|Accounting @ Macquarie|
The introduction of portfolios in accounting, coupled with the innovative learning and assessment it produced, proved challenging to comprehend and uncomfortable in places for students. Whilst, it is the very aim of the capstone unit to place students in such an environment of uncomfortableness where a single view or solution is no longer warranted, it was viewed that further support maybe required. This has been a steep learning curve for the teaching staff involved and has resulted in enhanced learning resources being provided to students and more time being spent on actively discussing the context of learning in the capstone and how this is ultimately assessed.
Such a learning design has now been running for 2.5 years at Macquarie University and has seen the development of 5 student cohorts. Continual refinement of the capstone and student Word-of-mouth discussions and expectations has resulted in a stronger offering. Time has been spent with sessional staff to further develop their confidence in facilitating such student learning. This entailed academic staff undergoing a process of 'unlearning' where they were asked to abandon the techniques and practices they were familiar with, looking at the learning context afresh and relearning in a way that transformed their views of what it means to be an educator.
Accounting Staff improvements feedback included:
- “Need more time to really get into each student's collage - it was not possible to ask every student, so I feel that some missed out on being able to express a view”.
- “It was somehow challenging because the students are clearly not used to such exercises. In general, I found the exercise to be a good ice-breaker to get to know the students and show them that there is no need to be shy”.
- “It was also quite challenging and took a lot of energy and patience to encourage them to speak out. I also had to think fast to respond to their idea and to facilitate”.
- “I felt a bit nervous not knowing the students’ reactions. I tried to explain the purpose of the exercise before they started in order to encourage their active participation”.