The start of a new academic year is always an exciting time, particularly for new students who are about to commence an exciting chapter in their lives. This year we will see our students return to campus, many for the first time in two years; this includes our international students who contribute significantly to the Macquarie community. While we have adapted extremely well to moving teaching online, there is something special to be said about students together in a classroom, sharing ideas, collaborating with peers and engaging with their teachers in a face-to-face setting.

The Central Courtyard, which was opened last year, provides us with an opportunity to re-activate and utilise state-of-the-art teaching spaces and provide students with an outstanding learning experience.The Vice-Chancellor expounds the importance of the Macquarie community, and I am looking forward to seeing the Macquarie community come together once again this year. Students can enjoy being in the classroom again and making the most of the amazing facilities on campus.

One of the overarching objectives in the Learning and Teaching Strategic Framework is a distinctive learning and teaching pedagogy and I am excited about the finalisation and implementation of The Macquarie Way (MQ Way) this year. The MQ Way progresses our commitment to students through transformative learning experiences that nurture and encourage students’ holistic development. It articulates how important partnership, collaboration, and community is and that we want our students to succeed not only as scholars but also as professionals and active citizens of the world. Further information about the MQ Way will be shared during the year.

The employability of our students will continue to be a key priority this year. Great progress has been made on finalising our Employability Strategy and Framework and I am grateful for the feedback we have received to date on these key resources. This year will see a focus on how the Employability Strategy and Framework can be implemented. The University has a clear commitment on ensuring the employability of our students is sector-leading and that we are leveraging our Macquarie Park Innovation District industry connections. I am also looking forward to seeing the Employability Connect and Employer Connect portals being utilised more widely by our students, staff and partners in support of our employability focus.

Now is an opportune time to consider how we support staff in their learning and teaching practice and I look forward to seeing more staff engaging with our professional learning opportunities and activities, all of which are designed in alignment with our PLaCE Framework. While many resources have been developed to support staff with online teaching, I believe now is the time to potentially re-focus on how we can make the in person classroom experience engaging and transformative. The Learning and Teaching Staff Development team will continue to support staff by organising professional development workshops and producing resources to assist staff. I highly recommend you review our Teaching Development Resources which addresses content across each of the PLaCE domains.

Finally, I would also like to highlight some of the key digital solutions we have provided to students to support their learning engagement and experience. Last year we commenced the implementation of an institution-wide ePortfolio solution. We will continue to foster and advance engagement of staff and students’ use of ePortfolio this year as a means of highlighting and promoting indivuduals’ achievements and successes. We have recently launched MyLearn, a tool that has been developed to assist students to monitor, moderate and manage their learning and make decisions about their study behaviours. MyLearn has been co-designed with students for students to ensure it includes information students want and need, to enhance their learning.

These are only some of the key learning and teaching priorities we are focussing on over the coming academic year. I look forward to collaborating with staff in faculties and offices and progressing these and other learning and teaching initiatives that put students at the forefront of everything we do. I wish you all the best for a successful year ahead.

Feel free to share what you are looking forward to in learning and teaching this year in the comments section?

Image: Adam Scarf via Canto

Posted by Dominique Parrish

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