08 May 2012
Infectious disease course wins teaching award
An innovative RMIT University course has won the $10,000 Open Universities Australia Teaching Award for Best Undergraduate Unit.
The team of Dr Danilla Grando, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Applied Sciences, and David Santandreu Calonge, from the College of Science, Engineering and Health Academic Development Unit, won the prize at the 2012 Nova Awards.
Dr Grando first delivered the course Outbreak: The Detection and Control of Infectious Disease at RMIT in 2004 and has been using a continuous quality improvement cycle to fine-tune the offering. It was first offered as an online unit through OUA in 2007.
She said the team always had enthusiastic students who loved the unit and enjoyed being placed in an investigative team where each played a particular role.
While they investigate a task associated with an outbreak, they also undertake online workshops to help them learn basic skills in epidemiology and public health," Dr Grando said.
"During a class there are eight different outbreaks, so students have opportunities to learn from each other and about a number of different scenarios.
"We also like to use recent events such as the current whooping cough outbreak, mosquito-borne illnesses, salmonella in food and a few exotic challenges like Ebola virus and Chikungunya."
Mr Santandreu Calonge helped evaluate the course and align its components to the Outcomes Based Education literature.
Dr Grando and Mr Santandreu Calonge have prepared a manuscript on how deep learning and functioning knowledge have occurred in the unit.
Professor Gill Palmer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice-President, congratulated the pair on their win.
"It was very nice to have an RMIT winner as the very first one mentioned, in what is not a long list of prizes at this ceremony," she said.
Dr Danilla Grando.
David Santandreu Calonge.
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