The ASCILITE 2021: Back to the future conference was recently held at the University of New England with hybrid delivery featuring face-to-face and virtual presentations. Deakin had one of the largest delegations, with 17 registered attendees, many of whom presented their pioneering work.
On the first day of the conference, Dr Shahed Kamal, Prof. Margaret Bearman, Dr Joanna Tai and Dr Brandi Fox shared the student perspective in ‘Exploring the social aspects of student collaboration in online learning’. The student-led study found that online collaboration is best supported by building social connections between students. This kind of connection is best fostered in face-to-face settings. A real challenge in the last few years.
Day two saw several Deakin presentations, starting with Dr Trina Jorre de St Jorre showcasing another student-led project, the ‘Deakin Launch Network: an employability network that improve engagement, graduate outcomes and wellbeing by connecting and leveraging the expertise of diverse students and alumni’ including a special screening of the new Career Stories video series. The videos, featuring students interviewing alumni, provide students with valuable insight into the world of work.
At the same time, and also on the theme of employability, Dr Christine Contessotto, Dr Edwin Lim and Assoc. Prof. Harsh Suri shared their experiences of harnessing technologies such as online simulations and video interview platforms to create an innovative student experience in ‘Employability focused technology enhanced hybrid and online accounting capstone experience’. This unit seamlessly blends theory to practice, practice simulations, career education and case studies across an 11-week unit to provide a comprehensive capstone experience for final year students.
On the final morning, Prof. Phillip Dawson cautioned that we should focus more on assessment validity than supervision in the panel discussion ‘Online proctored exams: the good, the bad, and the meh’. The final Deakin presentation for the conference came from Dr Jo Elliot and Dr Chie Adachi, who showcased their sustainable video resources and weekly, casual vlogs in ‘Creating presence, currency and connection in digital learning with video blogs’. Reminding us that we shouldn’t take a deficit approach to student engagement in the online space.
An ASCILITE 2021 Innovation Award went to the team of Laura Tubino, Dr Julien Ugon, Dr Kerri Morgan, Dr Simon James and Assoc. Prof. Andrew Cain for their ‘Lifelong learning through mathematics’ projects. Congratulations also go to Dr Puva Arumugam whose engaging poster, ASCILITE CMP: Helping third space professionals with mental well-being won the People’s Choice Poster Award.
‘I have been a mentor in the ASCILITE Community Mentoring Program for the past three years. My purpose for being part of this program is to connect with others in the same field as me, collaborate with practitioners from other universities and build on my existing leadership skills,’ Puva explains. ‘As an outcome this year, my mentee Amanda Bellaby, from QUT, decided to submit a poster to showcase how the CMP program served several purposes including mental well-being of participants.’
Conference proceedings and posters are available to view online, and don’t forget to mark your calendars for ASCILITE 2022: Reconnecting relationships through technology. The 2022 conference will be hosted by the University of Sydney 4-7 December 2022 and will again be offered in hybrid mode.