University students feel forgotten

LibraryThe library at Ourimbah campus of University of Newcastle

With new research indicating that around 68 per cent of Australian higher education students believe that they are falling behind on their studies due to COVID-19, the Central Coast Council of Parents and Citizens (CCCP&C) is calling for more direction and support for local university students.

“University students, especially those in their first few years, have struggled with learning from home during the pandemic,” CCCP&C President, Sharryn Brownlee, said.

“The varying quality of online material, lack of contact with teachers and peers has impacted greatly.

“Many are global citizens and care greatly about the world around them and the impact of COVID but are struggling to understand what is required of them without classes, discussions and interaction with peers and lecturers.

“Many haven’t had enough clear communication of work to be completed or outcomes expected from them, and very limited support for their well-being.”

Brownlee said uni students were a generation that understood “outcomes based education”.

“With strong support of teachers and a transparent NESA framework, they have achieved in their school years, but without such systems in university, they are rightly anxious.

“They have seen schools open but not universities, and they feel forgotten.

“They need special provisions and extra support to ensure that they are ready for working life,” Brownlee said.

The State of Student Success and Engagement in Higher Education report was issued by Instructure, the makers of Canvas Learning Management System, based on a survey that it commissioned from Hanover Research of 550 Australian students and administrators.

It reveals how socioeconomic disparities influence the success of students more than ever during the pandemic and have impacted student engagement.

The report lists work readiness as the number one priority for students as they work towards graduation, with 77 per cent rating it very important or extremely important, followed closely by holistic development and securing a job that they’re studying in (72 per cent equally).

51 per cent said their preference for online learning has increased due to the emergence of COVID-19 restrictions.

Terry Collins