Oral History

Stories are central to the human experience.

Shared family stories contribute to a more complete picture of where we have come from and where we are going. In Oral History, you will learn about gathering family history through interviews. You will explore the ways in which oral history can complement, supplement, and even contradict written, pictorial, and other records.

Practical skills you will acquire include how to record, transcribe, and share oral histories in a written form. You will also engage with ethical concerns and issues that may arise during the process of acquiring and sharing oral histories.


Online: Introduction to Family History is part of a fully online suite of units to enable flexible study.


Study with concession tuition fees*: HECS Scholarships are available that cover half of the tuition fees for Oral History in 2017. You will be charged a tuition fee of 50% for this unit. HECS-HELP is available for Domestic Students wishing to defer this cost. Students will also be required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) for 2017 when enrolled in Oral History. The cost of the SSAF is $44.10 per unit. This amount can be deferred through the SA-HELP form on eStudent for domestic students. SA-HELP eligibility can be confirmed at SSAF guidelines. This unit is offered within the Diploma of Family History (R2H) or the Associate Degree in Arts (R2B) / Bachelor of General Studies courses, depending on whether you are a commencing or continuing student. (* conditions apply).


Free access to Ancestry.com Library: Gain free access to billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos, plus local narratives, oral histories and other resources that span from the 1500s to the 2000s.


What you will learn

On successful completion of this unit you will understand:

  • The role of oral history in documenting family histories
  • Ethical issues and oral history
  • How to record oral histories
  • How to transcribe recordings
  • How to transform oral history into written history
Location: Online

Intake: Spring, 23 October 2017

General Enquiries:
E: ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au
T: +61 3 6226 6365

What students say...

"I had been researching my family history for years and thought I had already found pretty much all there was to find. But the Introduction to Family History course pointed me towards new resources, sharpened up my research skills and led to new discoveries. It also helped me navigate through the maze of web-based resources and to identify the reliable ones."
- Lisa Hutton, Australian, living in France


Fees & Scholarships

Domestic students* will receive a HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) scholarship that covers half of the tuition fees for the Oral History unit in 2017. You will be charged a tuition fee of 50% for this unit. For 2017 the Student Contribution Amount for this unit, after the 50% waiver, is $396.50.

The 50% HECS scholarship is applied to your record as soon as possible after you enrol in the Oral History unit within the Diploma of Family History or another College of Arts and Law approved course. Initially, your invoice in eStudent may reflect the full cost of the unit. Sometimes it may take up to a week after your enrolment is processed, but please be assured your correct invoice will appear in eStudent after this time.

You may notice in the University of Tasmania Course and Unit Handbook that the full costs of units are explicitly stated. Please be assured that 50% of this cost is covered by your HECS Scholarship for the Oral History unit in 2017.

Oral History is one of eight units available to study under the Diploma of Family History. Students can study as many of these units as they like under the HECS Scholarships available. Study in 2018 may attract HECS tuition fees, however for domestic students these may be deferred under the HECS-HELP Scheme. For further information on HECS-HELP consult the Australian Tax Office (ATO) guidelines.

Students will also be required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) for 2017 when enrolled in Oral History. The cost of the SSAF is $44.10 per unit. This amount can be deferred through the SA-HELP form on eStudent for domestic students. SA-HELP eligibility can be confirmed at SSAF guidelines. The funds from this fee are allocated to the improvement of services and amenities for students of the University for both on-campus and online students.

A requirement for all students receiving a HECS Scholarship for this unit is compulsory completion of the eCAF. The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online through eStudent. Completing the form is a requirement for all students. Instructions for how to complete the eCAF form will be included in the Oral History unit content. Also see eCAF Instruction Guide (PDF 531KB).

Should you have any problems submitting your eCAF, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

*Domestic students include Australian citizens or students holding Permanent Humanitarian Visas or with Permanent Resident Status. Citizens of countries outside of Australia (excluding New Zealand), are not eligible to study this unit.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for Oral History?

The Family History units are available to Australian citizens; and for NZ citizens, Permanent Residents and Humanitarian Visa Holders provided all studies are on-shore in Australia. You will need to have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection.

When do I receive my free access to the Ancestry.com Library?

You will receive details about your access to Ancestry.com on the MyLO page once you begin the unit. Students will be able to access this via the Library portal once they are enrolled.

What are the dates for the next offering of this unit?

This unit runs from 24th October until 9th December 2016 (7 weeks) .

When do applications close for the next offering of this unit?

This unit begins on 24th October 2016. Applications need to be completed by 21st October 2016.

Are there any pre-requisites for the unit?

There are no pre-requisites. If you require any further information please see the Admission Requirements.

What will I be required to do when studying in this unit?

You should expect to spend approximately 6-8 hours/week undertaking study in this unit.

On successful completion of this unit you will understand:

  • The role of oral history in documenting family histories
  • Ethical issues and oral history
  • How to record oral histories
  • How to transcribe recordings
  • How to transform oral history into written history

Note: See 'Studying' FAQs below for specific assessment queries.

Is there any face-to-face teaching?

No. Oral History is fully online.

I don't own a computer; can I still apply for the unit?

You will need to have access to a desktop computer to fully complete this unit. Students will be unable to complete the unit on a Tablet, iPad, or phone and must have access to a computer. If you don't have your own computer, or perhaps someone in your family or a friend has one, you could use a computer at your local library, on campus in student areas, or at the university library.

You also require a reliable internet connection. You should expect to download about 1-2 GB of data each month while studying the unit online.

Do I need to be available online at specific times?

Generally you can complete the unit work in your own time. Please note that content is usually released on a weekly basis. The unit coordinators may choose to present some content in the form of a live web conference. You will be made aware of this via news items during the semester.

Are there exams or assignments?

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments could include such items as online quizzes composed of multiple-choice and short answer questions (some of which may be time-limited), online discussion forums, e-tivities and/or presenting your genealogical work. There are no exams for this unit.

Who would benefit from studying Family History?

Anyone interested in their own family histories or genealogy in general.

What is the Diploma of Family History?

The Diploma of Family History is a course consisting of eight family history units. Students will automatically be enrolled under the Diploma when they apply for Oral History.

If you are a current student studying under the Associate Degree in Arts (R2B) / Bachelor of General Studies and would like to transfer into the Diploma please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

See the Diploma of Family History for more information on further family history units available for study.

How do I find out more about Family History units on offer?

If you would like more information please see the Diploma of Family History or please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

Why is the University offering these units with concession tuition fees?

From time to time the University of Tasmania offers some units with concession fees. These are generally online units which help increase community awareness and skills in areas such as healthy living and social engagement.

For many potential students, the cost of university study is a significant barrier; and those who haven't studied for some time appreciate the opportunity to develop confidence in their ability to succeed at university without the pressure of tuition fees.  In addition, we believe that the development of skills in these units is critical to community advancement and social cohesion – and these concessions are part of meeting our university's broad community obligation.

What do I need to do to enrol and what support is available?

Students must enrol in a formal course (i.e. a diploma, associate degree or bachelor degree) to take advantage of these opportunities. Enrolling in a unit will enrol you in the relevant course for that unit. Our courses aim to build confidence and capacity to develop a pathway to success.

We hope that you will be encouraged by the quality and flexibility of these particular units, and the academic support available, to continue with further study and complete a course.  We are aware of the need to manage work-life balance, and we offer flexible learning plans that can help tailor a program to suit individual circumstances.  We work closely with our students to support their progression through these learning opportunities.

Is it a requirement that I complete a full course at the University of Tasmania?

A high proportion of students undertaking these units go on to complete a course.  We realise that students' circumstances change due to financial and family commitments and there is no formal obligation to complete a course if your circumstances make that difficult.

It is possible to have a break from study and return at a later date and to change course, if your interests change.  We are also planning to develop shorter qualifications such as diplomas and associate degrees which will take less time to complete.

How many units can I undertake with concession tuition fees?

To enrol in another Study with Fee Concessions - College of Arts and Law opportunity, you will need complete an online application form for each unit when they are available, or register an Expression of Interest to be advised when the next offering of a unit is available for application. For further assistance, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

Students can choose to study as many online units with the College of Arts and Law as they like.

We are likely to maintain some fee concessions to students who progress satisfactorily and maintain continuity of study from one semester to the next.

How do I apply for admission to Oral History?

Applications for the next offering will open closer to the commencement date. Please complete an Expression of Interest if you would like to be notified when information about the next intake is released.

What supporting documents do I need to apply for Oral History?

If you are required to provide Citizenship documentation (if you have changed citizenship and are now an Australian citizen) or Permanent residency documentation (if you are not an Australian citizen but living under a permanent residency visa in Australia) you can scan and email them to us at ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au.

After you have received your login details you will also be required to submit an eCAF. The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online, after you have received your login details, through eStudent.

What is the cost of this unit?

Domestic students will receive a HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) Scholarships that covers half of the tuition fees for Oral History in 2017. You will be charged a tuition fee of 50% for these units. For 2017 the Student Contribution Amount for these units, after the 50% waiver, is $396.50. HECS-HELP is available for Domestic Students wishing to defer their Student Contribution Amount. Students will also be required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) for 2017 when enrolled in Oral History. The cost of the SSAF is $44.10 per unit. This amount can be deferred through the SA-HELP form on eStudent for domestic students

The 50% HECS scholarship is automatically applied when you enrol in the Oral History unit within the Diploma of Family History or another College of Arts and Law approved course but will not show on your invoice, accessible via eStudent.

You may notice in the University of Tasmania Course and Unit Handbook that the full costs of units are explicitly stated. Please be assured that 50% of this cost is covered by your HECS Scholarship for the Oral History unit in 2017.

What is a HECS Scholarship?

The cost of university education is usually shared between the Australian Government and the student, with the student contributing a proportion of the cost and payable to the university. This tuition fee is commonly known as HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme). The University of Tasmania has offered to forgo half of the student contribution via a HECS Scholarship to all students studying the Oral History unit within the Diploma of Family History or another College of Arts and Law approved course in 2017. This arrangement will be negotiated each year and is only guaranteed for one year at a time.

The HECS Scholarship is automatically applied when you enrol in the Oral History unit however may not show on your invoice until a later date.

Students will also be required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) for 2017 when enrolled in Oral History. The cost of the SSAF is $44.10 per unit. This amount can be deferred through the SA-HELP form on eStudent for domestic students. SA-HELP eligibility can be confirmed at SSAF guidelines. The funds from this fee are allocated to the improvement of services and amenities for students of the University for both on-campus and online students.

Future studies may attract HECS tuition fees, however for domestic students these may be deferred under the HECS-HELP Scheme. For further information on HECS-HELP consult the Australian Tax Office (ATO) guidelines.

What is an eCAF?

The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online through eStudent. Completing the eCAF allows you to choose to defer the partial payment for this unit onto HECS-HELP. This form is required for all students, despite the preferred payment option for the partial cost of this unit. Instructions for how to complete the eCAF form will be included in the unit content. Also see eCAF Instruction Guide (PDF 531KB).

When do applications close for the next offering of this unit?

This unit begins on 23rd October 2017. Applications need to be completed by 20th October 2017.

How will I know if my application is successful and if I have received a place in Oral History?

If you are a new student, once your application has been assessed, and if you have been successful, you will receive a letter/email from the university with details about your new University of Tasmania student username, email address and password. You will use your username and password to access the course content (through the MyLO online learning platform), as well as eStudent to manage your enrolment details and to submit your eCAF.

Please allow 10 working days for us to process your application however if you have not received an email or letter with your password/login details after 10 days, please complete the Have A Question? form so that we check your application.

If you are a current or returning UTAS student, you will receive confirmation of your enrolment in the week before the unit starts. You will not receive new login details but will continue using those already assigned to you. If your password has expired you can change this through the MyPassword Service.

What happens if my application is not successful? Will someone contact me?

All applicants will be advised about the outcome of their application.

What happens if I begin the unit after the official start date?

The Oral History unit is delivered fully online. For this reason, you can study flexibly to make up for any time that you may have missed. Please note however that there will be assessment tasks due on certain dates, so please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form to discuss starting the unit late.

How do I get started?

Instruction guides will be available to assist you in the online application and enrolment process. If you have any questions, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

I have received a login and password but I can't access MyLO, UTAS email or eStudent, what do I do?

Please contact the UTAS IT Service Desk for assistance: Ph +61 3 6226 1818 (8:30am-6:00pm weekdays and 10:00am-1:00pm weekends and Tasmanian state wide public holidays) or 1300 304 903 (local call charge within Tasmania) or Email: service.desk@utas.edu.au.

I am a previous student and haven't received a username and password, what do I do?

If you have studied with UTAS before, your login details will be the same as they were previously.

If your password has expired you can change this through the MyPassword Service.

If you have forgotten your login details, please contact please contact the UTAS IT Service Desk for assistance: Ph +61 3 6226 1818 (8:30am-6:00pm weekdays and 10:00am-1:00pm weekends and Tasmanian state wide public holidays) or 1300 304 903 (local call charge within Tasmania) or Email: service.desk@utas.edu.au.

What is an eCAF?

The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online through eStudent. Completing the eCAF allows you to choose to defer the partial payment for this unit onto HECS-HELP. This form is required for all students, despite the preferred payment option for the partial cost of this unit. Instructions for how to complete the eCAF form will be included in the unit content. Also see eCAF Instruction Guide (PDF 531KB).

What is Census date?

Every unit offered by a university has a published census date. Census date is the last day a student can withdraw from a unit without receiving a financial penalty. The Census Date for the next offering of this unit is 7th November 2017. Withdrawals after this date will incur a financial penalty for the 50% unit fee. Later withdrawals may also incur an academic penalty. For withdrawal enquiries, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365 , or the Contact Us online form.

How do I pass the unit without having final exams?

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments could include such items as online quizzes composed of multiple-choice and short answer questions (some of which may be time-limited), online discussion forums, e-tivities and/or presenting your genealogical work.

What does online learning look like?

Online learning may involve combining online lectures, tutorials, workshops, group work, problem-based learning or practical exercises with other approaches such as:

  • Video-conferencing
  • Resource-based learning (for example using print, video and audio)
  • Independent/group projects
  • Discussion forums

Flexible teaching and learning approaches are:

  • Learner-centred
  • About good teaching and learning practices for all students
  • Less time- and place-dependent than more traditional forms of teaching
  • Ones that increase the learner's responsibility for his or her own learning

Learning modules will be scheduled for release across the study period (often weekly or fortnightly).

When do I receive my unit outline?

Unit outlines will be available on the student unit learning online website (MyLO) when study commences.

What will I be required to do when studying in this unit?

As a guide, you should expect to spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week undertaking study in this unit.

On successful completion of this unit you will understand:

  • The role of oral history in documenting family histories
  • Ethical issues and oral history
  • How to record oral histories
  • How to transcribe recordings
  • How to transform oral history into written history

Do I need to interview someone older than myself?

No, you can interview someone of any age. If you don’t have any living relatives you can choose to interview someone who may have known one of your family members, for example. Or you may choose to interview someone about their own family history.

Does the person I interview need to talk about something that happened a long time ago?

An oral history interview can be as recent at a decade or so ago. You could ask people about a particular significant event in your (or their) family history, for example, that not all family members were privy to. Or about a global event and its impact on the family.

Will I have a choice about the type of oral history I engage in for my assignment?

Yes. You may take one of the following approaches:

  • The Intimate Family Memory Approach: intimate and personal memories of family events
  • The Thematic Approach 1: family memories of significant local or national or global events – such as war, natural disaster or political events, etc. or
  • The Thematic Approach 2: family memories of local calendar events – annual show; sporting events; regattas etc.

How long will the interview need to be?

The interview for your assignment is very short - just 3 minutes [but it may be taken out of a longer interview].

What format will I need to use for my oral history interview?

Your recording ought to be in an oral format, that is, digital audio (rather than a video).

I have a hearing impairment – what can be done to assist me in making an audio recording?

It is possible to get ‘add-ons’ to assist you with audio recording. In special circumstances it may be possible to negotiate with your Unit Coordinator, to present your work as written notes of your interview instead.

When do I receive my free access to the Ancestry.com library?

You will receive details about your access to Ancestry.com on the MyLO page once you begin the unit. Students will be able to access this via the Library portal once they are enrolled.

I have started studying this unit and I am struggling to keep up.  Where can I get help?

Alternatively, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form and we will be able to assist you with other options.

What happens if I begin the unit after the official start date?

The Oral History unit is delivered fully online. For this reason, you can study flexibly to make up for any time that you may have missed. Please note however that there will be assessment tasks due on certain dates, so please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form to discuss starting the unit late.

I have completed my unit.  How do I obtain my results?

The official release of results will occur on the date specified in the UTAS calendar. These results will be accessible from 9am on the specified date and are accessible via your eStudent account.

Can I use my Oral History unit result as credit towards a degree?

The Oral History unit can be included as part of the formal requirements for the Diploma of Family History.

You may undertake the unit concurrently with any other degree, but it will not count toward the requirements for that degree.

I wish to enrol in another unit at UTAS.  How do I go about this?

To enrol in another Family History unit or another Study with Fee Concessions - College of Arts and Law opportunity, you will need complete an online application form for each unit when they are available, or register an Expression of Interest to be advised when the next offering of a unit is available for application. For further assistance, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

Students can study other online Study with Fee Concessions - College of Arts and Law offerings. However, these units will not count towards your Diploma of Family History although they do have the same application and enrolment requirements.

Students can choose to study as many online units with the College of Arts and Law as they like.

Can I get a copy of my results?

You can access your eStudent account to obtain an informal statement of your results. Further information on academic records and transcripts may be found at Examinations & Results.

Inspired to keep learning?