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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Thinking of going for promotion?

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Garton, will chair a Career Development Information Session on Wednesday 21 November for academic staff interested in applying for promotion in the next few years. The information session will assist you in planning a strong application for promotion.

The session will include presentations from the Director, Teaching and Learning, Associate Professor Simon Barrie, and Chair of the Academic Board, Associate Professor Peter McCallum. After each speaker there will be a 10 minute Q & A session.

Please click here to register your interest.[close]

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Garton, will chair a Career Development Information Session on Wednesday 21 November for academic staff interested in applyi...[more]

OLT call for 2013 Fellowships

The Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) has announced the call for applications for 2013 Fellowships.

Nominations close Friday 1st February 2013 with successful Fellows announced in late April/early May 2013.

There are two types of Fellowships available:

  • National Senior Teaching Fellowships are awarded to outstanding scholars who are respected leaders in learning and teaching in higher education. Up to four National Senior Teaching Fellowships are available in 2013. Maximum funding available for each National Senior Teaching Fellowship is $250,000.
  • National Teaching Fellows are prominent scholars in their disciplinary fields, recognised by their home institutions for their capacity to make significant contributions to educational leadership into the future. They are normally early or mid-career academics engaged in the scholarly practice of learning and teaching in higher education. Up to six National Teaching Fellowships are available. Maximum total funding available for each National Teaching Fellowship is $90,000. National Teaching Fellows will be expected to commence their Fellowship between 1st July and 31st December 2013.

For more information please see the announcement on the OLT website. For essential information about applying click here.[close]

The Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) has announced the call for applications for 2013 Fellowships. Nominations close Friday 1st February 2013 with successful Fellows annou...[more]

The technology enhanced curriculum

This Sydney Teaching Colloquium session was structured around two sub-sections: Large Undergraduate Cohorts, and Innovations. From the range of speakers who presented in this session, two themes emerged.

The first theme was Excellence using University-wide supported technologies. Gareth Denyer (Molecular Bioscience) presented on a project designed to replace traditional laboratory notebooks with PebblePad based lab notebooks. He described implementing the change across one semester and provided a number of insights into the challenges in such a rapid transition across a large teaching team and student cohort. By contrast, Elizabeth Gresser (Year 4 student in Music Education, Sydney Conservatorium) described how she had used PebblePad. This personal and reflective report demonstrated the utility and value of PebblePad to individual students, while the whole cohort project reported by Associate Professor Denyer was a cautionary tale about hastening slowly. The contrast between the teacher’s perspective provided by Gareth and the student’s perspective provided by Elizabeth was valuable and provided much food for thought.

Other speakers included Ilektra Spandagou (Education and Social Work) who presented on using Adobe Connect to teach distance students with local students in a postgraduate Master of Special Education program, and Bruce Isaacs (Arts and Social Sciences) who reported on the development of digital objects within the Learning Management System (Blackboard) which facilitate teaching about the transition from analogue to digital media in film.

The second emergent theme was developing and using custom designed projects for technology supported learning and teaching. Some of the externally sourced solutions presented included Matt Todd’s use of Open Source software such as LabTrove for Chemistry teaching, and commercial applications included Rosanne Quinnell’s extension of Leica’s SlidePath for teaching Botanical histology. In these examples, it was clear how important collaborations are in developing new technological solutions. Additionally, time for both conceptualising and development appeared to be essential in successful implementation.

Finally, Karen Scott (Sydney Medical School) presented ongoing research examining how medical students are using their 3G/4G devices in wards and at bedside in clinical settings. Preliminary findings suggest they are looking up clinicially relevant information and emailing tutors and other students. A number of ethical issues such as patient consent, medical record security and privacy were discussed in the context of generational change and the response of both the hospital and the university to these changes.

Resources from this session of the Colloquium are available  here.[close]

This Sydney Teaching Colloquium session was structured around two sub-sections: Large Undergraduate Cohorts, and Innovations. From the range of speakers who presented in this ses...[more]

A better climate for your RHD students

Ways of improving the learning climate for higher degree research students - that was the focus of a Sydney Teaching Colloquium session that brought together leaders, supervisors and students to share and exchange ideas.

Among the key strategies discussed were the following:

  1. Create an ongoing program in which research students get together to discuss the challenges they are facing and possible solutions. An example was provided by Professor Anita Bundy and research students Nicola Hancock and Justin Scanlan, of the Faculty of Health Sciences. In a program called Participation in Everyday Life (PIEL), PhD students meet two hours a week to discuss anything from getting published to getting enough research participants.
  2. Offer a course on thesis and dissertation writing, which links writing support with research supervision, and which provides particular support to students who are writing in English as an Additional Language, given the isolation they often experience. Dr Bronwyn Dyson spoke about piloting such a course in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
  3. Offer a course, or a series of courses throughout the degree, on research. Dr Arlie Loughnan spoke about a course in the Faculty of Law (‘Legal Research 3’) which students take towards the end of their candidature and which comprises a planning session before the start of semester and a presentation session at the end of semester, with students working in pairs in between these sessions to swap and comment on each other’s work.
  4. Create a student group focused on writing, editing and publishing their work. Research students Zoe Alderton and Johanna Petsche, of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, spoke about the benefits of being part of such a group themselves; this led to guest-editing a journal, which involved liaising with postgraduate and academic authors and referees.
  5. Schedule gatherings well ahead of time so that research students who may be spread out geographically can take part. An example mentioned in a group discussion was the Sydney Nursing School’s Research Week, which is planned well in advance so that research students can come together from different parts of the country and abroad for a week of seminars and other activities.

More ideas discussed included the following: getting research students involved in research communities via faculty and cross-faculty networks, conferences, professional associations, or external collaborators; doing a training needs analysis to identify what skills and knowledge the students will require during their candidature and where they might develop these; and creating fora in which experienced supervisors share with colleagues and/or students their expertise in doing research.

For further information about this Colloquium session, please click here. To discuss ideas for fostering research communities in your part of the University, please contact Cynthia Nelson.[close]

Ways of improving the learning climate for higher degree research students - that was the focus of a Sydney Teaching Colloquium session that brought together leaders,...[more]

Assessment and learning standards: The big picture

The main aims of the ‘Assessment and learning standards’ session on Day 1 of the Sydney Teaching Colloquium were three-fold. They were to share colleagues’ successful approaches to developing program learning standards and assuring graduate outcomes; engaging students with assessment task standards; and using team-based learning as a foundation to develop graduate attributes for communication and teamwork.

At the session approximately 150 participants listened to three short presentations, before discussing, in round table format, the application of the issues which had been presented. Volunteers then shared their own examples and this was followed by a Q&A session.

Participants commented that that they enjoyed the sharing and interaction and also valued hearing about the big picture: the AQF and TEQSA threshold standards projects that require universities to show evidence of graduates’ achievement of program learning outcomes. Some participants found it useful to hear about the University’s approach to evidencing outcomes with the QVS project. They heard from the discipline of History of how this approach resulted in a revised curriculum and the introduction of a capstone assessment task. Other participants commented positively on the use of exemplars of student work to help unpack assessment task standards and apply the new standards-based assessment policy. The discussion around developing and assessing team skills through a whole-unit approach using team-based learning was another highlight of the session.

Faculties contributing speakers were Business, Arts and Social Sciences, and Education and Social Work.

Resources from this session of the Colloquium are available here.[close]

The main aims of the ‘Assessment and learning standards’ session on Day 1 of the Sydney Teaching Colloquium were three-fold. They were to share colleagues’ succ...[more]

Fostering students' skills of enquiry through CELT

This engaging Colloquium session showcased in a round table format, Community-engaged learning and teaching (CELT) initiatives from Business; Education & Social Work; Nursing & Midwifery; Medicine; Architecture, Design & Planning and Law. The session provided participants with opportunities to hear about a variety of projects and to share information and ask questions.

Participants learnt how CELT fosters students’ skills of enquiry through activities outside the classroom and they explored the community benefits of CELT projects.

The projects that were showcased each addressed one of the six key issues for CELT:

  • Principles and approaches  used to create strategic partnerships (Service Learning through partnership with local indigenous agencies);
  • Logistics and matching of student/student groups to community partners (Pre-service Teachers' Community Development Projects);
  • Authentic assessment (Nursing clinical home project);
  • Identifying the educational outcomes in community initiated projects (CELT through service learning in Broken Hill);
  • Scholarship of learning and teaching from CELT projects (Engaged practice collaborations); and
  • CELT as part of the formal or informal curriculum.

One of the organisers of the session reported being moved to tears by the report on CELT through service learning in Rural Health at Broken Hill where students have been helping children who needed speech pathologists but could not access them in a remote community. They were making a real difference in the lives of children and their parents: children who previously could not be understood by classmates and teachers were now able to be understood.

Student presentations, in person or on video, highlighted the depth and breadth of their learning experiences and the impact in the community.

Participants were inspired to engage in CELT projects with presenters reporting that academic staff from other schools and faculties had approached them for support in setting up projects.

Resources from this session of the Colloquium are available here.[close]

This engaging Colloquium session showcased in a round table format, Community-engaged learning and teaching (CELT) initiatives from Business; Education & Social Work; Nursing...[more]

Becoming engaged and effective learners

The aim of this Colloquium session was to share initiatives and good practices in those aspects of curriculum which support the transition of students becoming engaged and effective learners, particularly within the student’s first six weeks at university.

An introduction to the concept of a curriculum which aids transition to university raised the key questions for the session: how can we, as staff, encourage this transition and what activities in the first six weeks will aid students in their transition?

After participants discussed these questions in round table format, a panel of students addressed the issues, speaking frankly of their experiences when new to the university and when acting as mentors to new students. In round table sessions, participants shared and evaluated the strategies that had been aired to aid successful transition.

Speakers from Arts, Education, and Science presented lively examples of practices which they use to inspire and engage students, including a scavenger hunt, community visits, group projects, guide books and ways in which they encourage students to build relationships with each other and the university and establish the foundations for university study.

Speakers from the Education Portfolio and the Library explained how their work complements that in the faculties, by for example, providing first year students with a road map for accessing the resources available from the library.

Further discussions in the round table format were facilitated by staff from many parts of the university before the session concluded with the final responses and comments from the students.[close]

The aim of this Colloquium session was to share initiatives and good practices in those aspects of curriculum which support the transition of students becoming engaged and effect...[more]

Graduate Certificate triumph

The Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (Educational Studies) concluded this month with inspiring and engaging presentations from participants of their scholarship of teaching and learning projects. Participants collaboratively worked on eight group inquiry projects:

  • Perceptions of stigmatisation in accessing academic writing support services - Jocelyn Bussing, Frances Di Lauro, Sunil Dubey, Stephen Howlett
  • Can we continue to justify the grading of tutorial participation in 2012? David Large, Atilla Orel
  • Mandatory completion of Unit of Study Evaluations: A student perspective - Janine Coupe, Wes Hamilton-Jessop, Vijaya Murthy
  • A pedagogic gap? Exploring student perceptions of learning quality in large-size tutorials - Jillian Barnes, Shé Hawke, Alana Mann, Gaby Ramia
  • Do student perceptions of group work change over the course of a tertiary degree? Tash Hamilton, Kaiying Ji, Vincy Li, Daniel Ryan
  • Teachers’ purposes and students’ perceptions of group work - Feike Dijkstra, Wayne Palmer, Dagmar Reinhardt
  • An anti-fog solution for novice dental students in the Preclinical discipline of Tooth Conservation - Susie Dracopoulos, Cathie Spiker
  • Teaching inclusively to EAL students in the Faculty of Health Sciences; do staff feel equipped? Natalie Allen, Kerrie Lante

All the projects and presentations were of a very high standard, and a highlight was the presentation by Susie Dracopoulos (Dentistry) and Cathie Spiker (Medicine) of their inquiry into the benefits for students’ learning of a marking guide and a video exemplar of clinical skills. Susie and Cathie made their five minute video during semester with the expert assistance of staff in Audiovisual Services.

For more information about any of the projects above please contact the ITL and we will forward your enquiry.

Enrolment for the 2013 Graduate Certificate is now open. To register with the ITL and find out how to enrol online click here.[close]

The Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (Educational Studies) concluded this month with inspiring and engaging presentations from participants of their scholarship of teachi...[more]

Register now: Technology-mediated course design

Would you like to learn more about how you can use technology in the design of your unit of study or degree program?

In one of the sessions in the Sydney Teaching Colloquium this year, some participants sought further clarification on current working examples and principles of technology-mediated program design at the University.

A workshop will be held  in November for those interested. Facilitators will be Jo Lander, Meg Vost, Dorian Peters and Rob Ellis.

If you:

  • Haven’t gone down the path of thinking about technology at the program level (or unit of study level) and you want to get an idea of what’s happening;
  • Want to learn from the experiences of others in their faculties;
  • Want to contribute to some shared principles for how to go about this; and/or
  • Want to understand how the University is pursuing a vision of integrating physical and virtual learning and teaching space ...

then please register with Melanie Young. Please RSVP by Monday 12 November 2012.[close]

Would you like to learn more about how you can use technology in the design of your unit of study or degree program? In one of the sessions in the Sydney Teaching Colloquium th...[more]

Learning analytics and MOOCs: What do they mean for you?

Register now for a UTS conference later this month to find out more about social learning analytics and massive open online courses (MOOCs).

The UK Open University's research into the development of social learning analytics – analytics that can be used to understand and support how learners build knowledge together in different cultural and social settings, both inside and outside formal education, will be showcased by Rebecca Ferguson from the UK Open University at the Southern SoLAR Flare conference on Learning Analytics, 29/30 November.

Other presentations and papers are related to the rise of MOOCs. For more information, or to register, click here.[close]

Register now for a UTS conference later this month to find out more about social learning analytics and massive open online courses (MOOCs). The UK Open University's resear...[more]

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Current Events & Registration

register Sign up for Teaching@Sydney details 2014
register #edtech talks: Learning to Teach Online MOOC study group details 7 August
register #edtech talks: Learning to Teach Online MOOC study group details 14 August
register Foundations of Research Supervision Forum details 2 September
register Principles & Practice of University Teaching & Learning details 1 - 2 October

closed #edtech talks: Learning to Teach Online MOOC study group details 31 July
closed #edtech talks: Logging Students: Understanding Digital Learning One Click at a Time details 27 July
closed Information Session for Grants details 24 July
closed #edtech talks: Learning to Teach Online MOOC study group details 24 July
closed Principles & Practice of University Teaching & Learning details 16 - 17 July
closed #edtech talks: Learning to Teach Online MOOC study group details 17 July
closed #edtech talks: Learning to Teach Online MOOC study group details 10 July

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