Free learning and teaching resources available from national online repository

Free learning and teaching resources available from national online repository

Free learning and teaching resources available from national online repository

16

SEPTEMBER, 2021

Teaching & Learning resources
Good practice

As educators, readily available information to help support ideas for our practice and research is invaluable. If you’re not already aware of the Universities Australia Learning and Teaching Repository, you might want to take some time to discover what it can offer.

The Learning and Teaching Repository is an Australian-based website that provides access to over 1,000 reports and related resources from cross-institutional research on a range of higher education topics.

Materials available for use via this online initiative are both high quality and varied in format. The collection features case studies, good practice guides, reports from online teaching projects, and learning outcomes for specific disciplines including templates and links to project websites.

The collection features regularly curated topics. For example, currently, the site highlights resources related to First Nations and the First Year Experience.

You can easily search the collection for interdisciplinary and discipline-specific material through the site’s search tool, which uses standardised tags. The repository’s content is open under a creative commons licence, meaning the resources are free to re-use and adapt if you include attribution.

The government commissioned Universities Australia to create the online repository in 2017. It houses the resources produced by the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT), its predecessor bodies and related material.

Contributions to the repository by authors associated with Australian Universities and higher education providers are also welcome. If you have any learning and teaching resources not previously published, you can submit them to the site. You can find more information on how to contribute on the website.

The repository provides continued access to these teaching and learning materials to benefit the broader higher education community. Take the time to discover more about this vital collection today.

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Getting started with Students as Partners

Getting started with Students as Partners

Getting started with Students as Partners

13
SEPTEMBER, 2021
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 (mollie.dollinger@deakin.edu.au) 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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How inclusive education can lead to better assessment design

How inclusive education can lead to better assessment design

How inclusive education can lead to better assessment design

06

SEPTEMBER, 2021
Teaching & Learning
Inclusive Education
Learning Innovations 

As educators, we have much to gain by recognising different ways of knowing and doing as we reimagine education and its outcomes. It is a misconception that designing inclusive assessment only benefits a few, when in fact, it impacts more learners than we imagine.

‘Students can, with difficulty, escape from the effects of poor teaching, they cannot (by definition, if they want to graduate) escape the effects of poor assessment.’ (Boud 1995, p35)

Deakin’s Dr Joanna Tai and Professor Margaret Bearman offered this provocative quote to introduce the landscape of inclusive assessment and kick off a conversation at a recent inclusive education community of practice panel event, ‘Designing inclusive assessment with neurodiversity in mind’. They grounded the discussion by outlining that inclusive assessment supports all students to show their capabilities, regardless of personal circumstances or background characteristics.

Last month’s event explored approaches to inclusive assessment design through a discussion that spanned recent research in this area, Indigenous Knowledges, and the concept of neurodiversity to explore this emerging landscape.

Dr Jessamy Gleeson began by sharing, ‘part of the design of all of our units involves moving from western models of teaching and learning to models that incorporate Indigenous Knowledges’. She challenged participants to consider how we might position ourselves differently to the demonstration of capabilities through assessment using this lens.

Jessamy identified approaches adopted at The National Indigenous Knowledges Education Research Innovation (NIKERI) Institute. Assessment tasks emphasise the importance of Indigenous voices and knowledge, draw on concepts like reflexivity and locatedness, and move beyond written tasks to use oral presentations, group work, and reflections.

Beth Radulski, autism and neurodiversity activist and researcher, at La Trobe University, explained neurodiversity is not something a person ‘has’ or ‘is’ but rather something society is. There is no list of conditions that are ‘neurodiverse’.  She frames it as a spectrum of all human brains and includes all neurotypes—even those we consider ‘the norm’ (i.e. the neurotypical brain).

Beth advocates an approach where students work towards developing their strengths rather than simply managing their limitations. In assessment, grading based on subject learning outcomes and key strengths should apply to all students, not upon cultural norms that privilege and marginalise different groups.

All presenters acknowledged that including students in the design of assessment materials is also a powerful step forward in this area.

Further exploration of how assessment affects student learning in unexpected ways is needed. The more people we listen to with expertise in different equity groups, the more robust the principles and practices of assessment will become.

 

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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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Return to on-campus teaching: Getting the most out of your classroom

Return to on-campus teaching: Getting the most out of your classroom

Return to on-campus teaching: Getting the most out of your classroom

26
AUGUST, 2021
Learning & Teaching
Best practice
Lockdowns and other public health restrictions permitting into the future, some classes will soon return to campus. Visit the Campus Reactivation website for the latest information about returning and how to stay safe. When we do go back to the campus, remember how we teach and the platforms we use have changed somewhat in the last 18 months. Here are some steps to take to make sure your return to Deakin campuses goes as smoothly as possible.

Think about what equipment, functions or systems you need

We have become accustomed to using platforms like Zoom and MS Teams, which allow us to easily record classes and seminars for students who cannot attend the class in real time or wish to review the content. These platforms also allow us to connect with students and colleagues across multiple locations. But our campus classrooms do not all have the same systems and set-up – while some allow connection to a Zoom meeting, others use Deakin Video’s Classroom Capture for recording and still others might not have recording or conferencing functions at all.

Think carefully about what you plan to do in the classroom. If the class needs to be recorded, or you wish to connect multiple locations online, or use a particular platform, make sure you tell your Faculty Timetabler so the timetabling team can allocate a suitable classroom.

Note that classroom activities are not automatically recorded. Activities will only be recorded if you indicate the requirement to your Faculty Timetabler before the timetable is published, and you are scheduled in a Deakin Video (Mediasite) enabled venue. To record an on-campus class or seminar without a request in your initial booking, notify your Faculty Timetabler as soon as possible, and allow 24 hours for the booking to be created or updated. For an urgent booking or to make changes at short notice, you need to contact Deakin eSolutions (x888).

Find out what equipment you have access to

You can use the IT facilities in Deakin spaces webpage (AV inventory) to search IT facilities available in classrooms and meeting spaces.  You can search the inventory by room, room type, building and facilities or equipment.

Deakin IT facilities search menu

Learn how the facilities work

There are different interfaces or systems depending on which room you are in. The AV & Networks team is working hard to update all of these to the Deakin Audio-Visual Environment (DAVE) to provide a simpler and more consistent experience.

While this work is underway, it’s a good idea to use the AV Inventory to check which interface you’ll be using so you can get your classroom set up and ready to go as quickly as possible on the day.  The interface/system in the room is typically displayed first in the list of features. You can click on the ‘i’ (Information) icon on the feature in the Inventory to view further information and user guides relevant to that system.

If you would like to discuss COVIDSafe options to achieve your class objectives across any of the Deakin physical campus locations, and how the AV systems might support this, you can book a consultation or training session with Andy Brader from the Learning Spaces Transformations Team.

 

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Announcing the 2021 Deakin Learning and Teaching conference

Announcing the 2021 Deakin Learning and Teaching conference

Announcing the 2021 Deakin Learning and Teaching conference

25

AUGUST, 2021

Learning & Teaching 
Best practice
Annual conference

Deakin Learning Futures is excited to announce preparations are well underway for the annual Deakin Learning and Teaching Conference. Taking place on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 November, the theme for the 2021 event is: Design, Deliver, Enable, Lead. The program will showcase how these four capabilities underpin teaching and learning at Deakin and support the student experience. 

The conference will see the Deakin community come together to share new ideas about learning and teaching practice and reflect and connect about the challenges of recent times. Importantly, the event is also a chance to recognise achievements and acknowledge the valuable contribution of Deakin students as our partners in learning and teaching. 

Call for submissions now open

All Deakin staff engaged in learning and teaching are invited to contribute submissions to the conference. We also encourage collaborative partnerships with students to feature in this year’s program.

The options are open to present ideas in engaging and innovative ways. Presentation proposals can be anything from panels and paper presentations to interactive workshops, audio visual work such as podcasts or videos, or even a quick-fire thesis presentation. Submissions should demonstrate one of the four capabilities that form our conference theme.

Submit your proposal and abstract via the 2021 Learning and Teaching Conference submission form before the closing date Sunday 26 September, 5pm.

Blended conference format

With the challenges of the pandemic still in our midst, the two-day conference will offer a combination of located and remote opportunities for participants and attendees. While the intention is to run a blended event, the conference will run entirely virtual should COVID-19 restrictions apply.

Key dates to remember

The key dates for the 2021 Learning and Teaching conference are:

  • Thursday 26 August – submissions open
  • Sunday 26 September, 5pm – submissions close
  • Tuesday 12 October – registrations open
  • Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 November – conference delivered in blended mode

For further information about the conference, contact tlconf@deakin.edu.au or visit the conference website.

 

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