Online support is becoming increasingly popular with students preparing for their Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams and HSC Online is leading the way in providing exceptional content according to Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) Dr Deborah Clarke.
Dr Clarke, a Senior Lecturer from the CSU School of Human Movement Studies, and Director of HSC Online
is excited about the ongoing development of the initiative by CSU and the NSW Department of Education and Communities.
“The site was developed in 1997 as a trustworthy source of materials for teachers, HSC students and their parents in preparation for the exams,” Dr Clarke said. “It really was ahead of its time and now HSC Online continues to offer students what they need with the launch of a Twitter feed to support the website.”
HSC Online delivers over 1.7 million pages on 51 HSC subjects to students and educators each year, and it continues to grow and develop due to the demand for materials from both teachers and students. The Twitter feed gives followers updated information available on the website as well as key dates and other essential HSC information as it comes to hand.
“Students and teachers have turned to online resources increasingly in the last 10 years especially,” Dr Clarke said. “This may be why services such as the HSC Advice Line are closing.”
The NSW government announced in its 2012 Budget the closure of the HSC Advice Line
. It was stated that although 72 000 students sat the HSC last year, the line only received 600 calls at an average cost of $275 per call. It prompted NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to make this comment regarding NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson’s call to keep the line operating.
"Mr Robertson needs to update,” the Premier said. “Most HSC students are accessing resources and systems online, not through a telephone service that in this day and age is a bit outmoded."
Head Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) teacher at Denison College in Bathurst, Mr Darren Hamilton agrees.
“Students prefer to go online,” Mr Hamilton said. “Not many students I have spoken to, or taught from our country school have accessed the telephone line run by the Board of Studies. This seems to be the nature of students who prefer accessing information at their own convenience and time of the day, when it suits them.
“For me personally, HSC Online offers interactive content written by very well qualified PDHPE teachers linked to syllabus. The interactive nature of the content suits many of the learning patterns of contemporary students. Teaching staff use the site more as a revision tool following a unit, and to reinforce as a study tool leading up to major assessment periods at school and the external HSC examination period.”
Students are also making their voice heard regarding what their needs are during this challenging time with many commenting on the Board of Studies student community site
and agreeing the HSC Advice Line was under-utilised.
One comment reads, “I reckon they should have an interactive online chat (site) available when you log in students online. It’s probably cheaper, and you’ll be able to reach a larger volume of people.”
into the support system for educators and students has been a bold step for the joint initiative of CSU and the NSW Department of Education and Communities but already it has 505 followers.
“I think it’s early days as we have only just set up the Twitter account,” Dr Clarke said. “We don’t expect to start gathering followers until at least August. The plan is to have a small number of followers by the end of 2012 but to increase that number each year.”