Community, sharing and a touch of tech envy

If you follow Teche on Twitter (@TecheMQ) you may have seen that this time last week a few of us were visiting The University of Sydney.   Here’s a bit more on who and what we saw.

Foyer, Charles Perkins Centre, University of SydneyMembers of MQ’s Educational Design and Development group were invited to view the Charles Perkins Centre (research and education hub) for a sharing session of the Sydney Educational Designers Network (SEDN), arranged by Tina Barclay, Educational Design Manager,  Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney.

You may have already seen the happy snaps on Twitter, what an incredible building!  Fitted out with the latest equipment and digital tools in cutting edge teaching spaces which are classified as ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ teaching spaces.

Dry teaching space, University of SydneyDry spaces are flexible learning spaces, allowing rooms to be adaptable and configured to the needs of each session being delivered.  Exercise and Sport Science classes have exercise bikes in the room, so prac and theory can be meshed into one learning experience.  The spaces allow for collaborative learning that are seamlessly linked to technology.  Teaching staff can project from their computers onto the screens of students and vice a versa.

Wet lab teaching space, Sydney University

Wet labs have the same technology set up, with each student station having a touch screen computer, and a capacity in some rooms of 250 students.  Designed with research in mind, students progress up the physical levels of the building as they move into postgrad research.  And did I mention the views from the top level?  Incredible to say the least.

The SEDN is a community of practice, meeting a couple of times a year to discuss what we are working on at our individual universities, approaches, trends and ideas.  What is interesting is that a few faculties at The University of Sydney are moving towards blended learning and using the Flipped Classroom strategy.  As many of you know, Macquarie’s Learning and Teaching Strategy Paper proposes moving to the blended model for all units.  This is  a growing trend in many universities, with the University of Western Sydney having already positioned themselves a blended learning university for the past two years with the aim of all units being offered in blended mode by 2016.    Some faculties at  The University of Sydney are also moving to 100% online submission for assessments and online grading and feedback is gaining momentum.

Thanks to Tina and her colleagues for having us and showing us their spectacular building!  The next SEDN meeting will be hosted here at Macquarie during Learning and Teaching Week.

If any Educational Designers in the greater Sydney area are interesting in joining the group, sign up at



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