Self-confessed binge-studier Dr Celeste Lawson is completing her seventh degree as CQU sees a surge in online enrolments.
Self-confessed binge-studier Dr Celeste Lawson is completing her seventh degree as CQU sees a surge in online enrolments.

Lockdown causes surge in online uni enrolments

FOR some it’s fishing or netball, but the latest trend in recreational pursuits in the Gladstone region is studying, according to CQU.

The COVID-19 lockdown has seen a surge in online CQU enrolments, as people look to use their government-imposed isolation time productively, after either losing their job or facing uncertainty about when things will return to “normal”.

Dr Celeste Lawson, a self-confessed study junkie, is currently completing her seventh degree – a Master of Letters.

“It’s like a hobby for me. People have their hobbies – they make model planes, they go swimming – and for me, my hobby is learning. I’ve always been studying something,” she said.

“It was never a conscious effort to get lots of qualifications, that was never the point – it was more about wanting to study and wanting to learn, and then the qualifications came with that.”

The face of higher education in Australia is likely to change significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Dr Lawson discusses in her latest podcast, CQU Commentary.

“I am so excited about the future of higher education once we get through this pandemic because it has forced the entire sector to think about how we present study,” she said.

“People are rethinking their lives. They’re re-evaluating their careers and they’re hungry to learn.

“People generally choose something to study because they see a future in it, but this pandemic has shown that you can just delve in and study for the love of it.

“So if there was any positive to come out of this awful pandemic, this is the silver lining because if it makes people study and find something that they love and that’s really interesting for them, then that can only be a good thing.”

CQU Centre for Professional Development manager Deb Friel said it had seen a dramatic rise in enrolments for hyperflexible courses.

“Determined jobseekers in particular are making the most of freed up time during this pandemic and are literally smashing out courses,” Ms Friel said.

“People don’t have to wait until the start of term to enrol in a course – they can start any time, submit assignments anytime and finish anytime.”



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