The built campus of UTS is an anchor. It is a symbolic home and a touchstone of authenticity even for students and staff who may never visit it. But the ‘campus’ is also now made up of people, technologies, spaces, texts, data sets, and networks merging with each other in a way that makes the university itself far more expansive.
This ‘expansive campus’ is a blended experience regardless of whether a subject is labelled City Campus or Distance. So when we privilege the on-campus experience and the face-to-face encounter, we may imply that everything else that makes up the expansive campus is second-rate.
Read on to find out how this is anything but the case.
Underlying values of contact
When we look at what students and teachers value from their relationships at UTS, it’s the underlying values of accessibility, approachability, flexibility, and sensitivity to their personal and individual needs that make a difference.
What is important is not how these values are enacted but that they are enacted. Whether we’re online, blended, on-campus or hybrid, it’s the meaningful relationships we all appreciate. If you want to read more about how these values were being enacted at UTS last year, take a peek at Live at the Forum: learning and teaching faces the future.
Open Educational Resources
When it comes to practical approaches and design ideas that we can easily implement for blended learning, we have no shortage of resources for exploring the expansive campus. Inspiration on how to make the most of digital technology for teaching can be found from the Adaptable resources for teaching with technology in the LX site resource collections. These resources are free for anyone to retain, revise, remix, reuse and redistribute because they are OERs.
Presence – mixed mode and online
Being there regardless of the mode of delivery helps students to feel connected and a part of this new learning environment.
Teacher Presence is achieved in many different ways. In Prioritising presence: equity and experience in mixed-mode learning, we explored the challenge of how on-campus and remote learning can be united.
Mandarins, masks and mirth: mixed-mode teaching and U:PASS training demonstrates how rich mixed mode experiences can achieve an active, collaborative and COVID safe learning environment.
In Designing for online teacher presence, Shaun Bell discusses practices that the Postgraduate Learning Design team promote to create an exceptional online teacher presence. Many of these practices can be applied just as fruitfully in a blended teaching mode.
Leveraging the digital experience
Self-efficacy and distributed practice underpin changes to practice in the blended space that yield great results for students. Read Richard Ingold’s Pedagogy put into practice: improve student outcomes with Canvas quizzes to find out how this can be done.
Likewise, in Creative Practices and Methods: extending online learning beyond the screen Rory Green takes us through how personalized learning pathways, on-the-go learning, and a community of practice techniques offer learning experiences that transcend the digital.
Canvas can be an anchor
There are complex ways in which both distance students and increasingly mobile on-campus students define the space of UTS.
Educators are aware of this and in 8 quick tips to make the Canvas experience easier for students, Beaute Muller highlights some effective ways of making Canvas more of a home base for study.
We’ve also begun to utilise Canvas as a home base from which to better support students and Mais Fatayer gave us 4 reasons to consider Canvas New Analytics. This allows us to better tailor student feedback messages, improve subject design and encourage social presence. Amara Atif also wrote Analyse this: improving student engagement with New Analytics in Canvas to demonstrate how students are responding to her activity-based conditional messaging.
Audiovisual media that’s more than a lecture
Sometimes online is in fact the privileged mode.
Kevin Millingham takes us through Simulation-based, online learning for speech pathology students where students are immersed in a rich audiovisual simulation and exposed to a breadth of clinical areas that they may not encounter as a student in traditional clinical placements.
In On location with the PGLD Media Team, Peter Richardson further explores the potential of rich interactive audiovisual content. He found it’s possible to expose students to places and environments that would be hard for large groups to access.
Matthew Vella’s UTS video meet-up showcases incredible teaching work across UTS and in the last event he showed us how using scenario-based videos and the Canvas rich content editor is enriching students’ online experience.
Curriculum to workforce
Finally, the expansive campus takes us into the step beyond learning and teaching. Through On TRACK: employability in an age of workforce transition, Kristi Kitto shows us how UTS is making the connection between study and employment for students, course designers, researchers and enterprise learners. TRACK supports the expansive campus by building digital partners for learning, personalised experiences and establishing lifelong learning.
To ensure a rich learning and teaching experience, regardless of location, we should abandon the deficit model that tends to focus on what is lost.
Speaking of online education, Shirley Alexander and David Boud assert:
Students… have to have ways of expressing their understanding if they are to be confident that they have learnt and they need to feel that what they are doing is worthwhileAlexander and Boud, 2001
This holds true for the expansive campus: online, blended, mixed mode and face to face. It opens up possibilities to focus on the relationships and underlying values that bring out the best of learning and teaching.
Alexander, S and Boud, D (2001) “Learners still learn from experience when online” from John Stephenson (ed), Teaching & learning online : new pedagogies for new technologies pp.3-15, London: Kogan Page
Bayne S, Evans P, Ewins R, Knox J, Lamb J, Macleod H, et al. The Manifesto for Teaching Online. Cambridge: MIT Press; 2020.
Image by Derek Bogart