How we've modified teaching and learning

With a semester of virtual learning behind us, we spoke with some of our program directors to find out how studying commerce has changed.

Things change quickly these days, and for staff, students, and the rest of the community, the University’s COVID-19 response updates have proven endlessly valuable. But how are things changing for courses themselves? We spoke with some of our department heads to find out how the departments have adapted their teaching, starting with Dr Erica Coslor, from the Department of Management and Marketing.

'In fact, students in the MBS programs were among the most prepared to move online, given our use of the Canvas Learning Management System, our online Readings Online system instead of physical textbooks, and automatic recording of lectures via Lecture Capture. To this we added online tutorials for large subjects and live Zoom sessions for smaller seminars, the latter allowing a live session along with smaller breakout discussions for students, and posted recordings for students who miss a session. While it has been an effort to move things online so quickly, I’m quite proud of our fast response and students’ willingness to engage so quickly – I personally was able to move my teaching online right away in Week 3 of the semester.'

In fact, students across the board have been adapting exceptionally well, as noted by André Gygax, who co-ordinates the Master of Finance.

'Our students in the Master of Finance are currently conquering the COVID-19 challenge. Back in March, for the safety and health of students and staff, our program was quick in adopting a virtual campus environment. It includes custom-delivered lectures, case study sessions and consultations. The engagement between our students and staff is further enhanced by the use of interactive breakout groups that allow in-depth discussions and advanced training to help students master the more challenging topics covered in the subjects.'

for Dr Liang Chen, from the Master of International Business, the use of Zoom has proven to be an opportunity.

'Our subject coordinators are utilising Canvas discussion boards for maintaining daily discussions, Zoom breakout rooms for group work and group game simulations, as well as Zoom meetings for online tutorials, case discussions and consultations. Some of the assignments consist of students creating videos of themselves executing presentations. Our guest lectures are also held through live Zoom meetings which allow for face-to-face Q&As.'

Dr Andrea Lu, provides a case study in how this new, flexible mode of teaching has been applied in class.

'In the Derivative Securities class that I am teaching this semester, lectures are delivered in the form of high-quality recordings that allow students to study in their own location at their own pace. These lectures are coupled with interactive consultation sessions conducted using Zoom to allow for a better learning experience. Some subjects have assessments and are designed for teamwork among students. Our brand new learning management system Canvas has many useful built-in features that can allow students to work together in a group from their home in Melbourne or from any parts of the world. In addition, end-of-semester assessments for all subjects were re-designed to be carried out online. In the meantime, the Master of Management (Finance) program itself has also adapted quickly to the changes by introducing regular online zoom sessions to allow for better cohort experience outside of class. While we all look forward to getting back to the normal offering face-to-face teaching and the on-campus student life experience that the University of Melbourne has been so well known for, it has been wonderful to see the amazing works that my colleagues have done in our transition to a virtual campus that maintains our world-class high-quality teaching standards during this extraordinary time.'