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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Encourage your students to apply for the 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference Support Scheme

Building on the University’s commitment to engaged enquiry, the Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) is proud to offer two currently enrolled University of Sydney undergraduate coursework students, the opportunity to present their ‘undergraduate research’ at this year’s Australian Conference of Undergraduate Research (ACUR), 29-30 September at The University of Western Australia in Perth. Alongside support for each student, the ITL will also fund the attendance of one staff member who is responsible for designing the curriculum that has led to the undergraduate student being engaged in research and enquiry.

The 2015 Australian Conference of Undergraduate Research (ACUR)
An undergraduate research conference is like any academic conference except that undergraduates give the majority of the presentations. These students report on research carried out within their units, in a research internship, a research-based degree program, or in voluntary work. The conference is a great opportunity to meet students from other universities and to share research. As a multi-disciplinary conference, students will have chances to network with other undergraduate researchers from similar disciplines, and also to learn about how other disciplines approach research problems.

Eligibility
While Honours, Masters by Coursework, and Masters by Research students are strongly encouraged to present their research at the ACUR conference, this support scheme is only for currently enrolled undergraduate coursework students at Sydney.

Key dates

  • Abstract submission due to ACUR: Monday 1 June
  • ACUR notifies student re: acceptance: Wednesday 1 July
  • Application for ITL's Undergraduate Research Conference Support Scheme closes: Monday 20 July
  • ITL notifies applicants: Friday 31 July
  • ACUR conference dates: Tuesday 29 - Wednesday 30 September

Further information about the Scheme and how to apply is available here.

Contact Dr Tai Peseta with any queries.

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Building on the University’s commitment to engaged enquiry, the Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) is proud to offer two currently enrolled University of Sydney underg...[more]

ACEN offers three $10,000 WIL research grants

The Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) aims to foster research and scholarship initiatives in Work Integrated Learning (WIL) by endorsing research proposals and identifying and advancing WIL research in priority areas. In 2015 ACEN is pleased to increase the Research Grants from two to three. Applications are due on 18 May, 2015.

This year ACEN is offering funding for research grants to:

  • build the capacity of ACEN members to undertake research into WIL
  • promote and support scholarship in WIL develop effective mechanisms for identifying, developing, disseminating and embedding research-based practice in WIL programs
  • leverage opportunities for collaboration in WIL research.

The themes for the 2015 grant scheme are:

  • Partnerships models for engagement with industries and communities to grow WIL
  • Working with small to medium enterprises (SMEs) on innovative WIL models
  • Evaluation strategies supporting quality WIL.

 For additional information, visit the ACEN website.

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The Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) aims to foster research and scholarship initiatives in Work Integrated Learning (WIL) by endorsing research proposals and iden...[more]

Everyone says response rates will plummet with online surveys...

A key element of the University’s new Unit of Study Survey (USS) is the move to fully on-line surveys. This brings with it a real concern that response rates will suffer. There is now a lot of research on this issue, and the design of the new USS has drawn on that work to maximize response rates. It is also clear that there are things Unit of Study coordinators can do in their classes to achieve excellent response rates. Recently we emailed a few senior colleagues who have already used the new USS this year, and achieved more than 50% response rates in their surveys. Here are some of their top tips: 

  • ‘My top tip is to allow students to do the survey on their own devices in class BUT then to spend a few minutes afterwards unpacking what they took from the experience. Asking them to come up with their own additional questions really seemed to empower them’
  • ‘We were getting only 10% responses so we allocated time in small group tutorials and asked the tutors to encourage them to complete the USS’
  • ‘I followed the guidelines: (i) reminded the students; (ii) allowed time in the tutorial; (iii) stated that I took notice of comments and improved the unit of study as a result of comments.’ 
  • ‘Many students had completed their response before the tutorial’ 
  • ‘I think they felt their voices would be heard and that I would respond’

Through Student News the University is explaining to students how important their feedback is, and the USS uses automatic reminder emails to students who haven’t yet filled in the survey. The USS is intentionally short, and the survey interface is designed to be accessible and easy to use on a range of devices. If you are interested to read more about the design features that have been incorporated into the University’s new USS, Berk (2012) provides a helpful review of what the research has shown improves response rates to online surveys. If you have other ideas for how to improve the response rates in your faculty please get in touch with your Associate Dean Learning & Teaching.

Reference: Berk, R.A. (2012). Top 20 strategies to increase the online response rates of student rating scales. International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 8(2), 98-107.[close]

A key element of the University’s new Unit of Study Survey (USS) is the move to fully on-line surveys. This brings with it a real concern that response rates will s...[more]

#edtech talks - Blogging and an app

The #edtech series of talks continues with Dr Rosanne Quinnell from the School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Professor Adam David Morton from School of Social and Political Science, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as the speakers on Friday 15 May 2015 from 12.00pm - 1.00pm.

Adam will discuss Blogging as Pedagogy while Rosanne will discuss partnering with undergraduate students on a campus-wide learning and teaching App.

Since joining the University of Sydney in 2014, Adam Morton has promoted the teaching of political economy through social media, specifically linking the classroom to personal and collective blogging activities. He writes: Much has been made of the presence of social media including Facebook, Twitter, and blogging in terms of social networking but how can these activities be coordinated to ensure enhanced pedagogical experiences in the classroom? In this talk, I will relay some of the developments weaved into my regular teaching to ensure the embedded practice of blogging as an indispensable supplement to, and support of, classroom pedagogy. I will focus on how both my personal blog site, For the Desk Drawer, and the collective blog I edit within the Department of Political Economy, Progress in Political Economy (PPE) and launched in 2014, can lead to a fruitful and essential support to classroom teaching. We will discuss approaches to blogging linked to teaching and research, the use of Twitter, and how public and student outreach can be enhanced as a result of the use of such targetted social media.

Rosanne Quinnell's partnering with undergraduate students on a campus-wide learning and teaching App addresses Botanical literacy and, she declares, her plan to take over the world one campus at a time. The University of Sydney Campus Flora Apps were created through a partnership with undergraduate students, professional and academic staff and by harnessing new technologies. Effectively CampusFlora has extended the learning space for Botany from the classroom to the entire campus. The pedagogic focus was to address 'botanical literacy' by providing an interactive map for users (students in Botany, Biology, Ecology, Science plus university community and visitors) to locate, identify and learn about plants. We are now investigating the potential to share our software system so that other universities can offer their own CampusFlora.

The #edtech talks is part of the Sydney Teaching Seminars.

To register click here

Save the date

The following #edtech talk on Friday 19 June 2015 from 12.00pm - 1.00pm will feature presentations by Dr Ehssan Sakhaae of Engineering and Information Technology and Dr Catherine Smyth from Education and Social Work. Ehssan will talk about 'Flipping with Edutainment' while Kate will present on digital curation.  Learn what they do and how their students respond.[close]

The #edtech series of talks continues with Dr Rosanne Quinnell from the School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Professor Adam David Morton from School of Social and...[more]

Dialogues with Sydney's Distinguished Teachers

Ever wanted an audience with Sydney's university teachers who are passionate, committed, and care deeply about student learning? The forthcoming 29 May session showcases the teaching of Associate Professors Ariadne Vromen and Rosina McAlpine-Mladenovic who are the recipients of University and national teaching awards, respectively. Bring your lunch, and find out about about how they navigate the complex spaces and scenes of teaching and learning inside the contemporary university.

These talks are part of the Sydney Teaching Seminars. You can also follow along on twitter #stsdialogues.

Date: Friday 29 May
Time: 1-2pm

Venue: Teaching and Learning Seminar Room 250, Level 2 South, Fisher Library

Associate Professor Rosina McAlpine-Mladenovic is located in the Discipline of Accounting in the School of Business. She is an accomplished and highly awarded university teacher. In 2006, with two colleagues, she received a national Carrick citation for her contributions to tutor development in the then Faculty of Economics & Business; in 2009, she won a Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching; and in 2011, another national award from the ALTC for Teaching Excellence.
Read more about Rosina...

Located in the Department of Government and International Relations, Ariadne Vromen is an Associate Professor, political sociologist and enthusiastic political science teacher. In 2009 received the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching. Read more about Ariadne...

To register click here

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Ever wanted an audience with Sydney's university teachers who are passionate, committed, and care deeply about student learning? The forthcoming 29 May session showcases the te...[more]

Save the date! Contemporary Challenges in Work-integrated Learning

The next ACEN ACT/NSW chapter forum 'Contemporary Challenges in WIL' takes place on Monday 15 June, 10am-4.30pm, at The Law Foyer, The Law School, The University of Sydney.

Topics include:

  • National Strategy update
  • Inclusive WIL
  • Risk Management plans & Third Party Providers

Because the University of Sydney is an Institutional member of ACEN, the forum is free for all staff and students. Lunch will also be provided.

An agenda and registration details will be available shortly but please save the date!

For enquiries, please contact state co-chairs Dr Theresa Winchester-Seeto or Sarah Fletcher

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The next ACEN ACT/NSW chapter forum 'Contemporary Challenges in WIL' takes place on Monday 15 June, 10am-4.30pm, at The Law Foyer, The Law School, The University of Sydney....[more]

Modeling for teaching improvement

While trial and error plays a part, much of human behaviour is learned observationally through perceiving others model that behaviour. Yet learning observationally by watching colleagues teaching well (without reviewing or judging them) is not common practice in most Australian universities. Early career academics in particular are often thrown into their teaching roles without any peer observational learning experience.

Recent research shows that university teachers can learn from observing teaching models. In one study (Hendry, Bell & Thomson, 2014) 23 out of 28 academics who had observed a colleague in their teaching (without reviewing them) reported that they had learned about at least one new teaching strategy, and were motivated to try the strategy; 74% of those academics thought that their trial of the strategy was successful. As one experienced teacher commented about their lectures, “I felt empowered to try things other than the ‘stand and deliver’ style and to be creative in [the] use of small groups”. In another study of both peer observation and peer review in a peer assisted study session (PASS) program, 20 new student facilitators thought they learned about effective facilitation strategies from seeing them performed. As one facilitator commented, “you’ve got almost a bird’s eye view of what is going on and how the students are engaging with each other … you get that sort of different perspective, as you watch the students as well as the facilitator”. These facilitators recommended that peer observation occur before peer review.

The poster below summarises a staged model of peer observation and review based on the research above, which could be used in faculties to support teachers in improving their practice. In the Faculty of Science, for example, stages two and three are already well implemented as the faculty component of the University's Principles & Practice of University Teaching and Learning (P&P) program.

To download a copy of the poster click here.
 


Hendry, G. D., Bell, A., & Thomson, K. (2014). Learning by observing a peer’s teaching situation. International Journal for Academic Development, 19(4), 318-329.[close]

While trial and error plays a part, much of human behaviour is learned observationally through perceiving others model that behaviour. Yet learning observationally by watching...[more]

Benchmarking resources to evaluate student partnership in learning and teaching

The UK based National Union of Students (NUS) has produced a range of insightful resources to help universities and staff benchmark local arrangements and processes for student partnership in learning and teaching. Individual staff, teaching teams, departments, and faculties are invited by the NUS to use the resources to assess their commitment to, and resourcing of, pedagogical initiatives designed to engage students more fully in learning and teaching. The benchmarking tools focus on three areas and are based on research-informed principles:

The NUS are keen that the resources "provoke constructive conversations between staff and students and lead to tangible changes in practice". Further benchmarking tools are planned for academic support and personal tutoring. The NUS are also keen to hear from staff who decide to use the tool in their local contexts. Contact Kate Little at NUS, Senior Project Officer.[close]

The UK based National Union of Students (NUS) has produced a range of insightful resources to help universities and staff benchmark local arrangements and processes for student par...[more]

53 Powerful Ideas All Teachers Should Know About

In installment number four from Gibbs's blog, he reviews the evidence to make the case that University teaching can be judged and measured. What's your view? Does Gibbs's argument stack up?

Graham Gibbs is one of the UK's most well known advocates of improving university learning and teaching. With his colleagues (Habeshaw & Habeshaw), he was responsible for the very popular '53 Interesting Ideas' books series that have supported countless teachers (new and experienced) navigate their way through tricky classroom and curriculum dilemmas. Gibbs's new blog 53 Powerful Ideas all Teachers Should Know About offers a research summary of key issues.[close]

In installment number four from Gibbs's blog, he reviews the evidence to make the case that University teaching can be judged and measured. What's your view? Does Gibbs'...[more]

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Current Events & Registration

register Sign up for Teaching@Sydney details 2014
register Dialogues with Sydney’s Distinguished Teachers details 29 May
register Foundations of Research Supervision Forum details 25 June
register Principles & Practice of University Teaching & Learning details 16 - 17 July
register Principles & Practice of University Teaching & Learning details 1 - 2 October

closed Information Session for Grants details 20 May
closed #edtech talks: Dr Rosanne Quinnell and Professor Adam Morton details 15 May
closed Curriculum Conversations: Team Based Learning in Practice details 1 May

May 15
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February 15
December 14
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