• We've done it again! The University of the Sunshine Coast and PebblePad scoop platinum LearnX Award.

    by Sarah Burkhart, Dana Craven, Anita Hamilton

 

We've done it again! The University of the Sunshine Coast and PebblePad scoop platinum LearnX Award.

~ Awards ~

AUGUST 13th 2019
by
Sarah Burkhart
Dana Craven
Anita Hamilton

 

About this blog post

2019 has seen PebblePad partner with more trailblazing customers to showcase their innovative practice and take out another Platinum Award in the LearnX Live! Awards. Sarah Burkhart, Dana Craven and Anita Hamilton from the University of the Sunshine Coast won Best Blended Learning Model for their approach using a flipped classroom model to support their learners. The team members teach in Nutrition, Dietetics and Occupational Therapy degrees in USC's School of Health and Sport Sciences. The LearnX Live! Awards are an international awards program that recognises multiple fields within talent management across the corporate, education and public-service sectors.

We’ll post links where you can read about the stellar work being done by this talented trio below the post, but be sure to look over their portfolio of evidence that supported their award winning entry. In this blog post we wanted to find out what inspires this team and what does it take to be a platinum-award-winning educator?

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Q: Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to adopt your blended learning approach?

 

 
 
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Sarah …
My teaching practice is underpinned by a constructivist-inspired philosophy and my approach is strongly guided by the notion ‘of engaging students in active learning, building their knowledge in terms of what they already understand’. This led me to the concept of the ‘flipped classroom’ and blended learning. In 2015 I decided that I would start to ‘flip’ my courses in an attempt to engage students and provide alternate options for learning. If I couldn’t change my students’ behaviours, at least I could try to provide a form of delivery that supported their needs.

Dana …
Our students were so busy with other commitments outside the classroom and their inability to engage fully with the course as it was structured frustrated me as an educator, and motivated me to make courses as engaging as possible, even if students couldn’t attend class. Since they are generally tech savvy and make use of this frequently for other means (i.e .communicating with each other), this was a sensible approach.

Anita …
Last year when I was at PebbleBash I was inspired by many of the presenters, but one of them was Sarah Burkhart. I work with Sarah at USC but really hadn’t seen the detail of her fantastic teaching practice. How often is it that we are working right alongside brilliance and don't even know it? When I saw her presentation I could see how I could enhance my existing workbooks to add a fresh dimension to my teaching approach, so this year I took Sarah's ideas and applied them to my own course with my first year, first semester students.  The student feedback was very positive and was part of the submission we ended up putting together for the LearnX award. 

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 Q: What made PebblePad the tool that enabled you to achieve your outcomes?

 

 
 
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Dana …
This pedagogical model reverses the traditional two-hour lecture and two-hour tutorial format. Learning is directed to the individual learning space with students responsible for undertaking self-paced learning prior to attending class to actively construct knowledge. PebblePad works well in this learning-centred, blended approach as it provides an online workbook which is an artefact that students own which evidences their knowledge, etc. but also as a tool for revision and learning.

Sarah …
Over the past couple of years, a PebblePad workbook has been the foundation of my courses across years 1 – 3 of our Bachelor of Nutrition.   As the flipped classroom requires a structured approach to pre-class (prepare), in class (participate) and post class (recap) activities, I needed a tool to help students use these learning phases. At the time I didn’t really understand the intended use of PebblePad, but I thought a workbook made the perfect tool to deliver my flipped courses.

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Q: Preparing an awards entry can be a challenging, time-intensive experience. What did you gain from the process of entering these awards?

 

 
 
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Sarah …
While I’ve presented on my use of PebblePad to deliver a flipped course, being able to develop an application for a LearnX award has been an invaluable opportunity for reflection. The process forced me to stop and reflect on my practice, as well as bounce many more ideas off my incredibly enthusiastic and positive colleagues. While the process of applying for this LearnX award has given us time to reflect, and celebrate our teaching practice, it has also provided us with the opportunity to consider and refine our flipped classroom model, ultimately improving the learning experience for both our students, and for ourselves.

Dana …
One thing that I don’t often do, and I feel this is because I am always in the moment, always racing around trying to get everything done, is to stop and reflect on the ‘why’ of my teaching practice. My teaching philosophy is very learning-centred and is about partnerships which is exactly what this process was, a partnership.

Working with Sarah and Anita, who have similar conceptual and theoretical perspectives, is amazing and putting together this award application certainly illuminated the ‘why’ because when you put it all together and look at the story it is clear that what we are doing is working. This award was an opportunity to reflect on my teaching practice through my eyes and those of my peers.

Anita …
One of the exciting outcomes of putting the LearnX award together was having the opportunity to reflect on practice together with two other excited and committed educators. While we were discussing our teaching practice and explaining our rationale for our decisions, we each started to not only recognise what we were doing and why we were doing it, but we continued to enhance our practice on the go which translated directly into our learning and teaching activities for the next semester. So, what have I learnt? Perfection is never achievable but searching for it motivates continual improvement.  For me, the most important aspects of being an educator is learning with colleagues and students.  I'm grateful that by participating in the LearnX application process we had an opportunity to recap on our own practice.

Dana …
Learning is both lifelong and lifewide and participating in this process has taught me some new tricks, provided me with a sense of satisfaction – I am actually pretty good at my job - and has reinvigorated me for the upcoming semester. Thank you!

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Q: What’s next on the horizon?

 

 
 
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Sarah and Dana …
In the future, our intention is to establish the use of PP across the learning environment from our student’s first year so it becomes ingrained in their learning journey and as evidence of their achievements. There is some crossover between the Bachelor of Nutrition and Bachelor of Dietetics and we are aiming to adopt a whole of program approach. We’ll be looking to use PebblePad in semester 2 courses for case studies assessment.

Anita …
After a semester of using this approach to flipped learning I'm now taking it another step, with a cleaner and clearer workbook designed to support students with their learning; all guided by what I learned while working alongside Sarah and Dana.  My new mantra is simplicity in design to guide students through of the complexity of the content.

So, with my first year course receiving high praise, and then winning the LearnX award with my colleagues here at USC and PebblePad, my next challenge is to re-develop a second year fully flipped course in a way that again simplifies the complex and makes the learning journey easy to follow.

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While the process of applying for this LearnX award has given us time to reflect, and celebrate our teaching practice, it has also provided us with the opportunity to consider and refine our flipped classroom model, ultimately improving the learning experience for both our students, and for ourselves.

Sarah Burkhart

 
 
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More inspiring detail ...

If you'd like to find out more about this award-winning flipped learning approach using PebblePad, the links below provide some further information. Sarah Burkhart will also be featuring in our next PebblePad webinar Using PebblePad to design and deliver engaging flipped classroom experiences, which will be broadcast on Wednesday, 18th September 2019 at 13:00-14:00 AEST (Sydney time).

Register for the webinar

 


Additional Resources

Blended Learning Model (Flipped Classroom) Portfolio

PebbleBash case study: Engaging Nutrition and Dietetic students with food science – Using PebblePad to deliver a flipped course - Dr Sarah Burkhart

Additional embedded PebblePad use in Occupational Therapy at USC - PebbleBash case study: Scaling up: A whole program approach to eportfolio as process and product - Dr Anita Hamilton, et al

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Authors

Dr Sarah Burkhart is a Lecturer in Nutrition in the School of Health and Sport Sciences at USC. Sarah coordinates and teaches several courses across the Bachelor of Nutrition and the Bachelor of Dietetics, with a focus on improving the student experience and readiness for practice using blended learning and the flipped classroom approach, innovative technology and effective curriculum design.  Sarah’s scholarship of learning and teaching interests also include the integration of a food systems approach and sustainability within Nutrition and Dietetic curricula, while her research focus area aims to understand the determinants of food choice, dietary diversity and food security across Pacific Island food systems, in particular access and availability, education, food literacy and the influence of culture.

Dr Dana Craven is lecturer and course coordinator in nutrition and dietetics in the School of Health and Sport Sciences at USC. Dana is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with clinical, education and research experience in the discipline of nutrition and dietetics. Dana’s PhD research was focused on nutrition risk among community living older adults. Her current research involvement includes work in partnership with the National University of Samoa exploring adult Samoan food choices. Dana coordinates and teaches several courses across the Bachelor of Nutrition and the Bachelor of Dietetics. Dana’s teaching practice is theoretically grounded and is focused on student engagement in the learning process. Dana has a strong interest in blended learning and educational technologies and is actively engaged in learning and teaching research.

Dr Anita Hamilton is an occupational therapy educator who has always been a champion in the adoption of digital technologies in higher education.  She has 14 years’ experience as a practitioner and 16 years’ experience as an educator at three universities in two countries; Deakin University (Australia), the University of Alberta (Canada) and University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia).  In addition to her teaching and research roles Anita is the Deputy Head of School for the School of Health and Sports Sciences which has five Disciplines; Exercise Science, Nutrition and Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Public Health, and Biomedical Science.  Anita is actively engaged in learning and teaching research, currently focusing on student-peer mentoring and ePortfolios.

 

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