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Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Education
School: School of History Heritage and Society
Phone: +61 3 522 72434
"As an educator, I'm learning with each newohort of students."
Dr Ian Warren is a unit chair, lecturer in Criminology and supervisor of Honours students in the School of History, Heritage and Society.
Ian's approach to teaching is based on respect for students as individuals and a belief in two-way communication as the foundation of teaching and learning. By communicating diversity he aims to encourage students to question what they see and consume, and how they consume it. Ian is careful not to drive students' critical thinking in a particular direction. Instead he informs students how to critique issues and how to access current information to support this process.
Reflection is inherent in the study and practice of criminology and naturally extends to Ian's approach to teaching in this field.
Creative use of online technology is central to the way Ian communicates with students and seeks to inspire independent learning. In particular, he uses online technology to reach out more efficiently and effectively to off-campus students. Ian responds as quickly as possible to student posts on Deakin Studies Online (DSO) and emails, employing open-ended communication to promote ongoing discussion of issues. eLive has been critical to promoting off-campus student engagement and communication. Ian offers regular eLive sessions during semester. These are timed to coincide with critical events such as assessment due dates, allowing off-campus students the opportunity to discuss queries or problems with Ian in real time. Ian posts core lecture material on DSO in multiple formats such as PowerPoint, iLecture and downloadable MP3 files to provide students with flexible access. He uses digitally recorded media extracts (television news, current affairs and documentaries) streamed through iLecture and links to discussion threads. In one unit Ian uses a series of 12 short films to explore core themes emerging in the set text and readings for each topic, also providing Microsoft Word and MP3 versions of this material. He also developed a wiki to encourage student contribution to content development.
Skilful use of a range of online technology means Ian can generate and steer a range of student discussions and provide detailed individualised feedback to enhance student learning.
Ian presented on his online teaching initiatives at faculty and Institute of Teaching and Learning conferences in 2006 and 2007.
In 2008 he received Strategic Teaching and Learning Grant Scheme (STALGS) funding to investigate the regulatory aspects of teaching and learning in Second Life, including development of a code of conduct. By revealing how students perceive Second Life, this project is informing development of criminology resources in Second Life, including a criminology island which will include scenarios to enhance student learning.
Communication as a two-way process underpins Ian's teaching. This is enhanced by ongoing development of listening skills. As a reflective teacher, Ian acknowledges that he is in a process of lifelong learning and that new cohorts of students present new challenges. Ian believes that as long as he maintains a willingness to question the effectiveness of his communication with students, he will be challenged by his role which, for him, is essential to its enjoyment.
The importance of the nexus between teaching and research is also crucial to Ian's ongoing development as an educator. Drawing on contemporary theories and developments in teaching and learning, he takes an evidence-based approach to his own practice, particularly the use of emerging technology. Assessment forms an important part of this process. Responding to student feedback, Ian restructured student assessment to increase its frequency and diversity and include a tool that requires students to build their information gathering and research skills by using online databases. This last assessment has led to a demonstrable improvement in the quality of student writing and research, offering a measure of the effect of teaching on the quality of students' learning in this area.
Audio clip: Ian Warren on assessment
Ian's research project on Second Life has inspired him to give further thought to how emerging technologies can be used creatively to enhance teaching and learning, as well as providing evidence about how students are using this platform. Ian plans to continue to test scenarios for use in Second Life. Another area of interest for future research is the off-campus student learning experience, in particular, how off-campus students use technology and the expectations of technology that different cohorts have.
Recently Ian's experimentation with online technology has led him to harness asynchronous and synchronous technologies to present at two discipline-specific academic conferences.
Ian has presented at a number of institutional teaching and learning conferences. He mentors colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and Education on an informal basis, generally around the use of technology. He is keen to build on this by presenting workshops on the use of technology in curriculum delivery. Ian is also taking a leadership role in strategic course development.