Tag Archives: Arts

Changes in Arts L&T for 2017

As everyone returns to Macquarie after the Summer break, you will notice a few changes in the Arts Learning and Teaching space.

Farewell to Trudy Ambler

Most of you would have heard that Trudy Ambler, our Associate Dean Quality and Standards, will be leaving us on Friday 17 February. Her passion and dedication to students, learning and quality will be sorely missed in the Faculty. I know that you will all share with us our best wishes for Trudy as she begins a new stage in her professional and personal life. Vale and fare well!

Welcome to Panos Vlachopoulos

Panos Vlachopoulous, formerly Senior Teaching Fellow and Acting Associate Dean L&T in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), will be taking on the role of Associate Dean Quality and Standards, Arts. Instrumental in developing and overseeing the explicitly program-based learning approach adopted by FHMS, Panos has extensive experience in educational research, academic quality and professional development. We welcome Panos to Arts and wish him all the best for the challenges to come.

Panos has written an article in Teche read it here.

New Drop-in Clinic Days

The Arts L&T has changed drop in clinics to Tuesdays and Thursdays 12-1. If you need help outside these times, please place a One-help ticket and a member of the Arts L&T will contact you.

New Faculty of Arts Staff Planner

For those of you that have found the 2016 Staff Planner useful, the 2017 Faculty of Arts Staff Planner is now available. Please drop by W6A325 to pick up your copy.

Strategic Initiatives

This year marks another stage in the University’s developing strategic framework for learning and teaching. Among the milestones for 2017, look forward to:

  • The introduction of a consistent institutional approach to and support for student-led Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) and Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), building connections between our UG and PG cohorts;
  • The refinement of our blended learning approach, working towards a seamless integration of delivery modes (online and on campus) for maximum flexibility for all students; and
  • The implementation of an integrated data and learning analytics approach to support student retention, progression and success.

In addition, we will begin to:

  • Scope systems for the recognition of appropriate informal, non-formal and extracurricular learning, including student portfolios;
  • Begin to integrate employability and entrepreneurship awareness, knowledge and skills in our UG and PG curricula;
  • Kick-start the process of embedding sustainability, internationalisation, intercultural considerations and Indigenous understandings in our programs;
  • Test learning commons modelling to connect staff, students and partners; and
  • Work toward establishing a framework to identify expectations for collaborative and active learning across our curriculum.

All my very best for your learning and teaching experience in 2017.

Peter Keegan

Associate Dean Learning and Teaching


The Faculty of Arts has a new Learning and Teaching team member!

gaiThe Faculty of Arts Learning & Teaching team welcomes Gai Ramesh, Learning Designer.

Gai recently joined the Arts Learning & Teaching Team, she has been with Macquarie for 7 years working in various departments assisting staff and students. She has an extensive background in web design, learning and teaching support, and strong computer skills. She is really passionate about learning and teaching and enjoys working in a role that actively involves providing support and development to staff and students. She is currently working on streamlining FoA’s  Open Universities Australia units.

Gai is also a big advocate for Sustainability initiatives at MQ, and is a Sustainability Network Rep. If you have any questions, or would just like to say hi, please email gai.ramesh@mq.edu.au or drop by W6A 325.


Archaeology and Social Media in the 21st Century – A Case study

The project seeks to meet the learning design challenges that emerge from the complexities of delivering hands-on practice based archaeology units fully online and intends to:

  1. apply a multi-media approach using video lectures, 3D digital artefacts and social networks (WordPress blog and Twitter);
  2. create experiential learning activities designed for the digital user;
  3. improve student engagement in the online environment and develop a student community of practice.

The results presented are from a 4 week Trial conducted in August 2015.

Comprehensive review of the unit’s learning and assessment design

AHIS170 design summary
AHIS170: Learning design summary (click on image for details)

Layout of learning materials in iLearn

  • Modular: Multi week approach with sequenced and scaffolded learning

AHIS170: Modular- Multi Week example (Module 1)
AHIS170: Module 1 with Weekly schedule (Click on image for details)

  • Students preferred “open” layout (as opposed to “closed” books or features with multiple layers within the site architecture) where:
      • the learning outcomes are clearly expressed (using coloured boxes to signal importance);
      • each step in the Weekly Schedule is visible with estimated time-frames;
      • a checklist is available using the Activity Completion tool in iLearn and a full list at the end of the section.

AHIS170: "Open" structure example from Week 3
AHIS170: “Open” structure example from Week 3 (Click on image for details)

Student Agency and Capacity

Students created and maintained their own “Dig Diary” WordPress blog for weekly critical reflection of video lectures/readings/activities. The blogs were provided to the students via the Mq WordPress multisite.

wordpress7-150x150       twitter12-150x150


  • Enhanced student engagement (as long as it counts!): Students felt most engaged in the trial “when commenting on other people’s blog posts and responding to the comments on my ones” and there would not have been “any interaction within the blog posts if it wasn’t a requirement”.


  • WordPress Blog Set up: Students found locating and setting up their WordPress blog to be “thoroughly confusing!” and required pre-semester set-up as well as “clearly outlined expectations when preparing the blog: Do I need to ‘decorate’ it? Is the language academic or colloquial? How to phrase responses without the risk of mis-interpretation? e.g. tone.” 
  • Privacy concerns: Students found engaging via a WordPress blog and Twitter “intimidating as I had never used them before” were not sure “learning should take place on a public forum such as Twitter”, preferring “convener moderated blogging within iLearn.”
  • Twitter was a fail, professional networks are key!
    • Students were “not sure why Twitter was utilised at all” and did not feel comfortable “asking questions” on Twitter.
    • An introduction to relevant professional networks such as LinkedIn or Academia.edu to engage with key academics/industry partners is preferred.

 Videos. Not for everyone…


AHIS170 Week 3 Video Lecture
AHIS170 Week 3 Video Lecture with links to PDFs of the slides and MP3 audio files


  • Accessibility and revision tool: Students found the ability to “re-watch the video clips as much as I wanted” helpful.


  • Lacked authenticity: “I personally found the video clips boring as there was no interaction with lecturers” and were very formal in comparison to live F2F lectures where anecdotal evidence or informal commentary is provided by teaching staff.

Social media offers a new pathway for enhancing a more customised, or personal, approach to student engagement.

  • Digital by design requires clear instruction and teacher presence to provide a personalised learning experience.
  • Design for digital uses available digital tools to increase student engagement and agency in participative and collaborative learning.


This project is funded by a Learning and Teaching Delivery Grant for 2015 entitled “Mediating Student Learning: Archaeology and Social Media in the 21st century –  A Case Study on AHIS170: Egyptian Archaeology. An Introduction”. The grant is held by Dr Alexandra Woods and Dr Peter Keegan in collaboration with Ollie Coady (LTC), Dr Panos Vlachopoulos (LTC), Michael Rampe (LTC) and  Dr Eve Guerry, Suzanne Eiselle-Evans and Ellen Ryan (all Ancient History).


Connect More…with Alex Woods

Tell us something you’ve learned about teaching from your colleagues.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from a colleague is to show my passion and enthusiasm for acquiring skills and knowledge in my subject area, the study of ancient Egypt, so students in turn will be inspired to continue their learning journey long after their studies have ceased.

Continue reading Connect More…with Alex Woods