Auckland universities set to drop online courses
TEFL and other qualifications will not be taught online at Auckland University, a move that will save the university money by reducing the number of people coming to the city to take up online courses.
The university’s board has decided to eliminate the requirement to take a course online from its student-to-faculty ratio in 2018, with the exception of an online pilot project to give overseas teachers a chance to take over some of the university’s teaching.
University of Auckland head of research, Prof Tim Stauffer, said online courses would be the future for the university.
“I think there’s an enormous opportunity for Auckland University to grow as an online learning hub,” he said.
“There are other cities that are doing it, but it’s the Auckland model, which is very different to other cities.”
It’s a very interesting opportunity to go and take a very long course, to take the course over for three or four years.”‘
I think it’s a good thing’The pilot project is being run by the University of Auckland, which operates a campus in Auckland city, and has the support of the Department of Education.
The Auckland University pilot project will be a one-off, and it’s unclear how long the university will continue the pilot, but Professor Stauffe said there was a great deal of interest in taking up the offer.”
Auckland University is a very young university and the opportunities are huge,” he explained.”
We have a large number of foreign teaching staff who come to the university for their tertiary education, and a lot of them are coming from overseas.
“So the opportunity is there, and there are a lot more opportunities for young people who might not have been given the opportunity before.”
As the universities of the world continue to grow, there’s going to be more people going to the world to learn and to meet with other people.
“And as the international students and scholars come to Auckland, it will be important that they have access to university education.”
The pilot, he said, would also be a way to get the university to look at other options, including teaching online.
The pilot will see students take online courses for three months, and the university plans to use the money to hire more teaching staff, which could allow it to double its teaching staff over the next four years.
“The students will be in a position to teach and have a significant impact on the university, and we can’t wait for the students to be fully engaged in the university and learn, but we’re doing everything we can to keep them engaged,” he added.
Professor Stauffer said the university had been trying to keep the number at about one person a week at the pilot site, but the university wanted to reduce the number to one a week.
“When you’re teaching students who are doing that online, you’ve got to be able to offer them some kind of support to make sure they’re getting the right skills,” he noted.
“If you’re not offering them those kinds of skills, they won’t want to come back, and that can be a big problem.”
The university will be able offer courses on the internet for a further three months and will continue to train staff to teach online courses, he added, but would not be able for longer.
He said the new requirement to use a university computer for the pilot project would allow for the University to offer courses to more students, and help the university find more teaching positions.
“In the future, we can have more people on campus who have a greater degree of experience in online courses,” he predicted.
“With the increase in students coming to Auckland from overseas, there is an opportunity to do more of this, and if we can get more people to come and teach, that will make us even more competitive for those positions.”
The Auckland Government said it supported the university in its decision.
“At the moment, there are some people who are going to come to our universities and they’ll have the opportunity to learn on the computer,” Education Minister Gareth Hughes said.
“They’ll come to study and then take that online course, and they’re then going to work in the classroom, and do their degree at the university.”
“But we want to see more people coming here and learning online.
We want people to be engaged, to get more qualifications, and then come back and work for us.”
Mr Hughes said the pilot would help to ensure Auckland had the skills needed to become a global centre of tertiary study, and would be a “good way” to improve access to education for young New Zealanders.
“This will allow Auckland to become an even better destination for students coming from around the world, and to train them for a career,” he concluded.