Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
Universities must compete in an increasingly difficult global market place. In order to successfully do so they must identify and profile market segments in order to achieve a unique selling position. Partnering may provide only part of the solution. The Cisco Network Academy Program (CNAP) is the world‘s largest network curriculum developed at an initial cost of US$75 million. There are advantages to becoming a Cisco academy such as access to on-line curriculum and low cost equipment. However, with over 10,000 Cisco academies world wide it is difficult to achieve a marketing advantage. Cisco provides low cost equipment but academies are responsible for laboratory design. Accordingly, a state-wide, national and international analysis was conducted of Cisco academy laboratories and hence two new laboratories designed and commissioned. These laboratories have been independently recognized to be of international standing. Significantly, other laboratories investigated were better equipped. Secondly the Cisco curriculum was analysed and found to lack a coherent and uniform pedagogical framework. A new diagrammatic model, State Model Diagrams (SMDs), was therefore designed. Curriculum based on SMDs was implemented and evaluated. Extensive evaluations of students taught using SMDs clearly resulted in better learning outcomes that those achieved by the standard Cisco curriculum. Furthermore, as a diagrammatic technique SMDs are substantially language independent – confirmed by a detailed analysis of overseas students taught using SMDs. By invitation, this research was presented to Cisco educational experts at the annual Cisco Asia/Pacific conference. The feedback was excellent. The initial trials of curriculum based on SMDs are now being extended internationally. All research to date (eleven publications), and feedback from Cisco Asia/Pacific strongly indicates that SMDs has the potential to be used as the pedagogical basis of the CNAP curriculum and hence affect the learning experience of over 500,000 students in more than 10,000 academies.