Ann-Marie Kennedy

Incorporating student voice in student engagement with online learning

Engagement can be defined as: “… concerned with the interaction between the time, effort and other relevant resources invested by both students and their institutions intended to optimise the student experience and enhance the learning outcomes and development of students and the performance, and reputation of the institution.” (p3, Trowler, 2010). In an online context, engagement with learning materials might be seen through downloads, viewing lecture recordings, and interacting with/participating in online activities. In an effort to support students, assessing online engagement statistics and sending follow up emails, texts or calls (such as with ACE) is a recognised way of addressing the engagement issue and retention rates.

Online behavioural engagement measures might not reflect cognitive or emotional engagement (Fredericks, Blumenfeld and Paris, 2004) with learning materials, personal learning approaches, or cultural learning preferences. For instance, a student may prefer self-guided offline study, downloading all course content at the beginning of the semester, and learn most effectively through reading in their own time. This student may achieve excellent results but would be flagged through online engagement statistics. Alternatively, a student might constantly log into the online platform and ‘view’ or download materials, but feel paralysed to engage with the materials and overwhelmed, ultimately failing the course, and not be flagged. To add another layer to these hypothetical situations from a post digital pedagogy and duty of care standpoint, both students might be suffering from extenuating personal circumstances, mental health issues, or perhaps a need to care for dependents, which lead to the level of interaction they are having with online materials that could not (and possibly should not) be identified through their online engagement statistics.

The aim of this project is to explore and validate additional online engagement measures to support student retention, success and pedagogical development.

Nicola Dunham

Story globe: Immersive narratives for teaching and learning

This application is to secure funding for completion of the remaining Aotearoa narratives and the Australian indigenous narratives to be added to the Story-Globe interactive immersive format. Once these narratives are created the aim is to trial and evaluate immersive experiences within teaching and learning contexts across UC. This resource is particularly beneficial for teaching and learning within practitioner and applied disciplines. There is scope for involvement across UC programmes that focus on whānau, youth and child well-being and hence this resource can be applied for teaching and learning across disciplines such as education, health, social work, counselling, youth and community engagement. The funding would mean that the reach of the story globe can be extended and add to teaching and learning opportunities across multiple contexts, thus enhancing the collaborative nature of the research.

Arin Basu

Building the "Metaversity" of Canterbury

In this project, I will build and test a model of experiential teaching in a setting of extended reality over a web browser. This experiential teaching model will build on and extend a traditional classroom through web3, metaverse and virtual reality (VR). The metaverse and web3 based learning environment will be applicable across disciplines within the University, hence the term, “metaversity of Canterbury”.

I will collaborate with UC’s future learning team and experts in other departments, including those from HitlabNZ, we will immersive world and make it open for anyone in UC and wider to engage with, play, and extend reality using just a web browser. While using a virtual reality headset would be welcome, they would not be necessary to enjoy this world that will create this experiential learning opportunity in practically any field of study.

Darren Gravley & Billy O'Steen

Blending field science education with social entrepreneurship and environmental conservation through a virtual zipline

In our pilot with RCT (Rotorua Canopy Tours), we filmed zip lining with GoPros and 360 cameras mounted on helmets and hand held. This footage is stunning in its ability to immerse the viewer and to almost have a better experience than we had in person. Because this technology allows the viewer to control the POV as well as slow down the zip lining, we will label the trees as they travel, which will be part of their scavenger hunt. This is a significant enhancement to the actual experience where the adrenaline and speed do not make it possible to take in details of the surroundings such as idenfying trees.

For our Scholarship, we would value the time and space to intentionally purpose this footage into the most pedagogically effective format possible. We are not far away in that we are intensely familiar with the footage after being thoroughly involved in every aspect – the shooting schedule, the frames desired, and the interview conversations. However, every filmmaker will acknowledge that it does not matter what footage you shot, it’s what you do with it that really matters. It would be amazing to build upon what the seed funding got us in collecting fantastic footage and now turning it into a unique to UC teaching resource.

Hilary Kingston & Nikki Tod

Building authentic partnerships to inform using narrative pedagogy in ITE programmes

Tūngia te ururua, kia tipu whakaritorito te tipu a te harakeke.

Clear the undergrowth so that the new shoots of the flax will grow.

This whakatauki guides the the overarching aims of this project which are twofold; (i) identifying a process for enagaing with mana whenua which is authentic, culturally safe and appropriate (ii) understanding the use of cultural narrative as a pedagogy to enhance design and delivery of educational programmes across the university.

Aligned with the UC strategic vision 2020-2030, partnering with Ngāi Tahu to uphold the mana and aspirations of mana whenua underpin this professional inquiry. Initial consultation identified a need for:

1) UC staff to build understanding and confidence to set a new pattern for authentic engagement with mana whenua

2) Using narratives of mana whenua as a teaching tool, recognising the values and importance of connection with place

The specific intentions of this project include:

  • Partnering with mana whenua to identify aspirations and the value of narrative pedagogy to inform design and delivery of teaching programmes
  • Use of dialectic thinking and critical reflection to examine our own assumptions, to assist in creating new patterns in our teaching approaches
  • Share our personal experiences of partnering with mana whenua to promote teacher confidence and leadership capacity in this space
  • Develop and present a poutama for using narrative pedagogy in teaching and learning programmes across the university

Deirdre Hart

Strengthening Academic Integrity (AI) at UC via Staff, Student and System Approach

The University of Canterbury (UC) Vision and Mission, Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora, is predicated upon a starting point of ethical foundations: to empower our people “…to make a difference in the world” and to deploy our “expertise and knowledge to advance civic purpose and to foster public good”. Our ability to analyse, communicate and act with integrity is what defines the nature of our impact and reputation. This project will positively articulate and pragmatically embed fundamental academic integrity values and competence within learning and teaching practices across UC.

Stage 1 of the project involves analysing results from a pilot academic integrity module in Te Kura Aronukurangi | School of Earth and Environment, improving and widening the module’s application via a second SCIE101 pilot in Semester 2 2021. Stage 2 will employ feedback from the SCIE101 experience and from around UC to prepare the academic integrity module for pan-university implementation in Semester 2, 2022. Stage 3, throughout 2022, involves the creation of supporting tertiary teacher training resources, while the final Stage 4 will develop and implement an UC academic integrity analysis and reflection system in conjunction with the Academic Quality and Academic Development units to produce a new UC system of academic integrity analysis and reflection, incorporating effective academic integrity module data and reporting, with lessons learned fed back into teaching and learning practices and the evolution of UC academic integrity regulations and policies.

In a global pandemic, our ability to maintain and reinforce via flexible delivery, strong student academic integrity skills is central to our degrees’ value. Academic integrity is not only crucial to study skills but also to graduates’ work readiness. Approaches to academic integrity learning developed in a bicultural context can incorporate knowledge systems beyond those of Western academic and colonial contexts, recognising the dignity of indigenous knowledge, knowledge-sharing practices, and identifying cultural appropriation.

I welcome feedback and/or emails from those wishing to get involved with this project from UC and beyond.


Christian Walsh

Student centred video tools for assessment and learning

As technology tools have improved the use of video as a communication medium is now prevalent in many courses across the university. However videos are almost exclusively directed toward the student as the passive recipient, with the exception of capturing some student presentations. Tools such as flipgrid ( and others, can now relatively simply capture individual students themselves as the creators and simply deliver these videos back to course facilitators in order to both demonstrate and enhance the learning process.

As an experiment on the Creative Challenge course, a part of the MBA programme, student centred videos through flipgrid were used as an ongoing reflection tool during the course. The students, who were all experienced MBA students and so familiar with written reflections, were overwhelmingly positive about the experience and highlighted some interesting differences from the typical written reflections. Common feedback was that “The video reflections did trigger deeper thoughts on the challenge”, “Encouraged deeper reflection than when written, more conversational”, and “I found the video easy to use so my attention could be on the learning rather than creating the written word to express what was sometimes fairly messy ideas.”

It appears from this very early experiment that the act of having to articulate their thoughts quite succinctly in a video may involve different learning processes compared to compiling a written reflection. It certainly involves a different communication skill, i.e. verbal vs written. From the teachers perspective it certainly appears to be a more authentic medium for students to convey complex contextual ideas.

The focus of this project then will be to examine from a student centric perspective how the use of video tools helps or hinders the learning process and why this is. From there we will be able to examine when and how to best make use of some of these new tools in order to enhance the learning experience of our students, e.g. In what situations are these tools most appropriate? What sort of assessment/learning tasks could make effective use this technology? How might this translate to larger undergraduate classes? Could this increase engagement for students?


Nick Emerson

Using technology-enhanced pedagogy to create a framework for accessible, flexible, and future-focussed learning in experiential degree programmes

Modern, practical degrees such as the Bachelor of Product Design require a multi-disciplinary ‘hands-on’ student experience that historically has been driven via a cognitive-apprenticeship or experiential learning model, wherein experienced practitioners (academics) guide students through problem-based and experiential learning. Such models are demonstrably functional for small cohorts, but are resource intensive when employed for larger groups.

The primary strategic goal of this project is to explore how technology-enhanced pedagogy can enable programmes with high student-staff ratios to effectively align with an experiential, apprentice-learning model. The project will explore the use of digital educational tools to provide accessible, equitable, and future-focussed education. Project outcomes may be used to help ‘scale up’ future recruitment and to inform other apprentice-model programmes across the university.

The secondary strategic goals are to improve the utilisation of specialist spaces across the university, and provide additional resilience for interrupted teaching. The project outcomes will also create strategic opportunities for the university to increase engagement with the community, providing opportunities for practical training for maker spaces and associated equipment.


Ciaran Moore

Building Capabilities in Online Summative Assessment for STEM Courses

Online assessments offer exciting opportunities for students to demonstrate their abilities to “enquire, …create and contribute knowledge for a better society,” in realistic and culturally-responsive ways that go beyond the knowledge-recall skills that are typically nurtured in paper-based examinations and tests. They can also  provide authentic analogues for the communal, knowledge-rich work environments that students expect to find themselves in after graduation. This authenticity is important, as it allows for an aligned assessment system that is credible to both students and employees.

In this project, I will research and develop online assessments, specifically targeted at STEM courses offered at UC, that provide valid and reliable measurements of student achievement. I will use remote laboratories, interactive programming quizzes and online exams to explore how assessment design can be used to demonstrate students’ high-level cognitive skills while discouraging rote memorisation. I will also explore how questions can be crafted to embrace the abundance of knowledge available online, while maintaining effective barriers against cheating. This work will allow me to develop assessments that more closely mimic the work environments graduates expect to find themselves in when they begin their engineering careers.


Donald Matheson

Building global classrooms at UC

Kia ora tatou. This project is about the challenge of how we internationalise university education in the current ‘crisis of globalisation’. Student mobility is a rich form of learning, but is accessible to very few (even when borders are open). It’s also not compatible with our low-carbon goals and operates mostly on neo-colonial lines. I think we can do better, through developing long-term partnerships at the course level where the focus is on rich learning experiences for students.

So the project sets out to develop a structure for ‘global classrooms’ at UC, through research and cross-university teaching collaboration, and will hopefully have practical outcomes in a number of teaching partnerships with universities overseas. The global classrooms model involves local courses on the same topic offered at two or three partner universities, linked by a common platform that heavily favours collaborative learning. These kinds of courses address major strategic goals at UC, promising accessible, environmentally sustainable and low-cost international experiences for students, a structure for international partnerships and high quality learning that will prepare students with skills to contribute to society.

The project will: 1) be research-led through a study of graduates of an existing course, COMS225, that follows the global classrooms model; 2) build a community of practice of lecturers at UC focused around the model; 3) initiate work on administrative structures at UC to enable and set up these courses, working with departments, deans and others.

Please email me if you are interested in chatting about the project. I’m keen to connect with as many people as are interested.

Matthew Hughes

Humanitarian Engineering: Flourishing in the Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a new geological age characterised by industrial civilisation’s rapid expansion, accelerating from the 1950s, to consume and transform ecosystems and landscapes, a development marked indelibly in Earth’s biodiversity and rock record that will persist for aeons. Despite significant improvements in human wellbeing in recent centuries, the benefits of global development have been unequal, and consequent environmental degradation threatens to undermine progress.

This project contends that Humanitarian Engineering is a useful transdisciplinary approach to support human flourishing in the Anthropocene. One definition of Humanitarian Engineering is “the artful drawing on science to direct the resources of nature with active compassion directed toward meeting the basic needs of all — especially the powerless, poor, or otherwise marginalised”. This project will develop a collaborative teaching programme to support and expand the delivery of Humanitarian Engineering based on: acknowledgement of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and mana whenua, harnessing established iwi relationships, and acknowledging Te Ao Māori and Mātauranga Māori in weaving new understanding; reciprocal, resilient and sustainable partnerships with Pasifika communities; essential conceptual and theoretical approaches to development; deeply considered ethical frameworks; meaningful and demonstrably beneficial community engagements; and recognition of social-cultural and geopolitical dynamics in a COVID-19 world.


Cheryl Brown and Sara Tolbert

Critical digital pedagogies and ethics of care in the post-pandemic university: Exploring inclusive equitable strategies for blended and online learning

The uncertainties of COVID and related future crises demand that we plan for and accommodate increased flexibility and adaptability in instruction that is responsive to both students and current social contexts. The current crisis, or “turning point,” if you will, has presented us with a unique opportunity to shift our practices. We believe blended/ online learning is as much social-emotional as it is cognitive. Teaching should not be solely focused on the dissemination of content. Social learning, care, and connection are critical elements of learning. Furthermore, we need to keep issues of equity firmly in the forefront of our teaching. We propose, therefore, to draw on the principles of hybrid pedagogy (which combines the strands of critical pedagogy and digital pedagogy to arrive at the best social and civil uses for technology and new media in education) and ethics of care to rethink our approach to digital learning for the post-pandemic university.

We hope to explore universal design for learning and teaching (UDL) as an approach that will be flexible enough to accommodate diverse students’ needs for learning. One of our initial activities will be to establish a “think tank” around critical digital pedagogies (connected to Learning Earth Ako Futures [LEAF] group  and Digital Education Futures Lab (formerly E-learning lab). 


Ben Kennedy and Jonathan Davidson

Building a School Team and University wide methodology for course transformation towards resilient flipped/blended teaching environments

The Covid 19 pandemic has brought to the fore the need for more flexible and future-focussed education. This project will build a team in the School of the Earth and Environment (SEE) and with colleagues from the Centre for Academic Success and the College of Education, Health and Human Development, to support course transformations towards resilient blended, flipped and wrapped MOOC courses. This team will develop a methodology that is applicable across the university to create innovative online experiences that enhance learning in face-to-face settings. Specifically, we will create innovative ways to deliver and assess flexible content via virtual fieldtrips and virtual lab environments.

Stage 1 will focus on Geol 336 Volcanology and Magmatic systems course that underwent some course transformation in 2011 (Kennedy et al., 2012). We will measure baseline data on teaching practices (TPI Wieman and Gilbert, 2104), student motivation (MSLQ) (Pintrich, 1991), and pre –post learning outcomes (Hake, 1996). We envisage a significant component of this UC face to face course will be delivered using the open EdX platform with the goal of running the transformed course as a wrapped MOOC in 2021 and beyond. The wrapped MOOC will contain elements of online labs and virtual fieldtrips and specific assessments around bicultural competencies, providing an experience resilient to sudden changes in teaching constraints (e.g. social distancing or lockdown obligations). Following the transformation in 2021/2 we will remeasure teaching and learning for the instructor and students.

Stage 2 of the project will establish a teaching mentoring program in the School. This mentoring program will be developed in conjunction with the Postgraduate Certificate of Tertiary Teaching. The mentoring program is designed to support other staff through the course transformation process beyond the duration of this project and many of the measures (TPI, MLSQ) will be continued to be used to measure course transformation where appropriate. The mentoring will involve mentor and peer classroom observation, integration with educational research, and facilitate the integration of resilient teaching methodologies

Stage 3 will see the course transformation and mentorship results disseminated throughout the university, and permanent establishment of teaching mentorship in SEE, with recommendations for other Schools/departments.


Jane Abbiss

Practice-oriented teaching and assessment: Finding relevance and enhancing scholarship

One of the challenges in tertiary teaching within professional programmes is to ensure the relevance of tertiary teaching and learning for the professions while also ensuring high levels of academic scholarship. Questions of relevance, though, go beyond professional programmes. There are many ways that tertiary education is relevant and meaningful that are not connected with particular professional practices. This project focuses on assessment as an aspect of tertiary teaching, in particular on exploring possibilities for practice-oriented assessment. The starting context is one-year teacher education programmes in the School of Teacher Education. These programmes have all recently been re-developed and, over the next two years, the tertiary teachers in these programmes will be revising and designing new learning opportunities and assessment activities. These assessments need to meet both university requirements for academic scholarship and professional requirements for practice-orientated teaching. However, this is only the project starting point. This participatory project is open to any UC academics who would like to explore assessment practice and possibilities within their own teaching and disciplinary contexts, with the support of a group of similarly interested academic peers.


Rosie Cameron

Adaptive Learning Technologies in MATH101

This project aims to redesign MATH101 to meet the diverse learning needs of incoming students. As a mathematics foundations course MATH101 will aim to satisfy stakeholder requirements such as prerequisite for EMTH118/MATH102, but also incorporate remediation for students who are under-prepared for tertiary mathematics.

Over recent years, the cohort of students in MATH101 has included many students who lack the foundational skills that they need to keep up with the course. This has been established by pretesting and is reflected in recent pass rates. Previous adjustments have been to reduce the number of topics, encourage students to revise numeracy and algebra skills, and trial different teaching and learning activities. While these approaches have been beneficial there are still a large number of students who require further remediation.

The initial stage of the project will be to explore different tools and teaching methods that have potential application to a redesigned MATH101. One such tool is adaptive learning which provides students with targeted remediation and automated support. This provides them with the opportunity to master initial, prerequisite content and then build on these acquired skills as they encounter content that is more complex.