After making a major contribution to learning and teaching that belies his relatively short time at Macquarie, the pipes, the pipes are calling Danny Liu, Senior Teaching Fellow, back to the University of Sydney. We asked Danny what he’s learned during his time here about the meaning of and gladly teche’.
What’s different about the culture of learning and teaching at Macquarie?
“What struck me about Macquarie (and what convinced me to come here in the first place) was that it was, and still is, institutionally agile. Being a younger university, we have the capacity to adapt quickly without being held down by tradition. But to do this, all areas of the university need to embrace change, “and gladly teche” as it’s gilded on the front of E11A. There are champions of learning and teaching scattered throughout the faculties who provide their students a truly engaging and enriching experience – let’s support more teachers to grow from each other and make incremental but powerful change. As John Dewey once wrote, “if we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.””
What place on the Macquarie campus will you miss the most?
“The space in front of the library in the evening. During semester in the warmer months, it’s typically filled with students gathered sharing meals, talking, on their laptops. It’s a good reminder of why we do what we do – to help students grow and live fruitful lives in community.”
What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve worked on at Macquarie?
“It’s tricky to pick just one. It’s been great to work closely with academics in the Faculty Partnership Programs, and I hope the new faculty Learning & Teaching teams will take up a similarly collaborative model but with more flexibility and agility. The learning analytics projects here have been great too, because of the diverse teams from students to technical managers to academics to programmers – we need to seek out more of these projects that bring together people vertically and horizontally. And of course Teche has been wonderful to be a part of – it’s such a great way to get the university community talking about learning and teaching, and I love how anyone can contribute. It’ll be something I’d be looking to replicate at the University of Sydney.”
What are you going to be doing in your next role at Sydney Uni?
“The official title is ‘Senior Lecturer in Academic Development and Leadership’ with the Educational Innovation Team at the University of Sydney. The way I explain it to people is, “You know how they say those who can’t do, teach, and those who can’t teach, teach teachers? I’m that last one.” But seriously, it’s an exciting role that involves community, team, and capability building for academics and learning designers, with a splash of learning analytics research on the side. The University of Sydney has a bold new 2020 strategy that sees research and teaching as equal partners, pushing the boundaries of educational innovation.”
What’s been your most memorable moment at Macquarie?
“Not sure if I can pinpoint one moment (mostly because my memory is shocking). But one thing I’ve really appreciated is walking into colleagues’ offices and nutting out crazy ideas together on a whiteboard. Never underestimate the power of a clean whiteboard and a few whiteboard markers to bring out creativity and get everyone on the same page.”
You’re staying on as a Visiting Fellow with Department of Computing – what will you be hoping to do in that capacity, and how can people stay in contact with you?
“One of the great things about universities is that there’s so much that they can learn from each other. While I’ve been at Macquarie, I’ve remained an Honorary Associate with the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney, and have kept contributing to educational technology research and development work there (obviously keeping in mind confidentiality requirements from both sides). As a Visiting Fellow here, I’m hoping to keep working on learning analytics projects to help staff better understand how their students are interacting with learning experiences and how to improve these through data-driven student support and learning design.”
“I’m indebted to people like Sherman Young, Deborah Richards, Ian Solomonides, James Hamilton, Yvonne Breyer for their mentorship and support. There are so many amazing people whom I’ve had the privilege to work with here – I’ve learnt a huge amount professionally and personally.”
Follow Danny Liu on Twitter: @dannydotliu