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.

Subscribe to our RSS feed    

New round of Widening Participation grants

Up to $320,000 is available for the next round of Widening Participation grants, for projects running from May 2013 to November 2014. Applications are due by COB Friday 19th April.

The guidelines and criteria are available here. Funding will be available for two project categories: flagship and implementation, and must address the 2013 funding round themes. These projects should improve the access of Australians from low SES backgrounds to undergraduate courses, or improve the retention and completion rates of these students.

Flagship projects
Projects of up to $50,000 each can be funded in this category. Projects will be either multi-faculty or cross-disciplinary (if in a large faculty). Projects should build on or expand existing good practice within the University, and be genuinely collaborative. There is an emphasis on the sustainability of project outcomes. The projects must include a component of schools / community engagement, and be linked to a Faculty or Division strategic goal (e.g. low SES enrolment targets, Wingara Mura local implementation priorities). Applicants are encouraged to work with the Social Inclusion Unit and ITL to develop their applications.

Duration: up to 18 months

Implementation projects
Projects of up to $20,000 each can be funded in this category. The funding is for the adoption or implementation of existing good practice in a new context (for example implementing a previously funded initiative in a new faculty or a new course). These projects can take place within a single faculty, discipline or large unit of study.

Duration: up to 18 months

For further information, please contact Mary Teague or Amani Bell, and come along to an information workshop on Friday 22nd March, 10-11am in New Law School Seminar 028. Please subscribe to the Widening Participation Scholars Network listserv if you would like to keep in touch with information about the grants and other professional development opportunities.
 [close]

Up to $320,000 is available for the next round of Widening Participation grants, for projects running from May 2013 to November 2014. Applications are due by COB Friday 19th Apri...[more]

Awards: Encouraging and rewarding innovation in teaching

Recognition for activities which promote and support excellence in teaching and learning is offered by the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards and by the Awards and Citations offered by the Office of Learning and Teaching. These awards which are open to all eligible academic and general staff cover a range of teaching and learning activities

The Vice Chancellor’s Awards provide recognition for excellence in four categories. Applications from academic and general staff are welcomed for the Support of the Student Experience and Systems that Achieve Collective Excellence. Awards for Support of the Student Experience are for members or groups of the university community who support and facilitate teaching and learning or contribute to a high quality student experience. The award for Systems that Achieve Collective Excellence in Teaching and Learning recognises that the development of systems and cultures is a key factor in efforts to achieve strategic learning and teaching change. See the information sheets for examples of practices which fit these categories.

Individuals or teams who make a significant contribution to teaching in the course of their employment can apply for the Outstanding Teaching Award which includes an Early Career category. Academic staff who have supervised at least three research higher degree students to completion are eligible for the award for Excellence in Research Supervision. This year applications are also eligible for the DVC (ISS)’s bonus scheme which seeks to reward contributions to indigenous education at the University. The final awards workshop for 2013 will be held on Friday 8 March. Applications for the VC’s awards close on Friday 22 March.

The Office of Learning and Teaching Awards cover three categories, Citations, Awards for Teaching Excellence and Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning. Applications are submitted by the University. There are eight subcategories for the OLT Teaching Excellence and Program Awards. The additional category for Teaching Excellence in 2013 is Global citizenship and internationalisation and the 2013 priority area for Program Awards is High impact strategies for progression, retention and attainment.


STOP PRESS
Information has been received from the Office For Teaching and Learning that their grants program has been officially granted Category One Status. Further information about this will be disseminated and posted on the ITL grants webpage when it is available.

 [close]

Recognition for activities which promote and support excellence in teaching and learning is offered by the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards and by the Awards and Citations offered...[more]

What is it like being a first year student?

As any student will tell you, the first lecture at university is both an exciting and harrowing experience. While such an event symbolises the start of a new chapter in a student's life, it also raises a multitude of questions that can cause anyone to feel anxious: How do I get the most out of these lectures? Who is this person at the front of the room? Who will I be sitting near? And by far the most pressing question for the student - Is this what I really want to do? The lecturer plays an integral role in helping the student to answer these questions, despite these questions being very individualistic and personal, due to the lecturer's control over the learning environment.

One of the best methods a lecturer can employ to help a student to come to terms with these uncertainties is to encourage social interaction between their students. This point may be overlooked, as it seems that many academics believe the most productive thing for students to do in lectures is listen.

Solitary study can lead to high drop out rates of first year students since it does not provide them with an opportunity to develop a social network that will allow them to feel comfortable in the learning environment. The lecturer has the ability to encourage group work such that students can build friendship bases, which can also contribute to higher attendance rates later in the semester. Therefore, lecturers that encourage group work within their course will find that they help their students to find their feet at university and produce a more pleasant learning environment that will likely have a greater student attendance.

Joe Callingham is a Postgraduate student in the School of Physics, Faculty of Science.


If you’re teaching a first year unit of study, you may be interested in looking at either the First Year Experience or Transition to University websites, which have a range of useful resources for planning and teaching.

 [close]

As any student will tell you, the first lecture at university is both an exciting and harrowing experience. While such an event symbolises the start of a new chapter in a student...[more]

New to tutoring? Some tips to help you survive your first tutorial

Before your first tutorial

  • Plan each tutorial and seek feedback from colleagues if you’re not sure about the timing or appropriateness of activities and topics. An important part of tutoring is ensuring that you use questions effectively – know the types of questions you will be asking, and what learning outcomes they will lead to. A resource that might be useful is asking questions to improve learning.
  • Don’t expect that every room in the University will have a similar layout or be equipped with the same resources. If you require a piece of equipment, like a computer, it may be wise to check the room prior to your first tutorial.

Surviving your first tutorial

  • Appear confident, enthusiastic, and committed to helping students learn. One way to begin a semester is to ask your students what they expect from tutorials. This is an opportunity for you to tailor future tutorials to your students’ abilities and interests, and to ensure they do not expect you to give them the answers to the final exam.
  • Be aware that various days and times of the week (and semester) can affect students’ engagement. Accept that there will be silences, and prepare accordingly. Allow students time to think about a question, or to note some points before you ask them to share with the group. If there is no response to a question, one strategy is to invite all students to stand and discuss their thoughts in pairs, and to sit down when they have an answer.
  • Check in at the end of tutorials – spend a few minutes asking students to write down what was the most useful aspect of the tutorial and what is still unclear.

A couple of handy guides are “Conducting tutorials” (Lublin & Sutherland, 2009) and “McKeachie's Teaching Tips” (McKeachie & Svinicki, 2006).

Learn more about University tutoring and teaching from the central program and Faculty programs.[close]

Before your first tutorial Plan each tutorial and seek feedback from colleagues if you’re not sure about the timing or appropriateness of activities and topics. An imp...[more]

Tune in to new video clips on 'how to engage students in lectures'

In collaboration with ICT Audio Visual Services, the ITL is producing several short (4-5 minute) videos on how to engage students in lectures and tutorials. The first three videos in the series which show colleagues engaging students in lectures across a range of disciplines is now available on the ITL website, on the New Staff web page.

The New Staff web page welcomes all new academic staff to teaching at the University, and provides helpful guidance on short courses on teaching, building a career and getting a teaching qualification.

If you are new to teaching and/or the University, and are receiving this issue of Teaching@Sydney for the first time, then you might like to take a look at the videos now available.

If you are an experienced teacher, then why not take a look too, we are looking for more volunteers to collaborate with in making videos!

We will add more videos on lecturing and tutoring during the year. To be involved in making a video, or if you have suggestions about videos you would like to see, then please contact us.[close]

In collaboration with ICT Audio Visual Services, the ITL is producing several short (4-5 minute) videos on how to engage students in lectures and tutorials. The first three video...[more]

Keeping up with the latest on research supervision

New supervision policy: On 20 February, a new policy – Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Students Policy 2013 – was approved by Academic Board and came into effect two days later. A copy of the policy is available here. A one-hour lunch-time information session on the new policy will be held in April, and for more information on this session, contact Prof. Keith Trigwell.

Foundations of Research Supervision: If you have not yet completed the Foundations of Research Supervision program, there is no better time to do so than now. The feedback has been excellent: Of the over 100 academics from across the University who finished the program last year, 91.2% rated the online modules ‘Useful’ or ‘Very Useful’.

Here are some of their written comments:

  • The way the material was presented compelled me to think about my own orientation as a supervisor: goals, approaches, pitfalls
  • The recommended reading list is great, particularly useful for those outside of the education discipline who wouldn’t know where to find these
  • At first I thought this process was going to be quite dull and pointless but I am finding it very useful
  • The material is put together in a very succinct way and … can be shared with students

In response to written suggestions from the 2012 participants, we have already revised the program for 2013 by adding more case studies and student perspectives, including more up-to-date research literature and some new website resources, and making it easier for participants to interact and discuss the issues with each other.

Even if you have already completed the FRS program, you are welcome to dip back into any module at any time – so check out the new material and join the current online discussions! For more information, click here.[close]

New supervision policy: On 20 February, a new policy – Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Students Policy 2013 – was approved by Academic Board and came into ef...[more]

Research Seminar: Teaching large classes

On 28 March, ITL will be holding a research seminar on large class teaching. Papers will include a presentation from Professor Michael Prosser on “Variation in Approaches to Teaching in Large Classes” in which he talks of the relations between teaching and learning in large classes, and describes how more effective teaching approaches can be manifest. The seminar will be held in Carslaw Room 354 from 11am to 12pm.

This is the first of a series of seminars held monthly in the ITL, and focusing on research into teaching and learning. Throughout the year, research conducted by staff in the ITL, Learning Centre, eLearning, Maths Learning Centre, and by research higher degree students will be discussed. If you wish to attend this first seminar, receive information on the program for the remainder of 2013, or request a slot to present your own teaching and learning research, please register on the ITL website.
 [close]

On 28 March, ITL will be holding a research seminar on large class teaching. Papers will include a presentation from Professor Michael Prosser on “Variation in Approaches t...[more]

Enhance your skills in designing new assessments

Participate in a hands-on workshop on 'Assessment Planning' run by Alverno College and enhance your skills in designing new assessments. This two-day workshop is a collaboration between the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) funded Assessing and Assuring Graduate Learning Outcomes (AAGLO) project, and Alverno College (Milwaukee, USA).

Alverno College (Milwaukee, USA) is internationally acknowledged for leadership in ability-based curriculum development, performance assessment design, active roles for students through self-assessment and meaningful representation of achievement.

Date: 28 - 29 May 2013
Time: 9am - 5pm
Where: Darlington Centre, The University of Sydney
Cost: $85.00 per person

The AAGLO (Assessing and Assuring Graduate Learning Outcomes) Project has, with the support of the OLT, completed an extensive national investigation into assessment practices that provide credible evidence of graduate learning outcomes.

Find out more about AAGLO here. To register for the workshop click here.
 [close]

Participate in a hands-on workshop on 'Assessment Planning' run by Alverno College and enhance your skills in designing new assessments. This two-day workshop is a collab...[more]

Submit a proposal to present at the 2013 Eportfolio Forum

The 2013 Eportfolio Forum will be held 3 October 2013 in Canberra, organised by ePortfolios Australia, a professional network which aims to support the use of e-portfolios through professional development activities and the sharing of resources, ideas and practice.

An Eportfolio is a collection of student work that displays a student’s progress toward, and attainment of, learning outcomes or co-curricular achievements. The University currently uses Pebblepad for ePortolios.

Proposals for presentations on the theme 'digital identities, footprints, and networks' in a variety of formats are now invited. The closing date is 29 April 2013.

Proposals should relate to one or more of the following themes: Eportfolios supporting learning pathways; Managing online identities through eportfolios; Verifying evidence through eportfolios; and Getting started with eportfolios and/or changing eportfolio platforms.
 [close]

The 2013 Eportfolio Forum will be held 3 October 2013 in Canberra, organised by ePortfolios Australia, a professional network which aims to support the use of e-portfolios throug...[more]

show all


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
April 15
March 15
February 15
December 14
November 14
October 14
September 14
August 14
July 14
June 14