Coordinating responses: A team approach to facilitating online discussion forums

Coordinating responses: A team approach to facilitating online discussion forums

Coordinating responses: A team approach to facilitating online discussion forums

24

APR, 2020
Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning

Learning Innovations
Getting Started

Managing online discussion forums with a large group of students can seem overwhelming. Employing sustainable facilitation practices to encourage students to lead the discussions (social learning), rather than relying on the teaching team, is key.

You’ll find tips some useful tips on how to engage students in discussion, and keep conversations going, on the DTeach website.

In this guide, we’ll look at how teaching teams can coordinate facilitation of discussion forums to provide a consistent experience and make best use of your team’s time.

For more information and updates please refer to the Transitioning Teaching Online homepage here.

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Transitioning Teaching Online – Teaching with Microsoft Teams

Transitioning Teaching Online – Teaching with Microsoft Teams

Transitioning Teaching Online – Teaching with Microsoft Teams

23

APR, 2020
Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning

Learning Innovations
Getting Started

Microsoft Teams is an industry-based software that facilitates collaboration, from chat, discussion, team meetings, artefact generation, and project management. As we have transitioned teaching and learning online, we have seen a significant increase in the amount of Microsoft Teams that have been created in this space. As a result, there is a lot of information from many different sources, so we are consolidating this information in one space to support you in your implementation of Microsoft Teams for teaching and learning.

What support is currently available?

  • Weekly training sessions on using Microsoft Teams in teaching and learning for the next four weeks (see ‘Whats On?’). These will be facilitated in Microsoft Teams where you will actively experience the different functionality; to do this you will be invited to a Team the day prior to the session.
  • Student support resource has been created for you to add as a Tab in Microsoft Teams so students are aware of why they are using Teams and the different functionality within it. It also provides links to additional resources if the student requires further training.

What use cases are available for your review?

What’s next?

We understand you may be considering the use of Microsoft Teams; the staff support resource is being updated to support your design and showcase different ways in which Microsoft Teams can support collaborative learning in your unit.

Already using Microsoft Teams?

We are gathering information from Unit Chairs and teaching staff that are currently using Microsoft Teams in their teaching and learning so we can showcase the different use cases. If you would like to share your experience, please email joan.sutherland@deakin.edu.au.

For more information and updates please refer to the Transitioning Teaching Online homepage here.

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Discussion forums: Keeping the conversation going throughout trimester

Discussion forums: Keeping the conversation going throughout trimester

Transitioning Teaching Online – Discussion forums: Keeping the conversation going throughout trimester

23

APR, 2020
Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning

Learning Innovations
Getting Started

Discussion forums are important avenues for connection and learning, even more so this trimester when many students are studying online for the first time. The key to active discussion forums is ensuring that students benefit from their engagement with the discussions, clarifying and deepening their understanding and engaging with different ideas and perspectives.

We’ve previously shared tips for getting the discussion started in the first few weeks but how do you progress and extend the discussion as trimester progresses? And how do you avoid the discussion dropping off as students become more comfortable with how the unit is structured and get busy with other tasks?

In this guide we share some strategies for extending learning conversations and keeping discussion forums active and vibrant learning spaces as trimester progresses.

For tips on managing a team of discussion forum facilitators please see our guide on coordinating responses: a team approach to facilitating online discussion forums.

For more information and updates please refer to the Transitioning Teaching Online homepage here.

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Transitioning Teaching Online – Supporting Staff to Support our Students

Transitioning Teaching Online – Supporting Staff to Support our Students

Transitioning Teaching Online – Supporting Staff to Support our Students
09
APR, 2020
Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning

Learning Innovations
Getting Started
Many academic and professional staff are on the frontline when it comes to supporting, guiding and enabling students to be successful through their university journey, both academically and personally.

Students may approach staff when they’re struggling with personal difficulties – from relationship problems to mental health issues – that fall outside your area of expertise. It can be challenging to know how, or even if, to assist the student and where to direct them for professional help.

As part of Deakin’s ongoing commitment to prioritising the health and wellbeing of our entire University community, we’re launching an online staff Student Support and Referral resource.

This staff resource includes the following information:

  • Information on how to deal with a student emergency or a student in distress
  • Direct referral paths to priority services, including:
  • sexual harm
  • problem student behaviour
  • counselling and psychological support
  • medical services
  • International student support
  • multiple or complex student needs
  • disability support
  • student misconduct and complaints
  • Advice on what services are available and how students can access them
  • Links to helpful tools, apps and resources that help students to manage their own needs, where appropriate.

Please take the time to visit the resource and familiarise yourself with its contents. You can bookmark this site for future use, and you can also access the resource in DeakinSync for staff, in the top navigation under Student Support.

We welcome, your feedback so please email sl-comms@deakin.edu.au with any suggestions for improvement. Phase two will link this referral resource into our new staff intranet and incorporate enhancements, including links to student articles that staff can share, search and bookmark functionality plus a broader range of services and resources.

COVID-19

It has never been more important to know how and where to refer students than now during the current COVID-19 situation. All articles have been updated to reflect the current service offering including online appointments, consultations, or accepting referrals. Article will be reverted when regular service offerings resume.

Staff wellbeing is equally important

It’s also important to recognise that staff who support students in distress may experience some distress or impact on themselves. We’re committed to supporting staff through any difficult situation with a range of staff support services, including contacting your manager or team leader or reaching out to the staff Employee Assistance Program.

In the current challenging environment, it’s more important than ever for our Deakin community to prioritise the health and wellbeing. We hope the Student Support and Referral resource helps us all achieve this goal.

For more information and updates please refer to the Transitioning Teaching Online homepage here.

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An Update from the Disability Resource Centre (DRC)

An Update from the Disability Resource Centre (DRC)

An Update from the Disability Resource Centre

09

APR, 2020

Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning

Learning Innovations
DRC

We wanted to give you an update from the DRC, and some information about the experience of students and how we are managing some of the changes. Firstly we would like to say how much we have appreciated the terrific support and understanding that unit chairs have been able to offer to students during this time.

What has been the experience of students?

We have certainly heard from some students that the move to online is suiting them! One student with a fluctuating medical condition is able to access their materials when it suits, listen to recordings and manage breaks during the day as needed.

As expected though, we have needed to address some practical barriers for students, and many are experiencing higher than usual levels of stress, anxiety and uncertainty. This is there for all of us of course, but for some students with disability, health and mental health conditions it can be exacerbated. We thought we would share a few examples.

Students who have chosen to study on campus for very specific reasons related to their situations.

Students with ADHD, or on the autism spectrum may have planned their routines and expectations carefully, and are finding the change and uncertainty very challenging. Some with mental health conditions have chosen to be on campus to address isolation and are at risk in the current situation.

Changes to platforms and modes of delivery causing access issues for student who use assistive technology or other means of communication.

Students who need captioning and transcription, or use Auslan interpreters in class need to have new systems set up for them to access their materials. Some of you will have heard from Tracy and Annette in our Accessible materials team as they set captioning and transcription, and live captioning (where the seminar or session is captioned in live time). People who use screen readers may also experience some difficulty with online modes.

Increased anxiety and other emotional impacts

Many students with Access Plans have hidden conditions, often emotional in nature. Online learning can be disorienting and lonely for students who are used to face-to-face interactions. This can amplify pre-existing mental health challenges, or may result in new mental health challenges for some students. Being mindful of social isolation and asking students how they are managing can help. Anxiety can impact broad aspects of attention and functioning, so clarity in messaging and additional time will be useful to many students.

What is happening with Access Plans and adjustments?

 

Are Access Plans changing?

  • There are some adjustments outlined in Access Plans that will not apply in the online environment. We are not updating them to delete the adjustments not applicable.
  • If you have received an Access Plan for a student, this means that they have consented to you having that information. It also means that it is OK for you to contact them to ask if there is anything you can assist with that may not be stated on the plan.
  • There may be some new access challenges that occur and will need consideration. DLO’s are available to staff and students to assist with finding solutions.
  • There will be new students who register with the DRC for support over the coming weeks and months. Access Plans will be sent to Unit Chairs in the usual way as they are developed.

What about notetaking?

  • All note takers have been granted access to the Cloud Deakin sites and will do notetaking remotely
  • They are liaising with students as to what is needed (classes, seminars etc)
  • We have experienced some difficulties with qualities of recordings but individual situations are being followed up with unit chairs

Auslan interpreting

  • Options for Deaf students include remote video Interpreting (where an Auslan interpreter joins a session remotely) or remote Live Captioning (see below)
  • We are working with each student to consider the best option depending on the course/unit and platforms and modes of delivery

Captioning and transcription

  • Captioning and transcription services continue. There may be some delays for students with the change of platforms.
  • Live Captioning (where a captioner joins a session remotely and does live captioning as the session progresses) is available as an alternative for some students.   
  • Zoom and BBCollaborate work well for Live Captioning and remote interpreting, but Microsoft Teams causes difficulties for access for external providers. We are working with individual unit chairs who are using Teams
  • We are working with each student and each unit to determine which will be the best option.

Assessment and exams

  • Assessment and exams are the areas where the most common adjustments are in place for students. Last year in T1 for example DSA managed over 2000 exam instances for 1060 students.
  • The team in DRC are working with DSA and faculties to consider the best ways to translate and implement traditional exam arrangements with other on line assessment options. In some cases this may mean that adjustments are not needed. In others we will consider the best way to ensure that students are able to demonstrate their learning without disadvantage.

We are also making sure students are aware of and making use of the Study Support team and resources, and referring to Counselling and Psychological Support if they are experiencing increased anxiety or mental health issues. These are great resources for you to refer students too as well.

Finally, please know that the DRC team are here if you have any queries relating students with Access plans in your units. You can find the name of the relevant DLO on the Access Plan. If you have any general queries or advice, please feel free to contact Merrin McCracken or the DRCentre 

For more information and updates please refer to the Transitioning Teaching Online homepage here.

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