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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.