Category Archives: Offshore teaching

RMIT Learning & Teaching Expo 2013

Guest post: Penny Mercer, Project Advisor, Learning and Teaching Unit, RMIT University.

Click to open the RMIT Learning & Teaching Expo 2013 page.

The Learning and Teaching Expo is an opportunity to showcase the excellent work of our dedicated teaching staff. It is a time for all of us to reflect on how we might enhance the student experience, reimagine our teaching and network with colleagues.

This year’s Expo takes the theme of “Inspiring teaching, inspiring learning.” Come along and hear what your colleagues have done to improve student learning outcomes, bring along your own experiences, or questions for discussion time. The Expo eLearning journey will allow all staff to identify a point of interest from which further learning opportunities can be explored.

Come along and hear from our invited keynote speakers about what is happening in the tertiary education sector, hear what your colleagues have done to improve student learning outcomes and bring along your own experiences or questions for discussion time.

Day 1: Tuesday 3 September – 12pm to 4.30pm, with lunch from 1pm to 2pm
Day 2: Wednesday 4 September – 9am to 1pm, with lunch from 1pm to 2pm
Venue: Design Hub, City campus.

Click here (or on the image above) to see the 2013 program and register now to attend (RMIT login required).

We look forward to seeing you there!

Wherever you go, there you are

Posted by: Ruth Moeller, Lecturer in Education and Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University.

Every time I pass the billboard for a certain university advertising an overseas student experience involving elephants, I get irritated. I don’t have anything against students, the university or elephants for that matter but really, how many students will actually go overseas as part of their studies? Although I agree that it would be a wonderful learning experience, I have difficulty with the premise that, for a student to be a global citizen, they need to study abroad.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘They’ say that travel broadens the mind and ‘They’ are right. The opportunity to work or study offshore would enhance any student experience and a highlight of a student’s experience at university.

But in my opinion this should be the icing on the cake, not the main focus. ‘I went overseas, now I am global’ — I don’t think so. So to do justice to the idea of global competence, we need to think more broadly.

RMIT has a sophisticated view when it says graduates will be ‘Global in outlook and competence‘. What that commits us to is providing graduates with ‘…opportunities to acquire professional [and] cultural skills that enable them to engage thoughtfully and effectively with the great diversity of people and situations they encounter at work and socially.’

This is saying that there are personal and professional skills and knowledge that need to be developed in all of our students. As educators, we need to ask: ‘How do we do this?’

As a starting point, the question I think we need to ask is: What does an ‘internationalised’ student look like in my discipline? How can we claim our students will be global in outlook and competence if we don’t actually know what this means within our discipline?

I have tried to do this in my discipline, tertiary teaching. Using the Australian Qualifications Framework criteria of knowledge, skills and application of knowledge and skills, I started by imaging what I would expect if someone came to me for a teaching job claiming that they were ‘global’. What would I be looking for? In doing, this I developed a framework of the knowledge and skills that helps students develop their global competence and outlook.

Some of the knowledge I would expect includes an appreciation of educational philosophies and different education systems to get a sense of the expectations of their students and how these philosophies might be enacted in classes. An added benefit of this could be the help it gives them in finding employment opportunities and navigating the various educational systems that operate across the world. Also of importance would be knowledge of the cultural views of education; the role of student/teacher, group/individual in different contexts.

When thinking of skills I would include a proficiency with different teaching strategies and the use of technology to engage diverse learning styles and cultures as well as the ability to research resources in an international context. The skills that help them identify what is available for them in regards to enhancing and internationalising their curriculum are, as educators, the same ones that will help them localise their curriculum should they wish to deliver content offshore or to deliver at a distance to global learners.

In thinking about the application of knowledge and skills, on a practical level I would incorporate how to design assessment for diverse learners and contexts, as well as the strategies that they, as teachers, could use to make their students ‘globally aware’.

In a broader sense, I would expect that person to be able to listen to, appreciate and synthesise other points of view as perhaps the key ability to operate within diverse cultures and environments.

Now the question is, does this just happen? Or do I need to create learning opportunities for this? Miracles do happen, but usually student learning is based on hard work and good design and that is what I am going for.

As my course is being reviewed, I am currently working on ways to integrate the skills and knowledge required to allow my students to have a global outlook. I found an excellent set of resources The GIHE Good Practice Guide to Internationalising the Curriculum at Griffith University to help with the planning involved in internationalising a course. They encourage you to look at programs and courses holistically, integrating an internationalised approach into aspects of curriculum design, assessment, learning resources and extracurricular activities.

Being global in outlook and competence requires far more than boarding a plane. Recently on the blog (here  and here) we’ve showcased student mobility opportunities that focus on the learner and their discipline. Thinking about the knowledge and skills we want to instil in graduates to give them a global education (and how will they apply these in any setting) is crucial to a genuine engagement with the world.


Griffith University: The GIHE Good Practice Guide to Internationalising the Curriculum

Curriculum Review Tools for QAA – Quality Assurance of Assessment, Part 3 – Assessment for internationalisation of the Curriculum.Duncan D. Nulty, Brona Farreley and Michelle Barker

Share your thoughts about a global outlook for students in the comments below!

Integrating library resources into your teaching

Posted by: Grazyna Rosinska, Liaison Librarian (School of Art, School of Media & Communication), RMIT University.
Link to Grazyna’s library subject guides

Last month, June Frost looked at some of the great physical resources and spaces on offer at RMIT and the information skills sessions run by library staff; if you missed it click here. I wanted to continue to look at this idea of developing information skills with a particular focus on just two services that the Library has acquired over the past couple of years, and the Kanopy Streaming Service. Both are available through the RMIT Library homepage through the ‘Databases’ link (or you can search for either as a keyword with our LibrarySearch function) and both provide you with high quality resources that you can link to course content or embed in Blackboard shells to allow easy student access. The real power of each might come from your own explorations and use of the materials though. Hopefully you’ll see uses for both as teaching tools and as professional development resources.

Click on this link to go to the Lynda link for RMIT staff and students.

Click on this image to go to the Lynda link for RMIT staff and students.

Lynda is a learning platform with thousands of sequenced and indexed videos available to all RMIT staff and students. The focus is on creative, business and technology skills so if you’re looking to start from scratch in a topic or maybe you’re brushing up on the latest version of a piece of software or a web tool, you’ll probably find relevant material on Lynda. Subject areas include:

  • 3D
  • Audio
  • Business including Office and Google software
  • Design
  • Developer
  • Photography and Video
  • Web and social media

One thing that has impressed us in the library is the extensive tagging, time-coding and captioning of content. It means it’s very easy to dip in and find the answer to something. But it’s likely though you’ll stay to learn more as Lynda’s videos are delivered by engaging experts. The login you create with means that you can queue and track the courses you have viewed; you can use it off-campus and be working through a self-directed syllabus. So if we take an example that RMIT staff might be interested in, ‘Gmail for Power Users’, here is the course description:

In this course, Susan Metz shows how to personalize email, manage multiple accounts, and be more productive with the Google email service. The course offers tips and tricks for customizing Gmail to suit your needs; working efficiently with shortcuts; taking advantage of labels; integrating with Calendar, Google Docs, and social media; using voice and video chat; implementing time management in Gmail; and much more…Gmail for Power Users Screenshot

If you look at this course (screenshot at the right) you’ll find there’s a full transcript, and all of those topics with subheadings and the time the instructor spends on each topic. It’s easy to imagine how this could be a valuable self-study tool for staff and students alike.

Kanopy Streaming Service

Another resource that the Library has acquired is the Kanopy Streaming Service. Kanopy supplies audiovisual materials to tertiary institutions in Australia and New Zealand so right away you will be finding materials that have local context and/or local content. Instead of having a film or documentary on closed reserve as we would have done in the past, Kanopy allows high quality documentaries and films (just to give two examples) to be accessed by multiple students from multiple locations.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for there is a recommendation system where you can suggest a title to be acquired for RMIT. The screenshot below for instance shows a 25 minute video on the topic of critical thinking.  These videos can be linked through to your Blackboard shells or you can simply clip the relevant section of a longer piece.  If you’d like more information about Kanopy and Lynda head to Sourcing Online Teaching Materials at the RMIT website.

Screenshot from Kanopy Streaming Service

I hope that this has been useful in surfacing a couple of resources that are proving increasingly popular with academics and students. Don’t forget about the Library Subject Guides as a great starting point for discipline-specific information.

Share your comments about library resources and online materials in the comments below!

Teaching Vietnam-style

Posted by: Rebekha Naim, L&T Group & School of Media and Communication, Design and Social Context College, RMIT.

A bike laden with flowers in Ho Chi Minh City

© Rebekha Naim, 2012

I am teaching professional lighting design and technology to production staff at HTV in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam this week. It is my first experience in a city outside Australia, I cannot understand the language and the culture here is completely foreign to me, however the art of teaching remains the same. As a teacher, I also love learning, so this new experience is, of course, wondrous!

I explain concepts, techniques and the craft of lighting, using diagrams and pictures on Prezi, showing on-line video’s via Clip Grab and using the old-fashioned whiteboard occasionally. I also follow a booklet, which we produced at our client’s request, which has been translated into Vietnamese. I have a very skilled interpreter, so I pause after every few minutes and Kevin repeats my words in Vietnamese. While his English is excellent, he is not a lighting technician and he asks others in the room to help him with industry lingo. The learners have also been asking me many questions via Kevin, which shows their interest and the need for someone like me to train them.

Greg and our Vietnamese interpreter Kevin outside Station HTV9

© Rebekha Naim, 2012

It has also been a real boon having a few lighting TV professionals from HTV in the class with me helping to demonstrate the technology. They efficiently and professionally assist the class to learn about lighting techniques and  also ask me for more detailed information. I am relieved at how easily I am able to teach the basics to some learners and more complex concepts to others at the same time.

The technical HTV staff undertaking this training are not all planning to be lighting technicians. Many are doing the training as they have been asked to by their managers. Their managers are having a break from training and are looking for fresh ideas, approaches and techniques themselves. So I give basic exercises to get beginners up to speed and enjoying themselves, then spend some time with the experienced lighting crew as they show me their equipment and methods and ask for my advice and recommendations. It is a combination of knowledge sharing, analysis and application on a number of levels.

Learners have been patient and supportive of one another and are not as shy as what I was led to believe. If they want to know something, they ask me. If they don’t agree with me, they challenge me. For staff who will never probably touch lighting again, I am teaching them new ideas and concepts, giving them a go at lighting set-ups and an appreciation of lighting techniques, technology and protocol, which will enable them understand the intricacies of lighting for TV, regardless of their role within the company. For the more skilled lighting technicians, I am challenging some of their current methods and approaches, affirming others, and they are networking with colleagues and deepening their knowledge, skills and capabilities.

I am teaching alongside Greg Long, a new teacher and a highly skilled audio consultant and technician (amongst other things). He is teaching the audio aspects of the course. I think he is learning a lot from watching me teach – something that not many new TAFE teachers get the opportunity to do. As I am observing his teaching, it is making me reflect on how I teach and enabling me to offer him some advice too.

Teaching in a foreign country is much easier than I anticipated, as is travelling

Interior shot of one of the studios at HTV9

© Rebekha Naim, 2012

overseas. I found out two weeks ago that I would be here this week so it has been a steep learning curve; luckily I have a wonderful family and superb staff like Shae Allen, who organized my trip; expert advice from well-travelled and supportive colleagues and the support of managers like Simon Embury and Professor Barbara de la Harpe.

The Victorian TAFE system is now operating in dramatically changing seas as we steer our own financial ship with high compliance masts. Stephen Joyce, the Manager of Business Innovation in the TAFE School of Media & Communication, RMIT University and the School’s TAFE Director, Glenn Blair, are actively and very successfully, taking our cutting edge creative media programs to the world. As a 40-year old travel virgin and TAFE teacher, I have taken the challenge to teach overseas and it has been well worth the effort.

The rewards of this venture will be significant, both to HTV and RMIT University. It’s hard to think of a a better fit in terms of alignment to RMIT’s strategic plan of being global, urban and connected.

Well done to Stephen and Glenn for looking beyond our shores and let’s welcome industrious companies from around the world demanding high-level PD for staff company growth and renewal from education experts across the globe.

Share your thoughts about teaching in another culture (or any other aspect of Rebekha’s post) in the comments section below!


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