The New Zealand Centre for Open Education Practice is partnering with Otago Polytechnic to pilot a local version of the ‘Ontario Extend’ Professional Learning suite, before rolling it out nationally and internationally via the OERu.

At December’s inaugural OER Symposium of the New Zealand Centre for Open Education Practice (COEP), Keynote speaker Dr David Porter, then CEO of eCampusOntario and former Executive Director of BCcampus, talked about the ‘Ontario Extend’ programme for professional learning, and how it is enabling educators “to explore a range of emerging technologies and pedagogical practices for effective online and technology-enabled teaching and learning”. The Extend framework has grown out of the work of Simon Bates (2014) and his ‘Anatomy of 21st Century Educators’.

COEP is working in collaboration with Otago Polytechnic to pilot a New Zealand (NZ) version of the Extend suite, which aims to empower educators to deliver effective online learning. Educators can earn digital badges to add to their online CV, e-mail signatures, and/or social media, often by demonstrating skills which they already have.

Our aim is to enable and empower staff to evidence and develop their practice, and to provide leadership in the future-focused aspects of learning and teaching, as we enter a new era in the NZ tertiary sector.

The NZ pilot project began on 3 July with two of the six modules available: ‘Teacher for Learning’ and ‘Experimenter’. Two further modules (‘Technologist’ and ‘Collaborator’) have been developed and are now available, with the remaining two modules (‘Scholar’ and ‘Curator’) currently in development. The pilot will run until late September.

Feedback from our first Extend NZ badge awardee, Graham Philps, speaks for itself:

“I found all the activities in the Teacher for Learning (T4L) module very engaging. For me, they were pitched at a good level; simple in principle and meaty enough to get my teeth into… Based on my experience with the T4L Module, I highly recommend the Extend NZ Programme to anyone who teaches, even if (especially if?) they think they know it. Why? Because the content is simple, but leads to complex thought; the themes are familiar but the scope for self-enquiry huge; the activities are fun but serve the serious purpose of reminding why we do what we do. What’s not to love!

Later this year, we plan to deliver a version of the programme for educators at the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) that is tailored to our context in Aotearoa New Zealand. This project could lead Professional Learning within the new national organisation, and lessons learned from this work may help to enhance practice and influence the provision of staff development for the national network of subsidiary ITPs. Making the Extend NZ programme available across the network could help develop our staff capabilities for the changing world, and ensure a consistently excellent learner experience.

Working in partnership with the OERu international network, we will also extend these professional development opportunities on a global scale to support educators including OERu Outreach Partners in the developing world.

The full programme fits with the OERu’s standard micro-course size, and on completion of all six modules, staff can earn an ‘Empowered Educator’ EduBit micro-credential, carrying four credits.

Contact Claire Goode ( for more details.

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