Option of A Return to Campus in Trimester 3 (T3), 2023
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Option of A Return to Campus in Trimester 3 (T3), 2023

If it is ‘safe and practical’ to do so – UBSS students are being encouraged to return to F2F learning on campus at the three locations across the School – Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. One School – three campuses. There is a common subject timetable with the classes being delivered live across the locations - out of Sydney.

UBSS does not pre-record nor use recorded versions – all classes are presented live, each trimester by suitably qualified and experienced practitioners. This would explain, in my view at least, the reason for such positive recent SFU and QILT outcomes.

The SFU and QILT Outcomes Considered

The T2, 2023 SFU results (end of July 2023) are very positive indeed (aggregate of 4.42/5) across both the undergraduate and postgraduate programs– the best in 21 trimesters. In fact, the MBA program scored 4.47/5 – quite an achievement. The big success items were - ‘the subject provided useful knowledge and skills’ (4.50/5); ‘the lecturer was well prepared for each class’ (4.52/5); and ‘the lecturer had a good knowledge of the subject matter’ (5.50/5).

The QILT story is also a very positive one (2022 data published in June 2023) – and is best captured in the following table –

Survey Domains





Overall Quality of Education Experience





Teaching Quality





Learner Engagement





Learning Resources





Student Support





Skill Development





The postgraduate results are the best in seven years and the undergraduate outcomes have maintained the usual satisfaction levels.

Enthusiasm to Return to the Physical Campus

Regular (each trimester) surveys around the topic of preference to return to campus or to remain online are also revealing. Given the high levels of satisfaction (SFUs and QILT) it will probably not come as a great surprise to anyone that 97% of postgraduate students would prefer to stay on the line (100% in fact in Melbourne and Adelaide) and 98.5% of undergraduate students would also prefer to remain on the line.

Allowing students to come back to campus in T2, 2023 has been a roaring - failure. It is evident that the online option remains a high preference with no perceivable change to grade distribution and what appears to be an improvement in both SFUs and QILT.

Returning in T3, 2023

Students will, however, be encouraged to return to campus in T3, 2024 – with some variation across the School.

Given that lectures are transmitted online (very successfully I hasten to add) out of Sydney – students can readily come back on campus and sit in classes with their professor in the room but at the same time deliver to non-attending students across the School via the online facility. The classrooms remind me of a television studio environment where there is a live audience but a larger audience watching from afar. I am unsure whether or not the dynamic changes – more feedback is needed at this stage.

In Melbourne, lectures are delivered live (from Sydney) and projected on large screens using quality technology with the option of interaction via an effective microphone system. This has been trialled over the last few weeks of T2 – and will be fully operational in T3. In addition, roaming tutors will be on campus providing support and engagement with students throughout the days of teaching. This option will be most effective – though remember the desire to return is quite low.

In Adelaide, the same principle will apply. Live projections from Sydney with the opportunity for students to be on-site with tutorial support from suitably qualified and proficient staff.

We, as a community, will watch the development very carefully – and will action change as required and only if it is safe and practical to do so. Teaching and Learning has itself changed and morphed significantly during the COVID era and the notion of ‘putting it back in the box’ is neither practical nor safe. My view is the desire to return to campus is largely driven by real estate and retail desires – rather than a genuine interest in student wellness and learning.


Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer at Group Colleges Australia