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.
The Professional Literacy Suite is an innovative and unique suite of digital learning resources scaffolded across a course within a business school context to support and motivate students to develop their professional literacy skills over their journey to graduation.
We spoke to Simone Tyrell and Dr Micaela Spiers about their citation.
How does it feel to have your work recognised by the AAUT?
Simone: It’s been a little surreal! It’s great for our work to be recognized nationally. It really validates what we’ve been doing. We thought the project was working, and we’d seen this in the students results, and it’s nice to be externally validated as well.
Micaela: It’s been a lot of work over a lot of years, particularly for Simone, and there were a lot of challenges. To have that recognized, the amount of hard work that has been put into this project – it’s a great achievement.
Tell us about your submission – what’s it all about?
Simone: With the Professional Literacy Suite, we’re scaffolding digital literacy across three degrees. We’re supporting the development of Digital literacy skills for Global Learning Outcome 3 (GLO3) and scaffolding employability across the students journey across their degree. We started with the Bachelor of Commerce and then expanded to include the Bachelor of Business and the Bachelor of Property and Real Estate. The goal is to scaffold across all the undergraduate degrees in the Deakin Business School.
The Professional Literacy Suite is a cross campus, cross unit, cross team collaboration that’s worked really well. I’m with the Library, and I’ve worked on the suite with other library team members, the Associate Dean, Teaching and learning, faculty academics, course directors and the BL Learning Innovations team. It was a really broad group of people, and the key to our success was our collaborative approach.
Micaela: The success of the Professional Literacy Suite is that we now have these modules that we can keep using, and we can keep updating, and we can put them in different units, and they can work across degrees. They add a lot of value to students and I think it’s a really great example of thinking outside the box. We had a problem, we came up with a way to address that problem and created a really good outcome for students.
What was the impact that your nominated work had on students?
Simone: We do a pre- and a post-self-assessment of the students, where they self-assess their confidence in their own digital literacy skills. When they finish, even the more confident students are rating their digital literacy skills much higher. We see a 30% boost in confidence levels as they go through. We’ve also had a lot of qualitative feedback as well, saying the student’s skills have increased and they’ve learned a lot.
Micaela: When we first introduced the digital literacy module, it was into a large core unit in the Bachelor of Commerce. That trimester we noticed a big difference in students output, in terms of the quality of their assignments compared to the trimester before, because of having done the module. Their ability to research and find information and use that information really improved.
Simone: The Inclusive curriculum and capacity building (ICCB) site did a study that was part of a HEPPP funded project and they found a 10% increase in grades for low SES students post implementation of the first digital literacy module, which was in a large marketing unit.
What value did you get out of the submission process for AAUT?
Simone: It’s a reflective process, because it makes you gather everything that you’ve done, all the information and all the data. It also makes you think about the journey along the way.
What was it like working with our Deakin mentors (previous AAUT winners) in developing your submission?
Simone: Our mentor was great. She gave us lots of feedback and was really supportive. It was nice to have a mentor that’s been through the same process before, so they know how to write a submission like this and give a lot of help along the way.
Micaela: I think when you’ve been working on a piece of work very closely, then you don’t necessarily see the gaps in the submission. What a mentor does, in particular someone who doesn’t know the program of work very well, they can say, ‘well, what do you mean by this?’ or, ‘you’re saying this, but you haven’t evidenced that.’ That perspective is very helpful.
What advice do you have for Deakin colleagues who might be thinking about nominating for AAUT in 2021?
Simone: Get every bit of data, every bit of writing and every bit of evidence that you’ve got on your project. Give yourself plenty of time because the submission is a big piece of work. Use your mentor, pick their brains, and get other people to read it as well. Get as many people as you can to read it to make sure it makes sense. It’s worth doing if your work is something that you believe in and you’ve got the data to back it up.