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

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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Supporting student project work using Microsoft Lists

Supporting student project work using Microsoft Lists

Supporting student project work using Microsoft Lists

AUGUST, 2021
Digital tools
Learning & Teaching online

There is a lot of information to keep track of in the teaching and learning space. With a greater focus on remote learning in recent times, the need for educators to use practical tools that can improve the online learning experience has increased. Microsoft Lists is one such tool that can help students, especially with collaborative project work.

Dr Hamid Abdi, a senior lecturer at the Deakin School of Engineering, implemented Microsoft Lists in his Engineering Entrepreneurship this year to support students in developing teamwork and project management skills.

The main collaborative assignment in this unit is developing a business plan, which students worked on in Microsoft Teams. Each student group had a designated private channel to discuss, schedule meetings, and share resources. Creating a specific channel provided a social space for students to share supplementary resources and ask questions. However, there was a need to help students structure their group work and track the progress of their group tasks better.

Two tools from the Microsoft Office 365 suite, Microsoft Planner and Lists, were considered to help students manage their group assignments. Dr Abdi eventually selected Microsoft Lists for its functionality to add to students’ private group channels in Microsoft Teams.

Despite the limited uptake of this tool, Dr Abdi drew some valuable lessons that helped him to implement it more effectively later in the academic year. First, he advises to ‘introduce the tool to the students at the very beginning of the trimester’, so students have the time to familiarise themselves with it.

Secondly, he suggests that students use the tool to showcase their contributions to the group work, for example, by exporting the tasks to excel and submitting the spreadsheet as part of the assignment.

Deakin’s Dr Isma Seetal chats with Dr Abdi about his experience using Microsoft Teams and Lists in the video below


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Silo-Breaking in the Bachelor of Education Early Years

Silo-Breaking in the Bachelor of Education Early Years

Silo-Breaking in the Bachelor of Education Early Years with Francesca Bussey
JUN, 2019

Teaching & Learning
Good Practice

My name is Francesca Bussey. I’m a lecturer with the ArtsEd Pod, Deakin Learning Futures. My role comprises curriculum leadership, academic development and learning design.

This project is undertaken in support of the Bachelor of Education, Early Years (BedEY). We like to call it a Transition and Transformation project, as it speaks to the needs of our students and the impact of the project on both students and the course.

I am leading the project in as much as I serve as the communication hub and oversee strategy and curriculum integrity. However, this project is best defined in terms of distributed leadership – each participant leads from their area of expertise within a community of practice. Critically, we do this in the service of our students and within a culture of collaboration, compassion and mutual respect.

Membership of this project spans 6 university divisions: School of Education; Institute of Koorie Education (IKE); ArtsEd Pod (DLF); Library; Study Support; ArtsEd Digital Learning.

Transitioning into university can be challenging because success is predicated on the capacity to adapt – to a new culture, to new people, to new ways of doing things and to critical new skills needed for academic success. Like many of Deakin’s students, the BedEY cohort is diverse and juggles competing priorities. Many have significant family and work commitments, and their experiences of education can be varied. Adapting to the new culture of academic life then, can prove highly challenging – particularly when learning is in the Cloud.

To support students better meet the challenge of transitioning into university study, the Transition and Transformation project team is piloting the integration of a series of scaffolded digital interventions and corresponding pedagogies into the core curriculum. Drawing on longitudinal studies at the local and international level (Baik, 2015; McKay & Devlin, 2014; Brooke, 2017) our interventions have focused on three distinct areas:

Digital and academic literacies: Embedding practical skills to support assessment

Threshold concepts: Unpacking difficult but crucial discipline-specific concepts

Belonging: Building cohort cohesion and teacher presence through Cloud Practice and Cloud Conferences.

Each unit has an attendant team who use Deakin’s Principles for Premium Learning and Teaching to embed good practice in the Cloud. See examples below:

Six divisions now work together in the service of the project, and each of us leads from our area of expertise. We are thus at heart a community of practice (Wegner, 1998) working within a distributed leadership model to achieve our aims.

This is what makes this project unique – it engages in silo-breaking, with students firmly positioned as our ‘true north’ (thanks to Jane den Hollander, our outgoing VC, for this notion of the student compass).

Early evaluations have been overwhelmingly positive, and results from student work indicates the skill modules have been successful. We look forward to further evaluations into T2.

Core to the success of this project is distributed leadership at a service level. This has allowed for some highly creative work and for some significant resourcing to take place across multiple divisions – all of which benefits both the students and the budgets of multiple divisions.

Kat Cain offers this advice for fostering collaboration:

Cross-divisional conversations are core to finding connections – so whether it be in a coffee queue or at Deakin Teaching and Learning events, make time to connect with people outside of your area. Finding those connections means that we can more easily identify projects where we all should be working together. There is true joy in working with different perspectives and backgrounds in order to create something better for our students. (Kat Cain)

Right: The BEDEY Team

Key members of this program include:

Natalie Robertson, Course Director of Bachelor of Education (Early Years), School of Education

Naomi Nirupa David, Lecturer in Education (Early Years) Institute of Koorie Education

Kat Cain, Manager, Digital Literacy Programs (Learning & Teaching, Library)

Craig Patterson, Manager, Faculty of Arts and Education Library Services, Learning and Teaching (Library)

Francesca Bussey, Lecturer, ArtsEdPod, Deakin Learning Futures

Christian Bass, Coordinator, Digital Resources, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin Learning Futures

Lisa Hanlon, Interactive Developer, Animations, ArtsEd Pod, Deakin Learning Futures

Karine Cosgrove, Digital Learning Education Designer (Digital Learning, ArtsEd)

Joe Grasso, Digital Learning Manager (Digital Learning, ArtsEd)

Anthony Neylan, Interactive Media Designer, Arts & Education, Deakin Learning Futures

Wes Howard, Language and Learning Adviser (Study Support)

Laura Dickinson, Language and Learning Adviser (Study Support)

Dominique Coorey, Liaison Librarian, Faculty of Education, Library

Robert Swain, Digital Literacy Learning Designer, Library

Amy Sellers, Liaison Librarian, Faculty of Education, Library

Michael Horn, Developer, Application and Integration, Library

Useful References:

Baik, C., Naylor, R., & Arkoudis, S. (2015). The first year experience in Australian universities: Findings from 1994 to 2014. Centre for the Study of Higher Education University of Melbourne.

Brook, H., Fergie, D., Maeorg, M. & Michell, D. (2015). Universities in Transition: Foregrounding Social Contexts of Knowledge in the First Year Experience. Coastal Management. Retrieved from, July, 2019.

Hallinger P., & Heck, R. (2009). Distributed Leadership in Schools: Does System Policy Make a Difference? in Harris, A. Distributed Leadership: Different Perspectives. Netherlands Springer Press

Leithwood, K., & Mascall, B. (2008) Collective Leadership Effects on Student Achievement. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(4), pp. 529-561

McKay, J., & Devlin, M. (2014). ‘Uni has a different language… to the real world’: Demystifying academic culture and discourse for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Higher Education Research & Development, 33(5), 949–961.

Wenger., E. (1998). Communities of Practice: learning, meaning, and identity, Cambridge University Press

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