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La Trobe Business School

Social Robot Matilda is a big hit in classrooms

LBS researcher Dr  Seyed Mohammed SadeghKhaksar was recently interviewed by Channel 9 News Melbourne on his research with social robot Matilda.

Matilda

Matilda was originally co-created by LBS’ Research Centre for Computers, Communication and Social Innovations (RECCSI) in partnership with Japan’s NEC Corporation and Kyoto University. Matilda is a communication robot with emotional intelligence. Matilda can recognise human voices and faces, detect emotions, read and recite text, dance and play music. It can read a person’s feelings by the tone in their voice and interact accordingly. Matilda was previously used successfully in aged care research. Early this year, RECCSI teamed up with Waratah Special Developmental School to trial Matilda as a classroom companion.

Matilda in the classroom

The current research aims to investigate how social robots like Matilda can emotionally and socially engage students with special needs (e.g. children with autism), enable them with personalised services and empower them to live more independently in classrooms. Matilda’s personalised services could be used to create a more effective teaching environment and provide tailored support to teachers and students. Dr Khaksar is the Research Project Manager and said that “this study is about assisting both teachers and students, especially those who have special needs, who face particular challenges in their learning environments.”

According to Dr Khaksar, the results are positive. “As soon as the kids see Matilda in the classroom, their faces light up and they become more interested and engaged”. Matilda is patient, non-judgemental and interactive which allows students to form a bond with it. “The robot can speak to students, read and act out characters in books, as well as set tasks. But it can also tirelessly repeat things hundreds of times if necessary”. Matilda is not only enabling students to develop better communication, but also social and cognitive skills.

Social Innovation

RECCSI Research Manager and Associate Professor Debbie Chu said this type of technology is in high demand. “La Trobe is at the forefront in creating solutions for social innovation. Our hope is that La Trobe’s robotic technology, which delivers emotional assistance and companionship over physical services, will be employed widely across Australia”.

Watch the interview: here

Some information in this blog was originally published by LTU News

LBS event providing opportunities for Latrobe Lifeskills participants

LBS recently organised the highly successful Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum (#18IFAF) in collaboration with NORTHLink. Besides providing interesting masterclasses and insightful presentations and key notes, the event also provided work experience for two participants from Latrobe Lifeskills.

Latrobe Lifeskills

Latrobe Lifeskills provides support to people with disability. They are a Registered Training Organisation (TOID 20791) that provides nationally recognised courses and community engagement activities for young people living with disability. Participants of Latrobe Lifeskills engage in meaningful activities and relationships, whilst participating as fully as possible at La Trobe University and the broader community.

Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum

During #18IFAF, Vasi and Jackson, were given the opportunity to assist with packing delegate bags, preparing delegate name badges and lanyards. Both participants greeted people as they arrived on registration day, handed out delegate bags and name badges/lanyards.

According to Tammy Matthews-Prosser, Latrobe Lifeskills Participant Support Manager, these opportunities are invaluable to participants as they offer genuine experience in an employment and community setting.

“Vasi and Jackson grew with confidence and pride wearing their La Trobe Business School t-shirts with the opportunity to meet and greet delegates. They were diligent, efficient, friendly and great ambassadors for both Latrobe Lifeskills and La Trobe University”. – Tammy Matthews-Prosser.

Vasi and Jackson were supported by LTU staff and student ambassadors

LBS’ success at the LTU Awards 2018

Several LBS staff have been recognised for their excellent teaching and research during the La Trobe University Staff Awards 2018.

Teaching and Learning Awards

Two staff members received a citation for outstanding contributions to student learning. Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh received the citation for transforming a university-wide subject, Leadership: What Matters (MGT3LWM), to inspire leadership capacities in undergraduate third year students.

Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh

Dr Petrus Usmanij received a citation for providing innovative learning and teaching of real business context in capstone subjects through experiential learning and real-life problem solving.

Dr Petrus Usmanij

Research Excellence Awards

Dr Daswin De Silva received the Excellence in Research Award (Mid-Career Researcher). The award is in recognition of Daswin’s outstanding contribution to La Trobe University through his work in the La Trobe Business School contributing to digital disruption, significant research income, high impact, collaborative publications and research supervision and leadership.

Dr Daswin De Silva

LBS congratulates Jasvir, Petrus and Daswin on their impressive achievements!

LBS students presenting at Industry Day

The subject Experiential Learning Project (BUS3ELP) allows students in Management, Marketing, Tourism, Hospitality and Events to work with companies for 120 hours during the semester in an internship role. At the end of the semester an Industry Day is held when students present their report to their fellow students and their supervisors.

Student Elise McLean worked for Victorian Tourism Industry Council. Her supervisor was Kate Rickwood, who is a La Trobe Business School alumni holding a Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Hospitality).

Student Riana Larosa worked for Backpacker World Travel under the supervision of Chloe Carter.

Below is a group photo of BUS3ELP students and some industry supervisors on the Industry Day.

LBS Students organised successful events for charity

In the Bachelor of Business (Event Management) third year students develop strategic and operational plans for a community event in Semester 1 as part of the Event Planning subject (THS3EOP). Then, in semester 2 they have the opportunity to stage their event during the subject Event Project (THS3SCE).

This year, two groups decided to stage their events and managed to raise over $3,000 for Cancer Council Victoria and Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision. Both events are great examples of LBS’ dynamic learning-focused environment that focuses on being innovative, responsible and engaged.

Georgia Bettoli, Annabelle Gniel, Jacob Sellenger and Ashtyn Williams raised money for Cancer Council Victoria by organising a 90s Trivia Night. Jarrod Clarke, Georgia Harding, Antoinette Nonis and Christina Wang ran a Movie night with pizza & raffle to raise money for Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision.

The 90s Trivia Night

Organisers of the Movie night with pizza & raffle

The following video was recorded during the fundraising event for Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision. Watch it below.

LBS Lecturer Jasvir receives the College Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award

Recently, Dr Jasvir Kaur Nachatar Singh received the College Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award. In 2011, Jasvir received the prestigious Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship from the Australian government to pursue her PhD at LTU. Upon completing her PhD Jasvir was appointed as the Early Career Development Fellow at the Department of Management, Sport and Tourism (MST). Currently, Jasvir is a Lecturer in the MST Department. Business Newsroom sat down with Jasvir to ask her about the award and her teaching philosophy.

Jasvir receiving the College Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award

Congratulations with the Teaching Award! Could you tell us a bit more about it?

It is a competitive award as there are only five awards offered by the ASSC College under this category. I’m honoured to be one of the recipients. The award recognises my innovative and high-quality teaching in the Leadership: What Matters subject (MGT3LWM) offered to undergraduate students across the university. Besides a certificate, I received $5000 to be spent on further advancing my practice of teaching at La Trobe Business School.

When did you become a teacher at LBS?

I started my academic career as a tutor at LBS in March 2013 while doing my PhD at the Department of Management at LBS. Then upon my PhD completion in 2015, I was appointed as the Early Career Development Fellow in 2016.

My first subject was Leadership: What Matters (MGT3LWM). This subject is offered to undergraduate students, mainly third year student across the university. Since 2013, I have been teaching, co-ordinating and re-designing this subject at LBS. I also teach management and human resource management subjects such as International Management (MGT2IMG), Human Resource Management (MGT2HRM), International Human Resource Management (MGT3IHR), Working with Others (MGT1OBE).

What do you think the university and your students like about your teaching?

I love having fun when I am teaching and I guess students do too. Therefore, I am all for creating fun in the learning and teaching process. For example, as a dedicated and zealous educationist, I crafted innovative hands-on activities such as scenario-based role plays, personalised story telling sessions with examples, online and off-line leadership games, fun and reflective activities. These activities have been highly effective in engaging students to learn: “The innovation Jasvir takes, changes the teaching dynamic in each class to make it interesting, fun and very participative” (SFT, 2017).

These innovative hands-on activities have positive effects on students’ learning, engagement and satisfaction. Students support the benefits of these creative yet exhilarating teaching approaches. For instance, “Jasvir likes to play games. For example, she likes to give a pen to the students in the class and she puts the music on. Once the music stops, student who has the pen will have to answer the question. It’s a fun way of learning” (SOTL, 2017). This comment was extracted from a research interview I gave after I received a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Grant in 2016.

What is your “secret”?

One of my secrets is that I remember all of my students’ name in my workshops. I do receive many positive comments from students that they do appreciate a staff member remembering their names and they are not just a number. I strongly believe that teaching has to be personalised; that a teacher and students have that cordial, comfortable and safe relationship where both parties learn from one and another.

I am a firm believer that the teaching and learning process is an inclusive process. I was an international student myself in the US and in Australia. I understand how an international student feels when they are in a classroom. I do my best to create an inclusive environment in my workshops where I consciously go around the classroom and ask general and specific questions to international students as well as domestic students. I also put domestic and international students into groups together to discuss subject related matters. At times, I also hear domestic students making effort in asking international students about their culture and their country of origin. This gets me excited as I am trying my best in building an inclusive teaching and learning environment in my workshops at LBS.

 

If you like to read more about Jasvir’s approach to teaching: check out the amazing blog she wrote for the Global Citizens Project:

Being an inclusive academic in the classroom – a difficult or easy task?

 

LBS’ student societies organising successful Cocktail Night

La Trobe Business School’s Tourism, Hospitality & Events Society and the Commerce Students’ Association hosted a Business School Cocktail Night. The event was held by the Docklands waterfront at Harbour Kitchen. Over 100 students and their friends gathered to celebrate the hard work and dedication displayed throughout the year. Both La Trobe Business School and the Equity and Diversity Department supported the event. Check out some of the great pictures taken during the evening.

La Trobe Business School encourages all students to become a member of either group as social events such as this will continue throughout the year. Membership also offers inclusion of like-minded individuals that want to make a difference whilst having fun at the same time.

 

LBS Innovation Series: World Class Masterclass(es)

This week the LBS/NORTHLink Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum (#18IFAF) takes place. There are presentations and key notes by internationally recognised academics and several industry heavyweights such as Allan McCallum, Chair of Cann Group, James Fazzino, former CEO Incitec Pivot, and Andrea Koch from Principle Agtech. In addition, there are three world class masterclasses that you can attend:

  • Kok-Leong (KL) Ong, currently an Associate Professor in Business Analytics at LBS is giving a masterclass in Data Analytics for Food and Agribusiness. The session provides an introduction into how digital technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the digital supply chain can create opportunities to utilise data to help drive the food and agribusiness industry. KL will talk about the various digital technologies that could be used in the industry, how these technologies can enable data analytics to generate important and timely decision support and provide existing application examples.
  • Alex Maritz is LBS’ Professor of Entrepreneurship and gives a masterclass on Disruptive Lean Business Model Design. The masterclass is on the latest international trends of Innovation in AgTech, and the role of disruptive lean business model design in Agtech Start-ups. Alex will discuss areas of collaboration for impact and how innovations in FinTech are unlocking opportunities in AgTech, coupled with the importance of continual iteration in lean start-up methods.
  • Aniruddha (Ani) Desai, a Research Professor and Director of La Trobe University’s Centre for Technology Infusion, provides a masterclass on Industry 4.0 for Agribusiness. The session will provide an overview of Industry 4.0 and the global trends in advanced manufacturing and automation in context of Agribusiness that are set to transform the industry. Supported by case studies from both large and small scale operations, Ani will focus on technologies that will empower future connected farms and next generation production equipment from automated tractors and machines to farm to fork traceability and logistics technology of the future.

The only downside is that the masterclasses run concurrently – meaning you can only choose one to attend!

World class learning combined with exceptional value for money opportunities like this don’t come along very often. Register now to avoid disappointment: http://bit.ly/LBS_18IFAF.

 

This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics in the La Trobe Business School. The series was developed after the successful National Innovation Forum organised by La Trobe Business School, NORTH Link and Deloitte Consulting P/L in 2017.

More blogs about #18IFAF:

More blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:

LBS held a successful Early Career Researcher Workshop

Last week, Dr Shalinka Jayatilleke and Dr Jasvir Kaur Nachatar Singh organised a highly successful Early Career Researcher (ECR) Workshop. It was a full day of information sessions, panel discussions and hands-on workshops with a focus on grants and funding both internally and externally. Twenty-two ECRs from LBS in Bundoora and the regions attended. LBS has the highest number of ECRs in the university meaning events such as this one are incredibly important for building a research community.

Some of the staff involved in the ECR Workshop

The day started with a session on building and advancing a research career through grants: The importance of grants, how to apply for grants, the opportunities and limitations of grants, but also the reality of grant success. Grant applications are highly competitive and although a researcher´s grant might meet all the criteria, it may not be competitive enough against other applications. There was a panel session around what grant assessors want and the key components of a grant application.

A panel discussion with A/Prof Kate Webster, Prof Axel Schulz, Prof Sue Martin and Prof Lawrie Zion on grant applications

Very insightful was the Building Collaborations and Industry Engagement session on how to build collaborations with both industry and non-industry partners and what support there is available at LTU and LBS in terms of initiating industry engagement.

Prof Matt Nicholson discussing the importance of grants

The session on How to Keep a Track Record was about keeping an up to date CV that can be a direct feed to a grant application. The day ended with a very positively-minded and hands-on workshop allowing ECRs to review their current research progress and success, but also discuss their plans for the future and how to actually plan for the next step.

Meet our new Adjunct Professor Phil Dolan

LBS is delighted to announce that Phil Dolan has been appointed as Adjunct Professor in the Business School. Phil is currently an Angel Investor, providing capital for start-ups. Prior to that he was Head of Investment Research at Macquarie Bank, Director of the Applied Finance Centre at Macquarie University, Dean of the Business School at UWA and Acting PVC of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce at La Trobe University.

Business Newsroom sat down with Phil to talk about his latest appointment.

Welcome Phil! What brings you to LBS?

During my time as Acting Pro Vice Chancellor for the College of ASSC, I had the opportunity to observe the La Trobe Business School firsthand. I was very impressed with every aspect of the School’s operations, its faculty, its course offerings, and its industry links.

What are you bringing to LBS?

In terms of background, before my time in academia I spent 14 years working in the finance industry, at Macquarie Bank. While there, I was primarily responsible for overseeing the research activity of the Bank’s investment management arm, and I regularly interacted with finance academics and was a regular hirer of graduates from finance programs. My academic background has been primarily in Business Schools, most recently as Dean of the UWA Business School. Now that I have relocated to Melbourne, I am keen to be involved further at La Trobe.

How will you approach your role as adjunct professor?

I spent 7 years at Macquarie University, overseeing their Masters in Applied Finance program, the largest of its kind in the world (1,200 students). I taught in the program for some years, and would welcome the opportunity to get back in the classroom.

I am very supportive of the trend to expose students to teachers who combine academic and industry experience, and I look forward to contributing in this way to LBS.

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