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Tertiary education revolution continues at Victoria University

Victoria University will continue its reinvention of tertiary education in Australia by extending the block mode of teaching across all undergraduate by 2020 and postgraduate courses by 2021.

Seventy-four per cent of students support extending the block model across the University, as highlighted in a recent survey of over 1,000 First Year Model (FYM) students.

In making the announcement, Victoria University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins (AO) described the change as, “one of the biggest student-centred, staff-led and community-integrated transformation programs ever undertaken in higher education in Australia”.

The decision follows this year’s successful roll out of the First Year Model, with 88% of first year students positive about their learning experience to date. 

“We are constantly rethinking the University experience through a student lens. This re-imagining of how we deliver tertiary education drives better student outcomes through more active and collaborative learning, in small groups, taught in short, in-depth four-week blocks of study, one subject at a time,” Prof. Dawkins said.

Other early indicators highlighting the success of the block mode of teaching at VU include:

  • commencing student load has increased by 6%
  • pass rates have improved from an average of 72% in 2017 to 90% in Block 1 of 2018 and 85% in Block 2, even though the standard of assessments has stayed the same as in previous years
  • student retention is currently at 89%

“The block mode of teaching moves beyond the traditional models of education taught by other universities to reconceptualise tertiary education in the twenty-first century and prepare the next generation to develop the skills critical to their future employability,” Professor Dawkins said. 

“A block timetable enables students to accelerate their learning, resulting in earlier graduations if desired, slow down their learning because of other life events, or spread their study across the whole year, dipping in and out as necessary, to better combine study, work and lifestyle.

“The block mode of teaching will be extended to second year subjects next year, and third and fourth year subjects in 2020. We expect that a student who began their studies at VU this year will undertake all of their studies under our block mode of teaching,” he said.

While an Australian first, exclusive to Victoria University in Australia, the block mode of teaching has already been proven internationally in progressive educational institutions in places such as Sweden, Canada and the United States.

Prof. Dawkins praised the commitment and willingness of Victoria University staff to deliver VU’s block model beyond first year.

“The block mode of teaching helps students achieve their education goals with unprecedented commitment by our academic and professional staff, and valued community partners in Melbourne’s west.”

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