University of Melbourne’s Class Culture
It is officially midterm season in Melbourne as we approach the Easter break. At this point I have developed a basic understanding of Australian university and their teaching practices. For one, there’s a huge expectation for students to complete preparatory work before each lecture and “tutorial” or discussion. Participation is required in tutorials and most of the content taught in the tutorials are included on the tests. Choosing to skip this work simply puts you at a disservice, thus making it common sense to complete. This expectation carries over into lectures as well. Along with the readings there is further supplementary work to assist in the understanding of particular concepts. The lecturers are also highly engaging with the students. Contrary to University of Maryland professors who simply stand in front of the audience, University of Melbourne professors will walk up and down the lecture hall talking to and with students. It is not uncommon to be called out by a professor. This difference in teaching style makes paying attention much easier, while also forcing you to come prepared to each class. You become more alert and you retain more information this way. Grading is also approached differently. Forget the alphabetic grading scale because that does not exist at the University of Melbourne, but rather ordered by separate class honors. First-class honors are 80-100% final grade, which is followed by second-class honors A, B, then third class honors. Another adjustment I have had to make is Australian English. Essays are graded in this way of spelling and failure to do so results in deduction of points. This has prompted me to change all of my technology language to Australian English so that I do not forget about this difference. However, for the most part class culture in Australian universities is very similar to American universities.