Changes to The Mode of Delivery – The Challenges Ahead
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Changes to The Mode of Delivery – The Challenges Ahead

Each trimester my own organization asks students to indicate their level of satisfaction with the mode of delivery – up until now – fully online. Historically the level of satisfaction has been very high (PG 97% and UG 98.5% in T2, 2023). In T3, 2023 we provided a transition hybrid mode using live classes with the opportunity (option) to come onto campus.

The SFU outcomes for T2, 2023 were the best since we started collecting the data in 2016 (4.42/5) and the latest QILT outcomes (published in 2023) were the best to date – so clearly our teaching effort has been excellent and the online mode well delivered and well received. This was evident in the latest ‘mode survey’ (T3) and bodes well for the T3 SFU outcomes (end of T3).


Slight Variation to The Survey

This time (T3) we varied the survey to include ‘hybrid’ – that is the option of online OR F2F - - and the quantitative results are informing -

Campus & Program



Face to Face

Sydney UG




Melbourne UG




Adelaide UG








Sydney PG




Melbourne PG




Adelaide PG




Historically PG students always preferred to study remotely, however, this trimester we are seeing a notable shift in preference for the hybrid option (18.6%). It is worth noting that the preference for a fully F2F delivery mode is still very low across the School (3.5%).


Mandated Return to Face to Face Mode

The Australian Government (ably supported by the National Regulator) has foolishly mandated a full return to F2F in the coming trimesters for international students - - this is going to be a difficult sell.


The Value of Our Transition

We have wisely utilized a transition model in T3, 2023 – but T1, 2024 will require students essentially back on campus. This single option (based on the T3 survey data) will not be popular with our student population – so we are going to have to work very hard to secure student satisfaction. I suspect our SFUs in T1, 2024 will take a hammering. So much for the emphasis on the student experience.


Hybrid Would Have Been a Smarter Option

Hybrid would have been a much smarter move (95%) - - but a range of factors (mostly retail, real estate, and immigration) have pushed for the return to a tired, outdated mode.


Feedback On Matters of Qualitative

We also ask students to provide qualitative feedback as to why they have certain preferences. The common themes that have emerged this trimester (T3) - with a significant preference for remote/hybrid learning (96.5%) include – Flexibility, COVID, saved time, money and energy traveling, Work-Life Balance, Convenience, and the like. This is captured in the following word cloud -

COVID Time_Study Online - UBSS

A new observation relating to the qualitative feedback was the so-called “rental crisis” because of which many students have relocated outside the city areas for cheaper accommodation and therefore, prefer studying from home/online.


The Mandated Mode Is Going to Be a Hard Sell

The sell, then, on the mandated F2F is going to be difficult – so we will have to work hard at it. We are working inside the legislation offering four (4) subjects fully online in the MBA program and six (6) subjects in the undergraduate space from T1, 2024. This will hopefully, ease some of the likely resistance. We are going to recruit a significant number of teaching staff in Melbourne and Adelaide to accommodate the mandated F2F option – this is also going to be challenging – and staff satisfaction will become a key issue throughout 2024.


Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UBSS and the Chief Executive Officer of GCA.