Sydney Teaching Colloquium on Blended Learning – Day 2


The second day of the colloquium kicked off with presentations by A/Prof Adam Bridgeman, Chemistry, and Dr Sandra Peter, Business School, who spoke about how they have flipped their classes. You can see a short video here on how Adam uses worksheets and demonstrations in his lectures – because when you put some of the lecture content online, there’s more room for fun stuff. Adam showed us some student feedback, including this memorable statement:

Sandra Peters has also had success flipping her classes. Her videos of industry experts are a great way to show subject relevance:

Sandra also encouraged people to take small steps towards flipping their classes. Just add some online resources, you don’t need to change the face-to-face classes at first – work towards it. She showed a great slide of herself at home recording a video using her smartphone balanced on a tower of containers!

During question time, Adam said that peer observation was a useful way for academics to develop their teaching. And research agrees (including my own research *cough, cough*). Adam said that sitting in the back row was a good way to see a class from a student perspective.

After the morning tea break, there was a choice of two sessions. I’m not sure what happened in the ‘Learning Analytics’ session, though one of the presenters, Dr Abelardo Pardo, kindly shared his slides via Twitter:

I was at the session on ‘Gizmos, apps, learning tools and personal devices’. We heard from three speakers:

Prof James Arvanitakis, University of Western Sydney (2012 Prime Minister’s Australian University Teacher of the Year), A/Prof Gareth Denyer, Molecular Bioscience, and Craig Smith, Autism Spectrum Australia & Apple Distinguished Educator

All three were inspiring speakers, and I’ll give just a highlight from each. James gave a definition of blended learning that didn’t mention technology:

Gareth, like Adam and Sandra, has also successfully flipped his classes:

And Craig told us about how he uses creatively uses technology such as iPads used to teach children with autism. He also gave us a bag of ‘digital candy’, which James Humberstone has helpfully collected:

The day concluded with a student panel and group discussions about students’ expectations and experiences of technology. The student panel said that they valued animation, simulations, role plays, online submission of work, facilitated online discussion spaces & the technology working. There was strong agreement that students want lecture recordings and lecture slides to be available online, which sparked an interesting discussion on Twitter:

Some of the notes from the table discussions were shared on Twitter, which is good because I was roving around with a mike and not able to take notes:

Then, finally, A/Prof Simon Barrie closed the colloquium with some comments on what happens next:

It’s fitting to close with a tweet from Tai, because she did such a fantastic job organising the colloquium. Thanks to Tai and all who presented and participated – it was a great two days.

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