To help the Canberra community bounce back from the tumultuous start to the year, the University of Canberra has opened applications for short online courses as part of the Federal Government’s Higher Education Relief Package, which are discounted by up to 60 per cent of the usual cost.
Professor Geoffrey Crisp, the University of Canberra’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, said the move to offering short online Graduate Certificate courses is a golden opportunity for students and the university.
“It’s an opportunity for people who may have reduced hours of work, or who may be out of work due to COVID-19, to upskill,” he said. “Students can further their study in their own academic field or use these short courses to transition into another field of study.
“It’s also an opportunity for us, as a university, to put more courses online and change the way we teach.”
The short courses in health, information technology and foreign language teaching will be delivered completely online and incorporate experiential learning that the university is known for, providing practical experience in online work environments and simulations.
Professor Crisp said UC staff moved quickly to adapt their own work practices under COVID-19 restrictions, and worked very hard to ensure the online courses will be engaging.
“We use a learning management system which uses multimedia, virtual classrooms, chat rooms, and video conferencing and video,” he said. “Our academic staff have been brilliant in the transition to the online learning environment to ensure it’s really engaging content for students.
“It’s a great way to improve your qualifications, or transition into a new field of study while you have some time on your hands.”
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan announced the short-course initiative in April with $7 million in funding to subsidise 1015 places for Australian students to study in areas identified by the Council of Australian Governments, including information technology, health sciences and languages.
“Students can enrol in these short online courses and graduate with a recognised qualification and new skills,” said Mr Tehan. “These short courses will support Australians who have lost their jobs or are looking to retrain in national priority areas.”
Professor Crisp said it usually takes one to two years to get a course up online, but UC staff had ensured that within two to three weeks the courses were student ready. Predominantly a campus-based face-to-face teaching university, the institution will receive lower income for these particular courses, but, he said, it is a community-minded thing to do.
“All universities are doing this,” he said. “It’s a good and a right thing to do for our communities.”
Professor Crisp sees the move to online learning as an opportunity to put further courses online, and the current COVID-19 restrictions as an opportunity to review work and teaching practices to ensure the optimum experience for students.
“Staff are now experienced in the online teaching environment and we see the way forward for the University of Canberra as a blended mode of face-to-face campus-based learning and online interaction,” he said.
You can find further information about the University of Canberra‘s online short courses on its website. There is the option to begin studies in June or August.