Nadyat El Gawley and Asha Chand win 2021 JERAA Teaching Innovation Award

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The 2021 JERAA Teaching Award for Innovation in Online Teaching has been won by Nadyat El Gawley and Asha Chand of Western Sydney University.

This award recognises innovations implemented in online teaching in journalism during the COVID-19 pandemic and attracts a $1000 prize.

Asha Chand headshot
Dr Asha Chand of Western Sydney University

Nadyat El Gawley competed with two other journalism academics, Louisa Lim of the University of Melbourne and Laura Glitsos of Edith Cowan University, during a live presentation session on Friday morning at the JERAA 2021 Conference.

Participants gave a short 5-minute presentation with 20 slides, auto-timed to advance each 15 seconds, in an online forum. The winners were selected by popular vote, with the vote returning a very close outcome.

JERAA VP (Awards) Jeanti St Clair said Nadyat and Asha’s presentation focussed on applying a solutions learning and constructive news model to build hope in Western Sydney during the COVID pandemic.

The WSU academics said the project became a means to “heal and provide reprieve during the COVID crisis especially in Western Sydney, where a majority of migrants, refugees and [WSU’s]  students live”.

A man plays an instrument on stage
The project showcased Western Sydney talent.

“Using the power of the media to ‘comfort the afflicted’ and build hope, two online teaching projects – Community Voices and Communities in Cultural Transition (CiCT) – by third  year journalism students at Western Sydney University, facilitated community empowerment at the grassroots.

“The Community Voices project, a joint initiative with the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism Ideas, facilitated media training to a dozen young talents from under-represented communities. It enabled students to gain insight into the challenges these communities faced during COVID and lockdown.

“The CiCT initiative offered a deeper understanding of who refugees are, and the lived experiences of refugee communities,” Nadyat El Gawley and Asha Chand said.

“It cast a different light on the challenges refugees face, highlighting how they are creating solutions for problems they confront.  The project enabled students to play a key role in building the communities’ self-efficacy. human agency, perseverance and resilience through using self-publishing online technology.”

The Teaching Innovation competition is open to ongoing, fixed term, sessional and casual staff with at least one year’s experience teaching in a recognised journalism program.

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