Creating a game changing course for BEL students

2 October 2019

Designing a new course to transform and redefine the learning experience for business, economics and law (BEL) students was the focus of The University of Queensland’s first CreateAthon in June.

The full-day ideation event, which was co-led by UQ’s BEL Faculty and Idea Hub, brought together more than 80 students, staff, alumni and industry partners to co-create the Faculty’s first transdisciplinary capstone course for 2020.

Watch all the action of the CreateAthon and hear from our participants via the highlights video below.

 The idea

BEL Faculty Senior Educational Designer Dr Angie Knaggs, who spearheaded the initiative, said the future course would be the University’s first to bring business, economics and law students together, creating a diverse and authentic work experience and environment.

“As educators, we must prepare our students to drive innovation and to be positive disruptors in an unpredictable and changing world of work,” Dr Knaggs said.

“To achieve this, we need to change the undergraduate learning experience and our mindsets towards learning as a process, not a product.

“Our CreateAthon challenged members of our UQ community to collaborate, unleash their creativity, generate bold ideas, and create a course that is engaging for students, relevant for industry and transformational for our teachers.”

 The partnership

At the heart of the CreateAthon’s success was an innovative student-staff partnership, which involved four BEL students and the BEL Learning and Teaching team.

BEL Associate Dean (Academic) Professor Polly Parker said engaging students as partners in curriculum development gave them voice and choice in designing their learning experiences.

“At UQ, we strive to ensure our students are at the centre of everything we do,” Professor Parker said.

“And as a Faculty, we strive to empower our students to tackle challenges of all sizes and complexity, think like entrepreneurs and learn skills that will help them create long-lasting and positive change in the world.

“Partnering with our students to co-create this initiative was a valuable opportunity for us to demonstrate how much we value their bold ideas and how vital they are to our shared success and progress.”

 The event

On the day, an engaged community of 80 learners, teachers, alumni and industry change makers came together to participate in UQ’s first CreateAthon.

Dr Knaggs said UQ Idea Hub and BEL facilitators applied the transformational teaching and learning design methodology called Vision Backcasting, pioneered by KAOSPILOT, to create an active co-creation space.

“The day was focused on playing, experimenting and being bold and audacious in our thinking,” Dr Knaggs said.

“True to the spirit of the methodology, we asked participants to leave their titles at the door, disrupt the status quo, use divergent thinking, and promote equality of people and ideas.”

The first session of the day explored what success looked like for the course and what skills, knowledge and attitudes would be required by students to succeed.

In the second session, participants explored how the different partners would be involved in shaping and delivering the course.

And in the third and final session, participants workshopped the key values that would tie the curriculum together, and collaborated to name the course.

View the event photo gallery below or via Flickr.

 The course

Dr Knaggs said the CreateAthon delivered tangible results and overwhelmingly positive participant feedback.

“At the end of the day, we had a skeleton of a course design, which our BEL Capstone Working Party has used to develop a detailed course structure,” Dr Knaggs said.

“In coming months, we will expand our thinking on the course assessments through a series of design jams (smaller ideation events) to create a full curriculum.

“What we’re most proud of from this initiative is creating a partnership where ideas, leadership and outcomes are shared among students, staff, alumni and industry.

“We hope our investment in and success from this partnered approach to learning design will inspire others at UQ to also adopt this approach for the benefit of their students and our wider UQ community of knowledge seekers and leaders.”

In 2020, this new co-created course will be brought to life and made available to business, economics and law students.

UQ’s BEL Faculty wishes to acknowledge and thank everyone who participated in our CreateAthon, especially our Student-Staff Partnership team members and UQ Idea Hub.

Discover more about learning and teaching at BEL, or subscribe for updates to this course.

Get involved in UQ Teaching and Learning Week, 28 October  1 November 2019.

Contact: Dr Angie Knaggs, BEL Senior Educational Designer, a.knaggs@uq.edu.au; Gemma Ward, BEL Communications, media@bel.uq.edu.au.

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