According to new research conducted in 2018,* 1 in 5 Australian students believe physical campuses won’t exist in 20 years’ time. The response was certainly anticipated of tech savvy millennials. However, surprisingly, those aged 34 – 41 years of age, and those registered as part-time students, were the two most prominent groups to believe this, whilst women and international students were the least to question physical campus existence 20 years from now.
The research also delved into how students wanted their university to diversify and evolve in the next 5 to 10 years in order to cater to their needs and remain relevant.
Jack Goodman, Founder and Executive Chair of Studiosity says,
“Like every other sector of the economy, Australia’s universities are facing the forces of disruption. To continue to thrive, and deliver value to the nation, they need to find new ways to attract, support, and retain students. This research offers valuable insight into what students are expecting to see in their university experience going forward.”
The data showed that 74% of students want universities to:
- Offer more flexibility in unit courses
- Make it easier to study online without feeling as though they are missing out
- Offer more out-of-hours study support services
These three areas were the same across all genders and states, highlighting that these are the sentiments that need to be focused on in order for universities to progress effectively.
With more courses being available online, are campuses becoming less important for students?
Professor John Rosenberg, Australian Academic and Higher Education Consultant says,
"Every student who enters university now has grown up in a digital environment, and expects services to be accessible on the device of their choice, where they want and when they want. From my experience being on the Studiosity Academic Advisory Board, it’s clear that universities have to offer an excellent student experience to attract students in today’s age, and flexibility. This is especially true when it comes to study support – it’s an important part of this. Face-to-face learning will remain important as part of a student's degree, but they also expect access to services online at the time of their choice and in turn need more online support services that are accessible out-of-hours."
Areas that seemed less of a focus were: increasing the use of digital technologies in tutorials and lectures, and having the option to attend an online lecture without needing to go to campus. Surprisingly, students aged between 34 and 41 years old slightly bucked the outcome, showing more interest in these potential changes.
Jack Goodman concludes,
"Regardless of where a student is – on-campus, off-campus, whether they are distance students, internationally enrolled or local – everyone deserves the opportunity to study flexibly and without being disadvantaged relative to their peers. The results of this year's national student study and lifestyle survey confirm this gap in the student experience, and universities are coming to realise that it's time to ensure equality of experience becomes the standard."
The research conducted was also featured in the Australian Financial Review, Online learning: Universities push for physical classes battle virtual trends, 11th February 2018, available here.
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*Research conducted and analysed across +1,000 Australian university students in January 2018 through third party research commissioned by Studiosity. The students used for this study were 18 – 42+ years old, and consisted of a mix of both domestic and internationally enrolled students. For further information, please contact us at the above email address.