Swinburne Online are excited to announce Associate Professor Nikki Rickard has been appointed as Program Director of Psychology. Nikki joins the online education provider after having been with Monash University for nearly two decades.
Nikki was awarded her PhD from La Trobe University in 1995 and is a registered psychologist. She began her academic career at Monash in 1996 where she held several roles including Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Accreditation and Quality Committee for the School.
Nikki has become a leading researcher in music psychology and in 2014 was appointed President of the Australian Music and Psychology Society, the peak professional body for music psychology in Australia. But it was an interest in online teaching innovation that has changed the course of her career.
“For the past five years, I have been translating psychology programs to the online environment and invigorating how we teach – this is an exciting era for the future of online education.
“I started delving into online translation for psychology programs when we realised psych students were not reaching optimum learning outcomes in a practical skills software training program on campus.
“We translated the tutorials online at first as self-paced videos. It ended up a great success and I went on to work on major projects in this area.”
In 2013, Nikki was co-awarded a Teaching and Learning grant and a Dean’s Award for Excellence in Education (Innovation in Teaching). She said she is excited to join Swinburne Online and continuing to push forward psychology teaching online.
“Swinburne Online is ahead in this space in innovation. To really nail online you need to be dedicated to the medium, this is not something you can just operate on a side note,” Nikki said.
“There needs to be a dedicated service and absolute focus on delivering the best in online translation and meeting the needs of students.”
To date, Nikki’s background includes over 120 publications and $1M funding utilising behavioural neuroscience and cognitive psychology research methods. She is also passionate about research into positive education, and is an investigator on a large project evaluating well-being benefits of this innovative approach to secondary school education.
Sue Kokonis, Swinburne Online Academic Director, said Nikki will be part of a team of likeminded academics committed to providing the best experience and learning outcomes for online students.
“Nikki brings outstanding knowledge in online teaching to Swinburne Online along with both practical and theoretical experience in the field of psychology.
“This is especially important as our online psychology degree is growing in demand and Nikki’s knowledge and know-how will provide our students with a rich and robust learning experience.”