3 May 2013
In March 2013 a long awaited and much anticipated event in the Cooma community occurred – the opening of the Cooma Universities Centre (CUC).
The CUC, a joint project between Snowy Hydro and Cooma-Monaro Shire Council and four years in the making, is a high tech facility providing university-level distance education opportunities to students in the Snowy Mountains Region.
Around 150 community and business leaders, politicians, school principals and general public attended the opening to see the CUC in operation.
The CUC was officially opened by Snowy Hydro CEO Terry Charlton and the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council Mayor, Dean Lynch. Snowy Hydro Chairman, Mr Bruce Hogan and fellow Director, Joycelyn Morton were also in attendance, as were representatives from universities who offer distance education courses.
Dean Lynch opened the proceedings speaking to his support for the CUC and the opportunities it will provide for the people of the region.
Terry Charlton then reinforced Snowy Hydro’s support for the centre, as both a positive and exciting initiative for the community and to boost attraction and retention of employees in regional areas. Finally, Bruce Hogan confirmed the Snowy Hydro Board’s support for initiatives like the CUC, which help the company make a real difference to the community.
Local student, Jess Perkins, who is studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy through the University of New England’s distance education program, was the first student to register on the morning of the official opening. Jess made use of the lecture rooms with an interactive online lecture conducted on the afternoon the centre opened. The CUC received another 11 registrations in the first week, and after only a month of operation, total registrations are now 33 and growing!
To ensure students get a high quality online learning experience the CUC established partnerships with new telecommunications carrier, Countrytell, and the higher education network connection provider, Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet). AARNet is a direct connection between Australian Universities (not via the internet), providing services to CUC students – the same as being on the parent university campus.
There has been ongoing discussions with numerous Australian universities in relation to partnerships, bridging courses and student support. The University of Canberra College has just commenced a university preparation course (titled UCan REACH) at the CUC. UCan REACH is a 14-week course that will help students gain entry into university even if they don’t have an ATAR and is free of charge to Australian citizens.
Zoe Dawson, the CUC Coordinator, has been in contact with the Distance Learning Coordinators at many of the 38 Australian universities, and is looking forward to the challenge of establishing the centre as the benchmark in regional distance education at university level.
If you would like more information on what the CUC has to offer, call in and visit Zoe at the centre at 38 Bombala Street, Cooma or visit the website at www.coomauc.com.au