The Student Stories Project – Episode 1


Many of our staff have benefited from the different story-sharing initiatives we host; Open Classrooms (our podcast series) and Solutions Lab sessions give teachers (academics, casuals and PhD students) the opportunity to tell real stories from their own classrooms and teaching contexts, inspiring others to innovate. Although students are always at the heart of these stories, we rarely get to hear their voices.

The Student Stories project is a series of resources designed in collaboration with students from the In2Science programme. Together we have produced short videos which are intended to inspire our staff to develop their online teaching practices in a student-centred way. Importantly, we want to encourage staff to talk to their students and understand their individual and collective stories. Only then, can we be confident that we are ‘teaching the students we have, not the students we wish he had‘ (Goldrick-Rab and Stommel 2018).

The series will include 4 Episodes – each will focus on a key theme/aspect of the student learning experience and there will be a collection of resources to prompt thinking, stimulate discussion and empower staff to engage meaningfully with their students.

Episode 1 -Through the Looking Glass: Students’ hopes, fears and expectations for online learning in Semester 2

In this, the first Episode, we join our students as they begin their transition from Semester 1 into Semester 2, amidst the backdrop of the global pandemic and continuing campus closures. Click the link below to hear their hopes, fears and expectations for another semester of learning virtually, online.  Then, consider using one of the suggested activities to engage with your own students to find out what they are thinking and experiencing.

All students are currently trained and active mentors in the award winning In2science program. The program places STEM students from RMIT into underrepresented high school classrooms to build student pathways, inspirations and aspirations into STEM.

Activity 1 – What Do You Think Are The Ideal Qualities Of An Online Teacher?

Which qualities in the poll below do you believe are the ideal qualities of an online teacher? Fill it in and compare your responses with others.

You might like to try this poll with your students to see if their ideals are different to yours.  You can setup a free poll using and embed in an announcement in Canvas.

Description of qualities

  • Visible Social Presence: Regularly logging in and replying to blog posts, discussion boards, and remaining available for communication.
  • Facilitation: Enabling reciprocity, collaborative learning and lively dialogue online.
  • Patience: Being compassionate towards students’ technological literacy, online functional competence, and the technological malfunctions that disrupt learning.
  • Adaptability: Adjusting and revising teaching practices to suit learner’s needs and grow from strengths and learn from weaknesses.
  • Organised: Giving prompt feedback on performance, participation, and progress.
  • Community-spirit: Setting the tone for a welcoming and inviting ‘online classroom’ atmosphere.
  • Innovation Instruction: New ways of enabling engagement and varied ways of digital participation.

Adapted from: BILT Interactive Workshop – BILT Student Fellows – Survey conducted to stimulate a reconsideration of what it means to be a ‘teacher’ in an online context.

Activity 2: Share Your Story – Tales From Your  Online Classroom

A Padlet is a great way to visually map out stories. Try this one for yourself – reflect on your course in Semester 1 and click on the + boxes to add posts under each column. Compare your thoughts with others, add comments if you want to. Students engage really well with Padlet exercises – you could try this with your cohort and find out a lot about their hopes, fears and expectations for the course.

Made with Padlet