Staff in the Deakin Business School facilitate genuine converged learning through multiple cloud-based connections in the new Premium Converged Learning Space LB2.101 in Trimesters 2 and 3, 2015. This converged learning space is one of the ways that Deakin Business School staff are ‘harnessing emerging technologies to facilitate innovative, borderless, and personalised education.’ Converged learning comprises a real time learning and teaching experience where students anywhere are connected to and learn from their lecturer, industry expert, tutor or with their peers at the same time.
Facilitating converged learning in Strategic Management and Marketing Management
During Trimester 2, 2015, Deakin teaching staff in the MBA programme have been taking full advantage of the room’s audio-visual and synchronous tools to enable its multinational cohort of students to engage in converged learning and teaching. Students studying the Deakin MBA have had the opportunity to study in the cloud or face-to-face and interact with both working professionals and industry experts in the field.Through converged interactive classroom teaching and learning, students are provided with opportunities to interact with functional specialists and general managers in corporate, not-for-profit, government and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Colin Higgins and Steve Jaynes planned and facilitated converged learning sessions for MPM706-MPM906 Strategic Management, and Wayne Binney did the same for all students enrolled in MPK732-MPK932 Marketing Management in the new Premium Converged Learning Space LB2.101.
With its multinational cohort of 282 students comprising 76 per cent studying online while working and living in 40 different countries, staff in the MBA programme wanted to facilitate quality learning and teaching experiences for all students studying in the cloud and face-to-face.
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MPM706-MPM906 Strategic Management Converged Learning and Teaching
The expected learning outcomes for students studying this unit include to:
- demonstrate a critical understanding of the concepts, theories and tools of strategic management;
- individually, and in teams, apply the analysis and decision-making tools of strategic management to support the activities of strategy formulation, implementation and evaluation in a variety of organisational contexts;
- evaluate the strategic position of an organisation and recommend ways in which sustainable competitive advantage can be achieved;
- integrate the skills and knowledge acquired in other MBA units to the tasks of strategic management.
Students enrolled in MPM706-MPM906 Strategic Management were also advised that they needed to devote 150 hours on average over the trimester in undertaking the learning and assessment activities for this unit. This included a 2.5 hour seminar per week, made up of approximately 1.5 hours class time and 1 hour workshop time.
In order that all students studying the unit had a quality learning experience, the unit chairs utilised the new Premium Converged Learning Space LB2.101 to facilitate converged learning and teaching. Cloud students connected with the lecturer and other students by Skype for Business on a weekly basis to participate live in seminars and workshops as those students who were in the face-to-face session and could also ask questions of the lecturer while he was taking the session. Cloud students had the opportunity to access the same learning and teaching experience as that of their face-to-face cohort on campus and could ask questions of their lecturer facilitating the session in-person.
MPK732-MPK932 Marketing Management Converged Learning and Teaching
The expected learning outcomes for students enrolled in MPK732-MPK932 Marketing Management include to:
- evaluate the key concepts, models and theories upon which the practice of marketing is based;
- apply the fundamental principles involved in managing marketing;
- analyse marketing problems and be capable of applying relevant concepts, models and theories to generate appropriate solutions; and
- communicate an in-depth understanding of a range of issues, practices, models and phenomena in marketing.
Students enrolled in MPK732-MPK932 Marketing Management were required to spend 150 hours over the trimester undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit. This included three hours of face-to-face contact per week for campus students, reading the textbook and study materials, listening to podcasts and/or seminar recordings, responding to questions and discussions posted on CloudDeakin, completing the assessment, and independent reading and enquiry using journal articles and other materials sourced by students.
Analysing a case study in a converged learning and teaching class
The converged learning sessions planned for MPK732-MPK932 Marketing Management involved forward planning and coordination with one of the partner schools in India, the Indian School of Business. Students studying the unit in India and those in Melbourne were required to read and analyse a case study before they came to the class.
Then a ‘live’ or real time class was scheduled in the new Premium Converged Learning Space LB2.101 where the lecturer, students in India and Melbourne came together to discuss the issues generated by the case study and share their perspectives.
Preparation for this interactive session involved communicating clearly with all the students enrolled in the unit the learning goals of the session. One of the main goals of organising this interactive synchronous class facilitated by the lecturer was so that students from both India and Melbourne were able to participate in a cultural exchange of views on the key issues discussed arising from their analysis of the case study.
Review and Feedback
As a part of the evaluation of your learning and teaching, it is good practice to document what went well during the session and reflect on what improvements can be made arising from the issues encountered during the class, which may include learning and teaching as well as technical issues.
A short questionnaire or survey can be used to gather evidence on the impact the converged learning and teaching sessions had for the student learning experience.
You may also wish to compare the performance of the group of students who participated in the converged learning sessions in their assessment tasks with those who were not able to access any converged learning sessions in a previous time when the unit was taught in both face-to-face and cloud.
Students studying in MPM706-MPM 906 Strategic Management were asked to discuss their learning experiences during the converged lecture sessions.
One student who gave feedback about his experience, stated that he found ‘being able to follow the interaction between the presenter and other students most beneficial’.
Another student stated that the converged learning session made her feel as if she was actually sitting in the lecture room, ‘so well done for that.’
Another student response comprised, ‘Just letting you know today’s online class was really good. No issues with joining and everything was really clear…apologies for not responding to your message at the start, I only just saw it when I logged off. Thanks a lot and have a good night.’
Implementing converged learning and teaching
Creating an effective and successful converged learning classroom requires careful planning and preparation before the start of the teaching and learning sessions. A comprehensive professional development resource titled Learning to teach Online Episodes is also available for you to explore and consider which active learning teaching pedagogies you can adapt for your converged learning classroom.
After you and your teaching team have decided to include more interactive sessions for the unit being taught the next step is to set up a meeting with the Learning Innovations team. Learning Innovations will work with you to build your or your team’s capacity to deliver converged learning in your teaching and best use of the Premium Converged Learning Space LB2.101 .
Learning Innovations provide scaffolded support (see model below – how we can help you):
- Learning Innovations BCEL Staff Capacity Session on Converged Learning LB2.101 (PPT)
- Schedule a Skype for Business Meeting Instruction(Windows)
- AMX Panel and Presentation PC
- Join a meeting via Google Chrome
Additional information and examples will be added to this resource. For more information and assistance, please contact Learning Innovations – Building Capacity for Enhanced Learning BCEL team firstname.lastname@example.org.