As online learning plays a growing role in higher education, The University of Queensland is laying the groundwork by providing students a data speed to match.

Information Technology Services Director Rob Moffatt said UQ students had the advantage of one of the largest student Internet data allowances in Australia, with access to 20GB of free data downloads a month – double the 2013 allowance.

He said the increase responded to evolving student needs.

“It’s important for their studies that students can access online resources and information without the need to worry about quota levels,” Mr Moffatt said.

“The growing trend for eLearning, such as online courses available through edX, will only lead to a greater need for the services that supports such learning, and we need to be sure we’re ready for that.”

UQ is a member of the prestigious edX consortium of universities offering free massive open online courses (MOOCs), starting this year.

“The first UQ edX course, the Science of Everyday Thinking, goes live on March 2, and has attracted more than 60,000 subscribers internationally,” Mr Moffatt said.

UQ has increased its student data quota each year for the past four years, from 400MB in 2010.

Mr Moffatt said UQ students now had one of the largest student data quotas in Australia.

“On top of learning, the student experience and social and professional networks are also largely driven online,” Mr Moffatt said.

“The increase in download quota will enable students to collaborate, stay connected, and share their life experiences while on a UQ campus, which is a vital piece of the student experience.”

The increase in download quota will be effective from1 March 2014 to coincide with the beginning of Semester 1.