How Insurance Works

Quality Assurance of Online Learning: Beverley Oliver, Who Studies Externally?


– What I want to talk about today is not what goes wrong in online learning. (audience laughs) Is the invisibility of the learner. So what we would like to
do is talk to four people who are officially enrolled, and we’re not going to tell
you where they’re enrolled. Because we thought we would
not identify any institutions, simply because then we can just relax, and we’re not going be
worried about, oh my God, I hope they’re not one from ours, so they’re not. But they may actually think about it, they may have enrolled
in several institutions, they may not have done
just one course online. What I really wanted to
start by showing you, I would like to show you some pictures of the people under the
data that Lin gave us. So I’m going to start to show
you who these people are, where they actually live in this country which is some of the data, and what they actually say about the quality of
their online experience. And the point I really
want to make in this, and it was very much informed by the telephone
conversation that we’ve had, because we haven’t actually
met before face-to-face, which is a lot like online learning, and we wanted to make the point that you can’t tell who
is an online learner. So as you were just asked, if you have ever enrolled
in a MOOC online, if you’ve ever done any study by distance, then you have some experience of what it’s like to be an external
distance or online student, and they’re not all the same. So the message is you
can’t spot them in a crowd, they’re not who you think they are. So who studies externally, what do they think, where do we meet the standards
and where must we try harder, that’s what we’re gonna ask
our students to tell us today, without fear or favour, drawing on their experience so far. Here’s another way of looking at the data that Lin showed you, this is a picture under the numbers, this is organised vertically by age group across each of those bands, are the -25s, the 25 pluses, the 30 pluses, 40 pluses, 50 pluses, 60 pluses, and you can see
undergraduate and postgrad, now I’ve lumped internal
and multimodal in together on the left-hand side, and then the externals are
on the right hand side, and you can see the domestic column there, you can see the bands, and in fact if I organised that by gender, you would see more women
are studying than men, and that is shown in the data. And what you can see down the other axis, is the fields of education, so you can see where the numbers are, but we do know about the people in the external domestic column, is they’re a bit older, they are studying part-time
generally, not always, and they often have other agendas. So that’s one way of looking at the data, and they’re the percentages of the entire sector. Now that was 2016 data, it’s a little out of date. But the idea is there, but it’s always good I think, to try and use visualisation to make the invisible visible, and here is what I
wanted to show you next, there is that map, and every one of those
blue dots is a person, I’ll make that point really clear, this is your cousin, your uncle, your father, your mother. They’re not 18, they live all over the country, and they all have a life, so these are our external students, this is 2017 data, and by my reckoning, 2% of them identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. 67% of them in 2017 identified as female, 3% were younger than 20 years of age, so don’t always assume by the way that they’re a little older, they may not be. 7%, this gave me great encouragement, were more than 50 years of age, in fact some were even older than that, older than 60. Wow. 13% said they were born outside Australia. 5% said they had a disability, and 2% identified themselves as having a non-English
speaking background. So I go back to my point, they live in every state and territory, and not necessarily yours, so I know those blue dots, I know which ones are
studying with Deakin, and many of them are outside Victoria. Geography is no longer a barrier, it’s been an association, but more and more all of
us are enrolling students a long way from where
our headquarters are, so I keep telling
marketing people at Deakin to stop sending tweets
out on a long weekend, saying have a great weekend, enjoy the lane ways of Melbourne, because guess what, you’re in Darwin, and you know, that is core business, we’ve got to be where our students are, and not assume they’re going to
be where we think they’re. And also, don’t put
things on your website, if you’re a digital business that says we’re open till five o’clock, well whose time zone? There’s three hours difference
between Perth and here. And of course we’re not even talking about people who live somewhere
else in another country. So they don’t necessarily
live in your state, and even if they’re on your campus, they’re not necessarily your student, because what we have
encouraged our students to do, the 15,000 fully online students, is go to any campus, you’re a taxpayer, you can use it on you own, there are many campuses
around this country, there are many libraries, use the broadband, because yours may not be good. So you can’t spot them in a crowd, or I should say you
can’t spot us in a crowd, you can’t spot them in your staff room, I know of at least three
Deakin staff members he was studying with a
competitor university, I’ve written their names down. (audience laugh) No but they are choosing, they are studying, you can’t tell them, and you can’t even tell when they’re enrolled in another institution. So those are some of my messages, but here’s a hunch I have, why do our online or external students attrit more readily, I think it’s sometimes because life, and this predominant age
group has different things. But I also suspect, because I’ve looked
really hard at our data They’re often usually doing one unit, so when things get tough
they drop that unit, and that means they’re not doing anything, they don’t go from three to two units, they go from one to zero, therefore they’re out. What we also suspect is they come back, and they may come back and they may go to a different institution, because the great thing
about online learning, is they just have to change website. When you’re a provider
that’s not real great, but if you’re not meeting expectations, they will go somewhere else. So don’t assume if you’re in Tasmania your students are living in Tasmania, I know you know that, I just thought I’d make it clear. Here’s the QUILT data, the National Student
Experience Survey data, this is rough, any inaccuracies I take the blame for, what I’ve done here, is benchmark, based on data
that I can get hold of, I’ve lumped the same groups together, external, versus internal
or multi modal in one group, the other thing I will say
about internal and multimodal, is they, certainly in
my experience at Deakin, they’re 75% of our enrollments, they act more and more like the online enrolled students every day, so every student has a
digital experience these days. What I did with this though, was compare percentage agreement on the data indicators in the
student experience survey. And if they we’re 5% different, campus-ish versus online-ish, I’m making some big assumptions here, I either coloured them green or orange, just a couple of comments, you can see there’s a lot of green there, I’d like you to look at
the teaching quality one, and before you get too excited about that, have a look at why they were 5% better, course well structured, the external students, and
I keep using that word, said 71% positive, fantastic, it’s even
better than on campus, but gee, that’s a low bar. So I go back to the comment earlier that people say we have to
make online as good as campus, and I go, oh surely we
can do better than that. Because think back to your own experience, it wasn’t all beer and skittles. Some of it was, but not all of it. So some of those are a bit of a low bar, but you can see where we seem to be disappointing our students, complex problem-solving, teamwork, spoken communication, there
are some obvious ones there. Look down at learner engagement, that’s the one. I do want to make a comment about this, I know the scale has been revised, and we’ve got what we’ve got, but sometimes you know if you are one of the typical learners who are external, a sense of belonging to your institution, well that just give you an instance of how we don’t often make people
feel that they belong, because we think everyone
lives in Melbourne. But also discussions, did you work with other students, did you interact with
students out of study, well actually I’ve got no idea, and I really don’t care because I’m busy, and so on. So the answer to the
question is an agreement, it’s not a level of satisfaction, we do conflate things. Did you interact with different students, I don’t even know what
that question means, but there we are. So but this group systematically tells us a less positive story, so something’s going on there. And interacting with a local student, I don’t know what that means, if you are studying online
and you live in Alice Springs, I don’t know what it means to interact with the local student, but there we are, that’s what we have, and the rest of the data is similar. The learning resources, a bit patchy there, a bit much the same, and the student support, this group of students,
the external students, seem to be a lot more positive, I wonder, career advisers available if
you’re already a working adult, maybe that’s a halo effect, maybe you don’t need that
career advice so much. So all I wanted to do with that is to set the scene about
digging under those numbers to find out what’s really going on, and this is where I stop, so here we have our students, Sadie, Simon, Daniel, Ashley. We won’t identify, because
we forgotten already, where anyone ever came from, or where they’ve had their experience, we have a range of disciplines, they’re all unique, just like you and me. So we’re asking them to tell us today, and we want you to interact, we want your questions, we want your comments, let’s have a chance to talk. Where are we doing okay, where
do we have to try harder, and what I’ve listed
their is just a summary of five of the standards, which I thought were
particularly important for the external or online learner. And they are around
participation and attainment, learning environments, teaching, institutional quality assurance and course approvals and so on, but also the last one, I made a point of do we actually deliver what we market to you, let’s get down to it, we offer you something, do we deliver? So moving along now to our students, why don’t we start with Sadie, and simply ask you to
introduce yourselves, give us the elevator pitch introduction about your experience, and then we’ll kick off with more interaction from the audience. – So my name is Sadie Heckenberg, I’m a Wiradjuri woman
from New South Wales, and I’ve recently completed my PhD in indigenous oral history, so my PhD was a really
interesting experience, I did it full-time and part-time, and I actually took my PhD to three different universities
following my supervisor, or three different
institutions, apologies. And what that meant is I had a different experience
in each institution, every couple of years I was
inundated with different forms, different ways of being as a student, different pots of money, because each institution of
course has a different kind of funding allocation
for a graduate student, and I really found this an interesting perspective from my point, because I could actually see
how does the system work, what is actually best
practise and what isn’t, but how to be as an
indigenous student online, and we we’re just looking
at the statistics, and seeing that 2% of online students are indigenous students, which is a little bit higher
than the overall engagement of indigenous students
in higher education, and I think that really fits in with us and our cultural obligations, and our community obligations, so I really found that the
online environment for me, I didn’t live in the same state as the institutions I was enrolled in, and so I found the
online environment for me suited me as an individual, however not necessarily as a student, because I found that I was doing a PhD before compulsory coursework, and so I had no cohort at
all during my enrollment, and so it was a very
individual experience, and I think that that’s something
that I really took with me and I tried to change within my position, was giving students
who are really enrolled in that individual experience a cohort where they can belong. – Thank you so much, and next we have? – Hello my name is Simon Burnett, my history with online study is, I have studied online at
two different institutions, at my current institution
I initially began my course studying part-time on-campus, then when a bulk of
the units in my course were moved to online, I decided to go completely online, and might as well cut out the middleman, and it ended up being very helpful, because it meant I was able to take I work opportunity
interstate and move for work, so a lot of, something that I think gets missed out on a lot of the discourse
around online learning, as it’s not always a decision
that the student makes, because of things going
on in the student’s life, a lot of the time, especially these days, due to cost saving measures, or due to universities desiring, seeing that growing online market, seeing that 22% of current students versus 42% of future students seeking to learn online, moving a lot of their courses online, and therefore a lot of students who are moving to online study are doing so because that’s a decision made by the University and not by them, so you come up with a different sort of dynamic of strengths and weaknesses of online study because of that. I’m not sure what else
I should go into I reckon I might leave it there, and pass it on, and then if there’s any further questions we’ll be doing that for a bit. – Thank you Simon, please. – Hi, my name is Daniel, like Beverley said I hope you have very short memories about where I’m from, I have a very good feeling there are DVCs
from my university here, so my experience– – [Beverley] Fail. – I’ve been to two different
institutions studying online, sorry not studying online, two different institutions, so my first one, I got in
straight from high school, a very elite institution, it was like my dream course studying law, I was also however working
quite a few days per week, I didn’t get a scholarship
or anything like that, I found very soon that at
that particular institution, working a few days a week
would not be possible, I found that none of my lectures were recorded online or submitted online, I would have to go to tutorials, compulsory attendance, I was just a wreck after a few months, I just couldn’t do it, so I transferred to another institution, this is where I was able to study online, all my lectures are online, I don’t have to go to compulsory tutorials or anything like that, and I’ve just found the experience to be pretty much a model of what
online learning should be. I think there’s still
room for improvement, I guess what’s been said
about attrition rates and blended learning being
the most preferred mode, Instead of being purely
online or purely in person, that is absolutely spot on, I think ultimately there are
still really big advantages in being on-campus and going and having that face-to-face experience, and that’s something I’ve really tried to get more of in my experience, and I have actually dropped
down from purely full-time work to a bit more flexible, so I can go on-campus when I need to, but I found that my experience
has been really beneficial, the flexibility, being able to have
those online experiences while also getting as much from the face-to-face as possible has been invaluable, and I’d be happy to
share that as we go on. – Thank you Daniel. Ashley? – Hi ladies and gentlemen
I’m Ashley Piziacus, my story’s a little bit different to the three that came before me, I came to university for the
first time as a 35 year old, the 10 years prior to that
I had spent travelling, I started two tour companies in Spain, and realised I had some
gaps in my knowledge, so I moved back to Australia, decided I wanted to study, and yeah, decided to commence that, it’s been an incredible experience filling those gaps in knowledge, definitely some frustrations
in there as well, but it’s really cool being part
of something that’s growing, and I’m so fascinated with this group of people that’s in the room, I had no idea this was a thing, you are here and working
so hard to try and make sure that people like me are having
an incredible experience, Anthony, thank you very much for asking that question before for me, I was really interested to see who had actually engaged in, I’ll say real online learning, not like you have to do an
e-learning thing for your job for workplace health
and safety type stuff, but done an actual course, and I think if people are
to engage in not more, these people in the room, your perspective on it
might change significantly, I think that would be really, really valuable for everyone in the room. – Fabulous, thank you. I had some themes which are just recap, I’m sure you heard others, I heard about the solitary nature, that was a PhD, and I would actually say most
PhD’s might be quite solitary. The cost, cost shifting and there’s some
idea that online is cheap, I know that my university would say, this is a very expensive thing to do, it’s not cheap at all, and it costs a great deal of money to keep the whole thing running
and service it properly, along with the standards that Michael shared with us this morning. Online is a deficit, when universities do
go from a campus offer to oh no, I have to do this online, there is this thing in our heads where this is somehow not as good, the flexibility it offers, which is a great positive for lifestyle, being able to work and so on, and the idea also that
this is an experience, and it’s an experience
that can be enthralling. Also, just picking up
on Ashley’s last point, but we can’t assume our students come to us with no knowledge, having started a couple
of companies or two, that’s pretty amazing, fantastic, excellent. Now I know you all have
a lot of questions, but I suggest we rip the Band-Aid off and asked our students to tell us where do we need to try
harder around teaching, assessment, feedback, anything. We might as well hear these things, and others in the room
will have experience, and we had a bit of practise on the phone, so in the nicest possible way, if you could give us constructive feedback about how we could do better. Any order you like. – Me? – Alright, Sadie. – So I’ve just come from the
Techs are for Students Forum that’s occurring across town, and one of the things that really resonated with the students is how do we grow alone, how do we incorporate the student voice within the creation of curriculum, and I find that that’s actually really essential for
an online environment, so I run an indigenous enabling programme, and my students are online students, and the reason why I
feel it’s becoming more and more successful is
because I’m an online student, and so I know where they’re at, and I think that question of, are you currently doing online study, or is there a course
or a route that you can take that will allow you to
experience that environment, to really wade in that
pool of what it’s like to not have any physical contact with your colleagues
or with your teachers, to actually have an online environment that is just as interactive
as any classroom, and I think it’s really important to communicate with our students, not only the students that are enrolled, but the students that have
just left that programme, to how we can constantly improve. And I feel, I feel that one of the
main things too as well, is that I think we’re a bit stagnant, so a lot of the courses
that we’re in as online students, are courses that we’re written
for a cohort five years ago, and I think that we change a lot as a cohort we’re getting, we’re almost teaching students who grew up with a smart phone, and so we really need to
work within the environment, and within a cohort of students that are currently in the classroom, and I think that’s a really
important thing to remember. – Thank you. – Yeah, I think some of what you touched on with regards to the stagnancy of it, kind of goes to what I
was hoping to talk about, which is the accountability of it, on the both sides of the
University connection, on both the Institute and the learner side of the connection, that online, not all the time, in fact only some of the time, but in instances where
it’s been implemented, whether it be poorly, or cheaply, or just without
a whole lot of research or knowledge into what
makes good online learning, it can be quite a lacklustre system, which will tend to lead to a
lot of those attrition rates, one of those things you mentioned in response to universities they be going online to save money, and pointing out that
a lot of universities such as your own pour
a lot of money into it. Is firstly that pouring
money doesn’t actually mean you’re gonna get the best results, depending on where that
money is being spent, But also the fact that
a lot of universities have now had online learning
systems for decades, it’s 2018 at this point, the Internet is 30 odd years old, I’m probably a little bit off on that, but online learning systems at universities are not a new thing, and when you take quite a new, our quite a recently developed course, and then try to fit that
into the old online system, and just try and find
and replace everything in the course outline, and fit it into more online related terms, you’re gonna get a bit of
a lacklustre experience as far as the students are concerned, and often as far as the lecturers
and tutors are concerned, so I think that accountability, that listening to student
voices, to staff voices, is something that needs to be taken up by a number of institutions if they want the online learning to be something that is taken seriously, and is appreciated by the people doing it. – Point taken, thank you. – I have an observation, more
than an area for improvement. It seems like in institutions, and this includes primary
and secondary schools, you’ve got people that
are incredibly passionate, like Beverley here, and are working phenomenally hard to produce great results and
to get people through the door, or whatever we come
through as online students, and to give us an incredible experience. And there’s those people that have been in the
organisation for 614 years, they like the way they
did it 614 years ago, And they don’t want to do
the way you do it in 2018, and I feel so incredibly
frustrated for Beverley, and I’m guessing everyone in this room, those people in your
organisations that drag it back, that have a student like me going, it’s 2018, not 614 years ago, what, how, when, who, what. So that’s a stumbling block, that’s an obstacle for everyone
in this room I’m certain, I don’t have a solution for it, but it’s when whatever your
institution is overcomes that, things are gonna improve
at an incredible rate, and learning outcomes will be excellent. – Thank you. – Yeah I think in agreement with that, what Simon was saying
about accountability, just in my experiences, especially the first
institution I went to, and overcoming that feeling like it’s just so difficult
to actually be heard as a student who isn’t on
campus every single day, or isn’t there at all in some cases. With the institution I’m at now as well, just in terms of getting the same level of interaction as off-line students as Sadie was saying, I find a specific
example is response times for getting answers on discussion boards and emails and things like that, when we’ve seen the
stats that were cited by, I think it was a speaker
from the ICMS before, where blended learning is
the one that is growing and is the most valued, students clearly value
having the opportunity to be treated like an on-campus student, and so when you put a question
up on a discussion board or through an email, and you’re waiting several days, up to a week to get a response back, whereas your on-campus
colleagues or friends, are getting a response back the same day, it can just feel like you’re
not valued in the same way, and when you’re an online student, and are more often than not juggling other full time commitments, full-time work, family, things like that, and you’ve got an exam or
an assessment coming up, having to wait that long can
be a very stressful experience, I think that must be some part of the way towards the
attrition rates as well, with there being such a discrepancy between online students and blended and on-campus, and I think the
accountability goes both ways, it’s up to us as online students to seek that out as well, but I think that
definitely are improvements are gonna be made with making sure there are improved response times, improved responsiveness
from staff and academics. Like Ashley said, I don’t have
a response to that either, how we can fix it, I think it’s a very, very complex issue, but it probably goes a long way towards resourcing and things like that. But I think as an online student, it would help a lot to feel more valued and feel like I’m getting
value for my money, and for my time, if I got quicker responses and more opportunities to communicate really one-on-one with
academics and staff. – So I’d like to follow up
with a question to all of us. In 2018 do you know of any platform, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, that has a discussion board where you go, where fun goes to die basically. So I’d like to respond to the LMS comment, it has been the bane of
my life quite frankly, I know new platforms are
coming out all the time, new vendors and so on, but I find them very
much yesterday’s idea, with a few bells and
whistles here and there. So I would like to
acknowledge your comment, but I think there are two major blockages to us enabling people to learn The way they live, the way we live, we live on our phones, we interact, it’s prompt and so on, and it’s not all like
buying a book on Amazon, I understand, the two blockers for me are the systems that we
either have or change to, they are very expensive to change to, but that’s a different story, lots of things are expensive. But are they fit for purpose? Or, is the LMS of today
and maybe tomorrow, still designed to film the play, you know what I mean by film the play, it’s just like here’s your captured lecture and there you go, and here’s your discussion board. There must be better that we can do, I know some of the big global platform, Coursera, Edex, Future Learn, are trying to break
that mould, and others, and I just hope some of the
newer LMS’s that are coming out are starting to break that mould as well. The second one is the mindset
of the teaching staff, I’d also say the mindset of
the service support staff, because our experience,
whether we like it or not, is grounded in that. Most people who are teaching online didn’t learn that way themselves, so it’s not native for most people. Most people who are
providing support services to online or external students, probably did not learn
that way themselves either, and it may be easy for me to say, don’t put up a picture of the
Melbourne Lane ways please, but you have to be able to see yourself from your students viewpoint. So acknowledged, it’s difficult to be
heard, I also heard that, and we really do want a
prompt response, yeah? And I do hear that from
campus students as well, but of course we can never be fast enough these days as well, to be fair, and our teaching staff
and our support staff, also do get to go home
occasionally and have a life, so in the 24/7 digital economy, we need to know how to figure that out, without killing people as well, because we’re not going to do that. Are there any questions or
comments from the floor? – Hi, I’m Jess Roberts, I’m at Marcus Oldham
College at the moment, but I have experience in a
few different universities, as a student and as a balanced
or unbalanced lecturer, however you like to see that, and also now in a
predominantly teaching spot. I think a lot of the comments that you guys have made are very fair, and just as a response from someone who has been on the
other side of the fence, we make those comments as well, and I think that maybe one of the areas that could be strengthened
is educator support, there’s a load of emphasis in
our universities on marketing, and getting students in, and then when the students are in helping them learn skills like writing, referencing, things like that, but there’s not always a lot of time and space for lecturers to
probably do a development and have the time to respond adequately, so just from the other side of the fence, I don’t think that this is you guys relying on your perceptions, as a fairly young lecturer, I’ve had a lot of issues
with finding enough space to give the students what
I think they deserve. – Fair point, yes please. – I totally agree, I’ve seen it from the lecturer,
professors standpoints, and you’ll have an absurd
number of students, and it will be leading
up to assignment time, and you’ll have 412 people
send you emails saying that my dog died yesterday,
I can’t submit it, and it’s not physically possible for you to respond to all of this, and this isn’t your fault, and it’s not my fault because my dog died, the institution needs to step up and go, alright, we need to give
you the support you need to be able to service these clients, that’s absolutely fair, and
yeah I acknowledge that, yeah. – Also I was quite worried
that what I was saying would come off as antagonistic, it’s absolutely not how I meant it, yes there are absolutely some teachers who don’t take online learning seriously, but there are absolutely
even more students who don’t take online learning seriously, I have also delivered a course online, and also have the similar
sort of nightmares, where a student has left
everything to the last minute, and if I’m gonna be completely honest, I’ve been that student once, it might have been
because I got hit by a car and it was after the date, but I think a lot of
universities see, we had that picture up on the slide before of the absurdly overcrowded
lecture theatre, and I think that again, there’s some universities, not all, but some universities will see, a quick fix to that, ridiculous number of
students in a physical space, is we can put this ridiculous number of students in an online space where they’ve got more room to breathe, and suddenly the lecturer
has far less room to breathe, that’s what I was trying to
get with the accountability is on a lot of perspectives, you can’t just put the
blame on the lecturers, or what do students find ourselves doing, or vice versa, it’s got to be at an institutional level. – Something that I’ve observed, well experienced through
my online learning, and I imagine that it’s the same for all of the institutions here, if you’re proactive there’s a phenomenal amount of support out there, but the challenge is you
need to be proactive, I refer to myself as a grown-up, I’m a grown-up at university, and there are 18-year-olds
doing the same course as me, and often very confused and very lost, and I’m online, and there’s
no one to hold my hand, and there’s no one to look in the eye and talk to and tell me it will be okay, and that’s really, really hard for them, whereas me, being a grown-up, I go, I don’t think that’s good enough, I’m gonna go find an answer or find someone that can help me, or find what I’m doing wrong to be able to rectify the situation. – Following on the theme
that you’ve been sharing, what’s one thing we could
do differently in 2019 that would make your
life easier as a student and help you succeed? – Every person in your institution enrol in one of your online subjects, every single person, and I’m gonna includes the cleaner, I’m gonna include your admin staff, every single person so they can relate to what the students are experiencing, because if you’ve never done it, you’ve delivered it, your perspective as a
teacher or as admin staff, you are so disconnected from what the reality is for this person, and for me, running a business, working part-time, one year old daughter, studying full-time, things are full, and having to call up multiple times to check something about a subject, or waiting four days to
get a response to an email in 2018 isn’t good enough. And when I say that on the phone, or when I say that to whoever it may be, I’m sure there’s a roll of the
eyes going boo-hoo whatever, whereas when you actually
live it yourself, you kind of go, oh wait,
we can do that better, we can change that process
to make it more efficient, so that would be my
biggest number one thing. – Great response, any others? – May I? I also think that it’s
embracing the technology, and I know we we’re
talking about technology, we’re talking about platforms, but I think there are lots
of different new techniques that can be put into online platforms that we don’t necessarily use, and I think all staff training as well, because I think our staff are
given very little resources to be able to go to a conference, or do some upskilling, and they’re giving up their research time, or their time for their job, the money that could go to that, they would have to give up for training, to be able to improve
their online performance, and I think that institutions
should really prioritise that, I think it should be something that is a core part of somebody’s job so that they understand what
it’s like to run these systems. I think that that’s really important, and I think that needs to come out, I know we’re all about finance, but I think that needs to come out of a different bucket of money, I think that needs to come out of, this is our core business, this is where our students are, so we need to make sure that all of our staff are up
to date within this realm. – Yeah, not to redirect too much of what the other guys have said, but I think it’s spot on, just development for the academics, especially like sessional staff, I think that was another
thing that was cited before in what needs to improve, development for sessional
and casual stuff, as being someone who, I sit on the student
union in my university as an online student representative, I think one of the most common things, like from talking to lecturers and tutors, and a lot of them are my age and really young and just starting out, there is this feeling like, you’re pushed to do all
the corporate things, and the research and stuff like that, but you also have to deal with, as was said before, hundreds of emails and
hundreds of messages, I think it must be such an
overwhelming experience, and I think that was a wonderful idea, saying that it would
be great to make staff and academics enrol in those units, because I think seeing
that from the inside, and experiencing that, like the night before an assessment, that cold sweat, were it’s like I’m just not
gonna get an answer in time, I’m just gonna take the plunge, yeah, I think that would
really, really help, to kind of level the divide
between students and staff, especially in terms of online learning. – Hi, Elizabeth Mordeen with
the AIM Business School, I want to say that I did
my Master of Commercial Law online through Deakin and
it was a fantastic experience, so thank you Deakin. – [Beverley] The cheque’s in the mail. – Thank you, But I’m also fortunate to
be on the review panel, for the AQF, and we are looking at micro-credentials, I wanted to ask these fabulous people, what they thought of micro-credentials, and would that be something
that you would find useful? – I think it’s awesome. Jumping into a three-year degree, I’ve got a one year old daughter, and I was speaking with
people at my table before, wondering what her future of
learning is going to look like, and I am just trying to decide what am I going to do at
the completion of my degree, and I want to do further study, but I also don’t know
how valuable an MBA is, I don’t know how valuable
these other things will be, that is me signing on for a year and a half or whatever duration of time, so me wanting to focus on specific skills, and go I have this expertise, and then finally, maybe
that does turn into an MBA, where I can put together
these micro-credentials, to actually form something
that’s recognised, I think it’s excellent, and I think for the coming generations, where everyone’s attention
span lasts about four seconds, it’s going to be more and more important to be able to give everyone
their attendance award, a clap, a graduation
after every second week, so you achieve something, that might be a bit patronising, but actually it’s kind of true, people need to be ticking
off their achievements, at a different interval now
than what it used to be, and part of my experience
as a mature age student at uni, often it feels antiquated, the way things are run, the way it all goes, it definitely feels like I’m attending, taking the online side of
things, that’s very modern, it seems like something that
was developed 50 years ago, and would have been great then, but there’s an enormous area for development and improvement. – Very quickly,
micro-credentials on the AQF it’s like enabling on the AQF, it’s a little bit scary from my end, but I think it’s really important, because I think that we need to take micro-credentialing seriously, I think that it’ll allow us not to need to give so much recognition
for prior learning, because I think we’re going down a little bit of a slippery slope, we have students that are
doing a Masters that have only got four or eight courses
of an undergraduate degree, just to try to pump them through, to enable them to get those credentials, and so I think that if we
have the micro-credentialing, we’re working more within
that online environment, we’re working more with
what the student needs, instead of what they
need for their position in the outside world, not necessarily needing
to be at the University for three or 10 years. – Yeah just really quickly, I completely agree, I think micro-credentialing
is an awesome opportunity. I’ll just give one brief example, I have a friend who goes to
the same institution as me, she is on her third degree at the moment, the previous two uncompleted, she’s only my age, we’re in an age, and she’s not a flake or anything, she’s not out of her mind, you get to this point
where you’re so indecisive about whether the degree that you’re doing is actually going to steer
you in the right direction, that you shouldn’t have to enrol in a completely new
degree halfway through, I think having the opportunity
to do micro-credentialing, means you don’t have to
completely overhaul your course, it just gives you that flexibility, and I think the institution that I’m at has been very good at that, but there’s always room for improvement. – [Elise] Hi Elise Mason,
TEL education specialist from the University of Wollongong, I just wanted to ask
if you might elaborate a little bit more with
some specific examples, perhaps one of your experience that hasn’t necessarily been so great, I know there’s been talk
about courses perhaps that were designed maybe five years ago, or even worse 614, could you share some experiences of what those actual experiences were, and perhaps then maybe something that you’ve experienced that was hitting your expectation more, like a more specific example? – When you’re an online
student it’s very anonymous, and my name is Ashley, which is often a girls name. So I’ve experienced with unit
chairs or whoever it may be, where there’s an assumption
that I’m firstly a woman, and secondly I’m 19, and the way that they’ve engaged with me is just blown my mind, blown my mind, patronising, sorry Beverley. I couldn’t imagine it happening if they were looking at my face, but it just blew me away, I’m an expert in particular things, and you’re an expert in
that thing I’m learning, but when you’re an online student, it’s also anonymous, and we need to make sure. – Okay, point taken, thank you. – To give a specific example, the online learning system that the Institute at
which I used to study used and according to people who I spoke to in preparation for this, still uses, was introduced at the end of 2007, it’s only had cosmetic changes since then. Now to put that in Internet years, at that time MySpace was bigger
than Facebook in Australia, which some people might not even remember. If this is the case, and if for example, a student who graduated from the Masters that I’m doing five years ago, who I spoke to about a particular issue with the online system, they said oh, everybody in my cohort
complained about that too, and we all included it in our surveys that the University sent around
at the end of the semester, and I’m 100% certain that
everybody in my cohort is going to be saying the
same thing in those surveys, if the University isn’t
listening to students, or to lecturers, or to
whoever else involved, when there are complaints about
the online learning system, then why would we be
expected to engage with it? – I suppose more of the negative side, is something I actually
wanted to bring up anyway, and that is, I know we mentioned them, but that is the almost invisible student of the staff member that is a student. They don’t, and I found
this myself as well, you can’t walk through the
halls of an institution without being the staff member, you don’t really get an
opportunity to be a student, you are a student online, but also particularly for support staff, and I think this is something we really need to take into
consideration as a sector, our support staff, like my indigenous support
staff support themselves, the only people they can
go to are themselves, or their colleagues, and you don’t necessarily want the person in the room next door to you knowing your private business even if
you’re friendly in the office, and I think that that’s something we really need to take into consideration, is that though a lot of the staff, particularly the support staff don’t have a lot of support on campus, if they go in or ring up, because they’re actually
contacting their colleagues, and that’s what I found
a little bit difficult. One of the things that
I found really fantastic is I am a fellowship junkie, I love a good fellowship, and when I went on my Fulbright it didn’t affect my study at all, because I was an online student, I didn’t need to put in any extra forms, the institution knew about it of course, but it allows the freedom to be able to explore your
reality outside of campus, and I think that’s a
really important thing for us as students in this day and age. – I’ve been broadly
very satisfied I think, as I’ve said with my experience, but I would say as having
experienced I guess all three, completely on-campus study, completely off-campus for a bit, and then trying to get as much
blended learning as possible, and as we have seen that is where the highest level
of satisfaction is, a combination of the two, I would say there could be more work done to really break down that barrier between blended learning and fully online, even though we might say there’s no barrier between
the two these days, everyone’s a blended
online learning student or something like that, I think, like an example was, because I was working full-time, and I was completely online, and I really did want to start
going to class when I could, whenever I had a day off
or something like that, I had to jump through
about 10 different hoops, I had to call 20 different staff members to find out where my class was being held, just because I was an online student, I was told no you are an online student, I won’t use the term that’s
used at this university, but you are an online student, you do not have the right to attend a physical class for this unit, which just made no sense to me. (Ashley mumbles off microphone) I was later told that this was not the advice that I should have been given, it was just a particular member of faculty who felt this way, I’m not sure why, we pay the exact same money, to get the same service, and I have found it improved just in the past 12 months, two years, but I still think in terms of really bridging that
gap between the two, because ultimately students are happiest when they have that flexibility of being able to have a consultation with a lecturer or a tutor, if they are in the area, if you’re in Melbourne, and your University is in Melbourne, yes you’re an online student, but what’s to stop you from going in? – I think we’re gonna wrap
up now if you don’t mind, before I thank the students, I’d like to make some closing comments, and just themes that have come out. You might have seen on your table, I handed out a little
bookmark this morning, we haven’t made this mandatory at Deakin, but we have a little free open course on future learn on
transforming digital learning, how to do this better, we designed it so our
own staff can be educated and and re-educated about what it means, it’s open now, you can join, or it’s gonna open again in January, and there are many hundreds
of people around the world and they’re practitioners, so you’re most welcome to join that. I’ll finish by saying, great education is never easy,
so don’t feel disheartened, that’s my experience of being
an educator for many years, no matter how hard you try, you always disappoint someone,
and you can always improve, but I think we’re giving it a red hot go. I’ll also say that in
post-bachelor education, and bachelor education, we are working with students as partners, and that is about taking
a joint responsibility for a great educational experience. Nevertheless colleagues, I think the digital economy is upon us, and we’re now at a tipping point I think, with a return to learn to earn, populists will be coming
back to do shorter, probably online, probably
very skills based, but highly warranted courses, and I don’t think this
is going to be an option, I do think this will be the new normal, and we need to keep working hard to get it right for everybody, staff, students, the wider community. So on your behalf may I thank, Sadie, Simon, Daniel and Ashley, thank you. (audience applauds)


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