Teaching and Learning Forum

Mr Adrian Bruch

Adrian Bruch


Position: Lecturer

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Education
School: School of Communication and Creative Arts
Discipline: Media Arts

Campus: Burwood
Phone: +61 3 924 46083
Email: adrian.bruch@deakin.edu.au

"I try to establish a safe and conducive learning environment where students work across disciplines and across year levels to build on their skills and networks and create opportunities for themselves."

A lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts, Mr Adrian Bruch teaches face-to-face and wholly online units in the Bachelor of Interactive Media (BIM). He joined Deakin in 2005 after a varied career working in a variety of disciplines including creating and managing computer aided arts and design, animation, programming, games, performance and dance. Adrian has more than twenty years' experience in digital publishing and interactive media creation and is an award-winning animated filmmaker.

Motivation

As a teacher, Adrian aims to demystify technology. He believes twenty-first century learning comes from a variety of sources, connections and applications and that much of this learning arises from participating and working in groups.

Approaches and methods

Collaboration, creativity and a willingness to explore the unfamiliar are cornerstones of Adrian's approach to teaching and learning.

Having developed a new three-year syllabus for the nascent BIM course, Adrian was instrumental in creating a digital studio on the Melbourne Campus at Burwood. Founded on the constructivist theory of active student participation, this unique learning environment is an inclusive and creative space where students and academics collaborate across year levels and disciplines in teams that reflect industry best practice. The physical layout is unique among Deakin computer labs, with large and small group workspaces, and clusters of computers to support collaboration. Located downstairs from the Deakin Motion Capture Studio, the digital studio is furnished with found objects and has an informal atmosphere which encourages improvisation, experimentation and interaction. Students have 24-hour access and may work on private projects while other classes are on. Adrian sometimes calls on visiting students for comment, further cementing collaboration and connections beyond class.

Audio Icon Audio clip: Adrian Bruch on the Digital Studio: a collaborative learning hub

Adrian has capitalised on the benefits of collaboration and cross discipline work in developing student projects. One example is an assessment task that he developed for his students: creation of a prototype portfolio for a dancer or actor. As well as giving BIM students the chance to work with students in other disciplines and increase networks with future professionals, the project has broader benefits for the University, as prototypes will be shared with Deakin's Knowledge Media Division and the Institute of Teaching and Learning.

An enthusiastic early adopter of digital technology, Adrian has energetically pioneered many University teaching and learning resources, trialling and testing eLive, ePortfolios, iLecture, drupal and podcasts and participating in feedback teams for these initiatives. He is also an eager demonstrator of new technology. Adrian has shared his findings through presentations at conferences, and demonstrated motion capture, animation and other interactive media elements extensively during Deakin Week and Deakin Open Days.

Adrian created a wholly online unit that included pioneering use of a wiki by students. Inspired by the idea that people can collaboratively contribute to knowledge, he developed the Fun and Games Wiki with the University's Institute of Teaching and Learning and Knowledge Media Division. The wiki enabled students to share research findings and collaboratively develop a knowledge resource. Students' contributions were published on the wiki, preventing unacknowledged use of others' work. Adrian also participated in a joint Deakin/Monash University study into wiki use by academics.

Having embraced digital technology, Adrian uses his knowledge to reflect on the skills students will need to master to be of value to potential employers. He is innovatively using the Deakin Motion Lab to better lead students between the craft of motion capture and the art of animating the performer.

Enhancing teaching

Adrian seeks students' view on teaching and the student experience and uses feedback to drive a continuous quality improvement process in a way that students can see and value. He is constantly looking for ways to empower students to learn from the process of design, creation and publication in a variety of outlets, and reflection. He is passionate about flexible learning and inclusive curriculum and has modified curriculum when required. When it became apparent that not all students needed practical as well as theoretical proficiency in a particularly complex animation software, Adrian amended assessment (in consultation with the Academic Advisory Board) to allow students to do either research or 3D artwork projects. Students responded well to this option.

Undertaking the Graduate Certificate of Higher Education provided Adrian the opportunity to consider a range of strategies, techniques and theories and, equally importantly, the chance to meet other enthusiastic teachers and share knowledge and experiences.

Research and teaching

In Adrian's field there is synergy between research and teaching, with research providing the impetus to try new things. Adrian's own work has benefited from his research and teaching in animation, which led him to develop one of the animation techniques used in an award-winning short film that he made in 2006.

A willingness to innovate also applies in Adrian's research into teaching, which relies on collaboration and information exchange. Adrian is working with three other academics on a project to document and share teaching strategies. With funding from a grant for new academics, Adrian was able to purchase new equipment, investigate its advantages and limitations and incorporate it into his teaching.

Leadership

Adrian currently mentors colleagues in the design and delivery of digital portfolios utilising web software. He is also available as a mentor to new academics.

Other teaching and learning related activities in which Adrian is taking a leadership role include:

  • working with the School's Student Support office to recognise Advanced standing and open the BIM up to students from other institutions and countries
  • promotion of the Deakin BIM and student recruitment
  • promoting participation in the Deakin Graduate Certificate of Higher Education through production of an informative video.

Qualifications

  • Dip (Film and TV) [Swinburne UT]
  • MFA Film Graphics Animation [California Institute of the Arts]
  • GradDip (Ed) [Melb.]
  • GradCert (Higher Ed) [Deakin]

Awards / fellowships

2008

  • Deakin University Award for Teaching Excellence

2007

  • Faculty of Arts Highly Commended Award for Innovation in Teaching

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29th July 2010