Developing a trans-disciplinary data visualization framework from Arts practice to teaching and learning during COVID19

  • Thomas Cochrane MCSHE, The University of Melbourne https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0192-6118
  • Kathryn Coleman University of Melbourne
  • Amanda Belton University of Melbourne
  • Emily Fitzgerald
  • Solange Glasser University of Melbourne
  • Julian Harris University of Melbourne
  • Gene Melzack University of Melbourne
  • Kristal Spreadborough University of Melbourne
  • Kenna Mactavish University of Melbourne
Keywords: Feedback loop, Collaboration, Trans-disciplinary, Arts, COVID19, Ecology of Resources


Transdisciplinarity and collaboration are key capabilities that need to be fostered by authentic higher education learning environments to prepare our graduates for an unknown future (Barnett, 2012). These capabilities need to be modelled through the practice of academics, and even more so during a global pandemic such as COVID19 in response to the changing ways in which professions, and in particular the arts that have traditionally relied upon face-to-face interaction, have rapidly pivoted to online modes of interaction. In response, this project is conceived as a transdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Melbourne Faculty of Fine Arts and Music (FFAM), the Graduate School of Education (MGSE), the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (MCSHE), the Social & Cultural Imformatics Plaform (SCIP) and the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP). The #DataCreativities collaboration seeks to learn from the data created by the creative industry communities as they rapidly moved to new forms of online interaction in order to survive in a socially distanced environment (for example (Braus & Morton, 2020)). We use this to develop a new framework for data generation and visualization in the context of higher education as a form of feedback loop that can inform innovative pedagogical practice and research (Ferdig et al., 2020).


The project data collection and analysis began by creating visualisations of the teaching and learning activities embodied in the universities learning management system (Canvas) to discover patterns of usage and interaction as the creative arts disciplines switched from studio-based on campus to remote online teaching and learning modes. The analysis of the data visualisations from creative and education domains formed a continuous loop of acting and reacting (Glaveanu et al., 2013) as they rapidly developed new modes of interaction in response to COVID19. In learning from these data as visual patterns, the project is focused upon identifying new modes of teaching and learning that are sustainable beyond an emergency response to COVID19.


The data visualization project involves the identification of an Ecology of Resources or EoR (Luckin, 2008) that encompasses social media via a hashtag #Datacreativities (Twitter, TikTok, YouTube) open software publishing (Omeka, Figshare) and Altmetrics (Priem et al., 2010) - creating a feedback loop between the model of a COVID19 rapid pivot from face-to-face Arts community to building an online community, and traditional higher education teaching and learning and research practices and metrics (Williams & Padula, 2015). Early stages visualisations helped turn data into information. Collaborative bringing together of our experience and expertise helped turn information into knowledge. Making visualisations of data formed practice-based research (Candy, 2016) transforming abstract data into observable, malleable digital artefacts (Kallinikos,Aaltonen& Marton, 2010).

The presentation will showcase some of the data visualisations produced by the #Datacreativities team and the mapping between the professional arts community and arts education practice on response to COVID19. The presentation will also outline the emergent data visualisation framework and how the ecology of resources facilitates a feedback loop back into informing teaching and learning and research.


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Author Biography

Thomas Cochrane, MCSHE, The University of Melbourne

Dr Thomas Cochrane is an Associate Professor, Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education, in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of Melbourne. In 2011 he was awarded as an ASCILITE Fellow http://www.ascilite.org.au/index.php?p=awards. His research interests include mobile learning, web 2.0, communities of practice, and the scholarship of technology enhanced learning (SOTEL). His PHD thesis was titled: "Mobilizing Learning: Transforming pedagogy with mobile web 2.0". Thomas has managed and implemented over 50 mobile learning projects, with a recent focus upon Android and iOS smartphones and the iPad as catalysts to enable student-generated content and student-generated learning contexts, bridging formal and informal learning environments. Thomas has a peer-reviewed research portfolio spanning over 50 journal articles, 32 book chapters, and over 140 conference proceedings (http://goo.gl/maps/YxkYP), receiving best paper awards at ASCILITE 2009, ALT-C 2011, ALT-C 2012, and IEEE-TALE2018. He has been invited to keynote at several international educational technology conferences including: the 2012 Australian Moodle Moot, the 2012 m-Libraries conference in the UK, the launch of UWS massive iPad project in February 2013, the 2014 IBSA VET Practitioners Conference in Melbourne, and an invited speaker at EdMedia2014 (Tampere, Finland), and an Educator In Residence at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University in September 2015. Thomas was co-principle investigator in the two-year AKO Aotearoa funded #NPF14LMD Learners and Mobile Devices project that scaffolded and showcased best practice across six New Zealand higher education institutions. Thomas was an invited keynote at the University of Western Australia’s Mlearning Summit in September 2016. In 2017 he was a member of the team winning the AUT Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence, Teaching Innovation Award. In 2017 he established the #SOTELNZ Research Cluster https://SOTEL.nz. In 2018 he was elected to the ASCILITE Executive, and became one of the first accredited Senior CMALT holders in 2018. In 2018 he co-established with Dr Vickel Narayan the annual SOTEL Symposium, and the Pacific Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning (PJTEL) https://ojs.aut.ac.nz/pjtel/index.php/pjtel/index .

Thomas is an AJET Associate Editor, an editorial board member of RLT, BJET, and IJMBL, a lead editor of PJTEL, lead guest editor of the special collection on Mobile Mixed Reality for the Research In Learning Technology journal, and the coordinator of the ASCILITE Mobile Learning Special Interest Group. He is a regular reviewer for a number of educational technology journals including: AJET, CHB, IJMBL, JCHE, C&E, and IEEEAccess.

How to Cite
Cochrane, T., Coleman, K., Belton, A., Fitzgerald, E., Glasser, S., Harris, J., Melzack, G., Spreadborough, K., & Mactavish, K. (2021). #DataCreativities: Developing a trans-disciplinary data visualization framework from Arts practice to teaching and learning during COVID19. Pacific Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 3(1), 8-10. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjtel.v3i1.84