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Delivering a better way to learn: SCU Buzz

3 women


Content team
28 August 2023

This year, Southern Cross University finalised its rollout of the Southern Cross Model across all disciplines – a new, innovative academic model that champions focused, active learning. The Model saw the retirement of the traditional semesters and the introduction of six-week Terms.

SCU Buzz host River sat down with the designers of the Southern Cross Model, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Quality) Professor Thomas Roche and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Innovation) Professor Erica Wilson, to discuss why the new model was introduced, the theory behind it and its effect on student success.

Speaking to the differences between the Southern Cross Model and the traditional semester model, Professor Roche said the new Model is designed to slot into the busy lives of students, allowing them to balance study with work and other commitments.

“We thought about how we could help students gain more focus in their study. So, they’re not juggling as many tasks. We also looked at the type of learning we deliver. Instead of sitting in lecture theatres and listening, we wanted them talking, interacting, solving problems and working on cases,” he said.

Professor Wilson said assessment methods have been revolutionised in the Southern Cross Model.

“We’ve removed most of our heavily weighted examinations because we don’t believe that is the best way to assess students,” she said. “We want more authentic, lived assessment that actually means something in the real world.”

The Southern Cross Model is seeing a wider variety of students succeed with the number of students passing their units increasing and absent fail rates decreasing significantly.

For students commencing study under the new Model, Professor Roche said to ask plenty of questions and keep an eye on your learning sites from the start of Term.

“With a six-week Term, you need to be engaged from the get-go, reading, answering the quizzes, doing the activities, working with other students so that you make the most of the time you have,” he said.

Learn more about the Southern Cross Model.

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