Deakin Learning and Teaching Conference Recordings now live

Deakin Learning and Teaching Conference Recordings now live

Deakin Learning and Teaching Conference recordings now live



Teaching and Learning
Annual Conference
Students as Partners

The Deakin Learning and Teaching Conference took place on 10 and 11 of November and played host to over 300 attendees. The virtual conference included live Zoom sessions and panels, as well as web-located video presentations and e-posters. Now in its 11th year the annual conference was a chance for staff involved in learning and teaching to come together and reflect on our teaching practice, recognise our achievements, and acknowledge the contribution of Deakin students as our partners. Presentations all addressed the conference theme, Design, Deliver, Enable, Lead, and how these central capabilities underpin learning and teaching at Deakin.  

If you missed the event or want to revisit your favourite sessions, you can now access recordings of each session via the Past conferences Page on the conference website. Asynchronous sessions including video presentations and e-posters are also available to view.  

Professor Mark Rose, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Innovation gave a heartening Acknowledgement of Country and honoured the Aboriginal tradition of sharing ideas to learn and broaden knowledge. In the Opening Keynote Presentation Professor Liz Johnson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, praised the Deakin community and shared commitment towards building better learning environments: 

‘We are here to learn “proper way”, through building relationships and storytelling. We’ve got many stories to share. We’ve got challenges, successes, new ways of working, new ideas and we know that sharing builds communities of practice to create better learning and teaching.’ 

Due to the high calibre and large number of submissions, Deakin will conduct an additional Learning and Teaching Workshop Day, to be held on 24 of February at Deakin Downtown. Held on one day, the event will feature new workshops and presentations that were not included in the November conference program. 

For more information on the workshops and to view 2021 recordings visit the Learning and Teaching Conference website. 

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A new opportunity to collaborate with students for digital learning innovation

A new opportunity to collaborate with students for digital learning innovation

New opportunity to collaborate with students for digital learning innovation



Student Partners
Digital Learning

Collaboration and partnership are vital to the work of the Digital Learning team in Deakin Learning Futures. We partner with teaching staff to pilot new platforms for learning and teaching, testing those platforms out in the environment and scenarios  for future use.

When developing resources and training materials, the Digital Learning team collection with faculty Learning Environments/CloudDeakin support teams, DLF Pods and teaching teams. This helps us make sure that the resources meet the needs of the people who will use them.

More formally, we collaborate with representatives from the Pods, faculty Learning Environments / CloudDeakin support teams, eSolutions and the Deakin Library. The team also works with other members of Deakin Learning Futures through the Digital Learning Environment and Innovation Strategy and Implementation Groups. These groups collectively decide the strategic development and enhancement of Deakin’s Digital Learning Environment.

Increasingly we also partner and collaborate with students via Students-as-Partners projects and other opportunities to provide feedback on and shape digital learning at Deakin. Student involvement that informs our practice and strategy is usually linked to specific projects or aspects of our work – until now.

In 2022, we will launch the Digital Learning Student Partnership Group to embed student voices and perspectives into the design, delivery, and evaluation of Deakin’s Digital Learning Environment. The Student Partnership Group will comprise 10 – 12 current Deakin students recruited to maximise diversity in courses, campuses, and background. It will involve them in decisions about and provide insights on their experience of the Digital Learning Environment to inform current practice and future direction.

The Digital Learning Student Partnership Group will meet four times a year for two-hour online interactive workshops focused on addressing a question, challenge or opportunity related to Deakin’s Digital Learning Environment. Student partners will report back to the Digital Learning Environments and Innovation Strategy and Implementation Groups following each workshop.

You can expect to hear a lot more about this group next year – we’re pretty excited about it! If you’d like to find out more about starting a Student Partnership Group in your area, contact Mollie Dollinger (Office of the Dean of Students) at

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What students think of Deakin extension tools and special consideration

What students think of Deakin extension tools and special consideration

What students think of Deakin extension tools and special consideration

Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning
Learning Innovations
Team Collaboration

At Deakin, students apply for extensions and special considerations to help them complete their assignments. Deakin student Shelby, supported by the Office of the Dean of Students, collated real-life stories from students who have used these support services before to better understand the experience. These were her findings.

Overall, the students I spoke to were satisfied with the extension tools and special consideration process.

‘My experience with the tool has been relatively pleasant since the format is user-friendly and straightforward. It doesn’t require a lot of ‘preparation’ to apply for extension.


‘Mailing the unit chair [for extension] was helpful because she was able to direct me to certain websites/phone numbers to contact if my anxiety got worse. While the extension website/cloud Deakin site also has this information, it was a very comforting and accepting situation to have the unit chair reassuring me.’

Although the process was smooth, some students felt that the deadline updates on the CloudDeakin sites could be improved. One student noted:

‘Having an approved extension on the email but not on the cloud Deakin site gets very confusing and anxiety-inducing. I have, in these cases, had to email the unit chair in urgency to confirm if I have indeed received an extension (since the email mentions an extension but the cloud site drop box isn’t always updated).’

Another student, unfortunately, did not have a good experience when applying for their extension:

‘I was applying for the extension with my access plan because I had a serious flare-up of my condition that started just before the trimester began. I emailed the [lecturer] with my access plan asking for a one-week extension. [They] asked to call me in the reply, so I agreed thinking [they] wanted to help me check I was going to be fine like my lecturers normally do. However, when I answered the phone, I was met with a concerned voice asking how I was going to be able to do medicine* if I can’t be organised and do the basic assignments.’

The student’s request was successful, but they remembered feeling questioned and humiliated during the process.

How can Deakin staff better support students to improve their study experience during a pandemic?

After speaking with students, here are my recommendations:

  • Ensure all Deakin students are aware of the extension tools and special consideration process. Posting details on CloudDeakin’s news at the start of every trimester could help those who need to apply.
  • Understand that students with pre-existing medical conditions or disabilities might experience more difficulties due to the pandemic.
  • Reflect the new deadline on student’s CloudDeakin unit site once an extension has been approved. This helps to reassure and provide students with more certainty – something that is very much needed as we make our way out of this uncertain pandemic climate.

*All student stories have been anonymised and details have been modified to protect their identity. This project was funded by the Office of the Dean of Students, Student-Initiated Project fund.


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Getting started with Students as Partners

Getting started with Students as Partners

Getting started with Students as Partners

Student partners
Teaching & Learning
Team Collaboration
It may be your first time, or it may be your one hundredth, whatever your experience is, it’s always a good idea to reflect before starting a Students as Partners (SaP) project.

There’s a lot of interest in students-as-partners these days – and for good reason. Partnering with students benefits both staff and students. Staff develop greater insight into student needs and experiences while students gain valuable employability skills and create a legacy to support the next generation.

But while the benefits of partnership are well known, getting started can be tricky.

Deakin’s Students as Partners Framework sets out four broad approaches to students-as-partners to help you consider how to approach a new partnership project. For example, maybe your goal is to get as many student ideas as possible to provide feedback on a new policy. You might take a ‘students as sounding boards’ approach and set up an online poll, or virtual discussion board, for students to submit feedback and ideas.

Alternatively, run focus groups with a specific cohort of students to understand their use of various support services. Rather than do this alone, we’d recommend you take a ‘students as influencers’ approach and hire a couple of student partners. Together, you can develop focus group questions, facilitate the session, and analyse the findings.

More information about the four approaches, and examples of how they might work, are available on the Students as Partners SharePoint site.

Graphic of four approaches to students as partners. 1. Students as sounding boards. 2. Students as influencers. 3. Students as decision makers. 4. Students as co-creators


Regardless of the approach you decide to take, it’s critical to reflect on two key questions before you begin:

  1. Am I truly open minded about what the outcomes or outputs of this project may be? (i.e. am I ready to share this project with student partners?)
  2. Do I have the time in my workload to support the students successfully in this project?

The questions are important because authentic partnership requires a commitment to the process of exploration and relationship-building with students, both of which can take time.

Finally, it’s important to remember why we engage in partnership in the first place – to respect and appreciate the expertise students have in what it’s like to be a student.

Successful partnership projects are mediated on the idea of reciprocal learning. Staff learning about students’ lived experiences, and students learning from staff about a discipline, project management, or how an organisation works. So before beginning, ask yourself, ‘What am I going to teach or share?’ and ‘What am I going to learn?’

To find out more, contact Dr Mollie Dollinger ( to chat all things SaP.

You can hear from Dr Mollie Dollinger first-hand and learn more about getting started with a Students as Partners project on our latest Tales of Teaching Online podcast episode.

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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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Our first virtual Learning and Teaching Conference

Our first virtual Learning and Teaching Conference

Our first virtual Learning and Teaching Conference



Digital Innovation
Good Practice
Teaching Online

The 2020 Learning and Teaching Virtual Conference ran from 16 to 20 November with the theme, ‘Critical conversations, challenges and celebrations’.

For the first time ever, this year’s conference was delivered entirely online, through Zoom sessions, virtual tours of learning spaces and an MS Teams channel that staff could use to connect. Those that attended could also access virtual posters, videos, podcasts and a Padlet wall for shared reflections.

With over 300 registrations, this was one of the biggest learning and teaching conferences that Deakin has ever held. Each of the sessions was highly attended by both Deakin staff and students.

The conference opened with a keynote address from Professor Liz Johnson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, sharing the pillars of the Education and Employability plan – What will I learn? How will I learn? How will I be supported? There was also a reminder that students are at the heart of everything we do.

Student led sessions

This year’s conference saw more Deakin student participation than ever before. Students shared their experiences of learning from home, inclusive design, authenticity, starting first-year during COVID-19, peer support and the Deakin Launch Network.

Touring virtual learning spaces

Attendees had the chance to experience other units and learning environments through virtual tours.

Amanda Edgar, Ryan Wood-Bradley and James Armitage presented a tour of the virtual optometry clinic. The tour showcased how H5P, facilitators and problem based learning came together to support first year optometry students to develop complex clinical skills such as communication, clinical decision making, teamwork, patient centred care and evidence-based practice.

There were also presentations and papers exploring online tours of construction management sites, simulations in midwifery, the virtual architecture design studio, and virtual tele-health.

Learning through narrative and storytelling

Many of the sessions explored the theme of narrative and storytelling and how it can raise the level of student engagement in teaching and learning. Dr Kerri Morgan’s session ‘Choose your own adventure – exploring mathematics another way ‘explored how gamification could be used to support students, who traverse a setting of Ancient civilisations on a quest to find a number of mathematical artefacts.

The human library

Attendees could also borrow from the human library, a collection of Deakin experts who were on loan for a one-on-one conversations during the conference. The ‘human books’ available in the library covered a diverse range of learning and teaching subjects, such as cheating and assessment security, managing online communities, leadership in learning and teaching and the importance of equity during COVID-19. The human library was very successful, with limited availability filling up within 24 hours of opening.

Access recordings and resources

Deakin staff members can view recordings of sessions and access virtual posters, videos and podcasts on the 2020 Learning and Teaching Virtual Conference webpage as they are uploaded across the rest of this week. To access recordings, visit the conference program and select a session.

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