About the categories
Approaches to learning (and teaching): With many of the cases we identified teachers with known commitments to certain conceptions of and approaches to enabling quality student learning. With other case participants, their approaches to fostering student learning emerged explicitly and strongly through their interviews and visual presentations. In shortened form, we classified these into 13 ‘approaches to learning’:
The meanings of these approaches to learning (and teaching) can be found in the literature, and most importantly, for our purposes through the discussion and presentation of the ideas in the cases themselves.
Graduate attributes: Deakin University like many other universities is committed to providing students with opportunities to develop systematically a set of graduate attributes in their studies. Deakin’s attributes are both discipline-specific and generic. For the purposes of our case development, we focussed on selecting case participants who use digital media and new technologies to enable student learning of selected generic attributes which we organised into seven categories:
The various meanings Deakin associates with these attributes are listed as follows in parentheses:
- Communication and collaboration
(communicate effectively in all domains, breadth of vocabulary skills suitable for variety of audiences & occasions, applying relevant literature in developing ideas, communicate ideas in appropriate manner, capacity to use communication technologies in various contexts, capacity to construct, evidence and present arguments coherently, communicate effectively in groups, experience cooperative group processes, acknowledge & value varied contributions, participate and work through networks & teams of varying scope and reach, sensitivity to subtleties of interpersonal communication, manage conflict sensitively & effectively)
- Ethics and social responsibility
(awareness personal value systems, appreciate own cultural forms, responsive to cultural difference, ethical concept, ethical practices, ethical applications, citizenship imperatives, social responsibility, value difference, ethical and social responsibilities in student life)
- Information literacy
(identify types of & sources of information, find & retrieve information, effective use of information, critical evaluation of information resources, interpret & solve problems appropriate for beginning professional within discipline, knowledge of typical problems met at initial levels of practice, use technologies appropriate to entry level work in field)
- International perspectives
(processes of internationalisation & globalisation, cultural difference, intercultural communication, positive interculturalism & internationlisation, relevance of international perspectives to field of study, communicate & work effectively with people from different cultures within Australia & rest of world)
- Problem solving
(open to new ideas & changing contexts, capacity to update approaches, problem solving capacities & techniques, apply capacities to issues & situations, alternative ways of working with people & situations, capacity for critical and reflective thinking)
(interdependence of humans and environments, determinants of sustainable development, personal and collective responsibilities for sustaining environments & communities, relevance of sustainability to field of study, need for interdisciplinary approaches)
- Lifelong learning
(confidence in ongoing professional development, learning as dynamic process, personal responsibility for ongoing capacity development, capacity development to create new opportunities, personal learning style, recognition of good learning, determining learning agendas, seeking new learning opportunities)
These meanings have been drawn from the The Deakin Advantage Guidelines for developing the attributes of a Deakin graduate (2002).
Study level: The cases are organised by study level relating to undergraduate studies, postgraduate studies, and continuing education studies through partnerships developed by Deakin’s entrepreneurial arm, Deakin Prime. Deakin Prime develops partnerships with professional associations, corporations and government agencies in delivering and supporting programs for professional development and workplace training. We wish to see cases in this sub-category develop over time.
Online-ness: Deakin has three categories of online activity, namely: Basic Online, Extended Online, and Wholly Online. The cases focus on Extended Online and Wholly Online developments. From 2004, all Deakin undergraduate students must undertake at least one unit wholly online as part of their studies irrespective of their predominant mode of enrolment. A number of the cases centre on these wholly online developments. Extended online units include all aspects of online activity up to Wholly online. The definition of Wholly Online is:
These units will have all teaching resources and undertake all teaching online including:
- All content (either commercial print-based textbooks or commercial e-texts may be used as supplementary material)
- All communication and interaction with students
- Assignment submission and feedback (examinations will move online when the University is administratively ready)
- Each unit will have at least ONE session of interactive communication (synchronous, asynchronous, or both) between teacher and students online at least weekly or as established at the beginning of the course. Such interactive sessions will have an assessable component where appropriate.
- To ensure access for all students until bandwidth issues in Australia are addressed, additional resources such as video and audio will be provided on CD-ROMs for off-campus students where appropriate. (This will be reviewed annually.)
Online features: The cases exemplify the use of a range of features which can be found in Deakin virtual teaching/learning environment, Deakin Studies Online. The cases illustrate the use of the following seven features:
Note that cases which feature the design and presentation of digital/online resources may describe such resources as appearing on CD-ROM and/or online in Deakin Studies Online (DSO). Cases which feature technology integration may highlight the use of CD-ROMs in association with DSO, or CD-ROMs and DSO in association with in-person classroom teaching. Not all cases which highlight assessment online are about various forms of online testing, while cases highlighting assignment submission usually encompass receipt, marking and return of assignments all online.
Other Tools: The case development team were aware that certain general purpose tools like PowerPoint and Spreadsheets are being used creatively in developing digital resources. Cases focussing on these tools can be viewed by these two sub-categories. Moreover, exemplary developments have occurred using CD-ROM as the presentation and delivery platform and these cases can be viewed by the CD-ROM sub-category. Also to be found in this category are hybrid developments illustrating the use of CD-ROM in combination with the online environment.
A note on Related cases: On each case page you will see in the right hand bottom corner links to related cases.
These links may take you either to other specific relevant cases or to the page(s) presenting all cases of relevance within a particular category, or both. For example, for every Wholly Online case, there will be a link to the page presenting every other Wholly Online case in the site. Where the number of cases in a sub-category is small, then links to each individual case in that category are provided. In some Related Case sections, there are both links to individual cases and to pages containing all cases in particular categories. Therefore, a degree of professional judgment has been exercised by the case development team in determining the Related Case links.