Digital Defaulting and Enhanced Live Events

by | Jun 10, 2021 | 0 comments

Chantal Kirby

Chantal Kirby


  • Digital person in the classroom (Master class series)
  • On-campus classes, especially for students at a more advanced level that they build up to.

School: F&T

Year Level

Year: ?

High Effort

Cohort Size: 40


Delivery Mode: Concurrent

Medium Effort

Medium Effort


Implementation level: Hard


The student experience features a strong focus on developing student’s autonomous learning through asynchronous project-based activities. Teamwork and collaboration is also a focus, scaffolded through a series of assessable projects that iteratively develop teamwork and design intelligence across three sprints.

This case study highlights the impact of the digital learning tools that supported asynchronous teamwork and autonomous learning. It is an exemplar of a foundational experience that teaches students the aptitudes and skills needed to develop as autonomous learners and designers in an authentic team-based context.

Approaches Implemented

Remote by default: 

Start by matching online and remote learning with activities that are easily accomplished in a digital format. So, for example, all discussions default to either synchronous or asynchronous online discussions, and video instructions are provided in advance for assessments, theory and practical demonstrations.  Defaulting to online learning serves two purposes: it means that students in-class do not have a privileged experience over on-line students and vice-versa; and it heightens student autonomy, peer learning and accountability – everything that students need to learn in the course is provided in one place and is easily retrievable.  

Digital people:

A key lesson from COVID was that industry guest speakers are easier to engage in remote modes of teaching. Capitalising on this advantage, the teaching team introduced the notion of the “digital person in the classroom” I.e., someone whose presence and engagement of the classroom evokes the connectedness of in-class and remote students, highlighting their similar and dissimilar experiences. This is important for creating a shared cohort belonging and addressing FOMO. 

Enhanced Live Broadcast:

Pre-recorded video demonstrations of skills are adequate for early-year students who need to learn specific skills, but they don’t come close to replicating the complex skills that are learned in advanced workshops.  The experience of working together as a group, bouncing ideas off each other, and seeing each other’s processes evolve in action is unique to these live events.  Students in these 4-hour events enjoy the benefits of teacher side conversations that bear directly on their work and progress.  The team is exploring camera and audio tools that help to bring online students into these classes.  Online students need to be mobile and be able to focus in on discussions without compromised visual cues.  

Benefits/ Challenges

Remote by default


  • Digital resources are available in advance and self-paced.
  • Creates balance and equity for the on-campus and online students.
  • Increase of participation with online discussions and collaborative tools.


  • Can be timely depending on the digital resource that needs to be created and may need continuous updates.
  • Attendance – If resources are provided in advance, students may opt out of their scheduled classes?

Digital People


  • Easy to organise and set up.
  • Current and topical industry insights.
  • Equitable experience for in-class and on-line students
  • Demonstrates digital connectedness and builds inter-cohort reflectiveness on experience.


  • Different degrees of comfort and confidence with digital presenting.
  • Technical limitations (bandwidth etc.)
  • Quality of visibility and audio (depending on the classroom screen size and microphone)
  • Not recorded

Enhanced Live Broadcast


  • Captures workshop experience complexity.
  • Builds student relationships and peer learning.
  • Authentically replicates design development processes, providing a different dynamic.
  • Attendance


  • Online students’ visibility/mobility pay-off.
  • Video and audio output levels
  • Technical difficulties (different levels of access)

Advice/ Tips

  • Invest in equipment for a better output.
  • Embracing the online delivery mode and utilising digital technologies where appropriate and affective.
  • Stay positive!!! Although the first 5 minutes of the online/concurrent class may be challenging, remain positive and calm until the class commences.
  • Set clear expectations at the start of the semester and throughout.
  • Determining the structure/framing of teaching into different categories of location.