La Trobe a finalist in the AFR Higher Education Awards

La Trobe has been announced as a finalist in two award categories for this year’s Australian Financial Review (AFR) Higher Education Awards, with both submissions highlighting innovation in online teaching.

The Lightboard Studio is based at the Bendigo Campus and allows academics to create dynamic, online classes for students.

The Lightboard Studios was shortlisted for the Education Technology Award, while the FARLabs were named as a finalist in the Learning Experience Award.

The presenter stands behind an illuminated pane of ultra-clear glass, or lightboard. When written on with neon ink, it gives the impression of writing in mid-air while facing the camera, so the presenter doesn’t have their back turned to the students like if they were writing on a typical whiteboard (pictured below).

Add in broadcast quality video mixing and graphics that can be overlaid from PowerPoint, the Lightboard Studio offers a more personal and engaging online learning experience. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began and remote learning became the new norm, the studio has been booked solid from early morning until after midnight, producing over one thousand videos.

The Freely Accessible Remote Laboratories, or FARLabs, allows any user, anywhere in the world, to conduct real physics experiments remotely.

Students use a web browser to activate robots that control the laboratory equipment (pictured below), and the experiment produces data for further analysis.

The first remote-access lab in Australia, FARLabs aims to bridge the gap between secondary and tertiary science education, so far reaching students from over 300 schools.

Since 2019, it has delivered a total of 1,000 sessions run by students, with this number growing rapidly due to the pandemic.

The 6th annual AFR Higher Education Awards will be held virtually on 18 November and recognise the remarkable contributions that tertiary institutions have made to the Australian community over the year. You can see the full list of finalists on the AFR website.

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