UNE Open takes online courseware to a new level

Published 19 February 2013

The University of New England is continuing its pioneering distance education spirit with a new open courseware offering announced today.

Vice-Chancellor Jim Barber announced that from Trimester two, UNE will begin offering alternative pathways for students to complete their studies, which will include a number of open courseware offerings that will drive down the cost to students.

“Technology is dramatically changing the way people learn and engage with information and this is evident in the explosion and take-up of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, around the world,” Professor Barber said.

“People are looking for more flexible options; they want to be able to cherry pick from the academic services on offer, study at their own pace and tailor their programs to meet their personal or professional needs.

“From July 2013, through a new platform called UNE Open, UNE will give students that option when we begin offering a range of postgraduate and undergraduate units through open courseware. But they will be MOOCs with a difference.

“UNE Open will offer a range of fee-for-service products alongside the open courseware, including tutorial support, examinations and, ultimately, students may choose to have their learning recognised for credit into a UNE degree.

“Importantly, this initiative will open a number of UNE’s well-recognised units from a range of schools to new international markets at a fraction of the current cost, while also allowing undecided students to test the water in their chosen field of study.

“We are trialling a number of units in the first phase that provide students with a selection of post- and undergraduate units from the business school, school of law, computer science and social sciences,” Professor Barber said.

“In the coming months, we will test the market for its preferred units through our website and social media sites.

“Ultimately, we believe many of the subscribers to the new open courseware, will want to take their learning further so we will extend advanced standing to those students who have successfully completed our open courseware units.”

UNE has evolved from being a pioneer in distance education in Australia in the 1950’s to be an online education leader today.

“Moving to open courseware is a logical step in our strategy to offer students the best on-campus and distance education experiences, and with our extensive experience and expertise in providing distance education we are well placed to make this new initiative a success,” Professor Barber said.