Communicating Quality Part 14: Time for a Topic Check Up?

By any account, 2020 has been a tough year. Government responses to the COVID public health emergency have had an enormous impact on virtually every sector of the economy, while the psychological impact of the crisis will likely be felt for years to come. Many have suffered profound losses personally, professionally and/or financially, and the sense of fractured stability permeates our interactions and social engagements. Most of us feel at times variously insecure, anxious, stressed, or just plain miserable. There is a longing for warmer weather and the end of the calendar year so we can bring this dismal chapter to a close.

One positive thing this time has afforded is the opportunity to try new things. To experiment. To learn. There is safety in knowing that others too are making stuff up, figuring things out as they go. A comfort in knowing we’re all in this together. With the adaptation to online of topics previously held face to face in labs, tutorial rooms, theatres and classrooms, the mass pivot was nothing short of remarkable. Practicals, presentations, assignments and assessment tasks were shifted, postponed, adapted and converted. Topics were transformed while teaching staff and students felt their way gingerly – but together – towards semester end.

What of the quality of these rapid adaptions? If you made changes to your topic in Semester 1 in response to COVID restrictions, how did they fair? Perhaps you initiated something that proved so popular with students you intend it to become a permanent fixture in your topic going forward? Now is an ideal time to reflect on your efforts, give serious consideration to your Student Evaluation of Teaching feedback, and even consider nominating your topic for Academic Calibration in 2021. Speak to an Academic Developer, get topic data from Planning and Analytical Services, and chat to your Online Learning and Teaching team. Have a ‘spring clean’ of your topic in preparation for a new and improved 2021!

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