Emerging technologies and online marketplaces are changing the way students study in Australia

Despite its challenges, the pandemic represents an exciting time for technology in higher education. It has accelerated the uptake of digital media and AI among other new innovations.

The pandemic and its ongoing externalities have accelerated the uptake of new technologies, changing the way students access and participate in vocational and higher education in Australia.

Since 1910 Australia has had a strong culture of distance education, owing to the size of our country and the corresponding distance between students and teaching facilities, and we were using online distance education as early as the 1990s. Now, like many digital technologies, the prominence of distance education has risen drastically over the course of the last two years of pandemic. With this shift has come the adoption of new software to expand the possibilities of distance education, such as exam proctoring software that allows students off campus to participate. These use a range of models, some making use of AI (which has received a mixed reception) and others extending the reach of human invigilators.

Meanwhile, closed borders and a shortage of required professional skills have increased the pressure to re- and up-skill among the workforce, and the Australian Government has lately provided a grant to the Universities Admissions Centre to establish a marketplace for microcredentials. This will be a platform that allows students to compare short courses and shows them how various microcredentials may contribute to larger qualifications over time.

These aren’t the only new education technologies up and coming. At Western Sydney University, there’s a team using AI to show students desirable course progressions that can help them achieve the career outcomes they’re seeking. And, rising through the gaps of an uncertain market for international students, Australian start up Adventus is streamlining the connections between agencies and recruiters of international students and institutions of higher education where they can study, and has enjoyed booming business during the pandemic.

Properly applied and supported, new technologies can help broaden access for students and extend the capacity of higher education institutions. The unique pressures of the pandemic have popularised new and developing education technologies. Despite the challenges of border closures, lockdowns and social disruption, this marks an exciting time for technology in the higher education industry.

ResearchMaster is also changing the higher education landscape with technology. We empower institutions to drastically streamline research administration. Find out more.

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