The postgraduate program in ABMgt was developed based on an educational model comprising of the following aspect:
Postgraduate Professional Education
Animal Breeding Management is a distance education program with short 3-6 day residential sessions. The program will be designed to deliver high quality education to students who are working full time and are able to apply their learning immediately to workplace issues.
Collaborative and Professional Design
Animal Breeding Management has been designed by academic staff from the University of Sydney, experts in Leadership and Management and an educational design consultant.
Technical and Managerial Learning
The program allocates equal credit points to technical and managerial learning in the first 24 credit points of the course, demonstrating the importance of skill development in both areas. Managerial capabilities are a central, unique attribute of graduates and core units in leadership will feature. The leadership units identify linkages between animal contexts and organisational behaviour, management and leadership perspectives, will be taught by qualified consultants via residential workshops and online.
Distance Education, but also Collaborative Learning
Student learning is developed through interaction, engagement with one another and with authentic learning activities. In this sense, students engage in situated learning, characterised by the use of new knowledge in a real-life context, including: authentic activities, access to expert modelling of process, multiple perspectives and active collaboration to construct knowledge (Herrington & Oliver 1995). This is achieved through compulsory participation in interactive online classrooms, skilfully facilitated by academic staff or suitably qualified external contractors.
Riel & Polin (2004) have suggested that this collaborative process is enhanced when students identify as a member of a group and understand their role within that group. Providing early opportunities for face-to-face interaction and socialisation assists and accelerates the development of this process online (Schrumm, 2002). Short residential sessions assist in achieving this.
Developing a Learning Community
Face to face study at short residential sessions enables deep, experiential learning in management/leadership and also provides valuable opportunities for networking and socialising amongst fellow students, external industry experts and staff.
Flexibility and Progression
To aid student progression through the award courses, students can choose to complete a degree in the minimum time required (for example, 2 years for the Masters) or to stagger unit enrolment in line with work and personal commitments. Non-award enrolment in individual units is also encouraged for professionals who need to gain skills in a particular area but do not wish to complete a full degree.
Orientation and support for students will be given high priority in the program. Induction sessions will be conducted at residential workshops as well as collaborative and enjoyable orientation activities online. These will be specifically designed to ensure students are supplied with the key skills necessary for postgraduate distance study (Bozarth et al., 2000). These include skills in time management and technology, ensuring students have clear expectations about the program, know how to manage group work and are clear about what to do if they need help.
Quality Design & Content
Quality curriculum design and content is ensured by:
- Development of graduate attributes in consultation with industry and the profession.
- Contract of an Educational Design consultant (RL Learning Designs) to assure alignment of curriculum and sound learning materials and activities.
- Consultation and collaboration with educational experts across the University of Sydney.
- Contract of respected academic reviewers in each field of study to provide feedback and advice on the content of every unit of study.
- In areas outside Faculty expertise (such as Leadership & Management), consultation with educational providers with high levels of expertise and sound reputation.
- Thorough surveys of students in every unit of study and across the program to ensure the program meets its educational goals and continues to improve.
Bozarth, J, Chapman, D & LaMonica, L (2004). Preparing for Distance Learning: Designing An Online Student Orientation Course. Educational Technology & Society 7 (1), 87-106.
Jan Herrington and Ron Oliver (1995). Critical Characteristics of Situated Learning: Implications for the Instructional Design of Multimedia Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in tertiary Education, http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/melbourne95/smtu/papers/herrington.pdf.
Riel, M & Polin, L (2004). Online Learning Comunities. Barab, S, Kling, R & Gray, J (eds). Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning. Cambridge University Press.
Schrumm, L (2002). Dimensions and strategies for online success: Voices from experienced educators. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 6(1), 57-67.