by Darren Sudlow

Summary Highlights 2017

NetNZ continues to mature as an organisation and this is reflected in a number of highlights in 2017.

The full Statement of Service Performance can be accessed here. This contains all useful data related to our services

Growth and Sustainability

  • Modest bottom line financial surplus.
  • Growing use of NetNZ exchange to meet local needs, although this is limited by many schools who cap enrolments.
  • New schools or member schools putting more teachers into the NetNZ mix allows us to develop the breadth of our curriculum.
  • Engagement with the Ministry of Education Workforce Strategy team resulted in NetNZ submitting a proposal on how our model of online education could help alleviate the teacher supply issue.
  • A change in government raised significant questions over the future of National's Communities of Online Learning (CoOLs) which has since been repealed in 2018. NetNZ had ongoing engagement with the Ministry policy team tasked with exploring alternative online provision which has allowed us to position ourselves for further engagement in 2018.
  • The ALLIS project and in particular the provision of a full Korean language pathway has raised awareness of NetNZ across NZ schools


  • 69 courses with a further 20 accessed through a reciprocal arrangement with North Island eLearning clusters. This creates a broad curriculum for all member school students and ensures their needs and interests can be met.
  • We had our third and final year developing a L3 Computer Science course in partnership with Datacom. Datacom have fully sponsored the course but also provide industry-based mentoring for participating students. This programme has been very successful and provides a blueprint for other industry partnerships in the future.
  • Ministry funding for ALLIS ended, but we have achieved our goal of making all three funded pathways, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Korean sustainable. This is important and means that all learners within NetNZ schools have access to pathways that are often not provided locally. NetNZ is the only provider of a full Korean language pathway at a national level.
  • We continue to develop programmes in niche areas that many of our schools are not able to provide internally. These include Psychology (very popular), Computer Science and Programming, Drama, Art History, Philosophy, Senior Social Studies and various languages such as Spanish and Korean, 
  • The Quakecraft project delivered across 10 NetNZ schools in partnership with the UC Quakecentre was an exciting opportunity to trial a connected approach to hands-on project-based learning. The trial proved to be a positive experience for students involved and provided a template to develop for 2018.

Learning and Teaching

  • Our schools continue to develop their systems of onsite support for their NetNZ students. This is reflected in ongoing improvement in retention rates - 86% (82% 2016) of students completed their course. 
  • 81% of achievement standards entered were achieved by students, while 57% were achieved at Merit or Excellence level. This was an improvement on 2016 results.
  • NetNZ teachers continued to develop a ‘connected’ approach to online learning that puts a community based approach front and centre. Most teachers have adopted google+ communities as a ‘hub’ for the course, with a few others using them in conjunction with Google Classroom. The key aspect is that the teaching explores ways students can share, discuss, and collaborate as a collective, rather than work in total isolation from each other. The growth in this practice is reflected in research that Professor Kwok Wing-Lai conducted.
  • We completed the ‘Deep Support’ project funded through the Ministry of Education Grassroots Initiative. The project involved five NetNZ eDeans who worked together to explore how we can develop our on-site support systems so they actively develop students in the environment (rather than expecting them to come with the necessary skills already). The findings of that project reinforced the importance of the eDean proactively checking in with students to determine progress, and actively helping students develop the strategies to cope in times of challenge. Relationships were highlighted as key. The implications for our schools is that this sort of support is not possible without the appropriate resourcing of time. It is very difficult to support a group of students with varied needs across various courses, with one hour a week. This then limits the sorts of students who have access to the environment, and raises issues of equity. NetNZ would like to acknowledge the hard work of our five eDeans involved - Anne Williams (Ashburton College), Kelvin Robertson (Maniototo Area School), Lynda Walsh Pasco (Roxburgh Area School) Phil Biddlecombe (Hururnui College) and Marina Krijgsman (Rangiora New Life School)
  • Google Hangouts is now firmly embedded as our tool of choice for video conferencing. The ease of access and flexibility of the environment ensures video conferencing remains a relevant and important part of our online courses. It also means access to courses is not restricted by ownership of expensive technology.
  • Teacher development was facilitated through continued engagement with our online staffroom, the provision of video conference workshops and meetings, one to one support from NetNZ staff and teachers and our huis in term four. The huis were a valuable chance for teachers to connect with each other and ensure they are actively involved in future developments.