Student news

Date published: 20 December 2012

Date: 19 December 2012
Publication: The Weekly Times
Original article: Open to thousands more
Writer: Jeanette Hill

Open Universities Australia has more than 60,000 students studying online, and more than half of them are aged 18-29. One hundred and seventy courses and 1400 units are available. Between 2008 and 2011 enrolments have jumped by 30 per cent. OUA delivers a variety of courses through other tertiary institutions. Universities involved include Monash, RMIT Macquarie. Griffith and Curtin, and TAFE institutes such as Sydney Institute and TAFE South Australia. The proportion of female to male students is 64 per cent to 36 per cent. Most current OUA students live on the east coast and, while 72 per cent come from major cities, growth in regional areas is strong. The majority study undergraduate degrees, but postgraduate enrolments are increasing yearly. Bridging and vocational courses are also available. The most popular areas of study include primary education. criminology, communications, accounting. business management and information technology. Law, science and health are also on offer. Most undergraduate first-level units have no entry requirements, so they are available to anyone. Many students denied entry to on-campus courses complete degrees through OUA. The broad range of courses and levels of study means students can gain recognised qualifications for careers or simply pursue their interests. Support services include direct access to lecturers, 24/7 online tutorial support, online readiness tools, units that teach students how to learn online or prepare for academic writing, and expert advice from student advisers over the phone and by live chat. OUA students communicate with each other through a network of student communities including wikis, discussion forums and study groups, and social media.

Date: 20 December 2012
Publication: The Daily Telegraph
Original article: Students embrace online uni
Writer: Ben Pike

ONLINE learning is revolutionising tertiary study to the point where students can set their own timetables instead of having to fit their lives around university.

Government figures show that between 2010 and 2011 online learning — or a blend of online and on-campus study — grew at a rate nine times as fast as exclusive on-campus study. For students starting their studies that figure is even higher, with a 17.8 per cent increase in online or multi-modal students compared to a 0.4 per cent growth in students studying on campus. Eighty-four per cent of tertiary students still study on campus, but many education experts believe that figure will drop as more learning opportunities migrate online.

Open Universities Australia CEO Paul Wappett said the beauty of online learning was that students could complete units anywhere, anytime. "Travelling to and from university can be difficult and costly, but online study with OUA, for example, brings over 20 of Australia's leading universities and TAFEs to you no matter where you live," he said. "OUA provides a range of student support services, including direct access to lecturers, 24/7 online tutorial support, online readiness tools, preparatory units that teach students how to learn online or get ready for academic writing, as well as expert advice from student advisers over the phone and via live chat." Of the 170 courses that OUA offers, Mr Wappett said primary education, criminology, communications, accounting, business management and information technology are the most popular.

Interestingly, OUA appears to be appealing a lot more to women than to men — 64 per cent of OUA students are female compared with 56 per cent across all tertiary students. But it is not just the online universities involved, with bricks and mortar universities increasingly offering flexible learning options. Charles Sturt University, for example, has a Remote Learning Support Team that helps students in remote areas access study materials, Skype videoconferencing with staff and other services. All subject modules at the university are available online.