Category Archives: Watercooler

Are you satisfied?

Line drawing that says one hundred percent satisfaction guaranteedIn my two previous posts I’ve reflected on data and evidence following changes to fee structures and increased competition within the UK higher education sector.   I’ve suggested that therein are indication of the consequences to some of the changes currently facing us here.  Currently I’m fascinated by the impact of the National Student Survey (NSS) on UK university practices.  As the Australian government moves toward more output measures of experience and impact – what might we expect to happen? Continue reading Are you satisfied?

Don’t have Photoshop but want to edit images?

Pixlr is the free online photoshop alternative for you

Have you ever found an image you want to use for your unit, except it needs cropping? or a bit more colour balance? or would be better grayscale or black and white? The photo just needs that tiny bit of photoshopping to make it perfect, only you don’t actually have photoshop.

Then have a look at Pixlr. Continue reading Don’t have Photoshop but want to edit images?

Macquarie Dominates the Lecturer of the Year Awards!

Macquarie staff have fared extremely well in the 2013 Unijobs Lecturer of the Year Awards.  After more than 100,000 votes were counted, no less than six of our staff placed among the top 15 lecturers in Australia!

Department of Biological Sciences’ Professor Michael Gillings continued his rise up the list over recent years, coming in at second overall!  (See his Tedx MacquarieUniversity talk here).

Other Macquarie staff placed in the top 15 were:

  • Dr  Paul Mason, Anthropology (3rd)
  • Dr Kevin Brooks, Psychology (6th)
  • Matthew Mansour, Computing / Accounting & Corporate Governance (11th)
  • Dr Andrew Dahdal, Accounting & Corporate Governance (12th)
  • Associate Professor Greg Downey, Anthropology (13th)

You can see the full list of the winners, plus the top ten lecturers from Macquarie, here.

Got something to say?

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 1.30.31 pmOur Faculty’s L & T blog is only ever going to be as good as the quality of its content ……so if you have something to say, please share it!

The Digest goes out every fortnight and our quarterly newsletter goes out… you guessed it, quarterly in sync with the seasons. Very poetic, don’t you think ?

Just email Lia Saunders at with your news, your views, your ponderings and  insights and we’ll share them with the world!

Look forward to hearing from you soon.





Less is more: A Word About Learning and Teaching Week

Few would argue against the aesthetic appeal of Apple’s minimalist design. For many, that design principle carries through to its functionality, where a limited range of inputs allow for a surprisingly complex array of interactions*. There’s an elegance and an effectiveness to offering simple solutions in response to environmental constraints.

Less is more.

Now, minimalism is great for consumer electronics fruit companies and 1950s German industrial design schools, but how well does that principle travel**? Can we apply it to higher education? What might the Dieter Rams-ification of teaching and learning look like?

LT Week Poster

Enter Learning & Teaching Week 2014, for which the Call for Proposals are due on May 23rd. This year we’ve opted for the statement “Less is More” as our theme. What can we do less of to make our teaching and learning more effective?

‘Effective’ means many things in many contexts – ‘efficient’ may be effective in some circumstances, while in others it relates to ‘engagement’ or ‘understanding’. The aim of L&T Week, as ever, is to draw out and celebrate examples of innovation and best practice across the campus, so the theme is intended as a suggestion (and provocation!) rather than a prescription. We hope it sparks off ideas and gets you thinking about your current practices.

Of course, you’re more than welcome to disagree with the premise – no doubt some would argue that ‘less is more’ is nothing but a trite tautology!

We’ll be bringing you news and information via Teche over the months leading up to Learning and Teaching Week, so be sure to keep reading. And don’t forget, the Call for Proposals is due on May 23rd, so visit for more information!

Until then… less is more!

PS. If you’re looking for inspiration/provocation, check out Dieter Rams’ ‘Ten Principles of Good Design’:

*Not applicable to the Apple Magic Mouse, which is an entirely ludicrous, awkward, impractical and uncomfortable testament to the folly of form over function

**Obvs doesn’t apply to overwrought blog posts

Written by Phil Betts @philbetts

Why do students hire us?


Is a question posed by Clayton Christensen and colleagues in a 2011 report, Disrupting College: How Disruptive Innovation Can Deliver Quality and Affordability to Postsecondary Education.  Disruption has since had much attention in the media and literature; the hiring function somewhat less.

So why do students hire their chosen universities?  In a recent Gallup-Purdue study of 30,000 U.S. graduates it was found that which university you attend (large, small, elite or not) makes little difference to your workplace engagement and overall well-being.  What matters is the experience you have – or not. Continue reading Why do students hire us?

Getting to know you……

Thackray, Alex,, , July 2, 2007, accessed 13 May 2014In Getting to know you…… we will be introducing you to some of the fabulous, interesting and quirky people who help in keeping iLearn the awesome-o online learning space that it is.  This update, we are going to get to know Alex Thackray, Educational Designer currently assigned to the Faculty of Business and Economics.

How long have you worked at Macquarie?
Since 2007, when I began working at the International office.

When did you join the LTC?
Back in 2011 when I was lucky enough to join the (then) FITSO (Faculty iLearn Training & Support Officer) crew!

What’s your favourite part of being an Educational Designer?
The challenge and variety – I’m always learning.

Share something personal with us or something surprising that not many people would know about you.
I believe you should try and do one thing every day that scares you. For me, that’s usually Crossfit!

What’s your #1 hot tip (on anything to do with iLearn, etc)?
A clear structure and instructions are key – students aren’t mind readers. Develop solid rubrics to communicate expectations and save marking time.

Do you have any pets?
Yep! A little blue, broccoli eating budgie – he goes nuts for the Game of Thrones theme song!