Deakin at STARS 2021 conference with Jo Elliott and Darci Taylor

Deakin at STARS 2021 conference with Jo Elliott and Darci Taylor

Deakin at STARS 2021 conference with Jo Elliott and Darci Taylor
03
SEPTEMBER, 2021

Teaching & Learning
Inclusive Education
Contributions
Best practice

Deakin continued its leadership in higher education with significant representation from staff sharing their innovative practice with colleagues nationally and internationally at the STARS 2021 annual conference in July. Here, Dr Jo Elliott and Darci Taylor from Deakin Learning Futures, discuss their STARS contribution on designing for inclusion and reflect on the successful event.

Too often, we treat accessibility as an accommodation, putting the onus on individual students to disclose their need for alternative learning materials.

If we design for accessibility and inclusion from the outset, it not only reduces the need for students to make such disclosures, but it can benefit all students by supporting a range of ways to engage with the content.

CloudFirst learning design incorporates Deakin’s Inclusive Education principles, through clear and scaffolded learning outcomes, the use of different media and activity types, provision of transcripts and text alternatives, and embedded support and regular opportunities for feedback.

Our CloudFirst CloudDeakin templates feature built-in accessibility requirements, such as appropriate colour contrast and structured headings. Incorporating this into the learning design process supports teaching staff to create inclusive, accessible learning experiences from the very beginning, creating better experiences for students and reducing the need to retrofit alternatives later.

This approach generated lots of enthusiastic discussion and positive feedback from the audience, with one audience member commenting, ‘this is terrific – Deakin leading in so many ways!’.

The plenary sessions, from Prof. Simon Marginson, Dr Jennifer Keup, Prof. Mark Brown and our own former VC, Emeritus Prof. Jane den Hollander AO, and student panel prompted us to reflect on what we’re here for and what we want to achieve, both through our individual and institutional practices and as a sector; a call to draw on the lessons of the last 18 months to create a better future for our students, our universities and our society.

Overall, the conference was a welcome opportunity to reconnect with colleagues across higher education to reflect, both on the past 18 months and on our vision for the future. You can access papers and read the full conference proceedings on the STARS website.

If you would like to learn how to use the CloudFirst templates and design inclusive and accessible unit sites, Deakin staff can enrol to access our self-paced resources via the CloudFirst website.

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Developing digital literacy in work integrated learning with Dr Bahareh Nakisa

Developing digital literacy in work integrated learning with Dr Bahareh Nakisa

Developing digital literacy in work integrated learning with Dr Bahareh Nakisa
23
NOVEMBER, 2020
Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning
Learning Innovations
Team Collaboration
Good Practice

We spoke to Dr Bahareh Nakisa, Lecturer in Applied Artificial Intelligence, about integrating Microsoft Office and Azure Cloud services into work integrated learning tasks.

When Dr Bahareh Nakisa was designing the SIT788 – Engineering AI Solutions unit as part of the Master of Applied Artificial Intelligence course, she drew on her practical experience working in industry and chose to integrate Microsoft Azure Cloud services and Microsoft Office 365 in the learning tasks. This allowed students to build Applications (Apps) and collaborate effectively.

In a shifting job market, it’s more important than ever for students to develop their digital skills. A quick scan of job advertisements shows that positions across various sectors call for proficiency in the use of the Microsoft Office suite, which is fully supported by Deakin.

As part of SIT788 – Engineering AI Solutions, students learn how to use Computer Vision, a Microsoft Azure Artificial Intelligence service that allows them to embed specific features into their webcams, such as the ability to recognise faces, gender, age, and emotions.

Bahareh also uses Microsoft Teams, an industry-leading collaboration tool, to extend classroom discussions about Artificial intelligence techniques. The integration of Microsoft Office skills within the curriculum, which aligns with Deakin’s graduate learning outcome of digital literacy, supports the development of our learners’ employability skillsets as they step into a competitive job market.

In this video, Bahareh tells us about her experience in cultivating digital literacy skills using Microsoft Azure Cloud services.

 

Tools for learning and teaching

Learning activities using tools such as Microsoft Teams do not only make for a good resume and better employability, they can also nurture essential transferrable skills such as creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking, which are central to student success. Students can let their creativity bloom using Sway (Web Authoring tool), collaborate using Microsoft Teams and OneNote (Digital Notebook), manage projects using Planner (project management tool), and learn socially through yammer (social networking service) communities, amongst others.

Above all, Microsoft Office tools integrate seamlessly into and complement one another.  This typology of our Digital Learning Environment outlines the range of digital tools available at Deakin and their pedagogical uses.

Microsoft and Linkedin Learning offer a wealth of resources in the form of instructional videos and other resources that can help you tailor your learning pathway. Deakin staff are able to access Linkedin Learning for free using the Deakin single sign-on.

If you are already harnessing Microsoft Office 365 for digital learning and would like to share your experience, please contact our Senior Education Developer, Dr Isma Seetal, who is exploring the issues of digital collaboration for learning and teaching at Deakin.

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Create a do-it-yourself online unit site with CloudFirst 103

Create a do-it-yourself online unit site with CloudFirst 103

Create a do-it-yourself online unit site with CloudFirst 103

16

November, 2020

CloudFirst
Teaching Online
Good Practice
Digital Innovations

How do you build a CloudFirst unit site? We’ve launched CloudFirst 103, a guide for academic staff that outlines how they can build a do-it-yourself CloudFirst unit site. CloudFirst 103 provides the knowledge 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. Academic staff can also access a series of activities outlining the steps required to develop everything needed for a do-it-yourself CloudFirst unit.

CloudFirst 103 is designed so that academics can use it the way that best suits them. Topics can be worked through in a linear sequence to create a DIY CloudFirst unit, or dipped into to build expertise in a specific area of interest, such as video production, H5P interactives or embedded discussions.

Many topics also include an advanced section for those already skilled in that area, or those returning on another CloudFirst transformation that want to take their design skills to the next level.

Deakin staff can join CloudFirst 103 and get started creating their own online units.

CloudFirst 103 builds on the information in the CloudFirst 101 and CloudFirst 102 resources, which guide academics through the CloudFirst learning principles and approach to curriculum design and showcase practical strategies for teaching online from academics running CloudFirst units.

The CloudFirst team

The CloudFirst team was established in late 2017 to transform learning design at Deakin and create premium online exemplars.

The team has worked with over 100 contributors including academics, faculty support staff, librarians, students and external consultants to develop over 600,000 words, 800 videos, 500 images and 400 interactive objects to support student learning across a range of disciplines, including Business, Law, Education and Mathematics. Since the launch of CloudFirst, there have been 16,000 enrolments in CloudFirst units across 5000 students.

The CloudFirst team continues to work on course transformation across all faculties at Deakin and has been ramping up capability building through online training and live workshops, both as a response to academics wanting to progress their own CloudFirst journeys, and the need to transition learning online due to COVID-19.

CloudFirst 103 represents the biggest instructional undertaking of the CloudFirst team to date. To create CloudFirst103 the team refined all their processes, templates, instructions and development tools, including only what’s necessary to achieve a quality DIY CloudFirst unit.

Whether progressing through CloudFirt 103 individually or as part of a teaching team, we are excited to see how academics interact with the resource and to showcase the results of DIY CloudFirst transformations.

Visit the CloudFirst website to learn more.

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Congratulations Dr Madeleine Schultz, winner of the RACI Chemistry Educator of the Year Award

Congratulations Dr Madeleine Schultz, winner of the RACI Chemistry Educator of the Year Award

Congratulations Dr Madeleine Schultz, winner of the RACI Chemistry Educator of the Year Award
21
OCTOBER, 2020
Good Practice
Awards and Recognition
Dr Madeleine Schultz, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry in Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Science (LES) has recently been awarded the Chemistry Educator of the Year award by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI). The RACI has acted as the key body advocating the interests and activities of the chemical sciences since 1917 and the Chemistry Educator of the Year award is designed to encourage developing teachers in undergraduate or postgraduate University courses.

‘I am absolutely delighted to receive this highly competitive award,’ said Dr Madeleine Schultz. ‘My twin passions are improving student learning through the use of evidence-based teaching practices, and incorporating sustainability into chemistry education.’

Madeleine’s educational research explores improved approaches to support students of all ages to learn chemistry via better understanding of student backgrounds, development of scaffolded online modules and explicit use of multiple representations. Together with LES colleagues, she has investigated the complex array of factors impacting success in large first year units SLE133 and SLE155, and how engagement was impacted by the move online in 2020. In parallel with this, she has a strong background in supporting the professional development of chemistry teachers to use best practice for holistic understanding. Since commencing at Deakin in 2018, she has initiated professional development workshops for LES sessional staff, focussing on the specific challenges of teaching chemistry and other sciences.

Following an undergraduate science/law degree at ANU with first class honours in chemistry (1995), Madeleine moved to the University of California (Berkeley) for her PhD (2000). She completed her world tour with a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Heidelberg before returning to Australia. She has since worked at three Australian institutions as her research focus moved gradually from doing chemistry to improving the teaching of chemistry.

Madeleine founded and directs the Chemistry Discipline Network, a community of practice for tertiary chemistry educators. In 2019 she co-developed (with Dr Seamus Delaney, from the School of Education) the UNESCO-funded Periodic Table of Sustainable Elements outreach activities and was part of a Deakin team that brought this event to seven disadvantaged schools in rural and remote Victoria.

Madeleine recently spoke with us about her continuing commitment to the betterment of teaching practices. ‘I would love to chat with anyone interested in chemistry or science education, schools outreach, pedagogical content knowledge for chemistry, misconceptions, or student efficacy.’

Congratulations Madeleine!

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Deakin Library Digital Demos and XR explorations

Deakin Library Digital Demos and XR explorations

Deakin Library Digital Demos and XR explorations

20

OCTOBER, 2020

Digital Innovation
Deakin Library

How do you translate the digital affordances of extended reality (XR) into teaching practice and student engagement? Digital innovation in the XR space is fast-paced, complex and wide-ranging. XR for education ranges along a continuum and can include Virtual Reality (VR), 360-degree video, 3D objects or Augmented Reality.

In August, a QUT colleague Sarah Howard delivered a Library Digital Demo that explored this continuum and touched on a multitude of platforms – both freely available or at a cost – using mobile devices and low cost or expensive hardware. In presenting on XR explorations within the library and academic sector, Sarah deliberately designed her content to work in VR. Whether you have a compatible VR headset or not, you can check out Sarah’s interactive presentation on Thinglink. Alternatively, you could watch the recording of the session below.

Deakin Library and XR

With students unable to explore library spaces in person during COVID-19 restrictions, we wanted to shape a digital experience that provided students with an opportunity to explore and connect. We harnessed 360-degree photography and h5p functionality to create interactive virtual tours of three Deakin Library spaces. Each tour allows you to drag your cursor to explore the area, use arrows to navigate around the library, and select hotspots to learn more information about our services and resources.

The library also offers collections which curate XR resources for teaching and learning. Good examples of this are Visible Body, which is a virtual anatomy app that presents the body in 3D form, with users able to hide structures or other layers to see what lies beneath. Anatomy TV has a similar 3D graphical approach to the body for users to explore.

Join a Deakin Library Digital demo

Once a month, a library staff member or guest presenter runs a brief online workshop featuring a new digital tool. The sessions are open to all Deakin staff and academics. It’s a great way to find out about your colleagues’ favourite digital tools and secret workflow hacks, without taking up too much time! Visit the library internal events page to learn more about upcoming Digital Demos or watch for updates in the monthly Network newsletter.

We’re always looking for ideas for future Digital Demos. If you use an online tool or resource that you’re passionate about and would be interested in sharing it with your colleagues, please get in touch with us at digital-demos@deakin.edu.au.

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Find the right tool for the job with the Digital Learning Environments Guide

Find the right tool for the job with the Digital Learning Environments Guide

Find the right tool for the job with the Digital Learning Environments Guide

16

OCTOBER, 2020

Teaching Online
Digital Innovation

Deakin staff and students have access to a multitude of online platforms and tools to support teaching and learning – so which is the best one to use? Well, that really depends on what you are trying to achieve.

We know that it can be difficult to decide what technologies are best suited to your unit, so we’ve created a new resource to help you with these decisions. The Digital Learning Environments Guide provides information about all of the teaching and learning platforms and tools supported by Deakin.

The guide groups platforms and tools by purpose: whether you want students to acquire knowledge; undertake research and inquiry; work collaboratively; engage in discussion; produce their own artefacts; or evidence their learning through assessment (e.g. Laurillard, 2002). For each tool, we’ve also included examples of how this can be used by teaching teams and students, and linked to additional resources.

Some tools serve multiple purposes, and facilitate different types of learning – this resource will help you identify these different uses so you can create a more integrated and streamlined learning experience for your students, and for you.

For now, the Digital Learning Environments Guide is available as an interactive PDF, but we’re working on creating an interactive webpage to make it easier for you to choose the tools that are right for you and your students.

Access the Digital Learning Environments Guide interactive PDF today and find the platforms and tools that best suit your needs.

 

References:

  • Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking university teaching: A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies (2nd ed.). London: Routledge Falmer. doi:10.4324/9780203304846
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