Project to find what uni is really like

Charles Sturt University (CSU) will develop a massive open online course (MOOC) to help increase participation in tertiary education by students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds.

Professor Garry Marchant, CSU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), said the project to develop the course, titled What’s Uni Like?, is funded by the federal government through its Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).

“In the spirit of the HEPPP, What’s Uni Like? will promote the benefits of and encourage participation in higher education in general, rather than promoting a specific provider,” Professor Marchant said.

“The project goals are to encourage students who are from low SES backgrounds to aspire to participate in higher education, and to assist students to develop an improved understanding of university culture and expectations in order to support their effective participation.

“What’s Uni Like? will provide a free-of-charge, accessible source of information and development by which participants can build pre-tertiary achievement levels and explore aspects of the transition to university. It will address the key areas of academic writing and reading, student expectations, and digital literacy and online learning skills.

“The course will be developed and piloted during 2014, and launched nationally in mid-2015,” Professor Marchant said.

It will be promoted to all Australian universities and higher education providers, and to high schools and TAFEs across Australia. It is hoped that all stakeholders will use What’s Uni Like? as a resource to broaden participation in Australia’s higher education sector.”

The development of What’s Uni Like? will be informed by current research and best practice, and in particular by the nationalOffice for Learning and Teaching-funded project on the Effective Teaching and Support of Students from Low SES Backgrounds. It will involve collaborative work with partners in the HEPPP-funded CSU Future Moves program, including government and independent schools, Department of Education and Communities, local communities, councils, and Aboriginal Elder and community groups.

The CSU MOOC project manager, Mr Craig Billingham, seeks contact with other interested stakeholders, particularly representatives of high schools, TAFEs, tertiary admissions centres, and university aspiration programs.

For further information, please contact Mr Billingham on (02) 6338 6189 or