Talking the Walk: Innovating in footwear, Step 2

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This is the second in a series of posts documenting the Innovation project work with the Cert IV in custom-made footwear. For the background to the project see the discussion in Step 1.

In this post we discuss the work done to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of face-to-face teaching time with the development of a series of instructional videos that live on YouTube and are connected into the classroom via QR codes attached to the machines they demonstrate.

One of the biggest challenges in a hands-on intensive course such as this, where students need to develop physical skills, is being able to provide them with the level of personal attention required to make consistent progress. Students come in with varying levels of familiarity and expertise with machines and techniques, and as a result can display very different rates of progress in skill acquisition. The consequence of this is that initial machine and technique demonstrations often need to be repeated for students catching up.

Currently there’s a whiteboard on which students write their name if they need help, and Andrew makes his way around everyone in turn. While this is equitable, it can result in very long waits for some students who are unable to progress in the interim.

“There’s not enough Andrew”student, Cert IV Footwear

In an attempt to address this plaintive refrain and reduce the number of times Andrew needs to repeat standard demonstrations, basic machine and technique procedures have been filmed and edited into sequences of short videos, assembled into playlists in YouTube and linked to the relevant machine or tool by QR code. The hope is that this will help streamline the wait times for students requiring help with work that requires more personal attention. As this work was already in progress when this project began, the nuts and bolts of the idea are discussed in Leigh’s post here.

The videos were progressively introduced throughout the year as they were created, contributing to the online presence of the footwear course, and the School of Fashion and Textiles, via Andrew’s YouTube channel and other social media tools. As an added bonus, the videos showcase RMIT’s facilities and teaching skills, and have gained considerable interest from members of the custom footwear community both in Australia and overseas. So far one international student has enrolled as a result of accessing the videos on YouTube.

Last year’s student cohort used them as needed and have offered feedback and occasional suggestions for improvements. This year now that the bulk of the work is complete, there will be a much greater emphasis in the classroom on accessing them as a first port of call for assistance.

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