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How Monash College Transformed Passive Lectures into Lively Discussions

How Monash College Transformed Passive Lectures into Lively Discussions

Described as “the tool that enabled a change in student engagement”, staff and students at Monash College in Melbourne, Australia have been reflecting on the role that Echo360 played in their educational transformation.

“It is always pedagogy first…” pointed out Dr Kulari Lokuge, Associate Director for eLearning, who played a critical role in leading the college from traditional instruction to a blended and flipped learning approach; the work that saw them recently receive awards from both The Association for Learning Technologies (ALT) and Blackboard.

“…at Monash College, we have a large cohort of international students. They face a lot of challenges. Language is one of the biggest challenges that they face. And using the active learning platform, we have started to help them to scaffold their learning … and to build confidence to overcome the language barrier” said Dr Lokuge.

Beginning their pilot with Echo360 in Mathematics and Accounting, both students and teachers have described the platform as allowing them to be more vocal and empowered in a space that has traditionally dealt with potentially heavy and dry content. Students are now more active in an environment that feels like a safe space.

Student Renecia Khoo notes, “…it really brings up a very lively and friendly atmosphere during a lecture. Because I remember my sister telling me during a lecture, “It’s always been so quiet and, kind of, dead because no one is speaking to one another and lectures is basically, it’s a one-way communication.” With Echo360, it definitely brings out the two-way communication… And that way, students will be able to learn as well, as a whole.”

Students also commented that being able to use the note taking tool and the bookmarking feature right next to the slides while a lecture is being captured, allowed them to stay focused in class as well as offering a useful study guide for revision and review.

Not only is student satisfaction high, the pass rates have increased.  Dr Nimal Pinnawala, who teaches classes that have seen a 50% increase in pass rates, commented that he now sees a much higher participation rate from students gaining confidence from the quizzes he conducts during class allowing them to observe and correct possible misconceptions. Pinnawala noted that projecting the students’ anonymous responses to his questions while he instructs has motivated others to participate and receive feedback.

The team at Monash College, the preferred pathway for Monash University, feel that the platform has changed the experience for the lecturers by offering them a real view into what students are, and are not, understanding. It has offered an insight into the students learning that has previously not been there and has allowed the teachers at the college to follow up with students who are at risk.

Dr Andrew Phillips who has also noticed a change in his students’ success says that he has “enjoyed the benefits of a community of practise” at the college. He has noticed that as the number of subjects where students use Echo360 has grown, the confidence has rubbed off on the staff and there has been a real collaboration between lecturers and students as they use the features that Echo360 offers.

 

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