By commissioning editor Sally Kift

 Last week,  Studiosity *  held its annual Symposium in Melbourne. Against the backdrop of haunting artwork – ‘Student life’ by Jean Kim  Studiosity user and Torrens student, – 145 delegates considered research into our sector’s wicked problems:

* mental health and wellbeing, (Orygen’s Pat McGorry);

* the relationship between feedback literacy and academic integrity (learning/cradle Deakin U’s Phillip Dawson);

* and 24/7 integrated student support for diverse cohorts (La Trobe U’s Jess Vanderlelie and CQU’s CQU’s Chris Veraa).

The myth of easy transferability of 21st century skills to different contexts was busted by some brain facts from educational neuroscientist Jared Cooney Horvath.

#Learning1: facts always precede skills. #Learning2: learning is the only freely-transferable skill.

Student voice was threaded throughout. UNSW’s Chris Tisdell and Judyth Sacks presented new research on “what students feel when seeking help”. Answer: anxious, disheartened, isolated, lazy, nervous, pressured, silly, stressed … But build self-efficacy and confidence with 24/seven access to academic support, then competence and motivation (and mental health) are considerably enhanced.

Two things struck me about this gathering. First, the growing maturity of out student success conversations . There is genuine openness to transcending organisational turf wars to assure personalised, connected, quality-assured support for student learning, wherever and whomever students are, just-in-time and just-for-me. Scaleable, evidence-based  developments such as Studiosity’s  writing support, Citation Alert to tackle  accidental plagiarism and peer-to-peer learning platform are welcomed by most as complementary to stretched, on-campus based offerings.

Secondly, how inter-connected sector challenges are. Western Sydney U’s Michael Burgess  reality-checked the rejection of “students-as-customers” in the context of billions of dollars now invested in global education venture capital.

Dylan Beasley from deafConnectedEd further confronted our awareness of access to learning support from a deaf perspective. Our students’ mental wealth and health must be nourished. Simply, it is our moral (and regulatory) responsibility to manage the emotional and cognitive business of learning.

P.S. Patrick McGorry said we should all read this .


*Professor Sally Kift PFHEA FAAL GAICD is a member of the Studiosity Academic Advisory Board

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