LA TROBE University will deliver an integrated learning experience for students in 2021 after a year of remote learning.
The university had to take students off campus at the start of semester one as the first COVID-19 restrictions were enforced. The second Victorian lockdown happened just as the university's semester two started.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Nicolette Lee said while remote learning had been successful, there was still some uncertainty about what 2021 would look like.
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"We think about how rapidly Victoria has moved in and out of constraints," Professor Lee said. "In some respects, it's difficult to anticipate what the entire year will involve.
"From what we have now and what we've learnt, there will be an additional virtual learning capacity. But it will be blended or integrated.
"We have a clear understanding of the capability we have in the university to deliver some really fantastic online learning resources that support different types of learners.
"There are opportunities for students to choose the types of online resources they can use and when they use them, in addition to classes and tutes."
La Trobe Bendigo third-year dentistry student Yukti Arya spent most of the year studying remotely in Sydney.
She was meant to start the practical elements of her course in February, but it was pushed back several times due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Instead, the 25-year-old started her clinical work back in Bendigo last month.
"It's been more intensive but I don't really mind," Miss Arya said. "Some parts of the course have been streamlined, which has been really good.
"It's been very COVID-safe, which I really appreciate. I love that La Trobe has been looking after our safety."
Miss Arya said while remote learning had its benefits this year, there would always be the need for the on-campus experience.
"As a student, university life is not just about learning," she said. "It's also about that social aspect.
"I don't see university going completely remote. A lot of subjects can go remote and it's really good for accessibility. But it's about finding that balance and providing alternatives for students."
Professor Lee said the on-campus experience was important.
"Students in our surveys have been really positive about remote learning," she said. "A fair proportion of students also say they have missed campus life.
"But they say they also really like the flexibility and having access to learning experiences when they need it and when they can work at their own pace."
Miss Arya said she felt prepared for next year, despite a disrupted 2020.
"I feel really good going into next year," she said. "I'm very positive about it. This year, the university has understood how challenging it has been on students and staff.
"My course has made it out of this year quite well and relatively unscathed. My third year has only been extended by about two months and I should graduate at the same time.
"We've learnt and reflected and come out of it pretty well."
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