A version of this article about our Practera programs was first published in The Australian on 19 Feb 2020.
Around Australia, Universities are currently responding to a serious challenge – how to support the international students – predominantly from China – whose commencement has been impacted by novel Coronavirus. As of the first week of February, 106,680 Chinese international students with visas to study at universities and schools remain stuck outside Australia, – 56% of the entire cohort. Estimates of the potential adverse economic impact on Australia currently range from $3 – $8 billion.
Projects Programs supporting the majority of Australian Universities
Edtech startup Practera is currently supporting more than 20 Australian Universities and a number of State Governments to provide industry project experiences with hundreds of Australian employers to thousands of international students. However this year, a substantial proportion of the participating students – more than 20% – have been impacted by Coronavirus travel restrictions.
Davina Potts, Associate Director Careers, Employability & Global Learning at Melbourne University has a number of impacted students participating in Study Melbourne’s Live Projects program. Live Projects is a 3 week industry project experience where students work to solve a challenge for an Australian business, government or community organisation. It ordinarily involves both in-person meetings and online collaboration. Davina said that “Work Integrated Learning experiences like Live Projects help our students develop invaluable, authentic Australian workplace experience. We were pleased that the Practera platform was able to be quickly reconfigured to support a high quality online only WIL experience for our impacted international students.”
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A focus on student experience and industry engagement
Monash University Commerce student and Study Melbourne Student Ambassador Yi Su, arrived in Australia just hours before the travel ban was put into place and decided to self-quarantine. From her home in Melbourne’s suburbs, she is working collaboratively with her team of Chinese students at home in Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing, and stuck in a hotel room in Bangkok to complete their project for an Australian tech startup. Yi Su – “It is a very challenging time, and I am grateful that we have been offered a solution for students who can’t be here in person. This virtual Live Project allows my peers and I to improve our employability skills and practice online collaboration by engaging in a real project with an Australian company. Our client and mentor have been really encouraging and supportive of our situation.”
Industry clients and mentors have been keen to support the students. Yi Su’s team Mentor Li Zhang is the CEO of the Australia-China Economic Trade & Investment Expo (ACETIE) “I have been trying to be extra supportive to the team who are working hard and are grateful to be able to complete this project. I’ve been emphasising that the future of work will demand transnational online collaboration, and therefore this was a great experience to work collaboratively in a digital environment to deliver a great project outcome.”
Practera online learning at equivalent quality to face to face models
Hayley Bolding, Practera Executive Director ANZ and her team have been working with customers like Davina around Australia to respond to the evolving situation. Hayley said, “The flexibility of our technology platform has allowed us to adapt the program seamlessly to an online environment, replacing in-person elements with virtual ones. We’re confident in making adjustments as our technology has been demonstrated to enable delivery of online project based learning at equivalent quality to face to face models. Our engineering team including members in China, have been able to work quickly to ensure Practera is configured to support an high quality user experience in mainland China”
In NSW, Careers Service Manager, Lucinda Crossley-Meates from the University of Sydney Business School, manages Job Smart, the Business’ School’s award winning digitally enabled employability program for international students. She is facing a similar challenge, how to adapt to engage and support incoming students in the face of travel restrictions and delays. “Working together with a technology partner like Practera shows how we can flexibly overcome significant challenges to support our international students. Using innovative models like online projects and work simulations in our Job Smart program, the University of Sydney Business School is preparing to support the student experience for our students whose commencement may be impacted. Practera is helping us with optionality for our planning to meet a range of scenarios.”
If you want to GET A DEMO or learn more about how you can offer our projects to your students, reach out directly to Hayley Bolding, Executive Director, Practera Australia & New Zealand (M. 0449 192 291) or learn more on our projects programs website.