A Conversation with Patrick Dodd at Unitec Institute of Technology

  • Patrick Dodd-1

    Patrick Dodd

    Professor, Unitec Institute of Technology

Visit Patrick’s profile here to learn more about the courses he teaches. 

Hi Patrick! What's the elevator pitch for the client work you're doing in your classroom, from the perspective of your clients, as well as the students in your class?

From the client perspective, our student teams will work with their marketing department to develop an inbound marketing strategy and campaign that will increase brand awareness and lead acquisition by ensuring that the clients are getting the right message to the right person at the right time regardless of where they are in the buyer’s journey. The client’s marketing team will be consulted at every stage of the process so that they will be up to speed and able to activate the inbound marketing campaign when ready. All at no cost to their business. 

As a student in the Inbound Marketing class, you have the opportunity to obtain industry certification in Inbound Marketing and certification for the leading marketing automation platform. You will also have the opportunity to put theory into practice by working with a real business to develop an inbound marketing strategy and campaign. 

What are some of the assumptions that you had to blow out of the water when you made your first foray into applied learning? What was the hardest part to overcome?

I came from industry when I joined the School of Applied Business at Unitec Institute of Technology to develop their Digital Marketing programme. Applied learning is embedded in everything that we do at Unitec. It’s all that I know. That said, I understand that moving to an applied learning environment can be a bit daunting if you’ve not done it before. 

Be flexible - the same assessment using different businesses can result in very different experiences.  Prepare your students - most will not have experienced applied learning and authentic assessments before. Believe that your students will take responsibility for their own learning if you give them the chance. Know that applied learning will help students develop a greater understanding of class material and complex concepts, and increase problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. Employers routinely feedback that our students are more work-ready when they graduate than those graduates that come from traditional learning environments. 

What are some of the items that your students have been able to show after having been in your class? Any success stories?

This year we’ve had two students hired by Hype and Dexter, New Zealand’s first Hubspot Diamond Agency. Additionally, two of the companies with which we worked, Bask Outdoor Living Systems and Peer Assess Pro, are going to be activating the Inbound Marketing campaigns that our student teams developed. 

The following are the two presentations that were made to the respective companies:

It can be really difficult to measure the success of experiential learning and assess (or grade).  What metrics do you use to determine the success of a student?

We have several assessments in our Inbound Marketing class - two Hubspot Certification exams and one big experiential group project, which is to develop an Inbound Marketing strategy and campaign. The group project has a number of deliverables from buyer persona development, buyer journey, content mapping, and planning, etc, through to developing workflows, content briefs, blog posts, landing pages, etc. Each deliverable is assessed against a pre-defined marking rubric. Once the group score is determined, the students peer-assess each other using Peer Assess Pro, which then calculates an individual score based on the group score and their peer’s assessment of their contribution to the group work.  

I am more than happy to share this assessment with anyone who is interested, just send me an email - pdodd@unitec.ac.nz

Are there any new developments in experiential learning that you are excited about? 

I think the trend to make experiential learning as authentic as possible is really exciting. Any time you can have students working on actual projects for actual businesses good things are going to happen. Students are much more engaged, which results in deeper learning. After being exposed to experiential learning, students are more job-ready and can effectively demonstrate that in an interview process. 

What else do you think is important we know? 

Based on the feedback that we have received from students and the businesses that we work with, our Inbound Marketing course is truly amazing. The quality and success of this course are due to the support that we have received from Hubspot and local Hubspot partners. Specifically, I would like to acknowledge Boyd Wason from Engaging Partners