Enhancing the student experience: Towards a typology of student engagement and partnership in online vs offline delivery

Jana Bowden (FBE)

Phase 1 of this study develops an expanded image of student engagement and how it manifests in face-to-face, livestream and external modes of delivery. Following an extensive qualitative research phase consisting of eight student focus groups as well as staff interviews, a new, multidimensional model of student engagement is proposed.

Engagement was found to be complex in nature, and comprised of four holistic dimensions, namely;

  • affective (emotional) engagement
  • social engagement
  • cognitive engagement and
  • behavioural engagement

Engaged students displayed positive emotional dispositions, bonding towards the institution and its cohorts, positive investment in their educational activities, and proactive, participative behaviours. Engagement was also found to influence important student outcomes such as academic performance, confidence, conviction, satisfaction and wellbeing. Whilst the extent to which all four dimensions of engagement manifested differently within face-to-face, livestream and external delivery, all four were necessary to support student success.

Phase two of the project will focus on the development and testing of a metric approach to capture the dimensions of student engagement, assess performance, track performance, and benchmark the enhancement of student engagement over time.


Business Innovation Challenge: A strategic model for Macquarie-school-industry collaborations

Philomena Leung (FBE)

The Business Innovation Challenge (BIC), in conjunction with Incept Labs, was created to develop the creativity, ingenuity skills, and the abilities to deal with uncertainty required for success in a rapidly changing world.

Participants in the BIC work to solve a current, authentic business or societal problems in an environment where learning is interactive, applied, collaborative and self-directed. The BIC is delivering a unique and participatory style of education to complement and augment learning in school and university. Teachers also witnessed the transformation of students’ confidence, perspectives and problem-solving skills without providing detailed guidance.

The BIC has been as much of a learning experience for us as it has been for our students. Past challenges have demonstrated the magnitude of the perceptive differences faced by modern high-schoolers, influencing their assumptions and confidence. The education system is failing to deliver essential abstract skills for modern life; complex problem solving, handling ambiguity, and autonomous learning. More alarmingly, our BIC in Cooma has shown us that these issues are disproportionately affecting regional schools. We are building the BIC as the beginnings of a large-scale remedy to education – with the framework provided by the challenge, we have seen students grasp, apply and excel in their application of these essential skills.


What pathways lead to success? A study on Science Degrees

Georgy Sofronov & Maurizio Manuguerra (FSE)

Students expect to receive academic advice at various stages of their studies, but providing timely and evidence-based advice may be non-trivial.

In this study, we want to address some aspects of this issue by analysing FSE students’ pathways and identifying important factors which lead students to the successful completion of their degrees. The goal of the project is to develop an analytical tool which will allow academic advisors and Faculty managers to detect students at risk, identify pathways that lead to changes of degree, insure the validity of pre-requisites and admission criteria, and check the usefulness of GPA as a predictor of future performance.

Our hope is that this tool will be used to provide students, in FSE and other Faculties, with timely and evidence-based academic advising.


“Image Studio” – Developing a platform for clustered 2D image management, display and manipulation

Nathan Daczko (FSE)

Image Matrix brings together a cross-faculty and interdisciplinary team that includes Macquarie academics in Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS), Ancient History, Environmental Sciences and Biological Sciences, along with professional staff in the Learning Innovation Hub, EPS (Tim Murphy and Manal Bebbington) and the Museum of Ancient Cultures. External sponsorship (an additional $35,000) was received from The Universities of South Australia, New England and Sydney, along with industry sponsorship from Pells Sullivan Meynink and the Australian Geoscience Council.

The team is developing ‘Image Matrix‘, a flexible web-based learning and teaching platform that will enable educators to provide authentic learning experiences outside of the laboratory that are inclusive, stimulating and rigorous. The platform will use clustered 2D image data sets to stimulate experiences like microscopy, comparing spatial data that changes with time, interrogation of medical images, exploring multi-element chemical maps, etc. The project will have an initial focus for simulating microscopy-based activities that decouple the difficulty of learning to physically use a microscope from the interpretation of data sets while maintaining the same educational outcomes. A prototype will be deployed in late October 2018 for testing in live and mock teaching scenarios. The final online platform will be available for general use in classes in 2019.


A reality check for learning approaches; a bank of mobile Virtual Reality (VR) stations for campus wide applications

Kira Westaway (FSE)

A reality check for learning approaches?

An SPG funded project REIM (Reality Embedded in Motion) is currently creating a bank 10 Virtual Reality (VR) stations at MQ that enable lecturers to take VR experiences into the classrooms to put the students right in the middle of the action  creating unique, significant and valuable learning experiences. MQ is the only University to offer mobile VR experiences that can be embedded into existing practical content, it leads the field with its broad range of VR content including models, photogrammetry (supported by the MQ pedestal platform) and 360 footage, and is unique in its in-built student interactivity that ensures the students are not passive observers in their VR experiences. The VR rigs will be located at strategic locations across campus to maximise accessibility and use and the REIM team have planted 360 cameras in certain departments to assist lecturers with building up usable content.

It was an amazing experience to be ‘in’ the cave

anonymous student comment.

In this period of uncertainty and change in curriculum design it’s reassuring to know that MQ is still one of the leaders in innovative approaches to learning and teaching. Kira Westaway from the Department of Environmental Sciences at MQ recently presented the project at the 2nd Annual Digital Campus and Learning Transformation Conference – Sydney Convention Centre. The REIM project was well received by the conference attendees from across Australia with many questions and positive comments. If the future of education is digital it’s good to know that MQ is not only on board but leading the change.

The VR helped to see things more clearly and gain a better understanding. It made a lot more sense

anonymous student comment.

The aim of REIM is to provide engaging VR experiences for as many MQ students as possible – involvement requires little or no technological experience as the rigs are easy to set up and use. All it takes is a little bravery and a whole heap of passion! If you would like to be involved in the MQ VR revolution please contact Kira Westaway kira.westaway@mq.edu.au (#8429)


Pre-service teacher reflection and feedback during professional experience through an online video platform 

Michael Cavanagh (FHS)

The project aims to assist teacher education students develop their reflective practice and to improve the quality of feedback they receive from supervisors during professional experience. An innovative online video platform allows teacher education students to record excerpts from their lessons on their mobile phones and annotate the videos with time-stamped comments. They can share the annotated videos with supervisors who can add questions and comments of their own. The platform has enormous potential not only for teacher education students but for in-service teachers as well, especially those in rural or remote schools who could use the platform to share best practice with colleagues from other schools. It could also be used by academics as part of a peer review of teaching.

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Posted by Asimo Krizan

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