Open Learning Australia
Established in 1993 as Open Learning Australia, OUA has remained at the forefront of higher education throughout its history, identifying, developing and delivering new and innovative learning opportunities to students from all walks of life.
Open Universities Australia is no stranger to the idea of leveraging technology to deliver education and training in unusual ways. In fact, OUA was using a web-style educational model before the advent of the web.
Open Universities Australia was originally established in 1993 as Open Learning Australia to provide distance education using printed courseware and non commercial television. OUA and its university providers continue to enjoy the benefits that come from this pioneering open learning legacy.
A history of educational innovation
Open Universities Australia was formed as the Open Learning Agency of Australia Pty Ltd (OLAA or OLA) in late 1993 as a private company. Originally owned by Monash University, OLA was charged with the goal of identifying, developing and delivering new and innovative learning and tertiary educational opportunities to all Australians.
To ensure equal access for students across Australia's broadly distributed population centres and regional areas, OLA, Monash University and eight other universities joined forces with the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
Federal Government funding provided the initial financial boost to OLA, and allowed it to develop the innovative culture which remains integral to the culture of today's Open Universities Australia. Together with its foundation universities - Monash University, The Australian National University, Curtin University of Technology, Griffith University, Macquarie University, the University of Queensland, RMIT University and the University of South Australia, OLA took advantage of the growing popularity and availability of broadcast media to pioneer distance and remote education using radio and the relatively new media format of television.
In 2003 the OLA Board reviewed the strategic directions laid down in 1999 and set ambitious targets for continuing growth of the existing operations and the diversification of OLA into other education and training markets.
In 2004, OLA changed its name to Open Universities Australia (OUA) in order to keep up to speed with the changing demands and expectation of its online students.
The same year, OUA students gained access to the new FEE-HELP scheme. FEE-HELP provides eligible students with deferred payment options for undergraduate and postgraduate unit and courses, to ensure that all students are able to pursue their educational goals. FEE-HELP remains a popular option with OUA students.
OUA has continued to pioneer new options and offerings for students. Our range of courses and units has increased significantly, particularly at the postgraduate level. While most courses are provided by our shareholders, the number of other providers providing courses and units is growing. A number of value-added services have been developed to assist students in the pursuit of their goals - ranging from 'quick skills' modules, assignment preparation and career advice through to crisis support counselling and exam supervision.
To ensure that OUA remains the leader in online learning and continues to build on its Open Learning Australia legacy, our Centre for Online Learning Excellence (COLE) has recently been developed to provide ongoing support to OUA and universities in developing online content and teaching.