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september 4, 2000
photo here My housing for my visit here at UNITEC is in Oak Hall, primarily housing for students, and it operates as a hostel. while not fancy (who needs a 4 star resort anyhow), it provides a place to sleep, and is conveniently located on campus.

I see a number of similarities between UNITEC and Maricopa. UNITEC is a leading educational provider in New Zealand, with programs in the occupational areas, for example, the country's only program in boat building, but they also offer full undergraduate degrees as well as masters programs as well in disciplines under Business, Technology, Health, Arts and Sciences, Architecture and Design, etc.

The UNITEC campus is quite large, as big or bigger than any of our Maricopa college campuses. It is spread over some 60 hectares (I am told, whatever a hectare is?) of gently rolling green hills and valleys near Mount Albert. The campus has grown much in the last 20 to 30 years, starting from a cluster of classroom buildings and eventually taking over the property of a psychiatric hospital. In fact, my lodging now was originally housing for nurses. The School of Architecture and Design resides in the former mental wards.

photo here But quite a lot of the campus is much newer, such as the glass and steel Student Learning Complex, which houses the unit I am visiting, Learning Technologies. This building houses student areas such as tutoring centers, drop-in computer labs, cafeterias, large lecture auditoriums, the Library, to name a few. The facilities all feel light and inviting.

today's photos
- all photos   o o o o

o o UNITEC campus

The Learning Technologies unit that Richard directs is in many ways similar to our center, the MCLI at Maricopa; here they support faculty use of technology as well as operate oversee several drop-in student computer laboratories. The unit also works with faculty on web course development, and there is significant use here of Blackboard via their online course site

In the morning I get to meet many of the staff here as well as sit in on an upper management briefing meeting with the college Vice President. Everyone here is more than cordial, they all seem able to conduct business as well as share a laugh. And they take regular social "tea" breaks mid morning and mid afternoon in a nearby staff cafeteria.

photo here I am provided a nice quiet corner to work in along with the necessary network connection where I can "plug in". And wisely, my colleagues here heavily favor Macs! During the afternoon, I spend some time with Mark, one of the web developers here, as he shows me some of their database-driven web sites, which are very effective at creating customized content where faculty or staff can easily update the sites via web browser tools.

Lastly plans are made for the scheduled events for later in the week, when I will get to participate in some workshops and development meetings. I look forward to the interaction with people in those sessions, and I am very fortunate and appreciative for having UNITEC as my kickoff visit to New Zealand.

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