USC Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanne Scott.
USC Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanne Scott.

Coast uni set to transform how learning is done

HERVEY BAY'S university is about to greatly increase the number of courses it offers, with an online overhaul to its teaching delivery.

The learning transformation will increase the number of available courses at the USC Fraser Coast campus from around 15 to 50, the Chronicle understands.

A small number of courses currently taught at the campus will not be available from next year.

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanne Scott said the changes would not result in academic job losses.

"It is hoped with this new delivery model we will see a lift in student demand for programs which could create further opportunities," she said.

Prof Scott said the changes were part of a wide-ranging revitalisation of the university's approach to learning and teaching and followed positive feedback to this year's shift to online learning in response to COVID-19.

"We found that USC's personalised, interactive approach to learning and teaching works equally well delivered online as it does on-campus," Prof Scott said.

This led USC to review its programs at all campuses, including Fraser Coast, Gympie and Caboolture, where the costs of teaching face-to-face only had limited the ability to offer students a broader range of programs.

"By pivoting our model at our smaller campuses to favour technology-enabled learning, we are able to give students access to many more of USC's degrees," she said.

These include Secondary Education, Arts, Science, Business, Commerce, Creative Industries, Design, Communications, Criminology and Justice, Psychology, Human Services, Sports Studies, Environmental Science and Animal Ecology.

"The online programs will also provide greater study opportunities and flexibility for those who previously have been unable to attend university because of work or family commitments," Prof Scott said.

A small number of programs requiring face-to-face learning for professional accreditation or learning purposes will continue to be taught on campus.

These include Nursing Science, USC's most popular professional program, as well as the University's Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) - a free, six-month program which prepares students for university study.

"And with higher degrees by research still on offer, students will be able to progress from TPP to PhD," Prof Scott said.

The changes will come into place from next year and will not affect current students.

Current students also have the option to study courses online, while accessing face-to-face learning activities on campus.