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Collaboration the key to learning design partnership with Auckland Online

03 March, 2021

In 2019, OES was contracted to provide learning design services for the first tranche of courses to establish Auckland Online, the premium online arm of the University of Auckland. OES was selected as learning design partner through a competitive tender process and, following the successful launch, continues to support the growth of Auckland Online.

Our client

Ranked 81st in the QS World Rankings (2021), the University of Auckland is New Zealand’s flagship, research-led university. For the launch of Auckland Online – “a new way for students to study at the University of Auckland” – it was essential to uphold the university’s reputation for world-class learning.

The challenge

Course quality and speed to market were key criteria in Auckland Online’s search for a learning design partner. Thanks to a large team and a proven collaborative process, OES was able to offer efficient learning design expertise without compromising the academic integrity and quality of the overall program.

“Partnering with our best practice, highly experienced team means your learning design is in safe hands. By demonstrating both capacity and quality, OES won the competitive tender process,” said Aliki Christou, Product Manager of OES Learning Design & Development.

Work began immediately to commence designing and developing the university’s first set of online postgraduate qualifications, as well as supporting tools that empowered students to engage with the online learning environment.

Following the successful launch, the partnership continues to strengthen as Auckland Online scales its program offering.

The approach

OES gained a thorough understanding of Auckland Online’s learning and business objectives before tailoring a solution. A key benefit of partnering with OES is its service offering, which includes a dedicated Product Manager overseeing the entire relationship.

As Auckland Online’s portfolio growth continues, Aliki Christou oversees a core team of learning designers who work closely with academics to tailor content for each qualification. The learning designers are supported by multimedia specialists and editorial specialists to transform course content into engaging online learning experiences.

“As Product Manager for Auckland Online, I am involved across the entire portfolio, liaising with the Auckland Online Portfolio Manager and all academic staff,” Aliki explained. “We follow a staged co-design process that has been tested and refined during a decade of partnerships with universities, helping us to engage effectively and efficiently with all staff.”

For each course, a blueprint workshop is crucial in determining the approach for assessments and feedback. OES repurposes existing learning materials wherever possible, adapting the form and content for the online environment. Academic staff retain oversight throughout the course design, including any videos, interactives and podcasts that are required.

For the Master of Educational Leadership, our learning designers collaborated with lecturer and industry professional Fiona McGrath from the Faculty of Education and Social Science. Her feedback demonstrates OES’ commitment to respectfully translate academic expertise into engaging online experiences: “It has definitely been a pleasure working with you as you all spun your magic to provide a better interactive, exciting online course, while maintaining the integrity of my words, thoughts, feelings, and expressions.”


As well as delivering quality at scale in time for launch, OES continues to be Auckland Online’s trusted partner for learning design services.

“The initial design partnership created a set of courses that typifies the essence of Auckland Online as it grows. Our can-do attitude and willingness to share knowledge was also valued, helping to upskill staff in terms of online best practice,” said Aliki.

As this successful partnership continues, a number of new learning solutions are in development, ranging from full online qualifications to micro-credentials to ‘mini projects’ such as videos and infographics that support the student experience.

Find out more about how OES tailors Customised Education Solutions to meet the diverse needs of our clients.