Dr Diana Tolmie is the winner of an Australian Awards for University Teaching 2018 Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for distinctive and scholarly innovations in music vocational preparation curriculum design and teaching that promote career-confident, knowledgeable and sustainable musicians.

What motivates and inspires you in your teaching? 

I think I might answer this with “who”. It is the student musicians – watching their careers develop throughout their degree and seeing their immersion into the music profession/industry progress.  

What have been the most effective pedagogical approaches you’ve implemented in your courses? 

Any design of assessment that allows the student musician to think “beyond assessment” and rather see it as inspirational “professional development”. Much of my assessment practice allows the student musicians to not only discover for themselves the information they feel most relevant, but it also drives them to meet with industry practitioners and develop meaningful connections valuable for their ongoing employment.  

How have teaching practices in your discipline changed with the introduction of new technologies? 

My teaching practices have remained the same – based on the philosophy of keeping it real, relevant, respectful and inspiring. However, I have further incorporated technological tools. Most of the student musicians I work with are time-poor and not as digitally-enabled as other non-musician students, but that does not mean they are not incapable of embracing technology, or that they will never need it. There is an increasing imperative for the independent musician to be digitally capable and I have been slowly further embedding this capability within all of my courses – digital story development, PebblePad engagement, website design are some examples. 

What is something new you are looking forward to trying in your learning and teaching practice in 2020? 

This year has been one of piloting new ideas already, one being training fourth year student musicians to design educational music shows and present them to a local school (grade 4s, 5s, and 6s). The student musicians did a great job and were well received – I am looking forward to refining this course further and introducing even more industry input than the previous year. 

What do you see as the biggest challenge or next big shift in learning and teaching? 

Students’ values, the way they absorb->synthesise information and organise their learning has significantly changed in the last decade. I do think educators will require a more rigorous understanding of brain function and psychology, and with the impact of DARQ technology will also need to think beyond written forms of assessment to become even more creative and further embrace technology. It will be fun 😊