Joining the VEDT as an RMIT student: Riley

Image: Claire Tao
Riley Barber headshot
Riley Barber

Riley is in her first year of a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at RMIT in Melbourne.

One of the first things I realised after joining the Vocational Education Design Team (VEDT) was that I didn’t have any corporate clothes. I had to raid my mother’s wardrobe for a nice blazer, and spent that weekend shopping for anything remotely presentable in a corporate environment. My mum keeps referring to this as ‘proper job’, and perhaps in comparison to my previous positions in customer service it is. I’m earning double what I used to – without suffering the torture of fast food customers – and getting discounts on coffee!

Working at RMIT is like watching how a movie gets made. It’s insider access that feels weird and slightly out of place, and has completely turned my perspective of higher education upside down. Since starting my position as a student course builder, I’ve glimpsed into the admin-laden process of how each course is built. The constant emails back and forth, questions posed in forums and tid-bit advice on grammar that seems too complicated and therefore easier just to ignore.

As an RMIT student I use Canvas a lot, and I’ve taken for granted the construction of everything from the quizzes to the content itself. For the first time I’ve had to think critically about the accessibility of images and tables for the visually impaired – something I took for granted before, not having to worry about the intricacies of how visuals are tagged. At times my journalistic skills have come in handy, editing course content before it is uploaded, and ensuring it is easily understood by students.

Overall, it’s been an interesting experience so far. Even at university, you are waiting for an official inauguration into adulthood to confirm your maturity. This feels just like that – like independence.

And for once, no one’s asking to see my manager.