The term 'open learning' is a description of educational practice which emphasises the needs of the learner. Charles Sturt University has a strong tradition of open learning, most apparent through the comprehensive offering of courses by distance education (externally). In recognition of its commitment to open learning, the University established the Open Learning Institute (OLI) in 1991. The OLI provides a focus for the definition of 'openness' at CSU, as well as holding responsibility for the provision and support of many of the open learning activities of the University.
While there are many dimensions of open learning, there are some of particular importance to the University for it to achieve its mission.
In addition to special admission for disadvantaged students in some courses, the University has introduced a queuing system for admission of distance students. This system provides a guarantee of eventual admission for any applicant meeting defined minimum requirements.
Recognition of prior learning
The University has established formal agreement with TAFE with respect to articulation of courses, enabling TAFE students to gain credit for work already completed. The University seeks to develop these agreements further and supports moves to develop national credit transfer arrangements between higher education institutions.
The University is seeking ways to increase intakes in the Spring and Summer sessions in addition to the major Autumn session intake.
Place of study
The University is seeking to extend options for study locations by developing study centres and increasing its involvement in workplace learning.
Three study centres have been established at Broken Hill, Dubbo and Sydney.
The Robinson Centre, Broken Hill
With the recently installed video-conferencing facility at the Robinson Centre it is now possible for CSU to enrich the provision of its courses to students in the region. The Centre will progressively be fitted with a range of technologies to allow students both academic and administrative interaction with the University.
Orana University TAFE Centre (OUT Centre), Dubbo
CSU has collaborated with the Orana Community College to enhance post-secondary education in the Orana and Far West regions. In addition to supporting enrolled students and encouraging greater participation in higher education by students in the region, CSU will actively pursue articulation of TAFE and CSU courses, the development of joint courses and the establishment of a University in Dubbo.
The University Centre, Clarence Street, Sydney
Charles Sturt University has established a centre in Sydney, in conjunction with the University of Wollongong and the University of New England. The Centre is used for student support and appropriate residential schools. The facilities are also suitable for professional development courses. Because of its metropolitan location, the Centre also provides a much greater shop-front role in promoting the activities of the University and in dealing with application inquiries. The Centre's video-conferencing facilities also benefit the University by allowing specialists visiting or living in Sydney to conduct seminars with staff and students at the University campuses.
Recognising the positive effect a regional centre can have on community attitudes to higher education, CSU is continuing to seek ways to viably develop further centres within its region. Developments in communication technologies continue to expand the range of functions a centre can provide.
Workplace and professional development centres
The University, through the OLI, offers a wide range of tailored courses for commerce, industry and the professions, several of which are conducted at the employers' premises.
The establishment of professional development courses in education, ambulance and police studies has, among other things, formalised this type of collaboration in these two professional areas.
Historically CSU has provided courses in both the internal and distance modes. There is no longer a clear distinction between internal and distance study and several options are now available to students. These include:
· living on-campus supported by face-to-face instruction;
· living on-campus not attending face-to-face classes but using campus facilities;
· combination of the two modes above, (including trans -campus instruction and what has been known as correspondence-tutorial);
· living locally attending campus for face-to-face interaction;
· living locally using campus facilities;
· distance education study from home;
· distance education study through a centre;
· study at the workplace.
The OLI has three offices, each with University-wide responsibilities.
The Office of Research and Development is responsible for the research and evaluation of open learning issues and activities, and consultancies in open learning. It has a staff of instructional designers who also support academics in the development of open learning resource materials.
The Office of Production and Liaison is responsible for the efficient production of resource materials, monitoring trials of learning technologies and the support of distance students through appropriate liaison functions.
The Office of Marketing is responsible for marketing open learning opportunities available from CSU to a wider range of clients than the traditional student base. The office markets an extensive range of short courses tailored to the needs of commerce and industry locally, nationally and internationally.
Contact with the Office of Marketing can be made at all three campuses.
Telephone (060) 41 8928
Facsimile (060) 41 8929
Telephone (063) 38 4130
Facsimile (063) 38 4378
Telephone (069) 33 2773
Facsimile (069) 33 2882
The Open Learning Agency of Australia, (OLAA), is a consortium of universities formally established under an agreement with the Commonwealth government in January 1993. CSU is one of the founding members, with the Vice-Chancellor a member of the Board of Directors.
The OLAA itself does not offer courses, degrees or subjects. Students register with the OLAA to study in the distance education mode units offered by participating universities. These units are given credit at universities offering them, at other universities in the OLAA consortium, and at many universities beyond the consortium.
There are no prerequisites, such as TER scores or quotas, to study through the OLAA. Fees per unit are approximately equal to HECS fees. Students can largely choose the pace at which they would like to study.
CSU has established a Bachelor of General Studies degree which may be taken entirely through the OLAA, provided at least eight of the 24 units are taught by CSU. Alternatively, students may seek to transfer from OLAA to CSU study, and appropriate OLAA units will be credited to the CSU course in which they enrol.
Open Learning Agency of Australia
30 Collins Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
Telephone (03) 903 8955
Facsimile (03) 903 8966
Open Learning Institute
Telephone (069) 33 2773
Facsimile (069) 33 2882
Last revised: 3 January 1996