The Australian Catholic University has signed a three-year deal with Sydney-based software-as-a-service provider OpenLearning to underpin its online learning ambitions and staff professional development.
ACU will use OpenLearning’s platform to deliver short courses, micro-credentials and internal development programs following the sudden shift pivot to online learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New courses will initially focus on health and education, with OpenLearning’s learning services division also working with the university to enhance its online courses and support its internal team to build their own capability.
The agreement builds on ACU’s existing relationship with the ASX-listed company after taking a significant stake in OpenLearning's initial public offering (IPO) in November last year.
While a number of other tertiary institutions across the Asia Pacific region including the University of Melbourne and the University of Technology Sydney use OpenLearning software, none participated in the IPO.
The university will be charged based on the number of unique learners brought onto the platform “materially in line with” the company’s SaaS pricing structure, which will be renegotiated if that number exceeds 20,000 unique learners during the term of the agreement. ACU currently has 35,000 students.
ACU’s acting provost, professor Zlatko Skrbis, said the turbulence of the coronavirus pandemic has only served to benefit the university’s investment in OpenLearning.
“I could not have predicted how quickly this investment would come into its own, with the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic hastening the need to transfer more services online and for them to perform seamlessly,” Skrbis said in a notice to the market.
“OpenLearning will be a valuable addition to ACU’s ability to deliver high quality courses in a continually transforming digital environment and supporting our innovation agenda.
“I am looking forward to this promising partnership which will enable nimbleness and improve our reach into an ever-expanding market of short courses and micro-credentials.”