Dr Abdullah Karaksha, from the School of Medical Science, received a 2018 Griffith Learning and Teaching Citation for designing and delivering an engaging and supportive educational environment using active learning tutorials, drop-in support sessions and online-interactive tools.

We asked Abdullah to tell us a bit more about his teaching practice and the online interactive tools he developed and uses in courses.

Dr Abdullah Karaksha

What motivates and inspires you in your teaching?

Supporting my students is my biggest motivation. I aspire to help them to pass the hurdle of first year at university. My cohort is also unique with the fact that I have repeating students that form almost 50%. Supporting them requires lots of planning and out of the box thinking.

How have teaching practices in your discipline changed with the introduction of new technologies, and how has technology changed the way you interact and engage with your students?

Technology is definitely shaping the learning of our students. Students are coming to study with the expectation that technology is readily available and used. I use technology to create interactive tools to support my students. Those tools can be accessed at the student preferred time and then completed according to their pace. Students expressed their positive attitude towards those tools.

Can you tell us more about the online interactive tools you developed and use in your courses?

I use Adobe Captivate® to create my interactive tools. The tool might include a video to explain a concept then followed by interactive activity to check that the student understood the concept. The interactive activity can be in the form of a drag and drop, fill in the space or multiple choice questions.

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What have you learnt throughout your academic career about creating an engaging learning experience for students, and what have you learnt from experimenting with new approaches that didn’t quite work out?

Students love and appreciate having extra resources for their study. Technology made this accessible and easy. Don’t be afraid to trial new initiatives as your students will appreciate your effort.

Given it isn’t always easy to innovate within a learning and teaching context, what advice do you have for colleagues looking to try something new in their teaching?

Talk to others who are doing those initiatives and attend events organised by Learning Futures (LF) as you might come across an idea that could be both simple to implement and effective for your discipline.

What is something new you are looking forward to trying in your learning and teaching practice over the next year or so?

I want to develop a suite of additional practice quizzes that my students could use to check their understanding of the lecture content.

What advice do you have for educators looking to enhance their teaching practice?

It is definitely worth the effort. It might look difficult but investing your time in scholarship along with your research will pay off at the end. We are lucky here at Griffith as the institution values the Scholarship of L&T so you get recognised at the institutional level. Also, your students will appreciate doing your course more and their experience will be remarkable.