Café Style Workshops

The Academic Development Team are planning to run Café Style Workshops over the coming months.

The plan is that these workshops will be held in cafés (dates and times to be arranged) where we will get a chance to share our experiences of what has worked and not worked in a number of different areas. It may be that after a first workshop relating to a topic, the participants choose to continue meeting into the future.

Suggested topics at this stage are:

  • Technology for engaging students in large lectures
  • Designing effective assessments that are not invigilated exams or tests
  • Engaging distance students in synchronous face-face lectures
  • Creating communities of learners amongst distance students
  • What did we change for delivery during lockdown that we have continued with and why?

If you are interested in any of these topics or have any other suggestions, please contact Trevor Nesbit via so that we can starting putting them in place.

Semester 2 course shells now available in AKO | LEARN

Academic staff can now see their Semester 2 course shells in their course list in LEARN | AKO. Course details (the name of the course, the course description, and assigned teaching staff) are generated through an integration with the course information system (CIS). If this information appears incorrect in AKO | LEARN, it should be updated in the CIS as soon as possible. You may view the CIS entry for your courses by clicking here.

Please follow the step-by-step directions linked below to locate your new course shells in AKO | LEARN and import the content you would like to have for your Semester 2 courses.

Importing Content into AKO | LEARN

A new way to get ‘Instant’ help 

Do you have a question about LEARN | AKO or Echo360? Have you tried our new FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Search yet? If not, this may be the help you you’ve been looking for! 

FAQ Search Icon

We have recognised that there are often a number questions we receive over and over again. To give you the opportunity to find quick answers we have developed a searchable list of these questions using a LEARN | AKO Glossary. You will find the link to this, (icon shown above) by going to e-Learning help for staff. You can get there from anywhere in LEARN | AKO by clicking on your name and then e-Learning help for staff. The link to the FAQ Search is at the top of the front page. 

Upcoming events – watch this space!

Beginning in June, we will be showcasing one of our DLTP Scholars in the FL&D newsletter each month about the research projects they are undertaking. In the June newsletter we will also give the details of a new monthly event that will take place, where the profiled DLTP Scholar will present a short ‘Ako Anamata: EdTalk’ at the University of Canterbury Staff Club about their project.

Before and after these showcase talks there will be an opportunity to network in a casual and friendly setting – where we can talk all things teaching and learning with like-minded colleagues and experts in the field. We are very excited about this initiative, and hope that it will grow into a monthly ‘must-attend’ event for those interested in the innovative work being carried out by our DLTP Scholars.

More to follow soon…

Online teaching tip of the month

With AKO | LEARN sites being one of the most important ways that your students access information about your course – try to break down a daunting overall semester timetable by providing a weekly ‘mini-timetable’ with updates and expectations for each week. This can help by acting as a checklist for students – making time management (especially when undertaking several courses at once) a skill that can be developed and encouraged in an authentic way.

Weekly timetables like these can also be delivered as a quick video – allowing the students to see you and your engagement with keeping them up to date with important aspects of the course, and breaking away from the usual format of a text notice. It is also a way to inject some of the reality of who you are as a person – you can make it relevant with your perspectives on what is going on with the course, your research or what is going on in the wider world to have a real-time effect on engagement levels.

Preparing for COVID: Zoom class meetings

While we all hope that COVID alert levels do not rise, we want to make sure you are prepared in case they do. 

One of the tools you might find most helpful if the COVID alert levels were to rise again, would be a Zoom meeting room where you can meet synchronously with your students. When set up through LEARN | AKO recordings of these meetings can be uploaded automatically into the Echo360 block for a chosen course site.

There are instructions for setting this up on this page from the Echo360 support site. If you would prefer to see a demonstration of how this can be set up, you could watch this video.

For any queries regarding this, please log a support request through the Assyst system.

Aropapaki: Online Course Design

Future Learning & Development is supporting the design and development of online courses through a co-design process called Aropapaki. The word “Aropapaki” is based on a Ngāi Tahu whakataukī: Me aropapaki te whiu. It speaks of perseverance to reach goals. Ngāi Tahu explains, “Be unyielding, like the waves that relentlessly hit the shore. A phrase encouraging people to persevere and keep strong.”

During the Aropapaki process, we work with academic staff to co-design an online course. The process begins with a series of three workshops, where you will be joined by a team consisting of learning designers, kaiārahi, Pasifika advisors, subject matter librarians, educational technology consultants, academic developers, and video producers. We’ve worked to make sure everyone will be in the room so that we have the best design possible and you are fully supported through the process. By the end of the three workshops, we will have the storyboard for your course and an action plan so that a learning designer can begin the build of the course in AKO | LEARN.

Following the workshops, we will continue to support you over the next 12 weeks to develop your course. Future Learning and Development will also provide additional resources to support you during the implementation of your online course.
If you have or are planning an online course and would like to engage in Aropapaki, let your Head of Department or Dean know. The call for the next round of Workshops will be going out soon.

Meet the Academic Development Team

The Academic Development team is available for consultation on teaching methods, assessment and curriculum design, programme (re)structure, academic processes, teaching portfolios, and research on teaching and learning.

Since January, two new academic developers have joined the team: Dr Trevor Nesbit joined us from Ara where he taught accounting and information systems, and he previously taught at UC as well. Trevor got his PhD from UC focusing on educational technology. Dr Brad Hurren joined us from Otago University. He holds a PhD in anatomy and has taught extensively into the large first-year health science courses at Otago. The last academic developer in the team is A/Prof Erik Brogt, who’s been in the role at UC since 2009.

The Academic Development team can collectively be reached via a new email address:

We are Future Learning & Development

Welcome to this first newsletter from the Future Learning and Development team. As a newly formed team it is exciting to communicate more widely about some of the work that we are doing and new initiatives that we are currently working on.

The University of Canterbury 2020-2030 Strategic Vision| Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora, communicates a vision to utilise technology to transform teaching and learning capability to develop flexible, accessible and future focused education. This digital transformation will scaffold delivery to a larger more diverse domestic and international audience whilst promoting development, growth and success of the city and region. The vision responds to the current global context, future needs of work and society, and supports the needs of all generations of learners and employers ensuring a more sustainable future. Recent events have given us a timely reminder of the importance of having robust, quality, sustainable digital teaching and learning solutions for all of our students.

Our team comprises Instructional Designers, Flexible Learning Advisors, Educational Technologists, Project Managers, Academic Developers and Video Production specialists. Members of the Future Learning and Development team are highly experienced practitioners, supporting teaching and learning with particular emphasis on digital transformation of teaching and learning. We are here to help academics to maximise the student learning experience and to support the development of the new 2020-2030 vision. We work with colleagues to enact quality teaching and learning for our on-campus students whilst also enabling access for students requiring more flexibility through digital engagement. I am proud of the skills and experience that this team brings to the University of Canterbury and I encourage you to take up the opportunities that this team offers.

I do hope that you enjoy reading this newsletter and that you find our regular updates useful. We look forward to working with you in UC’s mission to become more flexible, accessible and future focused.

Professor Michael Grimley
Amo Ako Anamata | Dean Future Learning and Development

New in AKO | LEARN: Mass Actions Block

We have added the Mass Actions block to AKO | LEARN. This block allows instructors to perform actions upon multiple resources or activities, rather than having to perform repeated actions on individual items.

Supported actions include mass selection, indentation, deletion, hiding, showing, and moving. To select items to perform actions on, simply click the checkbox to the right of it in the course home page or use select functionality, then click the action you would like to perform in the block.

You will see the block on the right hand side of your AKO | LEARN courses when you turn editing on.

There is a help sheet linked below, but if you have any queries let us know.

Mass Actions Block

News from Future Learning & Development