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Reed's leadership has helped boost learning experiences, both on line and on campus

Published:15 April 2015

Professor Rob Reed

Rob Reed originally arrived at CQUniversity eight years ago as Professor of Biomedical Sciences but he also had a strong track record in the quality of learning and teaching and as a textbook author.

Professor Reed progressed to become Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) and has spent more than five years in this role, steering the University through numerous structural and technological changes related to learning and teaching.

He has championed a focus on student evaluations, lifting the response rate to become one of the highest in the sector and establishing a ‘student voice’ awards and commendation process based on student feedback.

During this time, student satisfaction has improved markedly and the value provided by his leadership of Learning and Teaching Services has been recognised throughout the University and within the Learning and Teaching community across Australia.

Professor Reed has initiated a number of innovations in academic professional development including (i) Ten Top Tips worksheets (ii) Great Guides to various aspects of academic practice (iii) video clip initiatives (including Take 5 and Monday Morning Mentor) and (iv) theme-based academic professional development, including ‘Moodlevember’ and ‘All About Assessment’.

He has introduced Early Alert Student Indicators (EASI) and Moodle Activity Viewer (MAV) systems to make 'invisible' online students visible to staff, to enable them to ‘nudge’ disengaged students through personalised emails and other approaches, and to reconsider online course design based on information on student use of learning resources.

He has ensured that the embedded student feedback system is connected to trend dashboards and course profiles, to maximise impact and improve the student experience.

And he has introduced a combination of focus (VC targets and term-based reporting) and facilitation (student surveys and EASI systems) enabling CQUniversity to make significant progress in moving from the traditional correspondence course model (writing to students via printed study guides) to a connected course model (having two-way conversations and discussions online with students)

Professor Reed has announced his impending retirement* but will continue in an adjunct role, with involvement in areas related to his expertise, including research higher degree supervision.

Earlier this year, the keen academic was able to describe how CQUniversity is now at the vanguard of strategy developments aimed at making the most of both online and on-campus learning experiences.

Professor Reed was a featured speaker at the Future of Learning in Higher Education Summit in Sydney, and chaired one of the Summit sessions.

He gave the CQUniversity perspective on changes to distance education over the past few years, including the move to 'all online' for course delivery and assessment submission/return.

The session chaired by Professor Reed included participants from the USA (Harvard and the University of Maryland) and the UK (University College London) as well as from several Australian universities.

"We focused on current changes that are likely to change some of the mediaeval aspects of university learning and teaching, including the role of traditional lecture delivery and examination-based assessment," Professor Reed says.

"Many of the participants were impressed by CQUniversity's achievements in learning and teaching, and by our use of appropriate technologies to improve the student experience and online learning and teaching practice."

The Future of Learning in Higher Education Summit focused on active learning in online environments, transition and retention strategies, graduate capabilities and employability, and overcoming barriers to change.

There was also a session highlighting 'easy wins' - cost effective, simple-to-implement initiatives - and case studies about overcoming challenges in implementation, from a wide range of public and private institutions.

* Professor Helen Huntly, currently Dean of the School of Education and the Arts, will take up the role of Acting PVC (L&T) for the next three months (from April 20).