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An holistic, systems approach to student learning

Zora Singh and J. Janes
Curtin University of Technology
Our aim in teaching and learning within Horticulture and Viticulture is for our students to contribute to Australia's innovations and to improve human welfare around the world. This is in keeping with the objectives of the national innovation statement, " Backing Australia's Ability" and Curtin's goals "teaching and learning, developing graduates as lifelong learners who make a positive contribution to the society."

Our teaching and learning goals are achieved by encouraging our students to be bold with their ideas, critical in their thinking and presentation of their knowledge. Our units are designed to release each student's creative energy through several strategies. First, it is paramount that each student clearly understands the required learning outcomes of the unit, topic, and laboratory session or field visits. Second, we ensure that there is a strong alignment between the learning outcomes, syllabus, activities, and assessment in our unit design. Through reflective practices and innovative teaching methodologies, we use a range of technologies to create a more challenging, interactive and rewarding learning environment, which we believe, leads to lifelong learning. The holistic, systems thinking approach to our teaching is one that integrates theory with practice. It arouses student's curiosity and independent learning by exposing the students to a wider than usual and interrelated range of learning activities that lead to deep learning.

This approach includes students undertaking independent reading, field visits, creating their own assignment topics, laboratory exercises/mini research projects, interacting with people in industry, international study tours, incorporating research and writing scientific reports. It also involves specific assistance at regular intervals of the student's work, and is used for student's assignment as well as for research supervision. In this presentation, we will discuss key features of our holistic systems approach, which leads to excellent learning outcomes for our students.

Contact person: Zora Singh, Associate Professor Horticulture, Division of Resources and Environment, Muresk Institute of Agriculture, Horticulture & Viticulture, Curtin University of Technology. zora@muresk.curtin.edu.au

Presentation format: Poster

Please cite as: Singh, Z. and Janes, J. (2002). An holistic, systems approach to student learning. In Focusing on the Student. Proceedings of the 11th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 5-6 February 2002. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2002/abstracts/singh-abs.html

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