Have your students started the session a little slower than you’d like? Wish they were more engaged from the very beginning? 20 Unit Convenors gave their students the chance to hit the ground running in Session 1 this year with the inclusion of KickStart in their units.
What’s all the fuss about KickStart, you say? Well, we’ve put together this self enrolling Showcase Unit so you can take a peek at what some of your colleagues have been creating with this new pre-session initiative.
Last year we worked together with Audrey Markowskei, an academic from the Department of Mathematics to trial a paperless work-flow for Maths232. I wrote an earlier post about the background to this pilot study and the difficulties of paperless assignments in mathematics; in this post I’ll share our results.
This week the Learning and Teaching Centre (LTC) will be saying goodbye to a well loved and respected educational designer, Jorge Reyna. It is fair to say that he has had a significant impact on staff from the LTC and throughout the university. He has been a friendly, helpful and creative colleague that the LTC will be sorry to see leave. However Jorge is moving to greener pastures and Macquarie’s loss is another’s gain. As the field of educational design and technology is small we have no doubt that we’ll run into Jorge in future.
Watercooler caught up with Jorge before his departure to find out about where he’ll be going and what he has most enjoyed about Macquarie.
Recently, I read an article about digital hoarding (can’t remember where though). I have to admit, I save emails I don’t really need to – just in case – and the number of photos I have on my smart phone…. (mainly of my hairy child, Samuel – here’s one for you). It made me think about the number of iLearn units that I have seen with content still labelled Blackboard or Moodle Migration Report from the migration in 2011, and unit guides (hidden of course) from the 1970s. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a touch, but you get the idea.
Macquarie’s own Professor Michael Gillings is no stranger to the winner’s circle of the Unijobs Lecturer of the Year Awards. His students have voted him amongst the top four lecturers in Australia for each of the past five years. Admittedly there are a lot of potential voters – Michael’s first-year Biology unit has over a thousand students. So is his success just down to sheer numbers?
Online Lectures Integrate bite sized, site specific, easily digestible video resources into the unit for student consumption – learn where and when they like
Student Agency and Capacity Students created and maintained their own WordPress blog for weekly critical reflection of video consumption. The blogs were provided to the students via the Mq WordPress multisite
Increased Teacher Presence and navigation online
Created 2 Teacher avatars using BitStrips and Pixlr.com
Integrated colour text boxes for specific items in the unit
Just this week, Minecraft was purchased by Microsoft for $2.5 billion, a fitting symbol of the games industry’s massive reach and appeal. It’s fair to say that gaming has long since left the basement and entered into the mainstream.
From the mainstream then to more literal streams, Dr Kira Westaway and Dr Paul Hesse have developed a project that taps into the broad appeal of gaming, in an effort to enhance the teaching of some traditionally difficult concepts in earth sciences. Two games, ‘Flow Your Boat’ and ‘Create Your Own Ice Age’, use a simple, variables-based system to demonstrate complex scientific principles in action.
The undergraduate Engineering curriculum at Macquarie has been undergoing redesign based on smaller modules. Each semesterised teaching unit addresses a single transformative threshold concept through a coherent sequence of modules. Each module is self-contained and focuses on a clearly identified skill and knowledge concepts, informed by the threshold concept.