2011 VC Citation Winners
Pictured are: Janet Taylor, Nicola Jayne, Annie Mitchell, Peter Lee, Tania von der Heidt, Aunti Irene Harrington, Wendy Boyd. The remaining two winners, Soenke Biermann & Ken Wojcikowski were unable to attend.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Lee, presented six citations for outstanding contributions to student learning at the opening of the 2011 Festival of Teaching.
These awards recognise and reward the diverse contributions made by individuals and teams to the quality of student learning at Southern Cross University. Each recipient demonstrated their unique contribution whether that is their particular approach to classroom or online teaching, supporting students in a difficult subject area or curriculum development.
In his presentation opening the Festival of Teaching Professor Lee noted that having teaching as a fundamental mission has been the hallmark of great universities over the centuries. Southern Cross University is following that tradition. He went on to say that recognition and sharing of the excellent work of our teaching staff is part of building a learning community.
The recipients are:
Soenke Biermann, School of Arts and Social Sciences, for inspiring and empowering first-year humanities students to think critically and foster their engagement with diverse ways of knowing through an inclusive equity-focussed teaching practice.
Dr Wendy Boyd, School of Education, for providing early childhood education students with a solid foundation for future careers by deep engagement and reflective practice within a relational learning environment.
Dr Nicola Jayne, Southern Cross Business School, for creating a learning environment which gives students the confidence and skills to succeed in quantitative units.
Dr Annie Mitchell, School of Arts and Social Sciences, for excellence and leadership in Contemporary Music pedagogy and curricula that educate students for careers in the music industry and teaching profession.
Dr Tania von der Heidt, Southern Cross Business School, for taking a scholarly approach to improving learning-centred curriculum design in first-year marketing.
Dr Ken Wojcikowski, School of Health and Human Sciences, for meeting the changing needs of allied health students: Adapting successful tutorial-based authentic-learning units to innovative, interactive, online learning experiences that inspire and motivate.
Professor Beverley Oliver Workshop - Assuring Graduate Capabilities
Professor Beverley Oliver
Recently Teaching and Learning sponsored a number of course coordinators from across the University to attend a full day seminar and half day workshop on Assuring Graduate Capabilities organized by Professor Beverley Oliver as part of her ALTC Fellowship.
Standards have been high on the government agenda for some years now, but newly added is alignment to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), to be implemented by 1 Jan 2015, threshold standards, and the start up of TEQSA. The net result is greater attention on graduate attributes and demonstrating that these are achieved. With SCU's graduate attributes scheduled for review in 2012, this workshop got course coordinators thinking about what that meant for their programs.
Teaching and Learning Matters spoke with some who attended.
Tania von der Heidt, Course Coordinator of the B. Business Administration found the event a great learning opportunity. The most important thing she learnt was "
the difference between course and unit level rubrics. In a course level rubric you might be looking at something general like 'communication skills', and this needs to be mapped down into the unit level where you might be assessing 'verbal presentation'." She went on to say "Graduate attributes are already embedded to a certain extent, but in future we'll need to extend this to a more nuanced version. To assess graduate attributes in any particular unit our analytic rubrics will need to include elements of general skills. So writing, presentations, or group work skills may explicitly be part of the assessment along with the subject matter."
Peter Wynn-Moylan, Course Coordinator of the Masters degrees in the School of Tourism and Hospitality already has activity underway. Peter has assembled a team that includes Michelle Whitford, School Director of Teaching and Learning, to transition masters units into new delivery modes, with new content and embedded attributes. Peter says "The seminar and workshop with Beverley Oliver were great. A key thing for me was considering our programs from the employer's point of view. What would an employer expect a graduate of a B.THM to be able to do when they hit the workplace? Conversely, what would they expect they could not do? What would be the difference between what they'd expect a Bachelor and a Master graduate be able to do?" He went on to say "We were given some general course level rubrics at the workshop to use, and part of our work now is to specify what words like 'adequate' or 'thorough' mean for our discipline and our degrees. Once we've done that we'll be looking at how we ensure the general skills are developed through the degree, just as we already do for the disciplinary knowledge."
Chris Morgan from the Teaching and Learning Centre worked last year with Professor Jan Orrell on the SCU Assessment Project, so was pleased to get the opportunity to think more deeply about assuring graduate capabilities. He was particularly interested in the presentations on portfolios and how these were being used to evidence student achievement. He said "Portfolios are being used in different ways in different disciplines with different kinds of evidence, but are generally working toward evidencing attainment of key skills and attributes."
Janet Taylor, Director of Teaching and Learning, found the seminar worthwhile as it brought together much of the new thinking around graduate employability. She said "A highlight for me was the presentation by Professor David Nicol. He is well known in assessment circles for his groundbreaking work on feedback on assessment, and in this session he took it one step further and explored students' ability to evaluate and make judgements about their own thinking and actions. He believes this to be the root of all graduate attributes. The down-to-earth strategies presented to develop this key capability included examples of peer review and a brilliant handout for students called 'Feedback is Dialogue'."
Slides and templates from the seminar and workshop are available from the website. Registration is necessary to access the resources.
Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice
2012 sees the introduction of SCU's new qualification, the Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice. This course aims to deliver practical benefits that are relevant to all academic staff. Once you enrol, the focus of your learning is all about you and your discipline! Working and sharing with others from different disciplines will stimulate ideas and discussion, but all assessment tasks are based on your academic interests and situation. The new Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice represents a broadening of focus from the previous course which focused only on teaching and learning.
The standard way to work through the course is one unit per session, two sessions per year; a schedule which allows plenty of time for reflecting and applying what you're learning to your own work. It starts with the Foundations of Academic Practice in Higher Education, where you examine and evaluate your practice using reflective processes and peer review. The final capstone unit is The Scholarship of Academic Practice in which you complete a scholarly work on an issue relevant to your professional context.
Between the Foundation and the Capstone units you can select two optional units from Assessment and Learning, Curriculum Design and Review, Clinical Teaching and Supervision, Community Engagement: Scholarship and Practice, Higher Degree Supervision, and Being a Researcher: Career Development and Planning.
No matter what your specific interests, this new Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice will help you develop as an academic. It is a program well worth the enrolment fee, but for eligible SCU staff the cost will be covered. To see if you are eligible, check with your School.
Guided Tour of the Teaching and Learning Website
Websites are amazing things. It's not until you start clicking through some of the links that you discover exactly how much information is available. Associate Professor Gail Wilson and the Teaching and Learning team have completely revised resources available for professional learning and curriculum development. With the creation of the new Division of Teaching and Learning in 2012 more is still to come, but here is a quick tour.
First stop Professional learning. Here you can find all the formal learning opportunities available for SCU staff. There's everything from the "Introduction to Teaching@SCU", a range of online modules, right through to information about the Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice. Events and Workshops for 2012 are all listed in a calendar.
The online modules are accessed through Blackboard; simply click the link on the page and log in. You will find 7 modules under "Teaching Practice Online" and a further 7 under "Learning Technologies Online," with more to come in future. You can either work systematically through a module to get a solid overview of the topic then revisit any particular page to look up specific details, or if you're already familiar with the topic you can go straight to the pages that interest you. A certificate is issued on successful completion of the quiz for each module. A small word of warning - Internet Explorer encounters the odd glitch and for PC users Firefox is recommended, but this will be ironed out in the move to Blackboard 9 next year.
Progressing into Curriculum design, you will first find the At-a-Glance documents. These are very useful 2 page summaries about a range of topics. New ones are continually being added and if there's anything you particularly want, contact us with your request. But if you want details, it's the Curriculum resources section where you'll find deeper discussion of the topics. Clicking on the links takes you on a world tour the University of Hong Kong has some great assessment resources, let's go there! How about Curriculum Mapping Tools as the University of the West of Scotland or the Curriculum Mapping/Curriculum Matrix resources at the University of Hawaii? Whatever it is you need to do in curriculum design, you'll find some information to help you.
The Excellence section has information about visiting scholars, so if you missed someone here's the place to check for their presentation video and slides. There's information about awards and grants, with information from DEEWR Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) about the programs for next year recently added. Plus of course the Teaching Exemplar database where examples of excellence from around SCU can be found. After all the great examples presented at the Festival of Teaching we're looking forward to some valuable new entries soon.
The last two sections are about Evidence and Resources. Evidence includes information on everything from student feedback to self-evaluation and peer review. With SCU's new academic staff portfolio, this is a must-visit section of the website. Resources will take you to information about higher education bodies and of course the archive of this newsletter, Teaching and Learning Matters.
Festival of Teaching
Dr Graham Cooper's presentation at the Coffs Harbour campus
What a busy and amazing week we had in the Festival of Teaching! After the opening with the VC presenting Citations and winners speaking, keynote presentations, workshops, showcase sessions, a Back to School session in every school, networking and talking, there were lots of exhausted and satisfied people. Thank you to everyone who participated, with special thanks going to those who put in the time and effort to present. In total, over 120 people attended the 13 general events across three campuses, with more attending their School's Back to School session.
The Festival Opening commenced with a Welcome to Country from Aunty Irene Harrington, followed by Professor Peter Lee who presented the 2011 VC Citations. We were then entranced by Isabella a Capella, a singing group consisting of SCU staff, students and graduates. Finally, the 2011 VC and ALTC Citation winners explained to us very succinctly 'What did I do to deserve this?'
Feedback collected through the festival survey revealed that the Showcase events, despite being rushed, were very much appreciated as an opportunity to share and learn from colleagues across the University. At Coffs Harbour, for instance, one comment on the day was "I had no idea that they were working on that!" The keynote speakers were also appreciated, with their presentations providing much food for thought. All keynote and guest speaker presentations are available on the Festival website. These include:
- Professor Peter Goodyear Design for Learning
- Professor Jan Orrell - Assessment
- Carol-joy Patrick Work Integrated Learning (Coffs Harbour)
- Anna Peachey Second Life
- Associate Professor Les Kirkup Inquiry Oriented Learning
The Showcase events were intended to identify the most significant and interesting presentations for inclusion in the Teaching Exemplar Database so were not recorded. Details about submitting to the Teaching Exemplar Database will be available shortly, so please encourage your colleagues to do so.
With input from the School Directors of Teaching & Learning, dates for the next festival have been set for 22-25 October 2012. Your feedback is being considered so that the 2012 events will be enjoyable, stimulating and relevant to everyone.
SCHOOL FOCUS: Health and Human Sciences
Dr Rosanne Coutts, School of Health and Human Sciences, Director of Teaching and Learning
The School of Health and Human Sciences is one of the largest at SCU. It includes the areas of Exercise Science & Sport Management, Midwifery, Naturopathy & Complementary Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Osteopathy, Psychology, and Public Health. Dr Rosanne Coutts is the newly appointed Director of Teaching and Learning for the School, and Associate Professor Wendy Gilleard is Deputy Head of School.
Dr Rosanne Coutts comes from the discipline of clinical exercise physiology, and one of the reasons she was appointed as Director of Teaching and Learning is her keen interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Rosanne led her School's participation in the assessment benchmarking project, conducted as part of the Excellence in Assessment project with Professor Jan Orrell as consultant. Using her discipline's Sport and Exercise Science degree, Rosanne and colleague Dr Kade Davison compared the volume and types of assessment conducted at SCU with similar programs offered at other universities. The results showed that the volume of assessment at SCU was somewhat higher than average, but lower than average in practical skills testing. These results were presented at the forum earlier this year led by Jan Orrell, who assisted in teasing out the challenges for the School from the results.
She said "Figuring out how we can include more practical skills testing will be a challenge, as the workload involved is significant and a different skill set is required of the marker. It isn't as simple as just changing a piece of written work to a practical assessment."She went on to say "At the moment the focus is on individual units. It is important, not just for Exercise Science, but for the whole School, to coordinate our work at the course level. Discussions involving the whole team will help us sort out the most appropriate places in the course to include practical assessment and how the more theoretical units can coordinate better with the practical ones."
Her current focus is investigating standards in clinical teaching across a wide range of disciplines. She said "I haven't found anything clearly identified as a gold standard, but I have identified a wide range of good examples. With many of our students being able to undertake clinical placements right here at the clinic on campus, we have many opportunities to trial of some of these clinical models."
So what are the next challenges for the School in teaching and learning?
Rosanne said in her new role as Director of Teaching and Learning her key goal is to get every member of the School involved. "I want everyone to be at the table when we talk about change. It is essential that every person has the opportunity to express their ideas and concerns. We have many important topics to discuss and plan for as a School. In the end assessment, clinical teaching and graduate attributes will form part of the larger directions presented in the Green Paper on Teaching and Learning."
Associate Professor Wendy Gilleard talked about the ongoing need to satisfy the requirements of 11 external accrediting bodies, as well as complying with all internal university requirements. Wendy said "A few years ago the School appointed a professional staff member in this area. Their contribution has been so successful the team has now expanded to 2.6FTE." She went on to say "I believe the work we're doing in this area is an exemplar for preparation of the documentation required for internal and external accreditation requirements. By having professional staff focus on documentation, we free up academic staff to focus on teaching and learning and ensure everything is completed to the highest quality of professional standards."