It is the regional and rural living conundrum – how to access all the services and perks of the big smoke without leaving the community you love so dear?
Thankfully, accessing high quality education – at a TAFE, undergraduate or postgraduate level – is more than possible from your very own home, thanks to the growing trend towards online education.
Open Universities Australia is a leading provider of online courses, offering units from more than 20 of Australia's most renowned Australian tertiary institutions, including Monash University, University of South Australia and Griffith University. All up, they offer more than 1700 units and 180 courses through OUA.
Since 1993, more than 250,000 students have entered the virtual classroom via OUA.
“Geographical boundaries are just one barrier that online education removes,” says Paul Wappett, OUA's chief executive officer.
“At OUA, we’re driven by making quality higher education available to as many people as possible. So just like our students don’t need to relocate to fulfil their education dreams, nor do they have to put work, family or their social life on hold in order to study.
“Education is extremely important. We understand that it has great value to Australia’s regional and rural communities, which deserve to benefit from highly skilled and educated residents just as much as our capital cities.
“Through online education, there’s no need for students to desert their local communities to access it. OUA students can maintain their job, continue to be actively involved in the community and stay close to their family, all whilst studying. Quite simply, that’s how it should be,” says Mr Wappett.
And just because you’re separated from other students by physical distance, it does not mean you’re actually isolated, he says.
OUA offers services to ensure students feel connected and can achieve their study goals. Students interact with other students through discussion forums and can access a "study buddy" through the My Study Centre.
Support services such as tutoring and confidential student counselling are available 24 hours a day. Financial assistance is also available to eligible students.
* This story was provided to Fairfax Media by Open Universities Australia as part of a commercial agreement.