Meet the Team: David Morgan

What do you do at the LTC?
I am a Systems Administrator and my main focus is supporting the Echo360 platform. A lot of time is spent looking after server and data storage infrastructure and also the 100 odd Echo360 capture devices that create classroom recordings.

What is the most interesting part of your job?
I’ve found interest in the ways that technologies, which may have originated say as a business tool or for entertainment, can be adapted to support education. I enjoy technical challenges and being able to work creatively to find solutions. I’ve always been interested in gadgets with lots of flaDavid Morganhing lights, and our learning systems infrastructure has lots of those. I’m situated within a very supportive and adept team which makes the job seem less like work, and more like shared goals.

What did you do before you joined us?
Having studied to be an audio engineer, I worked at a music studio for several years. A lot of what I did at the studio, such as working with analogue audio systems, troubleshooting faults and pacifying drunken rock stars was surprisingly relevant when I started work at Macquarie in 2003.

How did you come to be working with us?
Through a contact I knew working at Macquarie. My first position at the University was a technical support role within the AV department. Back then, I don’t recall there being a formal interview, but there were a lot of questions asked about the potential value and technical aspects of using the internet to deliver lecture recordings.
By far my greatest challenge in that role was correctly inserting 35mm slides into the slide carousel. Each slide had a 75% chance of being back-to-front, upside-down… or both.

What do you do when you’re not working at the LTC?
I can still be found hanging around music studios and playing in bands.

What’s the most adventurous or dangerous thing you have ever done?
Some years ago a friend and I decided to start a rally racing team. Armed with a 1970’s Mini Clubman, we honed our rally driving skills by weaving amongst the trees in a paddock at my mate’s family property at Kenthurst. Despite what you might think, the actual danger came in the form of several engine modifications, which apparently made the car go faster, but also caused the engine to catch fire.

Flipped Classroom – New resource

The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and problem-solving elements of a course are reversed.

The shift is from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered learning environment. To hear how your colleagues have been implementing this delivery model into their teaching, please visit this new resource on the LTC website.

A corresponding workshop will be run in October. Click here to register.

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Meet the Team: Robert Parker

RobertWhat do you do at the LTC?
I am an Educational Developer in the Educational Development and Design
section. I am assigned to the Faculty of Science and its Learning and TeachingCommittee. I collaborate with academic staff to think about their teaching and knowledge work, this includes: class performance, instructional design, curriculum development, applying learning technologies and constructing learner environments. This year I have worked with Greg Downey (Anthropology) and Lesley Hughes (Climate Change) to develop MOOCS in collaboration withOUA. More recently I’ve been working with Sherman Young in the Faculty of Arts and Department of Ancient History to develop a new undergraduate program, the Bachelor of Archaeology.

What is the most interesting part of your job?
I enjoy working with academic staff and learning about their research interests, teaching practice and what motivates them. The challenge is to build good professional relationships, create confidence and transform this into practical and personalised solutions for academics. I have been fortunate to receive grant funding to design and develop educational software for game-based learning.

What did you do before you joined us?
I worked at UNSW in a variety of positions that included lecturing and tutoring, elearning designer, digital media producer, software developer and systems analyst. I took time out, to work pro bono with not-for-profit organisations, Amnesty International, National Parks Association and the Richmond Fellowship. I’ve also worked as an ICT consultant to government, industry and not-for-profits
as a business analyst, software consultant and developer, researcher and tender writer. I trained as a cabinetmaker while I was at high school and university, managed a joinery and built several houses.

How did you come to be working with us?
I wanted a change from working in a school within a faculty, to a university-wide unit, when an opportunity opened at Macquarie to work in the LTC.

What do you do when you’re not working at the LTC?
Listen to live music, attend art and performance events. Hang out with family, friends and strong black coffee. Go bush walking and camping. Slide down a glassy wave or float over a rocky reef.

What’s the most adventurous or dangerous thing you have ever done?
I walked through desert country in South Australia across Lake Torrens along Moralana Creek up to Wilpena Pound, in late spring. The days were so hot, I had to dig a deep pit into the dry creek bed and lie in it, but the nights were crisp and full of life.

What would you like to do next?
I would like to collaboratively design and build a sustainable collective housing project with a couple of dozen people in their third age who want to be cooccupants. It might just make inner city life sustainable and enjoyable.

Computers in Education: Not Just a Fad!

Macquarie hosts the 30th Ascilite Conference this year.

asciliteThis year the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite) embarks on its fourth decade of exploring the pedagogical potential of new technologies in the classroom (wherever or whatever that may be), and not in any way being smug about having ‘called it’.Here at Macquarie a group of academic and professional staff from across the university have come together to organise the 30th Annual ascilite Conference, hosted by Macquarie this December 1-4.

Continue reading Computers in Education: Not Just a Fad!

Positively Re-designed: PSY 963’s Faculty Partnership Program Project

Dr Monique Crane, Lecturer in Organisational Psychology was the academic lead on a Faculty Partnership Project in Session 1 this year that aimed to redesign PSY 963 Coaching and Positive Psychology in a way that was both engaging and academically challenging for students. The LTC project team worked with Monique to rejuvenate the curriculum for blended delivery, introducing a number of tools and techniques that included collaborative authorship tasks and video scenarios.

PreziPrezi for Collaborative Authorship
With collaborative authorship teaching tasks, PSY 963 students literally contribute to the workshop material, creating a mixture of expert content and student-generated content for the unit.

Collaborative authorship is a strategy that makes use of participatory technologies in the classroom as a way of developing student-centred learning opportunities and increasing student engagement. Monique reported that such participatory technologies allow “students to collaboratively develop an outcome related to the workshop content through the use of an online medium such as Prezi or a Wiki. This process can be moderated and guided by the chair in real time. At the end of this process, all students have access to their collaboratively authored resources that will assist in guiding their future practice.”

Monique is now a collaborator on a project funded by a grant from the Innovation and Scholarship Program (with the LTC’s Oliver Coady) to extend the work from the Faculty Partnership project in examining the role of collaborative authorship in the classroom to improve student engagement and skill transfer.

PSY963 VideoAuthentic Video Scenarios
Macquarie’s Human Resources Department collaborated with Monique and the LTC project team in the production of video scenarios for PSY 963 which demonstrate a coach implementing a strategy with clients in different situations. Rather than actors, the videos star professional coaching experts based here at Macquarie who also helped script the videos. These videos are not only core resources for the unit itself but can also be used in other professional development settings, as well as a teaching resource in the classroom or online.

Monique says she values the insights gained from her experience working with the LTC project team and is now implementing the new teaching strategies she has learned across all her units. “The LTC has expertise in the area of adult learning and this means that they are able to provide insight into new teaching methods and content delivery. Students are exposed to innovative teaching techniques too.”

Teaching in a Compressed Mode – Session 3

Changes in technology, student expectations and economic pressures mean that we face challenges in the ways in which we organise and offer curricula. One of the alternative ways in which teaching and learning can be organised is through delivering in a compressed time frame.

Teaching successfully in a shortened time poses different challenges from delivering units in traditional semester time frames. The Session 3 Project being undertaken in the LTC is investigating the challenges and opportunities of compressed teaching. The project aims to provide resources which will help those designing and delivering units in compressed mode. There are some exciting innovations around the university. Some of these are through providing students with the opportunity to expand their experiences of learning through the new challenges that become possible when face to face and online learning are combined.

A series of workshops is being offered in September, a Roundtable has been organised for Learning and Teaching Week and we will continue to add to the resources that are available on the Session 3 Web page.

Burning Desire for Blended Delivery? Try FLaMe

FLaMe is a professional development program that introduces Macquarie staff to some of the key principles and techniques for successfully blending online and face-to-face teaching. Participants are supported to redesign a current iLearn unit or create a new one for blended delivery.

Dr Albert Atkin participated in the FLaMe program earlier this year. “Even though I have quite a lot of teaching experience, the FLaMe course was very enlightening for me and I have been able to put much of what I learned there to use. More importantly, I think it has improved my teaching, and I am confident that it has made the learning experience for my students much better. The resources and techniques for developing an online community, for instance, have been especially important for how I want to teach. I have already made use of many of the course’s insights and I am exploring ideas about synchronous virtual classroom space even further.”

“It helps that the teaching team are so knowledgeable and open, and the learning environment so relaxed and collegial too. Really, a great course and I got so much from it, and I’d recommend it to anyone”.

Enrol now for FLaMe, beginning 23rd September – more details and to register

Changing Perceptions of Online Delivery – the EDUC 258 Faculty Partnership Project

Dr Michael Cavanagh and A/Prof Joanne Mulligan from the School of Education have been working with a team from the LTC on redesigning EDUC258 Mathematics in Schools for Session 3, an experience which Michael says has ‘changed my perception of the potential benefits of online delivery for students’.

A Session 3 timeframe means the weekly topics are compressed from 13 weeks down to 5 online modules in iLearn, complemented by a reduced number of face-to-face sessions. The unit will introduce students to some fundamental ideas about the learning and teaching of mathematics in schools. According to Michael, ‘the biggest challenge has been to identify the key concepts and skills for students to learn about in the unit. My colleagues and I decided that it was more important for students to think deeply about what they were learning and have sustained opportunities to reflect on their growing understanding of the unit content, so we wanted to allow time for that to occur. That meant cutting back on some content, but I think the end result will lead to significant student learning.’

In order to accommodate the compressed timeframe, the unit also employs quite a bit of video, including short ‘talking head’ videos where teaching staff describe some of the key concepts, as well as panel discussions. With maintaining student engagement a high priority in the online space, the unit also includes a video of a past student giving tips on how to engage online. The LTC team have also helped to create a ‘teacher voice’ in the online space that guides the students on how they should work through the online materials. Photos of the teaching staff are displayed within the activities in iLearn.

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The idea of a learning community underpins the unit, with students expected to take an active role in their own learning and share a greater responsibility for their progress. Michael says that in the new online design, ‘there are many more opportunities for students to engage with the ideas, share their thinking to enrich their own learning and that of their peers, and to reflect on how their new knowledge is supporting their development as teachers. It’s my hope that by participating in the online activities and thinking about the ideas students will find the subsequent on-campus sessions more beneficial.’
EDUC258 will be run this year in Session 3, and an in-depth evaluation will be undertaken via TEDS surveys and focus groups. Looking further ahead, Michael says, ‘I hope that we can incorporate the underlying design principles that have guided the redevelopment of the unit and many of the learning and teaching activities into the Session 1 offering of the unit.’

‘For me, the project has been a great opportunity to work with LTC staff who are experts in learning design. Their ideas and practical support have really helped me to reflect on how to maximise learning opportunities for students in an online environment.’

7 Simple Tips for Better Pre-Recorded Lecture Videos

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Educational Designer Michael Rampe

Pre-recorded lectures can be really beneficial for students, and are easy to create from your office just using your webcam. Our Educational Design team offer some straightforward ways to make sure the benefits aren’t negated by poor production.

  1. Be prepared. Have a solid plan and a script, and rehearse before you switch on the camera
  2. Think of the camera as your students. Look at the camera when you’re speaking to ensure an engaging eyeline.
  3. Good sound quality is almost more important than image quality for videos that convey information. Ensure background noise is kept to a minimum and your webcam microphone is correctly set up. If possible, use an external USB microphone or similar.
  4. Keep it short and punchy to ensure your audience doesn’t switch off
  5. Ensure there is adequate light shining on your face. Light from behind the computer is better than overhead lighting or a window behind you.
  6. De-clutter the background.
  7. Be confident. Projecting a confident attitude on camera is a big step towards star quality.

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