Dirk Mulder on the new big thing in international study

With borders closed Australian providers are building foundations for TNE 2.0


Traditional trans-national involves Australian institutions delivering courses off-shore, face to face, either by their own staff or with an infrastructure partner. But the pandemic is driving a new model: providing curriculum on-line at partner university campuses.

Stepping-up in Shanghai 

Uni Sydney, with Study Group Australia through its Taylor’s College pathway provider, are combining with Shanghai Institute of Technology to do this at the new Sydney Shanghai Centre. It’s for students unable to travel to Australia because of COVID-19 restrictions. It will open in March for a maximum 60 students enrolled in the university’s foundation programme.

Virtual learning in a campus environment is a good mix says SGA’s Alex Chevrolle. “Students are keen for additional opportunities for interaction and our new centre in Shanghai means students can also experience invaluable face-to-face engagement with peers.”

 Home but away from UWA

UWA recognised early that international students outside Australia would still want a campus experience. DVC Tayyeb Shah says over 50 per cent of UWA’s Chinese enrolments participate in its learning centre model. *

Mr Shah says early research on supporting internationals outside WA revealed that while some are comfortable studying in their family home, many want a traditional campus experience. Students prioritising community, sporting clubs and access to services led UWA to go for a campus partnership model, instead of creating a dedicated space in a corporate environment.

But while popular, it isn’t Crawley. These students are a cohort on someone else’s campus, which means making them feel like they are part of UWA is an on-going challenge.

And it isn’t cheap. UWA pays a campus access fee per head with students picking up the cost of on- campus accommodation.

But while it costs UWA, Shah insists it is part of the university’s commitment to ensure students can continue to access UWA degrees in a more supported and connected way and which will continue to connect.

Mr Shah says the model is not a flash in the pandemic pan and will continue after the plague passes – it has much wider appeal.

* UWA has learning centres at four Chinese universities: Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, (Tianmuhu); Northeast Forestry University, (Harbin); Southwest University, (Beibei Campus), Chongqing; and Soochow University, (Suzhou).

Plus, there are learning centres for articulation students at South China University of Technology; Guangdong University of Finance and Economics; and Guangdong University of Finance.

 Not Clayton nor Caulfield, but still, it’s a Monash campus

Monash U also understood early that it needed to offer a campus experience where students are.  Last June VC Margaret Gardener optimistically announced “a new learning site” would be created at its site in Suzhou, for commencing Chinese students, “who may be able to transfer to other Monash campuses in 2021,” (CMM June 2).

And in November a graduate school opened there, with Southeast University. It teaches Monash students, Monash classes, for Monash masters, in business and banking and finance.

Smart selection. As Frank Larkin points out (CMM Friday), international students taking Australian coursework masters like to study on campus.

And Monash U has a bunch of them, Professor Larkins placed it in a 2019 paper as one of the top-five by enrolments.

Monash U says the arrangement at Southeast U is working well and that it is looking at expanding the model to its campuses in Prato (Italy), Jakarta and Malaysia.