The UTS Model of learning is a framework for practice-oriented learning and teaching at UTS. It guides how we design curriculum at UTS and links to the development of graduate attributes — essentially, what we want our students to become.
The UTS Model of Learning has three distinctive features, or themes, that are interrelated in our students' practice-oriented learning experience:
1. Integrated exposure to professional practice — through dynamic and multifaceted modes of practice-oriented education
Practice-oriented education is more than just preparing students to secure a job on graduation. At UTS, we prepare students to work long-term in a dynamic and changing professional environment. Students gain exposure to professional practice throughout their degree through experiences such as:
- internships and practicums;
- field trips and visits, be it real and virtual;
- simulations and role plays: high to low fidelity, face-to-face or online;
- problem-based, issues-based or practice case-based approaches to learning in subjects;
- cutting-edge technologies in practice-based scenarios;
- recognition of work-based learning, where university learning offers recognition and intellectual extension of learning in practice;
- student-created media resources that illustrate aspects of practice, including podcasts and vodcasts and
- guest lectures, vodcasts or podcasts from professional practitioners
2. Professional practice in a global workplace — with a focus on international mobility and international and cultural engagement
Graduates live and work in a culturally diverse and internationalised world. Many will work with groups in which cross-cultural communication and cultural safety will be important, they may work in organisations where international travel and global interaction is standard. UTS itself is home to students from more than 130 different language backgrounds, as well as a culturally diverse staff.
The development of international and intercultural capabilities will be critical for our graduates' future as professionals and citizens, and we are committed to ensuring they build these capabilities. Students can build these capabilities through opportunities such as:
- The International Studies program, where students build intercultural awareness as they learn language and study abroad
- A Diploma of Languages, where students can learn a language and culture concurrently with their degree, broadening the opportunities of their professional degree
- The UTS BUiLD program and a range of other cultural engagement opportunities for students to develop their leadership potential through global opportunities inside and outside of the curriculum
- Exchange programs, enabling students to live abroad for one to two sessions
Although some disciplines vary more than others across cultures and there will be variation in approaches to international and intercultural engagement, all students develop the capability to work in culturally diverse environments.
3. Research-inspired and integrated learning – providing academic rigour with cutting-edge technology to equip graduates for lifelong learning
Research-inspired learning connects learning and teaching with research and inquiry. Active engagement with research methods and outcomes can provide students with the critical thinking, enquiry, creative and analytical capabilities that will help our students to become lifelong learners in a continually transforming world.
How can we engage students in research-inspired learning?
Healey and Jenkins (2009) distinguish four ways of involving students with research. Students should:
- Learn about research that is currently occurring in the discipline
- Engage in active discussion and critique of research
- Learn disciplinary research skills
- Actively undertake research and inquiry
Involving students as recipients of research ensures that what they learn is academically rigorous and reflects the current state of knowledge in the discipline. Teachers who develop inquiry-led methods can inspire students with their enthusiasm, model ways in which knowledge is generated and show students the diverse range of research that is happening in their university.
Examples of research-inspired learning at UTS:
- First-year Science students gain insights into scientific research and improve their written communication skills by listening to trigger lectures and podcasts of interviews with scientists. They are then tasked to creating a written response. The responses include the purpose of the research, the main themes, how evidence is used and how the research is valuable to them and to society. Students are given clear assessment criteria and preparation for their use, with positive results.
- Marketing students undertake an advanced marketing research project for a real client. The project requires that student teams interacting with different cultural groups in different languages to collect information, using qualitative and quantitative research skills and data analysis technologies. The client provides feedback at different stages of the project, selecting the best student options at the end of the project pitch.