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Top modern university delivers online training program, setting the bar higher for a safer community

Driving awareness through UOW-led online training program to help prevent sexual assault and harassment and inappropriate behaviour, via OpenLearning platform
Driving awareness through UOW-led online training program to help prevent sexual assault and harassment and inappropriate behaviour, via OpenLearning platform

Delivered 1

high-quality initiative and short course backed by the Safe and Respectful Communities (SARC) team

Attracted 80+

enrolments from local licensed venue staff

Complete within 90

minutes with flexibility to start at any time

Scored 92%

in Post Course Survey where respondents “strongly agreed” that this type of training is important to staff
The UOW Set The Bar is a new initiative in collaboration with OpenLearning to keep young people safe during nights out in the city, with training in identifying and putting a stop to sexual assault and harassment, and inappropriate behaviour. The free online training program has been designed with an innovative and creative approach to foster a social and engaging learning experience.

The Challenge

The University of Wollongong Set The Bar initiative, part of UOW’s wider initiative Safe and Respectful Communities (SARC) focuses on the underlying issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment, and how to identify, call out and prevent inappropriate behaviour in public spaces and licensed venue. 

The initiative was a result of the findings from a 2017 National Survey, by the Australian Human Rights Commission, Change the Course Report, with over 30,000 learners and all 39 Australian universities.

Some challenges and findings include:

  • One in five (21%) learners were sexually harassed in a university setting, excluding travel to and from university, in 2016;
  • 87% of learners who were sexually assaulted did not make a formal report or complaint to their university;
  • Sexual assault and sexual harassment are far too prevalent in universities, as well as, in the broader community; and
  • Universities need to do more to prevent this from occurring, build a culture of respect, and support victims of abuse and sanctioning perpetrators. 

Project Goals

In 2019, the Safe and Respectful Communities (SARC) team received a UOW Community Engagement Grant  for $13,000 to create and implement training for staff at licensed premises on how to address and respond to sexual harassment and sexual assaults in their venues. The initiative and online training program has been aptly branded as “Set The Bar”.

The SARC team is working closely with a community partner, Wollongong Local Liquor Accord, to implement this initiative. The Wollongong Local Liquor Accord is an industry-based group that works to reduce problems related to alcohol in the local area. Members of the Accord include Police, Council, and local liquor outlets and suppliers.

Keeping these findings in front of mind and on the matter of the students’ safety, UOW joined forces with OpenLearning to create engaging learning experiences in hopes to tackle and improve the issue moving forward. Furthermore, empowering local licensed venue staff, such as managers, bar staff, and security staff to be able to:

  • Define behaviour that constitutes sexual assault and sexual harassment;
  • Discuss the gendered nature of the problem;
  • Identify and understand barriers to reporting, disclosing, and seeking help;
  • Practise strategies on how to be an active bystander and disrupt perpetrator behaviour;
  • Understand what to say and do when receiving a disclosure of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment; and
  • Identify support services and reporting options available.

UOW Set the Bar Learning Portal Landing Page



In collaboration with OpenLearning, UOW developed the high-quality training program aimed at licensed venues close to UOW campuses where students frequent. The short 60 - 90 minute course with flexible start dates allows learners to apply concepts in a practical way, onto their work life and beyond.

For learners who join the program, their benefits include:

  • Understanding what to do when witnessing harassment or being approached by customers have experienced harassment;
  • Improving their brand image as a friendly supportive space;
  • Helping to prevent incidents because potential perpetrators are aware that harassment will not be tolerated.

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

  • Share experiences and ideas;
  • Co-construct knowledge; and,
  • Thrive in a learning community where they are encouraged to ‘Join the Conversation’ and interact with their fellow peers in the comments.

UOW Set the Bar Home Page


As a result, the program was highly effective and successful in meeting the project goals with over 80 enrolments to the course to date. Through the Set the Bar online course, learners are given the tools and information to address the goals outlined. Through a variety of activities, learners implement their concepts, practice techniques and learn together. Therefore, the course participants are equipped to begin making local venues safer for everyone.

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

One learner notes: “In general, the layout and ease of access to the information is fantastic through the whole course. The visual cues and range of exercises are really good, particularly when combined with the ease of use of the site and availability of help text. The content is incredibly well done, you should all be really happy and proud!”
Another learner mentions: “The course is a great addition to preventative measures within the community. Every detail of ‘Set the Bar’ aims to deliver information concisely and in a relevant manner, which it has succeeded in. By providing a community based ‘thought bubble’ where participants can share ideas and engage in discussion, the course emphasises that individuals can make a difference in preventing SASH matters. It is an excellent initiative.”

Moving Forward

With favourable feedback from stakeholders and participants, this reinforces how important this kind of training and support is for the community.

NSW Liquor and Gaming have indicated strong support of this training initiative and have expressed interest in using Set The Bar as a community partnership case study. While this course and campaign were initially designed for the Wollongong area, NSW have also expressed interest and support for the University of Wollongong in promoting this training to other Liquor Accords throughout NSW. 

Set The Bar has also been named as a finalist in the LearnX awards for Best Learning and Development Project (Best Learning Campaign). This award focuses on a campaign-based learning project that was implemented to create behavioural change, with winners to be announced on 17 November.

Looking to deliver highly impactful learning experience via a robust solution? OpenLearning can help. Get in touch today.

University of Wollongong (UOW)

University of Wollongong (UOW) was founded on the donations of local people with a vision of a brighter future for the region. UOW has become one of the world’s best modern universities, ranking 23rd on the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2021.


Sydney, Australia



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Overall, I think ‘‘Set the Bar’’ training program was very insightful – it provided a range of information and activities which I believe will be helping the individuals participating on it with the necessary knowledge on how to deal and address sensitive scenarios/cases of sexual assault/harassment. I’ve noted down just some slight suggestions in some of the sections. Apart from that the content was easy to follow and understand mainly by the supportive material provided such as images and videos. I think an amazing job has been done to put this gem in one piece, and I commend it!
Learner of UOW Set The Bar Program

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