Distance and blended learning emerge as a post-COVID tertiary model as restrictions ease and universities stick to remote courses


But unlike La Trobe, Melbourne does not cite COVID-19 as a reason to stick to remote learning in some classes.

“Our approach to teaching and learning looks to the future rather than reverting to pre-pandemic arrangements, providing on-campus and face-to-face learning enhanced by the best use of technology,” said said the dean of the University of Melbourne, Professor Nicola Phillips. .

Teaching in small and medium groups will take place on campus during the first semester, but Professor Phillips said that while some large group lectures were planned to return to campus, “the university’s educational strategy for some number of years has been to gradually reduce the number of lectures in the curriculum”.

The pandemic forced universities to teach remotely, but also accelerated the shift to more online learning that was happening anyway.

Swinburne University had begun a transition to ‘blended learning’ – i.e. in-person and online – before the onset of the pandemic and has no plans to return to the modes of traditional teaching.

“The 2022 Swinburne Calendar continues an aspect of our 2021 COVID response, where lectures have been replaced by alternative online approaches,” a spokesperson said, adding, “Lectures will only be used where course design as deemed appropriate. delivery learning format.”


Victoria University is preparing to go even further in its course reduction.

At the end of April, it will open its new vertical CBD campus on Queen Street. The 32-story tower will contain no amphitheaters.

Classrooms would have room for a maximum of 36 people, Vice Chancellor Adam Shoemaker said.

He said the smaller class sizes benefited students from non-English speaking backgrounds or who were the first in their families to attend university.

“Just think west of Melbourne – that’s about the size of Adelaide in population, and over 120 countries. It’s the perfect model for that.

Julie Kimber, a senior lecturer at Swinburne’s School of Social Sciences, Media, Film and Education, was skeptical of the supposed benefits for students of moving away from large-scale lectures, arguing it was cheaper and more convenient for universities.

“A good conference can’t be beat – it captures the energy and emotion of large groups, there’s a passion that you can’t translate into two-dimensional form,” Dr. Kimber said. “Students are incredibly missed.”

Asker Hohwy Barclay, an arts student at the University of Melbourne, says he “feels deprived of a lot of my college experience”. Credit:Joe Armao

Asker Hohwy Barclay, a third-year arts student at the University of Melbourne, is aiming for a full on-campus education this semester.

He postponed his studies last year because he had become so demoralized from nearly two years of impersonal distance learning in his bedroom.

“To put it bluntly, I feel like a lot of my college experience was stolen from me,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do about a global pandemic, but…if I wanted to take an online course, I would have gone to open universities,” he said.

“I want to gain college experience that has been touted for so long.”

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