UNSW trimester teaching, a lot and late

Not all the problems with the new system seem structural

UNSW VC Ian Jacobs tells staff and students work that “refinements to the new trimester system are coming, (CMM July 20).

They’re needed, and on issues that go way beyond generic concerns with shorter course times, which puts pressure on students to get across subjects in less time and requires teaching staff to compress content in fewer weeks

CMM hears of a course originally intended to have one lecture and one tute per week across trimester two changed to having all contact jammed into the second half, without extra on-line content to help students. This means teaching and learning is really rushed and is not, students suggest, what they pay fees for.

UNSW is a big place and what CMM hears is anecdotal from not-many people but if this is a common problem it will surely show up in the next Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching student experience survey – which in some faculties UNSW does not have a lot of reputation to lose.  Overall the university is below the national average for undergraduate teaching and learning. In one discipline-group that comes up in student concerns, it is well below average on all six student experience measures.


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