'Giving all kids a go' - Bridging the gap between the city and country in virtual learning

Associate Professor Mike Phillips

  • A new Victorian Government online program is helping bridge the education gap between regional and metro students
  • The program will boost the ability of VCE teachers to deliver best practice virtual learning and teaching

Students who are geographically remote or have other factors limiting their ability to attend face-to-face schooling will benefit from a new virtual online learning program developed by the Victorian Department of Education and Training and Monash University. 

Virtual online teaching will be given a significant boost under a new Victorian Government investment designed to help bridge the education gap between regional and metropolitan students.

“Post-COVID we’ve recognised that virtual learning can play an important and ongoing part in our education system, but who educates online teachers about best online teaching practices? Our new program does this,” says Associate Professor Phillips.

One hundred teachers across the state are being offered the six-week Leading Virtual Learning Teacher course.

The program will enhance state-wide capacity to lead the delivery of VCE subjects virtually, supporting rural and regional students to reach their educational goals.

Co-designed between the Victorian Department of Education and Training and Monash University, the program will further develop the capability of VCE teachers to deliver best practice virtual learning and teaching.

Through this program, teachers will learn how to best design, facilitate and assess in an online environment, through exploration of theories, models, practical strategies and experience.

Choice of subjects at schools is a key driver for student retention and for VCE completion. Yet students in rural and regional Victoria generally have fewer VCE subjects to choose from than their metropolitan counterparts.

The course is a funded initiative under the $22.65m VCE Expansion project to help rural and regional students engage in VCE subjects of their choice through virtual and blended modes.

“Providing teachers with access to findings from cutting edge research provides them with ideas and strategies that allow them to engage VCE students in exciting teaching and learning opportunities that sometimes are not possible in face to face classrooms,” says Associate Professor Phillips.

The importance of developing and maintaining student rapport in a virtual environment is a key feature woven throughout each module of the course. This course will allow participants a great deal of flexibility to engage with the learning according to their geographic location, experience in teaching in virtual settings, professional learning needs and responsibilities in their school.

Teachers will also be suitably prepared to support other learning professionals in their home schools to develop quality teaching in a virtual environment, broadening the number of subjects available to students.

“Without the option of online teaching and learning as a component of our educational system, some students in Victoria would simply miss out. As a comprehensive education system, we are driven to ensure that online teaching and learning is equitable and provides all students with opportunities to succeed,” says Associate Professor Phillips.

Hande Cater
T: +61 3 9903 4840   E: media@monash.edu

For more Monash media stories, visit our news and events site