Deakin CloudFirst 103 (Re)design kickstart workshops are back

Deakin CloudFirst 103 (Re)design kickstart workshops are back

Deakin CloudFirst 103 (Re)design kickstart workshops are back



Digital Tools
Teaching & Learning

Back by popular demand, the CloudFirst 103 workshops are once again being delivered by the CloudFirst team. These workshops support Deakin teaching and learning teams to design their unit sites and are running in time for the start of the 2022 academic year.

CloudFirst 103 is an online guide for academic staff outlining how they can build a unit site. The two upcoming workshops help you start your do-it-yourself redesign, giving you a foundation to continue using the self-paced CloudFirst 103 resources during Trimester 2 this year in readiness for a 2022 launch.

The workshops and resources in CloudFirst 103 provide the knowledge and tools needed to work through the three stages of unit development: high-level mapping, learning activity design, and content production of a range of different types of learning resources, including videos, podcasts, images, and interactives.

The CloudFirst team are also able to schedule some check-in sessions with CloudFirst Senior Educational Designers after the two workshops. These sessions will be dependent on participant interest and will provide advice regarding your queries and progress.

To get the most out of the workshops, you will need to do a small amount of pre and post work on your unit.

  • Workshop 1: How do you design a unit for CloudFirst delivery?
    Thursday 28 October, 10am-12pm

  • Workshop 2: How do you build a unit site that is an engaging and interactive learning space?
    Thursday 4 November, 10am-12pm

Attendance is limited, so don’t miss your chance to get started using the CloudFirst approach and register now. Deakin staff can register through Zoom.

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Zooming in to on-campus studios for practical drama classes

Zooming in to on-campus studios for practical drama classes

Zooming in to on-campus studios for practical drama classes



Teaching & Learning
Teaching online

Returning to teach fully on-campus units while still in the precarious state imposed by the pandemic involves creativity and innovation. Particularly when delivering practical learning experiences for pre-service drama teachers in drama education. Deakin’s Dr Jo Raphael, School of Education, embraced the challenges posed by these conditions and experienced some very positive outcomes in her classes.

Most of Dr Raphael’s students were desperate to resume practical on-campus drama classes with their peers. However, the conditions of border restrictions and the need to isolate if experiencing symptoms or waiting for test results, meant some students could be disadvantaged by not attending their on-campus class.

Jo drew upon her experience of teaching practical drama via Zoom honed during periods of lockdown in 2020 and blended strategies with the on-campus face-to-face classes students desired.   

Students unable to attend classes with their peers joined classroom activities via iPads on stands. Once virtually connected in the drama studio, students engaged with their peers in the very physical and dynamic classroom activities characteristic of drama.


Four students in animated poses in a drama class in front of zoom projection
Drama students and their teacher in masks in a classroom together. In the background is a projected zoom screen showing other students watching on from their computers

Master of Teaching students Arts Education Curriculum Studies in Drama at Deakin, Trimester 1 2021


They were able to work in groups, engage in performance-making tasks and present performances via Zoom, drawing creative inspiration from new possibilities the technology allowed.  

The results were incredibly encouraging. Students zooming in to class appreciated that they did not miss out on practical sessions and reported a positive experience.

‘Jo effectively facilitated an online learning platform for me so I could be immersed in the physical classroom environment from Tasmania. Through Zoom, iPad, laptop, and a projector, she was able to have me in the class participating and engaging with other students. I felt apart of the class cohort, collaborating with them in class activities, including performances, and able to contribute to classroom discussion. I was overwhelmed by the effort put in by Jo, and my fellow students, and the ease in which this environment provided me to learn’. (Student eVALUate comment) 

Students physically on campus commented that the blended initiative was exciting for them  and served as a model of inclusive teaching practice. This is innovative teaching practice pre-service teachers can take into their future teaching careers. 

Attendance for the unit was high, with students able to access class under different circumstances. One student, for example, whose car broke down on the way to class could join via Zoom while she was waiting for roadside assistance.  

COVID-19 has prompted such innovation in learning and teaching, but the approach has enduring appeal and utility.   


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Live-caption your Zoom classes for accessibility and greater learning

Live-caption your Zoom classes for accessibility and greater learning

Livecaption your Zoom classes for accessibility and greater learning



Good practice
Teaching & learning online

You might think of captions as necessary for students with a hearing impairment to participate in your online class or seminar. And while that is true, captions serve other purposes too. They make it easier for students to take part in class when there’s background noise (hi housemates, siblings, kids, and pets!), when English is not their first language or when first encountering discipline-specific terms.

Some students, like Deakin Bachelor of Occupational Therapy student, Daniela Skocic find it easier to process and remember information when they hear it and can read it simultaneously. ‘Processing what has been said, while reading it, helps me remember better and make better sense of the information,’ says Dani. Without live-captions, Dani needs to decide whether to attend the class live and benefit from interaction with her classmates, or to watch the recording later when the transcript is available.

A study conducted by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education found that ‘in addition to the expected benefits to disabled and NESB students… lecture captions are also beneficial to students without disabilities, assisting them to absorb and review educational materials.’ Students have also reported that captions make it easier  to access their learning on the go (Tisdell and Loch, 2016).

How to turn on live-captions

To turn on live-captioning in Zoom, use the ‘Live Transcript’ button in the control bar at the bottom of your Zoom window. Then click on the ‘Enable Auto-transcription’ button.

Zoom menu bar

If you’re sharing your screen, you’ll need to click on ‘More’ in the Zoom controls and select ‘Live Transcript’ from the pop-up options.

Zoom dropdown menu to select live caption

In an MS Teams meeting, click on the ‘More options’ icon (three dots) and select ‘Live captioning’. Find out more on the Microsoft Support site.

Note that auto-transcription isn’t always perfect

Auto-transcription uses machine-generated captions, so the captioning is unlikely to be perfect. If you know that one or more of your students will rely solely on the transcripts (e.g. they may have an access plan requiring transcripts), we recommend you contact the Deakin Disability Resource Centre. You can discuss with them alternative highly accurate captioning options. However, if this is not the case, the odd transcription error won’t matter too much most of the time. As long as the message is clear to students.

You can easily make quick corrections to the captions/transcript later. Take a look at Zoom’s simple instructions on editing transcripts.

Learn more about students’ experiences of accessing learning materials

Check out Deakin science student Judzea Gatt’s recent Deakin Life blog post about her accessibility experiences – good and bad – and how she approaches her studies.

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Free learning and teaching resources available from national online repository

Free learning and teaching resources available from national online repository

Free learning and teaching resources available from national online repository



Teaching & Learning resources
Good practice

As educators, readily available information to help support ideas for our practice and research is invaluable. If you’re not already aware of the Universities Australia Learning and Teaching Repository, you might want to take some time to discover what it can offer.

The Learning and Teaching Repository is an Australian-based website that provides access to over 1,000 reports and related resources from cross-institutional research on a range of higher education topics.

Materials available for use via this online initiative are both high quality and varied in format. The collection features case studies, good practice guides, reports from online teaching projects, and learning outcomes for specific disciplines including templates and links to project websites.

The collection features regularly curated topics. For example, currently, the site highlights resources related to First Nations and the First Year Experience.

You can easily search the collection for interdisciplinary and discipline-specific material through the site’s search tool, which uses standardised tags. The repository’s content is open under a creative commons licence, meaning the resources are free to re-use and adapt if you include attribution and distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

The government commissioned Universities Australia to create the online repository in 2017. It houses the resources produced by the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT), its predecessor bodies and related material.

Contributions to the repository by authors associated with Australian Universities and higher education providers are also welcome. If you have any learning and teaching resources not previously published, you can submit them to the site. You can find more information on how to contribute on the website.

The repository provides continued access to these teaching and learning materials to benefit the broader higher education community. Take the time to discover more about this vital collection today.

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Getting started with Students as Partners

Getting started with Students as Partners

Getting started with Students as Partners

Student partners
Teaching & Learning
Team Collaboration
It may be your first time, or it may be your one hundredth, whatever your experience is, it’s always a good idea to reflect before starting a Students as Partners (SaP) project.

There’s a lot of interest in students-as-partners these days – and for good reason. Partnering with students benefits both staff and students. Staff develop greater insight into student needs and experiences while students gain valuable employability skills and create a legacy to support the next generation.

But while the benefits of partnership are well known, getting started can be tricky.

Deakin’s Students as Partners Framework sets out four broad approaches to students-as-partners to help you consider how to approach a new partnership project. For example, maybe your goal is to get as many student ideas as possible to provide feedback on a new policy. You might take a ‘students as sounding boards’ approach and set up an online poll, or virtual discussion board, for students to submit feedback and ideas.

Alternatively, run focus groups with a specific cohort of students to understand their use of various support services. Rather than do this alone, we’d recommend you take a ‘students as influencers’ approach and hire a couple of student partners. Together, you can develop focus group questions, facilitate the session, and analyse the findings.

More information about the four approaches, and examples of how they might work, are available on the Students as Partners SharePoint site.

Graphic of four approaches to students as partners. 1. Students as sounding boards. 2. Students as influencers. 3. Students as decision makers. 4. Students as co-creators


Regardless of the approach you decide to take, it’s critical to reflect on two key questions before you begin:

  1. Am I truly open minded about what the outcomes or outputs of this project may be? (i.e. am I ready to share this project with student partners?)
  2. Do I have the time in my workload to support the students successfully in this project?

The questions are important because authentic partnership requires a commitment to the process of exploration and relationship-building with students, both of which can take time.

Finally, it’s important to remember why we engage in partnership in the first place – to respect and appreciate the expertise students have in what it’s like to be a student.

Successful partnership projects are mediated on the idea of reciprocal learning. Staff learning about students’ lived experiences, and students learning from staff about a discipline, project management, or how an organisation works. So before beginning, ask yourself, ‘What am I going to teach or share?’ and ‘What am I going to learn?’

To find out more, contact Dr Mollie Dollinger ( to chat all things SaP.

You can hear from Dr Mollie Dollinger first-hand and learn more about getting started with a Students as Partners project on our latest Tales of Teaching Online podcast episode.

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