The University of New England will today unveil the future of flexible tertiary education with the opening of its first Future Campus in Western Sydney.The UNE Future Campus is a technology-enabled learning innovation hub in the heart of Parramatta to support the more than 2,000 UNE students living and studying in the region.
UNE Vice-Chancellor Jim Barber said the Parramatta pilot would be the model for new Future Campuses to be rolled out across Australia, with a second Future Campus to be opened in Tamworth in 2014.
“We have a long history of pioneering distance education that began in the 1950s with Australia’s first distance learning courses,” Professor Barber said.
“Now technology has allowed us to remove the “distance” from education and bring face-to-face online learning to people in the areas in which they live.
“With increasing numbers of people looking to study later in life, they need to know there are support facilities available that will allow them to juggle lifestyle commitments such as work and family.
“They also benefit from close personal support from staff, something that UNE is renowned for, and the Future Campus is proof of our commitment to making it easier for people of all walks of life, to access quality tertiary education.”
The campus delivers the latest in teleconferencing and telepresence technology that will enable students to participate in lectures, tutorials and study groups being conducted at the UNE’s Armidale Campus or other locations around the world, allowing them to actively participate in discussions as if they were actually present in the campus lecture rooms.
“Parramatta is fast becoming an area of high economic growth and the new Future Campus brings us closer to this growing market, as well as our thousands of existing students in the greater Western Sydney area,” Professor Barber said.
“Next year, we will be expanding the concept into Tamworth, delivering these same opportunities to UNE’s thousands of students across the North West.”
The Parramatta Future Campus was made possible through financial support from the Australian Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund.
UNE will celebrate the opening of the Future Campus today (April 19, 2013) with an academic procession, a graduation presentation ceremony, interactive technology displays and a community street party.