INTRODUCING THE 2014 STUDENT COLLOQUIUM AMBASSADORS

We are incredibly pleased to introduce the University community to this year’s six Student Colloquium Ambassadors. Over the next two months, the Ambassadors will be working with the Institute for Teaching and Learning on a range of activities designed to engage and extend opportunities for students to interact and participate in the Sydney Teaching Colloquium.

It is anticipated that the Ambassadors will help to shape and develop:Ā 

  • a campaign to engage the student community in the Colloquium before, during and after the event (visit the Instagram competition for Sydney students);
  • a well-designed and creative student session on assessment at the Colloquium;
  • a Colloquium evaluation plan drawing on a range of research methods and data sources that capture senior leaders, staff, and students’ experiences of assessment and feedback, and what can be done to improve them. This will be presented by Ambassadors at the close of the event;
  • resources in the form of text, artefacts, objects, images of the Colloquium (particularly students’ experiences of assessment) that can be re-used for a range of educational purposes to support assessment development work across the university; and
  • a co-authored publication to be submitted to the Special Issue of the International Journal of Academic Development (Engaging students as partners in L&T: implications for academic development).

Please do all you can to support the efforts of our Student Colloquium Ambassadors.



Amanda Clifford
Health Sciences
Year 3

By being a Student Ambassador, I hope to gain a clearer understanding of how academics from different Schools and disciplines approach assessing how their students learn. This could help clarify some of my own experiences of both good and bad assessment. To complement this, I am also keen to learn more about how students from different degrees approach assessment, and how the student voice can help academics develop effective methods of assessing their students’ learning. I know that this will not only benefit me as I complete my undergraduate degree and commence my postgraduate studies, but will also benefit the entire university population.



Annette English
Education
Year 4

I have previously volunteered and worked for the University as a mentor for first year students, and as such I am aware of the issues that they face. Through my years and experiences at university, I have had many informal conversations with my close peers and friends across faculties about the challenges and opportunities within various courses. I believe that the role of Ambassador at the Colloquium will give me the opportunity to take these voices to people who are ready to listen. The Education faculty encourages us to reflect on what we have learnt through completing each of our assessments, and I am excited to apply these critical reflection skills to the Universities approach to assessments. I am pleased to be a part of a conversation about the quality of teaching at the University that rightly includes the voices of students. It was this idea of a community within the University that drew me to the program. The Colloquium will be a fantastic environment to hear what academics believe, and to further develop my own ideas and philosophy around education. I am honoured to act as a student ambassador, and will endeavour to engage and communicate professionally with those who make decisions for my peers.

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Jananie Janarthana
Politics, Economics and Social Sciences
Year 3

Through my degree, the Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences and through Majoring in Government and International relations and Sociology, I have not only gained theoretical knowledge but have developed research and analytical skills. Through contributing to the Sydney Teaching Colloquium, I would like to learn to harness my aforementioned skills and gain new skills in a diverse, challenging environment. As a student of sociology, I value the efforts of educational research to create and foster social change. I would like to see the discussion at the Colloquium in relation to engaged enquiries and social change. Furthermore, I hope to see a dialogue about the way in which assessment standards can be addressed practically in relation to assessment design, marking and feedback, and questions about over-assessment. I believe it is integral to review the current assessment standards so that the University of Sydney can continue to progress and maintain its academic prowess through constant evaluation. I would like to contribute and hear about the ways in which academics hope to advance our standards.

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Chelsea Jones
Health Sciences
Year 4

Hi, I’m Chelsea. I am currently completing an honours year for the Bachelor of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. As an honours student, I have come to understand the importance of research in continuing education for all academics, in particular, how health professionals can improve clinical practice. By participating in the Sydney Teaching Colloquium I would like to learn about the processes of assessment from a teaching viewpoint, which I’m sure is quite different to that of students. Furthermore, I am interested in hearing about the current research in this area, from which the learning experiences of students can be enriched. I have never attended an academic event such as this Colloquium and I am looking forward to participating in it because of the diverse range of people that I will come into contact with.

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Matt Teal Education/Arts
Year 1

I’m an undergraduate student at the University of Sydney, now in my first year of a combined degree in Education/Arts. This is actually my second year at the university, as I transferred from the Bachelor of Engineering (Flexible First Year) course at the start of 2014, so I’ve already got to know my way around a few buildings and faculties. I’m really enjoying my new course and I’m looking forward to being a teacher. To keep myself entertained during semester I play percussion in the Sydney University Wind Orchestra. As a student ambassador I will have the opportunity to learn about my abilities in group situations and develop my skills as an active contributor to educational progress. The knowledge I take from the Colloquium will be valuable for my future work in teaching and help me to decide my role in the education workforce. I will also be very interested to learn about the processes the university employs to respond to student feedback and the kind of responses that students are likely to give depending on their background and disciplines. I am excited to be a student at one of the best universities in Australia and to have the opportunity to learn more about the academic reasoning applied by the university staff when determining the most effective and constructive ways to allow students to demonstrate their understanding. It is important that the University of Sydney remains up-to-date in its assessment practices, as this will ensure that its graduates have relevant understandings and are empowered as active contributors to their respective fields.

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Jessica Zhang
Arts
Year 2

Hello! My name is Jessica Zhang and I am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts and majoring in English, though I am also currently studying Sociology. My current study plan is to finish this degree and then complete a Masters in order to become an English teacher. I love eating and making good food, reading high-fantasy novels and volunteering in general, such as for the Rural Fire Service and for the SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show. I'm excited to participate in the Student Ambassador scheme as it provides me with an opportunity to contribute and improve the student experience, and through this, I hope to help create a more balanced and valuable teaching environment. One of my hopes for the Student Ambassador scheme is that it helps to encourage the value and importance of life-long learning within the academic and student community by focusing on effective feedback and positive relationships between staff and students. As a result of this role I aim to learn how to use social media to involve the student community within the Colloquium, how to research and improve online resources accessed by students, such as the Learning Management System and also to take time to explore my interest in public relations. 

For additional information, contact Dr Tai Peseta by email at tai.peseta@sydney.edu.au.