Workshop-based teaching in Fashion & Textiles

by and | Jun 11, 2021 | 0 comments

Profile pictures Verity and Tarryn

Verity / Tarryn

Coordinators – First Year

Fashion, Textiles, Place and Story is a whole of school fashion and textiles Year 1 core course that develops student’s critical reflection skills through a framework of stories and intent.


School: F&T

Year Level

Year: 1

High Effort

Cohort Size: 307


Delivery Mode: Online, F2F optional

High Effort

High Effort


Implementation level: Very Hard


Fashion, Textiles, Place and Story has a focus on establishing strong relationships and making connections with people and with place. This includes an indigenous culture connection, which is partly assessed using an embedded micro-credential.

The unit is a foundational course and attracts a large cohort of 300+ students. Last year’s restrictions and this year’s move to concurrent teaching modes have proven a big challenge to the core principles of the course (belonging, diversity and connection with place). This case study explains some of these challenges and how they were overcome.

Approaches Implemented

For this case, you will see the approaches implemented and strategies used have been aligned to the 6E framework developed by the DSC L&T team to support concurrent delivery modes.  

Case Study Approaches Expectations: Attend on-campus workshops   It has been a challenge trying to get students back on campus to attend their workshops, therefore students are required to book into F2F workshops if they can attend to the Brunswick campus. Students initially nominated their interest in F2F workshops through RMIT timetabling enrolment, and then confirmed their interest and ability to attend by signing up to a shared Google sheet embedded in Canvas the week before each on campus workshop.    Engagement: Book-end Workshops   Delineated ‘together times’ on-line book-end the workshops, which focus on skills and collaboration through a variety of class activities.    Experience: Class Structure    The teaching team found that having a set class structure worked well for concurrent delivery. For example, students start together online for a briefing and then break into workshop modes (class activities, small groups, individual), then come back together as a class to reflect for the last 30 minutes if each session.    Equity: Location   On-campus staff could not interact with on campus students and online students at the same time due to technology limitations (studio set up – no mic/video). On-line student visibility of some demonstrations is difficult due to poor quality audio, limited vision cameras, and internet bandwidth all make online experience sub-par.    Enhancement: Technology Kits (in progress)   The teaching team are seeking to invest in technology kits (cameras, tripods, etc.) that are simple to setup and easy to use.  With having access to technology kits, this will improve the output quality of pre-recorded demonstration videos as well as connecting students that are online with those in the classroom.   Ease: Separate Delivery Modes   From the teaching teams experience, they would prefer to have separate ‘all together’ sessions from workshops on-campus to simplify technical requirements and to cut down on activity/technical switch costs between locations.

Overall, with the core values of Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity at the centre of this course, as you have probably gathered, concurrent teaching has not been a smooth journey in fulfilling these values. In fact, these core values have been far removed from the pedagogical value of location for those students who have only been present online due to their location and travel restrictions; rather, the central value of ‘place’ in the course has been addressed by focusing on students’ making discoveries about their own location, their place in the global industry, and connecting with their community of peers and practice.  

Moving forward, the teaching team are continuously trying to create a sense of community and belonging in this course by providing flexible options for all students to select what method works best for them and students learning.  Although the structure of this course is quite fluid throughout the semester, providing online accessible resources and workshops that are inclusive, collaborative and diverse is essential to try and encapsulate and portray these core values regardless of geography.  

Benefits / Challenges

Students book into F2F workshops


  • Predictable numbers
  • Students can choose their preference for online or F2F.


  • Booking process is manual and teacher-resource intense.
  • Booked students do not always show up.
  • Logging class attendance is manual.
  • Year 1 students, confused about timetabling and where they must be and when.
  • Students abroad in different time zones

Book-ended Workshops


  • Sets tone for on-line and in-class student interaction.
  • Creates level-playing field (equitable experience) for on-line and F2F students.
  • Enables a diverse mix of staff and students.
  • Guest speakers from all over the world.


  • Tendency is to use Collaborate Ultra for both on-line discussion and workshop demonstrations when a more mobile solution might be better for the workshop.
  • Hard to make the class transitions seamless.
  • Difficult for staff and students on campus to engage together with students online.

Workshop roaming? (Tech solution TBD)


  • Kit is plug and play, suitable for any location, connecting online students with those in the classroom.
  • High-quality output
  • Easy to setup and use


  • Timetable issues affected what video/audio equipment was available, hence the wish list for technology kits usable in any location.
  • Having to use personal equipment at times.
  • Some on-campus environments aren’t equipped for active learning and collaboration.

Student Experience

As a cohort, the students enjoyed having opportunities to co-design their learning experience by building on personal interests and exploring their own perspective and place in a global industry that encompasses many disciplines. They most enjoyed the diverse choices in the workshop series, hearing from different industry guests and lecturers, and trying different ways of working (independent/guided, F2F/online, synchronous/asynchronous, reflective/practical/conceptual) 

“Completing this course online enabled me to be more confident and open in my answers. My first impressions of others and others of me had nothing to do with my appearance, how I dress or my wealth, only my intellect and creativity was on display.”  

I have enjoyed how engaged I have been considering the virtual learning and the obstacles that come across when transition from year 12 to university. The class discussions had me engaged by the anonymous posting and the thought provoking/prompting ideas explored.” 

What was difficult for me was keeping up with class work and finishing my assignments on time. It was also challenging that it was online, as I had several internet connection issues throughout this course which prevented me from seeking full assistance. I wish that I attended this course on campus face to face, so at least I can also interact with my peers.” 

“The breakout groups opened my eyes to the diversity and range of perspectives of other students, on what they are interested in pursuing in the industry.”  

“We were able to connect our interests and concerns to one another. We were able to give greater meaning and context to our ideas. I was able to form relationships with others who shared these similar passions to mine…essentially enabling me to be more vulnerable and open to trying new things.” 

Reflecting was challenging. I have never been someone who enjoys looking back and being bogged down by the details of the past. However, some of my most significant discoveries were as a result of reflection, as prompted by many of the workshops and lectures, in this course. I enjoyed the opportunity that was provided, to communicate what I wanted to say and share. I value the opportunity to share and collaborate with other creators and having this opportunity greatly impacted my practice and assignment outcomes positively. 

“I often found reflecting and sharing to be a difficult process. Yet, as the weeks went on, I began to learn to take ownership and not feel embarrassed in what I wanted to say or do in fashion. The course teaching me that that my individual reflections and perspectives are valid. As there is nothing wrong with us each interpreting our practice and topics differently.” 

Through the journey of the course, I was able to transform as an individual from first being introduced into the field, before connecting with inspiration and then writing my own story. I developed new confidence through taking new perspective and deeper exploration into what I really wanted on a personal level. 

After completing the course, I realised that it was about me. It was about how I perceive fashion and how my community and the things around me influence my perception. This course is about how my identity and my community can lead me to develop my ideas and future business practices.” 

“The best part of this course was about how it helped me discover my true identity and form a solid perception in fashion. This was through the “our business’ workshops, where I had to really thing about my purpose for studying this course and choosing Bachelor of Fashion Design as a pathway to industry. I really enjoyed how we learnt through workshops and class activities, rather than theory and lectures.” 

Advice/ Tips

  • Stick with an online delivery for those students who prefer to opt into this mode.
  • Provide on campus workshops as a preference for those students who can/want to attend using a booking system.