Lessons from spending four months in CLT’s Education Design Team

I’ve spent the last four months working in the central CLT Education Design Team and I’ve learnt a lot. I thought I’d share my experience with the wider ANU community in case anyone else is thinking of working in an education support role. 

The position description for an Educational Technologist at CLT seemed like it was written for me – technical skills, educational experience and a passion for teaching and learning. Although I started my role with the expectation of ‘just another office job’, I quickly realised that this was in no way an accurate description. I was astounded by the remarkable level of enthusiasm for teaching and learning that my team members had and how proactive they were.  

Throughout the course of my studies at ANU, I became progressively more interested and involved in educational support. I have worked in teaching laboratories, marked exam papers, acted as a lab buddy for a student with a disability, demonstrated in-person and remotely, including for English-as-a-Second-Language students, and supported a course convener.   

Having a technical mindset and background in ICT, I also would often reflect on my experiences in education, both as a student and as a teacher, and think about ways of utilising technology to improve teaching and learning. Though I had only ever been exposed to high-level processes and procedures, with limited knowledge of the logistics involved. Nonetheless, I had a growing desire to become a more integrated cog in the machine of educational support. 

On joining the CLT ED Team, I was pleasantly surprised by the level of collegiality and communication. The strengths of team members were widely acknowledged and leveraged to work collaboratively and logically. There was a lot of transparency with what’s happening within the University and the projects everyone was working on, with input not only encouraged, but also valued and appreciated in open-minded discussion with passionate people. I felt like I was a part of enacting change to better the teaching and learning experience in a very inclusive and wholesome environment. Even with social afternoon tea chats, I would always leave with a smile because of the wonderful personalities of the team. It has been a great opportunity that has put a lot about the educational experience into perspective. 

Experience as an Educational Technologist 

I’ve been offered training and support to develop important skills for the team, the ANU community and my personal development. This has included attending conferences and webinars about the remote learning experience and on emerging concepts for improving student outcomes, such as reducing the amount of first-year graded assessment in favour of a more supportive environment with stronger feedforward to better set students up for success with future studies. I have also been given the opportunity and recommendation to apply for the Educational Fellowship Scheme to further my prospects and for self-reflection. The many professional development opportunities have had a significant impact on refining my skillset to become an effective team member in education support. 

Getting exposed to the behind-the-scenes aspects of what goes in to designing and developing educational resources has given me a much greater appreciation for what’s involved and the effort put in by staff. Not the prior simplistic expectation of “let’s do this because…” but instead “let’s do this, here’s why and the supporting research, and this is where it sits in the broader picture, along with the short-term and long-term benefits to students and staff”. It is very exciting and fulfilling to be a part of the interesting projects and discussion, especially those that have evolved from the impact of COVID-19, and particularly during the early implementation phase of the University’s strategic plan to significantly improve the teaching and learning experience. 

Working at CLT has been incredibly rewarding from both a professional and a social point of view. It has been an excellent opportunity that I am very grateful for and something that I would highly recommend.  My time and experiences over the past few months have convinced me that I want to continue pursuing this path, and I am excitedly looking forward to contributing further to education support in the future. 

November 2021

Cameron Wallis, Educational Technologist, CLT Education Design Team