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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July Symposium - MOOCs and the student experience of blended learning

As a precursor to this year’s 2013 Teaching Colloquium, a symposium on "Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the student experience of blended learning” will be held at the University on Monday 8 July, 12 noon – 5pm. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) is hosting the event, which is sponsored by the University of Sydney Association of Professors and the University of Sydney's Sciences and Technologies of Learning research network.

Themes will include the challenges, opportunities and risks created by MOOCs and the student experience of blended learning for research-intensive, campus-based Universities. Key speakers are Professor Diana Laurillard of the London Institute of Education, Professor Peter Goodyear, Australia’s first ARC Laureate in Education and Mr Andrew Norton of the Australian Grattan Institute, along with other speakers who are knowledgeable about the student experience of blended learning and MOOCs in the future of Higher Education in Australia.

The program and more details of the event will be available shortly. Spaces will be limited and an afternoon tea and post-symposium wine and discussion are planned. You can register for the symposium here.

For more details about the symposium, please email Mary-Helen Ward.[close]

As a precursor to this year’s 2013 Teaching Colloquium, a symposium on "Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the student experience of blended learning” will...[more]

More students than ever are having an excellent learning experience at Sydney

Over the past 5 years students' overall satisfaction with the quality of units of study has been increasing, every year, incrementally, as evident in Unit of Study Evaluation results. In particular, the percentage of units rated as excellent quality (80% or higher agreement on item 12) has risen from 55% of units surveyed in Semester 1, 2007 to 69% in Semester 2, 2012.

The Teaching Standards project is on the VC's workslate, and aims to support and lead continued improvement in the quality of units of study offerings across the University, as well as to recognise and celebrate quality achievement. In 2011, a new strategy was launched to enable this work – Compacts between the DVC Education Porfolio and each of the 16 faculties. Each Compact outlines targets for teaching quality (both a minimum standard, and a high quality standard), strategies for meeting these targets, and the support required to achieve them. In the first year almost all faculties were able to report either a decrease in the percentage of units not meeting the minimum standard (of < 20% disagreement on USE Item 12), and/or an increase in the percentage of units meeting the high quality standard (of ≥ 80% agreement on Item 12), for 2012 versus 2011. Also in 2012 (cf. 2011), across the University we saw an improvement in students' experiences of assessment, staff responsiveness, development of graduate attributes, and clarity of expectations.

Congratulations to all involved in designing, supporting, and teaching in our high quality units of study. And thank you to the 16 Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching) for your leadership of teaching and learning development at Sydney.[close]

Over the past 5 years students' overall satisfaction with the quality of units of study has been increasing, every year, incrementally, as evident in Unit of Study Evaluation...[more]

OLT funding for strategic projects

The Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) has announced that applications are now open for strategic projects commissioned in response to key issues in the Australian higher education sector in the following areas:

  1. Learning analytics: how can it assist us with student retention?
  2. Graduate employability: how can universities best support students to develop generic skills?
  3. Technology enabled learning: how can student learning outcomes be enhanced?
  4. National learning and teaching resource audit and classification
  5. Good Practice Reports: Postgraduate research and coursework degrees; Standards

Projects 1–3 are larger strategic projects of national interest. The OLT anticipates proposals for funding of $220,000 and beyond and may award one or more grants to address a strategic topic. Project 4 has funding available of up to $150,000.  The Good Practice Reports (Project 5) have funding of $30,000 each.

The timeframe is tight with the information having only just been sent out. Applications are due at the OLT no later than 5pm (AEST) Friday 28 June 2013. More information and application instructions may be found here.

If you are interested in making an application:

  • Download the instructions - note that some projects call for inter-institutional proposals.
  • Contact Alison Kuiper. If there are others in the university who are interested in the same project she will arrange for you to make contact in case this will strengthen the application.
  • Inform the Institutional Contact Officer (ICO) Myrophora Koureas of your intention to apply and arrange for your application to be with her for the institutional letter of support by Friday 21 June 2013.
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The Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) has announced that applications are now open for strategic projects commissioned in response to key issues in the Australian higher edu...[more]

Engaging and Supporting First Year Students Through Creative Partnerships

The First Year Experience Working Group will be running its second forum of the semester on Friday 7th June from 3-4.30pm in New Law School Annex Seminar Room 346. In this forum, we will hear presentations from:

  • The Library on "The Role of the Faculty Liaison Librarian: Providing Services and Support to Students", and
  • Faculty of Health Sciences on "Health Sciences Peer Mentoring: A Student-Staff-Alumni Collaboration".

All are welcome and no RSVP is needed.

To find out more about the First Year Experience Working Group, please contact Adam Bridgeman or see the group’s website. Curriculum resources on the transition to learning at university are available here.[close]

The First Year Experience Working Group will be running its second forum of the semester on Friday 7th June from 3-4.30pm in New Law School Annex Seminar Room 346. In this forum,...[more]

Enhancing Social Inclusion in Universities: upcoming workshop

The Widening Participation Scholars Network will be hosting Associate Professor Adam Howard, Visiting Senior Fulbright Specialist for our next workshop. Professor Howard is visiting Monash, Melbourne and Victoria Universities from Colby College, Maine to work with Australian staff on social inclusion in education. He will visit the University of Sydney on 13 June.

Adam has published Educating Elites: Class Privilege and Educational Advantage and Learning Privilege: Lessons of Power and Identity in Affluent Schooling as well as articles on privilege and social justice, on 'unlearning the lessons of privilege' and other aspects of inequality in education.

Date: Thursday 13 June
Time: 1-3pm
Venue: New Law Foyer

The workshop is an activity of the Widening Participation Scholars Network. The network, a joint initiative of the ITL and the Social Inclusion Unit, collaboratively builds capacity of its 200+ members through the provision of leadership, professional development activites, curriculum resources and expertise. Resources from last month's workshop on publishing are available here.[close]

The Widening Participation Scholars Network will be hosting Associate Professor Adam Howard, Visiting Senior Fulbright Specialist for our next workshop. Professor Howard is visit...[more]

Closing the loop: Central system now available for Unit Coordinators to respond to USE results

This year, for the first time, the USE system run by ITL provides an easy way to give responses to students. From mid-year, all students whose units of study have been surveyed will be given access to the quantitative reports of the student evaluations of their Units of Study. As a Unit of Study Coordinator, you can provide students with your written response to that report using this system. Some academic staff have been using their own systems to do this, and have found that responding or ‘Closing the loop’ tells students that their feedback is valued and encourages them to provide constructive feedback in future surveys.

Your written response could include comments about how students' feedback has improved your unit; planned initiatives for future improvement; and your contact details in case students have additional feedback. Examples of how to respond to student feedback are available here.

To assist you in interpreting your USE data, you could consult these guidelines. When considering how to improve the quality of your teaching, a quantitative USE report is only one source of data. Your consideration of recommended changes needs to take into account your teaching context and could draw on sources of information other than USE data, such as self-reflection and peer review.

To provide a written response to students, access the pull-down menu at the top of your electronic USE report through the ITL website using your Unikey.

Further details on this process, including the details of the USE reports accessible by students, are available.[close]

This year, for the first time, the USE system run by ITL provides an easy way to give responses to students. From mid-year, all students whose units of study have been surveyed w...[more]

Myth-busting: Do great researchers make great teachers?

A recent article by a University of Sydney student raised interesting points about the relationship between university teaching and research.

Commonly held opinions about university teaching include 'world-class' researchers also make great teachers, or to be a great university teacher you also have to be a great researcher.

These opinions are just that: "judgement or belief resting on grounds insufficient to produce certainty" (Macquarie Dictionary). They are myths.

We have known for some time from comprehensive meta-analyses (Hattie & Marsh, 1996; Marsh & Hattie, 2002) that teaching effectiveness and research productivity are almost uncorrelated. This means that just as many good researchers are bad at teaching as are good at it. Research performance is not an indication of teaching potential.

The reality is that "if students want to be taught by outstanding teachers, they need to focus on measures of teaching effectiveness rather than reputations based on research performances" (Marsh & Hattie, 2002, p. 635).

So if being a good teacher doesn't depend on being a good researcher, what might it depend on? Well, we could do worse than consult Fitzmaurice (2008) who in a study of lecturers' teaching philosophies found that "the moral stances of honesty, respect, responsibility, care and compassion are fundamental to good teaching" (p. 341).

Many academics value both teaching and research. For good teachers, teaching well is a moral practice that is worth time and effort.

Fitzmaurice, M. (2008). Voices from within: Teaching in higher education as a moral practice. Teaching in Higher Education, 13(3), 341-352.
Hattie, J. & Marsh, H. W. (1996). The relationship between research and teaching–a meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66, 507-542.
Marsh, H. W. & Hattie, J. (2002). The relation between research productivity and teaching effectiveness: Complementary, antagonistic, or independent constructs? The Journal of Higher Education, 73(5), 603-641.
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A recent article by a University of Sydney student raised interesting points about the relationship between university teaching and research. Commonly held opinions about unive...[more]

Foundations of Research Supervision completion Forum – June 14

The next forum for people wishing to complete the Foundations of Research Supervision program will be held on 14 June, from 12-2pm. If you have finished Module 1 and any three of the other five Modules, then attendance and participation in this forum will constitute completion of the program.

To register, please click here.

The location of the Forum (on the Camperdown campus) and the program for the session will be sent to you following registration. In preparation for the Forum, please have a look at the new (from 22 Feb 2013) Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Students Policy 2013, and bring a copy with you, along with any questions or comments that you have.[close]

The next forum for people wishing to complete the Foundations of Research Supervision program will be held on 14 June, from 12-2pm. If you have finished Module 1 and any three of...[more]

Call for Papers for the 2nd Australasian Conference for Undergraduate Research

The second Australasian Conference of Undergraduate Research is to be held at Macquarie University on 19-20 September 2013. This two-day conference will include poster presentations and spoken papers by undergraduate students from all disciplines and from across Australasia. For students, this is a great opportunity to meet students from other universities and share research findings.

Who is eligible to present?

  • Undergraduate Students (all years)
  • Master of Research Students (first year only)
  • Honours Students who graduated in 2012

Submissions are due by 9am on Monday 1st of July 2013. See the website for further details.

Those interested in Research Enriched Learning and Teaching might wish to peruse the ITL resources.[close]

The second Australasian Conference of Undergraduate Research is to be held at Macquarie University on 19-20 September 2013. This two-day conference will include poster presentati...[more]

Upcoming Higher Education conferences and seminars

The full HERDSA conference programme (with links to abstracts) is now available online. Running from 1st-4th July in Auckland, registration for the conference is here.

The higher education research group of Adelaide (HERGA), invites submissions for its conference to be held at the University of Adelaide on 25-27 September. The submission deadline is 5 July. The conference theme is  Bricks to Bytes? An exploration of the changes in Higher Education and their implications, with keynote speakers Professor Gilly Salmon and Professor Jan Herrignton. For more information and to register for the conference click here.

The Society for Research into Higher Education (SHRE), UK, invites submissions for its annual conference to be held 11th-13th December in Wales. Proposals are due 28 June.

The 2013 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) conference will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States, from October 2nd-5th 2013. Details are available here. If you are unable to attend, ISSOTL 2013 Online, offers free online seminars scheduled for the three weeks leading up to the conference. The seminars include video interviews with international scholars, readings and other resources, and opportunities to engage online with peers from around the world. To register, visit the website and click on ‘Register for access to ISSOTL13 Online’.
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The full HERDSA conference programme (with links to abstracts) is now available online. Running from 1st-4th July in Auckland, registration for the conference is here. The high...[more]

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Current Events & Registration

2014
register Join Teaching@Sydney mailing list

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2014
register OLT Grant applicants workshop - 8 May 2014

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8 May
register Foundations of Research Supervision Forum: 1pm - 3pm

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9 July
register Principles & Practice of University Teaching & Learning

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10 - 11 July
register Principles & Practice of University Teaching & Learning

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2 - 3 October

closed Foundations of Research Supervision Forum: 1pm - 3pm

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21 March
closed Learning and Teaching Awards Workshop

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20 March

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