Recent developments across the higher education sector in Australia have required institutional responses founded in collaborative, cross-boundary, and interdisciplinary practices. Dynamic partnerships are at the heart of Griffith University’s Arts, Education and Law Group’s strategy to address the challenging landscape within which our academic and general/professional staff work. This paper reports on the approaches and collaborative work strategies and practices established by the Group’s Blended Learning Advisor (BLA) and Curriculum Consultant (CC) as they work with academics in the learning and teaching space. Partnerships have been a critical component of the leadership culture developed with the Group learning and teaching executive and committee; school learning and teaching committees; program teams/convenor; course teams/convenor; and individual academics during one-to-one consults. Through these partnerships new processes and IT platforms have been adopted; existing IT systems have been adapted and leveraged to address new needs and to complete tasks more effectively and efficiently; courses have been developed for the multi-modal face-to-face, blended and online models of delivery; and data is extracted from increasingly sophisticated IT systems to inform decision-making and direction taking. The approach adopted by the BLA and CC is to work with academic and general/professional staff to build capability; help staff find better ways to use relevant and appropriate learning and teaching IT; design solutions to tasks that can achieve multiple ends and deliver informed outcomes based on good practice. This is achieved because of the nature of the partnerships and the way the roles have developed over time. Those involved work within the “third space” which allows academics and general/professional staff to connect their areas of expertise and experience as they undertake the many-layered learning and teaching tasks of the contemporary higher education sector. An important, but sometimes overlooked, benefit of the dynamic two-way partnerships has been the ability for the CC and BLA to inform Group-, cross Group- and University-level discussions on learning and teaching IT issues and policy implementation.
Dr Lynda Davies and Karin Barac