2021 and beyond
The outlook for international student recruitment for onshore delivery for 2021 is indeed looking bleak. The current thinking is another tight Trimester 3, (from September) 2021 followed by an optimistic up-turn in 2022.
Online delivery here and now
Online delivery of courses is the here and now – and remnants will remain well into the middle of the decade. In many instances it will become the backbone of delivery in what is often referred to as a ‘flipped’ classroom. In the context of the online mode presently in use the ‘flipped’ classroom encourages students to work independently on theory (readings and the like) and come together in groups to action (practical application) what has been read. Essentially, international student education will remain on line for the rest of 2021. What we are likely to see though is a gradual, calculated and slow return to the classroom under the guise of a ‘hybrid’ return with ‘flipped’ pedagogy embedded.
Hybrid explained but not necessarily embraced
Hybrid is the likely 2021 and 2022 option irrespective of border openings. The model works on the principle that all classes are provided in a dual format – that is online with the option of students being able to attend live recordings in measured, COVID Safe ways.
Bubbles, and more bubbles
The notion of travel and study bubbles is solid. From an international student perspective the option should remain alive – and this may be possible from September 2021. The reality though of 2021 is even if students did travel through the bubble arrangement – a significant number would wish to remain on line even though they are onshore. The hybrid approach solves the problem.
Vaccination a key element
The notion of increased vaccination remains a topic of considerable currency. Legitimate and formal vaccination evidence may also inject (no pun intended) some hope into the 2021 return of international students.
A number of current international students are studying on line from offshore locations. This needs to be encouraged and ramped up. The feedback to date has been positive and in terms of access to resources (including student support) have been largely indistinguishable from the onshore students.
Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor, Group Colleges Australia