2: Managing growth submission of their draft material over several months. This was intended to even out the load on the CUES word-processors and the Printery. But this schedule was always an imperfect tool and some departments and academics complied less diligently than others. The outcome was an annual bottleneck in the word-processing of material by
CUES and resulting delays in getting it printed and ready for posting to students over the enrolment period. The situation came to a head in the 1984/5 production period.
Investigating the causes of the problems, the ad hoc committee found that nearly half of all on-enrolment postings had failed to be submitted to CUES by the ofﬁ cial deadline of
15 November. Even by Christmas, 15% of the courses had failed to supply material for the
‘on enrolment’ posting.
The ad hoc committee found other problems in relation to the enrolment and registration of students. At that time, the enrolment of extramural students was carried out by
Peter Crump, the Extramural Registrar, and his team, separate from the process that operated for internal students. While the ﬁ nal processing of these applications was done by computer, there was a series of time consuming manual processes that had to be completed ﬁ rst. Processing of provisional enrolments, making judgments on crosscredits from other universities and selection into courses with restricted entry were particularly labour intensive and prone to delays. These processing delays, compounded by the delays in the production of extramural teaching materials, were creating huge problems for both teachers and students at the commencement of each academic year.
Submissions to the review covered a large number of issues and concerns. Some dwelt on the lack of consideration of their academic colleagues. Their late submission of materials, it was claimed, created delays for others who had met their obligations.
Others railed against the presumed inefﬁ ciencies of processes within CUES. A number expressed concern about the lack of professional support available to academics when preparing high quality study material and the relative neglect of extramural matters in terms of resourcing.
The ad hoc committee decided to focus initially on the current production crisis and return at a later date to consider wider issues of strategy and policy for the extramural programme 2 . It recommended a number of measures for tightening compliance with the materials production schedule. These included: a requirement that departments set a submission deadline for all study materials; limits on the number of postings that would be allowed for each course; a two month minimum processing time for all study material and greater responsibility by department heads for compliance with these requirements.
2 Interim Report of ad-hoc Committee on Extramural Matters. (1985). PB85/225.
Chapter 2: Managing growth
Independently of this review, the Extramural Studies Committee had taken advantage of a vacancy in the position of Director of Extramural Studies 3 to propose a reorganisation of the Centre for University Extramural Studies 4 . The committee recognised that the existing structure prevented the Director from exercising any meaningful control over the core servicing functions of CUES. The committee’s proposed solution was to reorganise CUES into three sections responsible for servicing, student advice and course development respectively. The unit was to report to the Registrar.
Dr Barrie Macdonald, a Reader in History was a member of the ad hoc committee. He came to a different view from his colleagues and presented a minority report to Professorial
5 Dr Macdonald was concerned that the ad hoc committee had focused its attention on the materials production challenges rather than
“review(ing) all aspects … of the management and organisation of Extramural Studies” as the terms of reference required. He was also concerned that the Extramural Studies
Committee should be proposing fundamental changes to the management and organisation of CUES while the ad hoc committee was still deliberating. Dr Macdonald was particularly
Dr Barrie Macdonald – author of the dissenting report of the ad hoc Committee on Extramural Matters 1986 concerned with the recommendations of the ad hoc committee to disperse the academic leadership of the extramural programme across the teaching departments of the University and to view the ongoing management of
CUES as simply a service management task. He argued strongly for the retention of an academic head for CUES. He proposed that the role be at a dean or even Assistant
Vice-Chancellor level. He also argued for more sustained planning for the continued development of the extramural programme. Finally, he listed more than a dozen important issues of policy and planning that the ad hoc committee had yet to attend to.
3 Professor Donald Bewley, Director of Extramural Studies from 1967, had accepted a position in the
Department of Education at Massey in 1985 where he was able to launch a series of courses in distance education.
4 Report of the Extramural Studies Committee to Professorial Board. (1996). February. PB86/98.
5 Ad hoc Committee on Extramural Studies, Minority Report, Dr B.K. Macdonald. (1986). PB86/104.
Chapter 2: Managing growth
A large number of extramural teachers agreed with Dr Macdonald’s critique. They were not convinced that a dispersed model of academic leadership would ensure that extramural studies would remain at the forefront of University priorities. They were also unhappy with the proposition that CUES should be treated simply as a servicing unit beyond the inﬂ uence of the academic community. After due consideration, Professorial
Board and the Vice-Chancellor accepted Dr Macdonald’s critique. The position of
Director of Extramural Studies would be re-established with a mandate that would combine both academic leadership and management responsibility for all of the previous functions of CUES other than extramural enrolment. It was decided that an Extramural
Studies Board chaired by the Director would be established to replace the former
Extramural Studies Committee. An Extramural Materials Management and Production
Committee would be set up representing both academic interests and production services.
Dr Tom Prebble, formerly Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education and responsible for the postgraduate programme in educational administration, was appointed Director of Extramural Studies in mid 1986 and took up the position in October of that year.
GETTING TO GRIPS WITH GROWTH
The new Director and Board of Extramural Studies were immediately confronted with what had become an annual crisis in the processing of extramural enrolments and materials production. But, as they grappled with these intractable challenges, they also took time to look ahead and consider the future for the extramural programme.
An early paper from the newly
Associate Professor Tom Prebble soon after his appointment as
Director of Extramural Studies in 1986 formed Extramural Planning
Group suggested the priorities for the new leadership team
. Uppermost on the list was the challenge of managing the continuing growth in extramural student numbers and extramural course offerings. The
6 Extramural Studies: Towards a Planning Agenda. (1987). EPG87/2,BES87/20.
Chapter 2: Managing growth resourcing of extramural support services was another priority. Those responsible for managing the University budget were increasingly uncomfortable with a system in which teaching departments drew at will and at no direct cost to themselves on the services of CUES and the Printery. The development of new teaching media was another priority for the team. Print-based correspondence study remained the principal teaching medium for the extramural programme and there was a clear need to enrich the study options for both students and teachers. The mid 1980s had seen a small but promising development of regional services to support extramural students. The planning document proposed that these efforts should be extended and enriched. Quality management was another priority discussed in the document. A recognised weakness of Massey’s highly devolved model of extramural teaching was the challenge of ensuring that each and every course met reasonable quality standards. A review and reorganisation of CUES was also foreshadowed. This was to take greater advantage of the newly uniform reporting relationship within the unit. Finally, the paper proposed the development of a strategy for the international delivery of extramural studies.
All these themes were to occupy the attention of the extramural leadership team over the following decade and beyond, but the ﬁ rst two were to occupy greatest attention in the early years: managing the growth in the extramural programme and managing the cost of it all.
The newly appointed Director and Board of Extramural Studies were immediately drawn into the ongoing challenge of unchecked growth both in student numbers and numbers of extramural papers. This continued to put heavy pressure on both teachers and administrators to deliver a timely and efﬁ cient service.
The Management and Production Committee began its thankless task of monitoring the annual production of extramural study material. Following the ﬁ ndings of the ad hoc committee, the outgoing Extramural Studies Committee had overseen the introduction of a much more prescriptive ‘Materials Production Schedule’ than was previous in place. Under the new system, departments would be required to submit their draft ‘onenrolment’ extramural study material for the following year in four equal-sized tranches by the ﬁ rst day of July, August, September and October respectively. This was designed to spread the load on all parties: academics, CUES word-processing team and Printery alike.
The Production Schedule was widely disliked by academics. Teachers resented having to turn their attention to writing and revising study material for the following year when they were less than half way through the current teaching year. Heads of Department disliked having to pressure their colleagues into accepting and then complying with early
Chapter 2: Managing growth submission deadlines. Both groups tended to believe that the key to the problem lay in the inefﬁ ciencies of CUES’ production services and the University’s enrolment processes. The Management and Production Committee played an unenviable role in mediating between these interests. Successive chairs of that committee, all full-time academics, bravely fronted up to heads of department
Vice-Chancellor Neil Waters, 1983 and deans each year and insisted on compliance. They were just as ready to hold CUES or the Printery to account when those agencies failed to meet their commitments.
When the Material Production Schedule was ﬁ rst developed in the mid-1980s even its designers might have seen it as a temporary device. Once the rate of growth in student and course numbers had eased, and once the production and enrolment processes had been streamlined and better resourced, surely it would be possible to return to a more relaxed regime? It was another decade before this would be possible. Extramural student numbers continued to climb steadily albeit with a temporary drop in 1990 when a change in Government policy required a signiﬁ cant increase in student fees. The numbers of extramural papers also continued to grow and at a faster rate than the growth in student enrolments (see Table 2: Growth of Course offered by Mode, 1985-2009). CUES and the
Printery barely kept up with this rate of growth until changes in technology introduced to both units in the mid-1990s began to ease the pressure.
Alongside the strenuous efforts of the Management and Production Committee, the
Board of Extramural Studies worked to devise strategies and policies that would enable the University to manage its extramural programme more cost-effectively. These efforts fell into three broad areas: analysing unit costs of extramural teaching; managing the portfolio of extramural offerings more efﬁ ciently; and arriving at a management model that would encourage such efﬁ ciency.
Chapter 2: Managing growth
During 1987, the Extramural Planning Group undertook an analysis of the unit costs of extramural studies at the University. Distance education is subject to economies of scale. The ‘ﬁ xed’ costs associated with planning and developing a set of course materials and establishing the infrastructure to support distance teaching are relatively high compared with the ﬁ xed costs of campus-based teaching. The ‘variable’ costs of teaching each successive extramural student on the other hand tend to be lower than those for teaching campus-based students. This combination of factors means that the economic ‘break even’ number of enrolments for a distance education course will be signiﬁ cantly higher than for an internal course
Analysing these costs might appear a straightforward exercise. Most specialist distance education institutions have a very clear idea of the costs associated with this mode and generally on a course-by-course basis. Dual mode institutions such as Massey, on the other hand, tend to have more difﬁ culty disentangling the costs of their different teaching modes. At Massey, faculties and departments are funded broadly on the basis of the income they earn by way of student tuition fees and the enrolment-related grant from central Government. This income meets the salaries of academic staff and other costs of running an academic unit. The University’s infrastructure and administrative services, on the other hand, are funded centrally by the University and generally supplied at no direct cost to their various clients.
This system meant that neither extramural teaching units nor extramural servicing units were being required to manage their activities in the interests of cost-efﬁ ciency.
Teaching units were able to increase the numbers of extramural courses they offered without bearing much of the production and servicing costs associated with this growth.
And servicing units such as CUES or the Printery had little option but to plead for more resources from the central University in order to keep up with this growth in demand.
The analysis of extramural unit costs
was forced to make a number of assumptions about the components of these costs. These included factors such as how long it typically took for an academic to plan and prepare a draft set of study or to mark a student assignment.
These caveats aside, the results proved sobering. The report concluded that the breakeven enrolment for a typical extramural paper at that time was 40 students. In 1987 the University offered 400 papers extramurally. Some two thirds of these papers had
7 See for example Rumble, G. (1986). The planning and management of distance education, Beckenham,
8 An Analysis of Unit Costs in Extramural Studies, A report of the Extramural Planning Group. (1986).
Chapter 2: Managing growth enrolments of fewer than 40 and by this analysis were being offered at a loss 9 . A small handful of extramural courses had enrolments of 1,000 or more and were generating more than three times as much income as they actually cost to deliver. Unfortunately, by 1987 almost all the current and anticipated future growth in the extramural programme was in advanced-level courses, the majority of which were likely to generate enrolments at or below the breakeven point. If the current trends continued the extramural programme would become steadily less economically viable.
The analysis did help to underline the importance of managing and even containing
Professor Graeme Fraser, Assisstant Vice-
Chancellor Academic, c. 1990 the growth in the extramural offerings.
However, it was not sufﬁ cient to affect the behaviour of individual teaching units. They continued to see their income being affected by enrolment numbers. Extending their extramural offerings seemed the fastest way to achieve this. The Board of Extramural
Studies made successive but largely unsuccessful efforts to slow this growth. The
Management and Production Committee issued annual admonitions. There were also signiﬁ cant efforts made in 1989
to stem the growth.
The Managed Enrolment exercise of 1991 was a University-wide initiative introduced after the capping of bulk funding to tertiary institutions. Driven by the Assistant Vice-
Chancellor (Academic), Professor Graeme Fraser, the initiative did manage to trim the extramural paper offering by nearly 10%. However, the bulk of these papers were
Special Topics which represented a relatively minor load on both academics and service sections. Having been ‘rested’ for a year, most of these Special Topics re-appeared in the extramural offerings for the following year.
9 Table 6 suggests that this imbalance in enrolments across the extramural portfolio continues to the present day.
10 The Case for Limits on the Numbers of Extramural Courses. (1989). BES89/56.
11 Managed Enrolment (1992). (1991). BES91/30.
12 Limit on the Number of Extramural Papers for 1993. (1992). BES92/12.
13 Report of the Management and Production Committee (1997). BES97/15.
14 Report of the Management and Production Committee. (2000). BES2000/7.
Chapter 2: Managing growth
By the mid-1990s, growth in the number of extramural papers was still a serious concern.
Between 1982 and 1995 the numbers of extramural papers increased by 242%. The same period saw an increase in extramural student numbers of just 192%. During the early 1990s, the growth in the numbers of extramural students slowed markedly while the growth in the number of papers continued at an unchanged rate. In spite of the warnings from the unit costs study, the average number of EFTS per extramural course also declined from 8.93 in 1988 to 6.31 in 1996
LOOKING FOR A NEW MANAGEMENT MODEL
While continuing to advocate the limiting of extramural offerings, the Director and
Board of Extramural Studies recognised that moral suasion would always be an inadequate counter to the ﬁ nancial drivers affecting faculties and departments. As long as someone else was bearing much of the costs of servicing extramural teaching, teaching departments would continue to expand their course offerings in the search for more students and more income. The Board began actively exploring and promoting alternative ways of managing the extramural programme that would encourage all parties to look for cost-effective solutions.
The Annual Report of the Board of Extramural Studies for the1987 year
University should explore four options for managing the growth in extramural offerings: ﬁ rstly, by requiring teaching departments to purchase the services of units such as
CUES and Printery; secondly, to impose caps on the number of extramural papers that a faculty or department would be permitted to offer; thirdly, to require the new extramural unit to operate independently as a stand-alone unit purchasing teaching services from academic departments; and fourthly, to persuade departments to limit their offerings.
Over the next ten years, the Board explored all four options.
The ﬁ rst option looked most attractive to teaching departments, and the Board won support in principle for its development and trialling. However, several concerns held this proposal up and eventually led to its abandonment. To begin with, the Board and Director were apprehensive that a service purchasing arrangement might encourage academic units to under-invest in their extramural teaching. This would lead to a drop in the overall quality of extramural teaching and support. A solution that was mooted for a while was to require departments to purchase extramural services with extramural vouchers. This approach would ensure no loss of investment in the programme. However, this option
15 Annual Report of the Board of Extramural Studies. (1997). BES98/6.
16 Annual Report of the Board of Extramural Studies. (1987). BES88/34.
Chapter 2: Managing growth found little support. At the time, teaching units were learning to operate with one line budget allocations, and they did not want this ﬂ exibility compromised.
The second option of imposing caps on the number of extramural papers was generally viewed as the least rational approach to managing the problem although it was resorted to from time to time. However, compliance with such edicts was always very patchy. Any check in the rate of increase in one year would be made up for by renewed growth in the following year.
The third option secured a measure of support. Requiring an extramural unit to purchase its teaching services from academic units was a model employed by a number of other dual mode institutions around the world at the time and it would ensure a more costeffective operation. However, academics from the large extramural teaching faculties of Business Studies, Humanities, Social Sciences and Education argued that such an approach would destroy the essence of the Massey model of extramural delivery. By this model, individual teachers retained responsibility for the planning, development and delivery of both their internal and extramural courses and they wanted to keep it that way.
By the end of the decade, the Board had largely abandoned its efforts to restructure the model for managing extramural resources and services. It resigned itself to the fourth option of strengthening the status quo. Essentially this was a ‘rationing’ model. A range of production and support services would continue to be made available to academic units at no direct cost to those units. But their availability and application would continue to be managed by the service units. The costs of these services would be managed by imposing limits on the availability of each service: limits on the numbers of pages of printed study material, for instance, or requiring minimum enrolment numbers to justify ﬂ ying an academic about the country to run regional courses. This was not an accommodation that anyone was particularly satisﬁ ed with but it was an arrangement that worked. It was also an approach that posed the least threat to the Massey model of extramural education. Teaching units and teachers themselves would continue to exercise considerable autonomy in the way they designed, taught and assessed their extramural courses; central services units such as CUES would attempt to provide the most cost-effective support for those efforts 17 .
By the turn of the century, the extramural roll was virtually stable and with some minor vacillations has remained so to the present day. From a servicing point of view, a stable
17 When reading this section in the draft manuscript, the editors gently suggested that some of the foregoing detail could be cut. I have left it in because it reﬂ ects the unprecedented focus on efﬁ ciency that all tertiary managers were required to develop during the 1990s.
Chapter 2: Managing growth roll proved beneﬁ cial. Stable numbers and greatly improved enrolment processes meant that the annual extramural enrolment was now a relatively smooth process. Likewise, as the growth in the number of extramural papers ﬁ nally slowed, CUES and Printery were able to meet their deadlines for the production and dispatch of on-enrolment study material with an unprecedented level of conﬁ dence.
The years since 2000 have posed quite different growth challenges for the extramural programme than the previous forty years. Instead of looking for ways to manage and even cap the runaway growth in extramural numbers, Massey has been attempting to encourage more enrolments. In part this has been to ensure Massey’s continuing role as New Zealand’s leading provider of degree-level distance education. This period has seen many other tertiary institutions develop off-campus teaching initiatives of various kinds. The rapid development of online technologies over this same period has encouraged most New Zealand universities and institutes of technology to trial at least one or two web-supported programme offerings and a few have made signiﬁ cant strategic commitments to expanding such offerings.
A more immediate and compelling reason to promote extramural enrolment over this past decade has been a serious decline in internal undergraduate enrolments at all three of Massey’s campuses (see Table 3). Demographic shifts may have led to the slow slide in internal enrolments at the Manawatu Campus while competition from other local providers may have more to do with the loss of numbers at the Wellington Campus and the stalled enrolments at Albany. No doubt these trends have also been inﬂ uential in encouraging a greater focus on the extramural programme in the University’s most recent strategic statements.
Chapter 2: Managing growth
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym
The act of teaching requires a teacher, a student and not a lot else. The technology of face-to-face teaching has not changed much since Socrates met with his students under a tree and nor need it. But when the student is studying at some distance from the teacher, or when competing priorities prevent a student attending a class, both student and teacher are likely to need the assistance of others to achieve their objectives.
They will be needed for a range of administrative, production, communication, support and advisory functions. For reasons of efﬁ ciency and economy, these functions are generally delivered by central service units rather than by each academic department.
In the dreary tradition of modern organisational life these units are given long and prosaic names which their clients immediately replace with acronyms. This chapter will describe the contribution made by CUES from 1986 through to its dissolution in 1999. The acronymic units that replaced it, chieﬂ y NSATS and NSR, will be described in the ﬁ nal chapter.
Chapter 1 provided a brief account of the development of the administrative and professional services that supported the extramural programme during the ﬁ rst twentyﬁ ve years of the programme: the development of the Centre for University Extramural
Studies; the bifurcated chain of command whereby Peter Crump remained responsible for all the administrative and production services of the unit and Don Bewley was responsible for exercising academic and policy leadership for the extramural programme; and the gradual development of services and stafﬁ ng to support the extramural work of the University .
Following the Report of the ad hoc Committee on Extramural Studies of 1985, CUES was restructured along different reporting lines. When Tom Prebble was appointed Director of Extramural Studies in 1986 he became responsible for both the academic and the administrative halves of CUES. Peter Crump undertook a two year project to integrate the extramural enrolment and student record system with the main University system.
After a trial period under the existing structures, the new Director reorganised CUES into three groups. Each group had its own manager. The Administrative Services team was responsible for the management of the extramural assignments process, campus course arrangements, extramural examinations and materials dispatch as well as continuing to support in the annual enrolment exercise. Richard Scott remained Manager of this group.
The Production Services group was responsible for the preparation and production of
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES extramural study materials and comprised the word-processing team, the two extramural teaching consultants and from 1995 a copyright specialist. This group was managed initially by Maureen Kortens, the senior Teaching Consultant, but after 1989 the Teaching
Consultants reported to the Director and Anne Weir was appointed Manager. The
Regional Services Group comprised a growing network of Extramural Regional Advisers.
It was headed initially by Andrea McIlroy who had been the Extramural Course Adviser since 1982. Alison Rowland took up this position in 1992
PRODUCTION SERVICES AND THE TEACHING CONSULTANTS
The Production Services group had the challenging and critically important task of providing high quality study material for every extramural student in time for the academic year. It was the difﬁ culty all parties were having in meeting this challenge that led to the ad hoc Committee’s review of 1985. Chapter 2 described the strenuous efforts made by the Management and Production Committee and the Board of Extramural
Studies to grapple with this serious challenge. Supporting their efforts were Richard
Scott and later Anne Weir in CUES. They were greatly assisted in their efforts ﬁ rst by
Margaret Stevenson and later by Carol Clarke (later Craven) who had the difﬁ cult task of coordinating the ﬂ ow of draft study material through the unit.
From 1985 the Extramural Materials Production Schedule became the al-important benchmark of performance for the unit. This process was described in the previous chapter in terms of the efforts the Board of Extramural Studies was making to manage the pressure on both teaching and management resources. Here its impact on the work of the Production Services unit will be examined. At the beginning of each year, teaching departments would be invited to indicate how they would schedule the submission of draft study materials across the four ‘Quarters’ of July 1 st , August 1 st , September 1 st and October 1 st . Once the Board of Extramural Studies had approved the schedule, it would be up to the Manager and the Materials Coordinator to ensure that both teaching departments and the word-processing unit met their respective commitments to get the material to the Printery by the agreed deadlines.
This was not a straightforward task. Departments found it difﬁ cult to ﬁ nalise their extramural plans in April and May of the previous year. Academics found it equally difﬁ cult to turn their minds to creating a new course or rewriting an old one when they
1 All three of these managers went on to senior roles in the University: Andrea McIlroy to an academic position in the College of Business and then to Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the Wellington Campus; Anne
Weir to Academic Services Manager of the College of Business; and Alison Rowland to Deputy Director for National Student Relations.
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES
Anne Weir, Manager of Production Services reaching for a study guide in the Material Preparation Storage
Unit, 1999 were barely half way through their teaching year. Inevitably, academics planning a new course or substantially rewriting an old one would jockey for a late submission deadline.
This would mean that the Extramural Word-Processing Unit (renamed during the early
1980s after the introduction of the new technology) would continue to experience a backlog of work towards the end of the year. Each year, the Management and Production
Committee, the Board of Extramural Studies, the Director and not infrequently the Vice-
Chancellor himself would carefully monitor the materials production cycle as it hovered on the edge of yet another crisis.
The Schedule was recalibrated each year to try to achieve still greater efﬁ ciencies. One year the Board required Departments to assess the level of preparation work required on each of their extramural offerings for the following year and to use this information to ensure a more even distribution across the existing four submission deadlines. Another year the Board imposed a requirement that departments should give early warning of new courses for the following year which would allow the Extramural Teaching
Consultants to get alongside teaching staff in their early planning stages. The Teaching
Consultants were then required to advise the Board on the likelihood that the study material would be available in a timely manner prior to the Board approving them for inclusion in the next year’s Extramural Handbook. These strictures were received by academic staff with a combination of commendable resignation and understandable resentment.
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES
The whole point of the Materials Production Schedule was to make most efﬁ cient use of the Extramural word-processing unit, a specialist group dedicated to the production of extramural study material. By 1986 there were six typists in the unit. Along with their supervisor, they were based in a large ofﬁ ce on the ground ﬂ oor of Old Main Building.
This was a most unsatisfactory work space: pre-ergonomic work stations put the team at constant risk of occupational overuse syndrome; electric cords hung from the ceiling or wound dangerously across the ﬂ oor; towering shelves of copy masters generated clouds of dust and threatened the life of anyone accessing the top shelf; and a heavyduty copier produced its own brand of toxic exhaust.
Repeated requests for relief ﬁ nally led to a visit from Doug Pringle, the University’s
Health and Safety Ofﬁ cer. He was so impressed that he requested the unit’s permission to produce a training video showing how not to organise a work space! The problems were only resolved when in 1994 the unit shifted with the rest of CUES to a dedicated new building on the other side of the campus.
These struggles to achieve delivery deadlines were accompanied by a growing commitment to quality. In 1985 CUES appointed its ﬁ rst Extramural Teaching Consultants.
Their role was to work alongside extramural teaching staff as they planned, developed and delivered their extramural teaching programmes. At ﬁ rst, and for several years, this service was viewed with scepticism by some academics. Any spare resources, they felt, would be better spent by teaching departments than on outsiders trying to teach them how to suck eggs! In response, the Teaching Consultants worked alongside teachers who sought their help and, over a period of a few years, were able to demonstrate the value of their service to the wider teaching community. Initial one-on-one advice and help to the few was accompanied by guidelines and templates to ensure that every course met at least minimum standards of presentation and coherence.
The consultants also worked with the word-processing unit to improve the presentation of study materials. The old pastel-coloured Linweave covers for study guides gave way to more attractive ring-binders. And the previous practice of cramming as much on a page as possible gave way to a more generous page layout. Individual members of the wordprocessing unit developed their own particular skills and interests. Some developed expertise in mathematical and scientiﬁ c formulae and they tended to specialise in work from those subjects. Others had talents in creating graphics. Members of the teaching staff got to know the operators who were processing their material and would ask for the same person to revise their material in subsequent years.
The big challenge during the 1990s was to encourage teachers to limit the size of their extramural study packs. Books of readings of one thousand – and on occasion two
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES thousand – pages were all too common, and the study guides themselves were often several hundred pages long. The Teaching Consultants insisted that smaller, more focussed study packs would be far more helpful to students. Extramural teachers, on the other hand, were always keen to add new material but resisted the pressure to trim out older refeences. In the late 1990s the Teaching Consultants received moral support from a couple of visits by Dr Fred Lockwood of the Open University of the United Kingdom. He argued strongly for study guides a fraction of the size of the average Massey pack. Their efforts were also assisted by new rules about the upper limits on study guide size.
There were two Teaching Consultants for much of this period with an Editor appointed in the mid 1990s to manage the growing copyright issue. Each year they would attempt to identify the new courses for the coming year or those requiring major rewriting. They would then contact the lecturers involved and offer their advice and assistance to plan and develop the study materials. Often these efforts led to delays in getting draft study material to the word-processing unit. As dedicated professionals they would press for more time to bring a course up to the standard they expected. As deadlines loomed the
Director would insist that from a choice of two evils it was preferable to ensure that students received an adequate set of materials by the scheduled delivery date rather than delay the process by two or three weeks in the search for perfection.
In 1991 the Board of Extramural Studies proposed a scheme whereby teaching departments would give early notice of their intention to offer a new course 2 . This would allow both teachers and Teaching Consultants time to work on the study material. It would also allow the Board to evaluate the readiness of these proposed courses before approving the proposed programme schedule in June of each year. While this proposal met initial resistance, it was eventually approved and proved quite effective.
While the Teaching Consultants provided valuable assistance in improving the quality of individual extramural courses, the big challenge was to affect the quality of the many hundreds of courses they were unable to assist with directly. One important contribution was the introduction of a requirement for an administrative handbook for all extramural courses to provide students with all the information they should reasonably expect at the commencement of their study. This would include: information about their teacher and how to contact him or her; the course objectives and major themes; upcoming assignments, deadlines and expectations; requirements to attend any campus or regional courses; library resources and textbook requirements and so on.
2 Approval of New Extramural Courses: A Proposal for Departments. (1991). BES91/23.
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES
An electronic template for the administrative handbook was made available to teaching staff and it quickly became easier to comply in its use than to resist. This may seem a modest step forward but it played a huge role in reducing the uncertainty of study for extramural students. The Teaching Consultants also ran a series of training programmes under the aegis of the University’s Training and Development Unit. These drew on experienced extramural teachers to complement their own efforts. Wherever they could, they also worked with whole programme teams in preference to individual teachers.
This enabled them to encourage an ongoing dialogue among a teaching team about curriculum and teaching and learning issues.
The Administrative Services group consisted of three teams handling extramural student assignments, extramural examinations and the dispatch of study materials respectively.
Senior staff from the Administrative Services team at CUES 1997. From the left, Sue Scott, Helen Brown,
Judy Batten, Lynne Kroll, Richard Scott, Lorraine Strong, Debbie Rayner.
Early in the development of the extramural programme it was realised that extramural teachers needed help in managing the ﬂ ow of student assignments to and from the
University. One of the early tasks of CUES was to keep an authoritative log of when each assignment was received, when the marked assignment was posted back to the student and the grade earned by the assignment. This labour-intensive task has changed very little in the ﬁ fty years of extramural delivery. Extramural students still post their
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES assignments to the Extramural Assignments Ofﬁ ce and not to their paper coordinators.
Annually some 100,000 assignments are handled by the ofﬁ ce with staff aiming to ‘clear the desk’ before the close of each work day.
Teachers’ attitudes vary concerning late assignments. For ﬁ fty years the date of receipt that is stamped on each assignment by the Assignments team has been taken as the authoritative record. More problematic over the years has been the variability in marking turnaround time. Research is unequivocal in ﬁ nding that prompt turnaround of assignment work is an important factor in extramural student retention. Academics in dual mode institutions such as Massey often ﬁ nd it difﬁ cult to juggle the competing demands of their campus-based and their distance teaching. It is hardly surprising if the students the teachers confront several times each week tend to get their assignment work marked more promptly. During the 1990s a number of initiatives were taken to ensure a faster turnaround for extramural students.
The ﬁ rst step was to introduce an expectation that all assignments should be returned within three weeks of the assignment due date. This announcement was met with cries of distress from some academics and the Extramural Students’ Society said it would prefer a shorter period, but most people acknowledged that it was a reasonable expectation. The next and more difﬁ cult step was to gather the due dates from academic staff for the thousand or so extramural assignments for the upcoming year. These data were needed before any judgement could be made as to whether an assignment was overdue for return. It was difﬁ cult because many academics had been in the habit of ﬁ nalising their assignment plans relatively late in the enrolment process and adjusting these dates as the year progressed. Once these data were available it was possible to generate regular reports on the numbers and percentage of assignments that were being returned to students outside the 21 day standard. These reports were issued to the paper coordinators concerned and to their HODS. Aggregated reports were sent to the
Pro Vice-Chancellors of each college.
The effect was immediate. The numbers of assignments lingering too long on the desks of academics dropped away remarkably. The numbers of complaints from students about tardy feedback fell just as steeply. The Board of Extramural Studies was delighted to hear the occasional grumbles from academic staff that the new system was even persuading them to mark extramural assignments ahead of internal ones! However, for reasons that remain unclear the reporting system did not endure past the Millennium.
Another novel development in the Assignments Ofﬁ ce was the use of fax technology.
By the early 1990s, fax machines were widely available and many extramural students wanted to submit their assignments by this medium. Offshore students were particularly keen. Fax offered them a faster and often more reliable option than the local postal
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES service. The request to purchase a fax machine for the Assignments Ofﬁ ce was turned down at ﬁ rst by the central University ofﬁ ce in charge of such matters. The University would incur additional costs in printing off students’ work, it was argued. When the request was repeated, the central ofﬁ ce replied by insisting that the students using such a service should be charged for it. And so, for several years, extramural students wishing to submit their assignments by fax were required to pay a twenty dollar annual fee.
This option was taken up by several hundred students and at peak times during the academic year the ofﬁ ce would run through several rolls of thermal paper. The paper catcher on that ﬁ rst machine was not big enough for the task and, if left unattended for too long, would spill coils of paper across the ﬂ oor of the ofﬁ ce. The ﬁ rst task of the
Assignments staff each day was to scoop up these pages, smooth them out, and attempt to sort out which pages belonged to which assignment. For many years, Carl Ellwood, one of the Assignments team, would of his own volition and without payment come in to the ofﬁ ce once or twice each weekend to clear the hopper and reload the paper supply.
In more recent years, the big challenge facing the extramural assignments service has been how to incorporate the online submission of assignments within any institution-level quality assurance system. Online learning management systems such as WebCT and
Stream enable students to communicate directly with their paper coordinator without the mediation of services such as the Extramural Assignments ofﬁ ce. This clearly represents progress in terms of efﬁ ciency and ﬂ exibility. However, unless the learning management system is carefully articulated with the existing university assignment management system, it will conceal this important ﬂ ow of communication from any university-level scrutiny or quality assurance measures.
From its inception, the Massey extramural programme has insisted that extramural students should sit the same ﬁ nal examinations as their internal counterparts and at the same time. A small team of administrators in CUES had the task each year of setting up some forty examination centres scattered throughout New Zealand and as many as 120 locations around the world. The CUES team was responsible for collating, packing and distributing the packs of exam papers to each centre and then for organising the retrieval of completed scripts following the examinations.
The regional exam centres were staffed mostly by retired folk who could meet the variable demands of an examination schedule. Many of them worked as examiners for ten or more years and came to know the local extramural students. Some of these students were taking almost as long to complete their degrees. While Richard Scott
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES insisted on scrupulous invigilation procedures from his regional supervisors, inevitably some of them had their own interpretation of those duties. On a visit to the Tokoroa exam centre one year Richard was startled to see the supervisor taking orders from the students for tea and coffee during the preliminary ten minute reading period. These were cheerfully delivered to the students’ desks half way through the examination. After due consideration, Richard ruled that the practice could continue.
The examination process had no room for error and every aspect was double and even triple checked ahead of time. Every year Lorraine Strong, the supervisor of the
Materials Dispatch section of CUES, took herself off to a secure room and proofread the draft examination papers before sending them to Printery. These had already been proofed by the University Examinations Ofﬁ ce but each year Lorraine would ﬁ nd a handful of fresh errors. So problems during the examinations themselves were rare – rare but not unprecedented. On one occasion Richard Scott received a panic call from the supervisor of one of the more southerly examination centres. A candidate for a
Mäori language paper was insisting that the exam paper he had been presented with was not the right one. It proved a difﬁ cult conversation as Richard did not have the offending paper available to inspect. Finally he asked the supervisor to read the title and date of the examination from the top of the page. The title was correct, the date was the previous year. It transpired that the elderly supervisor had been in the habit of stufﬁ ng the upcoming examination papers under her mattress for safe keeping. What she had neglected to do was to clear out all the previous year’s papers! A cause for some humour twenty years on; at the time it actually provoked a question in the House.
The arrangements for international examinations tended to be less robust and very much dictated by the changing distribution of expatriate extramural students. Each year there would be dozens of candidates booked in to the exam centres in big cities such as
London, Sydney and Melbourne. But there would be dozens of one-off arrangements with missionaries, ship’s pursers, consular ofﬁ cers and school principals in a host of other locations. Frequently these would be to cater for the needs of just one or two extramural students. They did their best to ensure that these wandering Kiwis got their three hour opportunity to demonstrate the learning they had acquired over the previous year.
Another small team of clerks was responsible for warehousing, packing and dispatching some ﬁ fty thousand packs of study material to extramural students each year.
Materials Dispatch adjoined the University Printery and every day pallets of study material would be hauled through the doors from one building to the other, there to be stacked on tall steel shelving to await dispatch to students. The steady growth in the
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES number of extramural papers compounded by an increase in the size of the average set of study materials put constant pressure on the capacity of this unit. This pressure was met initially by both the Printery and the Extramural Dispatch
The CUES Dispatch Team, 1997 unit moving across campus to purpose built facilities in the late 1980s. The new building provided large banks of steel shelves that rolled on rails allowing more efﬁ cient storage and providing a point of interest for visitors with an active imagination. The unit also accommodated the ‘tape copying’ unit, making bulk copies of ﬁ rst audio cassettes and later ﬂ oppy disks, CDs and DVDs for the courses requiring them.
Campus course management
Campus courses have always been an important feature of extramural study. In the early years of the programme virtually all extramural papers scheduled a two or three day residential course on campus during the May or August vacation period. These provided an opportunity for students to meet their teachers and their class mates and to engage in more interactive forms of learning than is generally possible with correspondence study.
In those early years, they also provided some reassurance to any remaining sceptics of distance education that here at least was an opportunity for some ‘genuine’ university study.
As soon as Term was over, the campus would be turned over to the extramural students.
The Administrative Services section of CUES was responsible for the logistics involved, booking all teaching rooms for the courses and arranging hostel bookings for the visiting students. Competition for both teaching and sleeping spaces was ﬁ erce. Experienced extramural teachers would get their requests in early for their favourite teaching spaces leaving their newer colleagues to trudge across campus to conduct classes in smelly science laboratories and other unfamiliar corners of the University. And students would swap horror stories about the privations of A and B Hostels and promise themselves to come well equipped with hot water bottles the following year.
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES
Managing the hostel bookings for extramural vacation courses has been likened to taking over a 600 room hotel for a few weeks at a time. But it was a hotel where the short term managers had to bring all their own booking and charging systems as the regular hostel systems could not accommodate such short term arrangements. In the years that the CUES team managed this process, the University Hostels management was unwilling to release the room keys for extramural visitors. This meant that students who found their bookings failed to meet their expectations would sometimes go and squat in another room that suited them better. Late-arriving students might have to knock on a lot of doors before they found an empty room.
The system could not accommodate children, a rule that was observed to varying degrees. At times parents managed to sneak a child or two into their hostel rooms relying on the forbearance of their neighbours. During the day there would always be a few stray kids amusing themselves exploring the half empty buildings. Meanwhile their parents tried to catch up with developments in Western thought or management principles. There was a panic on one occasion when a power outage stopped the lift in the Old Main Building. It was left stuck between ﬂ oors. In the lift was a couple of youngsters who had been enjoying themselves going up and down until their extended efforts blew the relay. When power was ﬁ nally restored and the lift hissed open, the pair burst through the doors and shot out of the building before they could be instructed on the error of their ways.
The campus courses were at their peak in the late 1980s. During the ﬁ rst couple of weeks of the May vacation, every hostel bed would be booked, and half the motel rooms and camp sites in Palmerston North itself. One year the pressure was so great that the
University appealed to the city for billets.
But by the mid 1990s, the number of extramural on campus courses had diminished considerably. 100 and even 200-level courses were abandoning their campus courses or at least making attendance voluntary. This reﬂ ected a growing conﬁ dence in distance education by teachers and students alike but also a growing resistance by students to travelling all the way to Palmerston North for a two or three day injection of learning.
Eventually the Hostels Ofﬁ ce took over the management of accommodation for extramural campus course attendees. Their systems were now capable of handling short term stays, room keys were now issued and campus courses became just another part of their business.
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES
The regional services of CUES began in the early 1980s with three initiatives. A handful of regional tutor/markers were appointed to support some of the 100-level papers with very large enrolments. The lecturers of these same papers were encouraged to run two or three regional courses instead of requiring the entire cohort to come to Palmerston
North to attend a residential campus course. In 1982 Andrea McIlroy was appointed as
Course Adviser, a job that involved a considerable amount of travel to provide information services throughout the country.
Extramural Regional Support Network 1994. Back Row: Joyce Smith (Course Advisor), Sue Mortlock
(Wellington), Jennifer Thompson (Auckland), Maureen Brichﬁ eld (Wellington).
Front Row: Barbara Brookﬁ eld (Hawkes Bay), Sally Keeling (Dunedin), Alison Rowland (Regional Services
Manager), Judy Henderson (Christchurch).
Claire-Louise McCurdy was appointed in 1985 as the ﬁ rst Regional Course Adviser. She was based in Auckland. A network of Regional Advisors was established over the next few years with further appointments made in Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Christchurch and
Dunedin. With the establishment of the divisional structure for CUES in the later 1980s,
Andrea McIlroy became Manager of Regional Services, followed by Alison Rowland in
The task of the Regional Advisors was to provide a local source of advice and information to current and potential extramural students about their study options and study skills. Generally the RAs were people who had studied extramurally themselves and had a good appreciation of the challenges of this mode o study. They also became
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES very well informed about the hundreds of papers and programmes available to students.
Few heads of department or deans had their encyclopaedic grasp of the University’s extramural offerings. While much of their time was spent in individual consultations with students seeking advice on their study options, the RAs also conducted an annual cycle of courses in study skills and examinations skills.
Some of the course advisers had long tenures in their positions and made a huge contribution both the University and to their regions. They include people such as
Barbara Brookﬁ eld in the Hawkes Bay, Jennifer Thompson in Auckland, Sue Mortlock and Maureen Birchﬁ eld in Wellington, Judy Henderson in Christchurch, Bernadette
Halligan in Dunedin and Joyce Smith as Course Advisor based in Palmerston North.
The Director and Manager visited tertiary institutions in each centre to negotiate ofﬁ ce accommodation for the regional advisors. At this time, regional polytechnics saw this as being a useful link with Massey and hosting arrangements were negotiated with
Carrington Polytechnic (precursor of UNITEC) in Auckland, Hawkes Bay Polytechnic
(precursor of Eastern Institute of Technology), Whitireia Regional Community Polytechnic in Porirua, Christchurch Teachers College (later Canterbury University) and Otago
Polytechnic (later Dunedin Teachers College). Several of these institutions were happy to rent teaching space for extramural regional courses as well. Some of these hosting relationships endured for many years.
The Regional Services team had two other important tasks. One was issuing a series of publications aimed at extramural students. Editing the Extramural Handbook had been an important and demanding task of a succession of senior staff in CUES since the beginning of the extramural programme. By the 1990s the task had become an annual nightmare. Gathering, reconciling, compiling and checking all the information that goes to make up this catalogue of annual offerings had become almost a fulltime task. In 1994,
Marion Hookham was appointed as the founding Publications Ofﬁ cer with the Handbook as her primary task. She then took over the publication of the Extramural Newsletter, a quarterly collection of information and advice to extramural students. Marion also revived ‘The Learning Game’, a useful primer for ﬁ rst-time extramural students originally written by Marianne Tremaine a decade earlier. Other booklets and resources followed most of them assisting extramural students with study skills.
The other emerging task for this team was assisting students with online learning.
Andrew Mercer was appointed the ﬁ rst Computer Mediated Communications Consultant in 1994. The somewhat dated title of this position reﬂ ects the challenges the emerging technology was posing for both the University and extramural students. Simply establishing email access for extramural students was a challenge in the early 1990s.
At that time many students did not have access to the Internet. The University solved this by introducing its own Mass-e-mail service. This service provided dial-in access to
Massey’s electronic mail network. Establishing and maintaining email connectivity for
Chapter 3: Management by Acronym – CUES the thousands of students who subscribed to the services was a fulltime job for the ﬁ rst few years. Later, as Internet access became more widely available, the Mass-e-mail service was dropped and the position retitled ‘On-line Teaching Support’.
The other unit that has given constant support to extramural students and teachers has been the Library. John Owens paid tribute to the contribution of Margaret Hall, the ﬁ rst librarian appointed to Palmerston North University College in 1959. Miss Hall was given
£20,000 to establish a collection and worked closely with the newly appointed teaching staff to ﬁ nd ways to support the ﬁ rst cohorts of extramural students.
Margaret Hall’s successors have kept the needs of the extramural programme to the forefront. During the ﬁ rst thirty years of the extramural programme, Massey’s extramural students were accorded high levels of access by the other universities. Students in more remote locations could access ‘deposit collections’ of Massey library books hosted by regional polytechnics and local public libraries.
The deﬁ ning feature of the Massey Extramural Library Service has always been its postal lending service. This was established from the very early days and has continued for ﬁ fty years. A small team of dedicated extramural librarians undertakes searches at the request of individual students and then posts the requested materials directly to them.
When photocopying became available, the extramural librarians extended their service to include copying and dispatching journal articles on behalf of extramural students.
Distance educators from other countries are often surprised to learn about this service
Their own libraries are generally reluctant to ‘waste’ resources on purchasing duplicate copies or risk losing their books by sending them off campus.
The steadily developing availability of online library services over the past decade has revolutionised university library use worldwide and its impact on extramural study has been profound. Ten years ago an extramural student would need to allow two or three weeks for a response to a written or emailed request for a few journal articles from the
Library. Some of the items requested might not be available in the collection and other items might prove less useful that had been hoped. Today, a postgraduate student can access the Library’s online catalogue from home, search a range of online journals at leisure and copy and print any articles that look useful.
Successive surveys of extramural students and extramural teachers over the years have consistently shown the Library is ranked very highly for service and value.
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching
THE MASSEY MODEL
It is easy to ﬁ nd fault with the Massey model of extramural teaching. It is not the most cost effective way to deliver distance education. It is not the most amenable to quality assurance. It has demonstrated a stubborn resistance to any attempts to plan and shape its development. It creates tensions with the other teaching and research activities of the
University that are difﬁ cult to resolve. It is also easy to overlook the features of the model that are its strengths. The greatest of these is the huge commitment of the academic staff to their extramural teaching and to their students.
The Massey model of extramural study places large demands on teaching staff and allows them considerable autonomy in the way they address these demands. Academics are expected to develop their own draft teaching materials, to work with teaching consultants, word-processors and elearning support staff to produce a set of study materials, to conduct any campus or regional course components, to mark student assignments, to communicate regularly with students and to set and mark their ﬁ nal examination. This is in contrast to dedicated distance education institutions where the various authoring, development, tuition and assessment tasks are likely to be distributed across a large team of specialists.
The Massey model of extramural teaching generates a huge sense of ownership and commitment by the staff concerned. This commitment shows itself in a number of ways.
One indicator is the great reluctance of academics to teach a course with materials developed by a predecessor. However ﬁ ne those original materials might be, the new teacher will rewrite them from scratch as soon as they possibly can. They see their extramural courses as a dynamic expression of their own scholarship and they are not content to serve someone else’s interpretation.
Another indicator is the reluctance of teaching staff to abandon campus and regional courses for their extramural students. Quite apart from any educational purpose for these contact courses, they provide an opportunity for teachers to engage directly with a group of equally committed, mid-career adults and both teachers and students tend to look forward to the experience.
A third indicator is that extramural study has long since lost its Cinderella status in the eyes of the teaching staff. They tend to view their extramural teaching as just as
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching important and rewarding as their campus-based work. Extramural students recognise and appreciate this commitment. It ensures that their study is based on a developing relationship with their teacher and is not simply a matter of working their way through a set of self-study learning materials.
Well over a thousand academics have taught in the extramural programme over the past twenty-ﬁ ve years and one might add two or three hundred additional names to cover the ﬁ rst twenty-ﬁ ve. It would not be practical or meaningful to list them all but, at great risk of offending the many hundreds who will not be mentioned, a hundred or so of their colleagues will be identiﬁ ed. Hopefully, anyone who has studied extramurally in the seventies through to the early 2000s should ﬁ nd at least one of their teachers mentioned here.
TEACHING HUNDREDS AT A TIME
The true heroes of the extramural teaching force are the people who teach the 100-level introductory courses. Enrolments in these courses can number anywhere from a few dozen extramural students right through to over a thousand. Teaching these courses requires stamina, excellent teaching skills, superb organisation and an understanding of the hurdles facing many ﬁ rst-time extramural students. In moments of reﬂ ection, their colleagues may acknowledge that their own livelihood depends on these teachers helping students make a successful adjustment to extramural study and encouraging them to pursue the subject to higher levels.
The following are just a few of the teachers who have made a huge contribution to ﬁ rstyear extramural teaching:
• Penny Farron and Shirley Carr taught the introductory Accountancy paper for many years. This has always been a challenging subject for many students but both teachers were insistent on them reaching the required standard.
• The introductory Chemistry papers were taught for several years by
Penny Farron Shirley Carr
Professor Geoff Malcolm even while he was Dean of the Faculty of Science.
And in Geography the ﬁ rst year class was taught by Professor Keith Thomson while he served as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. This was a welcome
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching legacy of an earlier tradition in New Zealand universities. In earlier years, the professor and head of department would commonly teach the ﬁ rst year classes. This would allow more recently appointed staff to teach their research interests in higher level papers.
• Brian Shaw and Kathy Broadley taught the ﬁ rst year Education paper in Human
Development for many years. This course had a huge enrolment with over a thousand extramural students at its peak. Hundreds of students undertook this paper each year as a ﬁ rst step towards a teaching qualiﬁ cation.
Many other students selected it with no clear academic pathway in mind. Over a number of years, the Extramural Regional
Geoff Malcom –
Advisers found this paper a useful and supportive ﬁ rst step for young mothers who had been out of formal education and the work force for several years looking after young children.
• Anau Pare Richardson (Te Whanau-a-
Apanui and Ngatai Whanaunga) taught introductory papers in Mäori Studies for many years. Pare was a familiar ﬁ gure on
Brian Shaw –
Education marae all round Aoteaora as she visited her
Pare Richardson – scattered extramural ﬂ ock.
• Psychology was another subject with very large introductory classes. Joan Barnes was the gate keeper for that subject for a generation of students and established a fearsome reputation for enforcing assignment deadlines.
Robin Walker taught the ﬁ rst year paper in Management
Systems for many years and provided a positive initial experience of extramural study for many thousands of business studies students.
Keith Thomson –
Joan Barnes –
Robin Walker –
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching
EXTRAMURAL TEACHING IS OUR BUSINESS
Then, of course there are the larger extramural degree programmes in the Faculties/
Colleges of Humanities, Social Sciences, Business Studies and Education. From a college where all but a small minority of staff are engaged in extramural teaching, it is even harder to identify a selection of academics who have made a particular contribution to this mode. Instead, we will select a department from each of these four faculties/ colleges to illustrate the depth of talent and the longstanding involvement of many of their members with extramural teaching. To add a further historic dimension to this view, we shall draw on the Extramural Handbooks from 1987, 1995, 1998 and 2005 respectively.
In 1987 the Faculty of Education still comprised just a single department. This reﬂ ected the interdisciplinary nature of the subject and the fact that many of its members had academic interests that spanned any conceivable system of dividing the department into smaller units. Later it was to split into three departments and then to merge with the Palmerston North College of Education. Education had been a founding discipline of the inaugural extramural programme in 1960. Several of its original members were still contributing to the programme in 1987. Most of the remainder were appointed during the
1970s when the extramural programme was undergoing such a rapid expansion.
The list of academics and their extramural courses in 1987 included Roy Nash, James
Battersby and Pat Nolan in Educational Sociology; Brian Shaw, Kathy Broadley, Pat
Conway, Alison St. George and Alan Webster in Human Development and Educational
Psychology; John Codd, Roy Shuker and John Clarke in Educational Philosophy; Clive
Harper, Eric Archer and Ross St. George in Research and Measurement; Don McAlpine in Education of the Gifted and Talented; Dick Harker and Kathie Cameron in Mäori and
Multicultural Education; Eric Ashcroft and Graham Hunt in Learning and Teaching;
Graeme Bassett, Russ Thomson and Roger Openshaw in Curriculum Theory and Practice;
Elizabeth Miltich-Conway and John Kirkland in Infancy and Early Childhood Education;
Chris Watson in Educational Technology; James Chapman in Learning Disorders and
Remedial Theory; Ken Ryba in Computers in Education; Wayne Edwards and David
Stewart in Educational Administration; Wilhelmina Drummond in Adolescence; and Gary
Hermansson and Sue Webb in Counselling.
Five academics from this list continue to work in the College of Education:
James Chapman, the current Pro Vice-Chancellor, Alison St. George, John Kirkland,
Roger Openshaw and John Clarke.
The Department of Human Resource Management was a unit of the Faculty of
Business Studies that emerged in the 1990s when the Department of Management and Administration was split into two. Many of the staff listed in the 1995 Extramural
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching
Handbook had been teaching in the Faculty of Business for a decade already, many others are still doing so. They included Philip Dewe and Bev Marshall in Organisational
Behaviour; Phil Ramsay and William Thomson in Human Resource Development; Paul
Toulson and Jacqui Shilton in Personnel Management; Catherine Wallace, Sue Olsson,
Judy McGregor, Judi Campbell, Marianne Tremaine, Margie Comrie and Frank Sligo in
Business Communications and Media; Glyn Jeffrey in Industrial Relations; and Lesley
Frederickson in Research methods.
Each year this team would teach thousands of extramural students enrolled for the
Bachelor in Business Studies, a number of endorsement of the Diploma in Business
Studies, the Diploma in Business and Administration, the Master of Business Studies and the Master of Business Administration.
In 1998 the Department of English and Classical Studies was a large unit within the
Faculty of Humanities. While it had always attracted a healthy number of majoring students, it played an even bigger role in providing options and minors for students pursuing qualiﬁ cations in every faculty of the University. Virtually all of the department’s offerings were available extramurally with the result that the whole department was involved in extramural teaching. In that year the extramural teaching staff included
Angie Farrow and John Ross in Drama; Robert Neale and Karen Rhodes in Writing;
Scott Eastham in Media Studies; Stuart Lawrence, Gina Salapata and Norman Austin in Classics; John Muirhead and William Broughton in New Zealand literature; Victoria
Carchidi in Post-Colonial Literature; Russel Poole, Warwick Slinn and Greg Crossan in
and 19 th
Century Literature; Doreen D’Cruz in the Literature of Women; Deborah Laurs in English Literature; Craig Harrison in European Art and Architecture; and Dick Corballis, as HOD, offering a Special Topic.
Social Policy and Social Work constitutes the fourth departmental snapshot, this time from 2004. Social Work was one of the earliest professional programmes and was set up by Merv Hancock and Ephra Garrett in 1975. Two decades later it had become the national leader in its ﬁ eld with its programme offered at both Palmerston North and
Albany as well as extramurally. The extramural teaching team comprised Rachel Selby in Mäori Development and Social Policy; Christine Cheyne, Kieran O’Donoghue and
Maureen Arathoon in the Theory and Practice of Social Work; Richard Shaw in Public
Policy; Tracie Maﬁ le’o, Kathryn Hay, Leland Ruwhiu and Mary Nash in Social and
Community Work Practice; Andrew Trlin in Social Research; Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata in Community Development; Mary-Ann Baskerville-Davies in Managing Social Services;
Chris Thomas in Social Work Supervision; Martin Sullivan in Disability Studies; Carole
Adamson and Celia Briar offering Special Topics; and Robyn Munford, the HOD, fronting most of the postgraduate research offerings.
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching
TEACHING IN THE NICHES
One of the distinctive features of Massey’s extramural programme is its sheer range of subjects. Massey delivers programmes by distance that most institutions would be challenged to deliver on campus. This has meant that there are lots of small, specialist programmes with small teams of specialists teaching them. The teachers in many of these programmes often have little involvement in programmes outside their specialist areas but they loom large in the lives of their students. Again, at risk of omitting many dozens of people equally worthy of mention, the following is a selection of academics who have played a prominent role in these programmes over an extended period of time.
Robert Hoskins, Music
• Dave Burns was the Director and sole full-time teacher of the programme in Police Studies for over a decade. His major challenge seemed to be in persuading his clients to study for their current careers rather than prepare for their next ones by enrolling in a business qualiﬁ cation instead.
• For many years Robert Hoskins was Massey’s sole academic in the ﬁ eld of music. Cheerfully ignoring the copyright restrictions of the day,
Robert sent out complete recordings of ‘Fidelio’ and Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’ to his scattered students along with the full musical scores
Dave Burns, Police Studies of those works. The merger with Wellington
Polytechnic has brought a couple of extramural contributions from colleagues in the School of Music but to date these constitute the only extramural offerings from the College of Creative Arts.
• Ross Davies in Process and Environmental Technology offered a qualiﬁ cation aimed at quality assurance in abattoirs. The illustrations in his study guides were enough to make anyone blanch.
• When Kevin Stafford introduced the ‘Principles of Canine Behaviour’ it was the sole extramural offering of the Faculty of Veterinary Studies. But, while dog owners from one end of the country to the other lined up to take this paper, the University faced a problem in ﬁ nding a qualiﬁ cation to which it could be credited. At the time, the Vet. Faculty had no suitable vehicle in its programme
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching portfolio. Finally, the Faculty of Education came to the rescue and agreed that the paper could be credited towards a Bachelor of Education.
• For many years, Martin Wrigley was a lone voice for his subject of ‘Sports Turf
Management’. These papers proved popular among the golﬁ ng, bowling and ﬁ eld sports communities.
and Susan Abasa offered their postgraduate programme in
Museum Studies for nearly two decades and Susan continues to do so. They doubled as the honorary curators of the University’s art collection. This saw them negotiating the labyrinthine politics of art selection, acquisition, display and ownership which continually refreshed their professional practice.
Other teams have been somewhat larger but just as specialised. Looking at two or three from each College from a few years ago these include:
Sciences: Bill Bailey, Warren Anderson and the rest of the team in Agribusiness and
Farm Production Systems; Kathy Kitson and colleagues in Nutritional Science; and
Mary Nulsen in Diagnostic Medical Microbiology.
Business: Stephen Legg and his colleagues in Ergonomics; Sarah
Farah Palmer in Sport and Recreation Management; and Roger Pitchforth, Julia Pedley and
Goldblatt in Dispute Resolution.
Education: Arohia Durie and her team in Te Uru Märarua: Mäori and Multicultural
Education; and James Chapman, Bill Tunmer and Keith Greaney in Literacy Education.
College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Derek Williams and colleagues in Resource and Environmental Planning; Glyn Harper and his team (both uniformed and mufti) from
Defence and Strategic Studies; Steve LaGrow and the team in Rehabilitation Studies; and
Noel Watts and Cynthia White in Linguistics and Second Language Teaching.
While Massey has produced most of its own extramural courses and teachers, it has also inherited some important additions through its various mergers. For many years,
Palmerston North Teachers College was host to the Advanced Studies for Teachers
Unit and when that institution merged with Massey University, ASTU staff such as
Kathy Broadley and Graham Collins continued to make an important contribution to the extramural studies programme. A team from Wellington Polytechnic had worked with the Association of Mäori Providers of Training Education and Employment to provide a marae-based Bachelor of Education Degree. Following the merger with Massey, this programme and its teaching team – people such as Guyon Neutze, Nick Zepke and Linda
Leach – continued to work within an extramural context.
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching
THEY DID IT THEIR WAY
Some extramural teachers deserve a place in history for their willingness to challenge the system:
Professor Rae Weston, founding Chair in Banking
Studies, was a woman of imposing stature and strength of purpose. She was determined to get a programme established in Banking and had little patience with protocols and regulations that threatened to stop her.
Almost single-handedly she invented the ‘block’ mode of teaching and claimed that a couple of hours in the library should be sufﬁ cient to assemble the makings of a study
Norman Austin, Classics guide. She delivered these teetering piles of photocopied articles to the Printery to be reproduced and would brook no hindrance.
Norman Austin was a much-loved lecturer in Classical Studies who came to Massey after an interesting past in the Rhodesian intelligence service. This served him well in his favourite research and teaching theme of the intelligence services of Imperial Rome. The epitome of charm and good humour, Norman had high expectations of others and a short fuse. On several occasions he stormed into the ofﬁ ce of the Director of Extramural Studies fulminating over some “appalling” lapse of service he had experienced down the corridor.
By the next encounter he would be back to his charming self.
Graham Hunt, after half a career in the Education Department, transferred to the College of Business and was the moving force and founding Director of the Massey School of
Aviation. Graham was another colleague who would never let policy and protocol stand in the way of a good idea. If he couldn’t stretch the policy to ﬁ t what he wanted, he would proceed on the assumption that the policy needed to change anyway.
Finally, there is a group of extramural teachers who have been recognised and celebrated for the quality of their teaching either through the Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching
Excellence Awards or through the Tertiary Teaching Awards offered by Ako Aotearoa:
National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. The Vice-Chancellor’s awards are open to teachers in any mode and the 28 awardees since 2003 include:
• 2003: Angie Farrow, English and Media Studies; Terry Stewart*, Institute of
Natural Resources (INS).
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching
• 2004: Richard Shaw*, Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work; Doug Stirling,
Institute of Information and Mathematical Sciences (IIMS); Richard Buchanan,
Marketing; Bill Anderson, Learning and Teaching; Mary Simpson, Social and
Policy Studies in Education; Marion Orme, Arts and Language Education.
• 2005: Alexander Davies, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences
(IVABS); Regina Scheyvens*, Development Studies; Kee Teo, IIMS.
• 2006: Chris Scogings, Computer Science; Tim Kitson, Institute of Fundamental
Sciences (IFS); Mark Brown*, Curriculum and Pedagogy; Juliana Mansvelt*,
People Environment and Planning.
• 2007: Tracy Riley*, Curriculum and Pedagogy; Bryan Walpert*, English and
Media Studies; Sharon Stevens, English and Media Studies; Andy Martin,
• 2008: Lisa Emerson*, English and Media Studies; Heather Kavan, Communication,
Journalism and Marketing; Hamish Anderson*, Economics and Finance; Rosie
Bradshaw, Institute of Molecular BioSciences; Bill MacIntyre, Curriculum and
Pedagogy; Janet Hoek, Marketing.
• 2009: Adam Claassen, Social and Cultural Studies; Sam Richardson, Economics and Finance; Norman Meehan*, NZ School of Music.
The 13 asterisked academics also went on to win Tertiary Teaching Excellence awards along with Terry Wright (IFS) who won one of the inaugural TTE Awards in 2002, the year before Massey introduced its own award scheme. Lisa Emerson also won the Prime
Minister’s Supreme Award in 2008.
Almost all of these academics were engaged in extramural teaching. This would seem to support the claim that experience with this mode of delivery actually helps improve teaching performance. Teaching extramurally requires a level of forward planning and preparation that is seldom necessary in face-to-face teaching. Extramural teachers need to provide students with a clear learning pathway. They do not have the luxury of being able to change direction or focus in mid-course. They need to anticipate the sort of questions and problems students are likely to have and to provide answers in a timely fashion. They are not able to judge the effectiveness of their teaching by observing and interacting with their students in a classroom setting. This means they have to get it right in the ﬁ rst place and actively encourage students to provide them with feedback on their learning progress. Any academic who is prepared to invest this level of effort into their extramural teaching and to accept the advice and feedback of colleagues and teaching advisers is likely to become a highly effective teacher.
Earlier in this chapter, four departments, their extramural programmes and teaching staff, were listed and acknowledged. A similar treatment could have been given to any of the
Chapter 4: Teachers and teaching more than 70 other subjects that Massey was also offering extramurally by 2004. This book has tended to focus on matters of policy, process and support. These have to do with leading, resourcing, planning, facilitating, supporting and evaluating the act of teaching.
They are relatively visible activities, they take place at a collective level and they leave an artifactual trail. But none of them adequately describes the heart of the extramural experience: the extended learning conversation that takes place between the teacher and the taught. Massey’s extramural programme owes its continued success and reputation to the thousand or so academics who continue to view their extramural teaching and their extramural students as worthy of their highest priority.
Extramural Vacation Course classes, 1989
Extramural Campus Course Groups, c.2000
Chapter 5: Students and study
Chapter 5: Students and study
The original target market for the Massey extramural programme was quite small. The
University of New Zealand had ﬁ nally been persuaded to offer a more satisfactory study option for the thousand or so 1 ‘exempted’ students that were enrolling each year at its member campuses. And the government of the day had found a way to up-skill the teaching profession without having to make a major investment in full time study leave for teachers. For the ﬁ rst few years, teachers did comprise the majority of extramural students. They enrolled for ﬁ rst and second year papers in education, humanities and social science contributing to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Fifty years on, teachers have become a small and declining minority of the 17,000 extramural students. In 2009 these students were selecting from 1480 extramural paper offerings and 92 subjects contributing to 163 distinct qualiﬁ cations.
STUDYING WITH A JOB IN MIND
How had extramural students changed over these ﬁ fty years? The occupational backgrounds of students closely reﬂ ects the constantly widening range of subjects and qualiﬁ cations that are available extramurally. Chapter 1 canvassed the expansion of course offerings in the humanities and social sciences in the ﬁ rst twenty-ﬁ ve years of the programme and its impact on student enrolments. Teachers were joined by employees from other areas of the public service seeking to upgrade their general qualiﬁ cations. Women at home looking after children found that extramural study was a real help in getting back into the workforce. Professional programmes in subjects such as Social Work, Police Studies, Banking Studies, Food Quality Assurance and Nursing
Studies were being established, drawing on existing offerings from generic degree programmes as well as offering specialised professional programmes. Business Studies was offered from the early1970s and quickly found a large market among people already in the workforce but seeking to upgrade their qualiﬁ cations or change their occupations.
And the sciences were offering introductory-level papers to allow extramural students to at least commence their science qualiﬁ cations from a distance.
By 1985, many extramural students were pursuing highly targeted professional and vocational qualiﬁ cations, some at an undergraduate level but many of them through a rapidly expanding array of graduate and postgraduate diploma offerings. By 1995, for
1 The proportion of ‘exempted’ students tended to sit at around 10% of total university enrolments.
This proportion had been fairly constant since the ﬁ ndings of the Reichel-Tate Royal Commission on
University Education in New Zealand of 1925
Chapter 5: Students and study example, nineteen majors were being offered for the Bachelor of Business Studies degree. These were in areas as general as Management and as specialised as
Agribusiness or Valuation and Property Management. In that same year the Diploma in
Business Studies was offered with 34 endorsements, some even more specialised than the degree majors (e.g. Plant and Machinery Valuation; Coaching).
During the late 1980s and 1990s new professional and vocational programmes were joining the extramural programme every year. Aviation Studies was a novel and challenging addition to a distance education programme. Museum Studies, Operations
Research, Resource and Environmental Planning, Rehabilitation Studies, Applied
Statistics, Defence and Military Studies, Industrial Production, Packaging Technology and Civil Defence are just a handful of the many professional qualiﬁ cations introduced over that period.
This growing diversity of programme offerings was reﬂ ected in the changing composition of the extramural student body. While large numbers continued to enrol for the more generic undergraduate degrees, the balance was starting to swing to more specialised and often shorter diploma qualiﬁ cations (see Table 5). Many of these qualiﬁ cations received endorsement and support from the respective profession or government agencies. Close and supportive associations were formed with groups such as the
Bankers’ Institute, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, the New Zealand Army and
Air New Zealand. These groups all looked to the extramural programme to support the ongoing education of their members and staff. Professional accreditation bodies such as the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), the Teachers Registration
Board and the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants also came to play an important role in deﬁ ning the standards of programme delivery. Indirectly, they also came to inﬂ uence the type of students that were enrolling and qualifying.
Massey and its extramural programme was increasingly being seen as an industryresponsive source of advanced education and training. Employees in these industries and occupations were being actively encouraged and supported to pursue vocationally related study programmes extramurally. Massey was also being encouraged to offer more ﬂ exible and customised study opportunities to meet the needs of individual industries. Pressure from the Bankers’ Institute led to the development of the block course alternative to conventional extramural study during the late 1980s. The Institute formed the view that its members required short bursts of intensive, face-to-face study rather than the discipline of home-based self-study. This model was picked up by a number of other professional programmes, especially after the Government lowered the level of funding for postgraduate extramural offerings to the undergraduate level in
1991. Other alliances posed challenges for Massey’s commitment to critical inquiry and
Chapter 5: Students and study to equal access for all students. An agreement with the Catholic education authorities to deliver an endorsement in Christian Education was an example of the former; the agreement with the New Zealand Army to collaborate in the provision of ongoing training for military personnel was an instance of the latter.
WISER BUT ALSO OLDER
This increasing focus on professional and advanced qualiﬁ cations is mildly reﬂ ected in the changing age distribution of extramural students. In 1984 some 76% of extramural students were in the 20 to 39 years band. By 2009 this ﬁ gure had dropped to 64%.
There was little difference in the percentage of students 19 years and younger (3% in
1984 and 2% in 2009). The big difference lay in the 40 and older band. In 1984, 15% of extramural students were in their forties and 6% were 50 and older. In 2009, 22% were in their forties and 12% in their ﬁ fties and older (see Table 4). This gradual ‘greying’ of the extramural student market is in part a reﬂ ection of a general trend across the New
Zealand tertiary education sector. Workers are ﬁ nding it necessary to update their skills and qualiﬁ cations on a recurring basis. It may also reﬂ ect a steady shift in the balance between undergraduate and postgraduate study among extramural students.
In 1985 graduate-level enrolments (400, 600 and 700-level papers) comprised 27% of the total extramural paper enrolments. So roughly a quarter of all extramural students were studying at the graduate level. The next twenty-ﬁ ve years have seen a steady rise in this proportion and by 2009 43% of all extramural paper enrolments were at the graduate level. The real increase in graduate loading is even bigger; a high proportion of advanced level papers carry a heavier credit level than undergraduate papers. While the latter are almost universally of 15 points, many of the former are 30 points. Thesis and project papers can be 60, 100 and even 200 credits. Like the internal programme, the extramural programme is increasingly becoming a graduate and postgraduate programme.
FROM NORTH CAPE TO …
The geographic distribution of extramural students has also experienced some changes.
For the most part, these correspond to the demographic changes in the New Zealand society rather than anything speciﬁ c to extramural students. Enrolments have generally reﬂ ected the distribution of the New Zealand population with the majority of students coming from the larger urban centres and only a minority from small towns and rural areas. While Massey has traditionally attracted a disproportionate number of extramural students from cities that lack their own university, these ﬁ gures do not match the larger
Chapter 5: Students and study numbers of extramural students from the university cities of Auckland, Wellington and
Christchurch. It is a little difﬁ cult to track the changes precisely as the University has changed the way it collects these data but a few broad trends are clear.
Over the last 25 years the proportion of extramural enrolments from the Auckland region has almost doubled; the proportion from the other major cities has remained steady or declined slightly; the proportion from smaller centres without a university remains ﬁ rm; and it is only the rural regions where the proportion has fallen signiﬁ cantly (see Table
7). These trends tend to reﬂ ect the shift in population distribution over the same period rather than any signiﬁ cant shift in educational choices.
The development of polytechnics in non-university towns has provided locals with an alternative to distance education but extramural enrolments remain fairly steady in centres like Napier and New Plymouth. Numerous analyses have shown that 80 to 90% of extramural students continue to live within an hour’s commute from their closest university or polytechnic. They are choosing to study extramurally with Massey largely for convenience. They are busy adults with commitments to work and family that make it difﬁ cult for them to study as face-to-face students at the local tertiary institution. The wide array of advanced-level professional qualiﬁ cations that is available extramurally is also likely to be responsible for this retention of extramural enrolments in the face of stiff regional competition.
TWO OUT OF EVERY THREE STUDENTS
Gender is another relatively stable attribute of the extramural programme. Women continue to constitute about two thirds of the extramural roll. While there are a few programmes where the split is markedly different – such as Women’s Studies, Nursing,
Education or some of the Technology programmes – women make up at least half the enrolments in most extramural programmes. The traditional explanation was that these were women returning to the workforce after childbearing. More commonly in recent years they are already in the workforce and pursuing advanced training like their male peers.
The extramural programme has always been targeted at part time students. They were the raison d’être for its inception and they have continued to represent 90 to 95% of extramural student enrolments. There has always been a small number of extramural
Chapter 5: Students and study students who have attempted a full time study load. If it is possible to generalise about these students, they tend to have completed most of their chosen qualiﬁ cation on a part time basis and now hope to take a year’s leave from work and complete their qualiﬁ cation with a year of intensive extramural study. If they are already wellexperienced with extramural study they are likely to succeed. Less successful are the mid-career students who think they can combine full time work with full time study. The large-scale redundancies of the early 1990s saw a brief ﬂ ush of enrolments from newly redundant mid-careerists who hoped to complete a one year graduate diploma through fulltime study.
The biggest change in the typical extramural course load came about through the semesterisation of the programme in the years following 1995. Prior to the introduction of semesters, extramural students typically enrolled for one, two or less commonly three papers each year. Following its introduction, the minimum enrolment possible in a semester was one paper but large numbers of students enrolled for two. This change effectively increased the typical annual course load of an extramural student by one paper. Surprisingly, this increase appeared to have little adverse effect on student outcomes. In fact, analyses at the time suggested that the pass rates for single semester papers were actually better than for double semester papers.
THE MERGING OF THE MODES
Another change in the extramural study experience was the increasing incidence of
‘mixed mode’ enrolments. Right from the early years of the programme there were always a few internal students who, for various reasons, were permitted to enrol for one or two extramural papers along with their internal papers. Often this was to accommodate a timetable clash between internal papers or other commitments a student might have.
Less commonly, an extramural student living close to Palmerston North would be permitted to enrol for an internal paper as well as an extramural one though normally they would simply seek permission to attend the occasional lecture while remaining on the extramural roll.
The University was inadvertently the cause of another small surge in mixed mode enrolment in the 1990s. Faced with a growing number of teachers wishing to distribute their extramural study material to their internal classes, the University decided to recover its additional printing costs by charging a fee for this service. Considerable numbers of internal students avoided this charge simply by enrolling extramurally but continuing to study as internal students.
Chapter 5: Students and study
The development of block mode teaching in the early 1990s introduced another study option for many extramural students. For the next decade, while the Government’s funding formula continued to disadvantage postgraduate extramural study, block mode study became the preferred option for delivering advanced-level programmes to offcampus students (see Table 3).
The development of the campus at Albany and Massey’s subsequent merger with
Wellington Polytechnic saw an increase in mixed mode enrolments. While numbers of enrolments at the Albany Campus were still relatively small, the range of papers available for internal study remained quite limited. Students were encouraged to draw on the extramural programme offerings to improve their study options. This measure was not particularly popular with students. They found it difﬁ cult to balance the workload demands of their one or two extramural papers with those of their internal courses.
There was also a level of resentment at not being able to study all their papers in the face-to-face mode. It was not what they expected when they elected to study at Albany.
A similar reaction occurred at the Wellington Campus. The well-intentioned efforts of departments to use extramural offerings to manage their teaching resources more costeffectively across the three campuses were not always viewed so positively by students at these campuses.
The growing use of elearning and other forms of telecommunication have further blurred the distinction between internal and extramural study and the ways in which students are classiﬁ ed. These media are being used to support larger amounts of guided study by internal students while they also allow extramural students more opportunities for interacting with their teachers and their peers. Decisions about whether a paper should be labelled as ‘extramural’, ‘internal’ or some blend of the two are becoming increasingly difﬁ cult.
STAYING THE COURSE
Another key issue for extramural students is whether or not they stay the course. Student retention is a focus of attention for any distance education institution working with adult part time students. Distance education is a demanding mode of study that requires good study skills, strong motivation and persistence. Part time study brings its own challenges.
For the great majority of extramural students their study is at best the third priority in their lives after family and work. When something changes in these other two priority areas – a change of responsibilities at work, a new baby or a marriage break-up – extramural study is likely to suffer.
Chapter 5: Students and study
Massey has taken a number of measures over the last twenty-ﬁ ve years to improve the chances of extramural students staying the course and succeeding academically.
Ensuring that people enrol in the courses that best suit their interest and ability is one way. Improvements have been made in the advice students receive about their study options. Ensuring better courses and better teaching is another way and a lot of effort has gone into improving the quality of extramural course materials and extramural support. The requirement that all assignments should be marked and returned to students within three weeks has been just one of many qualitative improvements in programme delivery that have had a direct impact on student retention. Ensuring prompt and efﬁ cient business processes may not be an obvious factor in improving student retention but any extramural student whose enrolment has been delayed, who cannot access the online study environment or who has been given the wrong dates for a campus course can conﬁ rm their importance. Initiatives such as the Enrolment 2000 project and the series of projects designed to allow extramural students to transact their business with the
University online are just a couple of examples of developments in this area.
A fourth way in which extramural students can be encouraged to complete their programmes of study is to provide them with ongoing support throughout their study.
This has been a difﬁ cult challenge. Services such as courses in study skills and an assignment prooﬁ ng service undoubtedly assist those students who access them. It has always been more difﬁ cult to assist those students who don’t seek such assistance. A current initiative is endeavouring to track the progress of each student in order to identify the students who are likely to experience difﬁ culties at various points in their study and to provide support in a more targeted and proactive way. This initiative will be described in the ﬁ nal chapter.
The outcome of these various efforts has been a steady if not dramatic improvement in retention among extramural students. In 2009 68% of extramural students achieved a passing grade. While this ﬁ gure is about 10% less than the corresponding ﬁ gure for internal students, it is also about 10% better than the extramural success rate of 25 years earlier. Of the remainder, just 6% completed the course but were given a failing grade.
19% were given DNC grade – they ‘did not complete’ the requirements of the course or and received a failing grade. The remaining 7% formally withdrew early in the course and avoided a failing grade (see Table 8).
Chapter 5: Students and study
THE FACES BEHIND THE FACTS
Behind all these trends and generalisations are the students themselves – the 200,000 plus New Zealanders who have studied extramurally with Massey University over the past 50 years. How is this great cross-section of New Zealand society best described?
In 1999 the University was concerned about a drop in its extramural enrolment numbers.
Part of the response was an extensive promotion campaign in the lead up to the 2000 extramural enrolment. The campaign organisers wanted to show the many faces of extramural students. Drawing on the advice of the Extramural Regional Consultants, the Extramural Students Society and a handful of extramural teachers, a number of extramural students were invited to participate in the campaign. Their photographs and stories were brought together in a booklet that was printed and distributed in very large numbers.
The consensus at the time was that the campaign had got it right (apart from being oversubscribed with students of Human Resources Management). They were a genuinely representative group and their stories conveyed the essence of the Massey extramural experience. With the permission of the individuals concerned, their photos and stories are being shared once more along with updates on their current situations.
In 2000: Karen Inglis didn’t ﬁ nish her education degree 20 years ago. Now, ﬁ ve children later, she’s about to complete it through Extramural Massey and is thinking of tackling papers in Educational Psychology after that – an outcome that frankly surprises her!
“I just tipped my toe in the water three years ago,” she says. “I was so nervous ﬁ lling out the application form. I didn’t think I could do it. You lose conﬁ dence being away and you doubt your academic ability really.” Now, with impressive grades under her belt, brainpower is obviously not an issue – ﬁ nding the time to do the work is though.
“The key benefactor for my having done well is my Regional Advisor Bernadette
Hannagan and her good old ‘down to earth’ advice. I use her as a coach and she helps me choose my assignments. She’s the adviser for Otago and Southland. I needed someone local and somebody who knew how the University and the system works. I go to see her when I am in Dunedin.”
2 The text for these case studies is taken directly from the 2000 enrolment pamphlet.
Chapter 5: Students and study
Ten years on Karen writes: “I completed my Med Psych (Hons) in 2005 and as a result of my improved qualiﬁ cation have worked as a deputy principal and Resource Teacher:
Learning and Behaviour and have been working as an assistant principal at Cromwell
College in Central Otago for the past ﬁ ve years. I am always looking at further study options while living in rural areas.”
Chapter 5: Students and study
Rob Torrance Barrie Humphreys, Rob’s lecturer in Human
In 2000: When restructuring talks began in the New Zealand Fire Service ﬁ ve years ago,
Dunedin Station Ofﬁ cer didn’t like the sound of it. He went to see an Adviser about doing extramural papers in Human Resources to prepare himself for the future in the event of redundancies, either his own or his staff.
“My ﬁ rst paper was Industrial Relationships. I quite enjoyed writing. I got into the swing. I got hooked on the learning more than anything I suppose as I didn’t have the opportunity to do varsity as a kid.”
He normally does one paper a semester towards his Diploma in Business Studies
(Human Resources) and last year attended a ﬁ ve day course where he got to know other students near Dunedin. Now he also studies a couple of nights a month with a student who lives nearby. “We bolster each other’s spirits,” he says.
Rob is on email and makes good use of the Massey Library and database. “If I have any problems I just get on the phone and have a good yak. The tutors’ photos are in the front of the work books. They’ve all said ring me, ring me. Barrie Humphreys has been more than accommodating.”
Chapter 5: Students and study
Barrie Humphreys’ response:
“I have a massive amount of admiration for people who do Extramural,” says Rob
Torrance’s lecturer, Barrie Humphreys, Senior Lecturer, Human Resource Management.
“I did Personnel Management extramurally years ago and I moved house to avoid doing assignments.” Barry, who came to Massey from Oxford Brooks University, used to be a trade union representative and has enjoyed talking to Rob through his experience of the
Fireﬁ ghters’ dispute here. He genuinely relishes feedback and debate. “I say to students, your opinion is just as valid as mine. Ring me up, argue with me, correspond with me, email me and I will get back to you within the hour.”
Ten years on: Rob is still with the New Zealand Fire Service stationed in Dunedin. Since completing his Diploma in Business Studies, he has been ‘wading through’ the Graduate
Diploma in Emergency Services Management with Massey, another extramural programme. He concedes that this has gone in ﬁ ts and starts as work and family continue to occupy his attention.
Chapter 5: Students and study
In 2000: Solo mother of three, Winnie Tairea returned to education to better the prospects for herself and her kids. Starting on a Diploma of Business Studies at her local polytechnic in Porirua, Wellington, she has now moved on to [studying extramurally] majoring in Human Resource Management.
“As a part Cook Island Mäori I’d like to see more Paciﬁ c Islanders in the HRM industry contributing and sharing their practical cultural perspectives. In my mind I’m looking at middle management. I have an interest in dispute management but I think I’d like to be in career planning and development, something to do with equal opportunities. Being on my own I see the whole employment market doesn’t cater so well for families.
“A lot of my friends think they wouldn’t be able to manage without personal interaction but I’d say give it a go. You have to be motivated and disciplined. If you keep up with the reading and answer the questions you ﬁ nd it not as daunting. Actually most of the stuff I’ve found user-friendly. And the big one is, don’t underestimate your own life experiences and common knowledge.”
Ten years on: “Studying enabled me to comprehend and helped shape my thinking processes which I utilised when I eventually entered the working world again. I am currently working in the public sector although not in the HR industry but studying helped me stay in touch with the world outside the front gate of home.”
Chapter 5: Students and study
PEMBROKE BIRD (NGÄTI MANAWA, NGÄTI TAHU)
In 2000: Pembroke (Pem) Bird began studying extramurally “way back in the olden days” in 1976 to feed a passion for Mäori culture, language, history and traditions. “I never intended it to be more than that,” he says. “but then
I thought ‘my goodness, this is good stuff’ and it snowballed.”
Twenty-three years later he is the Dean of Te Puna Wänanga, responsible for
Kaupapa Mäori at the Auckland
College of Education. He holds a
Pembroke Bird Dr Taiarahia Back, Pem’s lecturer in Mäori Studies
Masters degree in Education, and is preparing to embark on another bout of extramural study through Massey in
2000 to gain either a Masters in Educational Administration or an MBA.
“If you’re in education these days it is incumbent on you to go the full hog and get the qualiﬁ cations”, he says, “It’s about credibility. If I want to foster the drive to get more
Mäori to participate in education, I have to walk the walk.”
Pem’s wife Pam picked up on his enthusiasm for learning and completed a Bachelor of
Education through Massey Extramural and was capped at the Massey Albany campus last year.
Dr Taiarahia Black, Senior Lecturer, Te Pütahi a Toi : School of Mäori Studies, comments:
“Our relationship is about promoting Mäori development. It is stimulating talking and interacting with Pem and many others. When Pembroke was a student he was able to bring a wide range of experiences to his studies. It is about progressing and sharing information and knowledge so that the result is better for Mäori.”
Ten years on: In 2000, after a long and distinguished career in the mainstream, Pem returned to his home in Murupara to serve as Poutoke (Principal) of Te Kura Kaupapa
Motuhake o Tawhiuau, a school he had helped establish two years before. Besides his involvement with education in Murupara, Pem remains actively engaged in educational and community projects at a national as well as regional level. In 2008 he was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for his services to education.
Chapter 5: Students and study
In 2000: Heather Bradley is the Library Manager at Whitireia Polytechnic just out of
Wellington. Having been a manager in schools and libraries for years she thought it was about time she extended her qualiﬁ cations to include a management component which could possibly ﬁ nancially reward her. She is now in her third year of Extramural study doing a Masters in Human Resource Management. Because of her job. Heather is well up on using computers and works on an Apple Mac using Claris Works, however, she sends her assignments as hard copy through the mail and says she hasn’t been slow to use the telephone.
“My feeling is I’ll probably have to work till I’m 65 and I want some choices. I don’t want to get stuck.”
“When I have an assignment to write I do ask ‘why am I doing this?’ but I am pretty disciplined and determined. And I must say I have a very supportive husband which is important as for some people it could be real divorce material.”
Ten years on Heather writes:
“I have remained at Whitireia Community Polytechnic, having started here in 1998. In
2004 I was involved in the planning of a fabulous award-winning Athﬁ eld Library located on the shores of Porirua Harbour which we moved into in 2005. Since then there have been many new developments, especially technologically.”
“I ﬁ nd management (my area of study at Massey) challenging, exciting and enjoyable. I manage three campus libraries at Auckland, Kapiti and the one at Porirua. I adore my job and receive high praise for my management skills from all levels of staff.”
Chapter 5: Students and study
In 2000: “If my computer breaks down I feel like my umbilical cord has been cut,” says
Joanna Kibblewhite who is this year completing her BA in Psychology from her ofﬁ ce in a junk in Hong Kong Harbour. Email is a crucial tool of Joanna’s study and her main form of everyday communications with lecturers and other students.
Joanna originally trained as a nurse and began studying extramurally in 1994 when she found she could cross-credit papers from her nursing qualiﬁ cation to her BA. This meant she could qualify for an internationally well-regarded Massey degree which will travel well. Joanna has lived in Hong Kong since 1996 where she works 3 or 4 days a week in a private hospital.
The libraries in Hong Kong are not well resourced in her subject ﬁ eld so the Distance
Library Service is vital to her. “I depend on it,” says Joanna who uses the library databases
[online] often directly requesting a subject search and receiving articles and books as a result. If it’s urgent, they’re faxed.
Ten years on Joanna writes: My life has certainly taken a meandering path since … 2000.
Since then I have had two gorgeous children, lived on and off in Hong Kong although not aﬂ oat in the harbour and am now back on track with my original goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. I am completing my internship this very year – it’s a very busy time!
Chapter 5: Students and study
In 2000: Shane Ellison embarked on an Extramural Bachelor of Business
Studies programme ﬁ ve years ago to back up his “hands-on” experience as Customer Services Manager with TranzRail managing four North
Island trains: The Overlander, The
Northerner, The Kamai Express and The Geyserland Express. He’s completing an advanced paper in
Employment Law and is currently focusing on honours research in the presentation of information to the tourism industry. Working from both his home in Auckland’s St. Heliers and his ofﬁ ce, Shane uses a laptop computer and a combination of mail, e-mail and phone to communicate with tutors.
“I’ve built up a relationship with my research supervisor and go down to
Palmerston North a couple of times a year to do block courses. When I’m there
I’ll book an hour with her to ask questions and go over things face to face.”
“I ﬁ nd this model of learning better. I’m not force-fed. I’m independent and it certainly suits my lifestyle as a mature student. It’s very stimulating and challenging and it’s opening doors for me – not just with jobs.”
Ten years on Shane writes: “I’ve been working in France for a multi-national public transport company since the end of 2007 as a Project Director on large public infrastructure PPP projects”.
“My extramural study was particularly useful in terms of providing me with the basis of ‘how to learn’ independently and it also provided a basis of what is required in the business world in terms of developing proposals and making decisions. Finally, it gave me a solid basis for the Master’s course that I completed principally by distance learning through the University of Melbourne in the period between 2005 and 2006”.
Chapter 5: Students and study
EXMSS – NOT YOUR USUAL STUDENT ASSOCIATION
The annual Extramural Graduation Dinner hosted by EXMSS
Liz Barker (right), President of the Extramural Students’
Society, congratulating Irene Unasa on her graduation, 1999
One of the most remarkable features of Massey’s extramural programme throughout its history has been the work of the Extramural Students Society (EXMSS). John Owens described the formation of the society in 1964 and its development of important advocacy and support services. By 1986 the society was represented on the University Council,
Academic Board, the Board of Extramural Studies and numerous other committees and task forces across the University. While extramural students were dispersed and largely unseen in the day-to-day work of the campus, their representatives and advocates made sure their interests were being actively represented. In addition to an elected President and Council, EXMSS employed a fulltime Liaison Ofﬁ cer supported by a small ofﬁ ce staff.
A team of 50 plus volunteers throughout the country served as Area Communicators.
These people, all current or ex-extramural students, offered study advice and support to extramural students in their local areas.
Over the past twenty-ﬁ ve years the Society has continued to offer a range of services to support extramural students like Karen, Rob, Winnie, Pem, Heather, Joanna, and Shane.
These include the Area Communicator network, campus-based support and advice, a range of support and information services during the busy campus course season and a professionally produced magazine. The society has also continued to provide strong advocacy on behalf of extramural students and extramural study.
Unlike most other students’ associations where the leadership changes on an annual basis, the EXMSS leadership has remained unusually stable through this period.
Chapter 5: Students and study
Presidents and Student Councils tended to be elected for terms of several years and Liaison Ofﬁ cers stayed in the job for even longer. The various incumbents had an opportunity to develop considerable expertise in both the political and the operational dimensions of their roles. This concentration of experience was taken a stage further when Liz Barker (later Hawes), EXMSS Liaison Ofﬁ cer, took on the role of President, a position she continued to ﬁ ll till her appointment as co-President of the New Zealand
Union of Students’ Associations in 2008. During her time in these roles, Liz became one of the longer serving members of University Council, possibly a unique distinction for a student politician.
EXMSS is one of the very few student associations in the world that has been able to work effectively on behalf of distance education students over an extended period. The history of this work and hopefully the reasons for its success will shortly be told in a history of EXMSS commissioned by the society.
Chapter 6: Media Matters
Chapter 6: Media Matters
The approach to distance education adopted for the ﬁ rst twenty-ﬁ ve years of
Massey’s extramural teaching is sometimes called a ‘correspondence’ model: printed study materials are the principal medium of instruction using the postal service as the mode of delivery. This approach tends to attract less than ﬂ attering treatment in the scholarly literature on distance education. It is seen as an early and possibly outmoded form of distance education that has been outpaced by recent developments in telecommunications and digital technology 1 . This is hardly fair. Certainly in the 1960s and 1970s, printed study material was the only practical option for supporting students studying at a distance. Telephone conferencing was in its infancy, prohibitively expensive and a poor ﬁ t with the learning requirements of the average extramural student. Radio was technically feasible but not an adequate medium for the delivery of large volumes of study material. Television was similarly ill-suited to the transmission of large amounts of data. It was also unavailable for targeted and commercial use of this kind. And digital media were not even on the horizon as useable technologies.
During those early years, Massey used the media that were available, that students had ready access to as end-users, and that adequately supported the teaching and learning task. The principal medium was printed study materials delivered through the post. These were supplemented in some cases by audiocassette tapes where the use of sound was important to the nature of the course. Over the following twenty-ﬁ ve years, printed study materials have continued to be the mainstay of the extramural programme but, with the possible and interesting exception of radio, all the previously listed media have also been developed and used to a greater or lesser extent.
John Owens describes the early study notes prepared by enthusiastic if inexperienced extramural teachers. These would be drafted by the lecturers in the months leading up
1 The literature on distance education tends to view its history in evolutionary terms with each new medium displacing its more primitive predecessor. By this account, distance education has traversed at least four ‘generations’ of technology in its history. James Taylor describes these as the
Correspondence Model employing print and post, the Multimedia Model incorporating technologies such as audio and videotape, the Telelearning Model employing teleconferencing technologies and the
Flexible Learning Model using digital and Internet technologies. Some writers are keen to postulate a ﬁ fth generation based on even more sophisticated developments to Generation Four (Fifth Generation
Distance Education. (2001, June). Report No. 40, Higher Education Series. http://www.dest.gov.au/ archive/highered/hes/hes40/hes40.pdf
Chapter 6: Media Matters to the start of the course, typed initially on Gestetner stencils by the small band of typists in CUES, copied and stapled into study guides by these operators, and then dispatched to students at various set times through the academic year. The rapid growth of the extramural programme soon meant that Gestetners had to give way to offset printing which was undertaken by the University Printery. Very rapidly, printing for the extramural programme came to constitute at least half of the Printery’s work.
In the mid 1970s CUES introduced coloured covers for the study guides. These were made of a light card (Linweave) in an unattractive range of pastel colours. Teachers of that era will recall the limited choices they faced between ‘Canary’, ‘Buff’ and various shades of oatmeal. ‘Magenta’ was available for those who wanted to make some sort of statement. Course writers were also free to fashion the designs for their own covers, a development that encouraged some lecturers to exercise artistic skills that were better left dormant.
In the early 1980s, CUES bought its ﬁ rst computers for the typing team. These greatly assisted the annual revision process and led to a steady improvement in the appearance of study guides. For the ﬁ rst time, course writers were able to undertake successive edits to the material typed by the CUES operators without forcing an entire re-type of the material. This improved the responsiveness of the process and the quality of the ﬁ nished product; it also added to the burden of Margaret Stevenson, the very able administrator in charge of materials development at CUES through this period. Margaret had the difﬁ cult task of liaising each year with all three or four hundred course writers, ensuring that draft material was available in a timely fashion and marshalling their material through the word-processing unit.
In early 1986, the ﬁ rst generation of word-processors needed to be replaced. A case was put through the capital planning round to buy Macintosh machines to replace the former brand. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor (later Sir) Neil Waters, needed reassuring about the request. He looked forward to the day when the word-processing of extramural study guides could be undertaken by departmental ofﬁ ce staff. Only when he was persuaded that such a move would be premature and would threaten CUES’ efforts to improve the quality of materials presentation was he prepared to support the request.
The word-processing unit grew steadily along with the growth in the number of extramural papers. By the mid 1990s, the unit had a permanent staff of eight operators plus a unit manager, a size that has remained relatively stable since then. The technology in use evolved with changing availability and demand. In due course the small Macintosh screens were replaced by larger layout screens. In the early 1990s the Macintoshes were themselves replaced by PCs. This was done partly as an economy measure and
Chapter 6: Media Matters partly to allow improved ﬁ le sharing with academics most of whom used PCs. Later, scanners came to play an increasingly important role in materials production.
The most important technological development came when the Printery changed from offset to copying technology. Offset machines employ a technique where the inked image is transferred (or ‘offset’) from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. Multiple copies of each page of a document are made before the next page is printed. The documents are then collated and bound by separate machines. It is a relatively lengthy and labour-intensive process which made it difﬁ cult to arrange reprints of a set of study material at short notice. This meant that CUES staff tried to err on the side of optimism when calculating the number of copies of each set of study material that would be needed for the coming year. In 1989 Printery installed its ﬁ rst high speed copiers which enabled complete books of study material to be copied one after another.
This allowed CUES to make more conservative initial estimates of class numbers and then to arrange reprints at much shorter notice. A few years later the Printery installed
DocuTech machines which were able to print from digital input as well as from paper master copies. This enabled the word-processing unit to input online direct from their desktops. It also allowed them to scan the voluminous sets of ‘readings’ that accompanied the study guides and to provide these in PDF format to the Printery.
The presentation and binding of study material both underwent improvements during the 1980s and 1990s. Book-quality typesetting and singlepage presentation of readings were two of the more striking improvements in layout. The introduction of ring binders and an attractive, standard, two-colour layout for covers and spines were the most notable developments in the external appearance of study materials. The ring binders have been largely abandoned in recent years, giving way to shrink-wrapped packs of study material either hot-melt bound direct from the DocuTech machines or pre-punched for adding to a student’s own ring binder.
A typical extramural posting in the 1990s
The most notable change in the presentation of study material in the past decade has been the gradual shift from printing study material on paper to making it available digitally. This development will be described later in the chapter.
Chapter 6: Media Matters
Telephony has been discussed as an option for the extramural programme for most of its ﬁ fty year history. Issues of cost and available end-user technology prevented its use on any more than an experimental basis till the 1980s. At that point, Otago University’s
Extension Studies Department began what was to be a major commitment to this medium.
Supported by dedicated public funding, Otago ﬁ rst constructed a teleconferencing network servicing a number of towns in the University’s catchment of Southland and
Otago. This was a dedicated network based on ‘twisted copper pair’ technology which linked a series of small teleconference studios. The Extension Studies Department used it to support a programme of extension classes that drew on students from throughout the region. Over the next few years, the Department developed a similar network linking larger centres throughout the country and then a third national network that linked some of the country’s largest hospitals and health centres.
In an effort to maximize its return from the networks, Otago approached Massey and other providers trying to persuade them to join the teleconference network. This would require each institution to establish a teleconference studio which would be linked exclusively to the Otago network. This overture presented an opportunity for Massey to reﬂ ect on its current and intended use of this medium. At that point, CUES was funding a limited number of extramural papers to run teleconference calls, sometimes in place of a campus course. Each lecturer would run two or three, hour-long teleconferences to link groups of extramural students. The demand came mainly from groups of professionals, such as nurses, teachers and social workers, who worked together in reasonably well networked institutions. These sessions made use of the public service available through the Telecom network. This proved expensive but enabled students to teleconference from where they worked and at times that suited them.
Experience with these courses reinforced the conviction that there was likely to be only limited interest among both academics and extramural students for teleconferencing.
There were at least two reasons for this. Most importantly, students study extramurally with Massey principally because they are unable to meet the demands of a set lecture timetable rather than for reasons of physical distance from a campus. Other demands on their time typically mean that only half of any extramural class will be able to ‘attend’ any real-time teaching session, be it a face-to-face session or a teleconference tutorial, unless it is vitally important to their programme and they have had plenty of notice about its timing. Seconly, there was the realisation that, unlike the Telecom virtual network teleconferencing service, the Otago network was a dedicated, ﬁ xed-line network that could only cater for one teleconference session at a time. By the time the invitation was extended to Massey to join the network, most of the prime teaching hours were
Chapter 6: Media Matters already booked by Otago courses and Massey was being offered a very limited choice of available times. And so the decision was made to stay out of the Otago network but to continue to book time on the Telecom service when the need arose.
Even as teleconferencing services have become more readily available in the 21 st
Century, it is interesting what little use is made of it by staff or students in their extramural teaching and study. Various forms of Internet-based conferencing services have been available since the late 1990s but seldom used for tutorial purposes. More recently, services such as Skype permit small groups to teleconference at little or no direct cost to users. While such services are being used among groups of students for purposes of support and socialization, there is not a lot of planned use of these media for teaching purposes. The notable exceptions to this observation would include the small number of professional programmes – such as the elearning stream of the Bachelor of
Education (Teaching) degree – which make almost exclusive use of computer-mediated communication for teaching and study.
Despite this fairly limited historic use of teleconferencing within the extramural programme, developments in technology make it ever more affordable and user-friendly.
These developments are encouraging both teachers and students to reconsider their use
(or lack of use) of this medium. At the time of writing, Massey had recently purchased a license for Adobe Connect Meeting to support real-time web-conferencing both for its distance education programmes and for its multi-site offerings.
When the British Open University began in the early 1970s, it made extensive use of television to support its teaching programmes. These programmes were also available to the general public on a free-to-view basis and they did a lot to publicise the new institution. By the mid 1980s there was a widespread belief that television should be used to deliver distance education in New Zealand. At Massey, this viewpoint found an enthusiastic champion in Terry Povey, Media Ofﬁ cer for CUES in the early 1980s. Povey was successful in convincing the Vice-Chancellor that television had an important role to play in the support of the University’s outreach, and he was given the mandate to establish a Television Production Centre (TVPC).
Terry Povey began by drawing together a number of previously faculty-based auidovisual staff and their equipment and relocating them in a studio in the Old Main Building. He then made a case to produce and broadcast a series of short videos to support the extramural programme. At the time, Television New Zealand (NZBC) was attempting to market its
Chapter 6: Media Matters off-peak hours to educational institutions and was delighted when Massey booked an hour a week on Channel One right through the academic year. The TVPC then had to upgrade its cameras and editing suite; the
¾” Umatic and Super VHS equipment that had been adequate for in-house production and screening would not meet the NZBC’s broadcasting standards. The existing gear was replaced with Betamax cameras and a fully electronic editing suite.
Grant Toms and Craig Herd shooting video for
Massey Television c. 1992
The plan was to concentrate on supporting large 100 and 200-level extramural papers, where the numbers of extramural students might begin to justify what would be a very expensive production medium. The paper coordinators of each of these courses would work with a production team from the TVPC to produce two or three twenty minute
Grant Toms and Craig Herd editing videos for each of a number of introductory level extramural papers. These would then be broadcast at intervals through the course of the year. The academics who volunteered for this exercise found it both interesting and challenging. Working with a production team was a novel experience for most of them and they were generally happy to allow a member of the TVPC staff to act as production manager. Some paper coordinators had good screen presence and they were used to front their programmes. Others were gently persuaded to let someone else take that position.
Typically each hour-long weekly broadcast session had three parts. First there was a twenty minute ‘Massey Magazine’, a video of general interest to extramural students.
This might comprise some advice on study skills and support services and perhaps some
University news. Then there were a couple of twenty minute course-speciﬁ c videos. The latter programmes canvassed the range of extramural courses of the day.
These broadcasts ran from 1988 to 1992. In retrospect, they were a critical success. The targeted viewing audience was very positive about the broadcasts. They appreciated the extra support and encouragement the broadcasts gave them through the year. Even when their lecturers showed little promise of going any further in the entertainment
Chapter 6: Media Matters business, their students felt they had forged an additional bond with those teachers. And, while the production standards of these videos were modest in comparison with those for prime time television, most student viewers found them quite acceptable.
The principal challenge facing this project was always one of cost. Producing and screening television is probably the most expensive way to convey a message to a small number of people 2 . Public television requires audiences of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands to attract the necessary level of advertising revenue. Massey was attempting to reach an audience of two or three hundred students at a time. It was also doing so without any advertising revenue. The cost of producing and screening two or three course-related videotapes was many times the costs of any other combination of teaching media that might be deployed to teach an extramural course. Worse than that, these short videos could only supplement not replace the printed study material. They were also supplementary in the sense that fewer than half the targeted students actually watched the videos for their particular courses when they were broadcast 3 . There had been some hope that the television programmes would boost interest in extramural study among casual viewers but at 7 am there weren’t many of these and it was never possible to demonstrate whether the programmes had any impact on enrolment numbers.
Eventually, the programmes fell victim to a tightening institutional purse. In 1989 the
Government introduced a wave of tertiary education reforms aimed at deregulating the system and allowing continued growth while containing public expenditure. The immediate impact of these reforms was to force institutions to begin raising tuition fees substantially for the coming year. The direct result of this was a drop in the extramural enrolment of some 16% in 1990 and a corresponding drop in revenue. When looking for opportunities to reduce expenditure, the Registrar could hardly overlook a standalone unit such as the TVPC, which was costing in excess of $1 million each year. So the decision was made to cancel the television programmes after the 1991 academic year.
That wasn’t the end of Massey’s attempts to use television to support its extramural programme. Not quite. It appeared Massey required one further lesson in the economics of television and distance education and Dr Peter Donovan, Head of the Department of
Religious Studies, provided the opportunity. In the early 1990s, New Zealand Television embarked on another attempt to market its services to the education community. Robert
Boyd-Bell was put in charge of its eTV initiative and he set about lobbying the major
2 Bates, A.W. (2005). Technology, e-learning and distance education (2 nd
3 These data came from a survey of student viewership carried out by CUES in 1998. This was the ﬁ rst year of the programme’s operation when viewing numbers were probably at their maximum (Massey
Television Programme: Student Survey. (1991). BES91/23).
Chapter 6: Media Matters distance education institutions, and any other institutions with aspirations to move into distance education, with a view to encouraging the sector to offer educational programmes by television. Peter Donovan was familiar with the recent BBC series ‘The
Long Search’ and thought it would provide a superb complement to the two 100-level extramural course on World Religions. He pressed for a pilot programme to test the educational and cost-effectiveness of this use of the medium. Peter was a mildmannered, quietly spoken academic but he got his wish on this occasion.
The Long Search series was shown on a weekly basis throughout the ﬁ rst semester of
1994. It was then repeated the following year. With advanced publicity for the series, extramural enrolment in the introductory Religious Studies papers almost doubled in that ﬁ rst year. The evaluations of students’ experience were universally positive. But, this increase in enrolment was not sustained into the second year. Enrolments dropped back closer to the 1993 levels. This reinforced a lesson from the earlier television trials: the
New Zealand market for degree-level distance education was a ﬁ nite one and nearing saturation by the end of the century. Enhancements in educational delivery and support may well improve the quality of the student learning experience; they are less likely to lead to a signiﬁ cant growth in numbers of people wishing to study at a distance.
The other lesson that was reinforced was to do with costs. TVNZ argued that television support for an extramural course should be economically sustainable with an enrolment of over 100 students. What they did not appreciate, and what Massey needed reminding of, was that universities at that time tended to cross-subsidize across their programme offerings. They relied on their small number of courses with enrolments of 100 or more to subsidize the very much larger number of courses with enrolments far fewer than 100.
The pilot was discontinued after it had been running for two years and television has not been used within the extramural programme since then. Quite apart from the cost issue, technology was moving on. By this time computer-mediated communication or even CDs and DVDs were providing more cost-effective and ﬂ exible media to deliver multimedia learning material to extramural students.
If Massey was a reluctant user of teleconferencing and television technology it was only partly because of the costs involved. More importantly, the technology provided a poor ﬁ t with the learning and teaching model used in the extramural programme. Extramural students are typically mid-career, part-time learners, trying to ﬁ t their studies around other commitments in their busy lives. Much of their learning must take place at times
Chapter 6: Media Matters and in places that suit them. Text-based, self-paced study suits those learners. But correspondence learning has deﬁ nite limitations. Most extramural students appreciate being in contact with their teachers and their fellow students. Extramural contact courses and regional courses have provided the opportunity for such contact, albeit only intermittently. The postal and phone services have allowed only a limited measure of interactivity for distance students and then only on a one-to-one basis.
Massey’s ﬁ rst signiﬁ cant use of computers occurred in the late 1980s when a small handful of academics began to include computer-based elements in their extramural courses. One of the earliest users was Professor Donald Bewley, formerly Director of Extramural Studies. In 1986 he took up a position in the Faculty of Education and launched a series of courses on distance education. He wanted to introduce his students to the range of available teaching and communications media. Professor Bewley was using email to communicate with them some years before it was in general use at the
University. Another early innovator was Chris Phillips from the Department of Computer
At ﬁ rst these elements were optional for students recognising that many students did not own their own computers. An important step occurred in 1898 when the Department of
Information Systems distributed some of its extramural study material on disks requiring students to have access to a computer of a given speciﬁ cation. This was a controversial issue at the time and there was some concern on behalf of any student that did not have ready access to an appropriate computer. A survey of this particular extramural cohort showed a very high rate of home ownership of computers. A deal was reached with regional institutions to provide computer access to the few students without access and the problem appeared to be addressed. Over the next few years, a number of other courses, principally in business studies and information science, included material on disk.
While some departments were posting out computer discs, others were experimenting with email. By the mid 1990s, the University had introduced Mass-e-mail, an extramural email service. This provided students with dial-in access to the University’s electronic mail network and provided a way to keep in touch with classmates and tutors. In those days, the software had to be supplied to students on disc. This required a sizeable handbook of instructions to operate; students had access to an 0800 helpdesk to get the system installed; and they were required to pay a fee of $40 per semester for its use.
Within a few years, email began to replace the post as the most commonly used messaging system. Lecturers began to make intensive use of email to support their teaching. Perhaps the most intensive and the most successful example of this was the
Chapter 6: Media Matters
External Delivery Option of the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) developed in 1998.
Bill Anderson and Mary Simpson used email as the primary medium of communication with their dispersed student cohort. They were able to demonstrate that, by careful application of educational and communication principles, it was possible to develop a supportive learning community using very simple online technology.
Then came the Internet. Massey followed a path common to many other institutions in its adoption of this medium. By the early 1990s, computer-savvy academics were developing digital multimedia and elementary learning management systems to support their online teaching. In 1994 the Fund for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching (FIET) was established to encourage innovation in teaching. Many of the funding proposals were computer-related. Some of the earliest developments came not from the faculties with the heaviest involvement in extramural teaching but from the Faculties of Science,
Veterinary Science and Technology. Digital technology and the Internet enabled academics to make better use of graphics, to digitally model various natural processes and to draw on the database capabilities of computers.
In the Department of Soil Science, for example, Max Turner developed ‘The Soils of
Tuapaka’. This was a multimedia programme that allowed his students to dig virtual spits of earth from various locations on one of Massey’s farm without getting their feet dirty. Terry Stewart began what was to be the start of a continuing interest when he developed a digital programme assisting students to identify and control diseases of plants. The Vets were the most enthusiastic developers of multimedia courseware and
Alex Davies was the recipient of more than one FIET award to assist him in developing digital models for various animal processes. The Internet was the ideal medium for this software and some of these academic developers turned their hand to creating basic learning management systems as well.
Since 1989, these developments had been monitored and encouraged by an advisory group eventually known as the Online Learning Monitoring Group (OLMG). In the early 1990s, this group was mainly concerned with establishing a set of standard speciﬁ cations to ensure that extramural students could purchase computers knowing that they would be able to use them to link with the University. But once the number of courses employing computer-mediated communication reached several dozens, the group had to consider some emerging infrastructural challenges. One was to provide extramural teachers with a learning management system on which they could develop and deliver their extramural programmes. Working alongside Computer Services, the group developed a set of criteria, issued a request for proposals and in 1997 selected
WebCT™ from a number of bids.
Chapter 6: Media Matters
Another challenge was support for student users. Computing Services accepted responsibility for advising students on connecting to this new Internet service. CUES appointed Andrew Mercer as Computer-Mediated Communications (CMC) Consultant to advise both staff and students on how to use the new environment. As the numbers of student users and computer-supported courses grew, so the support services needed to increase. Eventually, the University’s 0800 Helpdesk took frontline responsibility for student queries, and faculties began appointing personnel with some expertise in elearning to support their teaching staff.
In 2000 a taskforce was set up to review the University’s strategy for online learning.
It was apparent to everyone that digital technologies would play a central role in the
University’s teaching activities in the future, particularly in its extramural teaching. What was less certain was how these developments should be managed and resourced.
The conventional wisdom at the time was that elearning needed to be planned and resourced at an institutional level. Elearning was a capital-intensive activity, requiring the coordination of a complex set of services. It was thought that elearning should be managed as a mission-critical, corporate activity and not left to the whims of a thousand teachers. However, this approach was at odds with the Massey model, the approach that
Massey had adopted for its extramural teaching programme for the previous forty years.
According to this model, it is the teachers who make the key decisions about how they will develop, teach and assess their courses; the task of central services is to support rather than lead those efforts. Considerable resistance was anticipated for any attempt to dictate who should adopt elearning, how they should do so or even what system they should use.
To compound the problem, the University was undergoing a revolution in the way it managed its resources. Professor McWha had been appointed Vice-Chancellor in 1996.
He arrived with a mandate to bring transparency and accountability to the University’s ﬁ nancial management. Faculties, or Colleges as they became, would be funded on the basis of their earned revenue and then expected to manage within those resources.
At a time of general ﬁ scal strain in the tertiary education sector, this was a demanding discipline. Every college was obliged to review and justify its current level of resourcing.
This led to the painful ‘repositioning’ exercise of 2000 when colleges were forced to lay off staff by the dozen. As a result, there was an enormous reluctance on the part of the
University leadership to support any signiﬁ cant increase in the proportion of University revenue being allocated to ‘top-sliced’ central services.
Finally the taskforce elected to swim with the tide rather than against it. It recommended that key decisions about the development of elearning should be taken at a college rather than a university level. Each college should develop its own elearning strategy and
Chapter 6: Media Matters appoint its own elearning support staff. Such an approach, it was argued, would enable colleges to plan and resource their elearning developments according to their individual priorities. Central services would be limited to the provision of core network, software, and student connectivity support by Computing Services. The Training and Development
(TDU) would provide training for academic staff in how to use the medium.
In retrospect, this approach imposed an unrealistic expectation on colleges. Few of them ever developed a meaningful strategy or plan for elearning. Their focus tended to depend on the presence or absence of an inﬂ uential champion with a clear mandate.
The taskforce had strongly recommended that decisions about elearning should be taken on a programme-wide basis rather by individual paper coordinators. However, over the next few years there were few clear instances of this happening.
On the positive side, the number of courses using elearning continued to increase steadily over the ﬁ rst decade of the new century. Teaching staff became familiar with the learning management system, uploading teaching material without a lot of resort to expert help, and using the online communications tools to improve linkages with and among their students. Once again, the weakness of the Massey model was also its strength. Key decisions about its use were still ﬁ rmly in the hands of individual teachers.
They came to see elearning as just another tool they could employ in teaching their subject: if it provided a better way of delivering a message and communicating with their students, they were happy to use it. They were less willing to forego their autonomy as teachers in pursuit of institution-wide or even college-wide strategic goals and plans, however.
More recent developments in the University’s elearning capability and offerings will be discussed in the ﬁ nal chapter.
4 Online Learning and Massey University: Report of the Information Technology and Distance Education
Taskforce. (2001, March). Massey University.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
In its Interim Report of 1986, the ad hoc Committee on Extramural Studies
“extramural studies at Massey has always been evolutionary in nature” and that the committee did not expect that its conclusions or recommendations would be the last word on the subject. While its ﬁ ndings and recommendations may have failed to ﬁ nd general support, there would have been no disagreement with this introductory observation.
The governance and leadership structures of the University have always been indistinguishable from those of any other New Zealand university as with the principles of academic freedom and autonomy, collegial governance, focus on research and scholarship and all the other values that inform the traditional university. They are values and structures that place the locus of academic decision making very close to the classroom level. Individual academics are largely responsible for shaping the curriculum, for planning their courses and programmes, for delivering their courses and for assessing their students. They employ the simple technologies of the classroom to discharge their responsibilities. Most of the policies and processes of the institution are designed to let the academics get on with it.
The extramural programme was a new and challenging mandate grafted on to an institutional form that had evolved to serve a very different set of expectations.
Extramural study was addressing a different student market to traditional university campuses. Extramural teaching followed a different annual rhythm from internal teaching. The workload came in chunks and at times of the year that often conﬂ icted with the demands of internal teaching. Academics could not operate with the same level of independence as they enjoyed with their internal teaching; they were forced to rely on a range of professional services to support their teaching. Extramural teaching operated on quite different economic principles from internal teaching particularly in respect of differing ﬁ xed and variable costs. It also relied on technology and mechanisation to support most of its elements. This was in contrast to internal teaching whose basic technology has evolved little since the time of Socrates.
The conﬂ icting demands of the two modes was a constant source of tension within the policy framework of the University. For many years, the Board of Extramural Studies took the leading role in interpreting the extramural mandate to the wider University. A key task was to propose policy that would support the extramural mission within that larger policy framework. A review of some of these policy areas will illustrate these tensions.
1 Interim Report of ad hoc Committee on Extramural Studies. (1985). PB86/92.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
But, while this review may be along contained, thematic lines, the historic reality was far more messy with several of these issues requiring recurrent if not constant attention.
The areas include: the University’s Conjoint Teaching Programme where Massey collaborated with a number of polytechnics in the delivery of ﬁ rst year papers; the introduction of the semester system; copyright law and its impact on policy and practice at the University; the development of a new campus at Albany; and the University’s efforts to internationalise. While these subjects may seem to have little in common, they each had a signiﬁ cant impact on the extramural work of the University. They certainly occupied a lot of attention from the Board of Extramural Studies as it attempted to advise the University on the best way forward.
CONJOINT TEACHING PROGRAMME
In its Charter for the 1991-1995 period, Massey made a commitment to extend the reach of university education to students in regions not currently provided with convenient university access. Professor Graeme Fraser, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Academic, took responsibility for this commitment. In 1990 he established the Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) Advisory Committee to assist in that goal. The committee quickly came to the conclusion that the extramural programme offered the best opportunity to forge strong links with other educational institutions in the central region. Working in collaboration with the Board of Extramural Studies and with a number of regional institutions, PCET initiated the Conjoint Teaching Programme.
The Conjoint Teaching Programme began with a pilot collaboration between Massey
University and Hawkes Bay Polytechnic. This project targeted school-leavers from the Hawkes Bay who were contemplating enrolling for a business studies degree.
The programme gave these students the option of beginning their degree on the site of Hawkes Bay Polytechnic and receiving their tuition from teachers appointed by the polytechnic. The students and local tutors had access to the extramural study material for their courses and they completed the same assignments and ﬁ nal examinations as other extramural and internal students.
The Massey coordinators for the papers in question offered guidance to the tutors on the requirements of the courses, monitored the students’ progress through the year and marked the ﬁ nal examinations. At the end of their ﬁ rst year of studies, conjoint students had the choice of continuing towards their Bachelor of Business with Massey either internally in Palmerston North or extramurally, or completing a Diploma of
Business at Hawkes Bay Polytechnic. Funding from EFTS and student tuition fees was
Chapter 7: Policy challenges divided between the institutions on an agreed basis. During the two years of this pilot, both parties were working hard to achieve their respective goals and to arrive at a collaborative model that met these goals.
Massey University was seeking to develop long term relationships with its tertiary education partners in the region. It wanted to draw on fresh groups of students rather than simply divert existing students. It was also looking to retain a reasonable proportion of students enrolling at Massey in subsequent years. In terms of logistics, Massey also wanted to at least cover its costs from delivering the conjoint programme and to minimize the ongoing commitment of time by University teaching staff. In the case of the polytechnic, Hawkes Bay wanted to bring university-level tuition into its region and eventually to expand this tuition to 200 and perhaps 300-level courses.
After a two year pilot programme, the PCET Advisory Committee felt sufﬁ ciently conﬁ dent to roll out its model across the Central region. During 1992 and 1993, conjoint teaching relationships were formed with three additional polytechnics: Taranaki in New Plymouth,
Tairawhiti in Gisborne and Whitireia in Porirua. The range of programmes was expanded too: the ﬁ rst year of the BA in Social Work and the BSW were added to the BBS papers in both Hawkes Bay and Taranaki; the BA (Social Work)/BSW combination were offered at Tairawhiti; and some introductory Mäori language papers were made available at
During these foundation years the conjoint teaching programme was generally wellreceived by all parties. Surveys of the students were almost universally positive. They were not only receiving all the services normally provided to extramural students but also regular tuition and support from local tutors, and all at no increase in fees. The tutors at the polytechnics were enthusiastic about their links with the University though some came to resent the monitoring role of their University colleagues. There were even instances where local tutors locked the class set of extramural materials away at the beginning of the term. They preferred to teach the course without the extramural ‘trainer wheels’. The Massey paper coordinators were a little more cautious. They could see that the programme was leading to a good ﬂ ow of students into their 200-level courses but they feared that they might be assisting the partner institutions to establish their own degree programmes.
Once the programmes were well established, the polytechnic partners began pressing for an expansion of the conjoint teaching into the second and third years of their respective degrees. Massey felt it could not concede. It was already offering its ﬁ rst year programmes on a marginal cost basis. To go any further
Massey would fail to achieve its objectives for the programme. The difference
Chapter 7: Policy challenges was ﬁ nally unresolvable. First Hawkes Bay Polytechnic, or Eastern Institute of
Technology as it later became, withdrew from the Bachelor of Nursing Studies conjoint programme in order to establish its own nursing degree. Then over the period 1996-2000 the rest of the conjoint programme gradually ground to a halt.
The conjoint teaching programme showed that the extramural programme constituted a valuable asset in any attempt to develop collaborative teaching relationships with other institutions. It also demonstrated that capability must go hand-in-hand with strategy.
In 1990, after lengthy consideration, Professorial Board approved the introduction of a modiﬁ ed term, or semester, system from 1992. This measure was designed to bring
Massey into line with international practice and to keep pace with several other New
Zealand universities that were making the transition at this time. Academics with overseas experience of semester systems claimed educational beneﬁ ts for both teachers and students. Teachers would be able to offer a more intense and concentrated learning experience within a semester and possibly even concentrate much of their teaching in a single semester each year; students would similarly beneﬁ t from being able to focus on three papers over a single semester rather than balancing the requirements of six papers over a whole year.
While the academic community agreed on the beneﬁ ts of the semester structure for their internal teaching responsibilities, those teaching in the extramural programme had signiﬁ cant reservations about the change 2 . They were concerned at the intensiﬁ cation of effort that a semester system might impose on part time students. A third of all extramural students were taking just a single paper each year at that time. If a standard paper, taught over 25 study weeks under the old three term year, was simply compressed into the new 13 week semester structure, students taking a single paper would experience a doubling of workload.
The rhythm and timing of extramural teaching and study would also be affected. A yearlong extramural course might allow students a month before the submission of their ﬁ rst assignment. With a three week marking turnaround, students might not get their assignments back until shortly before the end of Term 1. This was acceptable if students could look forward to an extramural campus course over the May Vacation and then
2 The Modiﬁ ed Term System and Extramural Teaching. (1990). BES90/37
Chapter 7: Policy challenges another two terms of study before their ﬁ nal exam. It was totally unacceptable within a thirteen week semester framework.
Concerns were also raised about logistics. A semester framework would place great demands on all the administrative services supporting the extramural programme. Any delay in processing enrolments or dispatching study materials would have disastrous effects on the students’ study. For example, enrolment in Second Semester courses would have to precede conﬁ rmation of examination results from First Semester examinations.
Two years later the Board of Extramural Studies reviewed the issue and afﬁ rmed a set of guiding principles for the delivery and support of extramural teaching within a semester system.
3 In the intervening period, the University had accepted that departments should be able to choose whether their courses were offered in ‘long thin’ mode (a standard
15 point paper studied across two consecutive semesters) or in ‘short fat’ mode (a 15 point paper studied across a single semester). This was an important concession to the extramural programme but one that introduced its own complexities. Many academics soon found themselves teaching an internal paper over a single semester but also teaching the same paper extramurally over the full year.
Within a few years, the extramural programme was absorbed into the new semester environment and many of the anticipated difﬁ culties seemed to have resolved themselves. The shift to a standard point system in 1999 seemed to have assisted the process. Now the standard size for an undergraduate paper was 12.5 points. This translated into a standard fulltime workload of eight papers or four ‘short fat’ papers in each semester. By the new century, most extramural papers were offered in a single semester. Double-sized 25 point postgraduate papers tended to be offered over two semesters. Semesters were now a fact of life and both extramural students and their teachers had become used to them.
Copyright has always been an important issue for the extramural programme. Massey and its academic staff are big producers of intellectual property. Each year academics produce hundreds of study guides which the University then reproduces and makes available to its extramural students. This raises issues to do with ownership, copyright and protection. The extramural programme is also a big user of the intellectual property
3 Semesters and the Extramural Programme. (1992). BES92/44.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges of others. A typical set of extramural study materials might comprise, say, one or two hundred pages of text written by the paper coordinator or other members of the teaching team, and it will probably also include twice or three times that number of pages of
‘readings’. These will be articles and chapters written by other scholars in the ﬁ eld and copied from journals and books with or without the explicit permission of the authors.
Both elements have posed an evolving challenge for Massey’s extramural programme over its entire ﬁ fty years of operation.
For the ﬁ rst three decades of the extramural programme, the issue of ownership of the intellectual property of lecturers’ text within extramural study materials was never deﬁ nitively resolved. Was it the University or the course writer that owned the copyright?
The University insisted on printing its own claim to copyright on the front of each set of study materials. However, this was more to deter illicit use by others than to establish an exclusive right for itself. From time to time academics would challenge the University’s right to claim copyright over the fruit of their own intellectual effort. Successive Directors of Extramural Studies were usually able to resolve such challenges by ﬁ nding a solution that met the reasonable expectations of both parties. The most frequent instance would be academics wishing to publish books or articles drawing heavily on material they had ﬁ rst issued as a study guide. The University always adopted a permissive, even encouraging, stance towards this practice. It was seen as in the interest of both the University and the academic that the latter should be writing and publishing and students were seldom short-changed by the rewritten study guides that followed such publication. There were two or three instances where the teaching teams of large introductory classes attempted to publish their study guides privately and sell them direct to their students as ‘set texts’, a practice that met with active discouragement from the University.
For a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there appeared to be a market for the sale of distance education programmes and their associated teaching materials. As a distance education provider of longstanding, Massey was seen by some as a possible supplier of course materials to some of the open universities that were being established throughout
Asia. In fact, Massey’s engagement in this market was to be quite limited. Most of these new institutions were pursuing a production-team approach to materials development.
Massey’s sole-author model proved a difﬁ cult ﬁ t with this approach. Rather than buy the ready-written course materials, these institutions preferred to employ individual academics on short term contracts to assist their own course production efforts.
However, a small number of courses were sold on an ‘as is’ basis and Massey negotiated an acceptable split of the returns with the academics who had authored them.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
Very occasionally, academics on the point of leaving Massey to go to another post, would attempt to uplift the master copy of their study material to prevent its continuing use by their successors. These individuals had to be informed gently but ﬁ rmly that this was not allowed. While they were quite free to continue using their own material for whatever scholarly purpose they wished, Massey must assert its right to ensure continuity of teaching for that course. Their concern would also be allayed by the assurance that their successor was most likely to rewrite the course materials within a year or two anyway.
On one occasion, these assurances were insufﬁ cient and the Director had to instruct the word-processing unit to hide the masters in question until the academic had recovered a sense of proportion.
From time to time academics would also become concerned on learning that their study material was being used, often without modiﬁ cation or acknowledgement, by teachers in polytechnics and high schools. Usually these teachers had been their students in previous years. There was not a lot the University was able to do to prevent this occurring, other than to write to the principal of the institution concerned in the most egregious instances. More commonly, the wounded academic would be encouraged to see this practice as ﬂ attery of a clumsy sort and evidence that their students clearly valued their teaching!
This longstanding issue of ownership was virtually resolved when the University adopted an Intellectual Property Policy in 1996.
4 The new policy was intended to cover all aspects of intellectual property but it was particularly helpful in the longstanding issues of ownership. Essentially the policy accorded ownership to the University for materials
“created by academic staff … in the course of their employment by the University”.
Other elements of the policy tended to support the historic practice described above.
That is, academics should generally be permitted to have continuing use of the IP vested in their extramural materials, the University should have the continued use of the materials following the resignation of the author, and the author should share in any economic return from the sale of their IP.
The other aspect of extramural copyright, one that always carried a far greater risk for the University, was the copying and distribution of material sourced outside the
University. For the ﬁ rst 24 years of its extramural operation, the University operated under the Copyright Act of 1962 and its various amendments. In broad terms, this allowed for ‘reasonable’ copying by individuals for their own purposes and by educational institutions for teaching.
4 Intellectual Property Policy, Massey University, 1996.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
A generous interpretation of the act might seem to have permitted the level of copying that was common on behalf of extramural courses, but nobody was conﬁ dent about such an interpretation. It was widely known that the New Zealand Publishers’ Association
(NZPA) was gathering information and resources to take a test case to court to challenge what publishers saw as an abuse of the Copyright Act. Legal opinion available to Massey was so conservative that the institution almost stopped requesting it. The only way to remain safely within the law, ran the advice, was to gain permission from the copyright owner of each item before it could be copied for students. The logistics and time required for such an exercise, quite apart from the cost involved, were prohibitive. Instead, the
University tried very hard to meet what it saw as the spirit of the law and, at the very least, to avoid presenting the Publishers’ Association with the test case it was seeking.
The most obvious measure was to monitor the number and size of the readings requested by an extramural course writer from any one author or publication. Ten percent was used as the informal maximum amount that could be copied from a single source, though this ﬁ gure was subsequently ruled to have no basis in law.
5 Less obviously, in an effort to keep within the legal requirement that copying should be on behalf of currently enrolled students, CUES resisted the temptation to stockpile any surplus material for use in subsequent years. One of Richard Scott’s less heralded annual duties was to commission a tractor to dig a hole at the back of one of the University farms and bury any extramural readings left on the shelves at the end of the academic year.
Most of the uncertainty and risk associated with extramural copying was removed by the passage of the Copyright Act 1994. The new act made the deﬁ nition of ‘fair dealing’ much clearer and more restrictive of the kind of bulk copying required for the extramural programme.
But it also legislated for the establishment of reproduction rights organisations that would simplify the process by which those wishing to access copyright material went about negotiating and paying for its use. Copyright Licensing
Limited (CLL) was established by NZPA prior to the 1994 Act and was well placed to secure recognition under the act. Massey has been a license holder since the passage of the Act. It is surveyed on a regular basis to monitor its usage and to set a payment rate for the forthcoming period. Since the Act it has been possible to provide teaching staff with reasonably deﬁ nitive advice on the University’s rights and obligations with respect to copyright. Staff are required to conﬁ rm their compliance with those requirements each time they submit extramural course material for reproduction.
5 Carrington Judgement, 1990.
6 Section 43(1) Copyright Act, 1994. This section deals with fair dealing for research and private study; s44(3f) & (4) deals with restrictions to bulk copying.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
The 1994 Copyright Act explicitly excluded digital media from most of the provisions critical to distance education. By the early years of the new century this was becoming a problem. Copyright holders were pressing for a tightening of the Act to protect them from large-scale piracy of their IP through various forms of uncontrolled copying and downloading. The Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill 2008 sought to shift the balance from copyright users to copyright owners and, in the process, has disadvantaged educational institutions and distance education providers in particular.
During the last decade Massey has subscribed to other licences which have enhanced learning materials for extramural students. The Screenrights licence enables teachers to make use of television and radio broadcasts whilst the New Zealand Newspaper
Publishers licence includes the use of both print and online copy. Library databases have opened up a whole new ﬁ eld of copyright questions and issues, but have also facilitated the use of a wide range of journals, both in print and online study guides.
Knowing what limitations the law has placed on the reproduction of digital material,
Massey has always exercised great caution in copying and sending such material to its extramural students. In the early days of digital copying, the Extramural Dispatch
Unit checked the copyright status of any digital material it was asked to copy. But academics have a way of getting round policies and regulations they do not agree with.
On one occasion, the Dispatch Unit reported that an academic had incorporated some proprietary software in a set of ﬂ oppy disks he hoped to send out to his extramural students. He was informed that this practice was illegal and that his students would have to buy the software. The following year the Dispatch Unit found that the academic had included the software once again, but this time the material was hidden in a secret ﬁ le. The academic was duly admonished. The following year the academic began his extramural campus course by announcing that each student would need their own copy of the proprietary software to complete their assignments; that the academic believed that intellectual property was theft and that all such material should be in the public domain; that a complete set of the software was available on his desk along with a supply of blank disks and a free computer or two; and that he was about to step out for a long cup of coffee.
The ﬁ rst the University heard about this was an angry phone call to the Vice-Chancellor from the manager of a business in the Hawkes Bay. Apparently one of his employees had returned to work after attending this particular vacation course, used his work computer to access the software he had copied and promptly brought down the company’s network. There had been a virus on the master disk.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
In 1990 Massey took the ﬁ rst important step in its transition to becoming a multicampus institution: the University Council gave the go-ahead for the creation of a new campus at
Albany on Auckland’s North Shore. The full story of this important development has yet to be told. It was to have implications for almost every aspect of organisational life and the extramural programme was no exception.
Initial announcements from the University stressed the value that Auckland-based extramural students would derive from the new facility. This came as something of a surprise to the Director and the Board of Extramural Studies as they had already appointed an Extramural Regional Adviser in Auckland based at Carrington Polytechnic
(later UNITEC) and were renting facilities from that institution for the 30 extramural regional courses held in Auckland each year. But once the Albany initiative got underway it was a foregone conclusion that the Regional Adviser would transfer to the new institution. This move came in two steps: ﬁ rst to the transitional teaching facilities that Massey leased in Takapuna during 1991 and 1992 and then to the Oteha Rohe site of the brand new Albany Campus in 1993.
Contrary to expectations, the new campus made a very limited impact on the study experience or support of Auckland-based extramural students, certainly in the ﬁ rst few years. The Board of Extramural Studies did explore a range of possible applications for the new campus at the end of 1991 but dismissed almost all of them as economically unsustainable or seriously disadvantaging extramural students in other regions.
In particular, the report re-examined the option of establishing regional study centres with locally based tutorial staff. The University had already taken a lead from an Australian report that found that institutions offering university-level tuition by distance education were generally best advised to centralise their teaching service but to offer advice and guidance to individual students on a regional basis.
8 The 1992 report conﬁ rmed this earlier policy. In summary, the report suggested services available to extramural students from the new Albany Campus were likely to be little different from those available to students in other regional centres.
Further challenges to the policy status quo concerned funding and teaching. First the question arose as to whether any of the EFTS resources derived from Auckland-based extramural students should accrue to the Albany Campus, rather than to Palmerston
7 Report of the Albany Campus – Extramural Planning Group. (1992, January). BES92/17, AB92/59.
8 Report of the Standing Committee on External Studies. (1996). Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission. Australia.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
North where the teaching was actually based. To boost the case for splitting the extramural EFTS between the two campuses, it was mooted that extramural teaching and support might be based increasingly at Albany as well as Palmerston North. At this early stage in the life of the new campus, neither development was seen as positive: by 1994 the mission of the Albany Campus had become more tightly focused on serving the educational needs of the Auckland region through campus-based study. Splitting the University’s extramural teaching and support across two campus seemed both distracting to that mission and an uneconomic use of resources. A memorandum from
John Hogan, Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Development) of 24 March
1994 conﬁ rmed that extramural EFTS would continue to accrue to Palmerston North.
This executive decision, however, was not sufﬁ cient to turn back the tide. In 1994 there was already a small number of Albany-based academics involved in extramural teaching. For the most part these were staff who had travelled north from Palmerston
North and retained some of their extramural teaching responsibilities. Not surprisingly both they and Professor Ian Watson, the Albany Campus Principal, were seeking some recognition of this workload in funding terms. At least one of the newly appointed Heads of Department at Albany was seeking to justify a full time teaching appointment by adding extramural to internal EFTS. A further development was anticipated in 1995 when two
Albany-based staff members were to take responsibility for a large introductory-level extramural paper. These developments raised the question once more of funding for extramural teaching based at Albany. They also raised the more fundamental question of whether Massey should be encouraging extramural teaching from Albany.
The situation was complicated by the fact that many Albany-based internal students were taking one or two extramural papers each year along with their four or ﬁ ve internal papers. This was a short-term measure encouraged by the Albany Academic Programme
Subcommittee as it worked to expand the selection of internal papers available from the new campus. It was not especially popular with the students who were mostly fulltime students in their late teens and early twenties. They struggled with the attenuated tutorial relationships and the rigours of self-paced distance learning. They particularly resented the requirement to travel to Palmerston North to attend the two or three day campus courses associated with these extramural papers.
For their part, the Director and service managers in CUES were seeking clariﬁ cation about the University’s views on supporting extramural teaching based at Albany. How sensible was it to set up site-based services to run operations such as extramural materials preparation and production, dispatch of study materials, processing of assignments, management of extramural examinations…?
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
In July 1994 the Albany Academic Programme Subcommittee set up a task force to reconsider the relationship between the Albany Campus and the extramural teaching programme. The committee comprised academics and administrators from both campuses.
The representatives of the two campuses found common ground on almost all issues.
The teaching staff at the new campus, it was reported, showed little enthusiasm for getting involved with extramural teaching. They acknowledged their major challenge was to establish a portfolio of internal programmes and papers and viewed extramural teaching as very much a distraction from this objective.
They acknowledged too that during the next few transitional years some extramural teaching would inevitably be based at Albany and should be funded accordingly, but that all parties should work to reduce this over the longer term. This being the case, it was neither necessary or economically viable to replicate
Professor James McWha, Vice-Chancellor
1996 – 2002 any of the core extramural administration and production services on the new campus.
Finally, they agreed that the new campus presented opportunities for enhancing the study experience of extramural students in the Auckland region and considered that such developments should not be held up unduly by considerations of equity of provision across the whole country.
A report with these conclusions and recommendations was duly forwarded to the
February 1995 meeting of Academic Board for consideration
. At that meeting Vice-
Chancellor Sir Neil Waters surprised the Board by expressing strong opposition to the report from the chair. Essentially, he was opposed to any measures that restricted the options available to the new campus and he found little in the report to agree with. The
Albany project was very much his creation and he was not prepared to see its ﬂ edgling
9 Final Report of the Extramural; Teaching at Albany Group. (1994) AAPSC/94/82, BES94/39,AB95/7.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges wings clipped. The chair of the subcommittee realised when he was up against an immovable object and promptly withdrew the report 10 .
The report and its recommendations were shelved. Sir Neil retired the following year and was succeeded by Professor James McWha. By that time, the University community seemed to have reached a tacit consensus on the ﬁ ndings and recommendations of the subcommittee. Extramural teaching remained a marginal activity on the Albany Campus, questions of resourcing were resolved at an operational level and for the next few years there was little interest in replicating extramural services at Albany. This debate has never been formally or deﬁ nitively resolved.
Skirmishes have continued at irregular intervals. Some Palmerston North-based extramural teachers get irritated when they see ‘their’ extramural study materials being used, sometimes without permission, by colleagues teaching an equivalent paper at another campus of the University. And, as enrolments in all modes and campuses have tailed off during most of the past decade, academics sometimes feel that regional campuses are competing with the extramural programme for market share. Of greater concern has been the emergence of different versions of the same papers depending on their mode of delivery and location. This has placed pressure on the University to provide different examinations and different study material for two or three versions of the same paper. These concerns have been softened in recent years by the increasingly blurred distinction between extramural and internal teaching. With the steadily growing use of the internet to support both internal and extramural teaching, the distinction is becoming less meaningful.
The extramural programme was conceived with the interests of remote students in mind. But its early developers may not have anticipated that some of these students would be living truly remotely, in fact outside New Zealand. From the early years of the programme, requests for extramural enrolment started coming from expatriate
Kiwis wishing to continue their university study while out of the country. The funding
10 A recent discovery in the Massey University Archives reinforces Professor Prebble’s decision to withdraw the report at that point rather than invite further input from the Vice-Chancellor. The Archive’s set of records from Academic Board happens to contain Professor Waters’ personal copy of this report as it came to Academic Board. Uncharacteristically, he had highlighted numerous sections of the report and added several comments in his unmistakable handwriting. “Strategically inept – want PN to be exclusively undergraduate e/m?”, “Won’t agree” and “Don’t agree – no!” were just three of these notes which convey the strength of the Vice-Chancellor’s opposition to these recommendations.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges authorities – ﬁ rstly the University Grants Committee and later the Ministry of Education
– saw this as a positive development, and within a few years there were upwards of a hundred such enrolments each year. These applications came mostly from people already well-advanced in their study and wanting to take just one or two papers a year.
The diplomatic service, travelling sportspeople, those offshore on business and their respective partners made up most of these enrolments.
The challenge of servicing these offshore enrolments, particularly in establishing examination arrangements at dozens of locations around the globe, is described in the chapter on CUES and its work. But the team in CUES would acknowledge that the services extended to their offshore extramural students were adequate rather than comprehensive. Study material and returned assignments were sent airmail rather than by surface and every effort would be made to ensure they could sit their examinations simultaneously with their peers in New Zealand. Beyond that, offshore students needed to be strong independent learners to do well under these conditions. For example, living overseas did not result in automatic exemption from any requirement to attend a campus course and offshore students had to negotiate any such exemption directly with their teachers.
This very basic level of service was justiﬁ ed on the grounds that the resources available did not allow any special treatment for offshore students. They were paying regular domestic fees and their enrolment generated the domestic level of funding from the
Government. In general, offshore extramural students seemed satisﬁ ed with this arrangement. They tended to be mature, well-motivated students who did not need much in the way of tutorial or peer support. When they encountered difﬁ culties, they were resourceful enough to ﬁ nd a way through them.
During the 1970s and 1980s, another category of students began applying to enrol extramurally from offshore. These were small numbers of international, full-fee paying students who had completed most of their qualiﬁ cations at Massey (or even at another
New Zealand University) but now faced the cost of staying in New Zealand for a further year simply to complete one or two remaining papers. With the agreement of the various
Government agencies, Massey altered its enrolment regulations to allow such students to complete these remaining requirements offshore. The success rate of these students was not good.
A third category of students eligible for offshore extramural enrolment were citizens of a group of English-speaking nations of the Southwest Paciﬁ c. While they were eligible to enrol, students in this category were also required to pay full international fees to do so.
This requirement discouraged all but a small handful of students from enrolling by this
Chapter 7: Policy challenges mode. This apparent anomaly was actually quite consistent with Massey’s developing stance towards that part of the Paciﬁ c.
The development of the extramural programme in the 1960s and 1970s coincided with the development of the University of the South Paciﬁ c. Based in Suva, USP is one of just two archipelago universities in the world and was set up to serve the needs of the twelve participating island nations. The New Zealand Government was supportive of this development from the outset and encouraged institutions such as Massey to cooperate with USP wherever possible. Massey made a number of contributions to USP’s development in the 1970s. It was particularly supportive of USP’s efforts to establish distance teaching links with students studying from their home nations.
Professor Don Bewley took a particular interest in the development of distance teaching at USP. In 1976-7 he took a secondment from his position at Massey to take charge of its
School of Education. As part of an ongoing programme of cooperation between the two universities, Massey chose not to compete with USP for students either in the extramural or face-to-face mode. The international student fee schedule effectively discouraged students from bypassing their own regional university to study directly with Massey.
There is another, potentially much larger category of offshore, extramural enrolment that continues to challenge the institution’s ability to respond. This is full fee enrolment by international students from anywhere in the world. Massey has generally taken a cautious, even conservative, approach to this market.
During the 1980s, inquiries about offshore extramural tuition arose from time to time.
Sometimes these inquiries would come from prospective students contacting the
University to see whether they could enrol from their home country. Just as often they would be from academics who had received a similar inquiry or who thought their particular subject might ﬁ nd an international market. The Director and Board of
Extramural Studies declined all such requests until they could be satisﬁ ed on a number of issues. They recognised that the level of service then available to support the small number of offshore New Zealand extramural students was quite inadequate to support a cohort of full-fee paying international students. International experience showed very clearly that such students would need a high level of in-country tutorial and administrative support if the programme was to be successful.
They were also aware that once a student had enrolled in a single paper by this mode the University would be entering into a long-term commitment to ensuring that student could complete a full qualiﬁ cation rather than just the initial paper. The commitment and enthusiasm of individual lecturers for such a development was not enough;
Chapter 7: Policy challenges the respective faculty or faculties had to make a long term and extensive service commitment. Finally, the University was most reluctant to offer a discounted international fee to attract extramural enrolments as was commonly the case in international distance education at the time.
In1989 the University met these concerns by agreeing to approve qualiﬁ cations for off-shore extramural delivery if they met certain standards of delivery and service.
These standards required that whole qualiﬁ cations be made available rather than individual papers. Initially, they also required programmes to provide tutorial support to students in their own countries, either through some form of block course study, or by locally appointed tutors. This option was only viable where it was possible to recruit a sufﬁ ciently large group of students all living reasonably close to an offshore centre.
Until quite recently only a couple of programmes have ever made the commitment to deliver their programmes offshore in this way. During the early 1990s, Aviation Studies mounted a number of programmes in Singapore and Malaysia. While much of the tuition was by local tutorial staff and visiting Massey staff, the programme made heavy use of distance education materials and employed a form of extramural enrolment to do so.
The other programme was a Certiﬁ cate in Teaching of English as a Second Language
(TESOL) delivered by the small team in Linguistics and Modern Language for the best part of three decades through to about 1998. This programme was resourced, managed and delivered quite independently from the Extramural programme but employed similar teaching methods. More recently, international masters programmes have been launched in Veterinary Medicine and ESOL. Extramural study materials have been used to support undergraduate study in Business at a partner university in China and study in
Food Technology at Singapore Polytechnic.
In recent years, an alternative delivery mode has been proposed to meet the expectation of tutorial support for offshore extramural students. Programmes have been encouraged to develop proposals for offshore delivery based on online support for their students. A number of programme leaders have expressed interest over the past decade but none of them has come to fruition to date. This can be attributed in large part to the highly devolved nature of operational management for such matters within the extramural programme over this period. The successful development, delivery and support of a high quality off-shore distance education requires very strong central support. It is too great a challenge for an individual programme team, or possibly even a college, to undertake on their own.
Interestingly, the University is now in the process of promoting offshore extramural enrolment. In doing so it is building on the lessons of the past – insisting on a whole-of-
Chapter 7: Policy challenges programme approach, strong tutorial support and online delivery – but also committing to strong central University support for the initiative. Online short courses have provided a useful entrée to offshore delivery.
While Massey has acted cautiously in its approach to offshore delivery of extramural studies, it has been more proactive in its engagement with the international distance education community. Professor Bewley’s contribution to the development of the
University of the South Paciﬁ c and its distance education programme has been mentioned. Through his membership of organisations such as the Asia and Paciﬁ c
Programme of Educational Innovation for Development (APEID), the Australasian and
South Paciﬁ c External Studies Association (ASPESA) (subsequently renamed the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA)) and the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE), Professor Bewley brought the Massey extramural programme to the attention of the international community.
Subsequent extramural leaders have continued this work. During Professor Tom
Prebble’s tenure, Massey continued its engagement with these international agencies and associations and contributed actively to the development of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) 11 and the Australasian Council on Distance Education (ACODE). This level of engagement has continued over the past decade. Two current examples are the election of Gordon Suddaby, Massey’s Director of the Centre for Academic Development and eLearning, to the position of President of ACODE and, most recently, Massey becoming a founder member of DEHub. This is a new Australian-based consortium of major university-level distance education providers. Massey is well respected for its expertise in distance education with frequent invitations to contribute to international projects, reviews and evaluations in this area.
11 The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an agency dedicated to the use of distance education to improve educational opportunity throughout the Commonwealth.
Chapter 7: Policy challenges
Extramural students informal discussion, 1999.
Anne Ruddle, Course Advisor at the Albany Campus, chats with Lucia Mills
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
NEW MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES FOR EXTRAMURAL
In 1999 and 2000 the University carried out a major review and restructuring of its management and administrative services. This was to mean the dissolution of the Centre for University Extramural Studies as a distinct organisational unit. There were several drivers for the reorganisation. The ﬁ rst was the need to provide a management and administrative structure more suited to the requirements of a multicampus institution.
In April 1999, a report was issued outlining the proposed “Multi-Campus Management
Structure”. The report recommended that those services which needed to be provided seamlessly and to a single standard across the University should be deﬁ ned as ‘national shared services’. Conversely, wherever it was possible to meet the needs of individual campuses with a customised and regional service, these services should be provided at a campus level. The report proposed a matrix model of senior management comprising
Pro Vice-Chancellors to manage colleges, Principals to manage campuses and Deputy and Assistant Vice-Chancellors assisting the Vice-Chancellor to manage University-level matters.
A second driver for the restructuring was the recognition that Massey was becoming a multimodal teaching institution. It was no longer appropriate to have administrative systems that were unique to campus or extramural study when the University needed to be able to service enrolments and teaching approaches across a growing number of study modes and media.
A third driver were the Enrolment Review Report (1997) and the Enrolment 2000 Project that followed it. This project identiﬁ ed several key enrolment related processes that the University needed to manage in order to develop a client-focused service: how the
University recruited students; how it converted expressions of interest into applications to enrol; how these applications were processed through to conﬁ rmed enrolments; and how these students would be retained in their chosen programmes. In order to service these processes effectively it was considered necessary to redesign the University’s support units.
The outcome of the review was that two units were set up to manage student affairs at a national level: the National Student Administration and Teaching services Unit
(NSATS) and the National Student Relations Unit (NSR). NSATS absorbed most of the functions of CUES and virtually all of the former Academic Affairs section of Registry.
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
It became responsible for the administrative services supporting enrolment, academic records, graduation, scholarships, examinations, extramural assignments, contact and block courses and the production and dispatch of study materials. Some of these services, examinations in particular, involved the merging of functions formerly carried out independently on behalf of internal and extramural students.
NSR became responsible for ‘managing the student relationship’. It combined the
Extramural Regional Advisory team from CUES with the Schools Liaison teams from the three campuses to create a stronger focus on student recruitment; it established a call centre for student and outside enquiries; and it brought the various units responsible for
University calendars and qualiﬁ cation guidebooks under one roof.
Regional units were established at each campus to manage student administration and support functions more appropriately delivered at that level including student orientation, student accommodation, most pastoral services, timetabling and the like.
These were radical changes for the staff involved and for some of the users of these services. Many sections had to develop new business processes and adjust to working in different teams with new reporting relationships. Some adjustments were more difﬁ cult than others. The Extramural Regional Advisors lamented their loss of focus on extramural student support, a message the Extramural Students’ Society echoed strongly.
The handover of responsibility for the administrative services formerly provided by
CUES to the new NSATS and NSR units went reasonably smoothly. Mary Downes was appointed Director of NSATS and Pat Sandbrook Director of NSR. Both these managers had extensive experience in student administrative services, and in the enrolment process especially. NSATS took over the Production and Administrative Services sections of CUES along with the corresponding sections of the former Academic Registry ofﬁ ce. NSR combined the Regional Services section of CUES with the Course Advisory and Liaison services of Academic Registry.
Many resources had been invested in rebuilding the University’s enrolment system over the preceding few years. The aim had been to allow students to complete enrolment and other academic business transactions in a single session – either online or face-to-face
– eliminating most of the lengthy delays of the previous system. To achieve this goal it was necessary to streamline the business processes involved in the enrolment exercise and to simplify the degree regulations on which the enrolment process was built. This exercise was largely successful. By the turn of the century, students were completing their annual enrolment and course registration without incident or signiﬁ cant delay and they were receiving their study material promptly.
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
Another recurring problem during the previous couple of decades had been the difﬁ culty students, in particular extramural students, experienced in obtaining authoritative information and advice from the University. An information system based on a cumbersome, batch-driven database system, supplemented by paper based records and multiple points of contact and advice, led inevitably to frustration and error. A fully integrated online Student Information System allowed the University to centralise its point of contact with students. The ‘Massey Contact’ call centre was set up to serve as a single point of contact for anyone seeking advice or service from the University.
The remaining section of CUES, the Extramural Teaching Consultancy unit, was transferred to the Training and Development Unit. It was hoped that this might be a ﬁ rst step towards the creation of a ‘ﬂ exible learning’ unit that would support a resourcebased approach to teaching across Massey’s whole teaching portfolio. This vision would take a few more years to materialise. In the meantime, the Teaching Consultants continued their work in advising and assisting academics in the creation and revision of their extramural courses.
The other structural change affecting the extramural programme was the dissolution of the position of Director of Extramural Studies. The Director and Board of Extramural
Studies had become increasingly concerned at the inability of existing structures and policy to keep pace with changing modes of teaching and learning and the increasing blurring of the distinctions between these modes. They were proposing a leadership model that took a more integrated view of the University’s teaching and learning activities.
A contrary view, and one strongly promoted by Liz Barker Extramural Students’ Society
President and a vocal member of the University
Council, was that extramural students needed a ‘champion’ within the University leadership.
It was this second view that prevailed and the position of Principal (Extramural and
International) was created as part of the new senior leadership team. The position was duly advertised and in July 1999 Professor Tom
Prebble was appointed to the job.
Professor Tom Prebble, Principal Extramural and International, 1999-2002
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
WORKING WITHIN THE NEW STRUCTURE
The new structural changes did achieve some beneﬁ ts for the extramural programme.
The creation of NSR brought a number of improvements. The additional resources and focus on student recruitment and retention made an important difference at a time when Universities were competing strongly for enrolments. Combining the separate units previously responsible for publishing course information also contributed to both efﬁ ciency and consistency of information. With time, the new call centre was able to relieve academics of most of the straightforward inquiries from students while ensuring that more academic inquires were being routed to the right person. Surveys of extramural students showed that they appreciated being able to contact the centre and get an authoritative response to their inquiries.
While the creation of NSATS may have introduced efﬁ ciencies, it is harder to identify any improvements in effectiveness in their core functions. The old functions of CUES
– organising examinations and regional courses, managing the ﬂ ow of extramural assignments, working alongside academics to prepare camera-ready study materials, and dispatching that material to students through the year – were simply transferred to the new unit and for most of the staff it did not even involve shifting ofﬁ ces. The important reforms in the work of this unit were achieved through the Enrolment 2000 exercise, an initiative that was already underway when the structural realignment took place. It allowed the University to move from a cumbersome, manual process requiring frequent intervention and judgements to one where a student was able to complete the year’s registration in a single online session.
The separation of national and regional services also helped to clarify the responsibility of each campus towards extramural student support. Over the next few years, all three campuses made progress in deﬁ ning the level of service they were able to offer extramural students, something that had been difﬁ cult in the past. This included the appointment of student support positions at Albany and Wellington with particular focus on extramural students and the appointment of a Kaitautoko Maori for extramural students based at Palmerston North. In October 2001, an Extramural Student Support
Ofﬁ cer was appointed to the Principal’s ofﬁ ce to coordinate the services of the national and regional agencies.
The introduction of these changes in leadership and management structures was somewhat overshadowed by the ‘repositioning’ exercise that took place in 2000. In 1999 enrolments in all modes fell signiﬁ cantly short of budget projections. The University responded by seeking savings from each cost centre. This was not achieved during 1999 leaving a deﬁ cit that had to be made up the following year. Budget allocations for 2000
Chapter 8: The New Millennium were based on an optimistic assumption of renewed growth in extramural enrolments and a major marketing campaign was put in place to deliver this result. However, enrolments remained fairly stable in 2000 and the Vice-Chancellor and his senior team were forced into a retrenchment exercise.
This was one of the ﬁ rst sizeable redundancy rounds experienced by a New Zealand university. In an attempt to undertake the task in an equitable and transparent manner, the leadership team insisted that all academic and service units undergo a review of their resourcing. At the end of this process, there were only a few dozen redundancies and these were concentrated in six or seven academic units from a couple of colleges.
But the University community had been seriously upset by the process and it left a legacy of bitterness and insecurity that endured for several years.
Several new policy developments affected extramural studies during the ﬁ rst two or three years of the new millennium. The 2001/2002 Review of the University’s Online
Strategy has been discussed in Chapter 6 on media. The upshot of this review was that the University would continue with a college-driven approach to the development of online learning and teaching drawing on central service units for network services, teacher training and student support.
The Principal (Extramural and International) continued to promote a strategy of ‘Flexible
Learning and Teaching’ that would better support the range of ways in which teachers wanted to teach and students wanted to study. One element of this strategy was the proposal that every course develop a core set of learning resources. Students would be able to access these resources through a range of emerging modes and study locations.
This strategy continued to inform a number of decisions about teaching and servicing but was never entirely embraced by the University.
Another strategic thread was the ‘single channel’ whereby students, and extramural students in particular, should be able to transact their regular business with the
University online and in real time. The aim was to enable students to access course information and advice online; register for their annual programme online; pay their fees and ﬁ nes online, register for any contact courses and examinations online; and apply to graduate online. This goal was largely achieved by 2002.
This period also saw the re-emergence of an old problem. Extramural enrolments had softened through the 1990s and declined in 1999 and 2000 (see Table 3) but the number of extramural offerings continued to grow. Faced with a fall in their income, academic departments continued to expand their extramural offerings. In November 2001, the
Board expressed concern at the increasing number of extramural papers with very
Chapter 8: The New Millennium low enrolments. 27% of extramural papers attracted two or fewer EFTS. These small courses were placing heavy burdens on both the departments that offered them and on the administrative units that supported them. The University accepted a proposal that Colleges work to reduce their numbers of papers with small enrolments. This commitment took several years to make much of an impact.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Opinion was divided as to the appropriateness of the new leadership structure for the extramural programme. The Extramural Students’ Society insisted that the extramural programme needed its own champion at a senior leadership level. Professor Prebble and the Board of Extramural Studies had been urging an integration of the leadership of teaching and learning within the University to reﬂ ect the increasing merging of teaching modes and the University’s Flexible Learning and Teaching Strategy. The creation of the position of Principal (Extramural and International) reﬂ ected the former position. Working within the new structures only reinforced Professor Prebble’s view. At the conclusion of his three year contract in mid-2002, he chose not to seek a further term and returned to the College of Education as Professor of Higher Education.
At this point, the leadership of the extramural programme was dispersed in several directions. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, a position subsequently relabelled the University
Registrar, was given special responsibility for the strategic direction of the extramural programme. The Director of Training and Development became responsible for the
University’s Flexible Learning and Teaching Strategy. He in turn reported to the Assistant
Vice-Chancellor Academic who was responsible for ‘driving’ that strategy. The historic bifurcation of the academic leadership of the teaching programme was reasserting itself.
Responsibility for the extramural student administrative infrastructure – particularly for the large NSATS and NSR units that serviced both internal and extramural students
– passed through several hands over the next few years. Initially NSR reported to the
Chief Executive of the Wellington Campus while NSATS reported to the Assistant Vice-
Chancellor (Academic). Another shufﬂ e of leadership responsibilities saw both units report to the latter position. Then in 2006 responsibility was transferred to Stuart Morris, the newly appointed University Registrar, and the two units were effectively merged.
The Board of Extramural Studies had gone into virtual suspension in 2001 awaiting the recommendations of a review of academic policy-formation that had been underway since earlier in the year. The Board anticipated that its functions would be subsumed under a University-wide committee for teaching and learning. In the event, the ‘Rumball
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
Report’ 1 focused its attention on Academic Board and did not address the subcommittees of that board. It was another ﬁ ve years before a Teaching and Learning Committee was convened. In the meantime, academic leadership for the extramural programme effectively returned to the College Pro Vice-Chancellors. There was little immediate recognition that their efforts in this regard might need any coordination or strategic direction.
Professor Ian Warrington, Deputy Vice-
Chancellor and Regional Chief Executive
2003 – 2010
The question of an ‘extramural champion’ was revisited within a few months of the shufﬂ e. When
Ian Warrington was appointed Deputy Vice-
Chancellor responsible for the Palmerston North
Campus in March 2003 he assumed responsibility for the support of the University’s extramural students as well. Sandi Shillington had been appointed
Regional Registrar of the Palmerston North Campus in September 2002. From her previous experience as Director of the Student Counselling service
Dr Shillington came to the position with some appreciation of the support needs of extramural students. With Professor Warrington’s appointment the following year, Shillington took on the responsibility for meeting these needs.
At ﬁ rst the Regional Campus ofﬁ ce had little in the way of resources to support extramural students. For many years, internal students paid an annual levy on top of their tuition charges to meet campus-based support services. These included access to the recreational, learning support, counselling and medical services. The University
Registrar had been mooting the possibility of charging extramural students a similar levy to allow an extension of support services to them. The Extramural Student Society resisted strongly. It argued that the University was already funded for the support as well as the tuition of their members. They objected to paying twice. Unfortunately, the realignment of the Extramural Regional Advisory service with the recruitment mission of the newly formed National Student Relations unit left this important source of support for extramural students seriously compromised
In 2003, Adrienne Cleland, the University Registrar, asked Sandi Shillington to put together a proposal which would extend the Student Services Levy to include extramural students. The Extramural Students’ Society continued to resist the proposal but the
University Council ﬁ nally approved the new levy in October 2004. This enabled the
1 Review of Academic Policy-Making at Massey University, Final Report. (2001, November).
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
Palmerston North Campus to establish a set of services for extramural students for the following academic year. The ‘Regional Visits’ that had been discontinued with the change of role of the Extramural Regional Advisors were reintroduced and continue to the present day. These involve a team of course and learning advisors, accompanied by representatives of the Library and EXMSS, visiting ten to twenty locations each semester and providing face-to-face advice and support for students from the locality. Later in the semester, a series of ‘Staying on Track’ sessions are run on a regional basis. These involve academics from the Colleges and Student Learning Advisers providing more speciﬁ c study advice to students as they progress through their courses.
Another service resourced through the Extramural Student Service Levy has been the
Online Pre-Reading service. This allows extramural students to submit their assignments in draft form to the Student Learning Advisers for advice on structure and presentation.
The success of this project has encouraged the Regional Ofﬁ ce to promote the development of a fully online submission service for extramural assignments, something the University has been hoping to deliver for several years. Over the past decade, a suite of online support and advisory services has been developed with extramural students in mind.
One service directly under the control of the Campus is the student halls or hostels.
In earlier years, staying in a student hostel during a campus course was a memorable experience for many middle-aged extramural students. Conditions that an 18 year old will tolerate and even relish may strike someone of their parents’ age altogether differently, particularly when trying to sleep a thin partition away from their nocturnal younger neighbours. The halls administration has worked hard to improve the experience for visiting extramural students. Their latest efforts have included setting aside two or three of the newer, more comfortable hostels each vacation. This step has been appreciated by extramural students, less so by the internal students who have to vacate their rooms for two or three weeks.
Online learning was another dimension of extramural study demanding increasing attention. In 2001 the University had committed to a college-based strategy for the development and support of its online teaching 2 . Several years passed before it was acknowledged that this approach was failing to deliver the transformation in learning and support that the new media seemed to promise. The Training and Development
Unit offered training and assistance for academics wishing to develop online courses.
Through the work of the Online Learning Monitoring Group, the Director offered support
2 Online Learning and Massey University: Report of the Information Technology and Distance Education
Taskforce, (2001, March).
Chapter 8: The New Millennium for college initiatives and monitored the performance of the learning management system and its allied support systems.
Each year increasing numbers of academics have made use of WebCT to deliver or support their teaching programmes. An analysis carried out several years later showed that 2247 papers had an online component. Notably, only 241 of these papers had a compulsory requirement for students to access an online environment. The terms ‘web supported’, ‘web enhanced’ and ‘web-based’ reﬂ ected a continuum of compulsion with the latter category requiring students to use WebCT as part of their study. In total, 2247 out of 6890 papers had an online component although this ﬁ gure tells very little about the level of activity within each course
. The use of elearning continue to be driven by the choices of individual academics and rarely reﬂ ect departmental let alone college or University strategy. This was reﬂ ected in Massey’s recent assessment against the
E-Learning Maturity Model developed by Dr Stephen Marshall 4 .
THE FORSTER REPORT
Gordon Suddaby’s attempts to urge the University to take a more strategic approach to the development of elearning may have contributed to the Vice-Chancellor’s decision to seek additional advice. Another prompt was the Vice-Chancellor’s Symposium on
Extramural Education in November 2005. Presentations and discussion at this event identiﬁ ed a perception that the leadership was not paying sufﬁ cient attention to the extramural mission of the University. In early 2006, Professor Judith Kinnear, the Vice-
Chancellor, commissioned Professor Anne Forster from the University of Sydney to provide input to the University’s strategic review of Massey’s position on e-learning and distance education 5 .
Forster found much to praise. Massey was still New Zealand’s leading university provider of distance education and multiple mode learning pathways. While other New
Zealand universities were engaging increasingly in distance education, Massey retained its position as the sector leader in this ﬁ eld, a position bolstered by comprehensive infrastructure geared to supporting dispersed students studying independently and
3 Update on eLearning at Massey University. (2008). A paper prepared for the University Council By Mark
Brown and Gordon Suddaby.
4 Report on the E-Learning Maturity Model Evaluation of Massey University: Executive Summary. Dr
Stephen Marshall (2006, June).
5 Positioning Massey University for the future. (2006, April). A report on e-learning and distance education prepared by Anne Forster for the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Judith Kinnear.
Chapter 8: The New Millennium on other campuses. Massey was well regarded for its student support services that recognised the diversity of students and their support requirements.
Nevertheless, Forster found a number of widely shared concerns with respect to
Massey’s distance education activities. She found that there was a need to adopt a programme-wide approach to the planning, design and support of extramural papers.
The current paper-based approach led to too much variability and fragmentation for students. It also made for very limited quality assurance at a programme level. The absence of a clear teaching and learning plan, a strategic statement that would provide clear guidance and support for Massey’s teaching mission, was another source of concern for many. Forster acknowledged that Massey’s recently submitted Proﬁ le 2006-
2008 included such a plan. She also noted that the University’s big challenge would be in communicating and promoting this to teaching staff at large.
Forster also stressed the need to give adequate priority to distance education among the competing demands of a large, research-driven, multicampus, multimodal institution, something Massey was in danger of neglecting she implied.
Forster concluded by presenting a vision that would help Massey position itself as a leader both nationally and internationally in distance education and elearning.
Initially, Massey should aim to be the ‘engine room’ for New Zealand’s participation in the global distance education market, offering a comprehensive suite of student support and student learning management services to serve the entire New Zealand university sector. It should then look to its own areas of research and teaching excellence to identify three or four
‘ﬂ agship’ programmes for international delivery. To
Professor Judith Kinnear, Vice
Chancellor 2003 – 2008 achieve both these steps she recommended the establishment of a fourth campus, a ‘virtual campus’, which would bring together the necessary resources, services and leadership. Such a unit should also restore the mission of the former Centre for University Extramural Studies by providing focused attention and support for the
University’s distance learners.
Forster’s recommendations appeared to make little immediate impact. Other pressures and priorities within the University at the time may have been the reason for this. But the absence of a clear champion for distance and elearning within the senior leadership of the University may have been another contributing factor. There was nobody in the
Chapter 8: The New Millennium senior leadership of the University at the time with the clear mandate to respond to the report.
Forster’s report echoed a message that the Extramural Students’ Society had been voicing for some time: that greater strategic leadership of the extramural programme was required. So, while the report may not have led to an immediate strategic response in terms of elearning or distance education, it may have been inﬂ uential in several appointments that followed. Early in 2007, Dr Mark Brown, a senior lecturer in the College of Education, was seconded to a half-time appointment to the newly created position of
Director of Distance Education. The Training and Development Unit also changed its title to the Centre for Academic Development and e-Learning (CADeL) with a matching change of title for Gordon Suddaby, its director.
These appointments immediately preceded the announcement of the appointment of the
Honourable Steve Maharey as Vice-Chancellor of Massey University in October 2007.
Parliamentary responsibilities prevented Maharey from taking up his new position until
October of the following year. He used that period to gather views and test strategic options with a wide group of students, staff and stake holders. Extramural teaching, and Massey’s leadership in this ﬁ eld of delivery, featured prominently in this dialogue.
A lecturer in Sociology at Massey University twenty years earlier, much of Maharey’s teaching experience had been with extramural students. He needed no convincing of its importance both to the University and to the wider community. His subsequent experience as a Member of Parliament and Minister of Tertiary Education also gave him an acute awareness of the growing competition among providers of distance education, both domestically and globally. Maharey made it clear that extramural study must remain
‘a deﬁ ning feature’ of Massey University in the years ahead but that this required a more strategic approach. He also insisted that technology-based learning would play a central role in the further development of the extramural programme
Vice-Chancellor Maharey did not lack advice in his ﬁ rst year at the helm. The newly conﬁ rmed Directors of Distance Education and CADeL pushed for a stronger vision for teaching and learning at Massey; a leadership team that would be empowered to enact that vision; an institutional culture that truly valued teaching; greater receptiveness to technical innovation; increased investment in elearning; and enhanced policies and
6 Super Steve Returns. (2008, August). Off Campus Magazine. Massey University Extramural Students’
Chapter 8: The New Millennium systems to support elearning 7 . High on their list of priorities was the adoption of a new learning management system.
Several promising developments in that ﬁ rst year suggest the advice is being heeded. Even before
Maharey formally assumed the Vice-Chancellorship,
Professor Ian Warrington, Acting-Vice-Chancellor, adopted a stronger focus on the distance programme bringing the Director of Distance Learning position up to full-time. In mid 2009 Professor Ingrid Day was appointed to the newly designated role of Assistant
Vice-Chancellor Academic and Open Learning. This combination of responsibilities acknowledges the need to provide an integrated approach to Massey’s teaching across all its modes and campuses. Another development was the launch of the long-awaited
Teaching and Learning Committee. This body, chaired
Steve Maharey, appointed Vice-
Chancellor in 2008 by the AVC Academic and Open Learning (recently renamed AVC Academic and International), is beginning to provide policy leadership across Massey’s whole teaching portfolio, something the
Board of Extramural Studies had advocated for nearly a decade earlier.
THE WAY AHEAD
At the close of half a century of extramural teaching and learning, this important stream of the University’s work is being brought into closer alignment with the University’s wider teaching and learning mission. The government is urging tertiary institutions to place greater emphasis on outcomes for learners. Massey is responding by strengthening its efforts in four key areas: in blended and distance education and the ways in which these will inform all the University’s teaching; in streamlining the curriculum and the qualiﬁ cation structures by which it is delivered; in improving the support and development of teachers and teaching; and in ensuring that students are well supported at each stage of their study experience.
The new Teaching and Learning Committee is providing policy direction for these various initiatives. The committee is supported by an Academic Strategy Group comprising
Directors of Teaching and Learning from each college and the heads of the key academic
7 Update on eLearning at Massey University. (2008). A paper prepared for the University Council by Mark
Brown and Gordon Suddaby.
Chapter 8: The New Millennium support services of the University. Their task is to provide operational leadership and coordination for these strategic initiatives.
Strong progress is being made in elearning. Following a comprehensive analysis of the available options,
Massey decided to switch to a new learning management system. WebCT had provided a sound platform for the
University’s elearning activities for more than a decade but a number of considerations weighed in favour of a switch to an open source solution.
‘Stream’ in action
The decision to switch to Moodle was made in 2008 and work began on developing ‘Stream’, a Moodle-based virtual learning environment. During 2009, over 1000 students were introduced to the Stream environment in a number of courses. Several new positions were created in CADeL enabling the unit to expand its array of services available on Stream and to work with several hundred staff on the development of further Stream-based courses. Over 400 courses were available on Stream for the beginning of the 2010 academic year.
Another initiative has been to develop a ‘digital administrative guide’ for courses. This mirrors a similar initiative in the mid-1990s when the Extramural Teaching Consultants encouraged academics to use a ‘Word’ template to develop the administrative guides for their extramural papers. One hundred and ﬁ fty courses are part of a pilot project to assess the merits of the current template. Other courses are participating in a project to digitise all study materials and then to evaluate the relative effectiveness of teaching and studying using this medium rather than printed study material.
More importantly than this quantitative growth, colleges have responded positively to the requirement that these developments should be on a programme or subject basis. This is in contrast to the University’s previous history of elearning where choices of teaching methods and media had been left largely in the hands of individual teachers.
The new leadership team has also been focussing on ‘supporting the distance learning student experience’. The Tertiary Education Commission has recently agreed to support
Massey’s ‘Bridging the Distance’ project. This is a suite of online tools that is intended to model the extramural student life cycle and allow the University to identify and address the speciﬁ c learning and support needs of individuals and groups as they progress through their learning journey.
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
These developments have occurred at a time of major strategic change across the sector and within the University. The international ﬁ nancial crisis of 2008 has seriously impacted on the funding of tertiary education in New Zealand. Universities continue to jockey for primacy in research and publications. The Government is pressing tertiary providers for a more direct and measurable contribution to economic growth. Massey, like other universities, ﬁ nds that its conﬁ guration of programmes and stafﬁ ng only approximately matches its ﬂ ow of income and students. Massey’s strategic response has been to focus on its unique ‘deﬁ ning’ strengths. These include land-based science and industry, but also blended and ﬂ exible study opportunities. These two emphases are not entirely complementary: the sciences continue to attract relatively small numbers of students in extramural and other ﬂ exible delivery modes, while the greatest interest in terms of enrolment numbers remains in the more generic ﬁ elds of the humanities, social sciences and business studies. A big challenge for the current leadership over the next few years will be to maintain a balance between these two important strategies.
Massey’s expansion of distance education to offshore markets is one response to this challenge. A new partnership with the World Bank to offer biosecurity training for veterinarians and public health workers in Asia suggests one way ahead.
Associate Professor Mark Brown (Director, Blended and Distance Education), Steve Maharey (Vice-Chancellor),
Professor Terry Anderson (University of Athabasca) and Professor Ingrid Day (Assistant Vice-Chancellor -
Academic and International) at the launch of the 50th Jubilee Year of Distance Learning at Massey, April 2010.
Chapter 8: The New Millennium
Another emerging challenge will be maintaining Massey’s tradition as an ‘open university’. As open entry to university education comes under increasing threat and as funding formulas begin to place a priority on course completions, this tradition is likely to come under increasing pressure. For ﬁ fty years Massey has offered a second chance at university education to tens of thousands of New Zealanders who went straight from school to work without completing their University Entrance qualiﬁ cation. Under proposed changes to University Entrance, New Zealanders lacking that qualiﬁ cation may no longer be allowed to enrol at a university.
The increasing stress on programme completion may also disadvantage distance education providers. Part-time adult learners, whether studying on campus or by distance, tend to have lower completion rates than their younger, full-time peers. A lot is being done to improve these completion rates but a realist will acknowledge that these rates are always likely to lag behind those for full-time, campus-based students.
The situation is compounded in an environment of capped funding. Institutions will be strongly motivated to admit only those students with the best chance of successfully completing their programmes of study. Massey faces a tough challenge if it wishes to continue to offer a second chance to adult New Zealanders wanting to make more of their lives.
Tables and Statistics
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nts tude S ural ram Ext ber of Num
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Glossary of Acronyms
Glossary of Acronyms
Australasian Council for Open and Distance Education
Asia and Paciﬁ c Programme of Educational Innovation for Development
Australasian and South Paciﬁ c External Studies Association
BES Board of Extramural Studies
CIAL Certiﬁ cate of Inability to Attend Lectures
Copyright Licensing Limited
Commonwealth of Learning
CUES Centre for University Extramural Studies
DEMS/DES Director of Extramural Studies.
Equivalent Fulltime Students
Extramural Management and Production Committee
Extramural Planning Group
Fund for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching
International Council for Distance Education
Institute of Information and Mathematical Sciences
Institute of Fundamental Sciences
Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand
Institute of Veterinary, Animal & Biomedical Sciences
National Student Administration and Teaching Support
National Student Relations
New Zealand Publishers’ Association
Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia
Online Learning Monitoring Group
Post Compulsory Education and Training Advisory Committee
Extramural Regional Advisor
Rural Education Activities Programme
Teaching of English as a Second Language
Teaching and Learning Committee
Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards
Television Production Centre
Ad hoc Committee on Extramural Studies, Minority Report, Dr B.K. Macdonald. (1986).
An Analysis of Unit Costs in Extramural Studies, A report of the Extramural Planning
Group. (1986). EPG87/12, BES88/6.
Annual Report of the Board of Extramural Studies. (1987). BES88/34.
Annual Report of the Board of Extramural Studies. (1997). BES98/6.
Bates, A.W. (2005). Technology, e-learning and distance education (2 nd Edition).
The Case for Limits on the Numbers of Extramural Courses. (1989). BES89/56.
Extramural Studies: Towards a Planning Agenda. (1987). EPG87/2, BES87/20.
Fifth Generation Distance Education. (2001, June). Report No. 40, Higher Education
Intellectual Property Policy, (1996) Massey University.
Interim Report of ad-hoc Committee on Extramural Matters. (1985). PB85/225, PB86/92.
Limit on the Number of Extramural Papers for 1993. (1992). BES92/12.
Managed Enrolment (1992). (1991). BES91/30.
The Modiﬁ ed Term System and Extramural Teaching. (1990). BES90/37
Online Learning and Massey University: Report of the Information Technology and
Distance Education Taskforce. (2001, March). Massey University.
Owens, J.M.R. (1985). Campus Beyond the Walls: The ﬁ rst 25 years of Massey
University’s Extramural Programme. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.
Positioning Massey University for the future. (2006, April). A report on e-learning and distance education prepared by Anne Forster for the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Judith
Report of the Royal Commission on University Education (Reichel-Tate). (1925). AJHR,
Vol. II, E 7A.
Review of Academic Policy-Making at Massey University, Final Report. (2001,
Report of the Albany Campus – Extramural Planning Group. (1992, January). BES92/17,
Report of the Committee on New Zealand Universities. (1960). Wellington: R.E. Owen.
Report of the Extramural Studies Committee to Professorial Board. (1996). February.
Report on the E-Learning Maturity Model Evaluation of Massey University: Executive
Summary. Dr Stephen Marshall (2006, June).
Report of the Management and Production Committee. (1997). BES97/15.
Report of the Management and Production Committee. (2000). BES2000/7.
Royal Commission on University Education in New Zealand. (1925). Report of Royal
Commission on University Education in New Zealand. Appendices to the Journals of the
House of Representatives of New Zealand, Vol. II, E 7A.
Rumble, G. (1986). The planning and management of distance education, Beckenham,
Semesters and the Extramural Programme. (1992). BES92/44.
Update on eLearning at Massey University. (2008). A paper prepared for the University
Council By Mark Brown and Gordon Suddaby.
In 2010 Massey University celebrates the 50th Anniversary of its Extramural Studies programme. For half a century, Massey has been New Zealand’s pre-eminent provider of distance education at a university level. One in every twenty New Zealanders has studied extramurally at Massey. They have pursued academic and professional programmes from pre-degree through to honours and masters level. They have selected from programmes as diverse as biochemistry and banking studies. They have studied in kitchens in Kaitaia, ofﬁ ces in Oamaru and bedsits in Birmingham. Over those ﬁ fty years, teaching methods have progressed from cyclostyled study notes held together with a single staple through to an online, digital learning environment. This is a story worth telling.
Twenty-ﬁ ve years ago, Massey marked the 25th anniversary of the Extramural Studies programme by commissioning a history of the ﬁ rst quarter-century. Campus Beyond the
Walls, by John Owens, is being reissued in the history section of the Massey University website: http://www.massey.ac.nz.
From a Distance takes up the story from 1986. It describes the rapid growth of the programme through the 1970s and 1980s; the evolution of media used to deliver and support distance teaching; and the systems employed to run such a large and complex service. It acknowledges the contribution made by the thousand academics who have taught in the extramural programme over the last twenty-ﬁ ve years. It reﬂ ects on the changing face of extramural students over those years. It explores a number of challenging policy developments that the programme has engaged with.
Emeritus Professor Tom Prebble has devoted most of his career to extramural studies.
He was a Lecturer in Education at Massey from 1975 to 1986 teaching most of his courses extramurally. He was then Director of Extramural Studies at Massey from 1986 to 1999,
Principal Extramural and International from 1999 to 2002 and Professor of Higher Education from 2002 to 2005.
© Tom Prebble and Massey University 2010
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