Classrooms in flux: teaching researcher skills in the Zoom era

Dr Donna MacColl1, Dr Alissa Hackett1

1Libraries and Learning Services, University Of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Background

Large research universities can be slow-moving beasts when it comes to change. Within the library, we have wanted to develop an online version of our Doctoral Skills Programme, but a tendency towards detailed planning and perfectionism has meant little progress. This changed for the University of Auckland with the New Zealand level 4 lockdown Covid-19 response.

Methods or Actions

We were fast and adaptive in our approach, creating minimum viable products for most offerings within 1-2 weeks. All our workshops were interactive and utilised various online tools, but delivery style was varied to suit workshop content rather than applying a one-size-fits-all template. We continually refined our sessions following student feedback and our own observations, which helped foster participant engagement and connectivity.

Results

Overall workshop attendance was higher than our face-to-face trainings and our audience extended to include those students based at satellite campuses and distance learners. Students eagerly engaged with us and each other and feedback was excellent. Tools that allowed anonymous questions and contribution were really well received and are now used in our face-to-face sessions.

Conclusions

Due to the Covid19 pandemic we were forced to rid ourselves of our slow-moving ways and rapidly adapt to presenting workshops online. The result has transformed the way we continue to deliver workshops and has prepared us for future remote teaching. Subsequent work includes development of asynchronous resources, finding the correct mix of workshop mediums, and maintaining our agile style of development and implementation in a non-crisis environment.


Biography:

Having completed her PhD in biological science at the University of Melbourne in 2014, Donna has a strong background in scientific research. Her current role is in the Research Services team within the Library at the University of Auckland.  Donna utilizes her research experience to support doctoral students and academics with developing research skills, publishing and bibliometrics advice, and managing their research profiles.

About the conference

eResearch Australasia provides opportunities for delegates to engage, connect, and share their ideas and exemplars concerning new information centric research capabilities, and how information and communication technologies help researchers to collaborate, collect, manage, share, process, analyse, store, find, understand and re-use information.

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