More time online

Murdoch University has announced all lectures will remain online for 2021, despite WA’s success in so far eliminating community transmission of COVID-19.

Murdoch University media consultant Andrew Gaspar says the university believes it’s the best thing for its learning environment.

“The acceleration of it because of COVID is something we will continue to support,” he says.

Unit survey data provided by Murdoch shows 90 per cent of students said online learning was easy to navigate and 89 per cent said online learning materials were useful to their learning in the unit.

Curtin University will also be moving its lectures online during the first semester of 2021.

National Tertiary Education Union Curtin branch president Tony Snow says then union does not support the decision, and online classes should be a backup policy, not frontline.

He says the union is still waiting for a final decision from Curtin on the plans for 2021.

“Curtin will decide some time early next year if they want to continue lectures online for the second semester depending on Western Australia’s category in the pandemic,” he says.

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) branch president Tony Snow. Video: Marika Sequeira.

Curtin Student Guild president Hana Arai says Curtin had made the change to online lectures for 2020 to provide for students during the pandemic.

“As the social distancing laws have not been dropped, booking rooms and having lectures is more difficult as most first-year classes reach up to 100 students in a class,” she says.

Ms Arai says the student guild does not support this change to online content unless it is to protect public health.

“In general, we should be avoiding a move to more online content delivery as it means fewer hours which students are able to spend face-to-face with their lecturers,” she says.

Ms Arai says students have told the guild they are not comfortable with online content and they don’t think it gives them the education they require.

Students respond to online lectures. Video: Marika Sequeira.

“Students really value that one-on-one interaction with their peers in their classroom and being able to interact with their tutor or lecturer in the classroom,” Ms Arai says.