Theme: Making waves

2023’s conference theme, ‘Making Waves’, reflects the innovative practices that higher education institutions can adopt to stand out from the crowd and influence the broader sector. In line with the theme, this event will explore how the use of information technology innovations in higher education can deliver truly unique and captivating experiences for students – and staff – that echo across the sector.

Sub-themes

  1. Embracing disruption
    The crises we face are global, medical, health, economic and societal. The human toll of the pandemic is massive, both physical and mental. As we move to living with the virus, we must grasp the opportunities in this time of upheaval to reshape ourselves, our relationships, organisations, technologies, workplaces and society. The fundamental and seismic challenges of climate and environment, inequalities of race and gender, and the path to reconciliation with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will be met more impactfully if we are able to embrace the disruption at this moment in time.
  2. Teaching to the Attention Economy
    Technologies have been designed deliberately to capture our attention. For example TikTok is one of the fastest growing apps with over a billion users, and with a 15 second format, sees users consuming and creating content quickly. Users engage with the content and each other with features such as response videos, challenges and duets. This self organising format is fun and engaging for users, but what does that mean for formal learning? As with all social media there are exciting opportunities for education but how do we leverage student’s engagement with this fast paced content in a higher education context?
  3. Dynamic delivery
    Service excellence remains a focus across the sector to ensure quality experiences for students and staff. Technology and teaching delivery is changing rapidly, often outpacing existing delivery processes. How can institutions adopt new technologies and modes that enable dynamic delivery? Can more dynamic delivery methods and mindsets help institutions deliver rapid change while still remaining student centred?
  4. Cyber Complacency
    In the age of the 24 hour news cycle and daily cyber attacks, are we becoming complacent with institutional cyber security? Educating staff on their role in protecting institutional data is an essential line of defence. How can institutions balance the goal of improving staff awareness without creating information overload? What processes and tools do institutions need to have in place to minimise impact when security events do eventuate? And how can we use our students to our advantage, driving innovative new cyber security solutions?
  5. Online and multi-modal learning for equity students
    The pandemic forced higher education institutions to move learning experiences online which enabled opportunities for equity students to engage in ways that were not possible before. Some equity groups however found the transition more challenging. What is an adequate level of digital access? Can technology help address social inequality? These questions were already circulating in the field of online learning prior to the arrival of the pandemic in 2020. Questions of digital equity, however, and the shape of teaching and learning practices have been sharpened by the increased use of online learning tools and multi-modal learning spaces. What do we mean by digital equity and how does this intersect with questions of social inequality? How can we help to shape the future of teaching and learning that provides opportunities for all students?
  6. Quality learning in the digital world
    In 2020, universities around the world shifted their primary mode of delivery to online, en masse. In order to provide ’emergency remote instruction’, many academics – and in some cases, many universities – made their first forays into online learning. Navigating the challenges of an overnight shift to online learning meant there was not always space for careful design of high quality learning experiences or for selecting perfect technologies for the job. How do we continue to deliver high quality online learning and teaching experiences? What did we learn from the successes and failures of large scale remote learning? How can we build on these successes and failures? What does high quality online learning look like going forward? What technology infrastructure do we need to support high quality experiences for staff and students? What are the opportunities?
  7. Testing Times
    Authentic assessment, discontinuation or reduction in face to face exams, contract cheating and other Academic conduct concerns are all hot topics in the online assessment space. As higher education adapts to maintain the integrity of assessments in a rapidly changing environment innovative tools and processes are emerging to navigate this high stakes space.