UNSW's Education Festival 2021

Inspire. Challenge. Celebrate.

A look back at UNSW's inaugural Education Festival

In 2021, for the first time, UNSW hosted a university-wide Education Festival – a week-long series of activities encompassing the former Learning & Teaching Forum and Faculty Education events. It provided a platform to recognise and celebrate our educators, and share educational practice in collaborative, cross-disciplinary ways.

Each event was centred around a theme chosen by the host faculty and featured presentations, posters, roundtables and networking sessions to reflect on, challenge and inspire what we do next in Education. The Friday afternoon event, hosted by the PVCESE Portfolio wrapped up with the annual teaching awards ceremony to celebrate achievements, among other exciting sessions including a lively debate.

Here's what the 2021 program looked like:

Edu Fest 2021 Program Outline

Photo gallery

In 2021, the themes were*:

(click on each of the below titles for more information)

Creating hands-on learning experiences where students learn by solving real-world or authentic problems helps to engage students with the task at hand and prepares students for their future careers. We invited you to showcase your innovations in authentic learning experiences as short presentations or posters.
(Hosted by UNSW Engineering)

In a year like 2021, we cannot underestimate the impact of students’ wellbeing on academic outcomes. In the context of the Education Festival, we invited presentations about academic interventions and strategies that support students’ wellbeing, development and academic success, particularly through careful educational design and targeted curricular approaches.
(Hosted by UNSW Canberra & the Healthy Universities Initiative)

Jumping through hoops and feedback loops
Assessment and Feedback are integral components of education which, though inextricably linked, do not serve the same function. Student development through feedback is often overlooked in deference to the measurement and judgement processes of assessment. Students are often stressed by our assessment practices and may not perceive that they have received useful feedback that helps guide or drive their learning. How can we encourage our learners to engage with feedback and make our assessments more meaningful? We invited you to join us in overcoming this perennial problem with presentations and demonstrations of creative solutions of how you get your students to jump through the hoops of assessment while cultivating the feedback loop.
(Hosted by UNSW Medicine & Health)

While 2020 saw us switch to online learning, a slow return to campus sees us teaching students across both the physical and virtual classrooms. You shared with us how these challenges have changed your approach. What have you done that you will keep into the future and what will you leave behind?
(Hosted by UNSW Science)

How might we reimagine our academic programs to ensure students have the best possible transformative experience at UNSW? We welcomed short presentations, panel discussions, and demonstrations of any aspect of program renewal or redesign that showcase a future-focused curriculum and transformative learning experience.
(Hosted by UNSW Business School)

Making big teaching impacts, one small step at a time
Covid-19 has forced us to re-think and re-adjust the way we educate. Whether it’s streamlining communications to your students and tutors, decluttering your Moodle, or introducing a clicker in your hybrid classroom – small changes can make a big difference towards student experience. You were invited to present your micro-innovations as micro-presentations, Pecha Kucha style. You joined us in celebrating the small wins in this big climb towards the future of learning.
(Hosted by UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture)

Is the pandemic a ‘teachable moment?’ If so, what kind of a moment is it? Pedagogies of the Pandemic is the theme of the Legal Education Research Conference. You joined us to hear our presenters discuss what law pedagogy looks like under conditions of COVID-19. What has worked and not worked in the teaching of law under the pandemic? Why and how? You joined in our discussions on what the pandemic has taught us about our discipline and the way we teach and transmit its knowledge.
(Hosted by UNSW Law & Justice)


*Note: Although faculties hosted particular themes, each themed event featured presenters across different faculties and parts of the university.

Celebrations, Presentations & Debate

Friday afternoon hosted by the PVCESE included the annual teaching and research awards ceremony to celebrate achievements, a thought provoking keynote and a lively debate moderated by Prof. Merlin Crossley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic & Student Life. Participants had the opportunity to attend the event online or in-person at UNSW Sydney campus!

(click on each of the below titles for more information)

In recent years major changes have occurred in the ways university teachers think about feedback in higher education. The focus has moved from seeing feedback simply as an input to students to recognizing that feedback is a process in which students necessarily need to be engaged. The implications of such a change are that we need to look at feedback primarily from the point of view of the person benefitting from the process, not the teacher, and consider what active roles students need to play. How can feedback processes be designed to maximise the positive influences they can have on student learning?

The session considered both the changes in conceptions of feedback that are occurring and how they can be incorporated into normal subjects. It also considered the need for students to develop what has been called feedback literacy, that is, the understanding and capacity to utilize feedback processes for their own benefit. 

Prof David Boud

About Prof. Boud

David Boud is Alfred Deakin Professor and Foundation Director of the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning at Deakin University, he is also Emeritus Professor at the University of Technology Sydney. He has previously held positions of Head of School, Associate Dean and Dean of the University Graduate School at UTS, and Director of the Professional Development Centre at UNSW. He has published extensively on teaching, learning and assessment in higher and professional education. His current work focuses on the areas of assessment for learning in higher education, academic formation and workplace learning. He is one of the most highly cited scholars internationally in the field of higher education (h-index of 94). He has been a pioneer in developing learning-centred approaches to assessment across the disciplines, particularly in building assessment skills for long-term learning (Developing Evaluative Judgement in Higher Education, Routledge), designing new approaches to feedback (Feedback in Higher and Professional Education, Routledge; The Impact of Feedback in Higher Education: Improving assessment outcomes for learners, Palgrave Macmillan) and the implications of the digital for assessment (Re-imagining University Assessment in a Digital World, Springer)

Student on computer

Adjudicator: Prof. Merlin Crossley, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic & Student Life
On the debating teams: Prof. Alex Steel, A/Prof. Adrienne Torda, Prof. Richard Buckland, Prof. Lyria Bennett Moses, and students Aleisha Lawrence and Aman Mohamad.

Related articles

  • A look back at UNSW's inaugural Education Festival. Read here
  • Heart-warming nomination statements submitted by students as part of the new 'UNSW Students' Choice Teaching Award'. Read here
  • Education Focussed academics kicking off the week at their retreat. Read here
  • Celebrating the exceptional teaching award recipients of 2021. Read here

    Contact engage.pvcese@unsw.edu.au if you have any questions regarding the event.

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