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26 May 2022

Using the Teaching and Learning Tools Guide

The Teaching and Learning Tools Guide outlines the various digital tools available to academic staff at Deakin, along with handy tips on how to use them. We spoke to Dr Adam Cardilini about how he uses the guide in his teaching practice to foster active online learning.

Tell us about yourself. What do you teach?

I’m a lecturer of environmental science and this year I’m teaching two units, one in Trimester 1 that is taught entirely online and a second unit which is taught mostly online as well, but also has an on-campus component. For several years I’ve focused on online teaching and learning design. I worked for a year as a CloudDeakin support officer before I started teaching, which gave me a unique perspective regarding CloudDeakin and online learning and teaching design. It’s a real focus for me.

How have you been involved in the development of the Teaching and Learning Tools Guide?

I actually reached out to the Digital Learning team in Deakin Learning Futures to see if there was something available that allowed me to figure out the available tools and different activities that I could put into my learning design. It turned out they were already working on the guide, so they brought me on to provide some feedback.

How are you using the guide in your own teaching practice?

I find the guide is useful at certain points in my teaching, like when I’m approaching the start of the trimester when I’m looking over my unit and thinking what needs to be improved or updated. That’s when I’m working through my unit content and thinking about what activities could be added and what tools might facilitate that activity, for instance something that increases collaboration between students.

What are the benefits of using the guide?

I’ve been doing online learning design for a while now, but I’m not originally trained in education. Like many other academics around the University, I have done the Graduate Certificate, but I am not trained in education. I need some guidance on the different tools, activities and ways of teaching that can enhance my students learning.

The guide is set up around learning activity types, which is really helpful. Let’s say you want to create something so your students can have a discussion in an online space, you can click on the tab labelled ‘discussion’ and explore a range of tools to support that.

It’s also good for keeping on top of what digital tools we have access to, because that sometimes changes. For instance, BB Collaborate was recently retired and we’ve now moved on to Zoom for delivery of online learning and the guide already reflects this and provides details around using zoom for learning activities.

How would you recommend teaching staff use the guide?

I would recommend exploring the Teaching and Learning Tools Guide if you’re planning and delivering online content. It’s particularly useful for fostering active online learning and covers collaboration, proactive enquiry, knowledge acquisition and production. If you want your students to experience that type of online learning, visit the guide to see what types of tools are available.

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