Getting Ahead of the Curve

By Seth Robinson

Classes at the University of Melbourne have officially gone digital. We spoke with Matt Dyki and Maggie Singorahardjo from the Department of Accounting to find out what this looks like.

Over the last few weeks, the ways we work and learn have changed significantly, with people all over the world setting up home offices and going online. But even as we work from our kitchen counters, we’re continuing to connect as a community within the university.

A Screenshot of the Canvas Platform.
A Screenshot of the Canvas Platform.

For the Department of Accounting, Matt Dyki and Maggie Singorahardjo have been at the forefront of going digital for a long time. Together, they’ve previously worked together to create digital learning experiences and coach a team for the ERPSim Accounting world Cup. Most recently, they began work on a FlexAP project, to change the way their accounting classes are delivered.

“The FlexAP project came above with the growth of our accounting classes, we started looking at ways we could move elements of our teaching away from the traditional lecture and put them online. For us, this meant using platforms like Canvas, and Cadmus to replicate the collaboration we were having in the classroom and move some of it online. It meant we got students to undertake some of their tutorial tasks via discussion boards, or that we could supplement our teaching with pre-class tasks, like a video, questionnaires, or a checklist of what students needed to prepare,” says Matt. “It meant that when we had to introduce online tutorials as a result of the COVID-19 situation, it was a bit of a reaffirmation for us, that we were moving in the right direction. It meant we adapted some of the things we were already working on and were able to open up opportunities for students who were stuck overseas, or now, for everyone as they implement social distancing.

A Cadmus Checklist.
A Cadmus Checklist.

In many ways, the implementation of digital platforms has allowed Matt and Maggie to enhance the in class experience, as they can check on the progress of students’ work, and engage in discussions that are raised on the forums, while continuing to deliver the course content and feature guest speakers. It allows students the opportunity to engage in a manner replicating small group discussion that occurs in a  tutorial while having the flexibility of studying online.

For Maggie, this also offered the opportunity to think about the skills students will need for the future.

“The other thing all of this is opening up, is how things are going to be from a workplace perspective. Not everyone is in the office anymore, and more and more people will realise they don’t have to be, technology is facilitating this transition. Now, we’re teaching students to work in this more flexible way. One thing we’re finding is that everyone approaches this change in a different way, whether it’s the teachers of the students, we’re all learning to adapt.”

As study and work both continue to evolve, those skills, and the ability to adapt and think flexibly will prove incredibly valuable for students, teachers, and businesses alike.