Friday, September 7, 2018

Call for University to Establish in Western Sydney

Blacktown Council in Sydney's West has invited universities to set up a 5,000 student campus, expanding to 30,000 students. Their business  case argues a strong market demand for study in Sydney, good transport, businesses wanting to partner on logistics, manufacturing, engineering, IT, sport and medicine.

What the Council has not mentioned is the availability of existing buildings, suitable for conversion to a campus.  Universities no longer require large purpose built lecture theaters. What would be ideal is an old shopping mall, with adjacent cinema complex and office tower.

Also required are suitable professionals, who can be trained to teach, and a lifestyle suitable for attracting a few academics. A university campus only needs a handful of full time research orientated academics. What is required is a large supply of part time teachers who are already qualified in the discipline they are teaching.

What is not clear is how large the Council expects the campus to be. With students mostly studying on-line, a university only needs to accommodate about one fifth of the enrolled students at any one time. Also students are increasingly part-time. As a result a university campus accommodating 30,000 students suggests the actual number of students enrolled to be about 150,000.

I will be discussing Learning to use new  tech-infused teaching spaces, at EduBuild Asia 2018 in Singapore 10 October.

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