In 2018, Victoria University introduced an Australian-first of its kind innovative block study teaching model.
Offered to first-year undergraduate students, the block model of study is described as one of the biggest student-centred, staff-led and community-integrated transformation programs undertaken in higher education in Australia. It aims to reduce the stress of university study by completing subjects in ‘blocks’ rather than all at once.
Professor Ian Solomonides will be speaking about how VU’s block model has taken a whole of university approach to curriculum design for improving the quality of student learning at the Future Teaching & Learning in Higher Education Conference.
While traditional university courses require students to manage the demands and deadlines of multiple units at the same time, VU’s block model enables undergraduate students to focus on one unit at a time.
“There’s one class to focus on so you can really commit to that class and you can do your assigned homework or your assignments in a way that suits you,” says Declan, VU Sports and Exercise student. (VU block model)
The benefits of the block study model for undergraduate students include the opportunity to accelerate learning and graduate earlier or slow down learning because of other life events.
These benefits of block mode teaching have been extended to VU’s postgraduate students as online courses including VU Online’s Master of Business Administration.
VU Online offers postgraduate students an innovative ‘six-study-period per year’ model. This means you can finish your degree faster by completing units more quickly than many traditional part-time postgraduate courses. At the same time, you can slow your study down at any time you wish to meet the demands of work or family.
VU Online’s intuitive online learning platform, VU Collaborate, makes postgraduate study incredibly accessible. Resources, coursework, assignments and student support are available 24/7 via VU Collaborate. Whether you fit study in around work, children or other priorities, you can still achieve your dream of earning a higher degree with VU Online.
Some of the points Professor Ian will cover in his session will include “Outcomes a year into Australia’s first block model of teaching”
These are some of the outcomes that have occurred after the implementation of the model.
A dramatic improvement in grades was noticed under the block model. The highest rate of increase seen in distinctions and high distinctions, from 35% in 2017 to over 50% in 2018.
Student satisfaction & retention
Strong student retention rates combined with high satisfaction rates were noticed after the implementation of the program. Close to 80% retention and satisfaction rates.
The first year model featured smaller classes, meaning more opportunity to friends and increased one-on-one time with lecturers. The timetable of three-hour workshops, three times a week is critical for students to achieve balance, and continue working while pursuing outside interests.
Student support led to the extension of the block model
VU will continue extending the block mode of teaching across all undergraduate and postgraduate courses by 2020. In a survey of over 1000 First Year Model students, nearly three-quarters expressed their support for extending the block model.
The block mode of teaching will be extended to second-year subjects next year, and third- and fourth-year subjects in 2020.
Learn from Professor Ian Solomonides, Vice President of learning and teaching In Victoria University about the implementation process and the challenges they faced in implementing the successful VU block model. Don’t miss his case study session at the Future Teaching & Learning in Higher Education Conference on the 20th & 21st March 2019, in Melbourne.