Ground-breaking innovations, including some introduced at UNE during the height of the coronavirus lockdown, will be shared in late July at our first Virtual Learning and Teaching Symposium.

“COVID has been a huge social experiment, which has presented challenges, but UNE staff have risen to the challenge and capitalised on the opportunities it has presented,” said Aliya Steed, Program Director – Academic Innovation. “It has shown us what creativity is possible with relatively few resources, and now’s the time to showcase that creativity.”

The symposium has three key themes: design for online; alternative assessment; and supporting student success.

Co-convenor Mitch Parkes said the symposium aims to “capture, acknowledge and celebrate” what staff have learnt and adopted in recent months. “In many instances, we have had to retool very quickly and dramatically, but UNE has got through better than many other institutions,” he said. “While others were scrambling to get online, we have had the opportunity to take online teaching and learning further than ever before.”

Symposium participants will hear, for instance, how intensive schools were moved into the virtual realm in response to COVID, how assessments can be adapted to take better advantage of technology, as well as how three-dimensional imaging software is being employed in archaeology workshops.

“UNE has maintained and even improved learning experiences for students during COVID, so we need to consider what worked well, what we will keep and what we can build upon,” Mitch said. “Online learning is often promoted as a deficit model, but UNE has shown that the online experience can be just as good, if not superior to face-to-face learning, with no compromise on the quality of teaching. The symposium gives us the chance to build a community of practice and to share ideas that pay homage to UNE’s heritage of online education, which enshrines equity and diversity, and supports student success academically and personally.”

To register for the symposium, go to