With the news that universities have already made the decision to close in Australia, and following closures overseas, the spotlight has moved to the education sector's risk management leading up to the current situation.
Australian Universities are being commended for taking fast action to support students, with some institutions preparing as far back as 2015, for 2020's chaotic disruption to international students and disruption to domestic students prevented from attending campus locations.
For many years, university leaders and staff have been preparing with a focus on technical expertise and investment in online delivery, building a robust online student experience, a focus on duty of care for international students, and equal-access to study help without regard for a student’s mode of study or physical location.
One million students are being supported already due to universities' foresight
One million university and TAFE students already have access to one-to-one study help via Studiosity.
“Australian universities are leading the world, not only in putting the student experience first, and looking after the wellbeing of their own staff. Now - in a global time of crisis - their forward thinking and duty of care for students is in the spotlight again. The foresight to implement this kind of risk management, with robust equitable, online study help is commendable,” said Michael Larsen, Studiosity Chief Executive Officer.
"The foresight to implement this kind of risk management, with robust equitable, online study help is commendable."
“When the situation escalated in January, several universities reached out to confirm we were able to support their students overseas, particularly in China. Because we have built our platform from the ground up to meet the needs of Australia’s universities, we were able to confirm that all students, even those in China, would have uninterrupted access to online study support," said Michael.
"We want to be confident that our students have consistent, reliable study support whether they are on or off campus."
Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, from Western Sydney University, also commented on their ongoing duty of care to students:
“The campus experience is tremendously important for students, and plays an important role in building a sense of belonging. We want to be confident that our students have consistent, reliable study support whether they are on or off campus. It is important to us that the integrity and quality of our students’ education continues in this time of disruption. Quality 24/7 one-to-one support will not only support our students’ learning, but help them to feel connected and supported when they may be experiencing anxiety about study. For our staff, it is also important that they are confident our students are able to access quality study support 366 days a year.”
Universities like Western Sydney University have been building a student experience that ensures students are supported both on campus and online; a holistic strategy that means students and staff are reassured in times of crisis. Source: westernsydney.edu.au
"For our staff, it is also important that they are confident our students are able to access quality study support 366 days a year."
We're here for our university partners
Studiosity is an Australian owned, Sydney-headquartered edtech success story. Our mission is to make one-to-one academic support accessible for all students, regardless of their circumstances, by connecting them with experts in their field of study. Our service is delivered in partnership with upwards of 90 higher education institutions across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland. University students can also upload writing assignments for formative feedback within 24 hours, and at some universities students can connect to peer mentors for help in the same course - extending the benefits of peer-to-peer support to all students regardless of location. Studiosity puts all students on a level playing field, whether a student can be on campus or not.
Our CEO, Michael Larsen, told Robert Bolton at the AFR: "There's always been a view if there was a catastrophic event a uni may need to shift to being fully online. Australia is quite well prepared for online learning because of its geographical nature."
"Australia is quite well prepared for online learning because of its geographical nature."
The article describes that "Education company Studiosity, which does online tutoring for schools and higher education, has been approached by two universities to make its platforms available for domestic students if face-to-face teaching involves too much risk."
Michael told the Mr Bolton that COVID-19 discussions had been going on for a couple of weeks, but several university partners implemented holistic, digital support back in 2015.
For Studiosity partners interested in how to best utilise your current service, see Michael Larsen's comments here. If your university does not have Studiosity yet, please note that we are helping new universities with urgent student support due to COVID-19 campus closures, please contact us as soon as possible.