Open Universities turns 25 but competitors are having their own party

Open Universities Australia is having a birthday, celebrating “25 years of empowering more than 350,000 students to achieve their study goals.” Starting as Monash U-owned, Open Learning Australia and joined by six more university-content providers in 1996, OUA has grown to 12 partners, with ANU signing-on last year.

The birthday news is good with OUA reporting student starts are up 17 per cent YTD on 2017. Overall enrolments are up 5 per cent, with 35 0000 students “studying through the OUA marketplace.” The number of degree on offers is also increasing, from 140 to 190 this year.

But while OUA is growing, so is the competition. Aside from the MOOC space, other providers are expanding into digital delivery for externals. Last week QUT announced it was partnering with Seek subsidiary, Online Education Services which provides marketing, student support services, plus what it describes as “workforce management” and course-design. QUT will initially offer, “graduate certificates, diplomas and masters, in health managementproject managementpublic health, financial planning and education.

OES already works with Swinburne (an OUA) member and Western Sydney universities. And another OUA partner, the University of South Australia, launched its own independent online courses this year and now has 1500 enrolments in business, health, IT social science and construction qualifications. UniSA says more courses in the same disciplines are scheduled to start in 2019 and ’20.


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