altLAB works closely with AUT faculties and key stakeholders to align our initiatives and support to the priorities of the AUT community. Our current projects and involvement with initiatives are outlined here.
Fresh perspectives for Communication Studies
The School of Communication Studies recently invited altLAB to present possibilities for course redesign, with a focus on improved connection between formative and summative assessment. altLAB developed four new concepts for a sample paper. While retaining the original learning outcomes and graduate profile, the learning, assessment and teaching approaches were reconsidered. The intended outcome was to provide academic staff with inspiration from which they could develop their own ideas and papers.
Human Anatomy and Physiology II (HAP II) is an interdisciplinary paper that is delivered to 1000+ on-campus and distance students each year. Delivery on such a large scale was the main driver in prompting the paper leader to reconsider the overall design. altLAB initially met with the team to discuss what was working well and what could be changed ahead of Semester 2. With a longer-term redevelopment plan now in place, altLAB is working with the HAP II team to revisit paper learning outcomes and redesign assessments. The approach includes a shift away from final examinations to alternative assessments that are fair, culturally inclusive and constructively aligned.
Culinary Arts Demonstration Videos
Culinary Arts contacted altLAB in early 2020 with the idea to film a series of videos demonstrating skills specific to the Diploma of Culinary Arts. Due to Campus Closures, in response to COVID-19, the project was placed on pause. One paper leader noted that “lockdown really highlighted the lack of online resources we had available” and re-emphasised the importance of the video resource creation. Once the first trial videos are complete we plan to set up a monthly video shoot and build a library of teaching resources. altLAB sees potential to carry this approach across to other disciplines where demonstration plays a key role in learning.
Our digital media team collaborated with Te Ara Poutama: Māori indigenous development to design, develop and distribute the Kōrerorero Learn Te Reo Māori app. Kōrerorero, meaning conversations, is an interactive app designed to teach spoken te reo Māori through listening, repetition and learning of vocabulary/phrases that can be easily introduced into real life situations. After a two-year collaboration, the app went live in Google Play and Apple stores on September 14 2020, after a two-year collaboration between Te Ara Poutama: Māori indigenous development and altLAB.
Wānanga Aronui is a partnership between the Office of Māori Advancement and altLAB. The partnership is designing a Professional Learning programme to support the weaving of mātauranga Māori into curricula across the University. A dual-approach of ground-up, needs-based and top-down, values-driven has been adopted to ensure that we can support the needs of our teaching staff through cultivating Our Values. To shape the professional learning programme we are set to run three wānanga; tāngata whenua, tāngata tiriti and a collaborative design of the wānanga, to conclude. The professional learning programme will be available in 2021.
Assessment in 2021 and beyond
altLAB recently supported Professor Gayle Morris, PVC Learning and Teaching, on a discussion paper that explores authentic assessment and the place of summative examinations. While AUT is committed to authentic assessment (as part of the XLE Framework), summative examinations are often less authentic than alternatives. What’s more, COVID-19 conditions have required AUT to adapt its assessment practices, with an explicit shift away from examinations. Drawing upon recent experiences, the paper supports a Learning and Teaching Committee discussion as AUT considers its assessment strategies and practices for 2021 and beyond.