Since 2017, the PVC(E) multidisciplinary course design teams have uplifted over 180 courses across UNSW. Examples of these digital learning tools and educational technologies in the context of faculty-specific courses are illustrated below.
ACTL2131 - Probability and Mathematical Statistics is a second-year Actuarial Studies course with a pronounced quantitative element. It covers probability and statistics topics relevant to Actuarial Studies. To address poor understanding of concepts among the student body, the Digital Uplift team augmented the face-to-face lectures with a large number of short Lightboard videos summarising key concepts from the course. Each Lightboard video was carefully targeted at several important concepts and provided a point of reference for the students throughout the course. Selecting Lightboard as a digital tool allowed the team to provide worked solutions that research has shown to be particularly useful for beginning and intermediate learners.
The PVC(E) Engineering team’s educational developers worked with Dr Kurt Douglas on the Digital Uplift of CVEN3203 - Applied Geotechnics and Engineering Geology. The enrolment numbers had grown from 100 to 500 students and the course required a range of digital resources and activities to support the learning experience. The convenor was particularly concerned with improving the field mapping excursions so that students could learn how to collect the engineering properties of geological samples in the field. For 100 students, this was not an issue. But for a class size of 500, this would have required multiple guided field trips. So, PVC(E) provided Dr Douglas with technical and financial support to develop a range of digital course assets, including:
- Instructional videos recorded at geological features along Sydney’s coastline to support students during their own self-guided excursions.
- 360° virtual trip to coastal geological features to prepare students for their self-guided excursions.
- 3D digitised rock collection.
- Moodle lessons to introduce workshop topics with interactive GeoGebra simulations and formative assessments.
- Animations of fundamental geological concepts.
- Redesigned Moodle site to improve the user experience.
- Redrafting of figures.
- Course introduction video.
Find out more about the process of uplifting CVEN3203 here in our Digital Uplift Teacher Feature. Also, find out more about other uplifted Engineering course and their DU processes (SOLA4012 and GSOE9340) here and here.
The Introductory Korean courses (Introductory Korean A & B) received financial, technological and educational supports to carry out a one-year digital uplift project from August 2017 to August 2018, through the strategic support of the Inspired Learning Initiative (ILI) program of the Office of Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education). ILI team adopted RASE model (Resource, Activity, Support and Evaluation) (Churchill, King, & Fox, 2013) at course level and Wenger’s meaningfulness to connect course level experience with programme learning outcomes. We had five major developments to facilitate the participative ideas that we set for UNSW Korean education.:
- Pre-recorded lectures with Wirecast live streaming technology and lightboard filming
- PronounceMate, a peer-review, auto-correction pronunciation software
- 3600 virtual reality on Insa-dong Gil and Gwanghwamun areas of Seoul
- Moodle-based online Koran language activities and cartoon animations for grammar review
- In-class cultural conversation activity with functional Korean speakers
BABS2204: Genetics serves as a required second-year core course for several biological science majors, and an elective course for students enrolled in Medical Science. As the course is offered to both first- and second-year Science students, creating resources that accommodate for the varied levels of student understanding is difficult. The course convenor, Dr Paul Waters, also identified that students struggled to understand core calculations and key concepts required to successfully complete BABS2204.
The PVC(E) Science team’s educational developers worked closely with Dr Waters on the Digital Uplift of BABS2204: Genetics between March and July 2018. Throughout the process, the PVC(E) team supported Dr Waters to develop a variety of digital course assets to enhance student outcomes and experience, including:
- Weekly pre-laboratory lessons with interactive questions and adaptive feedback.
- Topic consolidation lessons to holistically support the students’ understanding of major concepts throughout the course.
- STACK questions to provide students with the opportunity to practise difficult question types.
- 3D animations to complement complex material explored in a laboratory.
- Practical explainer videos.
- A redesigned Moodle site to improve the student experience.
- Instructional videos on how to use the different online resources.
- A course introduction video.
UNSW Built Environment is creating a design culture of building and learning through making. Fabrication Fundamentals is a pre-requisite course for all students in the Faculty that gives access to machinery and facilities in the Built Environment Design Futures Lab. The workshop environment can be intimidating for new students. The digitally uplifted course supports students to build confidence in woodworking skills and the safe operation of equipment, and the online resources can be accessed as needed throughout students’ program of study. In addition, the online resources and exam have reduced the induction time for lab staff from three to two hours.
As such, the PVCE Digital Uplift team worked with Design Futures Lab staff to create a series of accessible safety and skills videos for each of the machines and tools in the Fabrication Fundamentals course. These are embedded within an uplifted, mobile-accessible quiz that serves as the online induction exam. The quiz and associated resources introduce students to the workshop space before they attend the face-to-face practical session.
The online resources include a virtual tour of the workshop space. The 360° immersive environment, created by the PVCE Immersive Technologies team, contains labels and embedded videos to guide students through the fabrication area and familiarise them with the space and equipment. Videos are captioned in both English and Chinese.
First-year courses are fundamental in shaping students’ experiences at the university. MFAC1501 Foundations is the first course for the BMed/MD program at UNSW. The convenors’ key challenge in running this course is that students come from various educational backgrounds and find it challenging to adapt to the mode of learning in university.
The PVC(E) Medicine team’s educational developers worked closely with Dr Adrienne Torda, Dr Anne Galea and Dr Peter Harris on the Digital Uplift of MFAC1501 Foundations. This course received significant enhancements this year through Digital Uplift, where it led to the production of some innovative and inspiring course assets and the realisation of the aspirations and visions of the convenors.
Some 44 course assets were delivered. The major deliverables include:
- A series of Biology Bridging modules
- A series of lightboard video for the threshold concepts in biology.
- A 3D immersive virtual box of bones
- ‘New to Medicine’ scenario video to help transition new students into medicine program
- Clinical case scenario video
- Animations illustrating professionalism and ethics in medicine and medical education
- Welcome video
Since the commencement of Digital Uplift in 2017, we have produced over 220 videos for UNSW Art & Design. These videos have aimed to:
- Enhance knowledge
- Skills and critical thinking
- Immerse and engage students in different art and design processes
- Inspire students through showcasing the practices of artists and designers
- Challenge existing practices and prepare students for their future careers.
Videos fall across a spectrum that varies from the more instructive to the more immersive and experiential:
On the instructional side, we have short and sharp, process-driven videos consisting of prescriptive and systematic depictions of artistic techniques or processes. Moving across the spectrum, we have more immersive videos that holistically introduce students to the experiences and inner worlds of the artists they feature. At the far end of the spectrum are abstract, creative pieces that prompt students to reflect on our world in particular ways, inviting discussion and critique.
Examples spanning this spectrum can be seen in the accompanying video.
This resource was designed to address the need for supports that facilitate more respectful in class discussion, in the course ATSI1011: Indigenous Australia.
The course convener we partnered with to develop this material (Benjamin Kelly) explained that the course cohort is typically made up of a mix of international students, exchange/study abroad students, and domestic students – with many identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The convener reported that students in the class are passionate about the subject area but that the different understandings of race and culture often made these discussions tense and difficult, and the convener had to devote significant time to dealing with interpersonal issues.
This Smart Sparrow provides students with a way to learn about the tactful and respectful use of language in Indigenous studies, facilitated in a way that allows students to safely make mistakes without fear of ‘getting in trouble’. The Smart Sparrow transformed a previously static document into an interactive experience. This involved chunking the original document into smaller sections, storyboarding, question design, and review and consultation with Nura Gili staff. The Smart Sparrow has generated a lot of interest and is currently being used in 2 Nura Gili courses, 2 courses in FASS, and within online courses as part of the Bachelor of International Public Health. The Library have also expressed interest in the module.
The convener we worked with has reported that he can already see improvements in the way students are talking to each other, and talking about issues of race and racial politics, and this has enabled the class to engage in more sophisticated in class discussions.
Contact us at DigitalUplift@unsw.edu.au