by Darren Sudlow

Ashburton College: A Principal's perspective

Ashburton College principal Ross Preece, explains the positive differences he encounters using NetNZ as opposed to other distance learning models.

This is my 3rd position as a Principal. At my two previous schools we were using Te Kura as the provider of our distance learning. Under NetNZ our students have regular timetabled weekly classes with a subject specialist plus students can contact their teacher via email. The fact that the students are supported by a subject expert makes a significant difference to students ability to understand and to their achievement. They also maintain regular face to face contact with this teacher and also their ‘classmates’. The NetNZ system seems more engaging for students, whereas success with Te Kura seemed reliant on either the student being totally self motivated (unlikely) or having an effective person in place to monitor/ support/ jolly along the students so that they knew when their assignments were due and they got the support if needed.

The menu of offerings from NetNZ seems comprehensive and our students are encouraged to apply to do a course as part of their subject selection process. The students selected to do NetNZ are there because they have an interest in the subject plus we believe they have the self discipline to complete the course. They haven't been put into a course because we had nothing in our course offerings that were of interest to them.

We are fortunate to have the number of students enrolled in NetNZ that would justify an eDean position. However, this aside, the level of course completion and achievement by students enrolled with NetNZ reassures me that this system meets the needs of our kura. I am happy to recommend it as a viable alternative to other distance learning models.