The future of higher education – TEQSA conference focuses on emerging trends
The second day of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency’s (TEQSA) annual conference kicked off with a thought provoking key note presentation by Ralph Wolff, President of The Quality Assurance Commons in the US.
Mr. Wolff’s presentation touched on the turbulent nature of US higher education in the days preceding President Trump’s inauguration, before focusing on emerging trends and technologies which are re-shaping the way American’s learn.
Another session, titled ‘Is higher education meeting industry challenges?’ chaired by Tim Dodd, Editor of The Australian’s higher education supplement, featured Kate Carnell AO, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Mark Peterson AO, Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Skills Quality Authority, Professor Dominic Szambowski, Chief Executive Officer of the International College of Management and Natasha Abrahams, General Secretary of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations.
The session posed the question of whether certain profession based degrees, like engineering, should move towards vocational style learning, or ‘degree apprenticeships’. Ms. Abrahams provided a student view on the issue, agreeing with the sentiment but noting that work placements need to be meaningful and offer students real learning outcomes.
One of the conferences’ most anticipated panel discussions, titled ‘Quality, success and an online future’ focused on the opportunities and challenges facing higher education providers and students as online learning becomes ubiquitous in the sector.
Panel member Professor Belinda Tynan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) RMIT University told attendees that ‘getting the right student, in the right program, with the right support’ is vital for successful online learning.
The day was wrapped up with a panel discussion between Sophie Johnston, President of the National Union of Students, Sadie Heckenberg, President National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association, Anthony McClaran, TEQSA Chief Executive Officer and Cliff Walsh, TEQSA Commissioner.