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IT courses face "endless demand"

Victoria University's School of Communications and Information Management (SCIM) are dealing with a problem that many people would love to have. Excess demand for the School's Courses mean they are reaching breaking point with new enrolments.

Professor Brian Corbitt, the Jade Professor of Electronic Commerce, and Head of School, says "IT and the Internet are the new gold rush. Victoria was the first Australasian university to create a Professor of electronic commerce and our decision to lead from the front has certainly paid off. There seems to be endless demand for electronic commerce places. We have difficulty finding room for all the students. Students know where the jobs are and are planning their studies accordingly."

Enrolments across all SCIM courses are booming. Director of Undergraduate Studies, David Mason says "Last year we had record enrolments in most of our courses. We closely monitor trends in the workplace and tailor to match. We created new courses in Communications Studies and Electronic Commerce, last year and more are planned. Next year's new courses are already heavily subscribed."

Undergraduate demand is so high SCIM had to accelerate their distance learning option. Introductory IT and electronic commerce papers are now offered online. All lectures and tutorials for these courses are presented via the Internet so students can take them when and where they want.

Mason says SCIM is acutely aware of the new environment universities now work in, 'Student loans and financial demands are changing the pattern of studies. It's our job to keep up with the needs of students. They want more focussed and more flexible study. Our Summer papers by Internet go a long way towards that.'

SCIM are also actively marketing their courses in Asia. Prof Corbitt predicts international students are where the future lies for SCIM. "We are aiming to recruit twenty percent of our student body from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam by 2003. These emerging countries are eager to use our expertise in e-commerce, information systems and library studies."

To handle the demand SCIM has just recruited four new staff, mostly from Australia. Corbitt says "With our new team in place, we are confident of handling and maintaining the growth in our School."

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