IT grateful for support during conference

Once a year, ACU IT formally brings together all its members to review the year that was, plan for the year ahead, and learn important skills.

On 18-20 November, IT attended its first virtual IT strategy and planning day. The conference theme was ‘entrepreneurship’, as IT prepares for the year ahead and supporting staff and students in 2021. The intent was to provide staff with an understanding of key entrepreneurial skills that go beyond simply solving problems.

All sessions were held over Microsoft Teams, with the public preview for Breakout Rooms arriving just in time to provide a realistic conference experience. Being virtual, of course, came with a host of challenges such as keeping people engaged and replicating the collaboration and social atmosphere of an in-person conference.

To tackle this problem, IT engaged a series of strategies:

  • utilising videos created by the committee to engage, inform, and entertain attendees as well as providing opportunities for staff to share their own videos and content
  • offering opportunities for staff to work together with other teammates
  • enforcing an ‘all cameras on’ rule for participants
  • using the Large Gallery view, Spotlight and Pin features of Microsoft Teams to see as many people as possible and to highlight key speakers
  • trialing the public preview of Teams Breakout Rooms.

The unique conference format also brought out some ingenuity in the form of a conference app built in Microsoft Power Apps which helped guide attendees to each session.

Despite the virtual nature, this conference has been hailed as “the best conference yet”, which could not have been accomplished without the help and support from a number of directorates.

Career Development Services (OSS)

Kathryn Williams and Martin Evans from the Office of Student Success (OSS) helped to ignite the entrepreneurial spark in participants with a session adapted from a student workshop entitled EntrepreneurialYOU. Focusing on empathy and “see a need, fill a need”, Kathryn and Martin guided participants through a journey of realising their existing entrepreneurial skills, with ideas for developing further.

While still focusing primarily on students, OSS is happy to receive enquiries about delivering similar content to other staff.

ACU Sport (SES)

All conferences need a little team bonding and ACU Sport was able to come up with a great program of rotational activities using The Track in Sydney and the Community Court in Brisbane. As Victorian staff were still working remotely, they were provided the option of a yoga session facilitated by ACU Sport or a private gentle walk.

Sydney staff in particular enjoyed discovering more about The Track and the activities on offer – relaxation chairs and the Nintendo being among the favourites.

Thank you to Tony Ciccone, Gabriella Munteanu, Kellie Maxwell and Reema Grima.

If your team needs a little time out, ACU Sport are happy to help.

ACU Sport IT Conference
Learning and Development (HR)
Looking ahead to the coming year, the conference also offered participants the opportunity to learn key skills to help them adapt to and embrace change. Learning and Development assisted to modify an existing Embracing Change offering from their Learning and Development catalogue and, through liaison with the training delivery provider, created a bespoke experience especially for conference attendees.

The session covered key concepts such as growth mindset, resilience, and Change IQ.

Thank you, Anne-Marie Bennett.

The IT directorate would like to extend its sincere gratitude to these areas for helping to produce a conference of variety, substance, and strategy.
Thanks also to the rest of ACU during this time for their patience while IT attended the conference.  

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