USyd to release course material a week earlier after student consultation

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USyd’s internal announcement of the change quoted SRC President Jacky He

USyd’s internal announcement of the change quoted SRC President Jacky He

Course material for first year subjects will now be available two weeks prior to semester after the SRC claims to have successfully lobbied the University to increase it from one week.

The early release of content means that first-time students can prepare for their courses before Welcome Week. Notably, this means that students will be able to see what textbooks they require before the traditional Welcome Week rush to the Co-op Bookshop and the Copy Centre.

SRC President Jacky He announced the change on Facebook, noting that he had spent time working on the change with USyd Staff Communications Specialist (Education), Judy Douglas.

“This is only the first minor step that the SRC is making,” wrote He, “and there’s nothing there to stop us from making study easier and more enjoyable for our undergraduate students.”

He told SURG that when the topic of Canvas was raised in a meeting with USyd staff, he gave an impassioned speech, stating that “the OLE needs to be reformed and Canvas user interface should be more efficient.”

A University spokesperson told SURG that the change was recommended by the “Transition, Advising and Careers” steering group, with the “strong support of the Presidents of the SRC and SUPRA”, but that it was informed by broader student consultation:

“In May 2018, we asked over 5,000 students to participate in an online discussion group to understand their experience of support, teaching and administration. Many commencing students said they found the transition from high school to university overwhelming. Students from regional and international found the adjustment to a new environment difficult.”

“Making unit of study information available earlier in Canvas gives students a bigger window of time to prepare, plan and access reading materials before the first week of semester.”

He insists that a meeting with Douglas was paramount to the change, saying the two spoke “about moving the release time forward… and we both decided that releasing it a week earlier is optimal.”

A University spokesperson said that the change will be evaluated on its impact on the student experience and potentially be rolled out to all units pending the results.