USC Gympie will reduce the number of on-campus course next year as programs switch to online in response to financial uncertainty cause by COVID-19.
USC Gympie will reduce the number of on-campus course next year as programs switch to online in response to financial uncertainty cause by COVID-19.

USC to make cuts to Gympie campus courses

FROM next year new students to the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Gympie campus will have limited on-campus learning options as the university deals with the financial fallout from COVID-19.

Gympie, Fraser Coast and Caboolture campuses were affected by the change, and only a small number of programs which require face-to-face learning will be taught on campus.

The Gympie campus will continue to offer Nursing Science on-campus, USC’s most popular professional program, as well as the University’s Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) – a free, six-month program which prepares students for university study.

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USC Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanne Scott said an extensive range of online degrees will be available to students and the changes were part of a wide-ranging revitalisation of the University’s approach to learning and teaching.

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanne Scott said the switch to online study and reducing on-campus courses will support the university’s financial sustainability. File photo
USC Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanne Scott said the switch to online study and reducing on-campus courses will support the university’s financial sustainability. File photo

Ms Scott said online learning would enhance USC’s appeal to a wider range of students and support the University’s sustainability as it dealt with the financial fallout of COVID-19 travel restrictions on international students, and uncertainties around Commonwealth proposals for higher education funding.

She said the changes followed positive feedback to this year’s shift to technology-enabled learning in response to COVID-19.

Ms Scott said the new approach to learning worked “equally” as well as on-campus learning which led USC to review programs at all campuses, including Gympie, Fraser Coast and Caboolture, where the costs of teaching face-to-face limited the capacity to offer a broader range of courses.

“By pivoting our model at our smaller campuses to favour technology-enabled learning, we are able to give students access to many more of USC’s degrees,” Ms Scott said.

These include Secondary Education, Arts, Science, Business, Commerce, Creative Industries, Design, Communications, Criminology and Justice, Psychology, Human Services, Sports Studies, Environmental Science and Animal Ecology.

“The online programs will also provide greater study opportunities and flexibility for those who previously have been unable to attend university because of work or family commitments,” she said.

Online students will still be able to access the Gympie campus library, and attend social events, counselling and other facilities.
Online students will still be able to access the Gympie campus library, and attend social events, counselling and other facilities.

“Students studying online will also have access to their local campus for services such as academic skills, counselling, library services and social events, and some programs will include field work and a small number of on-campus workshops and lab sessions.”

The changes will not impact on current students, who can complete their programs at the three campuses.

They also have the option to study courses online, while accessing face-to-face learning activities on campus.

“USC remains committed to its regional communities and to offering the very best higher education opportunities we can to our students at Fraser Coast, Gympie and Caboolture,” Ms Scott said.