DEANZ Award 2014

Previous Award Winners*

*Previously referred to as DEANZ Awards

DEANZ Award 2014

The 2014 Distance Education Association of New Zealand (DEANZ) Award was made at the organisation’s biennial conference in Christchurch.

DEANZ Winner: Michael Fenton
DEANZ Winner: Michael Fenton

This year’s winner is Michael Fenton, a tutor in the School of Science and Technology at The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand for his work on professional development to enhance science education and engage children’s interest in science.


DEANZ Merit: Matthew Smart
DEANZ Merit: Matthew Smart

A merit award was made to Matthew Smart from the University of Otago for his work in developing mobile resources for students providing anytime, anywhere access to course material.



This year’s entries with judges comments are listed below:

Jacqui Land, Papanui High School

Project Name: Digital citizenship

The focus of this project was the development of an online Digital citizenship course that could be delivered to students to help them to survive and thrive in a Digital World. The course contains a series of modules that covers things such as cyber-bullying, cyber-safety, on-line relationships, digital footprint, research skills, plagiarism and copyright.

The judging panel considered this a very important area for development given the level of use of digital technologies by young people today.The programme development was soundly based on previous work in the digital citizenship area and the implementation was conducted carefully and evaluated well.This project furthers our knowledge on best practice for an important topic which is very relevant to student’s successful and safe engagement with the digital world.

Maria Persson, University of Waikato

Project name: Digital Resources & eLearning Curation Spaces – Supporting Pedagogical Practice

The Edlinked Curation Learning Space was born out of a need to ensure that staff have a place that they could refer back to, after a professional development learning session and as a place for self-help and future collaborative learning once the project was officially complete. This ‘curation’ space needed to be online, in an elearning environment (web based), to provide flexibility, privacy and safety to participants of the project so that they could continue to learn at their own pace, place and time.

The judging panel considered this an excellent idea to support the professional development of tertiary teachers, and the goal of developing on-gong collegial support through the project was particularly valuable.Use of ISTE standards as a basis for the PD process provided a useful foundation for the work.Maria’s project has created a highly effective space for practitioners to engage further in on-going professional development opportunities.

Matthew Smart, University of Otago – MERIT

Project name: Mobile resources for students: Anytime, anywhere access to course material

This project supported anytime engagement with digital course material by working professionals engaged in study. The aim or the project was to more fully engage distance learners by providing multi- media rich material which, after downloading to a smartphone or tablet, could be accessed any time they wished, as often as they wished. The goal was to allow students to have media-rich material that they could easily use in those short down-time intervals they all experience as working professionals.The use of mobile technologies matched the resources of learners with the capability of the institutionThe focus on achieving scalable transfer of the project was important.

The judging panel thought this was an excellent description of a very innovative project that will be of real interest to many practitioners.

Michael Fenton, The Open Polytech – WINNER

Project Name: Professional development to enhance science education and engage children’s interest in science.

This project involved the development of an on-line qualification with access restricted to enrolled students.The applicant provided a full, clear and pedagogically sound documentation of the programme development, providing a clear demonstration of how to create a successful and innovative course that engages teachers and students with high levels of interaction. The programme design clearly encouraged engagement by participants in the widest sense, and is highly relevant to the very topical issue of the need for improving the teaching of Science in our schools.

The evaluation (both internal and external) was integral to the programme.

Ken Pullar, Roxburgh Area Achool

Project Name: OtagoNet (2002-2013)

This application provided a useful historical overview of the successful OtagoNet project, a collaborative community of Otago rural secondary and area schools, established in 2001 to take advantage of first generation broadband opportunities as a means of overcoming rural isolation and difficulties associated with small school size.

There was clear evidence of well-structured research and involvement with external research agencies and evidence of the development of a collaborative culture between schools involved in the project.

Ken’s long- time contribution to developing highly effective and useful collaborative teaching community has had a major successful influence on engaging learners in the wider Otago region. It is a testament to his work that the

OtagoNet model has been replicated in most rural regions of NZ.

Rachel Roberts, VLN Primary

Project name: Virtual Learning Network Primary School

The Virtual Learning Network Primary School (VLNP) is a collaborative community of primary schools throughout New Zealand working together to provide improved educational opportunities for students through online learning.

This project provides an excellent example of how to establish a collaborative community that creates many on-going benefits for teachers and learners.High level of engagement with schools and teachers was seen as integral to the project.

Good range of digital resources used – matching recent developments in technology use.Clear evidence from the evaluations provided highlight the value of the work done by the VLNP for the learners in the primary schools involved.

The panel of judges for this year’s award offer their congratulations to all of the entries submitted. Each provides a unique perspective on the theme of open, flexible and distance education, demonstrating the widespread adoption of OFDL methodologies within the education sector.