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The trifecta for curriculum sustainability in Australian universities

Academic Editor: Hepu Deng

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  • Commercialization and internationalization of tertiary education has opened a new way for universities to grow and make more profit. This in turn has supported sustainable growth of the higher education sector for the last three decades in developed countries. Curricula offered by accredited tertiary institutions must meet the quality standards set by both the governmental agencies and the professional accreditation bodies. These programs must also provide graduates with employment opportunities. Hence, quality and employment opportunities are the two key factors for sustainability of any degree program offered by tertiary institutions. However, changes in regulations and policies by the national government sometimes play a vital role in creating new programs, and maintaining or disestablishing some existing programs offered by institutions in the nation. These changes are not controlled by individual institutions, which has become the third unpredictable factor in curriculum creation and/or sustainability. Using the journey of a new master's program in information technology (IT) in an Australian university as a case study, we explore how this third factor impacted on the initialization, creation, and short life of this program primarily targeting international students in the mid-2000s. We then extend our discussion to the implications of the recent changes to tertiary tuitions from 2021 by the Australian Government on the sustainable future of the Australian tertiary education sector on a broad scale.

    Mathematics Subject Classification: Opinion.


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  • Figure 1.  The standard ISO Communication Model

    Figure 2.  The modified ISO Communication Model

    Figure 3.  The Internet Communication Model

    Figure 4.  Networked communication models in relation to the design of MNDS

    Figure 5.  Logical structure of MNDS

    Figure 6.  Actual enrolments in PDSD (blue) and forecasted enrollments for MNT in 2005-2006

    Table 1.  Initial program structure for the MNDS

    Core units in first and second semesters
    Network Technology Distributed Systems
    Network Technology 1 (NT1) Principles of Distributed Systems Design (PDSD)
    Network Technology 2 (NT2) Administration and Programming in Linux (APL)
    Network Technology 3 (NT3) Programming for Distributed Systems (PDS)
    Third semester
    Either Project Preparation
    Project 1
    Project 2
    or three units from Computer Security
    Information Security
    Network Security
    Wireless and Mobile Computing Security
    Internet Security 1
    Internet Security 2
     | Show Table
    DownLoad: CSV

    Table 2.  Teaching evaluation for PDSD during 2005-2006

    Semester Students enrolled Students returned feedback (rate) Teaching satisfaction (%)
    S1/2005 39 25 (64%) 89
    S2/2005 28 22 (79%) 81
    S1/2006 15 12 (80%) 100
    S2/2006 11 9 (82%) 92
     | Show Table
    DownLoad: CSV
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