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Unleash Space pioneering the University’s blended learning potential

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9 August 2021

A Times Higher Education article recently began “Let’s get the elephant in the room addressed up front: times have changed and a return to “normal” is just not on the cards, not truly.  Blended learning – to a greater or lesser extent – is here to stay.” Around the world, universities are grappling with a quantum leap in expectations of how education is delivered. With students used to lectures being recorded, they now expect greater flexibility in how they learn, and when they can enter the workforce. Recently, a student participant in our Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship programmes mentioned that she has taken a full time job, and will continue her full time study workload, watching lectures at high speed in the evenings.

So how is the University of Auckland responding to changing norms?

In order to entice students back to campus, we need to offer more in-person experiences that offer something beyond what can be gleaned from an online recording. Experiences like those delivered at Kura Matahuna (Unleash Space). Unleash Space is the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space, run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) for staff and students of all faculties and interests. Unleash Space recently celebrated its fourth birthday. In four years we have had over four thousand students actively participating in our Unleash Space maker space. We  have had thousands more in the wider Unleash Space working on their start-ups or innovative projects, exploring the UNSDGs, attending hackathons, workshops or inspirational seminars or making use of our co-working space. Not everyone will be an entrepreneur, but everyone should think like one. Unleash Space offers students and staff opportunities for technology enablement, team work, mindset development and to practice a multitude of other hard and soft skills that will serve them well in life, and that cannot be easily obtained online.

Over the years, CIE has evolved from purely extra-curricular offerings, to also supporting staff with blended learning and engaging curricular delivery. This has involved everything from supporting courses in sustainability, the UniBound university preparation programme for Māori and Pacific students, LEGO Serious Play workshops, an early childhood education toy making workshop and a bomb defusal game utilised for an HR course. Through philanthropic support, our Hynds Entrepreneurial Fellows Programme has allowed colleagues across the university the opportunity to experiment with embedding innovation and entrepreneurship in curricular everywhere from pharmacy to law. And now, CIE has been embedded in the redesigned Bachelor of Commerce, so that all BCom students will have an experience at Unleash Space as part of their education.

As we continue to pioneer different learning models, we hope to share our learnings with staff across the University of Auckland. If you feel your students or colleagues would benefit from exploring opportunities to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability, I encourage you to invite them to sign up to our newsletters and explore our website.

Darsel Keane – Director of the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education
University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

social media

9 August 2021

A Times Higher Education article recently began “Let’s get the elephant in the room addressed up front: times have changed and a return to “normal” is just not on the cards, not truly.  Blended learning – to a greater or lesser extent – is here to stay.” Around the world, universities are grappling with a quantum leap in expectations of how education is delivered. With students used to lectures being recorded, they now expect greater flexibility in how they learn, and when they can enter the workforce. Recently, a student participant in our Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship programmes mentioned that she has taken a full time job, and will continue her full time study workload, watching lectures at high speed in the evenings.

So how is the University of Auckland responding to changing norms?

In order to entice students back to campus, we need to offer more in-person experiences that offer something beyond what can be gleaned from an online recording. Experiences like those delivered at Kura Matahuna (Unleash Space). Unleash Space is the University of Auckland’s innovation hub and maker space, run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) for staff and students of all faculties and interests. Unleash Space recently celebrated its fourth birthday. In four years we have had over four thousand students actively participating in our Unleash Space maker space. We  have had thousands more in the wider Unleash Space working on their start-ups or innovative projects, exploring the UNSDGs, attending hackathons, workshops or inspirational seminars or making use of our co-working space. Not everyone will be an entrepreneur, but everyone should think like one. Unleash Space offers students and staff opportunities for technology enablement, team work, mindset development and to practice a multitude of other hard and soft skills that will serve them well in life, and that cannot be easily obtained online.

Over the years, CIE has evolved from purely extra-curricular offerings, to also supporting staff with blended learning and engaging curricular delivery. This has involved everything from supporting courses in sustainability, the UniBound university preparation programme for Māori and Pacific students, LEGO Serious Play workshops, an early childhood education toy making workshop and a bomb defusal game utilised for an HR course. Through philanthropic support, our Hynds Entrepreneurial Fellows Programme has allowed colleagues across the university the opportunity to experiment with embedding innovation and entrepreneurship in curricular everywhere from pharmacy to law. And now, CIE has been embedded in the redesigned Bachelor of Commerce, so that all BCom students will have an experience at Unleash Space as part of their education.

As we continue to pioneer different learning models, we hope to share our learnings with staff across the University of Auckland. If you feel your students or colleagues would benefit from exploring opportunities to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability, I encourage you to invite them to sign up to our newsletters and explore our website.

Darsel Keane – Director of the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship


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