Using Virtual Reality as a tool to engage and recruit prospective international students

Emerging technologies have the potential to disrupt international recruitment and marketing as we know it, as students around the globe become more digitally and mobile-savvy.

As a result, education providers need to adapt and create more sophisticated experiences when targeting prospective international students.

For Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, Virtual Reality (VR) is proving to be a great innovative tool to create a more engaging experience for students. Through the use of a VR video, students are able to completely immerse themselves in their environment; offering an authentic and compelling way to showcase their campus and faculties.

And while VR provides huge opportunities for universities to potentially boost international student numbers through a personalised experience, Monash is also using it as a tool to help international agent representatives differentiate their institution in a crowded marketplace.

“We were hoping for VR to be a great additional tool for students and parents to help them in their decision making process and to help them experience what the campus is like. It is also a great tool for agents to showcase the faculty and campus to prospective students. It’s not just about students, it’s also for our agents and career counsellors as well,” says Marlena Mende, Marketing Manager at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at Monash University.

While implementing VR into an international student recruitment and marketing strategy is not without its challenges, it is a great example of how new technological platforms can be used to engage, attract and retain international students in an evolving digital environment.

Ahead of the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, Higher Ed IQ caught up with Marlena to find out how her team went about integrating VR into their international recruitment and marketing strategy, the stakeholder buy-in process and how they are ensuring the experience they are creating resonates with the wants and needs of international students.

What are the core elements of your faculty’s overall international student marketing strategy?

There are a number of elements that are crucial to our Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science’s international recruitment and marketing strategy. Our entire strategy us based on quality research based on student feedback as well as what is occurring in other markets globally.

For example, we consider what channels our prospective students might use in different countries. What is used in China may be different to what is used in India. We also check that channels used typically in Australia to engage with students are available in the countries we are targeting.

It is important to understand what it is like in those different countries and what students are looking for. Once we have that understanding, we try to develop an approach based on the audience’s needs and geography.

Another big focus is developing really strong, relevant and engaging content. We are making sure we tailor our content to address what the audience is looking for and what stage they are at in their learning journey.

Another key project is to ensure we have a strong mobile focus through our marketing, given that our audience is predominantly young people. Students are very much on their mobiles, they are digitally savvy and we want to ensure we provide interactive and engaging experiences via this platform. Personalisation is a big part of this, as well as understanding the student journey and where they are at in the decision making process.

We want to be able to provide the right content at the right time to students. This also involves coordinating and working with other teams throughout the university and faculties to ensure we have the right messaging at the right time.”

What types of emerging technologies are you using in your marketing strategy to engage international students via digital platforms?

“Our focus is to connect with students via traditional channels, but also digital channels as well. For example, social media channels such as Facebook. Our aim is to provide insight into what the experience is like on campus. In order to achieve this, we are encouraging our current students to engage on our social platforms as well – so they supply content to make it more authentic. There are also some more exciting and emerging technologies we have recently engaged with as well, such as VR.”

To read more, download the full article with Marlena Mende here

Join Marlena at the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, where she will further explore:

  • Lessons learnt from developing and implementing virtual reality into a marketing strategy
  • Providing an immersive and unique experience that resonates with a target audience
  • A look into the possible future marketing implications of virtual reality and augmented reality

For more information visit https://intl-studentrecruitmentandmarketing.iqpc.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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Insights from the Australian Research Council: Writing a Successful Grant Application by Aligning Research with Industry Pressure Points

The Australian Government has recently changed how it allocates grants for research funding and it is impacting researchers, with grant success rates dropping from some 30% to 10% in the span of 15 years.

To counteract these receding numbers a greater emphasis must be placed on aligning research with industry priority areas and on improving collaboration between industry partners.

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Ahead of the Research Funding Summit 2017 we chat to Leanne Harvey, Executive General Manager at the Australian Research Council (ARC). Leanne, who led the development and implementation of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) program, is responsible for the ARC’s Research Excellence, Corporate Services and additionally oversees the development of the new national assessment of engagement.

In this Q&A Leanne explores some of the key challenges impacting Australia’s research industry, and further delves into grant writing best practice and the importance of brokering collaboration between the research industry, government, business and local and international community organisations.

What are some of the key challenges of research funding in Australia?

There are a number of key challenges impacting research and research funding at the moment.

For example, ensuring high quality research is funded, and ensuring an appropriate balance between funding of fundamental and applied research. While the funding of applied research helps answer specific questions currently affecting Australia, maintaining the funding of fundamental, curiosity driven research is equally important.

Other challenges include Assessing what kinds of environmental, cultural and economic impact research in Australia is having beyond academia and further identifying ways to encourage collaboration, particularly with industry. Although Australia is a benchmark for research excellence, it is still a minnow when it comes to commercialisation and industry partnership.

What are some of the key priority areas the ARC is looking to fund?

The ARC’s purpose is to grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community through funding the highest quality research, assessing the quality, engagement and impact of research and providing advice on research matters.

In seeking to achieve its purpose, the ARC supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition across all disciplines. Additionally the ARC aims to expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability through support of the National Innovation and Science Agenda and a focus on research in the Science and Research Priorities.

What criteria are considered when assessing a grant application? 

While the ARC administers the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP), which supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition, the ARC does not itself assess grant applications. We instead rely on the advice of assessors with knowledge, experience and expertise in specific disciplines.

Grant applications are assessed on a number of criteria including:

  • Quality of the investigator(s)
  • Innovation, approach and significance of the project being undertaken
  • Capacity building for Australian research
  • Feasibilitlogo-lrg

Read More

Download the full article with Leanne to learn more about:

  • Addressing industry challenges
  • Aligning research to funding priority areas
  • Writing an effective grant application
  • Collaborating with industry partners to improve commercialisation

Learn More

Join us at the Research Funding Summit 2017

Join Leanne in Sydney on the 14th – 15th of November, along with 12 other research industry experts from the likes of the CSIRO, Queensland University of Technology, The Australian Red Cross Blood Service and the University of Sydney at the Research Funding Summit 2017.

 

 

 

Creating modern learning environments to enhance teaching and learning outcomes

An inside look at Stonefields School’s innovative learning spaces

It’s no secret the rise of digital technologies is transforming teaching and learning practices across the globe, with education providers realising the importance of providing and supporting an innovative learning environment that fosters collaboration, creation and curation with educational technology.

And as the classroom of today continues to evolve, it has never been more important for schools and universities to identify the best ways to implement new technology and design new learning spaces in a way that will improve learning outcomes and the overall student experience.

According to Sarah Martin, Principal at Stonefields School, the key to achieving this is creating purposeful learning environments which allow students to flourish.

“An important element of learning spaces is they should be quite purposeful and provide opportunities between learners to engage with other learners,” she says.

Built within the last decade, Stonefields School is internationally recognised for their highly innovative facilities in terms of learning space design and accompanying pedagogy.

With a vision for collaborative and autonomous learning, Stonefields also serves as a research and teaching platform for universities and the higher education sector.

Ahead of New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016, Higher Ed IQ caught up with Sarah to find out what other schools and universities can learn from Stonefields unique approach to learning design, and the strategies her team is using to create personalised and innovative learning curriculums and how this is improving teaching and learning outcomes.

Creating purposeful learning spaces

“Stonefields School is a series of nine Learning Hubs, each which facilitate innovative learning. Each hub is an open modern learning space that accommodates the equivalent of 3 classes of learners and 3 teachers.

For example, in one of our hubs, there are 15 classrooms within one big space, each of which  are joined together with doors, that are more often than not, open. This creates lovely opportunities between spaces for learners to engage with other learners.

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Another important element of the learning hubs are that each has been designed to foster purposeful learning. For example, the lino where arts and crafts take place are wet to facilitate a different type of learning in comparison to other classes.

Another unique element is the layout of these spaces – there are a lot of interesting corners and spaces within the larger learning hub. For example, each hub has at least two smaller spaces where children can opt into a quieter space or do other learning activities which might require a quieter environment. These kinds of designs create purposeful spaces for children to learn.”

Facilitating a collaborative teaching approach

“One of the most important decisions we made before any teachers or learners came on-board, was that teachers would not have their own class. Different teachers have different strengths, so the collaborative approach is removing the ‘I and my’ from teaching and replacing it with ‘we and our.’

As a result, we use a lot different frameworks which underpins a highly synergetic team. We have a function that supports the team’s effectiveness but it all begins with being comfortable in the ‘we’ space and being incredibly self-aware. We have come to learn that collaboration is the supersizer in what is possible and it certainly optimises organisational culture.

The other capability we work intentionally hard on, is people’s ability to make sense with one another. When people are engaging in transformational conversations, it is important to understand and hear other people’s perspective – it’s not always about agreeing to disagree if we are going to move things forward. So when it comes to innovative and collaborative learning, people’s sense making is a big part of what we do.”

Integrating new tech into learning and teaching

“Stonefields is one-to-one learning from six years old. Our year two and three students all have iPads that the school owns – families can purchase a device for their child or they can buy it outright. We also have digital printers, GoPros and even IMAX recording and video-making facilities throughout the school. We embrace and utilise technology that will enhance kids’ learning outcomes.

When it comes to rolling-out new tech in learning spaces, it is important to consider student wants and needs. A great example of this would be a letter I received recently from a couple of students who wanted DJ boards to be able to mix and create their own music.

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Based on student feedback we bought these tools that the kids needed. The lesson learned is digital or not, it’s important to be very open to the student voice and student-led initiatives. They provide the ideas; we provide the funding to put those ideas into action.”

Measuring the impact: analysing data to understand the impact innovative learning has on student and teaching outcomes

“Since rolling-out new innovative learning spaces,  we have seen an increase in student achievements through the data we collect. For example, a cohort at the beginning our journey were 48 per cent below the national standard. After three years, that same cohort is now 100 per cent above the national standard.

Another important result has been staff satisfaction – we have highly engaged staff and our staff retention rate is quite high. Through staff surveys we have discovered staff feel they have an opportunity to pursue their own strengths in our workplace.

It is difficult to quantify improvements purely being about space, but when we look at the shift in our graduate profile, both soft and hard data points demonstrate our learner quality over time having positive effect around a child’s ability to reflet or connect through learning.

We also have national standard data which is gained digitally and we are able to use these data sets to see how a child is progressing and we can highlight the next steps for their learning profession.

We also have online progression available as well, which involves an Anytime Reporting tools which allows parents to see how their child is going and what their next learning steps are. This is highly beneficial, especially when children want to engage at home, as it provides parents with the information and tools to support their child’s learning experience at home.”

The challenge: changing the mind shift to a new style of learning

“The biggest challenge we’ve faced on our journey to date has been the mind shift. We have all been to school and we’re all experts when it comes to parent expectations. But this is challenging because we’re asking teachers to straddle two paradigms: a 20th century one and a 21st century one.

Being courageous and knowing future predictions about the workplace our children will reside in is important. We need to abandon some of the soft skills we have ‘always done,’ because it is going to be quite redundant in our children’s future. It is a big challenge bringing parents on board with this type of thinking and the key is to communicate the benefits as strongly as we can.

Another challenge is sometimes our mental models can constrain what is possible in a more open, collaborative environment. As a result, we have done work on brainstorming ways to embrace new ideas and new ways of teaching and learning when those inadequate mental models might get in the way.”

Interested in learning more?

Join Sarah at New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016 where she will further explore:

  • Personalising learning by designing non-prescriptive curriculums tailored to each student’s strength, needs and interests, thus developing self-motivated and self-managed learners 
  • Strategies for creating future-proof spaces that enhance teaching and learning outcomes 
  • Interconnected learning hubs and the benefits of having composite classrooms 
  • Creatively leveraging technology, and its impact on staff, students and parents 
  • Complete incorporation of technology through online platforms to eliminate a paper trail and increase flexibility, connectivity and transparency

For more information download the agenda here

If you found this article interesting, you might like to also check out our recent article with Krisy Ryan, Academic Director at Monash University, which explores the strategies Monash is using to design a new paradigm for learning and the steps they are taking to design multidisciplinary learning spaces that cater for new student learning styles.

Read the article Creating a multidisciplinary learning and teaching building at Monash University here

 

How UWA is Growing International Student Numbers Through Data-driven Marketing

Global student mobility has been steadily growing over the past decade, and according to OECD’s recent findings, shows no signs of declining any time soon.

With the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2015 report forecasting international student mobility to nearly double to 8.5 million students by 2025, it comes as no surprise that  international student recruitment has become central to many universities strategic business plans for the future.

And as the competition to win students continues to intensify around the globe, universities are focusing on new and innovative marketing strategies to recruit and retain high quality international students. Now more than ever before, universities are recognising that students are also customers and the need to provide excellence customer experience across the student lifecycle.

According to Kent Anderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Community and Engagement), University of Western Australia (UWA), capturing a holistic view of the student lifecycle can have big benefits when it comes to international student recruitment – and the key to achieving it is data.

“One of the driving principals of UWA’s international marketing and recruitment strategy is that all decisions should be data informed. All of our decisions are based on the data we have,” he says.

Over the past two years Kent and his team at UWA have been refining their international student recruitment strategy to ensure improved ROI from their efforts. Through a focus on student insights, digital marketing and a future focused outlook, UWA is aiming to boost international student numbers from 20 per cent  of the student body, to 30 per cent over the coming years.

Ahead of International Student Recruitment and Marketing 2016, Kent shares the core elements of UWA’s international student recruitment and marketing strategy and how they are capturing and using student insights to drive an exceptional student experience, and in turn, boost international student numbers across their campus.

Attracting international students to UWA: the essentials

“The University of Western Australia (UWA) has a long tradition of internationalism and attracting international students, but for the last 15 years we had a capped the total number of international students we could enrol at 15 per cent.

These insights are part on an exclusive article with Kent Anderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Western Australia. Download the report here, to learn more about:

  • Attracting international students
  • Capturing student insights to boost student numbers
  • Engaging students on digital platforms
  • UWA’s proven tips for success

For more information about our International Student Recruitment & Marketing Conference 2016 download the brochure. The event brings together 20 influential speakers from across higher education and explores:

  • Strategies to improve commencement rates
  • Forming key relationships and Maintaining Partnerships
  • Reputation Management and Building a Cohesive Australian Brand
  • Leveraging social media trends to engage international students with Digital Marketing
  • Data Analytics and Data Mapping – evaluating industry data to tap into new markets and drive growth

7 strategies universities can use to DESIGN & DEVELOP INNOVATIVE LEARNING SPACES

Over the past decade there has been a huge shift in approach to the design of learning spaces in higher education. As technology continues to advance with the rapid pace of change, so too are student demands and expectations when it comes to learning.

As a result, universities are looking to new innovative ways of teaching, with a big focus on linking pedagogy to learning space design, and how technology can best be utilised in these spaces to improve student engagement and learning outcomes.

Ahead of New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016, we take a look at 7 key strategies universities and schools across Australia and New Zealand are using to design innovative learning spaces to remain relevant to the digital student.

1 Establish a unique learning environment
Swinburne University of Technology is one university which is seeing its students benefit from a space developed and designed specifically for interactive online learning to drive better student learning outcomes.

Four years ago the University and online employment giant SEEK, established Online Education Services (OES) to create engaging online learning experiences for students.

OES’ first endeavor is Swinburne Online, which provides online degrees and postgraduate qualifications for Swinburne students, transforming teacher led units to suit an online environment.

According to Dr. Jay Cohen, Learning Design Manager, OES, while Swinburne has had a big focus on digital learning delivery in the higher education space for some time now, the key to success has been creating a unique learning environment for students and staff.

“There are a few elements that make our approach unique. The first is our student-centric approach which underpins the support services we provide from orientation to graduation for our students.

“We have a thorough orientation for students, seven-day support services, on-demand assignment assistance and tutoring services as well as a bespoke social network platform called ‘Connect,’ which we use to keep students connected to the broader student and staff community,” he says.

Essentially, OES is taking on-campus content and trying to fit it into an online environment – which Jay says has not come without challenges.

“What we are finding, is that what works on campus may not necessarily work in an online environment.

If you’re building an online learning space from scratch, it is actually a completely different design from a classroom based design.

Feeding classroom based content into an online environment does create challenges, because elements of design that are in the campus don’t rolling over into an online environment.

Designing and building an online learning space is not about transferring what you are doing on campus to online – it doesn’t work that simply.

For example, in a traditional university environment a lecture might run somewhere between 80 and 110 slides per lecture. But we can’t put Power Point slides in an online environment. So we have to think in a completely different way when it comes to designing content, as well as assessments – particularly when it comes to group work.

Group activities or group assessments in a classroom environments means students can go and sit at a table and discuss and collaborate in person. In the online environment, there is no classroom which makes it significantly more difficult to facilitate collaborative learning,” he explains.

In order to overcome such challenges, Jay and his team have focused on integrating new and innovative technologies to provide a more collaborative and innovative learning experience for students.

“We have had to reimagine what it means to collaborate in order to foster an engaged online learning community through the use of video, audio and other technological resources, which has created an interactive environment,” he says.

These insights are part of an exclusive report with seven leading universities from Australia and New Zealand. The report delves into new generation learning spaces and explores blending the vitual with the physical, future-proofing learning spaces, catering to different learning and teaching styles and the use of data analytics in creating personalised learning spaces.

For more information on our New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016 event please download the brochure. The even brings together over 20 speakers and leading innovators and explores key considerations relevant to ensuring a pedagogically receptive and innovative campus for 21st Century learners. 

Driving Operational Efficiency Through Shared Services Transformation at Swinburne University

In this video interview, Joanne Austin, Former Faculty General Manager Business and Law at Swinburne University, explores the core elements of Swinburne University’s services transformation journey to date and the measures other universities can adopt to ensure and enhance operational efficiency.

Interested in learning more? Download the exclusive powerpoint presentation by Joanne Austin from Higher Education Services Transformation 2015 where she explores;

  • Having a clear understanding of shared services and centralised operating models.
  • Integrating technologies to support teaching and enhance the student experience.
  • Exploring and adopting measures to enhance universities operating efficiency.

For more information about our Higher Education Shared Services 2016 event download the brochure. The event will bring together over 20 speakers and innovators and cover topics such as;

  • Selecting the appropriate operating structures to reduce operational costs and enhance value of university support services.
  • Engaging stakeholder throughout the transformation process for continuous improvement and smoother transition.
  • Redesigning administrative functions and structures for higher quality student experience.

Deakin University: Driving change management to enhance blended learning

Insights from the School of Exercise & Nutrition at Deakin University

Much of the published content on blended learning has focused significantly on changes in pedagogy, and how technology is influencing the way teachers deliver content to support student learning outcomes.

This is undoubtedly a crucial part of the effort to ‘blend’ different learning methods to improve the student experience, but what about the cultural and mindset implications of blended learning?

There is an increasing trend in which universities are experiencing difficulty introducing technology and different ways of teaching. Encouraging academics to embrace a blended learning approach in units of study is far easier said than done; not to mention securing buy-in at the executive level.

As a result, building a culture around blended learning has fast become a critical success factor – from being able to demonstrate the value of blended learning on student outcomes to answering the WIIFM (‘What’s-In-it-For-Me) conundrum. And then, of course, nurturing the engagement of all stakeholders along the journey.

While there is no standard framework to build a culture around blended learning, or seamlessly introduce technology and methods of teaching, there are ways that project teams can use existing resources to trial different techniques.

Ahead Blended Learning 2016, Susie MacFarlane, Senior Facilitator, Teaching Excellence and Innovation, shared insight into her team’s efforts to enable a blended learning environment for students at the School of Exercise & Nutrition, Deakin University.

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Susie Macfarlane, Senior Facilitator, Teaching Excellence and Innovation

University learning management systems have traditionally been used to host individual files such as study guides and readings, as well as lecture recordings and synchronous classroom recordings.

Often the LMS becomes a resource repository, rather than providing a clear and engaging learning path for students. I work as an educational developer and change agent in a school of more than 60 academics in a very technologically advanced university.

My challenge was – how can we shift our thinking and capacity across the whole school to design clear learning pathways that motivate and assist students to learn? We have developed a learning design process and template to guide our academics in developing a learning path with resources, activities, links to discussion board and formative assessments.

And we are also starting to use eLearning software such as Articulate Storyline, to resource a high quality blended learning experience.

We make available online some of the resources that were originally delivered face to face by the lecturer so the students can access them before or after the classroom or seminar experience.

Therefore, in the classroom we can start to establish more student-centred learning and active learning approaches, such as team based learning, classroom activities, discussion questions and so on.

In this way, some of the information transmission and even active learning processes that don’t require a teacher to be there now occur asynchronously, through online resources students can access when it suits them.

For example, in our food chemistry labs, students print out and bring along the results of their eLearning module they completed prior to entering the lab. In this way, we can guarantee our students are prepared to undertake the lab activities, and they can spend the time more effectively developing their lab skills.

Susie’s insights into changing the mindset round blended learning and capacity are part of an in-depth case study that explored how her team continues to successfully introduce innovative blended learning techniques to support student learning outcomes. 

Read the full case study to learn more about: 

  1. Designing clear learning pathways for student-centred learning
  2. Building a model of organisational change and capacity building
  3. Introducing a new learning approach through strategic change management
  4. Running a subtle pilot project for the new learning approach
  5. Maintaining an integrated team model to improve blended learning

For more information on the Blended Learning Summit, please download the brochure or visit http://www.blended-learning.com.au.

The Summit will bring together leading educators and learning design specialists to present in-depth case studies, outline key challenges faced, what they have achieved and how they have enhanced the student experience.

How to maximise existing space for student-centred learning: Campus masterplanning at Curtin University

Universities operating in a tight fiscal environment have dominated media headlines in recent times. In spite of the negative vibes attached to this theme, many tertiary establishments are becoming more innovative with their existing assets. One asset in particular has set the tone in the context of campus masterplanning: the learning and teaching space.

The focus on maximising existing space combines academia and design in architecture to enable active student-centred learning.

When universities undertake this journey, they don’t only benefit from a cost savings perspective, they also provide students an experiential offering that supports their learning outcomes. When that occurs, the benefits multiply – from stronger reputations institutionally to continued excellence in educational rankings.

However, with demand changing so quickly, how can universities manage competing priorities and align the use of space with student learning outcomes? How can they unlock the value of existing space beyond financial aspirations?

Ahead of Campus Development 2016, we spoke to Khoa Do, Associate Professor – Architecture & Construction Management, Curtin University, who discussed how existing space can be used to accommodate changing pedagogy, improve student learning outcomes, and measure the effectiveness of learning and teaching spaces.

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Listening Diagram for the Curtin General Learning & Teaching Facility, courtesy of Khoa Do & HASSELL

Khoa Do, Associate Professor – Architecture & Construction Management, Curtin University

Adopting an Integrated Design Model (IDM) for space utilisation

My background is in Architecture and the built environment. Having spent a considerable part of my professional career moving between academia and architectural practice, I have developed an interest and expertise in the areas of Architecture of Education and the Pedagogy of Space.

The direct link between pedagogy and space for learning and teaching are intrinsically interconnected and integrated. Good design of learning spaces can positively impact the development of innovative learning and teaching scholarship; good education spaces are transformative environmental conditioning agents for generating innovative learning and teaching practices.

Leading universities are agile and timely in the way they stay abreast of the challenges reshaping the higher education sector. The disruptive environment is been fuelled by a wide range of interconnected factors that include: advancing technologies, preferences for courses catering more towards multi-disciplinary (cheaper, short-intense and high quality), the balancing of face to face versus online delivery, applied research and industry engagements (commercialisation of research) and so on.

Leading universities are responding by putting greater investment in the development of campus spaces aimed at offering more experientially transformative learning environments of both virtual and face to face.

The emphasis for universities is to afford quality learning experiences that go beyond simply the process of acquiring skills and knowledge for the attainment of a degree in the traditional model of learning and teaching.

Staying relevant, ahead of the competition and being at the forefront of what universities do and offer are hallmarks of a progressive and innovative university.

Khoa Do is a featured presenter at the upcoming Campus Development Summit. These insights are part of an exclusive case study on using existing space to accommodate changing pedagogy and support student learning outcomes. He goes on to explore how the Integrated Design Model (IDM) approach investigates design considerations and strategies that enable the explorative process of identifying small scale opportunities across the campus for upgrading, retrofitting and redevelopment.

If you’d like to know more about the Campus Development Summit, download the brochure or visit http://www.campusdevelopment.com.au. Khoa will be joined by more than 20  specialists from across Australia, the UK and Singapore at the Summit. They will share key considerations that you need to make to ensure a pedagogically responsive and innovative campus and facility for 21st century learners.

 

 

How can universities design assessment and credentials to produce work-ready graduates?

Establishing credentials for students has emerged as a critical way to ensure graduates are work-ready once they finish university. But it’s far easier said than done, especially in light of major changes in pedagogy and student expectations.

How can universities align the approach to building credentials with students’ needs and ensuring employability at the same time?

Ahead of Innovation in Assessment & Credentials 2016, James Arvanitakis, Dean, Graduate Research School Western Sydney University, discusses what factors need to be addressed to establish credentials that are effective and have real value in the student experience.

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James Arvanitakis, Dean, Graduate Research School, Western Sydney University

Essentially everything we do should be building up a broad range of employability skills for the students. Universities are really good at producing knowledge and delivering content.

That’s a disciplinary knowledge that we have, and what we need to do is continue doing that to ensure the highest level of scholarship is maintained and attained by the students. That is never negotiable.

But there’s a second dimension, which historically universities haven’t done very well, and that’s related to incorporating a broad range of attributes that students need to develop for proficiencies.

These include learning how to work across cultures, working with teams, knowledge translation, having a sense of agency, and being able to appreciate design and aesthetics, for example.

All of these attributes are important, but it’s the flip side of the coin that universities have struggled with.

And when I developed the Academy program at Western Sydney University, or now that I oversee the Graduate Research School, developing these attributes along with academic excellence are my twin goals.

It goes not only through the curriculum, but through all the investments as well. Within the blended learning environment, it requires very specific strategies in comparison to what you would do face to face, but it doesn’t change the broader philosophy about what you would expect from your students.

For example, with knowledge translation in a blended learning environment, you work with the students to develop public blogs or develop more online resources, and you require your students to work in teams and master online project management software.

The focus should be on assessing how they communicate across those teams, rather than what we usually do, which is what they are doing. You assess the process, not just the outcomes.

James Arvanitakis kindly shared insight into the development of student credentials for the upcoming Innovation in Assessment & Credentials Summit in October. In the article he goes on to explore the approach for building up a broad range of employability skills for students, and incorporating a range of attributes that students need to develop for proficiencies.  Check out the full article to learn more about removing silos and moving towards cross-disciplinary skills.

And if you’d like to know more about the Innovation in Assessment & Credentials Summit, please download the brochure or visit http://www.assessmentandcredentials.com.au.

James will deliver a presentation on educating students in a time of disruption: Becoming innovative and creating an internal shift to drive the future of universities.

 

How Australian universities are implementing innovative blended learning methods to boost student engagement

Advances in technology have enabled students with greater flexibility in how they learn, which has influenced the need for educators to engage students beyond the traditional classroom environment. And in response to major changes in pedagogy, many universities have directed efforts towards implementing blended learning methods to support student outcomes.

But the focus on blended learning is proving to be multifaceted. Improving student engagement is unquestionably vital in the context of learning outcomes; but so too is engagement between educators and learning designers.

Effective blended learning environments can only be achieved when these stakeholders work closely together, and are able to coordinate against a common objective. While it’s far easier said than done, new approaches are being developed to establish a culture around blended learning.

At the same time, capacity building frameworks are emerging as a tool to facilitate experiences like eLearning and mobile learning (mLearning) – this also extends to supporting students in workplace environments (or workplace learning).

And then, of course, there’s measuring student engagement, which is where the ability to scale feedback takes centre stage to improve blended learning methods. Some universities are using dashboards to monitor engagement; while others are experimenting with newer methods to personalise feedback.

Ahead of Blended Learning 2016, several specialists from Deakin University, Monash University, Charles Sturt University and University of Sydney, share exclusive insight into how they are supporting student learning outcomes by creating effective and adaptable blended learning environments.

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Engaging students in enquiry-driven learning at Monash University

Ms Barbara Yazbeck, Research and Learning Skills, Monash University Library

We’ve developed a Blended Learning module for second-year students in the Bachelor of Pharmacy to teach information skills in an Evidence-based Practice.

This represents a key collaboration between the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Monash University Library, recently recognised in a Faculty Teaching Citation and a Vice Chancellor’s Award

The Library has a learning skills program, with learning skill advisors that work with their librarian counterparts and faculty to embed research and learning skills in the curriculum.

And because we take an embedded  approach to skill development, we try to be involved in curriculum as much as possible. In this case, we work with the unit coordinator for Evidence-based Practice.

Two workshops–A and B –are team taught and form a major assessment for this core unit. These workshops are three-hour sessions that require significant resourcing, which can be a challenge, as we’re a small branch here at the Parkville campus.

It’s vital that our teaching is embedded and timetabled into curriculum. In addition, the workshops are team-taught, with a learning skill advisor, a subject librarian, and a faculty instructor involved.

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Monash University campus, courtesy of Barbara Yazbeck

And because we take an embedded approach to skill development, we try to be involved in curriculum as much as possible. In this case, we work with the unit coordinator for Evidence-based Practice.

Two workshops–A and B –are team taught and form a major assessment for this core unit. These workshops are three-hour sessions that require significant resourcing, which can be a challenge, as we’re a small branch here at the Parkville campus.

It’s vital that our teaching is embedded and timetabled into curriculum. In addition, the workshops are team-taught, with a learning skill advisor, a subject librarian, and a faculty instructor involved.

We’ve been involved in this unit for more than five years, culminating in the adoption of a blended learning approach three years ago. This initiative was piloted in 2013, and now exists as an online module that we use in a blended workshop model.

These insights by Ms Barbara Yazbeck are part of an eBook in which four learning design specialists, including Ms Yazbeck, discussed how they are creating blended learning environments to support student learning outcomes in response to major pedagogy changes. 

Read the eBook to learn more about how universities are:

  1. Developing a blended learning module for students to gain skills in an Evidence-based Practice
  2. Establishing a culture of enquiry-based learning and practice for students
  3. Using learning analytics to understand student behaviour and provide more relevant resources
  4. Shifting mindsets and capacity to design clear learning pathways that motivate and assist students to learn
  5. Providing academics with choice in the role they play in the blended learning team, and the extent and pace of change and technology uptake

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blended Learning Summit that will be held in October, download the brochure or visit http://www.blended-learning.com.au.