Teaching@Sydney

Welcome to Teaching@Sydney. Stay informed about teaching and learning news and events with this monthly bulletin produced by the Institute for Teaching and Learning.

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OLT grant successes

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Pip Pattison, has warmly congratulated Associate Professor Siegbert Schmid and Associate Professor Adam Bridgeman (Faculty of Science), Dr Helen Mitchell (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and Dr Lilon Bandler (Sydney Medical School) for their successes in receiving funding in the first 2014 round of grants funding from the Office for Teaching and Learning.

Professor Pattison also acknowledged the work of all the applicants, successful and unsuccessful, and thanked those in the ITL and the faculties who have supported them.
 


How do we listen to music performers when we don’t see what we hear? Dr Helen Mitchell's research investigates audiences' perceptions and descriptions of performances, through sound alone and through an audio-visual fusion of sensory information. Helen is now bringing her expertise to the project 'Redefining tacit knowledge in music performance evaluation: preparing perceptually-aware music leaders'. Helen is based at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (SCM), and is working in partnership with her colleague Roger Benedict (SCM), and Dr Lotte Latukefu of the University of Wollongong. Helen's project will enable music students to experience the complexities and pitfalls of performance evaluation, to learn from music industry experts and develop training strategies to advance their listening acuity for performance and performer evaluation. Helen says 'I'm interested in how students learn the skills they need to judge blind and sighted auditions and performances. Students need to be able to make informed, consistent and justifiable decisions.'


The discipline of Chemistry has agreed on national threshold learning outcomes (TLOs), and the profession has come on board, with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute deciding to use the TLOs for accreditation. A new project makes the necessary next step. A/Prof Siegbert Schmid (with A/Prof Adam Bridgeman) is leading the project 'Assessing the assessments: evidencing and benchmarking student learning outcomes in chemistry', with partners at Curtin University, Deakin University, Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology, The University of Adelaide, and the University of Wollongong. Adam Bridgeman says 'The TLOs have been agreed, but we need to work out how to assess them and make them a reality. All the major chemistry schools in Australia are involved, and we'll be benchmarking against similar projects in the US and UK'.


Dr Lilon Bandler is a partner on a project led by The University of Melbourne, 'Guiding assessment for learning in Indigenous health at level 9 of the Australian Qualifications Framework', with partners at Flinders University , The University of Queensland and The University of Auckland (NZ). Health sciences students studying at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 9 (masters or extended masters degrees) will be future primary practitioners and leaders in Indigenous health care delivery, and the AQF specifies that they should achieve an extended understanding of Indigenous health. The project will map current Indigenous health assessment practices to inform the development of a guide to assessment for learning in masters level Indigenous health curricula. The guide will address how academics can design assessment tasks (both formative and summative) to achieve AQF level 9 (Masters) learning outcomes in Indigenous health programs so that future health practitioners are able to effectively and sustainably influence determinants of health and better outcomes for Indigenous Australians.[close]

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Pip Pattison, has warmly congratulated Associate Professor Siegbert Schmid and Associate Professor Adam Bridgeman (Faculty of Sci...[more]

Keynotes for Sydney Teaching Colloquium announced. Call for proposals extended.

Emeritus Professor David Boud, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Professor David Boud has been involved in research and teaching development in adult, higher and professional education for over 30 years and has contributed extensively to the literature. Previously at UTS he held the positions of Dean of the University Graduate School, Head of the School of Adult and Language Education and Associate Dean (Research and Development) in the Faculty of Education. Prior to his appointment at UTS he was Professor and Foundation Director of the Professional Development Centre at the University of New South Wales.

He is a 2007 Australian Learning and Teaching Council Senior Fellow and in 2010 completed the project associated with this fellowship, 'Student assessment for learning in and after courses’, called Assessment Futures.


Professor Chris Rust, Oxford Brookes University

Chris Rust is Professor of Higher Education, and Associate Dean (Academic Policy) at Oxford Brookes University. Previously, for ten years, he was Head of the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD), and Deputy Director of the Human Resource Directorate. From 2005 - 2010 he was also a Deputy Director for two Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - ASKe (Assessment Standards Knowledge Exchange) and the Reinvention Centre for undergraduate research (led by Warwick University).

He has researched and published on many aspects of student assessment, including improving student performance through engagement in the marking process.


Call for proposals extended

The call for proposals for the fourth Sydney Teaching Colloquium has been extended to Friday 25th July.

In asking ‘Is our assessment up to standard?’ the Colloquium invites the university community to consider how assessment standards can be harnessed for learning.

You are invited to submit a proposal for a Practice example presentation, Research and evaluation presentation, or Symposium. Your proposal must be accompanied by a 300 word abstract. For the criteria for each proposal type, and further information on submittting your proposal please click here.

Those on Twitter can follow the official Sydney Teaching Colloquium account @SydTeachColloq[close]

Emeritus Professor David Boud, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Professor David Boud has been involved in research and teaching development in adult, higher and profession...[more]

Student ambassadors wanted for the Sydney Teaching Colloquium

Please pass on this opportunity to your students - it's paid work and great experience.

Building on the commitment to engaged enquiry, the Sydney Teaching Colloquium (STC) is one of the biggest events on the university’s teaching and learning calendar. Attended by over 400 staff, the STC is a forum for sharing ideas and practices, learning about research on teaching, and finding collaborators interested in improving teaching, learning and curriculum at the University. 

The Colloquium is now in its fourth year. This year, the STC will be held on 29-30 September, MacLaurin Hall, and this year, we are inviting applications from currently-enrolled undergraduate students to participate in the Colloquium as Student Ambassadors. These are paid positions. We are seeking to appoint six students as Ambassadors.

Students have always played an important role in the Colloquium – providing an insight into the contemporary experience of being a student, and learning at the university. We know from feedback each year that academic staff value students’ voices and perspectives, and that they want to hear from more students, and a diversity of students.

The Student Ambassadors will be involved in five aspects of the Colloquium. First, they will lend their knowledge, experience and understanding about the demands of being a contemporary student to the Colloquium planning processes. Second, by utilizing social media and technologies, they will develop resources that support the marketing of the Colloquium to the wider student and university community. Third, they will participate in panels or group discussions at the Colloquium. Fourth, consistent with engaged enquiry, they will have opportunities to extend and hone their skills as researchers – collecting, analysing, and presenting data at various stages of the Colloquium process. Finally, they will have an opportunity to participate in a research project evaluating the Ambassador scheme.

The student ambassadors will be paid for 40 hours of work that they will undertake during mid-August to mid-October, 2014. Only currently-enrolled undergraduate or undergraduate honours students at The University of Sydney are eligible to apply.  For more information please click here.[close]

Please pass on this opportunity to your students - it's paid work and great experience. Building on the commitment to engaged enquiry, the Sydney Teaching Colloquium (STC)...[more]

Self-assess your practice: An assessment rubric for assessment

The Assessment Scholars Network has developed a matrix to help you self-assess your assessment practice. The matrix below presents good assessment practice in the form of five criteria, including a set of five 'good' level standards. These standards are derived directly from unit coordinators' assessment practice in units of study that are highly rated by students on the standard Unit of Study Evaluation items 5 and 12: “The assessment in this unit of study allowed me to demonstrate what I had understood” and “Overall I was satisfied with the quality of this unit of study”.

The evidence-based good level standards are grounded in the successful everyday teaching practice of the unit coordinators involved, and the units of study span a variety of disciplines from all faculties. The standards correspond well with the qualities of good assessment found in the literature on higher education.

You may wish to use the matrix below to self-assess your practice with a colleague, or in your teaching team. For advice, tips and resources on implementing the good level standards, contact the Assessment Scholars Network via the ITL. If you have any comments or suggestions about the matrix, then please contact Graham Hendry.

 

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The Assessment Scholars Network has developed a matrix to help you self-assess your assessment practice. The matrix below presents good assessment practice in the form of five cr...[more]

How to integrate English language communication into course curricula

Students develop their English language communication alongside their increasing knowledge and understanding of discipline content. Academic staff can support this development in a number of practical ways. Guidelines for the development of students’ academic and professional communication are available here in the box on the right.

Here are some strategies academic staff can use to implement these guidelines:

  • set a low stakes discipline-based assignment early in a unit of study to provide both students and staff with feedback on students’ English language communication
  • adopt a chunking approach to further assessment tasks so that learning is scaffolded and feedback on both content and communication can be given during this process
  • include communication outcomes in program and unit learning objectives and, most importantly, in assessment criteria
  • provide exemplars as part of a learning activity for students to devise assessment criteria that include communication criteria
  • address communication in curriculum review and design
  • collaborate with language and learning academics to embed communication into course curricula (see the Learning Centre Resources page for a number of online resources developed collaboratively with discipline staff)

A recently completed Office for Learning and Teaching project in this area ('Degrees of proficiency: Building a strategic approach to university students’ English language assessment and development') offers further advice. The project website provides a summary of current institutional approaches, identifies effective practice and offers guidelines for developing a strategic institutional approach. Helen Drury, from the Learning Centre, was part of the project team. The Learning Centre has a long history of collaborating with academic staff to integrate English language communication into curricula. Please contact the Learning Centre if you would like more information.[close]

Students develop their English language communication alongside their increasing knowledge and understanding of discipline content. Academic staff can support this development in...[more]

Go8 Graduate Research Leadership Workshop

The Group of Eight (Go8) Universities are running a two-day workshop on 18-19 August 2014 at the University of Adelaide for postgraduate co-ordinators and other leaders in the supervision of higher degree by research. The workshop will allow people to discuss and compare best practice in supervision.

The workshop cover the themes:

  • Life and times of a Postgraduate Coordinator
  • Having hard conversations, the interplay of PGC, HOS and DDoG
  • Mediation and getting it right

The DVC Education will reimburse travel and accommodation expenses (up to $1500 per person) for a maximum of five postgraduate co-ordinators (or equivalent, including heads of department or associate deans) to attend the Workshop (participants must have approval in advance from Graduate Studies Office in order to qualify for reimbursement).

For information (including the program) or to express interest in attending, please contact graduate.studies@sydney.edu.au as soon as possible.[close]

The Group of Eight (Go8) Universities are running a two-day workshop on 18-19 August 2014 at the University of Adelaide for postgraduate co-ordinators and other leaders in the su...[more]

Supporting your students' group work

Group work can polarise students, with some enjoying the experience of working with others and some preferring to work individually. Academic dishonesty and plagiarism in group work can be difficult for both academics and students to deal with, and so the University is revising the Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism in Coursework Policy to clarify the position of individual students involved in group work.

The ITL has produced a new Teaching Insight that summarises the essentials that should be considered in any use of student groups in coursework. Designing group work, preparing students, and assessment of group work are the three areas addressed, with numerous links to examples and further reading.

One of the links provided is to the LearnHigher Group Work website which provides support for both students and academics. The site follows, via 10 videos, the journey of a group of five students from initial group formation through to their final presentation.

Further resources for both students and staff are provided in the Teaching Insight, and you may also wish to read an earlier Teaching@Sydney article on group work.[close]

Group work can polarise students, with some enjoying the experience of working with others and some preferring to work individually. Academic dishonesty and plagiarism in group w...[more]

Higher Degree Research writing symposium - call for abstracts

Writing is a central concern for higher degree research (HDR) student progression and completion rates. The building of HDR student writing capacity encompasses multiple, divergent and interconnecting responsibilities and models. A symposium to be held at the University of Sydney on October 3rd focuses on two primary touch points for developing student writing:

  1. The student supervisory relationship, and;
  2. Institutionally endorsed spaces from which programmatic and/or centrally delivered writing ‘support’ may be provided by faculty academics, academic developers, and academic language and learning educators.

The symposium, supported by the Association for Academic Language and Learning, will showcase diverse practices from a range of universities for developing HDR student writing. It will provide opportunities for supervisors, deans and directors of graduate research, academic developers and academic language and learning educators to discuss what works – and what might work better in the contexts of their institutions.

We are seeking abstracts of 250 words in length describing practices and models within, or traversing the two primary touch point spaces that we have identified. We want to know what is happening in these spaces that is innovative, that works, and that encourages students to write.We are interested in papers that not only share practice but that also:

  1. Provide evidence of what works;
  2. Discuss current or potential links between providers of writing instruction;
  3. Identify debates, constraints and enablers in the building of HDR student writing capacity;
  4. Address pedagogical or curriculum issues;
  5. Raise issues of responsibility for building student writing capacity.

When submitting your abstract, please nominate your preference for either:

  1. A short 5 minute showcase describing an innovation – maximum 5 slides per presentation;
  2. A longer 20 minute presentation which provides a deeper reflection based on one or more of the five parameters of interest identified above.

Please email your abstract by July 16th 2014. We are very much looking forward to receiving your abstracts and will notify you of the outcomes of your submission by August 15th 2014.[close]

Writing is a central concern for higher degree research (HDR) student progression and completion rates. The building of HDR student writing capacity encompasses multiple, diverge...[more]

Issues in teaching mathematics at university level - seminar

The Mathematics Study Centre in the School of Mathematical Sciences, UTS, warmly invites you to this seminar:

Issues in teaching mathematics at university level: Engineering Students Understanding Mathematics (ESUM)

Presented by UTS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Professor Barbara Jaworski, who is Head of the Mathematics Education Centre and Professor of Mathematics Education at Loughborough University, UK.

Date: Monday 7th July 2014
Time: 3.45 for tea/coffee, 4pm – 5pm seminar. (Optional informal dinner at own expense at 6.30pm in nearby restaurant.)
Venue: CB06.04.37 (Building 6, same level as the pedestrian bridge over Harris Street from building 1.) UTS City Campus, Broadway

Abstract

I work in a Mathematics Education Centre in which one of our research focuses is the teaching and learning of mathematics at university level.I will sketch out some of our research projects in this area and then focus on the ESUM Project. This was an innovation in mathematics teaching in which we sought ways of enabling engineering students to develop their conceptual understandings of mathematics in contrast with the procedural approaches they experienced in schools. The project involved developmental research – that is research which both contributes to development and also charts developmental progress and outcomes. I will highlight practices, processes, issues and constraints.

About the speaker

Barbara Jaworski is Professor of Mathematics Education in the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University and Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Agder, Norway. She was formerly Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Agder and before that a Reader at the University of Oxford. She has a career that spans mathematics teaching at secondary level and first year university level, teacher education at secondary level, and teaching and supervision of doctoral students. Her research has been mainly into the development of mathematics teaching through research and through partnerships between teachers and teacher educators or didacticians. She was for six years Editor in Chief of the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. She is currently President of PME, the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. Her research currently is into the development of mathematics teaching at the university level.

Please RSVP to Mary.Coupland@uts.edu.au for catering.[close]

The Mathematics Study Centre in the School of Mathematical Sciences, UTS, warmly invites you to this seminar: Issues in teaching mathematics at university level: Engineering St...[more]

Would you like to test drive a world-first app for university teachers?

The aim of our OLT project is to develop a mobile website (an app) that will deliver your student evaluation results at the same time as a nifty set of tips and resources linked directly to your results to help you enhance your teaching practice. A built-in feature will be the capacity to contact other colleagues with an interest in improving teaching, and expertise in using successful strategies.

The first version of the app is focused around assessment and teaching. We are seeking volunteers to use the app in Semester 2, 2014. By participating in this study you will receive access to the app, allowing you to view your student evaluation results along with personalised recommendations for resources.

For more information, please read our participant information statement.

To receive access to the app and participate in the study, just contact us.

Martin Tomitsch (Project Leader), Jen Scott Curwood, Kate Thomson, and Graham Hendry.[close]

The aim of our OLT project is to develop a mobile website (an app) that will deliver your student evaluation results at the same time as a nifty set of tips and resources linked...[more]

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