TOL update for May

student studying

Tracey GreenWe are now past the halfway point of first session and the Transform Online Learning (TOL) pilots continue across the Faculty and Division of Student Services. Some TOL elements were showcased at the BJBS Learning and Teaching Symposium in Wagga Wagga recently including flexible assessment, automated feedback, five day turn-around of assignments and online residential schools.

Thank you to the Leaders who participated in Impact Assessment Workshops for TOL through March and April. The conversations in these workshops were very valuable and will support our further planning for change support activity. We had 29 Leaders from Faculties and Divisions participate in the three workshops.

This update includes a focus on the Online Study Advisor (OSA) function pilot from Peter Greening and Student Feedback from Sarah Hyde. As noted within the comments below, the majority of students contacted by the OSA have had their queries addressed on the spot. Feedback from students regarding the pilots has also been positive.

The TOL Pilot evaluation is expected to conclude in August, with feedback from the pilots to inform the next stage of TOL development involving 100 subjects from nominated courses throughout the Faculty.

In case you missed the recent DCVA update for TOL, I include it here for reference. Please use this update as part of your discussions at a School level and don’t hesitate to contact me or the Sub Dean TOL, Jason Howarth if you’d like more information.



Online study advisor pilot – Peter Greening

student studyingThe Online Study Advisor (OSA) pilot is identifying the links and interdependencies with existing student services and Faculty support teams, and testing functions and responsibilities.

For session 1 2018, Senior Online Study Advisor (Emma Gersbach in Dubbo) and the Online Study Advisor (Kim Craig in Wagga Wagga) were appointed to test the OSA functions in nominated Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences (BJBS) courses. These two are working in the OSA function within the Division of Student Services, while also collaborating closely with BJBS.

The initial focus of the OSA pilots has been with first year online students studying Bachelor of Law, Grad Dip Psych and M Applied Finance. Since many discussions with students relate to their enrolment, the OSA teams are also working closely with Course Administration Officers.

Over the past 6 weeks, the OSA teams have used metrics within Interact2 to identify which students needed support. Most students identified had issues which the OSA could resolve. This included students struggling with their study load, and who wanted help to understand which subject(s) they could postpone without affecting their progress.

Early feedback from students relating to the OSA function includes:

My prior study was at ANU and nobody ever contacted me like this when I was studying. This is a great service.


It is so good to get this phone call. This is much better support than I got at Macquarie where I previously studied.


This call has really eased my anxiety. I am struggling with this subject but you have given me some options to explore.


What is coming up next?

The pilot will evaluate both the student and staff experience to assist with decisions for 2019 within the wider strategic intent of the University. In particular, the pilot will:

  • test the OSA functions in the Faculty of BJBS courses in session 1 of 2018 (201830);
  • examine the functions of an OSA role using existing CSU systems and technologies; and
  • evaluate the pilot and provide options for 2019.

Please contact James Brann for further information about the OSA Pilot.

Student feedback on pilots – Sarah Hyde

As part of the evaluation process, the TOL team has collected initial feedback from students involved in the pilot subjects.  A selection of comments about specific TOL elements appear below. Student feedback forms a major part of the Evaluation Plan alongside feedback from staff via surveys and interviews. Learning analytic data on student performance and engagement with subject sites will also form part of the feedback.

Flexible assessment

I love the new system. I have been studying for years via distance. The study planner which allows flexibility with dates is an incredible assistance (especially in my job where I am travelling all the time as it allows me to account for different timezones).


I like the idea of recommended submission dates. It frameworks the plan most suited to completing the subject whilst permitting integration of my other priorities.


I have found the flexible due dates to be a really positive change. I am a very organised person, however even the most organised person can struggle to balance their study load when assessment due dates clash between subjects. Enabling students the ability to utilize even just a few extra days I think in the long term will allow a greater quality of work to be produced as the stress of rushing between subjects is no longer an issue.


Rapid return of assessments

Rapid feedback is useful if assignments are very close together. I do however feel lecturers should not be required to provide rapid responses if the assignments are 15 or more days apart. It would also be useful for the last assignment, so marks are given before exams are held.


Feedback from the first assessment led into making improvements on the second assessment, which was due within 10 days of the first one. Feedback was crucial to understanding the second assessment and making sure I was on the right track.


What is coming up next?

  • An analysis of feedback collected from mid-session surveys with staff and students will be presented using Infographics by the end of May.
  • End of session student and staff survey including Academic, Administration and Support Staff scheduled for 1st June.
  • All feedback collected throughout the pilots will be collated and analysed to provide key learnings from the pilot by the end of August. This will include an in-depth qualitative analysis of interview transcripts.

Please contact Sarah Hyde for further information regarding student feedback and TOL Pilot evaluation.