Project-Based Learning with Microsoft Office 365 tools

Project-Based Learning with Microsoft Office 365 tools

Project-Based Learning with Microsoft Office 365 tools

30

MARCH, 2021

Teaching Online
Good Practice
Resources

Thinking back at some of our most powerful learning experiences, it is likely that at least one of these experiences involved a project. Projects support student engagement and provide opportunities for deeper learning. As teaching is being increasingly carried out online and in a hybrid mode, it is more important than ever that we scaffold and support project-based learning appropriately to facilitate powerful collaborative learning experiences for our students as they work on their projects online.

Isma Seetal from the DLI team and Vivek Venkiteswaran from the Business and Law pod recently organised a workshop to discuss how project-based learning and Microsoft Office 365 tools can be used to enhance students’ project work experience. In this article, we share some key takeaways from our workshop and launch some resources that we have created and curated to support you in using Microsoft Office 365 tools in teaching and learning.

Project-based learning

Project-based learning is an instructional approach that can help academic staff provide quality collaborative learning opportunities to students as they engage in group projects. It helps learners construct knowledge, develop real-world products and cultivate a range of skills such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills, which are in high demand in the workplace. Integrating project-based learning in a physical or virtual setting requires careful and intentional planning so students can engage in important project activities such as brainstorming, project planning, discussions and reflections seamlessly using Deakin-endorsed tools.

Tools for project-based learning

Microsoft Office 365 tools can be used to support project-based learning in an integrated and seamless way, so that students can focus on their project, rather than mastering a set of disconnected tools. Microsoft whiteboard can be used for brainstorming and reflection whereas Microsoft Planner (named as ‘Tasks by planner and to do’ in Teams) and Microsoft lists can help students organise, assign, and set deadlines for their tasks. These apps, available as part of Deakin’s enterprise-wide Microsoft Office 365 license can be added to Microsoft Teams sites to provide a robust collaborative environment for students to engage in project-based learning activities within one space.

Resources for Deakin staff

You can learn more about how Microsoft Office 365 tools can be used for projects and other learning activities through our resources, which are currently hosted on our Microsoft Whiteboard SharePoint page and Microsoft Planner page.

You can join the demystifying digital community of practice to learn about and share digital tips with colleagues.

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Wrap up of the Focus on First Year Teaching forum

Wrap up of the Focus on First Year Teaching forum

Wrap up of the Focus on First Year Teaching forum

23

March, 2021

Good Practice

The First Year Taskforce and First Year Communities of practice from each of the faculties came together on 23 February for the first of three whole of Deakin forums on first year teaching for 2021.

The focus for the session was the importance of building learning communities, and of creating the opportunity for ‘relationship rich’ learning whether students are online or on campus.

The forum picked up on feedback from students during 2020 that highlighted how much they missed the opportunity for building relationships with other students and with their lecturers while studying during lockdown. Some of the 102 staff attending used Padlet to share the innovative ways in which they were encouraging and supporting their students to engage and get to know each other. Suggestions included hosting weekly social drop in zoom catch ups, always responding positively to any discussion board posts and kicking off each seminar with a visual ‘vibe check’.

Those attending the forum were also given a comprehensive run down on how Orientation and DUSA’s program of events in 2021 will not only provide students with essential information when starting their studies, but will also offer a varied range of activities designed to both welcome and engage our new and returning students on campus.

Finally, participants were given a preview of the Practical Guide to First Year Teaching, a SharePoint site designed by the First Year Taskforce with assistance from Deakin Learning Futures, specifically to support those teaching level 1 units. The site offers practical suggestions with direct links to resources that teaching teams may find helpful in the early, middle and final weeks of trimester. The site is built around four key elements of first year teaching that research in the field suggests are critical to student success: reducing the cognitive load, making expectations explicit, developing academic literacies and building learning communities.

These key elements of first year teaching will be picked up throughout the year in First Year Community of Practice discussions and in further First Year Forums planned for later in the year.

If you are interested in taking part in these forums, please contact your faculty representative: SEBE- Janine McBurnie, Health- Lynn Riddell, Business and Law – Wendy Webber and Arts and Education – Petra Brown.

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Flexible learning at Deakin College – the journey so far

Flexible learning at Deakin College – the journey so far

Flexible learning at Deakin College – the journey so far

18

MARCH, 2021

Digital Learning
Good Practice

At the beginning of Trimester 1, Deakin College developed and implemented a number of changes to support students affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

Deakin College is a teaching-specialised organisation that caters to the needs of diverse students through smaller classes, increased contact hours, individualised support, and a team whose entire focus is quality teaching. Since 1996, roughly 20,000 students have entered Deakin University via a Deakin College pathway program. Over the last twelve months, nearly half of all international students entering Deakin University transitioned through Deakin College.

Block-mode learning

Deakin College’s specialisation, structure, and size allow for rapid innovation. As 2020’s Trimester 1 approached, the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that students in China were unable to enter Australia a few weeks before teaching started.  In this short period, Deakin College developed block-mode learning, where a student completes only one or two units at a faster pace than a usual trimester. Achieving an 87% pass-rate and 95% retention, the block-mode result was in sharp contrast to Melbourne’s COVID-19 situation.

Deakin College was in constant communication with Deakin University’s Cloud team: Can students overseas access this website? Will this work if a student uses a Mac? We were learning from each other. Professor Liz Johnson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Education agreed to assist Deakin College with fortnightly meetings aimed at sharing ideas as best practices emerged.

Deakin College’s exam and student feedback results arrived a few weeks before Deakin University’s results. Pass-rates slightly higher than the previous trimester, although student feedback scores were slightly down. This was a huge relief. Of course, this wasn’t an automatic result, it was a reflection of hard work and collaboration across the entire Deakin community.

The Flexible Learning Project

While T2 brought another small increase in pass-rates and a welcome uptick in student satisfaction, it was apparent that one of Deakin College’s strengths, increased contact hours, was leading to ‘Zoom-fatigue’ in our students. With COVID-19 restrictions and border closures sticking around for a while, it was time to revisit our teaching strategy.

Could Zoom sessions be cut in favour of more self-paced activities? For students in vastly different time-zones or students with other commitments, could equivalent asynchronous activities be developed? Could students choose on a week-by-week basis how they engage with study and still be successful? Dubbed the ‘Flexible Learning Project’, Deakin College sought to move from ‘replication’ to ‘reconceptualisation’ with Beatty’s (2019) ‘HyFlex’ approach as the aspiration.

Starting in October 2020 and budgeted at approximately 6,000 hours of teacher training and unit development time, Deakin College’s units have undertaken major changes: radically different LMS layouts, asynchronous activities, flexible attendance options, redesigned activities using a wider pool of technologies, and more.

The future of flexible learning at Deakin College

Week 1 of 2021’s Trimester 1 has just concluded and we’re again teaching on campus. It’s great to be back while offering increased flexibility to students. Where a unit has more than one class, when possible, both classes are run at the same time, one online and the other on campus, allowing students to choose either option while fitting in with their timetable. Labelled as ‘dual delivery’, units with only one class are webcasted from the classroom using PolyStudio cameras, in a way similar to board-room-style technology, the cameras automatically track the teacher around the classroom. And there might even be an asynchronous option for those that don’t want to attend at all…

Deakin College’s Flexible Learning Project is an innovative step with some unknowns, but is underpinned by hard work and supported by a dedicated and specialist teaching team. Further, the ongoing collaboration with Deakin University combined with the comprehensive support from our parent company Navitas ensures a commitment to both quality and continuous improvement.

Deakin College will be keen to share our data and lessons learned later in the year at the Deakin University Learning and Teaching Conference. Stay tuned!

For more information:

Les Hughes is the Academic Director at Deakin College. Feel free to get in contact via Les.Hughes@deakin.edu.au

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Guide to teaching large classes online

Guide to teaching large classes online

The guide to teaching large classes online

12

MARCH, 2021

Teaching Online
Good Practice

Some teaching is moving back to campus but many classes are staying online for now. In the Guide for Teaching Large Classes Online, we explore the platforms available for online classes (including Zoom, MS Teams, BbCollaborate Ultra and on-campus teaching spaces) to make it easier for you to plan your class.

We also explore how you can make your online classes as interactive and engaging as possible, through the use of polling, interactive whiteboards, breakout rooms and other simple tools. You can use these tools to emphasise and help students remember key concepts, check student understanding, discuss and share ideas, and help students connect with their classmates.

Read the Guide for Teaching Large Classes Online.

If you’re thinking about other ways to present content and concepts to students, and use video in your teaching, there’s lots of great tips and helpful guidance in CloudFirst 103. Enrol in CloudFirst 103 and check out Topic 5: Video and Audio to explore the benefits of using these media forms and how you can create simple but engaging video and audio resources for your students.

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Congratulations to Deakin’s 2020 AAUT winners

Congratulations to Deakin’s 2020 AAUT winners

Congratulations to Deakin’s 2020 AAUT winners

25

FEBRUARY, 2021

Recognition and rewards
AAUT

Deakin University has been awarded one program award and two citations at the 2020 Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT). Established in 1997 by the Australian Government, the awards celebrate excellence in higher education and recognise learning and teaching programs or services that have a positive impact on the student experience.

‘Deakin is delighted to congratulate our three award-winning teams,’ said Professor Liz Johnson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education. ‘It is terrific to see excellence in learning and teaching recognised nationally particularly after the intense effort from all our teaching teams during 2020 to keep our students learning and progressing in their degrees despite the disruption of the global pandemic. It is also pleasing to see success for teaching teams who demonstrate collaboration at its very best.’

The winners

Program Award

Assoc. Prof. John White, Assoc. Prof. Raylene Cooke and Assoc. Prof. Mike Weston received an Award for Programs that Enhance Learning for Deakin’s Wildlife and Conservation Biology degree, which provides students with the opportunity to take part in immersive international experiences and develop skills, experience and attitudes to become highly employable conservation practitioners, ready to tackle the global environmental challenges facing society today and into the future.

Citations

Dr Craig Parker and Assoc. Prof. Harsh Suri received a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for their work in supporting international students to develop employability skills in the Information Systems programs.

Ms Simone Tyrell, Assoc. Prof. Kerrie Bridson, Dr Leanne Ngo, Ms Kim Phu, Ms Sharon Chua, Dr Micaela Spiers and Assoc. Prof. Michael Volkov received a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for the development of program wide resources which support business students’ professional literacies.

Learn more about the AAUT

Deakin University provides support to anyone interested in applying for an AAUT award. A range of mentors from around the University, who have previously won an AAUT award, work with applicants to produce high quality submissions. For more on the AAUT process, past winners and how to apply in the future please visit our recognition and rewards page.

Assoc. Prof. John White, Assoc. Prof. Raylene Cooke and Assoc. Prof. Mike Weston

Assoc. Prof. Raylene Cooke, Assoc. Prof. John White  and Assoc. Prof. Mike Weston

Dr Craig Parker and Assoc. Prof. Harsh Suri

Assoc. Prof. Harsh Suri and Dr Craig Parker

Ms Simone Tyrell, Assoc. Prof. Kerrie Bridson, Dr Leanne Ngo, Ms Kim Phu, Ms Sharon Chua, Dr Micaela Spiers and Assoc. Prof. Michael Volkov

Assoc. Prof. Kerrie Bridson, Ms Simone Tyrell, Dr Leanne Ngo, Assoc. Prof. Michael Volkov, Ms Sharon Chua, Ms Kim Phu and Dr Micaela Spiers

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PebblePad Week – Using portfolios for learning and teaching

PebblePad Week – Using portfolios for learning and teaching

PebblePad Week – Using portfolios for learning and teaching

25

FEBRUARY, 2021

Digital Learning
Good Practice
PebblePad
Portfolio

Deakin recently added eportfolio platform PebblePad to our suite of digital tools to support student learning. Portfolios can be used to help students collate and curate evidence of their learning and capabilities, reflect on their learning journey and identify connections between different learning experiences across and beyond their course.

Throughout February, teaching teams along with DLF Pods, faculty Learning Environments teams and the Deakin Library, gathered to learn more about PebblePad, portfolios and how to use these to support student learning.

One of the most popular sessions was a panel discussion in which four academics shared their experiences of using PebblePad to support student learning in different contexts. Dr Wayne Read, from the Faculty of Business and Law’s WIL team, incorporated PebblePad into a project-based Entrepreneurship Experience unit to help students self-assess their skills, set learning goals and reflect on their progress, as well as creating a resource they can use to showcase and promote their project to potential investors.

Dr James Lucas and Joleen Ryan from the Social Work Field Education team in the Faculty of Health shared how they used PebblePad to streamline assessment and administrative tasks associated with student placements, creating a simpler and more integrated experience for students, university staff and placement supervisors.

Finally, Dr Elicia Lanham, Academic Director (Teaching) in the School of IT, discussed a course-wide approach, using portfolios to support IT students to explore career options, identify their skill development needs and reflect on their learning and skill development as they progress through their course.

More information about how Wayne, Elicia, James and Joleen are using PebblePad, including sample workbooks, is available in our new resource, Using Portfolios in learning and teaching. This resource also includes more information about the benefits of portfolios for student learning, and how to get started with PebblePad.

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