RMIT Online adds more tech-focused courses to tackle skills shortage

The online arm of RMIT is launching new courses in self-driving cars engineering, robotics, AI, and front-end web development.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Online has announced another slew of tech-related university courses, accelerating its plan to tackle the impending skills shortage Australia is expected to face.

The new courses come courtesy of a partnership with Silicon Valley-based global education startup Udacity, which works with the likes of Google, Facebook, Mercedes-Benz, and Nvidia to close talent gaps.

This is the first time it has partnered with a university, however.

According to RMIT Online, the courses will address skills shortages in emerging tech, robotics, engineering, and artificial intelligence fields through short courses that bring a "Silicon Valley mindset to Australia's workforce".

RMIT Online CEO Helen Souness said Australia is facing a growing skills shortage across many design and technology fields and believes universities must lead the way.

"We know that student and employer needs have profoundly changed, and through this portfolio of online courses, we're looking at new ways to educate professionals beyond traditional degrees or master qualifications," she told ZDNet.

"Economic changes through automation and globalisation are transforming business models and the evolving workforce is a reality we are all grappling with. There is so much economic and personal opportunity in areas of new technology."

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The new courses offered through the partnership will include: Introduction to self driving cars engineering, robotics software, AI programming with Python, and front-end web developer.

The introduction to self driving cars engineering course will expose students to the tools that are vital for self-driving car engineers, with Souness explaining they'll learn how a computer sees an image and how to use machines to teach a computer to identify images programmatically.

Students will practice how to write code for self-driving cars, and plan and visualise the trajectory for it using the likes of Bayesian thinking, C++, algorithmic thinking, and object-oriented programming, mentored by locals and experts and connected to industry partners from Holden, Kapsch, Mtaiq, and ITS.

The robotics software course will give students hands-on experience in developing robotics solutions such as ROS, kinematics, control, simultaneous localisation, and mapping, with Souness explaining students will learn techniques like deep reinforcement to learn the necessary skills to become a software engineer in the field of robotics and applied artificial intelligence.

While AI programming with Python will focus on the language's use in an artificial intelligence context, and students will complete five projects through the front-end web developer course.

RMIT Online earlier this month announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer short courses in artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

The AR/VR courses will be using Amazon Sumerian, a service that allows developers to quickly create AR, VR, and 3D apps suitable for use online, as well as mobile devices, head-mounted displays, and digital signage.

RMIT's newly launched courses -- developing AI strategy, developing AR and VR strategy, and developing AR and VR applications -- are adapted from the AWS Educate global program and are designed to address tech-driven changes in the workplace.

The online education provider also partnered with Accenture and fintech hub Stone & Chalk last month to offer two blockchain-focused courses expected to provide students with a "comprehensive" overview of the technology.

"We're hoping to make emerging technologies, such as AI and autonomous vehicles, more accessible to a wider audience and have found that the industry-led short course model resonates with all levels of an organisation, from practitioners to executives," Souness told ZDNet.

She said the first blockchain course -- developing blockchain strategy -- sold out globally within 48 hours of opening, with some of the students then enrolling in the newly launched courses.

"Students from our first launched course, iOS app development with Swift, have successfully graduated and gone from no coding ability to successfully building a weather app and many are currently in interviews with leading industry players in app development," she continued. "We've seen strong enrolments and interest in our newest course offerings, which includes our recently launched partnership with Amazon Web Services."


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