Australia: Nearly 50% of University Students Are Unsatisfied With Remote Learning

A large percentage of university students in Australia do not prefer online learning and would not want to experience it again in the future, a report from the higher education regulator has shown.

According to a review of student feedback, remote learning is considered a “problem” if it has to be practised again in 2021, pointing out that this way of learning has triggered a lack of engagement, Erudera College News reports.

The lack of practical learning has also affected certain degrees such as engineering, science, visual and performing arts.

Lately, Western Australia’s Murdoch University and Curtin University have announced that they will continue holding online classes even in 2021.

One of the pro-vice-chancellors of Murdoch University, Kylie Readman, previously said that remote learning could increase flexibility.

“Even without the impact of COVID-19, this is a contemporary and pedagogically sound approach that increases students’ flexible access to learning,” Readman told WA Today.

The report by the National Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) consists of feedback surveys from 118 higher education providers during the first semester.

According to data, between 33 per cent and 50 per cent of students haven’t been satisfied with online learning. Yet, many responses to online learning were positive.

“a significant percentage … indicated that they did not wish to continue with remote study and wished to return to a face-to-face experience as soon as possible”, the report noted.

TEQSA data also revealed that for many students, using videos during online classes has somehow been discomfiting due to home appearance, family members presence or more. As per what did not work well for them during remote learning, respondents reported the following:

  • 41 per cent reported IT troubles.
  • 34 per cent claimed there was a lack of academic interaction.
  • 30 per cent said evaluations caused issues.
  • 29 per cent reported a lack of engagement.

15 per cent of respondents said that remote learning had triggered issues with isolation, finance and home environment.

Whereas, 20 per cent or 22 per cent of students were positive about online learning, and added that they were also happy with access to materials.

However, students also highlighted that the online classes length was shorter than in-person classes, but at the same time, the volume of their work was higher.

Following this, Greens senator and party’s higher education spokeswoman, Mehreen Faruqi, said that universities must return to in-person lessons as soon as possible

“I’m concerned universities will capitalise on the move to online learning in order to cut costs and reduce staffing, which would also undermine the quality of education,” she added.

Among others, the report has unveiled that students have been feeling isolated as a consequence of COVID-19 and closure of libraries.

“It appeared this was related to not having a quiet place to study but also contributed to the sense of isolation because libraries are now a major contributor to students’ socialising with their peers,” the report outlined.

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