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Tales of Teaching Online Podcast: Episode 52

8 August 2022

Teaching threshold concepts through applied immersive learning experiences

In episode 52 of the Tales of Teaching Online Podcast, Dr Monique Mann speaks with Dr Tara Draper about how she has designed her unit to include a immersive learning experience about digital surveillance for her criminology students.

Crime surveillance and society

Dr Monique Mann is an academic and researcher in Criminology at Deakin University. Her area of expertise and teaching focuses on human rights and social justice relating to new surveillance technology used in policing. Monique chairs a 3rd year unit in the Bachelor of Criminology. It is also a popular elective for students across a range of faculties and disciplines, providing great diversity among her learners.

With an invitation to use Nyaal, a state-of-the-art immersive learning precinct at Deakin University’s Geelong Waurn Ponds campus, coinciding with a major course review and unit redesign, Monique saw an opportunity for an immersive digital experience aligned with key threshold concepts in an applied real-world way.

The immersive experience

The activity starts with a shared viewing of a 360 degree immersive experience, were viewers feel transported to that location. Working with documentary film makers at Deakin and an external production company, Monique was able to co-design an experience containing real footage, overlaid with surveillance technology. Students then enter a deliberation room where they unpack the experience through facilitated discussion aligned with the key learning concepts. The full immersive experience is only available to students at Waurn Ponds campus. However, Monique has ideas on ways to provide an equitable experience for her Burwood and online students. You can view the 360 degree video on DeakinAir.

Through strategic design, Monique has been able to craft an authentic, engaging immersive experience that allows her students to understand and apply key concepts while also seeing their own learning progress. ‘What has worked for me is closely connecting the immersive learning experience to those core concepts that relate and speak directly to the unit content, the unit learning outcomes and are also reflected in the assessment as well’. The feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive!

Monique encourages other academics interested in exploring immersive learning experiences to reach out to Aubrey Comben, Digital Producer/Designer at Nyaal. ‘If you do have the opportunity to … use the Nyaal facility, be creative and have fun. Demonstrate your passion for the area in which you are teaching and working, and have fun, because I think more than anything that is what is conveyed to students.’ Listening to Monique speak, her enthusiasm, passion and creativity for creating engaging and authentic learning experiences is evident.

Listen to episode 52 of the Tales of Teaching Online podcast for the full conversation.

Access transcript.

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