Flipped learning approaches see UTS recognised in DET awards
Four UTS Science staff members have received Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning from the Australian Department of Education, as part of the 2016 Australian Awards for University Teaching.
Dr Jurgen Schulte received a citation for “providing individual student support and authentic, adaptive learning, in a ‘whole system’ curriculum development approach, to enhance student engagement and learning in science.”
The entire UTS First Year Experience team, which includes UTS Science academics Dr Yvonne Davila, Associate Professor Alison Beavis and Emeritus Professor Anthony Baker, was also recognised for “supporting student transition and success through engaging academic and professional staff in curriculum innovation and collaborative communities.”
“The Faculty has made excellent strides in the teaching and learning space over recent years and it is wonderful to see our staff being recognised on a national level,” said Associate Professor Peter Meier, the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning at UTS Science.
Award recipient Dr Davila is a Lecturer in Higher Education Learning Design who collaborates with mathematical, physical and life sciences academics to design, develop and implement curricula that demonstrate learning.futures values.
Dr Davila is known for her work on the flipped learning aspect of learning.futures, which aims to combine the best of online with the best of face-to-face interaction.
“Blended or flipped learning means students can get their first exposure to key concepts in their own time, they can access material at their own pace and they can review it as many times as they like before they come to class,” Dr Davila said.
Dr Davila works closely with Mr Jorge Reyna, also a Lecturer in Higher Education Learning Design, who assists academics in developing “inclusive” learning designs that consider usability and accessibility.
Earlier this year the pair was recognised for their approach to inclusive learning designs at the EdMedia World Conference in Canada. Their paper ‘Enhancing the Flipped Classroom Experience with the Aid of Inclusive Design’—also co-authored with Associate Professor Meier—won most outstanding paper prize at the conference.
Inclusive design involves content being delivered in a variety of modes to cater for a wide range of students and their learning needs.
“You might have students who have vision or hearing impairments, dyslexia, or anxiety, so this allows them a chance to get more information and access it in different ways,” Dr Davila said.
“The material we put online - which has all the advantages of independent learning skills and flexibility – [is also more] accessible for all our students, particularly because our students come from a lot of different backgrounds.”
Mr Reyna said multi-modal design also assists students who may simply learn content in different ways.
“You can produce an online lecture that’s interactive, but some students might prefer to have an audio version and do everyday activities like go the gym and listen to the lecture there,” he said. “It makes sense to add a little bit more time to make it more inclusive.”
Dr Davila and Mr Reyna believe academics who implement these approaches will see more engagement from their students.
“You will engage students with an interface that is easy to follow and easy on the eye,” Mr Reyna said.
So far, the feedback on flipped learning approaches has been positive, Dr Davila says.
“We have data from students that suggests that accessing the material beforehand enhanced their learning in preparation for when they came to the classroom.”