As the year draws to a close for UTS with the conclusion of Spring session, the LX Transformation process is still in full swing. Postgraduate course teams have been brought together to plan, map and find opportunities to improve the student experience across their course through the Whole of Course Engagement process. For those waiting for the Undergraduate transformation, this process can seem daunting, so we sat down with academics to provide a quick snapshot into their Whole of Course process and see what advice they have for Course Teams in 2020.
Recently I spoke with Gabriela Quintana Vigiola, Lecturer in Planning at the School of Built Environment. Gabriela is also the Course Director for a small team of eight academics, three of whom are permanent full-time academics.
Many course teams may never have sat down together in one room, but due to the size, structure and reaccreditation demands of the course, Gabriela’s team has already come together throughout the academic year to ensure that their course meets the requirements of both the students and the University. This unique organisation of the course impacts the transformation experience, and while the initial Course team meet-ups were helpful to sit down together, Gabriela’s team found greater value in the hands-on workshops. These workshops helped them to begin the process of visually mapping courses as they started to plan their subject sites within Canvas.
Q. Did any priorities surface for you and your course team during these meetups?
A common and consistent use of the discussion board for every assignment.
Using a discussion board where students post questions and engage with each other for answers relieves pressure on academics to answer student queries, which may at times be duplicated for assignments. Utilising a discussion board in each subject helps to provide consistency, avoid confusion and encourage a collaborative culture among students.
Q. Do you have any advice for course teams that are about to enter into the Whole of Course Process?
“Understand your timeline” Gabriela says, with a quick glance at the comprehensive calendar behind her. Balancing the LX Transformation and session requirements is always challenging at first. To get on top of this, Gabriela scheduled the first few workshops prior to the end of the Spring session, helping to bring the course team together and stay engaged.
Taking the time to keep in touch with your course team is essential, whether it be checking in on their progress in a group or in one-on-one meetings to understand if they need more support.
“Considering the massive change, it’s a learning process for everyone.”
Gabriela’s team faces a unique challenge – many subjects in the course do not conform to the modular design of Canvas, as they focus on in-person research seminars, particularly within Gabriela’s subject. As part of the tailored support provided by the LXT team, new templates for unique subjects such as these are in the works to make sure that all subjects are equally supported throughout the process.
With hands-on learning and workshops as the most beneficial support for Gabriela and her team, she found the team at the LX.lab really helpful, especially as this allowed her to redirect causal academics for extra training and workshops throughout the session and plans to continue using their support.
And her advice for other course teams?
“Be open to it”
What comes next?
For Gabriela and her team the end of session is drawing close which means piles of marking. After this, they plan to build on the basic subject sites they have in Canvas, drawing on new templates and the help of the LX.lab.
Gabriela is looking forward to the development of Subject sites in Canvas, with the hope that the integration of systems and the streamlining of tools will make the online component of UTS better for both academics and students alike.
Looking for more?
If you’re looking to know more about the LX Transformation, don’t hesitate to get involved. There are ongoing workshops and events at the LX.Lab as well as more information available at lx.transformation.uts.edu.au
If you have any questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feature image by Josh Felise.