Federation University offering a swag of fresh, innovative courses | The Courier

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For year 12 graduate Sam Payne, it was the most unusual of VCE experiences. It was VCE but without the typical VCE experience. It was two years of learning shrouded in a pandemic fog of uncertainty, heightened stress and a perpetual wariness with the capricious toing and froing between classroom and remote learning. “The biggest challenge was that it was never solid lockdown or solid classroom learning; we had to alternate a lot between the two, so there was never time to fully adapt to one style of learning,” Sam said. IN OTHER NEWS: “In the end, we did manage, but a lot of my friends struggled to keep up with all the interruption.” The Damascus College alumnus, who has snagged a Bachelor of Information Technology (Professional Practice) offer from Federation University, said he would not miss the regimen of school life, nor the unique stress that coloured his year 12. “The school and our teachers were fantastic in trying to help maintain some kind of normalcy,” he said. “But I’m just really looking forward to moving on to university and meeting new people.” The long shadow of the pandemic, however, has not spared the university sector, with the frequent and unwanted suspension of campus life relegating thousands of students to remote learning. This reality, in turn, has removed occasion for those often-serendipitous encounters with strangers at university which lead to lifelong friendships or unforeseen career opportunities. For that reason, Sam’s decision to opt for a gap year would likely prove a judicious one, so far as it would enable him to avoid the uncertainty of facing university in a pandemic. “I am worried the pandemic will ruin my university experience,” he said. “But now that we’re above that vaccination rate, I hope that we’ll be able to have unis open.” Partly with a view to addressing the consequences of pandemic uncertainty for young people, Federation University has decided to expand the number of its courses which embed work-integrated learning within the course syllabus. By giving students a competitive edge in the job market, Federation University vice-chancellor Duncan Bentley said this would enable students to “get the high-quality education they need to pursue their career dreams” – notwithstanding the pandemic. “We are transforming the way that we operate to ensure our courses and programs align with industry needs so we can provide a pipeline of job ready graduates to work in our regions,” Professor Bentley said. “[We’re] the number one university in Victoria for undergraduate teaching quality, student support and graduate full-time employment.” To that extent, Sam’s chosen course is fairly typical of Federation University. Not only does it align with his passion for IT and data analytics, but it includes an industry-based learning placement with IBM. “I chose Fed Uni’s IT degree because I really liked the integration with IBM that they had,” he said. He is hopeful that by the time 2023 rolls around, society will have entered a post-pandemic world, open to the possibilities of pre-pandemic one. “I’m just really excited about meeting new people at uni, enjoying campus life and making new friends.” Federation University made 1125 first-round offers through VCAT a few days ago, with 466 related to courses offered at its Ballarat campuses. If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.


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