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Wendy Frew
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UNSW has signed an agreement with OpenLearning, the Australia-based online social learning platform, to allow educators to deliver more engaging and active learning experiences to students.

Through the partnership, educators will be able provide students with more engaging and active learning online experiences they can access on-the-go through mobile devices, in a move to modernise the way tertiary education is delivered.

The agreement comes as UNSW begins implementing its Strategy 2025 with a key component being the UNSW Scientia Educational Experience that seeks to enable the creation of high quality, blended courses for on-campus students.

“UNSW has long been a leader in the creation and adoption of educational technology in Australia so I am delighted they are the first university in Australia to support and promote the use of OpenLearning across campus,” said Adam Brimo, the CEO and founder of OpenLearning.

“This agreement is in line with our mission of empowering students, increasing access and improving the quality of education by enabling individuals and universities to create effective and engaging learning experiences for their students.”

Professor Merlin Crossley, UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) welcomed the partnership. “Technology is improving rather than replacing traditional university education. The way that the OpenLearning platform builds active learning communities is particularly impressive and we are delighted that this innovative company made up of UNSW graduates is leading the way in this area”.

5,000 on-campus UNSW students have already used OpenLearning over the past year and UNSW’s open public courses on OpenLearning have reached over 40,000 students worldwide.

Beginning in early 2015, OpenLearning collaborated with LionHeart Studio’s on the UNSW Business School’s foundation Microeconomics course, Playconomics, which saw a 58 per cent decrease in failure rates and a 35 per cent increase in enrolments in the following semester due to positive recommendations from students.

In early 2017, OpenLearning collaborated with the Faculty of Engineering to transform the lectures in a series of postgraduate courses in Computer Science and Engineering, Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering into activity-based learning communities with high levels of student engagement.

The OpenLearning platform integrates with UNSW’s learning management system, Moodle, as well as LionHeart Studio’s Playconomics gamification technology and SmartSparrow’s Adaptive Learning platform to provide students and lecturers with the ability to easily integrate cutting-edge educational technology tools into their courses.