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Melbourne varsity to set up India’s first blended course academy at SPPU

Under the joint venture, the faculty from the Australian university will engage in lectures for the courses whose degree will be awarded by SPPU and recognised and affiliated by University of Melbourne.

The University of Melbourne, Australia will set up a first-of-its-kind academy in India on the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) campus for blended undergraduate courses in science and humanities. Expected to come up within the next month, the UoM Academy of Blended Learning and Teaching will be the first academy of an international university to come up at SPPU.

As part of this joint venture, new BSc blended courses for environment science, physics, chemistry and geology has been already rolled out from the current academic year under science faculty. While the blended BSc courses, in collaboration with UoM, started two years ago, the same courses with new subjects will now be offered on SPPU campus, Nitin Karmalkar, Vice-Chancellor, SPPU said Tuesday. The idea is to have student interactions and exchanges between the two universities, he said.

Under the joint venture, the faculty from the Australian university will engage in lectures for the courses whose degree will be awarded by SPPU and recognised and affiliated by University of Melbourne. The academy will also organise workshops and student exchange programmes, besides offering fellowships and scholarships to the students of both the collaborating universities.

Student intake for the undergraduate courses, sources said, will be 12 each. In the first two years students will take up all subjects and and opt for a specialisation in the final year. Additionally, an optional year-long honorary degree will also be offered to the students, which will put Indian students at par with their international counterparts, Karmalkar said.

Duncan Maskell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne, said: We have begun the courses under science faculty. We plan to expand the blended courses to arts and humanities in the future.

Besides the SPPU and UoM, the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune, is also a part of the collaboration and has jointly designed the syllabi for the blended courses.