Swinburne Online has achieved success with its first five students graduating from the only online education provider of its kind in Australia.
The students, four from Victoria and one from Queensland, celebrated with other graduates at a ceremony at Swinburne University of Technology last month.
The graduating class included Jessica Hales (Bachelor of Communication), Alyse Henry (Bachelor of Business - Accounting), Kylie O’Brien (Bachelor of Business -Management), Stephanie Perin (Bachelor of Business - Marketing), Liam Woods (Bachelor of Business - Marketing) and Barbara Zois (Bachelor of Business - Marketing).
Swinburne Online CEO Denice Pitt said the graduation was a great achievement for online education.
“Everything we do works towards setting the benchmark for online learning in higher education. Our first graduates are testament to our efforts in being able to deliver high quality education and reach successful learning outcomes,” Ms Pitt said.
Swinburne Online is a public-private partnership between SEEK and Swinburne University of Technology and since 2011 has been offering degree programs fully online.
A degree means a lot to me, it gives me purpose. It allows me to dream of what I can be. It means I am an independent, strong woman who has a bright future.Stephanie Perin
Ms Pitt said flexibility was a success of Swinburne Online as it provided access to higher education to students who may not otherwise have studied through a traditional university campus.
“To say I am proud of our first graduates is an understatement. These students were able to manage multiple commitments while pursuing their academic goals.
“This is a concerted effort not only from our students but from every single person that makes up Swinburne Online. Graduation is a great success for everyone involved,” Ms Pitt said.
With diverse backgrounds each graduate chose to study online because on-campus study was not an option.
Bachelor of Business graduate Stephanie Perin, the first in her family to receive a university qualification, said she was ecstatic to graduate.
“A degree means a lot to me, it gives me purpose. It allows me to dream of what I can be. It means a better career. It means I no longer fear being unemployed. It means I am an independent, strong woman who has a bright future.
“I came from a poor and uneducated family; my mother didn't finish high school. So being the first person in my family to get a degree means a lot to me. My mother always said you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I believed her.”
Stephanie, a mother of two young children, worked full time while studying for her degree. She said building towards a career was the main reason she applied for the online degree.
“Shortly after I had my second child I was made redundant. Going back into the job market was scary and I soon realised it was difficult to get an interview without a degree,” Stephanie said.
“I needed flexibility and didn't want to attend university on campus because I had a full time job and family so online study was my only option.”
For more information on flexible study options, visit http://www.swinburneonline.edu.au.
* This article has been written by a Fairfax Media journalist as part of a commercial agreement between Fairfax Media and Swinburne Online.