Design Thinking with MURAL

Design Thinking with MURAL

Design thinking with MURAL


JULY, 2021

Digital Tools
Team Collaboration
Teaching and Learning Online

Design thinking is a mindset and approach which empowers people to think innovatively and critically. In teaching and learning, design thinking is increasingly used by instructors to design educational programs and curricula collaboratively and to equip students with a range of skills such as problem-solving and collaborative skills that are critical in the workplace.

MURAL has emerged as a tool par excellence for design thinking as it provides shareable, collaborative, digital canvases, and a large selection of pre-built templates for real-time and asynchronous collaboration. MURAL has been expanding its capabilities for use in teaching and learning and currently offers free education licences for academic staff.

Although MURAL is not a Deakin-supported tool, it is starting to be more widely used. The availability of vendor support, its wide range of features and the affordances of the free education licence position it as agood tool for design thinking.

MURAL can also be used for a range of other learning activities such as icebreakers, reflections, and project-related activities such as group problem-solving.

We recommend using MURAL yourself and developing your knowledge before using it in your units with students. 

Take a look at this MURAL user guide which was developed by Deakin’s Digital Innovations team to learn more. This guide includes step-by-step instructions on how to request for a free education licence, and discusses some use cases, the pros and cons of using MURAL and includes links to other resources and training opportunities which will help you get started in using MURAL.

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Zoom is now our preferred platform for synchronous online teaching

Zoom is now our preferred platform for synchronous online teaching

Zoom is now our preferred platform for synchronous online teaching


JULY, 2021

Digital Learning
Online Teaching

Introducing Zoom in 2020 added another tool to our digital learning environment and prompted us to re-evaluate the platforms we use to create synchronous online classrooms. To provide a simpler and more streamlined learning environment, we recommend Zoom as our preferred platform for synchronous online classrooms and will decommission Blackboard Collaborate Ultra in 2022. We made this decision in collaboration with the Digital Learning Environments and Innovation (DLEI) Strategy and Implementation Groups, which include faculty and divisional representatives. 

Why are we doing this? 

Our digital learning environment is complex and having two platforms that offer similar functionality (Zoom and BbCollaborate Ultra) adds unnecessary complexity and confusion for both staff and students. Recommending Zoom and decommissioning BbCollaborate Ultra reduces some of this complexity and allows us to provide a more consistent experience for students and reduce costs associated with licensing, maintenance, training and support.  

To inform this decision, we spoke to numerous teaching and support staff across the University about their needs and preferences for synchronous online classrooms and compared the functionality of the two platforms. While they have many similar features, Zoom offers some other benefits, including the ability to pre-prepare poll questions, save whiteboard content, and annotate shared content for both host and participants. Zoom supports larger groups and can provide fully interactive meetings for up to 500 participants*, compared to 250 participants in BbCollaborate Ultra.  

*Your Deakin Zoom account allows you to schedule meetings with full interactivity (polling, interactive whiteboards, text chat, breakout rooms and audio- and video-sharing by all participants) for up to 300 participants. If you need to schedule interactive meetings for between 300 and 500 participants, please contact the IT Service Desk to request an upgrade to your license. 

What does this mean for me? 

If you are already using Zoom for your online classes and seminars, you don’t need to take any action. If you are currently using BbCollaborate Ultra, you will need to move your online classes and seminars to Zoom in Trimester 3 this year. Your faculty’s Digital Learning / CloudDeakin Support team will work with you to help facilitate this change. 

We will be decommissioning BbCollaborate Ultra in 2022. Further information about the decommissioning process and how to manage any BbCollaborate Ultra recordings you need to keep will be provided later this year. 

What training and support is available? 

Step-by-step instructions for scheduling and managing Zoom sessions and recordings via the integration with CloudDeakin are available in the CloudDeakin guides. Guidelines for managing your Zoom recordings, including instructions on how to upload recordings to Kaltura if needed, are available on DTeach. More resources and training workshops are available through your faculty’s Digital Learning / CloudDeakin Support team – check out their websites below. 

 Find out more about the Video@Deakin project and the decision to decommission BbCollaborate Ultra on our Sharepoint site

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Collaborative Learning with Microsoft Office 365 tools

Collaborative Learning with Microsoft Office 365 tools

Collaborative Learning with Microsoft Office 365 tools 


JULY, 2021

Team Collaboration
Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning

Collaboration is one of the top five most in demand global soft skills today. By implementing collaborative learning, you can boost students’ employability and help them develop skills such as communication, conflict resolution and teamwork, which are essential in the workplace.  

Dr Isma Seetal, Dr Tara Draper and Dr Puva Arumugam recently organised a series of workshops about how collaborative learning and Microsoft Office 365 tools can enhance student learning. 

Collaborative Learning  

We define collaborative learning as goal-oriented group work where students work on joint activities, and in doing so, co-construct knowledge by sharing and negotiating ideas. Interactions are at the heart of collaboration. As students collaborate, they not only interact with their peers and teachers but also with resources and interfaces through a range of activities.   

A well-structured collaboration can have a positive and significant impact on students’ satisfaction and support their individual learning, leading to better engagement and performance. It can also stimulate their openness to diversity by increasing their exposure to different viewpoints.  

Despite the educational benefits to collaborative work, students typically find working together difficult. We can support students through scaffolding of the collaborative activity and instructor guidance.  

Tools for Collaboration Learning

Using online tools for collaborative learning has a positive influence on group interaction. It provides opportunities for students to get emotional support from group peers. It also facilitates teachers’ interaction with students, increasing opportunities to provide pedagogical guidance, help and technical support.  

 As part of the Deakin community, you have access to the Microsoft Office 365 suite of tools. Most of the Office Apps are integrated into Microsoft Teams. This is the collaborative hub where students can work on artefacts, interact extensively, plan their work and much more.  

The right tool for each stage of the collaborative project 

Before assigning project topics, for example, gauge students’ prior learning. You can easily do this by creating a form in Microsoft Forms 

If students have not worked collaboratively with peers in their class prior to the assigned project, consider creating a community space using Yammer. Students can use Yammer to get to know each other, share resources and post questions.  

Microsoft Planner and Lists can help students organise and track their project tasks seamlessly. As students delve into their project work, they can use OneNote, Microsoft’s digital note-taking App, to capture and synthesise research or take meeting notes.  

Students must often produce an artefact by the end of their project. Using Microsoft Sway, they can collaborate in real-time or asynchronously to produce artefacts such as newsletters, reports and interactive presentations. 


Learn more about using Yammer in teaching and learning by visiting our new Yammer SharePoint page. You can also find a range of helpful tips and guides to get started in Microsoft Teams using our updated Microsoft Teams user guide. 

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Engaging students in real-world projects online

Engaging students in real-world projects online

Engaging students in real-world projects online


JULY, 2021

Project-based learning
Digital Learning
Team Collaboration

Through collaborative assignments such as group projects, students can apply their learning in a practical, real-world scenario and develop their teamwork skills. As part of ‘Information Systems in Practice’, a capstone unit in the Master of Information Systems, students work for an industry client on a consultancy style project that involves solving information systems problems. Associate Professor Bardo Fraunholz, unit chair, supported by Vivek Venkiteswaran, implemented Microsoft Teams and Planner to support collaborative learning.

Key considerations to engage students in online project work

Prof. Fraunholz brought to the fore the need for instructors to have oversight of the group work to facilitate positive and constructive interactions between students and monitor team members’ contributions to the project. By having oversight, instructors can better support students who may lag in their project work through customised guidance and support.

There should also be transparency so that various stakeholders, including industry clients that students are working with, can keep track of project progress. Transparency promotes ‘accountability for learning’, as emphasised by Vivek. Students develop essential project management and collaborative skills and are encouraged to take ownership of their learning.

Another consideration is the assessment and evaluation of learning outcomes. Prof. Fraunholz contends that, beyond assessing the final artefact produced from the collaborative project, it is also important for students to be individually assessed based on their contributions to the work. Individual assessment decreases the risk of ‘social loafing’ and ‘free riding’.

Find out more

In the episode of our tales of teaching podcast entitled Designing and Supporting Online student project work, Dr Isma Seetal from the Digital Learning Innovations team chats with Prof. Franholz about the capstone project.

Prof. Fraunholz discusses supporting students in their collaborative work and the challenges they encounter. He also shares how Microsoft tools such as Teams and Planner support students in their projects.

Watch the video tour of the Microsoft Teams and Planner area used in the unit to support students in organising their group work and tracking the progress of tasks.

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Managing Zoom recordings for teaching

Managing Zoom recordings for teaching

Managing Zoom recordings for teaching


JUNE, 2021

Digital Tools
Good Practice
Teaching Online

Over the past year, Zoom has become an increasingly popular platform for online classes and seminars. Many of these are recorded so that students who could not attend can still benefit from the discussions and activities, or so they can be used for revision or in subsequent trimesters.

But is Zoom the best place to keep these recordings? Zoom storage is not unlimited, so if you need to keep recordings for an extended period, or if you make a lot of recordings, you should move them to DeakinAir.

The steps below will help you manage your class and seminar recordings and your Zoom storage.

1. Decide what you need to record

Not every seminar needs to be recorded. It is important to record classes, or other sessions in which you are delivering content.  This allows students who could not attend the live class to obtain the material, and ensures all students can revise the material.

Some seminars may need to be recorded for Cloud students who were not able to attend the live seminar but if you run multiple or repeat sessions, only one session needs to be recorded.

If your seminar involves lots of small group discussions, which won’t be picked up in the recording, you may prefer to record the start of the session, and then pause the recording until you summarise the discussions.

Think about what will provide the best learning experience for students relying on the recording. If you’re not sure what you need to record, contact your Faculty DLF Pod for advice.

2. Decide how long you need to keep recordings for

In most cases, you only need to keep recordings of classes and seminars for one year after they are no longer in use (i.e. one year after the end of semester/trimester).

If you plan to use the recordings in more than one semester/trimester – or if your course is subject to accreditation requirements that mandate longer storage periods – you should move the recording to DeakinAir. Once you have transferred your recording, delete it from Zoom.

If you are not sure whether you need to keep recordings for longer than one year, contact your Faculty Governance team or AHoS. You can also check out the Information and Records Services Sharepoint site to find out more about how long you should keep different types of information.

3. Clean up your existing recordings

Review your existing meeting recordings by logging into and selecting ‘Recordings’ from the left-hand menu. In the desktop app, you can access this from the Meetings tab, by selecting ‘Recorded’.

Access this on zoom from the Meetings tab, by selecting ‘Recorded’.

Transfer any recordings you need to keep to DeakinAir and delete those you don’t need anymore.

4. Consider automating recording deletion dates

Zoom allows you to set recordings to automatically delete after a certain number of days. Once you know how long you need to keep your recordings for, you may like to set up automatic deletion so you don’t need to manually delete old recordings.

The auto-deletion applies to all your Cloud recordings, so think carefully so you don’t accidentally lose something you want or need to keep!

You’ll find this option under Settings > Recordings > Auto delete cloud recordings after days. Zoom will send you a notification email seven (7) days before a recording is deleted.

5. Keep an eye on how much storage you’re using

There are a relatively small number of individual Zoom users at Deakin who are using excessive amounts of Zoom storage and taking up a large proportion of Deakin’s storage quota.

Individuals will soon be limited to 10GB of Zoom storage, and your ability to record to the Cloud will be restricted if you exceed this limit.

You can check how much storage you’re using, and download and delete recordings, by logging into eSolutions are also scheduling email alerts to notify you when you approach your storage limit.

Further information

Contact your Faculty’s digital learning team for more information on managing your teaching recordings in Zoom.

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DeakinDesign is set to transform digital education

DeakinDesign is set to transform digital education

DeakinDesign is set to transform digital education
JUNE, 2021
Digital innovation
Teaching online

Everyone working in higher education has been affected in some way by the unprecedented changes that we’ve seen in the sector over the past year. COVID-19 forced all Australian universities to adapt to the rapid transition to online and blended learning. While these changes have brought many challenges, they have also created opportunity for innovation in the ways we deliver teaching and learning experiences. Deakin’s extensive experience in online education has been fundamental in our rapid shift to wholly online delivery. This history of innovation in online education is central to our new educational transformation initiative: DeakinDesign.

DeakinDesign projects 

DeakinDesign is a University-wide program that proposes innovative changes to our distinctive model of digital education. In 2021, the program will begin the investigation phase of the two key project areas: Integrated Learning and Re-imagining Examinations. The project teams will be reaching out teaching and learning staff as well as students to gather insight on these two areas. This cross-University collaboration is central to the success of the overall program, and we need you to be involved. 

The Integrated Learning project aims to move beyond traditional notions of blended learning to build a new model that harnesses digital, physical and human connections to build learning communities. The Reimagining Examinations project aims to reimagine end-of-trimester exams, focusing on authentic assessment that produces work-ready graduates for a post-COVID future. 

Both of these projects recognise that the delivery of premium quality learning experiences to suit the diverse needs of learners and graduates in a changing digital world, requires a re-imagined approach to education.

Deakin staff – get involved 

The success of DeakinDesign will depend on collaboration with teaching teams and students across the University. There will be multiple opportunities to contribute your insights and ideas about online and blended learning. If you have been exploring innovative ways to blend different types of student experiences or alternative types of final assessment we want to hear about it. The Project Leads will also be looking for early adopters to pilot elements of DeakinDesign in 2022. 

Find out more 

Deakin staff can contact the Project Leads to share your story or register interest to be part of the early adopter group. Contact Integrated Learning Project Lead Darci Taylor, and Reimagining Exams Project Leads Kelli Nicola-Richmond and Leanne Ngo 

To find out more about the projects and keep up to date with project news, visit the DeakinDesign SharePoint site and download the DeakinDesign FAQs. 

Watch the video DeakinDesign: A conversation with Liz Johnson and Darci Taylor to find out more about the program. 

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