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Some of the world’s worst climate criminals are gathering in Melbourne from October 28 to 31. Companies that profit from fuelling climate change, stealing Indigenous land and exploiting workers will gather at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC). Their actions drive animal extinction as well as the mass displacement of people.

Over 400 mining companies will convene at IMARC, including BHP and Rio Tinto. Companies who are at the core of the climate crisis. One of the sponsors for this conference is, unfortunately, the University of Melbourne. This is a stark contrast with the University’s sustainability plan.

With the climate entering meltdown, it’s urgent to disrupt the “business as usual” of major climate criminals, using mass civil disobedience. Thousands of people will be gathering to blockade this conference and make a statement that the exploitative mining industry, the destruction of the environment, the dispossession of Indigenous Land must be stopped. 

Students and the University of Melbourne will be making a point that our money should not be going to sponsoring destructive mining multinationals.

The details of the blockade are found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2288184937971076/

UMSU condemns the University of Melbourne for its part in sponsoring the IMARC Conference

UMSU asks the University of Melbourne how their sponsorship in the conference fits within their sustainability plan

UMSU strongly encourages all students to attend the peaceful IMARC blockade from the 29th of October 

This event brings together students, climate and mining activists, trade unionists, animal rights and other community activists to stand together in solidarity to “Blockade IMARC”. We’re standing up for a world where respect for people, animals and the planet comes before profit. 

Molly Willmott

UMSU President

This blockade, and the organising for it, is taking place on stolen lands of the Boonwurrung and Woiworung people of the Kulin Nation. Indigenous people worldwide are the most affected by mining and lead the resistance globally. Always was, always will be Aboringinal Land. 

 

 

 

TW// Transphobia, Mental Illness

The University of Melbourne Student Union would like to express its disappointment in the University of Melbourne for its part in hosting another transphobic event on campus this semester.

UMSU has made the decision not to repeat the name of this event as to not platform it and its explicit transphobia. This event, however, is another of a series of anti-trans events hosted at the University of Melbourne that delegitimise trans identities and make our campus unsafe for all trans and gender diverse students on the University of Melbourne.

This year, the University of Melbourne introduced a freedom of speech policy that outlined freedom for those to espouse different views to create diverse discourse on campus. However, in the words of the Vice Chancellor to The Age:

“The university does not support the exercise of freedom of speech when the exercise undermines the capacity of individuals to participate fully in the university, or jeopardises the physical safety of individuals, or unreasonably disrupts activities or operations of the university.”

in UMSU’s view, this event jeopardises the capacity of people to participate in university and the safety of students.

Gender identity is not a choice. Gender identity is not a mental illness or something that can be cured. Transphobic rhetoric on campus is harmful and should be actively confronted. Student safety and inclusion, especially of our trans comrades, is the responsibility of all at in the university community.

It is even more concerning that this event is being hosted in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. This is not the first time this year SHAPS and its staff platform transphobia. Earlier in the year, a SHAPS lecturer coordinated a panel fearmongering about the threats of trans people to women and feminism as the “end of sex-based rights”. It now appears that SHAPS has taken a role itself in platforming hatred and pathology.

UMSU calls on the university to publically condemn this event and publically reassure the university community that our campus is inclusive of all trans and gender diverse students

UMSU calls on SHAPS to publically reaffirm its commitment to fighting transphobia in the academy and its own events

UMSU encourages all students to attend an action organised by our Queer Department against this event. It will be held 4-5pm, Professors Walk in front of Arts West.

The University of Melbourne should be a place of rigorous discourse and world leading academic thought. This should not be at the expense of the safety and inclusion of an entire group of students.

Molly Willmott

UMSU President

Andie Moore

UMSU Queer Officer

 

Last week, the University of Melbourne council approved a policy outlining the University’s commitment to protecting free speech on campus. The policy can be found here.

The Freedom of Speech Policy provides a framework that serves the University and the public by promoting “critical and free enquiry, informed intellectual discourse and public debate within the University and in the wider society.”

This is following the findings of the Hon. Robert French’s 2018 review into free speech at universities, triggered by the Federal education minister, Dan Tehan.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk to you about why free speech and freedom of expression is important to our union and our campus.

Arguments and discussions about freedom of speech have been a hashed out again and again over the past year following several high-profile student protests at campuses across the country. During this period of heightened media coverage on this issue, UMSU has consistently stated that the idea that free speech is under threat is misconceived and based on misrepresentations of the actions of students, staff, and democratically elected student organisations. Much of what has been touted as a “crisis of free speech” in the past year has been alarmist and manufactured.

UMSU has a rich and successful history of protecting the rights of students to freedom of speech.  This is a critical component of achieving UMSU’s stated purposes: promoting political association on campus. We regard the ability to organise events and participate in activism, especially in forms of protest, as intrinsic to the running of our organisation and the broader health and diversity of our campuses. This exercise of freedom of political speech, whether it targets the administration of the University of Melbourne, how UMSU is run, or is aimed at boarder educational and social issues, is at the core of UMSU’s ability to represent the entire student body.

It is in the ability to mobilise campaigns on campus without fear of sanction or persecution that allows us to meet our aims and reach success in providing a better experience for students – from work, to study, to travel, to home. We are glad that the policy introduced by the University recognises and enshrines the right to protest as a ‘manifestation of freedom of speech’. Protest on campus should not be regulated or require permission.

We do, however, believe that policy needs to be met with cultural change on campus that promotes students’ voices, collectivism, and protest when needed.  UMSU does not advocate for a conception of free speech that amounts to the unfettered right to do or say anything, anywhere and at any time.  UMSU welcomes robust political debate – we do not support conversations about freedom of speech that are aimed at silencing political views that are different to our own.

Unfortunately, the conversation about of free speech is often marred by hate speech and bigotry; where the notion of freedom of speech has often been used by groups to defend their capacity to espouse views that are harmful to individuals based on who they are.  To be clear, freedom of speech does not mean freedom to be racist, freedom to be sexist or freedom to be homophobic.

Above all, UMSU believes that the University’s intellectual and cultural climate should be inclusive and safe for all students – and believe that the only place where intervention is required is when the conduct is presents an active risk to the safety of the student body.

Equally, UMSU believes that we all – students and the University – have an obligation to ensure that freedom of speech is real for students.  This means that we need to ensure that freedom of speech does not just mean that we continue to hear the same voices over and over again; that those voices that have not been heard or face barriers to expression are promoted and supported.

The University is governed by various policies that outline the acceptable behaviour of students and principles of freedom of expression. We are now also governed by a policy that outlines freedom of speech.

UMSU is concerned, however, with news that the government is further investigating legislative provisions that change the nature of free speech on campuses – and that the government and universities are engaging in this discussion without students.

We believe that any additional legislative intervention to impose “protective rules” on universities will paradoxically have the effect of limiting freedom of speech and academic freedom. Universities are centres of research and are grounded in a long tradition of rigour and evidence. Combating ignorant and baseless hate speech should be among the fundamental objects of higher education. Consequently, any interventions which threaten universities’ capacity to counter these forms of speech are ultimately more likely to achieve the very opposite to protecting freedom of expression and intellectual inquiry.

Molly Willmott

UMSU President

UMSU welcomes the initiatives to create a more student centred, integrated approach recently announced by Student Equity and Disability Services (SEDS).

We are aware that University staff with key roles in the Special Consideration process have been discussing ways in which the University can make special consideration more appropriate and compassionate. This year SEDS received SSAF Grant funding for a pilot project running until the end of the year to look at the resources required and best practice models to provide adequate case management and coordinated support for students with complex needs.

The UMSU Advocacy Service has been advised that SEDS is now focusing on upskilling staff in developmental advising, exploring extending length of appointments and introducing options for meeting with same advisor consistently. We understand that, as these improvements are implemented, SEDS will seek student feedback with a view to becoming more student-centred.

This is an opportunity for the University to truly demonstrate that there is meaning behind its latest marketing slogan: ”Come as you are.  Leave as you want to be.” Apart from courting a copyright law suit from the estate of Kurt Cobain, this sends a clear message to students that the University takes as we come and provides support to us to ensure that when we leave this place, we can do so, not only knowing that we have not been disadvantaged by circumstances out of our control, but as the best people we can be.

This is why we need to talk about Special Consideration and the processes the University uses to make adjustments to assessment for those times when coming as you are means that you would be disadvantaged in relation to others.

It is worthy of note that special consideration disputes and complaints make up almost a fifth of the UMSU Advocacy Service’s caseload. In fact, students complain about each step of this process:

  • The application process for special consideration is opaque from the start;
  • there is a lack of transparency in how and why decisions are made;
  • decisions are often unduly fettered by rigid, black letter adherence to policy, where compassion and discretion is warranted; and
  • applications are bounced between processes on technical grounds until unpublished deadlines have passed and applications can no longer be considered.

 

We need to bear in mind that these are students who are already suffering hardship and disruption to their academic lives, and the state of current processes frequently exacerbates their conditions. That is, when students are coming to the University “as they are” and that means that they are unwell or struggling in some way, the University is making things worse for students who are asking for help.

Students have been providing feedback on their experience of student support at the University for many years, and the Advocacy Service has been raising the same issues for over a decade. Most recently UMSU’s submission to the University’s MSEEP Green paper in April reiterated the same concerns. Consequently, none of the issues experienced by students in relation to the University’s approach to special consideration are new.

UMSU is of the view that students’ poor experience of special consideration processes will only begin to improve if there is a fundamental shift in attitude on the part of the University. Principally there needs to be a shift from the current approach which appears predicated on the idea that students are trying to game the system and routinely apply for Special Consideration with the aim of achieving an advantage that other students do not enjoy.  The University calls these “strategic behaviours” but there is no evidence to justify this approach to students who are suffering or are sick.

Only when applications for special consideration, and requests for equitable academic adjustments are received and processed in good faith will students begin to experience the process as more compassionate and less punitive.  Students are saying that we just want to be able to “come as we are” and that when we do the University will work with us.   Instead, many students experience the University’s response to this as a cruel and unusual punishment.

We hope that, after a decade of raising the issues, the University is finally committed to these foreshadowed improvements. Coordinated support in particular will hopefully change the culture regarding supporting documentation for students registered for ongoing support. Currently the documentation cycle is reminiscent of Centrelink’s approach, demanding new evidence even when there has been no change in long term or chronic conditions.

UMSU would also welcome changes which bring the University into proper compliance with the Disability Standards for Education, including:

  • Enhanced consultation with students about academic adjustments to reach a mutually beneficial outcome where the adjustments are reasonable and meet the particular needs of the student;
  • Improved education for academic staff regarding how to balance the competing priorities of equitable adjustments and inherent academic requirements;
  • Alleviating the burden on students to advocate for academic adjustments when the student is already unwell;
  • Taking a more compassionate and less simplistic approach to available outcomes of special consideration for cases that require complex decision-making; and
  • Clear information about deadlines and dates which are frequently invoked to disallow requests. For example, the “hard deadline” for Alternative Exam Arrangements (AEAs) needs to be made clear to students, including being listed on the “key dates” section of the Uni Website and the Dates and Times section of subjects in the Handbook.

 

Ultimately, we agree that we should be able to come to the University “as we are” and that we will have confidence that the University will respond to how we are with compassion and understanding.  Please.

Molly Willmott

UMSU President

Today, the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) launched the first session of workshops for our Safer Partying Initiative, a program based around principles of holistic harm reduction in drug use. We’re excited to launch this program now, especially in the lead up to the summer festival season where we know drug related deaths are the biggest threat for young people.

In these workshops led by DanceWize (Harm Reduction Victoria), UMSU will provide honest evidence-based education around drug use including the risks, stigmas associated, and ways to look after yourself and your friends. Literature and easy access information about safe drug use will also be provided, and after the workshop students who have participated will receive a token for 3 reagent pill-testing kits to be collected from Harm Reduction Victoria.

While UMSU does not condone the use of illicit substances, we recognise that young people will partake in drug use regardless, and the best way to prevent drug-related harm is through harm reduction strategies.

 

Desiree Cai

UMSU President

Dear members,

UMSU is giving notice that it intends to end its current appointment of an independent financial auditor, and that it intends to appoint a new financial auditor in August.

UMSU is an incorporated association, which means that every year, it must have its finances independently audited, and that audit must be presented at a general meeting. The last audit was presented at a general meeting on the 1st of May.

In 2013, UMSU appointed Moore Stephens (later Shinewing) to be UMSU’s auditors. Since then, Moore Stephens (and later Shinewing) have audited UMSU’s finances every year, including the audit that was presented in May.

UMSU opened expressions of interest for an auditor on the 5th of March this year, and received four submissions. After reviewing these submissions and additionally seeking advice from the University, the CEO, President and General Secretary of UMSU recommended to the Students’ Council of UMSU an auditor. Students’ Council, acting as the board of directors of UMSU, endorsed that recommendation.

A special general meeting must be held to make the appointment. This special general meeting is scheduled for the 28th of August, 2018, in North Court, the time of which is to be advised.

The motion to be considered by this Special General Meeting is that the appointment of the current auditor be terminated and that the auditor endorsed by the Students’ Council be appointed auditor.

Please contact the General Secretary at secretary@union.unimelb.edu.au if you have any questions.

What is Cadmus?

In the University’s words:

“Cadmus is an online web authoring environment (similar to Google Docs) that aims to address the problem of contract cheating by providing an authenticated, online authoring environment for individual written assessment. This environment includes: keystroke biometrics; multi-factor geolocation authentication; and the capture of unique data that is analysed automatically to highlight statistical outliers. Taken together, the system presents an opportunity for identified cases to be further investigated to determine whether the work was authentically constructed within Cadmus, and whether the submitted work was authored by the appropriate student.”

What does this mean for students?

You will have to complete your assignment within the Cadmus interface. While you type, your keystrokes (your typing pattern, rhythm and speed) and location (via your smartphone or email) will be collected and analysed. The intention is to ensure you are the author of your work. The reality is that the University will be collecting your personal data and limiting your ability to work in flexible ways.

Cadmus will place considerable limits on the way you work as a student while collecting your personal data.

It’s intrusive, it’s controlling, and it assumes all students are out to cheat.

Why does the University want to implement Cadmus?

Cadmus aims to address the problem of contract cheating, the process where a student employs someone else to produce an assessment that is submitted as their own work.

The mandatory implementation of the software would allow the University to further demonstrate its commitment to academic honesty but also to guard its reputation in a media landscape that has questioned the tertiary sector’s ability to guarantee the integrity of its degrees. Cadmus is also being developed by University of Melbourne alumni as part of the University of Melbourne’s startup Accelerator Program. The University may enjoy acclaim from developing and selling such software that requires less financial commitment than a well-resourced academic cohort.

The reasons for implementing Cadmus are not all negative. However, if the University chooses this path, one that would have such a considerable effect on students and how they study and their future, then it is of utmost important that the University engage authentically with students and student representative during this process.

What’s happened so far?

The University has been looking to implement Cadmus since 2016. They conducted a series of trials throughout 2016 and 2017 to test the software’s functionality.

These trials are expected to be ongoing, continuing later in 2018.

What are the issues with Cadmus?

Since UMSU was made aware of Cadmus, we have been fighting to ensure that it will not disadvantage students. Up until now, the University consistently failed to engage in broad consultation with students beyond a select few, and have failed to engage with key issues and concerns.

Freedom to work in a way that suits you

Being monitored while you work is extraordinarily intrusive. Cadmus could mark your assignment as deviating from the norm if you copy & paste a lot when editing or transcribe from another word processor or hand-written notes. This means you will be investigated for potential academic misconduct by the University. If this happens, the burden is on you to prove you did not cheat.

UMSU does not believe that academic integrity should come at the expense of your practical freedom. We believe that much more needs to be done to ensure you are not unduly restricted in how you can study.

Personal data

Cadmus will be tracking data such as how many words you type and at what speed, how many deletions you make, how many sessions it takes for you to complete your work and when those occur, and where you are when you access Cadmus.

We don’t know how the data collected by Cadmus will be used, who will have access to it or for how long it will be retained.  There is no policy to regulate how much information tutors will have access to about your study habits and whether they will use this data to inform their marking of your work. There is also no policy to ensure that data will only be used for purposes necessary for the completion of a subject.

UMSU believes that data needs to be collected and stored ethically, that any data collection should only occur if students are informed of and consent to it, and that data cannot be used for any purpose other than what’s required for the completion of a subject.

Lack of equity

Accessibility issues have not been meaningfully addressed in the past Cadmus trials.

  • Currently Cadmus requires you to go through online verification every time you log in, disadvantaging students who do not have regular internet access.
  • There is no clear compatibility between Cadmus and assistive technologies (screen readers, specialised keyboards, etc). Assistive technologies and Cadmus will be taken on a case-by-case basis, which places significant burden on students.
  • There has been no work done to incorporate Cadmus with special consideration or academic adjustment policies, meaning that students who require adjustments will be left on their own to seek help on a case by case basis.

UMSU believes the only way to ensure students are not disadvantaged is to account for students with disabilities from the very start of the development process.

UMSU believes Cadmus cannot be implemented in its current state.

Join UMSU in saying: Cadmus? Not on my campus!

Sign our petition to call upon Margaret Shiel, the Provost of the University of Melbourne, to reconsider the decision to implement a Cadmus pilot in Semester 1 2018: www.actionnetwork.org/petitions/cadmus 

Get involved in the campaign – sign up to help out here: https://goo.gl/forms/3uneRLNojrRwfiKq1 

And if you’d like to get in contact with us directly, please don’t hesitate to email Yan (UMSU President) at president@union.unimelb.edu.au or Sinead (Education Public Officer) at educationpublic@union.unimelb.edu.au.

Early Monday morning, it was brought to our attention that racist posters targeting Chinese international students had been put up around the University of Melbourne Parkville campus. The posters stated in Mandarin, “Attention, entry into the campus of Chinese students should be strictly prohibited. If violated, you can be deported from the country” and included the logos of the University of Melbourne, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) and the National Union of Students (NUS). The posters were clearly false, had no factual basis and were of malicious intent.

UMSU has alerted the University and campus security, and an investigation is currently underway. The posters have been attributed to a white supremacist, neo-Nazi group which has previously targeted the University of Melbourne. It has also been brought to our attention that similar posters were also found at Monash University, bearing their respective logos.

We vehemently condemn these posters and the group behind them. We want all incoming students to feel safe and welcome on campus. UMSU does not tolerate any kind of racism. We are committed to ensuring the university is a welcoming place for Chinese students, as well as for students of all nationalities and cultural backgrounds.

This was clearly an attempt to create divisions in the student body. As a community committed to inclusivity, we want to stress that being disgusted and outraged isn’t enough. This is a call to action for everyone to welcome incoming students and to reach out and support their classmates. It is everyone’s responsibility to make each other feel welcome and comfortable on campus. If you are as disgusted by these posters as we are, we encourage you to take tangible steps to reach out to other students to strengthen the campus community.

If you see something on campus that concerns you, please contact Campus Security on +61 8344 6666 or 1800 246 066.

 

Yan Zhuang
UMSU President

The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) is deeply disappointed to see that that young people and society’s most vulnerable were not the Government’s priorities in this Federal Budget.

Young people today face unprecedented challenges to financial stability. Graduate employment prospects are at an all-time low, having fallen from 88% to 68% in the last thirty years. We are being priced out of the house market while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Despite this, the Government has decided to hand down a budget that will exacerbate student hardships while providing tax cuts to big businesses. This budget illustrates just how the Government perceives young people – as a source of revenue, dole bludgers and drug addicts, rather than an integral aspect of the nation’s future. It shows just how out of touch the Government is with young people and their needs.

These are the areas of the budget that will hit students the hardest:

University fee increases

The rise in course fees for students means that for a four-year course, a student may need to pay an additional $3,600. It is ridiculous to expect students to pay more for a degree in an economy where they are increasingly worthless. Graduate outcomes have continued to fall and graduates face a hostile job market. Increasing university fees in our current economic climate is student exploitation.

The lowering of the HECS repayment threshold from $54,869 per annum to $42,000 will require students to repay their loans sooner and adversely affect students trying to achieve financial security in an unstable job market. It will drag almost 200,000 extra graduates into the repayment system. On top of this, the 2.5% cut in University funding programs will reduce the quality of education while encouraging institutions to increase student fees to make up the difference. We have seen time after time that funding cuts to universities lead to bigger class sizes, more staff redundancies and less available resources and support services for students. This instance will be no different. 

These measures will disproportionately affect students from already disadvantaged backgrounds at a time when students face higher costs of living than ever before. By increasing the barriers to higher education, students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, rural students, and more will be priced out of attending university.

Furthermore, by increasing fees for New Zealand and Australian permanent residents, an integral part of our student cohort will be discouraged to study in Australia. UMSU has already spoken to multiple students who are reconsidering doing further study in Australia because of these changes. 

Changes to allocation of Commonwealth Supported Places

We are deeply concerned about what the changes to the allocation of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) will mean for University of Melbourne students. The cuts to CSP places and the potential for changing scholarship criteria from year to year will create massive amounts of uncertainty for current undergraduate students.

It seems that students will be faced with a choice between doing postgraduate study at an exorbitant cost they hadn’t anticipated, or risk being unable to find a job with only a bachelor’s degree – a choice they never signed up to make.

These changes also have the potential to significantly discourage postgraduate study and disrupt the foundations of the University of Melbourne. The premise of the Melbourne Model is that students do a general undergraduate degree, followed by a specialised postgraduate degree, combined in one holistic package. New measures which increase the cost of these types of degrees will significantly lower their desirability. In an increasingly competitive market where a postgraduate degree is a requirement for many jobs, UMSU condemns any measure to discourage postgraduate study.

UMSU is heartened to see that the University of Melbourne has come out in opposition to higher education measures that will leave students worse off.

Welfare measures

The proposed measures to “crack down on dole bludgers” will require students to jump through yet more unnecessary hoops. The move to a demerits system assumes that young people cannot be trusted to do the right thing on their own. It ignores any number of reasons why someone might not be able to fulfil their requirements – e.g. health reasons or having a disability. To impose a condition that someone must take any job they are offered, lest their payments be cut for four weeks, will force people to accept any manner of work even if it is unsuitable for them.

The proposed random drug testing of welfare recipients, similarly, plays into negative and demeaning stereotypes about welfare recipients. It seems like the government is constantly trying to find new ways to try to catch out these mythical “dole bludgers”. However, as incidents like the Centrelink debacle at the beginning of the year show, these measures have been ineffective and enormously stressful for those subjected to them.

There is little evidence to support the notion that our current welfare system is overrun by “dole bludgers”. Rather, young people are trying as hard as they can to find work in a market that simply does not offer enough jobs.

A system which tries to solve youth unemployment by holding welfare payments hostage unless people apply for and accept jobs indiscriminately is absurdly short sighted and unrealistic. If young people are failing to fulfill their welfare payment requirements, the Government’s response should not be to suggest that they are trying to game the system. It should be to take them in good faith and treat them with compassion, understanding that there may be a number of other factors at play.

UMSU’s future budget actions

UMSU calls upon students at the University of Melbourne to stand in opposition to these measures in the Federal Budget.

We will be running a campaign to target cross-bench senators with the aim of stopping these budget measures from passing in the Senate. We will be getting students to send postcards voicing their opinions to these senators, as well as running a number of phone banks.

We are also supporting the National Union of Students’ National Day of Action on Wednesday 17 May. As well as organising a University of Melbourne contingent to the rally, we will be running a number of events in the lead-up including a banner painting session and a speak out BBQ pre-rally.

 

Yan Zhuang
UMSU President

 

Ever had to wait two hours to select your timetable and think the system should be changed? Want more summer and winter subjects, or annoyed about only being able to do some subjects as intensives during the break?

The University of Melbourne is currently considering a whole range of changes to the way it delivers educational content to students through their Flexible Academic Programming project (FlexAP). These include changing the way timetabling is done, increasing the number of classes held outside traditional class times, using more technology in teaching practices, and more – things that could really affect your academic experience.

There are eight areas that are being considered, and recommendations have been released for four of these areas (with the other four set to be released in the next couple of months).

These are:

Large Undergraduate Subjects

Recommendations

  • Create more opportunities for active engagement in large lectures (e.g. asking students to do polls on their laptops/smartphones)
  • Increasing the types of assessments conducted (think more multiple choice questions in exams, peer assessments, and online assessments)
  • Improving Uniwireless

University Timetabling

Recommendations

  • Moving to a preference based timetabling system, where you put in your preferences for classes and are automatically given a timetable based on that – where this has been done at other universities, in most cases, students are given their first or second preference
  • Opening up more classes slots earlier on (so you won’t have that situation where you select your class, check back a few days later and four other tutorial slots have popped up out of the blue). This means that there’s the potential that some classes will be cancelled if they don’t have enough students, but the University estimates that there will be more students who benefit from more class choice than who will need to be reallocated  
  • Letting students do their timetabling as soon as they enrol/re-enrol for the year (so in November)
  • Having more information about subjects (e.g. subject guides, Powerpoint slides from previous years) available earlier on, with the aim of reducing how many times students need to change their subject selection

Harnessing Virtual Infrastructure (i.e. how to use technology)

Recommendations:

  • Providing more online only subjects for those students who wish to be able to take an online subject.  
  • Using more technology so that assessments can be done and feedback given online
  • Using technology to encourage interaction between students (think online discussion boards, wikis, Peermark)
  • Creating a University-wide clicker system to allow lecturers to do more in-lecture polling

Optimising Physical Infrastructure (i.e. how to maximise space at uni)

Recommendations

  • Looking into the possibility of holding more classes outside of traditional class times – after hours, on the weekend, and during the summer and winter break
  • Making classrooms available as informal study spaces when they’re not being used for classes

Some of these recommendations could have really great results, but as always care must be taken to ensure that any changes do not negatively impact learning quality or course flexibility. We want to know what you think of them, so that we can represent your voices when talking to the University about them. Fill in our student survey at: https://goo.gl/forms/zszlNnXDlBaT0j7R2

If you’d like to read the papers in full, you can do so here: http://go.unimelb.edu.au/uy5a

And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Education Academic officers at educationacademic@union.unimelb.edu.au