It’s a brave new real world for 50,000 QUT students who are now learning online to ensure continuity of their degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lectures and tutorials moved online in March and will continue to be delivered virtually for as long as Australian Government regulations require.
QUT’s agile response is an investment in technology and is utilising the university’s expertise in teaching methods and online technology.
QUT’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Digital Learning, Professor Kevin Ashford-Rowe, said lecturers and their academic teams, along with technical staff, had been working very hard to make sure the transition was as smooth as possible.
“It is vitally important that we do all that we can do to ensure that students can continue to study successfully through this crisis,” he said.
“All of QUT’s lectures and tutorials have now moved online and students are continuing their studies at home.
“Some courses are easier than others when it comes to being taught online. But we are working through the challenges on how to overcome obstacles and still cover the practical elements that are so important to QUT degrees.”
QUT lecturer and exploration geologist Dr Patrick Hayman said his students were literally mailed boxes of rocks and minerals, along with identification tools.
“Our tech services have posted out kits of materials so that students can do their pracs from home,” he said.
“This involved sending out 5kg packages of different rocks. One was sent as far as Oman in the Middle East.”
The geology students are taking part in live and pre-recorded online lectures, as well as online exercises.
During lecture times, they will pull out the rocks and minerals for the week and the lecturer will guide them through the learning exercises.
“I’m finding a lot of the tutors and lecturers are really going over and beyond to make sure you’ve got really good content and notes you can access,” she said.
“My lecturers and tutors have all been acknowledging that we are going through change and online is different, but they want to do everything they can to help us.”
Professor Ashford-Rowe said QUT was focused on students’ overall wellness.
“It’s not just about teaching, but about building community and the support needed to study,” he said.
The university knows that many students are facing reduced income during this time, because they have lost part-time jobs or had hours cut due to the pandemic.
To help, QUT has boosted budget support for The Emergency Student Fund that provides $1,000 to eligible students experiencing financial hardship.
QUT has lots of online help accessible to students.
A Tools and Technology page has also been developed to assist students, and the university is urging students to make sure they frequently check QUT Blackboard for communications about specific ways their particular learning experiences have been revised.
The QUT website also provides students and the wider public with regular updates on QUT’s dedicated COVID-19 information page.
QUT Media contacts:
- Mechelle McMahon, firstname.lastname@example.org
- (after hours) Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901