Student Voice Series #02 with Rahul Masakorala

Student Voice Series #02 with Rahul Masakorala

Student Voice Series #02 with Rahul Masakorala
02
SEP, 2019
Teaching & Learning
Students as Partners
Good Practice

Digital Innovation
Rahul Masakorala, a student partner and intern from SEBE, works in Deakin Learning Futures, actively contributing to the Digital Learning Environments projects 3 (Collaboration and Portfolio). His is one of many student voices at the university shaping how projects are developed and strategies implemented.
In 2019, the DLE3 Digital Tools project – as part of the larger DLE-program – significantly contributes to the Deakin LIVE Agenda’s promise to “Provide a brilliant education where students are and where they want to go using elegant and engaging digital tools”.

Deakin’s Digital Learning Environments are diverse and complex. To grow our position as a world leader in premium digital – or CloudFirst – learning, the DLE 3 project aims to deliver the continuous improvement of, and cohesion between, these environments for the 21st century learning.

The DLE3 Project is defined by three project streams: collaboration, self and peer assessment and ePortfolio. Each project stream is built around a pedagogical framework or set of principles that supports the development of skills and capabilities to prepare our graduates for the future world of work and lifelong learning.

Recently the DLE3 Project has welcomed a student partner as part of a DLF internship program to help investigate, analyse, trial and evaluate educational technologies across project streams. Rahul, as a new addition to our team, reflects on his time with us at DLF:

“I am currently in my second year of my game development degree and joined the DLE3 team just a few weeks ago. The student as partners framework has allowed me to provide a student perspective when investigating digital tools in teaching and learning. While the teaching practices play a crucial role in selection of these tools, it is equally important that the tools are user friendly and the student feels they have a reason to use it, aside from being required to. My role working within DLE3 so far has let me bring up issues through trying out these tools for the first time and this feedback has informed the evaluation of digital tools. In addition, as Microsoft Teams and some of the other technologies being tested are present in the units I am undertaking, I can provide not only the ideas and problems faced by myself, but by other students in a way that cannot be represented with a survey.

As part of these evaluations, I have also had to look through the lens of the teachers perspective, which at times can be challenging, but I am beginning to understand some of the concerns and reasons for wanting specific features from a teaching point of view. The experience so far has been a learning one, being able to sit in on meetings with heads of faculty and be given equal opportunity to speak out and voice opinions on the tools being discussed feels less like a “peek behind the curtain” and more like an extension of what I do during my academic activities at university.”

Useful Resources

For more on DLE3 visit our Future State Architecture page here (staff access).

And for more on the Students as Partners initiative here is a publication by our own Deakin colleagues Milburn, L. & Jones, D. 2019

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Teaching with Microsoft Teams with Bardo Fraunholz

Teaching with Microsoft Teams with Bardo Fraunholz

Teaching with Microsoft Teams
29
AUG, 2019

Teaching & Learning
Good Practice
Digital Innovation
DLE3

Associate Professor and the Director of Postgraduate Programs, Bardo Fraunholz sits down with Joan Sutherland, Senior Education Developer to explore how he implemented Microsoft Teams into his teaching and learning practice.  

 

As the Unit Chair of the Business Management Capstone unit, with at least a quarter of his cohort cloud campus students, the traditional classroom set up didn’t work. As a capstone unit, Bardo needed an environment where students could immerse themselves in the content, interact with their peers and connect with real clients external to Deakin. He sought a solution within the University, including the LMS and other third-party tools, but these did not suit the needs of the unit, so he began to explore Microsoft Teams.

Listen to Bardo and Joan explore why he implemented Microsoft Teams, how he implemented it, the challenges he faced along the way, and what other teaching teams can learn from his experience.

Useful Resources

For more on potential tools in the DLE 3 Collaboration stream and microsoft teams please visit the Collaboration page (staff access).

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Making micro-credentials work – for learners, employers and providers

Making micro-credentials work – for learners, employers and providers

Making micro-credentials work for learners, employers and providers
02
AUG, 2019
Teaching & Learning
Digital Innovation
Good Practice
By Emeritus Professor Beverley Oliver
This report was written by Emeritus Professor, Beverley Oliver, our former Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education to address the ever-growing interest in micro-credentials.

In the digital economy where ongoing upskilling is required for the future of work, micro-credentials and other forms of non-formal learning are rapidly emerging and making the landscape ever more complex, for learners, employers and providers.

Given such contexts, “this report offers some recommended immediate next steps, making micro-credentials work—or work better—to build trust by adopting clear definitions, and standards-based practices; add value, proving their benefits to learners and employers, particularly their employability value; and achieve sustainability, for those new modes yet to show return on investment for providers.”

 

Useful Resources

Download the full report or the executive summary.

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The Asia Pacific FutureLearn Academic Network

The Asia Pacific FutureLearn Academic Network

The Asia-Pacific FutureLearn Academic Network (AP FLAN)
12
JUL, 2019
Teaching & Learning
FutureLearn
Event Recap
Digital Innovation
By Associate Professor Margaret Bearman, Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE), and Wendy Palmer, Director of Global Studio.
The inaugural Asia Pacific FutureLearn academic network (FLAN) held June 6 at Deakin Downtown was a great success with over 30 people attending, in person and virtually, from both Australian and Japanese Universities. With an insightful mix of presentations and panels, the event concluded with a shared live streamed session with the European FLAN event, with Professor Mike Sharples discussing practical pedagogy.

Wendy Palmer, Director of Global Studio who leads the partnership with FutureLearn noted that one of the interesting themes was the increased use of video for interaction between students and lecturers. 

“Keio University are using daily video blogs to address loneliness for students and Murdoch University are trialling video and audio feedback for assessments to enable more authentic feedback. Keio are trialling this currently and are expecting reduced marking time and a truer sense of feedback than text where tone can be lost, it will be interesting to see the outcomes.”

Associate Professor Margaret Bearman from Deakin’s CRADLE has been involved in evaluating the impact that Deakin’s initiatives on FutureLearn have had. Professor Bearman conveyed how fortunate she was to listen to Professor Emerita Beverley Oliver’s keynote, which explored new ways of thinking about micro-credentials.

“Beverley discussed why they mattered in a world of increasing focus on flexibility and work-skills, and what needed to be done to transform them from ‘random’ learning to credentialed learning.”

For Margaret, this is the start of a very interesting conversation that she is looking forward to exploring further.

Wendy echoed Margaret, stating

“Beverley’s presentation on Micro-credentials was indeed thought provoking especially the focus on shared value across students, educators and employers – how do micro-credentials work for all these stakeholders. Beverley also made the interesting point that universities have been doing micro-credentials all along – they’re called units. It is fascinating to see how this global conversation on the shape of education is evolving.”

Watch Deakin’s Dr Nick Patterson give his FLAN presentation on the Master Information Technology Leadership, and Goki Miyakita on Enhancing Learning Experience Beyond MOOCs below.

Above: Videos of the proceedings from FLAN
Margaret had the privilege of hosting a panel with Professor Kylie Readman from Murdoch, Professor Nick Barter from Griffith and Dr Clare Lloyd from Newcastle.

“While the starting point was the strategic value of researching MOOCs (or “open courses” to use Clare’s term) in the University sector, the message I took away was that “digital is coming”. While MOOCs offer the opportunity to make what universities do (teaching and research) matter in the community, we still need research to understand this opportunity.”

 

Looking for more?

Watch keynote speaker Mark Sharples’ presentation below on Pedagogy at Scale.

 

For more updates around FutureLearn courses and news, follow @FutureLearn on Twitter.
Useful Resources

For more on FutureLearn at Deakin see here.

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Digital Innovation Series – The CloudFirst Experience with Colin Higgins

Digital Innovation Series – The CloudFirst Experience with Colin Higgins

Digital Innovation Series
03 CloudFirst Eperience with Colin Higgins
31
MAY, 2019
Digital Innovation
CloudFirst
Teaching & Learning
By Colin Higgins, Director of the Masters of Business Administration, in the Faculty of Business and Law.
CloudFirst involved two distinct elements for the MBA: curriculum renewal and changes to the learning materials and delivery. We took the opportunity to think strategically about the course – what it needed to be, what we wanted to deliver. Given that 80% of the MBA cohort study online, putting the needs of the Cloud learner first was a priority. It was time to create a set of learning materials that were social, engaging, consistent, and utilised a variety of methods to stimulate personal exploration, collaboration, activity, and reflection.

We wanted to move away from the online learning experience simply being about watching recordings, sifting through PowerPoint slides, and undertaking long readings. We wanted to shift online learning from being a ‘spectator activity’ to something that students were drawn in to and could participate in a variety of different types of activities ‘anywhere, anytime’. We also wanted to shift the on-campus experience to more of a ‘flipped model’ where active learning was the philosophy. This required the development of a sophisticated set of learning materials available online.

 
 
This was both a reaction to shifting learner preferences and an attempt to get ahead of new competition we are facing in the online MBA market – our competitors were already moving quickly with an engaging model. While we were experienced in dealing with an online cohort – we were lagging in terms of the quality and structure of our materials for an online audience. So we needed to respond to that – but we also knew that the old approach had limitations. CloudFirst gave us the opportunity to stand back and take a strategic, whole-of-course approach to make improvements.
“It was time to create a set of learning materials that were social, engaging, consistent, and utilised a variety of methods to stimulate personal exploration, collaboration, activity, and reflection.”
This collaboration should have a very significant impact on students in terms of the quality of the learning materials and the conscious approach to the design of the learning materials. Students should experience a more engaging set of learning activities, which should aid their learning, engagement and retention. For Teaching & Learning across Deakin this should assist us to showcase and share best practice across the university. Teachers will see new ways of doing things, and get new ideas.

CloudFirst is an opportunity to make strategic changes, and it gives a structure for bringing about a whole-of-course consistency. We shouldn’t under-estimate the time involved – and that some comfort with ambiguity is needed (sometimes you don’t know how well something is going to work until you see it). It is important for others to be upfront and gain clarity about the time involved, but they might also see this as an opportunity for professional development for teachers, and to explore new ways of doing things

Useful Resources for the CloudFirst Project

CloudFirst 101 Course

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Digital Innovation Series – FeedbackFruits

Digital Innovation Series – FeedbackFruits

Digital Innovation Series
02 FeedbackFruits
21
MARCH, 2019
Digital Innovation
Teaching & Learning
Feedback Fruits
By Dr. Tiffany Gunning, Lecturer in Curriculum Design and Development in the Faculty of SEBE; and, Dr. Andy Wear, Lecturer in Digital Learning Innovation in Deakin Learning Futures.
Tiffany: Online tools to support self- and peer-assessment of teamwork skills have been used in SEBE since 2015 as a way to build students capacity to work productively in teams and to increase student engagement.  Sparkplus has been used in 40 units across the faculty, but the university was keen to see a tool which was fully integrated into D2L.  In Trimester 2 last year, Xavier Conlon from Forensic Science, agreed to trial FeedbackFruits in his unit “Forensic Analysis and Interpretation”. 

Xavier worked closely with the SEBE Learning Support Team and myself who provided the bridge between the development of the new tool and implementation in his unit and with the Learning Innovations Team in DLF who provided the bridge between the university and the developers of FeedbackFruits.

Screenshot of Feedback Fruits
 
Andy: My role in Learning Innovations is substantively responsive to the digital learning requirements of Deakin’s teachers and learners, however articulating what innovation means in the context of teaching and learning is intrinsic.

This is partly determined by the misuse and misunderstanding of innovation; almost universally applied to technological and commercial pursuits, and perceived as synonymous with change or transformation. Add to the mix an entrepreneurial and cultural environment where innovation is positioned as ‘disruptive’, you can understand how confusion leads to mistrust – particularly in Higher Education settings.

For this reason, I prefer to present innovation as a stabilising force, with as much focus on ‘process innovation’ as on ‘product innovation’. True, we are working with amazing technologies like FeedbackFruits, however reimagining how we communicate, collaborate and support these products also demands an innovative approach – the work we’ve been doing with Tiffany and SEBE is a great demonstration of this.

“The significant improvements made since version one, provided a seamless environment for most students during the second trial in T3”
Tiffany: The initial trial of FeedbackFruits highlighted some issues with the tool’s capabilities and the user experience of both Xavier and his students. FeedbackFruits were quick to respond and priority was given to automated access for students to their teams. The ability for the teaching team to review and moderate student comments before release to students, improved reports for analysis and the creation of a rubric option were also included in the tool in response to Xavier’s feedback. 

The significant improvements made since version one, provided a seamless environment for most students during the second trial in T3.  Once again staff and student evaluations were shared with FeedbackFruits who made further adjustments to the tool. Version 3 is now underway with five units involved in T1 this year. We will continue to evaluate the user experience of our Unit Chairs and students and work with FeedbackFruits to develop this tool.

 

Andy: Xavier’s experience is not atypical of innovation pilots – there is by definition risk involved in the testing of new products. However, we want to ensure our teachers and students – Deakin’s ‘true north’ – aren’t negatively impacted by our work. It’s a delicate balance!

Tiffany highlights a critical factor – the importance of evaluation to the iterative improvement of the product (and consequently, the student experience).

While it’s essential to understand the risks (and prepare contingency plans), there’s no underestimating the value of experienced teachers who can articulate the pedagogical rationale and requirements for the use of a tool, and a well-organised project team who can support the pedagogical, business and system requirements that facilitate its use. Importantly, in FeedbackFruits we have a very helpful, collaborative and patient partner who are very understanding of Deakin’s requirements!

Useful Resources on FeedbackFruits

FeedbackFruits 

https://secure.feedbackfruits.com/#pilot

 

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