DeakinConnect is Deakin University’s open learning space for delivery of massive open online courses (MOOCs). The purpose-built platform, developed in conjunction with Janison, enables Deakin University to innovate in assessment. Rather than try to test and measure student success, the course prompts learners to create and share rich evidence of their attainment of learning outcomes. Peers can award credit signifying that they believe the participant’s exhibit shows mastery of learning outcomes at or beyond the agreed standards and DeakinConnect Peer Credit badges can be shared on social media platforms including LinkedIn and Facebook.
“The existing Learning Management System wasn’t going to be flexible enough and was primarily set up to support Deakin University students. We wanted something that could be accessed by anyone and that also had a very modern, flexible interface. Janison was chosen on this basis. Working with Janison has enabled us to offer a really streamlined, tailored end-user experience.”
At the cutting edge
“It’s not as if there are a lot of universities out there doing this. It’s not an established business model by any means. This really is cutting-edge stuff.”
Q&A with Wendy Palmer
What are the key benefits of using Janison’s system for the organisation?
From a usability perspective, I’m very much a fan. I’ve really been enjoying using the system. The ability to quickly put together learning materials that are visually engaging, for me, is a real strength.
What are the key benefits of the system for your end users?
It’s a robust and elegant learning environment for users with a flexible and modern user interface. This enables us to provide a wonderful learning experience. Janison was chosen because of these factors.
Did you encounter any challenges along the way? Any lessons learned?
Interestingly enough, yes, when we were trying to change things up a bit with the format. A lot of the MOOC learning systems are in the format of just a video with associated multiple-choice questions. One week we decided to try this format for one of the modules. We got a real backlash on the discussion boards with comments like: ‘We’re so disappointed, we didn’t think this was that sort of course’. We had actually planned to use this format more. We ended up changing from multiple choices to an FAQ format, and then directing users to resources so they could research them further if they wanted to find out more. We didn’t receive any negative backlash from that. The system enabled us to adapt really quickly to learners’ expectations and requirements. We have the flexibility to change the courses as we progress and to give our users the learning experience they need.
How are you measuring success as you progress?
We’ve also included feedback surveys in there and an Inbox where we’ve received quite a few comments already. That’s all really useful for us. We can refine the content and functionality to help ensure the success of future courses based on the experience and feedback from existing users.
How has it been working with the Janison teams?
It’s being a good experience to work with a team of people who are keen to innovate and to be so responsive. Janison operates in an innovative and fast-paced environment, but they take the time to understand our objectives and to listen to our requirements. They want to find the best way to support our needs. On the whole, it’s been an effective partnership and I’m really enjoying working with them.
Would you recommend Janison to other organisations?
Finally, can you summarise your experience?
We have a collaborative partnership with Janison and together we have delivered a ground-breaking project, all within time and within budget, and it’s been extremely successful.