University of Melbourne reopens campus through their ‘three-mode delivery’ system5 March 2021
After almost an entire year of remote learning, the University of Melbourne will be reopening to students in January 2021 through a three-mode delivery system for the First Half Year of 2021. This system includes online classes, campus-based classes, and dual-delivery where classes are taught both online and in-person.
All students may enrol in dual-delivery and online subjects however, campus-based subjects require that students must be able to attend campus. For this reason, international students are encouraged to remain in their home countries “until restrictions are lifted and the University advises … that [international students] can come to campus”.
Moreover, the University has also developed a research assessment and prioritisation criteria to aid graduate researchers in continuing their on-campus research activities.
Without formal approval to attend campus via enrolment in campus-based subjects or through the graduate research prioritisation assessment, students will be unable to access buildings in early 2021. This also includes the parks and grounds.
The Baillieu Library is currently the only facility open to all University staff and students without need for approval. However, services such as viewing the Archives and Special Collections will require booking an appointment online. The other libraries remain closed, though a plan by the University aims to phase a re-opening of physical library services by early 2021.
However, universities such as Monash and RMIT are doing a full reopening of their campus. Monash has stated that its on-campus learning is in line with current State Government restrictions and expects “all students based in Australia will be in Melbourne and attending on-campus activities from the commencement of semester”.
A spokesperson for the University said that through the three-mode delivery system their “aim is to bring back as much in-person learning as is feasible in 2021 within current guidelines”.
“[The return to campus plan] is designed to support the priority return of teaching and learning, research and student activities to campus in 2021 in a way that ensures the safety of our University community,” they said.
Although Arts student Theodora Beatty completed her first year entirely online, she understands the conservative approach the University has taken compared to Monash.
“It’s reasonable considering the uncertainty surrounding Melbourne’s current COVID-19 situation, and I appreciate that it allows students stuck overseas to participate in classes,” said Beatty.
“I’d prefer to move fully on-campus once there is less risk of having to transition back to online classes. I think campus life is incredibly important, but so is continuity.”
However, first-year Music student Henry Langley disagrees.
“I personally would prefer campus to be open, since a large reason for my decision to choose Melbourne was due to the excellent facilities it provides towards a music degree,” said Langley.
“Without going on campus, it would make it a lot more difficult to keep motivation to practice and with experience from last year, learning an instrument from your computer is a very difficult thing to do.”
Regardless, the University is set to implement its three-mode delivery system for early 2021. Delivery modes for the Second Half Year will be confirmed later this year in alignment with government restrictions and public health advice.