This week marks the completion of our 5th annual Learning and Teaching Forum at the University of Sydney Business School. Our theme this year was, as our title states, the joy of learning and teaching. And what a joyous occasion it was.
After a very heartfelt welcome to country by Aunty Joan Bell from the Aboriginal Land Council, we enjoyed a playful keynote from Professor Nicola Whitton. She had us joining forces across the lecture theatre to build a colourful #SydneyPlayZoo to emphasise the joy and connection that comes from collaborative creativity. We drew funny characters through a roll of the dice and posted them with their fails on Padlet as Prof. Whitton talked us through the need to provide our students with a safe place to learn through failure and how to use play to do this.
We had 18 showcase presentations this year with a focus on technologies and co-design. Our hybrid audience voted on each one, with the people’s choice award going to Anthony Krivokapic and Tanya Fiedler for their presentation titled Supercharge marking! An AI Enhanced Integrated Assessment Marking and Feedback System. Their talk got the audience thinking about the possibilities for marking at scale with the help of a custom engineered AI teaching assistant. You can read the abstract for their presentation and all of the others in the program here.
We also enjoyed a host of 5 minute lightning talks where our colleagues shared their teaching and learning problems along with their innovative solutions. The people’s choice award for this section went to another team from the accounting discipline, Louise Luff, Ben Lay, Kaiying Ji and Janine Coupe for their presentation titled Excel – a new way to join the dots. Ben and Louise showed us a simple way to create interactive exercises in MS Excel that give students the opportunity to practice making considered judgments, a highly regarded and layered professional skill.
We heard from students who facilitate PASS (peer assisted study sessions), and from students who love their sport. Our students spoke of confidence building, resilience, friendships, connection, and of the transformative power of saying “yes!” to opportunity.
We heard from the next panel, a mix of academics, alumni and students, how to introduce intentional joy into the classroom. The panel was moderated by Professor Peter Bryant, who asked the panel questions set by the organising committee about what brings them joy. Anna Lynch, University of Sydney Business School Career Services Manager (Education) reflected on the session with the following takeaways:
- the importance of building connection to enhance trust & create effective learning partnerships.
- the essential role energy, creativity & passion plays in building engagement (& having some fun whenever you can).
- modelling ourselves as authentic, not-always-perfect selves, ready to try new things without knowing the outcome but giving it a go anyway
Posters and Cheese
There was so much to talk about. At lunchtime everyone grabbed a plate and crowded around the posters to learn more about getting students actively involved in their learning experiences.
In his final wrap up of the first day, Professor Peter Bryant encouraged us to ‘learn forward’ and not ‘snap back’. In other words be flexible, and adapt to the new ideas shared during the day and gleaned over the past few years. He gave thanks to the key players in making the day such an enormous success, then everyone gathered for wine, cheese and much exchanging of details and promises to collaborate.
Business Education Research Symposium
Our second day was the inaugural Business Education Research Symposium and was opened with a short keynote from Professor Peter Bryant on the Future of Business Education. Peter emphasised the need to shift Business Education to resonance learning, whereby we provide our students with rich and abundant experiences that prepare them for life rather than “their first job” . There were 10 excellent research presentations across the themes of assessment and technology, and we hope to hear more from each researcher in their own blog post here in weeks to come. The abstract booklet has more details. It was wonderful to hear from not only educational researchers in the Business School, but also from colleagues across the University, and from other institutions. The diversity, applications, discussions and connections were numerous and the success of this event means that we will hold this symposium again next year.
About the author
Associate Professor Elaine Huber has been designing curriculum and teaching adults for over 20 years and is currently the Academic Director of the Business Co-Design team at the University of Sydney.