How OUA is helping universities respond to new forms of learning
A year on from the introduction of the Government’s Higher Education Relief Package (HERP) initiative, OUA is seeing Universities and students continue to ride the wave of shorter form learning, and the sector innovating to secure this demand.
With thousands of students embracing the HERP offering last year; the introduction and rising popularity of short courses and microcredentials, and the formal classification of AQF Undergraduate and Postgraduate Certificates as part of the Government’s Job Ready Graduates program (JRG), the OUA marketplace has adapted to help Australian universities support the evolving needs of students throughout their lifelong learning journeys.
Short and sweet
In 2020, OUA introduced an array of initiatives to support the evolving short course offering, including waiving fees for existing university partners wanting to list HERP courses on the marketplace and an expansion of the Rapid Development Fund to include a joint initiative with OpenLearning – the Open Microcredential Development Grant – to provide funding, technical and design support for universities wanting to bring microcredentials to market quickly.
The rapid response from University Partners to bring newer, shorter forms of learning to market and the adoption of students to this style of learning has yielded reassuring results.
Since the inception of the Federal Government’s HERP initiative, and subsequent Job Ready Graduates certification, OUA has seen:
- 56 Undergraduate and Postgraduate Certificates offered via OUA by 9 Universities as part of the HERP initiative
- 1,400+ students enrolled in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Certificates through OUA Partner Universities
- 87% completion rate of students undertaking Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses as part of the HERP initiative
- 24 programs live via OUA as part of the AQF accredited Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates introduced by the Federal Government in October 2020
- 4 university partners participating in OUA’s short course listing experiment, with a second wave of the pilot taking place from June to further refine the offering in market
Attracting a different type of student
Not only has the expansion of the shorter format market enabled Universities to support a greater volume of students starting their higher education journeys but it has also created new opportunities. The expansion of OUA’s marketplace and Rapid Development Fund, where universities can access funding to support the development of online programs, has assisted those wanting to test new formats of learning in bringing them to market more rapidly than before.
Demonstrating a willingness to meet students where they are, University of Tasmania (UTAS) were early adopters for both the HERP initiative and more recently, bringing 12 Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates as part of the Job Ready Graduates program to the marketplace within a month of the Federal Government’s announcement.
University of Tasmania, whose traditional cohort is considered ‘on island’, partnered with OUA in mid-2018 to capitalise on the reach of OUA’s marketplace and the ability to deliver leads. They did this with an acute focus on how OUA could help attract a greater volume of mainland students to some of their more unique, place-based courses like Bachelor of Global Logistics and Maritime Management.
Based on the success of the initial Lead Referral program, UTAS capitalised on OUA’s full service offering in late 2019 to support with deepening student engagement and enrolment services for their growing mainland cohort.
“What started as Lead Referral in 2018 to support UTAS in generating leads from students off island, quickly turned to Full Service 18 months later after we realised that partnering with OUA enabled us to identify and connect with new and varied students, who otherwise we’d never have reached,” says The University of Tasmania Academic Executive Director, Mitch Parsell.
“Not only did our transition to Full Service enable us to effectively prioritise our digital transformation but, throw in the advent of COVID and the impact on students (both domestic and international), we’ve been really grateful to have other avenues to reach a changing student market,” Parsell adds.