Monday, July 08, 2013
In "Uncapped university" Andee Jones (Online Opinion, 8 July 2013) writes: "Last year I enrolled in Masters-level courses ... academic equivalent of a chockers London Underground lift...". But which university and which masters course was this? My recent experience as a masters student was not like that, with small face-to-face classes and good on-line programs.
Universities, at least the ones I have attended recently (ANU and USQ) and the institutions I teach at (ANU and ACS CPEP), are very sensitive to comments from students. Students can complain to the university and government regulators. If you are unhappy with your course, then raise it with the internal university feedback processes, complain to the government regulator, and/or blog it.
If classrooms are grossly overcrowded, this may be a fire hazard which is a matter for local government authorities, who can order the building, or the whole campus, closed. When I have raised safety problems at a university, these have been quickly addressed. It helps if the VC's staff are reading your blog. ;-)
Another avenue for complaint is professional associations which accredit university courses. Universities are very keen to retain accreditation.
Also if you are unhappy with Australian universities, you can take your business elsewhere. There are other forms of education in Australia, such as Registered Training Organizations (RTOs). The RTOs have expanded beyond traditional trade courses. Recently I went through the certification process to teach in RTOs.
In addition there are smaller boutique programs connected to universities. I teach a course in the Australian Computer Society Computer Professional Education Program (ACS CPEP). The classes typically have twelve to twenty four students and the program is articulated to some university masters programs:
Ultimately, if you are not happy with Australian education, there are on-line university programs available from around the world. At the moment I am looking at doing the Masters in Learning Innovation by Distance Learning at University of Leicester.