Get started with OpenLearning today and enjoy a 30-Day free trial on us.
Get started

UNSW Transition Program Online (TPO) soaring global learners to new heights

Equipping international students with real-world projects and skills via purpose-built online university preparation program
Equipping international students with real-world projects and skills via purpose-built online university preparation program

Achieved 87%

of graduates received an offer at UNSW in July 2021

Generated <800

comments, averaging at 15 comments per learner in the Computing for Commerce Course

Developed 14

high quality courses with learners’ experiences front of mind

Attracted 100+

enrolments across the three cohorts in 2021
The UNSW Transition Program Online (TPO) arose in partnership with OpenLearning as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide a fully online solution for international students. Launched in late October 2020, the multi-stream intensive program was developed and consisted of fourteen courses, each at 13 weeks of learning, designed holistically with the learners’ experiences front of mind.

The Challenge

According to the World Economic Forum (April 2020), the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in education to change and reshape dramatically with distinctive rises of e-learning undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. This had become heavily apparent for UNSW Global as significant restrictions were placed on the entry of international students into Australia. This meant that the quality face-to face learning delivery of the existing Transition Program would be severely impacted.

The UNSW Global had pressing and innate challenges of:

  • Combating the issue of accessibility of the program, without compromising the quality of learning experiences that the institution is known for,  from significant restrictions due to the pandemic
  • Partnering with a platform solution that supports socially constructive learning experiences aligning to UNSW Global’s pedagogy.

Project Goals

In this critical time where a fully online and holistic platforms is needed to fast-track the delivery of the online courses, UNSW Global partnered with OpenLearning, to develop the innovative program UNSW TPO in an effort to achieve three main goals:

  • To design and deliver quality face-to-face learning within a expedited amount of time
  • To ensure the learning design of the course fosters a positive online community and stimulate meaningful interactions between students in lieu of the face-to-face learning
  • To align on an instructional approach whereby transition students will be encouraged to be more self-directed and collaborative via the OpenLearning platform

UNSW TPO’s Learning Portal Landing Page



In collaboration with OpenLearning, UNSW Global developed the UNSW Transition Program Online. The UNSW TPO is a 16 week intensive program aimed at international students who have completed Year 12 equivalent studies, but have just missed the entry requirements for top tier institutions, such as UNSW.

‍The UNSW TPO has been developed to enhance future students’ understanding of what university learning entails in various disciplines. This consists of fourteen courses, covering Actuarial Studies, Commerce, Physical Science, Life Science and Design and Architecture.

The goal of the program for students is to:

  • Bridge the gap between schools and university through developing essential skills
  • Feel supported by the Study Coach, teachers, fellow students and Student Support team
  • Cover a broad spectrum of divergent learning experiences by working individually and within small Study Group sessions

Furthermore, by developing a program that employs a social constructivist approach to learning design, the program also fosters a community of practice whereby students work together to:

  • Share experiences and ideas;
  • Co-construct knowledge; and,
  • Develop a social network that eases their nerves before they arrive on-campus for the start of their course.

UNSW TPO “Mission Control” Course Page

Research has also suggested that online learning increases retention of information, and takes less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay. 


As a result, the March 2021 cohort graduated in July 2021 with 87% of the students receiving an offer at UNSW. The engagement and interactions of students even exceeded OpenLearning’s expectations. The current cohorts are highly successful and committed to their studies. It has been impressive to see how quickly they have adapted to the social constructivist learning and portfolio-based assessment approach.

The UNSW Transition Program Online is offered to multiple intakes each year. Following the successful launch of the March 2021 cohort, the program is currently being delivered to the August cohort and September cohort simultaneously.

Learners of the program also have positive reviews of their experiences with the course. Examples of testimonials have been provided below:

One learner notes: “The UNSW Transition Program Online has taught me a great many things - one of them is how to be a self-reflective and independent learner. I’ve learned not only to engage with my peers, but with the course itself as well. With the constant support that the program provides, I believe that I can reach my highest potential in academic learning in preparation for university.”
Another learner mentions: “The Transition Program taught me that you don't have to be smart to get good grades; what you need is a consistent effort to do your best in all. Accepting that you cannot do anything on your own and finding assistance from others is also the smartest thing to do.”

The social constructivist pedagogy used in the development of this course encourages these interactions, where students have an opportunity to co-construct knowledge in a community of practice.

Moving Forward

Realising the continuing scope for growth within this program, not only the number of intakes and the number of students OpenLearning is able to support, but also in terms of universities that recognise the graduates of the program, UNSW TPO is soaring to new heights with its scalable possibilities.

The program now has partnerships in the UK and New Zealand. Here at OpenLearning, the vision looks promising that the program will broaden its appeal for those students looking to study, not only in Australia, but also other partner countries as well.

Looking for an innovative online learning design made possible through a highly talented team? OpenLearning can help. Get in touch today.

UNSW Global

UNSW Global, owned by UNSW Sydney, offers pathway programs for international learners. Of these, UNSW Transition Program Online (TPO) is a purpose-built online university preparation program for international students, delivered in partnership with OpenLearning. From wherever you are in the world, it will help you prepare for study at UNSW Sydney or one of our partner universities in Australia, New Zealand or the UK in only four months.


Sydney, Australia



Request a demo
OpenLearning is a unique platform where I can connect, interact and consult my teachers, study coaches, and my uniquely talented classmates and group members. OpenLearning's staff members, my teachers, and study coaches give me a feeling of home and care about my requirements. The teachers and study coaches are very cooperative, and this is very unique from other online learning platforms.
Student of UNSW Transition Online Program

Want to craft your own success story?

Help us understand your goals.
Submit your request for a free demo and we will be in touch shortly.