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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