Student news

Date published: 21 January 2010

University partnerships break down barriers of higher education

Two new university providers have been added to the Open Universities Australia (OUA) consortium, taking the number of universities in the group to fourteen.

OUA is Australia's largest online higher education services provider and the addition of The University of Western Australia (UWA), a member from the Group of Eight (Go8) and the University of New England (UNE), a long-standing distance provider will further strengthen the consortium.

OUA has signed Provider Agreements with each university and the new partnerships will increase access to high-quality career-oriented educational postgraduate programs.

CEO of Open Universities Australia, Stuart Hamilton said: "We are proud to welcome both UWA and UNE to the OUA provider family. As we seek to broaden our online influence and educational reach, OUA will provide students around Australia with a wider range of study options to fit various lifestyles and overcome the traditional barriers of university education. OUA extends the same advantage of convenience and flexibility to students from non-traditional pathways. Under-represented groups, including working adults and students in regional areas will be the big winners from these new partnerships. As a result, we'll be helping to meet both State and Federal Government's goals of increasing access to quality education."

The first intake of students is expected to commence in 2010. Through OUA, UNE will offer a Graduate Diploma in Rural Science and a Graduate Certificate in eLearning while UWA will deliver online graduate qualifications in Integrated Human Studies (IHS).

UNE's Chief Development Officer, Chris Patton said: "Our research shows us that, increasingly, there is a need for skills in sustainable activities including management, legal governance, and policy development in areas such as land, water, soil, and environmental management. The increase in the acceptability of online learning as an established learning medium suitable for a dynamic economy and the related need for professional skills development to build these learning experiences will drive a growth in enrolments in these areas."

Mr. Patton praised OUA for its recognition of this opportunity and cited the partnership with OUA as an additional opportunity for more students to hear about - and join - UNE's vibrant community of distance learners. "Partnering with OUA is a good opportunity for UNE to expand our national reach beyond our traditional markets, and we look forward to additional developments with OUA over time," he said.

UWA's Professor Neville Bruce, director of the Centre responsible for developing the IHS programs has welcomed this initiative. He believes that partnering with OUA provides great opportunities for UWA to engage further with the online educational community. In particular, he welcomes the chance to bring the Centre of Integrated Human Studies' programs to students nationally and internationally. IHS is about the very nature and future of humankind.

Professor Bruce said: "The 21st Century will present some of the greatest opportunities and challenges ever faced by humankind. It promises to be one of massive transition in technology, social structures, human wellbeing, values, and our world ecosystem. How we meet these challenges within our occupations, personal and public lives will be crucial, not just to ourselves but to world futures. Professor Bruce looks forward to working with OUA not just to provide courses but to develolop an international networked community of IHS students, graduates, and practitioners in this crucially important area."

Mr. Hamilton said, "Constant developments in technologies such as digital communication and social networking have also had profound implications for educators. The services shaped by information and communication technology have offered endless possibilities and have fundamentally changed education.

Both of the partnerships with The University of Western Australia and the University of New England are an additional step in helping students in Australia with educational programs that can enhance their professional development. With our mission to build individual futures, we're dedicated in delivering outstanding education to produce the best student outcomes."

About Open Universities Australia

Open Universities Australia (OUA) is the largest online education services provider in Australia, and over 120, 000 students have studied through OUA since its establishment in 1993. Currently, OUA provides access to 1000 units and 90 qualifications by 18 leading tertiary education providers in Arts & Humanities, Business, Education, Health, Law & Justice, Information Technology, and Science & Engineering.

About The University of Western Australia

The University of Western Australia is one of Australia's leading universities and has an international reputation for excellence in teaching, learning and research. A dynamic and progressive university, UWA is a member of the prestigious Group of Eight partnership of leading Australian universities and offers a diverse range of courses.

About University of New England

Located in Armidale, NSW, the University of New England (UNE) was the first Australian university built outside a capital city. The University has developed a reputation as one of Australia's great teaching, training, and research universities, and has seen the graduation of more than 75,000 students since its foundation in the 1930s. UNE was a pioneer of distance education, offering its first distance qualifications as early as 1955. Now with more than 17,000 students, it maintains its status as a leading provider of distance education by delivering degree programs at a distance to more than 70% of its entire student base.