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Real world experiences bring learning to life

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Swinburne Online’s eLearning Advisors (eLA) bring real world experience into their online classrooms, allowing academic concepts to come life for students.


Kim Thompson is an accounting eLA who was working at Barclay’s Capital in London when the Russian Ruble collapsed in 1998.

She says it’s these kinds of experiences that have enabled her to demonstrate to Swinburne Online students how learning materials apply in practice.

“I draw on experiences from the many different roles I’ve had to explain how an academic concept might apply in the real world.

””In 1998 I saw firsthand how the collapse of the Russian Ruble affected the banking industry in the UK and I use this to explain to my students how certain events have caused the world to look more closely at regulation.

“I helped the trust section of a large financial firm implement International Financial Reporting Standards in 2003, so when we start looking at accounting in this context I share these experiences with my students.”

Kim is a mother of three who left the accounting industry to obtain balance in her life and allow her to manage work around family responsibilities.

“I have been a qualified CPA for over 20 years. I have worked in banking and finance, commerce and industry and telecommunications as a Management Accountant, Finance Manager and Project Manager in London, Canberra and Sydney.

“I became an eLA after my third child so I could focus on my family and still share the knowledge I have gained through my corporate career.”

Key to the Swinburne Online learning model is collaboration, which Kim says is also how eLAs work together to ensure students are ready for great learning outcomes.

“Working collaboratively not only works for the students but for eLAs as well. Working as a team within a unit and sharing resources means students benefit from consistent and quality resources.

Kim says one of the highlights of teaching online students is watching the ‘penny drop’ and seeing hard work pay off and being able to assist students on that journey.

“Seeing students’ progress through subjects as they head towards their degree is also a major highlight as an eLA.

“I also love seeing the friendships and support networks develop between students – connecting online means age, gender, location and background is not important.”