Our next steps in digital

A message from the Interim Provost, Professor Zlatko Skrbis:

Thank you to the many ACU staff members who have contacted me with kind words and well-wishes since the announcement last week of my appointment to the future role of ACU Vice-Chancellor and President. I have again been reminded of the ACU community’s uniquely generous and positive spirit and I look forward with great excitement to working with you all to keep shaping a strong, sustainable and vibrant future for the university.

At present, our senior university team and I continue to support Professor Greg Craven with a range of critical tasks and ongoing projects. In addition, I remain focused on the responsibilities of my current role as Interim Provost, and the multiple projects underway in the portfolio. These include improving our course offer and student experience, diversifying our revenue sources and extending ACU’s digital learning and teaching capability.

The importance of high-quality digital education has been brought into sharp and rapid focus this year, as the higher education sector has grappled with the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. However, a need to harness digital opportunities to meet the changing education needs of a global market has been a long time coming.

To build ACU’s digital education presence quickly, and at the scale required to make an impact and be competitive, the university needs to work with an online program manager (OPM) partner. An OPM will deliver a robust and fit-for-purpose digital platform that facilitates a sophisticated and flexible use of technology for ACU’s teaching and learning.

A well-conceived education strategy will guide our approach to complement ACU’s face-to-face course offerings. The focus will be on quality learning, student experience, and providing an ‘anytime anywhere’ learning environment for our students. To this end, we will first review all aspects of our current online offerings and then the university will commence an OPM tender process. The quality assurance for ACU courses, regardless of the delivery method, will remain with ACU. I look forward to continuing this discussion with staff and receiving feedback about our plans for digital education. In the coming weeks, I will provide information about the various communication channels available for information and consultation.

Safer care respiratory program

In an important move for our health care colleagues, the ACU School of Nursing, with funding support from the Department of Human Services in Victoria, has developed a comprehensive educational program that supports nurses working with patients in a COVID-19 environment.

I’m pleased to report that as of 5 August 2020, 750 participants have undertaken ACU’s Safer care COVID4NURSES respiratory program. This program is providing ACU’s Victorian based registered nurses (70% of participants) and enrolled nurses (18% of participants) with knowledge and confidence in the practice, processes, and management of COVID-19. Program data indicates that participants are employed at 88 different health services and that regional nurses make up 60% of the student cohort.

The COVID4NURSES program is not only helping to provide a critical service in Victoria, but it also aligns with ACU’s mission to serve the common good.

Professor Zlatko Skrbis
Interim Provost

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