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Australia’s national newspaper spreads word about VU’s new way to do uni

We have always been proud of Victoria University’s new way to do uni.

Now no less than the country’s leading national newspaper, The Australian, is helping spread the word.

In its 23 January edition, Higher Education Reporter Sian Powell interviewed VU Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marcia Devlin, about how VU is ‘very pleased indeed’ that more students than ever are voting with their feet to learn via our revolutionary Block Model.

With a 9 percent increase in numbers in early round and year one VTAC offers, word is out about a new way of doing uni.

Professor Devlin told The Australian that every single indicator is up: pass rates, grade averages, number of distinctions and high distinctions.

“Students like it. They all talk to each other and students have siblings and cousins and friends. It’s just extraordinary in a market where it’s gone down 11 percent that we’re up so much,”

Professor Devlin told The Australian.

In VU’s block teaching program, introduced last year and the first of its kind in Australia, only one subject is taught at a time, in four-week blocks and classes of about 30 students, so students receive individual attention and prompt feedback.

The results from the end of 2018 prove that VU’s reinvention of tertiary education has been a stunning success.

Using equivalent standards and in some cases, identical assessment items, data for 2018 compared to 2017 (pre-Block Model) show:

  • Overall pass rates for Block Model students are up 7.9 percentage points to 83.9%
  • Students receiving distinctions jumped 6.8 points to 26.7%, while high distinctions jumped 6.6 points to 22.2%
  • Pass rates for low socio-economic status (SES) students are up 15.3 points to 81.9%, with high distinctions for this group up by 8.6 points to 18.7%
  • Pass rates for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander students are up 19 points to 79%, while high distinctions for this group are up 11.9 points to 23.3%
  • Pass rates for students from a Non English Speaking Background (NESB) are up 14.7 points to 82.1%, while high distinctions for this group are up 6.8 points to 15.6%

There was also a significant improvement in the retention of students, with student load only dropping 3.7% throughout 2018, compared to 10.7% in 2017. This further proves the Block Model’s success and is an important factor in the University’s financial turnaround this year.

VU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins said VU took a deliberate and carefully design-based approach when developing the Block Model that aimed to lift student success while maintaining rigorous academic standards.

“While a similar model has been used overseas, we are the first university to roll it out at this scale. The success our students are enjoying will likely have far-reaching consequences for the tertiary education sector nationally and around the globe.

“I’m very proud of our staff who have pulled together to make this vision a reality. The impact the VU Block Model is having in changing the lives of our students reflects their commitment, hard work and shared vision, and the results also back our decision to extend the Block Model across all undergraduate and postgraduate courses by 2020,” he said.  

In 2018, VU’s Block Model received one of the Victorian Government’s highest honours for excellence, the Victorian International Education Award, and an award for innovation from the International Education Association of Australia.

Read The Australian article

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