Take for example Advanced Corporate Valuation, a subject in UTS Business taught in both the Master of Finance and Master of Financial Analysis. Subject Coordinator Joe Nguyen was in a position that will sound familiar to many academics – he’d received some feedback and wanted to make changes to his subject to improve student experience. Some students said they needed revision of basic financial ratios and concepts, while others were ready to apply these concepts to business scenarios. Also, students wanted to change up the assessment.

Joe met with the postgraduate.futures learning design team regularly over several months and attended the Power of Presenting Screen workshop, giving him the tools to make some solid and positive changes.

Videos, experts and collaboration

Together we analysed the existing structure and content and figured out what was working well, what wasn’t and what to do next. We knew we wanted to flip the learning experience in Joe’s class, so we worked together to find and create support resources for students.

Joe engaged students early on with a welcome video, giving them a sense of valuation as the lifeblood of corporate business, and a new approach to learning. Through his industry contacts, Joe set up and interviewed a DeLoittes expert on corporate valuation, providing insight into industry practice. We also filmed a further three financial concept videos with another lecturer in the subject, who brought his years of experience to the fine art of applying financial formulas in business contexts. After all of this, Joe had a wealth of fresh and relevant video material to draw on for his subject.

Improving the student experience

In finding new resources for students, we actually reduced content that wasn’t being utilised, and transformed it into active learning tasks to prepare or review for on-campus group work and discussion. We repurposed class time for group activity, enabling students to work together to apply knowledge of financial ratios and concepts, while practicing skills for their first assessment. Central to the subject rethink was creating an online space. Postgraduate.futures uses Canvas as its LMS (Learning Management System). Students engage in lively discussion, activities, pre-readings, practice quizzes, videos and so on, which have become an important part of the subject.

In the words of Joe: “Even though students are able to access much of the subject content online, there has been a noticeable and welcomed increase in student attendance and class engagement after we implemented Canvas.”

The last step was redesigning and building his subject with a teaching and learning sequence to get the best out of Canvas and online blended learning. The result? A much improved student experience.

Facing a similar dilemma? The postgraduate.futures team are helping academic staff all the time to improve learning design. Get in touch with us to find out more.

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