Teaching and Learning Forum 2006 [ Home Page ] [ Contents - All Presentations ]

Experience of Learning

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Authentic assessment as a neo-liberal technology of government

Loraine Abernethie
Murdoch Business School
Murdoch University
Email: l.abernethie@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 2.30] Refereed research. Full text on website.

While assessment has always been an important component of education, recently there has been an increased world wide focus on assessment and its relation to learning. Throughout this assessment debate, particular attention has been paid to the concept of authentic assessment and its development as an alternative to typical or traditional assessment and testing. This paper does not aim to enter into this debate, to suggest that one form is superior to another or to argue that some combination of traditional testing and authentic assessment is best. Rather, it seeks to situate the notion of authentic assessment in the context of neo-liberalism and globalisation. Drawing on governmentality theory, it is argued that within the current and predominant political rationality of neo-liberalism, assessment in higher education is a technology employed in the government of education with the purpose of translating contemporary education policy from the level of the general and programmatic to the everyday level of common practice. Assessment, it is argued, is the mechanism through which a particular subjectivity of the student/graduate is produced, that of the graduate who is 'job ready', has transferable skills that are suited not only to the present but the future, is committed to lifelong learning, can 'do' as well as know the discipline in which they graduate, and is ready for the 'real' and globalised world. This is a very active subject/student much in the same way that the unemployed are active at being 'job ready'. However, it is also argued that the implementation of alternative, non-typical assessment can create concern, confusion and frustration among students. Rather than see this reaction as a failure, it is possible to read this as a form of resistance, as engagement with rule and as evidence of the need for resistance to the exercise of power.

Teaching systems thinking at Masters level: What are the best methods to ensure learning outcomes?

Lynn Allen
John Curtin Institute of Public Policy
Curtin University of Technology
Email: Lynn.Allen@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 11.30]

From 2001-2005, Professor Lynn Allen presented Masters level courses on Soft Systems Thinking [SST 506 in Masters in Futures and ExecMBA, Graduate School of Business]. The courses present Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) with additional material [Checkland, Peter (1981) Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. Chichester: John Wiley and (1990) Soft Systems Methodology in Action. Chichester: John Wiley are the main texts.]. SSM is a methodology based on assumptions that the world is too complex to discuss easily, that indeed every person describes the world through their own mental models. The methodology is particularly useful in 'messy' situations where individuals cannot agree on a succinct description of the problem or issue facing them.

The learning outcomes of the course are: to gain sufficient understanding of the methodology to be able to apply it in a real world situation as the leader of the inquiry; and to have reflected deeply on some aspect of theory and practice. The teaching methods involve intensive presentations and discussions. Students are able to do some work on their projects during that time. They bring with them an issue from their life (it may be work related or personal). The project is discussed with Professor Allen prior to commencement so that it complies with the criteria to be messy, undefined and redolent of multiple 'solutions.' It is essential to keep students away from a statement of need that embodies an already developed resolution. Assessment requires a report on students' projects within a framework provided and a second assignment that is a reflective commentary on the learning journey. During the program, students are encouraged to keep a learning journal.

Discussion with Forum participants is sought on the following: is it feasible to expect that students will become basically competent with the methodology having used it once? What are the advantages of group work compared to individual work and should group work become an option? Given that a methodology like SSM is a profoundly thought shifting experience, should it be taught intensively and how should one follow up on this learning, if at all?

Is evidence based education the same as evidence based medicine? Can it quantify and modify the experience of learning?

Garry T. Allison and Helen Slattery
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
The University of Western Australia
Email: gta@cms.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.30]

The practice of medicine and associated areas of health have been dominated by the evidence based practice philosophies. The explosion of information in medicine in published journals necessitates a quality synthesis of information where individuals can choose to use a judicious use of the most up to date information in the management of patients. In 2002 USA government passed the No child left behind Act. One of the tenets of this legislation is to base education strategies on levels of evidence and consequently try to mimic the success of medical research as espoused by the growth of evidence based practice. This is particularly focussed on the development of a scientific method utilising the randomised controlled trial. This paper will define the domains of evidence based practice and highlight the other domains that may be equally important in developing educational evidence.

Responsive evaluation of dental learning outcomes: Students' perspectives

Gina E. Arena, Nick Boyd and Sandra Carr
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
The University of Western Australia
Email: arenag@meddent.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00]

The development of dentistry students and the teaching and learning strategies that best assist this development are complex processes. Numerous studies have focused on the different components of teaching and learning processes. The different components include such things as context, perceptions, content and abilities. This study was undertaken to explore the perceptions of students based on evaluations related to each year of the dentistry program. Two types of data were collected using the University of Western Australia's Student Perceptions of Teaching (SPOT) survey. The first type of data utilised a 5 point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, to 5 = strongly agree) with students rating their agreement with 15 items based on the dentistry graduate learning outcomes for each year of the program. The second type of data was qualitative and included two open ended questions. A total of 174 students completed the SPOT survey (84% response rate). Results suggest that student perceptions of successful learning experiences and areas for improvement were different for each year of the program. Students provided feedback relating to availability and quality of resources, information technology, levels of interest, challenges, interactions, and relevance of course material. The open ended feedback related more to the wider dimensions of the learning experiences, whereas the SPOT items reflected the students' perceptions of their attainment of the graduate learning outcomes. This information has been used for addressing changes to the curriculum, and, where applicable, continued refinement of curriculum and course delivery.

Evaluating the effectiveness of construction site visits as a learning experience for undergraduate students enrolled in a built environment course

Peter Ashford
Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning
University of Melbourne
Email: ptashf@unimelb.edu.au

Anthony Mills
School of Property, Construction & Project Management
RMIT University
[Thursday 10.05] Refereed research. Full text on website.

This study evaluates whether construction site visits assist the student learning experience and how effective site visits are as a means of student's gaining a contextual understanding of the relationships between theory and construction practice. With Occupational Health and Safety issues being paramount on sites, it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide students with access to construction sites to provide these essential learning experiences. Students generally have a positive attitude towards the benefits of real site visits, however universities have been encouraged to develop virtual approaches to teaching construction technology using visual media such as overheads, slides, digital images, digital videos and computer simulations.

This strategic research investigates the perceptions of students towards the four different site visits covering four separate topics within the subject Structures and Construction 3B. This was done to evaluate the alternative modes of traditional visual media as a learning experience, compared with real site visits. The research also examines the most effective use of real site visits within an undergraduate course. The results identified that some aspects of construction technology could be replaced by computer simulations and the like. However, other aspects of the curriculum are more effectively taught by retaining real site visits. The research was intended to provide a more structured approach to determining the value of site based learning in construction related courses.

Developing authentic learning in surf science and technology

Jaromir Audy, Katarina Audy and Terry Haines
School of Enterprise and Technology, South West Campus Bunbury
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.audy@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 10.05]

Australians did not invent surfing, but Australia does occupy a unique geographical position that enabled surfing here to grow to an internationally recognised level and ignited the interest of many young Aussies in surfing and surf science. Currently we have around 60 students studying, exploring and researching the scientific and technological aspects associated with the production and performance of surfboards. Over the course of several units students are taught to understand materials, design features, quality management, standards and safety engineering. After acquiring the necessary skills, they are encouraged to design their own surfboards: to shape, manufacture and test them. In this authentic learning environment students are encouraged to combine research with hands on skills and their own ideas, thus leading to a variety of different surfboards. As relatively little has been published about the effects of surfboard design and materials on performance and durability, our surf science students were surveyed to obtain user and designer opinions on the influence of various design features. Results are discussed from both qualitative and quantitative points of view. It is suggested that this sort of information may be used to assist in the optimisation of surfboard production. Any improvements achieved in design, materials and performance can be incorporated into teaching and learning, and may open new opportunities for industrial collaboration.

Implementation of computer programs in civil engineering tutorials

Britta Bienen
Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, School of Civil and Resource Engineering
The University of Western Australia
Email: britta@civil.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

In civil engineering, the solution of problems often requires computer software due to the complexity of the task. As university undergraduate degrees aim at training future engineers for the profession, it is argued that the implementation of numerical analysis programs into the course enables to it cover realistic scenarios while at the same time focussing on understanding the underlying principles and mechanisms. However, this advanced learning strategy is a relatively recent development, which is why to this date there are few data gathered on student perception of this method. Further, recommendations for good practice do not address this teaching strategy. This preliminary study investigates both the teaching staff and the student perspective on this teaching method and discusses how the implementation of computer software into civil engineering tutorials can enrich the learning experience.

L2 student responses to processing writing using email in a university pathway course

Thelma Blackford
Department of Languages and Intercultural Education
Curtin University of Technology
Email: T.Blackford@curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 3.00]

The challenge for L2 writers in pathway and undergraduate courses is to confront the requirements of an argumentative research essay which entails learning to work in an electronic environment that requires skills in information literacy, technology, multi and electronic literacies. Within an ethos of corporatisation, demands for outcomes in course units, shortened teaching semesters, student prior learning and an increase in the range of nationalities enrolling in pathway courses, have presented challenges for Foundation Studies teaching staff. Despite the range of constraints, efforts have been made to deliver writing courses that are responsive to both the needs of the student and university. The writing of an argumentative essay is considered significant as it is perceived as a major form of assessment and therefore the internalising of the conventions of an academic research essay is crucial for success. The implementation in Foundation Studies of new writing pedagogy necessitated feedback from students whose opinions were sought in the researcher's class in semester two 2002. Improvement in the use of information skills and technology are important discoveries, with 80% in the former and 70% in the latter agreeing that the Foundation Studies unit had contributed to their improvement. This survey although successful in eliciting valuable student opinion nevertheless had some limitations and these related more to questions of content rather than to wording, form or place. Further analysis of questions highlighted the need for more assiduous trialling of a classroom questionnaire as the questions embedded broader interpretations when greater specificity was required.

Voting with their feet: How to engage academics in leadership development

Vivienne Blake
Organisational and Staff Development Services
The University of Western Australia
Email: vblake@admin.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.00]

How do we engage academics in staff development related to their leadership of staff? Teaching and learning along with research contribute to an academic's professional standing and are seen to have direct impact on advancing his or her career. Even then, it is often difficult to get staff to engage in staff development programs. How much more difficult it is when the focus of the development program is on leadership, which is seen as 'non-core business' that is rarely rewarded by the promotion system. Academic leadership operates in ambiguous circumstances, and staff members need support to manage this complex environment. Additionally, good academic leadership has never been more necessary, given these times of change and funding restraint. We present a model of leadership development which has been highly rated by eighteen Heads of School who participated enthusiastically over the nine month program. The multi-level evaluation indicated that the outcomes were very beneficial for the individuals and the University. The philosophy, format and techniques used provide a model which has proved successful in engaging academics and achieving the desired outcome of achieving increased leadership capacity for individuals and the organisation.

Designing engineers or designing programs?

Wageeh Boles, Duncan Campbell, Mahalinga Iyer, Martin Murray and Jon Bunker
Queensland University of Technology
Email: da.campbell@qut.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.00]

Increasingly, engineering faculty look at how their engineering programs address the needs of the market place within an ever increasing complex environment. We are evermore conscious of parameters such as graduate capabilities, transition into and out of tertiary education, approaches to learning and teaching, assessment, external factors and diversity within the student population. We raise some questions and statements, arguably provocative, as prompters for this workshop.

Specific graduate characteristics have been at the heart of important drivers such as the Engineers Australia Changing the culture paper. Through the accreditation process, these characteristics began to shape the curriculum in many ways. How did this impact on the design of engineering curricula and how much flexibility could be afforded in responses to market niches or demands?

One of the choices often encountered when designing engineering curricula is whether students should be offered a program that allows broadening, or provides opportunities for in-depth specialisation. Mechanisms such as offering Minors and Majors can be utilised to achieve either of these approaches. What are the consequences of such design decisions on the graduate? What are the resource implications? And what would the effects be on industry and the profession in the short and long term?

As engineering programs act as a conduit between school level education and the start of professional careers, issues of transition on both sides of this conduit present themselves as major areas for consideration for program designers. At QUT, two initiatives which have been developed: First Year Engineering Review (FYER) and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program. These initiatives will be presented as catalysts for discussion.

Methods and modes of subject delivery in a program clearly influence both the learning outcomes of students as well as the primary outcome of an engineering program, the graduate. What are the characteristics and types of delivery that seem to achieve best results? Why? Why aren't these widely adopted?

There is no doubt that assessment influences students' study behaviours and therefore learning outcomes. At what stage should assessment be considered? At what level? What is the quality cycle? How do paradigms, such as norm referenced or criterion referenced assessment, impact on the design of the curricula, staff and students - our future engineers?

In recent years, engineering programs have been under pressure from many quarters such as those coming from the Government through its education 'reforms' and Industrial Relations laws. Others come from making league tables based on CEQ data. Internally, resource allocation to Engineering Schools does not match the nature of the courses (which also decreased over the years). Staff workload has increased over the years especially in the administrative areas where staff are spending time they should be spending in teaching learning related activities. Currently, a majority of students coming to university can de described as full time students but part time learners. The full time student and full time learner is non existent; Students want fewer contact hours whilst the knowledge base is growing.

Engineering schools are not unaccustomed to large classes, particularly in early year subjects. However, the diversity amongst our cohorts is increasing, not only amongst those entering from secondary education but also students arriving from vocational education and training, from overseas polytechnic programs, and from industry. How do we engage all of our students in the classroom, or elsewhere, and bring them all to a common base as they continue their studies? And how do we create learning environments that cater to such an increasingly broad range of learner attributes? Furthermore, ought we to mix our early year students with those of other disciplines in the teaching and learning of generic subject material such as professional studies, sustainability and the sciences?

As a workshop participant, you will be invited to engage in discussing the questions and issues raised above, in an interactive way, to enable you to share your experiences with those of the presenters. The workshop aims to facilitate reflections on current practices and to develop shared views and ideas on how might we design engineers capable of shaping a better future.

Living with a thesis

Michael A. Booth
Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
Murdoch University

Joan Eveline
UWA Business School
The University of Western Australia
Email: M.Booth@murdoch.edu.au, jeveline@biz.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.00]

The process in which a good thesis is shaped and honed requires many bodily processes beyond calm, pure intellect. We examine here the many life relationships in which a student's thesis writing is embedded. The discipline or field, the argument, the supervisor, family, friends, employers and lovers - these relationships all change and evolve as the thesis grows, as the thesis statement is elaborated and as the dissertation is written.

We discuss the way these changes relate to thesis writing, and to the image of the PhD student as an apprentice intellectual, thinking away, surrounded by her books and papers, data and recordings. The intellectual and emotional development the student (and her supervisor) works through cannot be neatly separated into these supposedly rather different boxes, nor can the process of change be so neatly analysed. Our focus is on how the thesis matures as a substantial entity, becoming accessible to others (and more than an indigestible and self centred product).

The case for establishing Integrated Human Studies as a cooperative teaching, research and communication centre

Neville Bruce and Len Freedman
School of Anatomy & Human Biology
The University of Western Australia
Email: nbruce@anhb.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 2.30]

This paper contends that the experience of learning has generally declined with recent changes in university missions and strategic plans. It proposes creation of a Centre for Integrated Human Studies (CIHS) at The University of Western Australia, to foster the breadth of learning, understanding and wisdom expected of educated citizens of the world.

Universities have traditionally strived to imbue students with curiosity, a love of learning, an understanding of themselves, and an interest in the world and their place in it. We suggest these traditions have suffered with increasing pressures to specialise and adopt narrow performance indicators and outcomes. The proposed CIHS aims to reverse these trends. It will integrate the humanities, sciences, and applied disciplines to focus on two central themes, what it is to be human and improving human wellbeing within a sustainable universe. These themes lie well within the greater university traditions. They offer an exemplary academic challenge, social relevance and direct appeal to student imagination and intellectual energy. They address major problems such as famine and obesity, overpopulation, human rights and values, and equitable distribution of declining resources that impact on the world today. Yet seldom are they examined holistically within university curricula.

The proposed CIHS includes teaching, research and communication programs and a degree structure for Integrated Human Studies. A central resource centre and web site will enable all students to deepen their university experience through seeing their own academic interest within a broader context and world citizenship. The CIHS seeks collaboration and partnerships with local, national and international institutions with similar interests. A draft proposal has been developed to provide a blueprint. The CIHS now welcomes involvement from all interested colleagues to further refine the proposal, help establish the Centre and to partner its activities (for further information, email the author above).

Peer assessment of writing tasks in the undergraduate study of journalism: A case study

Rob Burgess
School of Communication Arts and Critical Enquiry
La Trobe University
Email: rob.burgess@latrobe.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00]

After a decade spent acquiring journalistic skills within media organisations, the author faced the challenge of translating the skills and cultural practices of the newsroom - their natural setting - into the less natural setting of a university classroom. Editors typically monitor the work of novice journalists and offer constant correction and advice, making the newsroom a one to one learning environment, up to 40 hours per week. By contrast, the journalism classroom is often a one to twenty learning environment, two to three hours per week. To maximise students' exposure to writing, editing and 'audience reception', a peer assessment process was set up in which students functioned as reporters, editors and 'the reading public', to improve student outcomes without increasing staff contact hours or workloads. Marks awarded through the peer assessment process contributed 25% of each student's final grade for the unit. This paper will focus on how novice students can be empowered to give critical feedback on each other's work, while improving their writing and editing skills throughout the semester. It will address some of the foreseen and unforeseen pitfalls of the process, and document quantifiable improvements in student outcomes.

Not lecturing - teaching! Transition from a traditional lecture based first year biology course to an interactive concept based course

Karen Burke da Silva and David Wood
School of Biological Sciences
Flinders University
Email: Karen.burkedasilva@flinders.edu.au, David.wood@flinders.edu.au
[Thursday 12.30]

It is clear that smaller class sizes allow for greater opportunity for student/teacher interaction and consequently higher quality of education. Immediate and continual feedback and reinforcement are vital components of learning and traditionally could only be achieved in smaller class sizes. The need for universities to maximise class size to accommodate large numbers of first year students, has led to student/teacher interactions being replaced by a monologue delivered to a passive audience. Our data show that in a traditional lecture based biology course, this method of teaching has led to a decrease in attendance rates and reduced understanding of the course material as evidenced by high failure rates (average 20%). Is it possible then to bring back student/teacher interactions to first year classes that have greater than 300 students? To address this problem we have introduced concept based lectures combined with large group interactive tutorial sessions. Preliminary results suggest that this method of teaching enhances learning and facilitates a high level of student engagement. Student feedback indicates that classroom attendance, student engagement and understanding were all enhanced by this method of lecture delivery.

Peer observation: Powerful learning for university teachers?

Alison Bunker
Teaching and Learning Development
Heather Sparrow
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.bunker@ecu.edu.au, h.sparrow@ecu.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.00]

The teaching and learning environment in universities can be as challenging for teachers as it is for students. Community, political and institution concerns with the quality of teaching and learning have led to an increased interest in (and scrutiny of) the competence of university teachers, and their professional learning. University teachers are often appointed on the basis of their content knowledge or research expertise. If they have no previous teaching experience, they are expected to learn on the job. Assumptions about academics' capacity to fulfil teaching responsibilities without prior professional learning, are often based on over-simple views of learning, that fail to recognise the high level of knowledge and skills necessary for effective teaching. Whilst many academics do indeed demonstrate a wonderful natural talent for teaching, most find that the role is complex and demanding. Tertiary teachers recognise the need to know more about what counts as university learning, how people learn, how to design good courses, how to assess learning, and how to help their students experiencing difficulties in their learning. Good teachers conceptualise themselves as learners, and use a range of strategies to improve their own learning. Peer observation is one strategy that can be exploited to enhance the professional learning of university teachers. This paper reports on the experiences, insights and perspectives of a group of university teachers using peer observation as part of structured professional development program. It explores the effectiveness of peer observation in supporting the development of the principles and skills identified as necessary for a teaching career by the institution, and in meeting the needs and expectations of participants as learners. Recommendations are made for peer observation as a strategy to improve teaching and learning in tertiary settings.

Enhancing student learning: An online experience

Yvonne Button
Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics
Doina Olaru and Eileen Thompson
Faculty of Economics and Commerce
The University of Western Australia
[Wednesday 11.30]

In 2003, The University of Western Australia (UWA) established a major commitment to adopt WebCT in its teaching as provision for improving the student experience. Enhancing the student experience is seen as one of the hallmarks of a world class university. Currently, more than 10,500 students are using WebCT at UWA. This presentation summarises information about the adoption of WebCT within the School of Economics and Commerce in the last three years. The study presents the evolution of WebCT in units across a number of business related disciplines, including Information Management, Economics, Financial Studies, Human Resources and Industrial Relations, Management, and Marketing. It also reports on a recent unstructured survey conducted within the School to elicit perceptions on the role and benefits of WebCT for learners and educators. Feedback from students combined with staff experiences triggered reflections from lecturers about how WebCT has informed and potentially modified their teaching practice over time. The findings indicated our students value the teacher's presence, the flexibility in regard to access and equity, the prompt, secure and private feedback, and the continuous support. The main comments arising from the discussions we conducted related to the teacher's role to facilitate/support student interaction (ie, the students' need for "improved social spaces for learning"), the human presence with emotions and feelings, accommodating multiple learning styles and designing around the student, and providing true dialogue and engagement. The outcomes also assist us to better understand how relationships between pedagogy and technology changed over time and how the use of online learning tools can improve the student learning experience.

Staff perceptions of learning achievement: Involving clinical academics in outcome based program evaluation

Sandra Carr
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry - Education Centre
Dianne Carmody and Alexandra Tregonning
School of Women's and Infants' Health
The University of Western Australia
Email: scarr@meddent.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.30]

As part of the transition to an outcomes based Obstetrics and Gynaecology unit it was recognised that evaluation of the teaching and learning environment using staff perceptions of students' achievement of the units learning outcomes would enhance curriculum design and review. Formal and informal methods of evaluation were employed. Among these were a survey where Clinical and Academic staff rated their agreement regarding the learning environment, student behaviour and attendance; assessment used and assessor ability to give feedback and whether students have the required knowledge and skills at the end of the unit. The results of the survey document positive staff perceptions about the teaching and learning environment. Staff also agreed that students are demonstrating the required knowledge, clinical and communication skills. Some concern about the promotion of deep learning, students' preparedness for the clinical setting and demonstration of the required procedural skills by the end of the attachment were identified.

This paper will present the results from formal and informal staff evaluation, discuss how they triangulate with the student evaluation and assessment results and describe how adding the staff evaluation has broadened the appraisal of the teaching program, been used to inform curriculum review and has led to an improved staff satisfaction about their role in the design of the unit and subsequently the students' experience of learning.

The multidisciplinary team as a teacher: An innovative approach to teaching of students in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at SCGH

Johann Claassen and Lindy Hall
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
Email: Johann.Claassen@health.wa.gov.au
[Wednesday 11.30]

Mental health inpatient units and community clinics are staffed by multidisciplinary teams (MDT). The members of this team include nursing staff, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, welfare officers and occupational therapists. Aligned to this team are pastoral care workers, interpreters, dieticians and physiotherapists. Medical specialists and dental workers provide ancillary care.

Students who rotate through mental health units are exposed to the day to day work of the multidisciplinary team. (MDT). However, the different professions on an individual basis undertake education of these students. Consequently, there is overlap in what is taught. As a result, an integrated approach to student education is recommended to complement the profession specific programs.

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital provides clinical teaching to students from an array of health professions that represents the MDT. In an effort to enhance the delivery of student clinical education, a multidisciplinary orientation and teaching program is proposed. The aim of this teaching program is to improve the delivery of mental health services. This would be achieved through the enhanced coordination and integration of health related services provided by the multidisciplinary team utilising principles of cooperation and partnerships between health care providers. The education program would provide a foundation for this through the development of a MDT educational program based on the following dimensions.

Key features of the program will be the development of a placement manual and the proposed evaluation processes. It is anticipated that this innovative approach to student mental health education may be considered by other services in the future.

More than the sum of its parts: Learning, language and research skills at the University of Western Australia

Lisa Cluett
Student Services
Judy Skene
Graduate Research School
The University of Western Australia
Email: Lisa.Cluett@uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.30] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

The role of Learning and Academic Skills advisers is an on-going topic of debate in forums of professional practice in learning and teaching. The mode of delivery of services by LAS advisers, their job classifications and their location are all factors in perceptions of their professional status and their role within their institutions. In addition to examining models for provision of learning support at the institutional level, this paper will argue that the organisational context in which the service operates and the composition of the team itself are critically important in the effective delivery of services, but rarely considered.

SmARTS communities and virtual learning

Tanya Dalziell and Lorraine Sim
English Communication and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: tdalziel@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 2.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

By virtue of their respective designations, the secondary and tertiary education sectors are often conceived of as separate communities. While notable differences do arguably exist between the two sectors, strict separations are diminishing as the pedagogical principles of lifelong learning and outcomes based education reshape both students' experiences and teachers' philosophies and practices. The SmARTS program, run for Year 11 students by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at The University of Western Australia, operates in a space in-between secondary and tertiary education and as such, it offers particular insights into both sectors, the students they support, and the pedagogical tools and assumptions that shape student learning.

This paper proposes to focus on the SmARTS program as a case study for examining the 'pearls, piths and perils' involved in the creation of virtual learning communities. An online learning environment is central to the SmARTS program for both practical and pedagogical reasons, and as a consequence of its unique positioning in the education environment, the issues it raises about the impact of new media and communication on student learning resonate well beyond its immediate concerns. The authors of this article co-coordinated the SmARTS program in 2004 and 2005, and we seek to raise issues that are of relevance to other teachers negotiating virtual communities. After all, the students participating in this program are very likely to constitute the next cohort of university undergraduate students, and their responses to virtual learning in the SmARTS program assists tertiary educators to appreciate and reflect on the skills that students bring to the university learning setting. The experiences of these students also ask us to look again both at the ideas that underpin virtual learning and at the effectiveness of this forum for student knowledge and community building.

Embracing the 'swamp': A reflective pedagogical approach for interdisciplinary practitioners

John Davis, Peter Devereux, Brad Pettitt and Dora Marinova
Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP)
Murdoch University
Email: J.K.Davis@murdoch.edu.au, b.pettitt@murdoch.edu.au, P.Devereux@murdoch.edu.au, D.Marinova@murdoch.edu.au
[Wednesday 3.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

An informal curriculum review conducted as collaborative reflection produced an innovative unit which addresses perceived shortcomings in the professional skills of graduating development practitioners. The success of the new unit offers lessons on the value of embodied experiential and student centred learning for community development and interdisciplinary students. Introducing students to the complexity of contested subject areas increased their appreciation of ambiguity in the real world context of future work. Learning settings that enable students to experience complexity and ambiguity of community or interdisciplinary work increase their capacity for tacit learning, and the capacity of practitioners to sit with messy, confusing problems that defy technical solution: characterised by Schon (1987) as like working in a 'swampy lowland'. Alignment of unit objectives with learning activities, materials and assessment enables teachers and students to clearly see the learning objectives and gauge the extent to which the objectives have been achieved.

Student web news: A faculty wide learning experience

Leitha Delves
FAHSS Multimedia Centre
The University of Western Australia
Email: Leitha.Delves@uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.30]

In 2004, The Multimedia Centre at UWA initiated an exciting project that now forms part of one of the core units in the Communication Studies program. While centred within the specific realm of exploring communication via televisual media, there is an equal emphasis on the acquisition of generic skills associated with various technologies and teamwork.

This new project, Student Web News, involves students working collaboratively not only with each other, but also with academic and general staff from across the disciplines and other areas throughout the Faculty to research and produce a news story on topics of research and Faculty activities. The end result is a collection of five minute video segments that collectively form a news program which is broadcast on the web via the Student Web News website.

With a one week duration from topic allocation to broadcast, this is a fast paced project that simulates the pressures a real world news team encounters. Pre-armed with training in video production, interview techniques and video editing, each student group participates in two Student Web News weeks across the semester - one with an allocated topic and one with their own choice of topic under the broad theme of 'perspectives on the campus experience'.

This project has been received with great enthusiasm by staff and students alike and it represents an unprecedented collaboration within the Faculty of Arts between such large numbers of both groups (75-100 students and up to 25 staff acting as topic contacts). Beyond the project the Student Web News website exists as both a permanent online repository of student work and a reusable resource for staff and students accessible campus wide. This combined demonstration/presentation will look at the Student Web News project in terms of collaborative learning, generic skills acquisition and the teaching and research nexus.

Research, experience, capture: A study tour of self directed exploration

Khoa Do and Adelyn Siew
Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture
Curtin University of Technology
Email: k.do@curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 3.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

Study tours are not uncommon in the architecture and interior architecture courses. They have been traditionally used as a teaching and learning tool to help students better understand certain periods in architectural history. However, we report on a model that we have been developing in the Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture at Curtin University of Technology that takes architecture and interior architecture students out of their traditional learning environment to be totally immersed in an architectural, cultural and social context which they have not learnt in their core units. Students who go on the REC [Research, Experience, Capture] study tour undertake pre-tour, during tour and post-tour activities that help them perform a self directed exploration into a new context. These include a language lesson, team sessions, mini-conference, forum and exhibition. Students were also involved in putting a publication together as part of the REC tour. Student feedback has been very positive, naming networking, development of visual recording skills and team building skills as some of the benefits.

Identifying the listening and speaking needs of international students

Patricia Dooey
Department of Languages and Intercultural Education
Curtin University of Technology
Email: P.Dooey@curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

In this study, a four part survey was administered to a class of 18 students studying on the English Language Bridging Course at Curtin University to find out more about their perceived listening and speaking language needs. This course is of one semester's duration, and is designed to prepare overseas students for mainstream study. These students have met all academic admissions requirements for enrolment at Curtin University, with the exception of the level of their English language proficiency. In addition to the students, seven English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors completed part of the survey, providing their impressions of the perceived needs of the students. While the perceptions of students and instructors generally differed, both groups seemed to be in agreement about the importance of listening skills for academic success. This study was a small scale replication of a previous study carried out by Ferris (1998) with ESL students in three institutions in California, and like the current study, provides some useful input for future groups of students preparing for mainstream studies.

An analysis of online discussion forums in the context of student motivation

Adam Dunn
School of Computer Science & Software Engineering
The University of Western Australia
Email: adam@csse.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.30]

Aim: The aim of the analysis presented here is to assess the motivations of students across unit types using online discussion forums as a measure. Interestingly, online discussion forums are not an unobtrusive measure of student motivations and some suggestions for augmenting student motivations through the use of online discussion forums are suggested.

Sample and Method: An analysis of online discussion forums from the School of Computer Science & Software Engineering in The University of Western Australia is presented with a focus on comparison of unit structure, content and style with the types of posts to the online discussion forums.

Results and Conclusions: The analysis suggests that contemporary unit content and environments conducive to deeper motivations are important factors in changing forum use patterns. Teacher interaction with the discussion forum is perhaps the single most important factor in affecting student posts and possibly students' motivations.

Assessing teachers' perceptions of health education in East Timor

Jaya Earnest
Centre for International Health
Rekha B Koul
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology
Email: J.Earnest@curtin.edu.au, R.Koul@curtin.edu.au
[] Refereed research. Full text on website.

East Timor today with a population of 950,000 is the world's newest democracy. This qualitative case study was conducted with a selected sample of primary and secondary school teachers in Baucau District of East Timor. The study aimed to assess teachers' perceptions about implementing school based health science education. The research used an interpretive qualitative case study approach with multiple methods, including focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews, school visits and classroom observations. Questions were designed to explore the teachers' knowledge and attitudes towards health science education. Major constraints identified by the study included severe time limitations within the school schedule, the shortage of educational resources, the complex issue of language, widespread socio-economic deprivation, and lack of ongoing teacher professional development. The study findings identified that schoolteachers in East Timor could be actively involved in promoting health and hygiene through a school based health science education initiative. School based health education was generally perceived to have several benefits in terms of increasing understanding of health among students, children conveying health messages to household members, promoting sustainability of the program as teachers were respected members in the community, and increasing community awareness of health issues.

Building the world of architecture for e-learning

Annie English
Faculty of Built Environment Art and Design
Curtin University of Technology
Email: A.English@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 2.30]

In the development of an Architecture and Culture unit for an e-learning mode, pedagogical considerations have been taken into account with the aim to empower learner driven experiences to promote cognitive processing. This paper presents how the unit Architecture and Culture from the Renaissance to the 19th Century has been designed to capitalise on the goal directed nature of student enquiry for the purposes of enhancing learning outcomes.

With the core objective for students to be able to drive their own learning according to their research interests and prior knowledge, the unit content has been constructed to be navigated in a number of ways. There are also three themes interconnected across the twelve topics, enabling students to focus their enquiry to maximise their potential to achieve the aims of the unit which are to gain knowledge and understanding of the technological, geographical, politico-social, and cultural influences which shaped the history of architecture in this period.

Academic-practitioner alliances: Embedding diversity in the curriculum

Malcolm Fialho
Equity and Diversity Office
Allan Goody
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Western Australia
Email: mfialho@admin.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.00]

An increasing number of Australian universities are transforming their curriculum in recognition of the importance of producing graduates who are 'citizens of the globe' and therefore emotionally and intellectually comfortable with difference. A diversity centred approach aims to establish a teaching and learning environment that acknowledges, values and responds to human diversity. Such an approach aims to incorporate diversity perspectives within all aspects of the curriculum - in selecting curriculum materials, defining the ideological underpinnings of a course and in the selection of teaching and assessment strategies.

A critical success factor in achieving the above objective involves developing the diversity management capacity of teaching and learning staff, particularly those in the more formative stages of their academic career. The University of Western Australia is mindful of this fact in the pursuit of its mission to provide all graduates with the awareness, skills and knowledge appropriate to an increasingly diverse and global environment.

In recognition of this fact, the Centre for Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) has implemented a unique 'academic practitioner' partnership with the Equity and Diversity Office to deliver Diversity in teaching and learning workshops aimed to promote greater inclusivity in both curriculum design and delivery. The workshops are experiential in nature and encourage participants to increase their awareness of diversity issues, challenge their assumptions and offer incentives to commence curriculum transformation.

This session will describe the nature of the partnership between CATL and Equity and Diversity and outline a framework for actively embedding diversity perspectives within teaching and learning. The session will also include an experiential component where participants will have an opportunity to explore the links between theory and practice, reflection and action within an encompassing human rights education framework.

Assessment guidance guidelines: A simple way to stimulate students

Amer Filipovic
School of Computer Science & Software Engineering
The University of Western Australia
Email: amer@csse.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 11.30]

Since the beginning of my teaching career I have been told and I have assumed that students are the best economisers. Senior more experienced lecturers often design assignments such that the students follow a pre-determined path to generate an unoriginal, albeit correct, piece of work. It has also been my experience that students tend to dislike underspecified assignments as they are difficult to time manage. So how is it possible to stimulate students' creativity and genius without compromising their enjoyment of the unit? In Computer Networks unit at The University of Western Australia students were exposed to two assessment designs and then their perception and performance in each studied. An open ended assignment consisted of a networking system description with numerous features, in a form of a research paper. Students were asked to spend a specific amount of time to implement the system, choosing the features they wanted to implement based on their functionality, ease of implementation and importance. The assessment of their work would take into account their choice of features and perceived effectiveness of the designed system. In comparison to an over constrained assessment, students gave positive feedback in areas of time management and difficulty. The students found it easier to manage their time with project where they had a choice of what to do! The students were not forced to reiterate specific knowledge nor were they asked to aimlessly arrive at the information that the assessors wanted. Instead, we allowed the students to decide, on their own, what knowledge they wanted to demonstrate for assessment and in what form. Depending on the components students chose to implement and their rationale revealed their level of understanding of related concepts. And, this understanding was much higher than that demonstrated by a closed assessment that had no inspirational value to the students. It is my belief that it is possible to generalise these assessments such that they can be implemented in many different disciplines, and that they provide a middle ground for open and closed assessments.

The development of a workload formula for university teaching/research academic staff

Judith Finn, Matthew Knuiman and Helena Iredell
School of Population Health
The University of Western Australia
Email: jfinn@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.30]

This paper will describe one School's experience of developing a workload formula for teaching/research academic staff. Within a framework of seeking equity of workload, the first issue to consider was "What constitutes workload"? There was a sense that income generating work relating to the core business of the School should be given priority - and yet there was also uneasiness about income being the only way of valuing a staff member's efforts. Eventually four categories of work effort were included in the workload formula: a) coursework teaching and coordination; b) supervision of research students; c) corporate academic roles; and d) research activity. For the coursework teaching, each unit taught within the School was calculated as having a total workload points (TWP) value, calculated on the basis of the number of credit points and the number of students enrolled in the unit. The TWPs could thus be conceptualised as a 'pie', to be divided up appropriately between all of the staff members involved in teaching that unit. This raised some interesting educational/philosophical issues about unit delivery. For example, the smaller the tutorial classes within a unit, the less workload points that could be attributed to each tutorial class (ie, a smaller slice of the pie for each tutor). One final issue to consider was whether or not a minimum number of TWPs should be established for all staff and moreover whether there should be a minimum number of TWPs in all/any of the four categories. There has been an overall agreement amongst the teaching staff within the School to trial the formula. On reflection, what initially seemed a fairly objective quantitative exercise actually required a number of subjective qualitative decisions, which if not handled sensitively, could potentially generate a greater sense of dissatisfaction amongst staff than any inequity in workload.

Future trends in continuing professional development for natural science lecturers in higher education: Survival of the fittest in the academic jungle

Liezel Frick and Chris Kapp
Centre for Higher and Adult Education
Stellenbosch University
Email: blf@sun.ac.za
[Wednesday 12.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

This article gives a critical perspective on future trends in continuing professional development (CPD). Specific attention is given to the future context of practice, the role of the expert in professional practice, how experts will be educated and how their levels of competence will be maintained within the realm of CPD. The information is based on literature and examples from a study amongst lecturers in the natural sciences at the Stellenbosch University, South Africa, which will highlight the trends that can be expected in the future.

Co-creating professional knowledge through learning partnerships: The WA Police Edith Cowan University, ASPIRE officer development program

Scott Gardner
School of Management
Edith Cowan University

Andrew Blevins and Terry Taylor
West Australia Police Academy
Email: s.gardner@ecu.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.30] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

The paper focuses on the potential of learning partnerships to co-create knowledge that is relevant to specific 21st century, industry and government needs. It is argued that these needs and the dynamic and complex environments in which they are framed, demand a new set of professional knowledge competences and a more integrative, cross disciplinary approach to program design and supporting research activity. This reflects a long standing, but little heeded, critique in the academic and business literature, of the poor fit between dominant scientific approach to knowledge creation and dissemination offered in Australian Universities, through traditional business research and teaching activities, and the complexities of the working world. Opportunities to improve the quality of the industry/ government/ university knowledge nexus, is explored through brief discussion of successful partnership structures and precedents from the UK, USA, and Scandinavia. A profile of the ASPIRE West Australia Police, officer development program is then presented as case example of creation of professional knowledge relevant to the challenges of policing in an increasingly complex, diverse societal and whole of government context. Following a discussion of the context, evolution and pedagogical design of ASPIRE and preceding officer development activity from 2002-2005, lessons and future development options, for ASPIRE and similar workplace based learning partnerships will be considered.

Evaluation of a clinical performance assessment tool within a critical care context

Fenella Gill
Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and Edith Cowan University
Gavin Leslie and Kerry Southerland
Royal Perth Hospital and Edith Cowan University
Email: fenella.gill@health.wa.gov.au
[Thursday 11.30]

Internationally the assessment of nursing clinical performance has remained a challenge at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The Master of Clinical Nursing (Critical Care Stream) is run collaboratively by Edith Cowan University, Royal Perth Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital. The objectives of the program are to equip students with advanced knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to function as competent critical care nurses. The clinical component of the program is integral to the students' achievement of these objectives.

A Clinical Performance Assessment Tool (CPAT) was developed to measure paediatric intensive care and adult critical care postgraduate nursing students' clinical performance development. The CPAT was based upon the Australian National Competency Standards for Specialist Critical Care Nurses, which are recognised as the professional standard for specialist level critical care nurses in Australia.

A two phase descriptive correlational study was undertaken to examine the applicability, validity and reliability of the CPAT used in 2002. Data collection included experienced Clinical Nurses' validation of the CPAT (Phase 1), the students and assessors documentation using the CPAT and individual semi-structured interviews (Phase 2). The revised CPAT, used in 2003, incorporated the 2002 edition of the Competency Standards. This CPAT was further evaluated (Phase 3), by a) reviewing how the document had been used, and b) surveying students and assessors.

The findings supported the format and approach based on the ACCCN Competency Standards. However, substantial refinement and modification of the CPAT was required to make it useful as a clinical assessment tool. The significance of this was supported by the subsequent research examining the construct validity of the competency standards. Despite this, the link with the ACCCN competencies remains evident and this indirectly further supports the utility of having nationally agreed standards for professional practice within specialty areas.

Funding acknowledgment: Princess Margaret Hospital Seeding Grant and Edith Cowan University, Faculty of Computing Health & Science Teaching and Learning Grant

Peers, family, community, supervisors and governance: A review of key sites for supporting international postgraduate students' transitional learning experiences

Andrew Guilfoyle
Centre for Psychological Research
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.guilfoyle@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 10.05] Refereed research. Full text on website.

Researchers have rarely turned their attention to International Postgraduate (IP) students (Bullen & Kenway, 2003). The particular focus on the paper is a reflective review on an essential element in all 'extra-classroom' learning experiences, and one which is as argued below as critical in the IP student context - the development of good support networks. Developing good support networks in the IP student case is of special interest in that many of the rhetorically posited social learning experiences associated with IP student intakes rely on good extra-classroom exchanges with peers, the community and teaching staff. In cases where there are breakdowns in these relationships, the learning experiences of the student, along with the notions of broadened learning experiences through intercultural social exchange are diminished.

Key transition factors as a shared responsibility for maximising learning experiences of postgraduate students

Andrew Guilfoyle
Centre for Psychological Research and Centre for Social Research
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.guilfoyle@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 2.00]

Broadened definitions of learning have increasingly recognised the processes through which wider factors influence the classroom learning experiences of University students, suggesting that the classroom is larger than "four walls and a chalk board" (Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, 2005). Framed within transition research, this paper reflects on these broadened definitions by identifying the sorts of variables that are known to impact learning experiences in the context of postgraduate students. In this systematic review an emphasis is placed on those that might interact with key services, that is those that Universities can or do provide for their students. It is important to identify the sorts of extra-classroom forces that impact learning of international postgraduate (IP) students, but moreover to reflect on how University services can share responsibility in working to maximise learning experiences by engaging with these transition variables.

Multidisciplinary problem based learning exercise

Iain K. Hague
Rural Clinical School, Pilbara Site
The University of Western Australia

Denese Playford
Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health, Geraldton
Email: ihague@rcs.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.00]

Inter-disciplinary work characterises contemporary medical practice, and teaching inter-disciplinary practice is a developing educational priority. We facilitated an interdisciplinary workshop for medical, nursing and allied health students already on routine clinical placements in rural Australia. Students spent an intensive week following a hypothetical case, an Indigenous person at risk of stroke, from warning signs through admission and subsequent community care. Using problem based learning methodology to identify and research learning issues, pre-graduating students were encouraged to place the patient at the centre of discussion, to identify and value each other's discipline specific skills, and to grasp holistic shared care. In this context, understanding developed rapidly and to a sophisticated level, and was associated with stated commitment to working together as assessed by an open question pre-post survey. The exercise not only facilitated dynamic interaction and learning around an important epidemic chronic disease but by providing pre exercise cultural training and the involvement of an Aboriginal 'cultural mentor' throughout the 'scenes' of the PBL participants had significant insights into the critical area of cultural safety. Since the teaching took place as part of routine clinical placement, it did not add to curriculum hours, student learning outcomes or assessment load. We conclude the CBL/PBL approach is a cost effective way to prepare pre-graduates for culturally capable interdisciplinary practice.

Assessment of practical skills: Evaluating the success of a skill based assessment task

Michelle Harvey
Centre for Forensic Science
The University of Western Australia
Email: mharvey@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00]

Critical to any tertiary unit is the selection of an appropriate method of assessment. The chosen method should address the overall aims of the course and the desired outcomes for students. Obviously, the quality of student learning in the particular unit is of great importance, but perhaps even more significant is to consider the overall development of qualities and skills in students in preparation for their graduation and future vocations.

Traditional, tried and tested methods of assessment such as in class written examinations and researched essays are popularly employed. In courses involving direct practical application of skills acquired in a particular unit, an assessment task designed around demonstration of competency in these skills is often more appropriate.

This study considered the evaluation of a practical, competency based assignment. Forensic science students in an entomology unit were required to develop an insect collection, reflecting consideration of the biological diversity of insects by seeking them in their natural habitats, collecting and presenting them in the standard way, and identifying the insects to broad taxonomic groups. These are important skills for a forensic entomologist.

After completion, students were surveyed to ascertain their feelings about the collection as an assessment task. They were asked to provide information using a scale of agreement as to their enjoyment of the task, the skills and knowledge gained, the suitability of materials and information provided for the exercise, use of resources (both teaching staff and external resources), level of effort contributed to the activity and suggestions for improvement. Survey results were used to consider the value of the task to students, their approach to completing it and whether they felt it contributed to their competency in the field. Data was used to form overall conclusions about the value of such applied, competency based assessment in a practice based field like forensic science.

Evaluation of an integrated approach to teaching research skills

Carol Hicks and Jill Benn
Law Library
Eileen Thompson
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Western Australia
Email: chicks@library.uwa.edu.au, jbenn@library.uwa.edu.au, eileen.thompson@uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00]

The UWA Law Library in conjunction with the Law School has implemented an integrated Legal Research Skills Program since 2000. The main aim of this program is to improve the research competency of graduating students through the teaching of research skills in a timely and appropriate manner over the duration of their degree. A number of tools have been used to evaluate this integrated approach including written student surveys administered at the start of each year for five years, a follow up survey posted to recent graduates, feedback through the Student Perceptions of Teaching (SPOT) evaluations and qualitative data through anecdotal student comments.

This paper discusses how the approach to teaching of legal research skills has changed significantly since the program was implemented, with the rapid expansion of online commercial and free legal research tools. A range of primary and secondary legal research publications are now available online, rather than in print or on CD, which has dramatically changed the way legal research is conducted and taught. For example, some lectures have been converted to small group sessions where students get to practice using online resources and where they are introduced to online modules linked to their assessment. Another significant change has been the use of WebCT in the Legal Research Skills Program. WebCT is well suited to the teaching of legal research skills as it allows flexibility and interactivity in delivering legal research information as well as serving as the primary method of assessing legal research skills. This paper discusses these changes and the impact that electronic resources and the online environment have had on the teaching of legal research skills as evidenced in the evaluation of this five year program.

E-learning guidelines project for New Zealand

Andrew Higgins
Auckland University of Technology
John Milne
Massey University
Email: andrew.higgins@aut.ac.nz
[Thursday 2.00]

In recent years New Zealand's tertiary education system has made increasing use of e-learning. The most important tool has been the Internet, but various computing technologies are also significant. The use of these tools has resulted in major changes in the way organisations provide teaching and learning environments.

As individual institutions in New Zealand have adopted e-learning practices, they have recognised the need for appropriate measures of quality so that students can be assured of good learning outcomes. However, it is neither efficient nor effective for each institution to develop its own guidelines ab initio. With financial support from the Tertiary Education commission, this project developed a nationwide approach that ensures consistency and on which all can draw for support and guidance. The guidelines are presented in Flash format in an interrogatable form. Users are redirected to a government supported wiki to find examples of the latest research findings on the topic of interest to them and into which they can add suitable updated information of the own.

The presentation will include live demonstrations of how the Flash file and wiki work.

Anticipating the experience of learning: Students' expectations of difficulties they may face in undertaking their degree

Julie Howe, Carmela Briguglio and Rose van Son
Communication Skills Centre, Curtin Business School
Curtin University of Technology
Email: julie.howe@cbs.curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.00]

This paper deals with students' concerns about completing tertiary studies. Data was collated from a short writing task, originally undertaken for the purposes of diagnosing students' writing skills in the Curtin Business School. The task, undertaken in the first or second week of semester of 2005, asked students at the beginning of their studies to discuss challenges they expected to face in the course of their studies. Further data was provided by interviews conducted with students at the end of semester. The data indicated that among the major issues students expected to face were the following: time management issues (balancing work, study and social commitments); the need to be disciplined in order to obtain good grades which would make them competitive in the future job market; not being fully versed in academic expectations for assignments and study requirements; and English language issues, particularly for international students.

University units specialising in scientific communication are essential for establishing generic skills

Peter Hutton and Johanna Pluske
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
The University of Western Australia
Email: huttop01@student.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.30] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

We investigated student perspectives as an indicator of the effectiveness of the teaching of scientific communication skills within the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (FNAS) at The University of Western Australia. Three groups of students from FNAS (graduates and undergraduates with and without training in specialised units in scientific communication) participated in an electronic email questionnaire. Students responded to questions designed to ascertain the credibility of specialised communication units and the impact that these units have had on attaining generic skills. Both graduates and undergraduates with training in specialised units in scientific communication highly valued these units and the generic skills that they had learned. The graduates felt that it was crucial to teach these skills within specialised units and that other units should reinforce this knowledge. Undergraduates without specialised training in scientific communication units, felt less strongly that the communication skills that they had learned had given them an advantage (P=0.002). This group also placed less value on the importance of communication units to their university learning (P=0.001). This study highlights the need for teaching generic skills in scientific communication within specialised units.

A formative assessment framework for scientific writing development

Andrew Jardine and Jane Heyworth
School of Population Health
The University of Western Australia
Email: andrewj@sph.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.00]

Over the past three years, the School of Population Health at the University of Western Australia has developed an assessment framework to develop scientific essay writing among second year public health students. The objective is to facilitate development of scientific writing skills through provision of detailed feedback, which then must be incorporated into the essay and resubmitted. In this paper we present the theory underlying this process, a preliminary analysis examining the impact on student grades, and student and tutor attitudes to this assessment procedure. We found preliminary evidence that students are developing and maintaining scientific writing skills. Both students and tutors reported that it was a valuable exercise. This initiative offers a practical framework to meet the challenge to implement and maintain formative assessment in today's higher education teaching and learning environment.

Benchmarking for continuous improvement in the quality of teaching and learning: Outcomes achieved in the Division of Health Sciences at Curtin University of Technology

Sue Jones
Division of Health Sciences
Curtin University of Technology
Email: Sue.Jones@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 12.30]

Throughout 2005, the Division of Health Sciences at Curtin University of Technology, undertook a project to identify current benchmarks for teaching and learning for undergraduate programs in relation to the Benchmarking Standards for Australian Universities (McKinnon et al 2000), Curtin's Teaching and Learning Plan 2003 - 2005, the Division of Health Sciences Strategic Plan 2003 - 2005, AUQA reports and various University quality assurance reports. Information was gathered from a variety of sources including course coordinators, University Planning, Graduate Careers Council of Australia and University and Division of Health Sciences planning documents. Areas of best practice were identified, along with significant opportunities for improvement in monitoring and reviewing the quality of teaching and learning within courses.

Scores based on overall results across the Division were determined for each of the eleven elements related to learning and teaching in the Benchmarking Manual for Australian Universities (McKinnon et al 2000). Significant variations in scores between courses were found. Results revealed the need to develop a more effective review process within the Division which requires courses to continually monitor and review their performance against a set of agreed benchmarks. A Course Annual Review process designed to facilitate regular review and analysis of learning and teaching performance has been developed and is currently being implemented to facilitate improvement in learning and teaching outcomes. Key benchmarks considered within the review include: course establishment processes; teaching quality; quality assurance processes for academic monitoring and review; and student outcomes [retention rates, academic performance (including equity groups), Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), and Graduate Destination Survey (GDS)]. T

he benchmarking process identified areas of excellence as well a number of areas in which the Division can develop a coordinated approach to the improvement in assessment practice, workload management for students, and staff development to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

Reference: McKinnon, K.R., Walker, S.H. & Davis, D. (2000). Benchmarking: A manual for Australian universities. Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Higher Education Division.

Improving tertiary teaching: An online approach to professional development

Jan Kent
Adult Education
Alan O'Neil
School of English
Nicki Page
eLearning & Web Support Unit
Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
Email: kentj@cpit.ac.nz
[Thursday 11.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

The aims of a 2004 Ministry of Education funded professional development initiative pilot project - Teaching for Teachers for Tertiary (T4T4T), were to encourage effective tertiary teaching and to investigate the role of online environments in tertiary teaching. This study, involving 3 mentors and 20 tutors, was carried out at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), one of the participating institutions. The central research question under investigation was to identify the conditions under which an online discussion environment was successful in fostering CPIT staff professional development in teaching and learning. The study was conducted as an action research project involving two cycles in which data on the benefits and limitations of the participants' involvement was collected by means of questionnaires, interviews and focus groups. At the conclusion of the first cycle the major benefits were identified as the value of inter-institutional debate on learning and teaching and the gain in confidence in using technology. Problems identified included issues with using technology and participation in the community of practice. These issues were addressed for the second cycle of the project. It was found that conditions for maximum effectiveness of an online professional development community promoted a 'mixed mode' model and identified the need for very clearly defined outcomes, strong practical focus in discussion and resource sharing, a well organised, easy to negotiate online environment, technological support and skilled development and maintenance of the participating community.

Workshop: Supporting students with disability using CATS (Creating Access to Teaching and Support)

Denise Kirkpatrick
Teaching and Learning
La Trobe University

Christine Goodacre
Flexible Education Unit
University of Tasmania
Email: d.kirkpatrick@latrobe.edu.au, christine.goodacre@utas.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.00]

This workshop will demonstrate CATS, a set of resources designed to improve learning outcomes for students with disability, with emphasis on students with vision and hearing impairment and mental health issues.

CATS is an interactive website, with supporting booklets, built around a quality assurance framework for the support of students with disability. The resources have been developed around the life of a student - from the time of a course enquiry to transition to the workforce. The framework and resources cover policy, administration, learning and teaching and campus life and services.

CATS was developed with initial funding from the AUTC (Australian Universities Teaching Committee) and an extension of the project that addresses a broader range of disabilities has been funded by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

The workshop: Participants will be introduced to the CATS framework and resources and the workshop will focus on exploring the self assessment tool that supports assessment of good practice. Participants will use the self assessment tool to audit their institution or work unit in relation to good practice in supporting students with disability and develop an action plan in response to areas of priority.

Learning outcomes for participants:

Background: People with disability have the same rights to participate in all aspects of community life including higher education. This view has gained wider acceptance and disability is increasingly being valued as part of the diversity of the human condition rather than as a deficit to be compensated. The Disability Discrimination Act, 1992 (DDA) recognised the responsibility of all individuals and organisations covered by the Act to be pro-active in identifying and removing discriminatory barriers and practices. Under the DDA, disability is broadly defined as including inter alia physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological and learning disabilities. Support for students with disability in Australian universities is a legislative and policy imperative driven by the DDA and by equity policies in place since A Fair Chance for All (1990). In 2003, there were 23,855 students with disabilities in Australian universities (DEST, 2004). While there are legislative requirements that universities meet the needs of students with disabilities, the quality of response has been uneven and fairly limited in many cases. Responding to the needs of students with disabilities and creating an environment in which they are treated equitably presents a major challenge for many universities. Universities are required to lodge Disability Action Plans which establish a framework for institutional and individual action. Frequently these have addressed a limited range of university activities, possibly because of a lack of information about possible strategies. Advice regarding institutional behaviour and curriculum and pedagogy has been limited at best, resulting in a restricted range of responses to the needs of these students.

Over the same period there have been dramatic changes in information technology, particularly focused on the internet and new methods of course delivery. Course materials are increasingly available in electronic formats with consequent flexibility in access. With these opportunities, however, have come a number of challenges for students with disability. In the area of vision impairment, for example, the Web provides enhanced access to text only if web designers ensure that their sites are accessible; e-texts are only readable if the publisher uses accessible formats; and library catalogues and searchable electronic databases are only useful if the software is compatible with screen reading software.

While there is a growing recognition of the need for teaching, assessment and support strategies that are inclusive of the needs of this group of students, to date there has been scant direction or exemplars of appropriate responses and strategies. Academics, librarians, IT, learning skills, and disability support staff all have to play their part if the academic potential of students with disability is to be realised. The CATS resource provides a framework and practical, compliant strategies and approaches for university staff in the areas of practice and policy. It is designed to meet the needs of staff from all parts of the university who are seeking to provide equitable education and access.

Commonwealth of Australia (1990). A Fair Chance for All: Higher education that's within everyone's reach. Canberra: AGPS.
Noble, A. M., G. Teaching students with a disability. http://www.unisa.edu.au/hrm/Equity&Diversity/NRDLOI/publications/teaching_students.htm#vision%20impairment [not found 30 Jan 2006, see http://unisa.edu.au/regdisability/teaching_students.htm]
HREOC. (2002). National Forum on Accessible Tertiary Materials. Retrieved March 2005, http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/education/forum02/papers.htm
Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (2000). Teachability: Creating an Accessible Curriculum for Students with Disabilities. Glasgow: Scottish Higher Education Funding Council.

Students' perceptions of teachers' interpersonal behaviour and identifying exemplary teachers

Rekha B Koul and Darrell L Fisher
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology
Email: R.Koul@curtin.edu.au, D.Fisher@curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

The paper reports on part of the results of a large scale study aimed at determining students' perceptions of their teachers' interpersonal behaviour when teaching science in Australian Primary Schools. In this part of the study, a total of 810 students from 34 classes in six different West Australian Schools were asked for their perceptions of their teachers' interpersonal behaviour using the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI). In particular, the QTI was used to identify and describe exemplary primary science teachers. The exemplary teachers were identified as those whose students' perceptions were more than one standard deviation above the mean on the scales of Leadership, Helping/Friendly, and Understanding and more than one standard deviation below the mean on the Uncertain, Dissatisfied and Admonishing scales. Exemplary teachers were then observed teaching and descriptions made of their classroom behaviour. These descriptions are reported in this paper.

Delivering on outcomes based education in a graduate school of business through the use of strategic learning drivers

Richard K. Ladyshewsky
Graduate School of Business
Curtin University of Technology
Email: Rick.Ladyshewsky@cbs.curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 3.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

The cost of investing in education and training is increasing for individuals and businesses. These parties want assurances that these investments will result in the expected outcomes espoused by the academic program. This research paper investigated the use of three strategic learning drivers to promote transfer of training into the workplace. A qualitative methodology was applied. Students enrolled in a management unit engaged in a six week peer coaching program that involved goal setting and reflective journaling. At the end of this experience students were required to write a report describing their learning experiences and goal achievements. This report was graded and applied to their final grade. Following this assessment they were invited to submit their reports for this research. Forty six per cent of students enrolled in the unit submitted their reports. These reports were then analysed using qualitative methods. Transfer of training of key communication and self talk skills were evident in the students' reports. The peer coaching process was a valuable adjunct in achieving these espoused learning outcomes. The use of three strategic learning drivers appeared to support transfer of training to the workplace and provided evidence of success of achieving stated unit specific learning outcomes. Factors which supported and detracted from the outcomes are also described.

Teaching on the run: Development of a national staff development program for clinicians

Fiona Lake and Nigel de Silva
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Education Centre
The University of Western Australia

Gerard Ryan
Sir Charles Gardner Hospital
Email: flake@meddent.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.00]

Background: Training of doctors at undergraduate and postgraduate levels relies on thousands of non-academic clinicians, who find it challenging to both teach and deliver care at the same time. The aims of the Teaching on the Run program were to develop an educationally sound staff development program, along with a comprehensive resource, which with initial input from the developers, could be implemented widely around Australia.

Methods: Teaching on the Run is comprised of six interactive workshops (1 - 3: Clinical Teaching; Skills; Assessment & Appraisal, W/Shops 4 - 6: Junior Doctor in Difficulty, Planning Term learning, Effective Group Teaching) with supporting publications and resources (CDROM, DVD).

Results: Workshops were run between 2002 and 2005 around Australia (>26 workshops, >500 participants), and 16 facilitators were trained. Workshops now continue to run in all States using local resources. An evaluation of Workshops 1 - 3 (n=328, response rate 80%) was very positive in terms of overall reaction ( (Likert scale 1 - 5, mean+SD, 1.63+.6), relevance (1.5+0.6), new knowledge (1.9+0.6) and usable information (1.6+0.6), altering views, appropriate length and enjoyment. Similarly workshops 4 - 6 which have only recently been implemented have been received positively (n=94) with a highly positive response in terms of overall reaction (1.65+0.6), relevance (1.5+0.6), and presentation of the program (1.6+0.6). Significant shifts in participants self evaluated effectiveness to teach, motivation and confidence occurred. Modifications of the program at UWA have included running workshops for Dental teachers, science tutors and Students.

Conclusion: Teaching on the Run is a highly successful staff development program for clinicians. The success of the program was related to the relevance of the workshop to target audiences, excellence of the workshops, their flexible nature which allowed adaptation to local needs, a collaborative approach and sharing of intellectual property. This model could be considered for other staff development areas.

Navigating the maze: An action learning program to develop reflective systems thinking about the future in senior managers

Trudi Lang and Lynn Allen
Curtin Institute of Public Policy
Curtin University of Technology
Email: T.Lang@curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.30]

Leaders who seek to maintain control and command their staff to deliver specific outcomes stand little chance of achieving their goals in a world of increasing complexity. Indeed, they need to acquire skills and frameworks that will enable them to respond quickly and confidently to changes and opportunities.

One approach is to see the world in 'systems thinking' terms: that is, to recognise that the world is socially constructed by individuals, there are always a plurality of views on an issue, and that a learning framework is needed so that views can be explored, shared learning takes place and a new solution emerges. Such an approach is ariadne: an integrated framework for generating creative futures.

ariadne combines Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), futures approaches, narrative theory and creativity concepts to present a framework, a meta-methodology, design to assist groups to generate shared images of the future. The framework is taught in a program called Navigating the Maze (NTM). The program is targeted at senior executives and is being run as a pilot in 2005-06.

NTM is delivered using the assumptions and principles embodied in ariadne. It is also based on the assumption that action learning is the best approach so participants have at hand a major organisational project with a future focus and a 'messy' shape. As they learn the methodology they discuss their particular issues. Teaching methods include presentations, conversations, sharing learning about projects, coaching sessions and time spent in groups working on individual projects.

The authors seek to generate discussion with Forum participants on the complexity of teaching a conceptual framework, the reflective nature of the learning journey, and sharing of participants' existing planning and development techniques.

iTeach, iLearn: Student podcasting

Tama Leaver
Communication and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: tama@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.00]

The term podcasting is a combination of 'iPod' and 'broadcast' and describes type of syndicated digital audio that results in automatically downloadable files which are playable in portable media devices, such as (but not limited to) the iPod. Australian universities have been making lectures available as streaming audio for some years now, but with learners anchored to a computer in order to listen. Podcasting has allowed students to take lectures and other audio wherever they go, but this model still relies on the top down structure of lectures as academic content for student's to consume. However, in the University of Western Australia's Communication Studies honours course 'iGeneration: Digital Communication and Participatory Culture' the tables have been turned somewhat and now students are making podcasts, too. For their major assignments, students were asked to create an innovative audio podcast which engaged with the notion of participatory culture and the results ranged from a 'pod play' in the style 1930s RKO radio theatre to an alternative commentary for a Simpsons episode focusing on consumer culture and intertextuality. These podcasts are also cultural output themselves - they will remain downloadable indefinitely, allowing students to use them in future online portfolios and also providing a resource (or entertainment) for others. Moreover, the same system which supports lectures in streaming and podcast form, the iLecture system, also facilitates the students' podcasts, in effect allowing them to take a turn at using the digital podium. With students podcasting, teaching and learning is clearly a two way street. In this paper, I will outline the way in which podcasting was used in the iGeneration course; the setup in terms of technology and philosophy driving it; the podcasts themselves; students' responses to podcasting (both informally and from a short survey); and the initial lessons learnt from student podcasting at a tertiary level.

An innovative roll in roll out laboratory facility

Euan Lindsay
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Curtin University of Technology
Email: e.lindsay@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 11.30]

Providing laboratory classes to engineering cohorts can be an expensive process, particularly when industrial hardware is required. In many instances there is considerable overlap between the hardware requirements of different degree programs, even though this hardware may be employed in substantially different contexts.

This paper describes the new PLC/SCADA laboratory at Curtin University of Technology. This facility is shared across three departments, each of which requires access to the PLC units, but with different supporting hardware. These alternative hardware options are implemented using a roll in roll out trolley system, minimising the overall footprint of the laboratory facility. This approach has maximised the usage of the facility as well as reducing the overall cost.

The flexibility of the laboratory has been further extended through the use of a computer based simulation of some of the hardware involved. This allows for the students to access virtual laboratory hardware at any time, transferring the initial familiarisation phases of the laboratory projects away from a hands on, synchronous experience to a simulated asynchronous one.

Surveys of the students' experiences show that they are supportive of the new laboratory facility, and that they predominantly regard their hybrid virtual and physical laboratory experience as being real.

Outcomes minus incomes: The value added by teaching and learning

Anthony Lucey, George Tetlow, Joan Gribble and Marjan Zadnik
Faculty of Engineering
Curtin University of Technology
Email: A.Lucey@curtin.edu.au, tetlowge@mail.cage.curtin.edu.au, J.Gribble@exchange.curtin.edu.au, M.Zadnik@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00]

In an outcomes approach to education, learning outcomes are identified and, through assessment, the student demonstrations of achievement are measured. The 'incomes' profile of engineering student is especially ragged at entry to Curtin University of Technology because we enrol students with very diverse backgrounds, levels of achievement and experience. Whilst we correctly focus on the identification, enablement and assessment of learning outcomes, it is propitious to appraise these relative to students' capabilities at the start of the learning experience.

A two staged study has been conducted which has focused upon the measurement of an 'incomes' and 'outcomes' profile for the first year entry to Engineering at Curtin. During Orientation Week, nearly 400 students completed an on campus project working in teams of three or four. The project involved students using skills such as engineering judgement, selecting appropriate measurement methods and relevant formulae, error estimation, and communicating through drawings and report writing. Assessment criteria were defined to make qualitative judgements about the levels of engineering skills students demonstrated through each group's engineering report. Then, at the end of 2005, students completed an assessed project which embraced similar learning outcomes to their first project. These projects were analysed in the same way as the first project to create an 'outcomes' profile. Combined with the 'incomes' profile, this permitted the identification of those student groups which made the greatest progression as opposed to just those who achieved the highest grades. In summed form, the comparison yielded a measure, framed purely in terms of learning attainments, of the learning journey travelled by the entire first year cohort over their year of study.

In this presentation we will overview the concept of value adding, describe a fairly general methodology for its measurement and, as an example, provide an analysis of the 'incomes' and 'outcomes' of this process for the first year of engineering at Curtin. We will also make a broad characterisation of the entry and exit cohort in terms of its attributes that will, in future, inform program modification and design for the first year of study in engineering.

A consideration of issues affecting the approaches to learning of mature age students

Pamela Lynch
School of Humanities (Classics and Ancient History)
The University of Western Australia
Email: lynx@upnaway.com
[Wednesday 3.00]

Returning to university study as a mature age student after a break of some years poses a number of unique issues for the students in relation to their learning and consequently the lecturers and tutors who teach them and the support the students receive. These issues, both educational and social can affect the approaches to learning of these students. As a teacher with a number of mature age students in my classes, as well as being a mature age student myself, I wanted to better understand the experience of these students. To begin to explore these issues a focus group of mature age students was formed. These students are in a university where the majority of undergraduate students are school-leavers. An informal meeting was held at which several issues relating to the university experience of these students were raised and discussed. As further questions arose in the course of my research they were then put to the members of the group individually. The responses have been used to better understand the factors that impact upon the approaches to learning and to determine if needs of this group are being addressed. This paper explores the issues and needs of these students.

A case study on the effectiveness of WebCT as a student learning tool and platform for structured assessment

Yamin Ma
School of Earth and Geographical Sciences
Sandra M. Saunders
School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences
The University of Western Australia
Email: may01@student.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

WebCT (Web Course Tools) is an online learning system used at The University of Western Australia. This current study examines how effective the system has been in aiding student learning for three different levels of an undergraduate science degree. In addition, the use of WebCT as a platform for online assessment was tested on a large first year science class. The results of this current study can give some guidance for teachers on the construction of a WebCT online study environment for students at different levels in their science degree. Briefly, we found that in setting up an online environment in WebCT, instructors will have to consider both class size and level of the undergraduate degree. We conclude that although science students at all levels preferred face to face lectures and tutorials to studying in an online environment, these same students found WebCT to be a valuable resource in aiding their studies, much the same as traditional study aids, such as library resource books. However, the extent to which students can make use of WebCT and other online environments will ultimately depend on how much time staff are willing to expend on developing such an environment. With regards to developing online assessment tools for large first year science classes, the initial testing of a structured multiple choice format proved amenable to the students.

Academic productivity of Australian academics and higher degree research students: What can we learn from the facts

Dora Marinova
Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP)
Murdoch University
Email: D.Marinova@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

It has become usual practice for the Australian Federal Government to shape the country's research priorities to better reflect the needs of its economy and society. The funding mechanisms for university research and research training have also changed with the latest system being introduced since 2001. A new model, namely the Research Quality Framework (RQF) is being currently discussed, shaped along the lines of the British Research Assessment Exercise and New Zealand's Performance Based Research Fund. These are also times when the performance of Australian universities is being attacked with open calls for them to prove that they are worth the taxpayers' money.

The paper analyses the productivity of the Australian academic sector between 1992 and 2005 in comparison with New Zealand and the UK and then uses the case study of the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP), Murdoch University, to demonstrate the changes in research quality. Its main argument is that the constantly improving performance of the Australian universities is not being acknowledged and instead, a false public image of lack of productivity is being created. This can potentially alienate prospective new researchers and PhD students directing them to seek alternative career paths or countries of education.

Songs in the key of life: Popular music as a tool for tertiary education

Lorel Mayberry
School of Public Health
Curtin University of Technology
Email: L.Mayberry@exchange.curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 3.00]

This presentation aims to increase awareness of music as a tool in education and health promotion. Music can assist people to empathise with another person's point of view and to highlight issues. Some people are reluctant to share feelings and experiences, and music can be a powerful resource to awaken memories and to help articulate important events/experiences in their lives. We will explore a variety of strategies using popular music that can be used by educators for engaging and stimulating tertiary students, with special emphasis on relationship/sexuality and drug education.

Teamwork and peer evaluation in an engineering education environment

Clive Maynard and Nicoleta Balliu
Curtin Engineering - Education Research Group
Curtin University of Technology
Email: c.maynard@curtin.edu.au, n.balliu@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 12.30]

An important part of an engineering education is learning to work with others as part of a team, to prepare the graduate for the conditions to be faced in industry. Significant aspects of the industrial teamwork situation are: You cannot choose the other members of the team; you must learn to cooperate with your peers to the mutual advantage of all; except for a common expectation of an engineering background, all other considerations are open, including ancestry, sex, religion, communication ability etc. In industry the team leader is expected to provide the knowledge to ensure a team works. In the student context the team leader is also a student and this important role may be rotated through the team members during the period of the team's existence.

Evaluation of a team selection process will be reported and through responses to peer evaluation the success of the process discussed. Further discussion will focus on the need for a controlled interventionist policy to bring teams back into line when problems arise, avoiding the risk of delaying until final assessments become due.

Learning about emotional intelligence

Jennifer Mills and Rachel Green
School of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
Murdoch University
Email: J.Mills@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00]

In order to learn about the general principles of emotional intelligence (EI) and its importance in the workplace, a 3 hour workshop, 'EI for Veterinarians', was presented to final year veterinary students by a communications and EI specialist, Ms Rachel Green. This interactive session was presented within a course involving professional development and was based on the Mayer and Salovey (1997) model of EI. The session was designed to raise student awareness of emotions in themselves and others, expressing and managing the range of emotions, recognising the role of emotion in directing cognition, decision making and problem solving, and the role of emotions in the veterinarian-client relationship. The session was evaluated by students and the results will be presented along with recommended modifications for future sessions. Respondents rated their level of satisfaction with the workshop as extremely or very satisfied (57.4%) and moderately satisfied (34%). The session was a prelude to other professional skills workshops involving managing stress, grief, anger and conflict in the workplace. Consequences of the session and issues of developing and assessing competence in these interpersonal skills will be discussed.

Supercourse: An exercise to enable students to contribute to the wider teaching and learning community

Kym Mina
School of Population Health
The University of Western Australia
Email: kymmina@dph.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 12.30]

The Supercourse (also referred to as the Global Health Network University) is an online library of more than 2000 lectures on public health and epidemiology topics, contributed by over 20,000 faculty from more than 150 countries. It is a resource for the international public health community, designed to support teachers by providing information for both new and experienced lecturers, and to provide access to the latest health and prevention information for instructors in developing countries.

In 2005, a new group assessment was introduced to Foundations of Epidemiology, an introductory epidemiology unit for third year Health Science students at the University of Western Australia, requiring students to develop a lecture on a given topic in a format suitable for inclusion in the Supercourse. The assessment aimed to provide students with experience in lecture writing and explanation of epidemiological theory, as well as an opportunity to make a contribution to the wider teaching and learning community. Students were instructed to use examples from the scientific literature to illustrate theoretical principles, and as an incentive, the lecture receiving the highest grade was to be submitted, with corrections, to the Supercourse library.

The introduction of the new assessment was generally well received by the students. Formal written feedback revealed that overall the students felt the assessment was a worthwhile exercise in lecture writing, learning to use PowerPoint, working with others and revising topics covered elsewhere in the unit. This presentation will discuss the rationale behind introducing a group assessment based on the Supercourse and include more detailed information regarding feedback from the students.

Positive experiences of early learning: Science outreach to high school students

Heather Morton
Life & Physical Sciences
The University of Western Australia
Email: hmorton@anhb.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 2.30]

The presentation of hands on science activities to high school students at The UWA Siemens Science Experience(TSSE) and Triple S (Science for School Students) Fairs has a positive effect on

Such positive results should encourage us to make the effort and participate in well conducted outreach activities. Results will be a community of more informed individuals, and a larger pool of prospective students. Creating a long term interest in science and technology - Why bother?
Year 10 high school students are required to make choices about what to study for their TEE. While some students have a clear vision, many have no idea. Science courses at university are often not as well linked to a particular career path as other professional courses of study. The applications of technology in the wider community are also often not obvious. Exposing students to a range of science and technology based activities broadens the possible choices and makes links between careers, tertiary courses of study, and prerequisite subjects. How can this exposure be managed in an atmosphere that may create long term interest in science and technology? Will the effort be worthwhile? Is it better earlier rather than later?

How? Triple S (Science for School Students) Fairs
These fairs are a collaborative effort by the four public universities, Scitech, Office of Science & Innovation, and the Science Teachers Association of WA. Fairs are held twice a year at a suburban school, with hands on presentations by university staff and students, and scientist and engineers in industry. Fairs are free and open to the public. Held in the early evening, students attend with their families and visitors range from very young children to mature adults. Our target audience is middle school students from yrs 7-10.

How? The UWA Siemens Science Experience
Sponsored by Rotary International, Siemens Pty Ltd and UWA, this hands on experience is held over three days, on campus, in January each year. About 180 Year 10 students (Year 9 in the year of application) are treated to talks by both young and experienced scientists, eight workshop activities, and two exciting demonstrations, and each group of 23 students is guided by a post graduate research student.

What are the results?
Students attending both activities (125 Triple S and 180 TSSE) gave very positive feedback when surveyed. The experiences are fun, often exceed expectations, and expand

They also contribute positively to students' decisions to attend UWA and study science.

What do students think of us? University students' beliefs about university teachers

Maria Northcote
School of Education, Joondalup Campus
Edith Cowan University
Email: m.northcote@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 2.00]

University students' educational beliefs influence their general ideas about learning and their practical study approaches. Their specific beliefs about university teachers particularly impact on their perceptions of educational processes, their learning experiences, their expectations of learning, and their own learning outcomes. Set in a local metropolitan university, the study reported in this paper investigated the educational beliefs held by five different groups of students. In each case, the students were found to hold a range of complex views about the characteristics of effective teachers. These beliefs formed a thematic framework, demonstrating that these students held beliefs about effective teachers in terms of their knowledge, innate characteristics and learnt abilities. Such findings are considered in terms of previously reported belief literature.

As well as reflecting views about effective teaching practices within the confines of lectures and tutorials, the findings of this study illustrate how some contemporary university students hold a wider range of beliefs about teachers and teaching than have been reported to date in the literature. The student participants in this study stated beliefs that reflected their understanding of the broad nature of teachers' work beyond the traditional realm of the university lecture theatre or tutorial room. These understandings were expressed through beliefs about many of the less public aspects of teachers' work including their involvement in course planning design, their interaction with other colleagues, their abilities to use technological resources and their own learning. The students' beliefs also illustrated a broadening awareness of issues that have been traditionally viewed from the teachers' perspective, including beliefs about teachers' pedagogical knowledge, the role of metacognitive thought in learning, and the types of teaching strategies used by effective teachers. The practical implications of these findings are considered for on campus and online university teaching and learning situations.

Integrated learning in engineering education

Ruza Ostrogonac-Seserko, Craig Baird, Sim Jun Yin, Wei Yang Ng, Robin Wong Kah Hoe, Bong Tze Ern, Colin Chien Chin Siong
Faculty of Engineering
The University of Western Australia
Email: rose@civil.uwa.edu.au, craig_a_baird@yahoo.com.au
[Thursday 2.00]

This paper presents the work of five students who participated in a collaborative learning project in The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Western Australia (UWA) under the direction of Dr Ruza Ostrogonac-Seserko, School of Civil & Resource Engineering and School of Mechanical Engineering, UWA, and Dr Craig Baird.

This paper incorporates elements taken from five different papers written by University of Western Australia (UWA) students as part of their involvement in a collaborative learning and research project in the UWA Faculty of Engineering during 2005. The project described here involved student research into the use of experiential learning methods and the design of a new 'Integrated Learning Centre' as part of an upgrade of existing buildings where engineering is taught at UWA. Throughout the project students from the first and fourth year levels of different discipline streams in Engineering at UWA researched aspects of engineering education in international settings by working in teams, as individuals, and in mentoring roles. Working in collaboration with fourth year engineering students acting as mentors, teams of first year students developed fifteen different designs for an integrated learning centre to be established within an existing building at UWA. Two of the designs were judged by the fourth year mentors and participating academic staff to be equal winners. These were presented by the student teams at a seminar conducted by the students for the full student cohort involved. From beginning to end this project was conducted as a staff/student collaborative undertaking involving student research and input of original thought to a team-based design and presentation.

In this presentation five of the fourth year students who assisted in constructing and driving this project report on some of the specific aspects of their involvement in the overall project. These key elements are as follows:

Sim Jun Yin of The School of Mechanical Engineering, the University of Western Australia discusses the development of a design for a miniature Integrated Learning Centre (ILC) at UWA as shaped by information gained from a review of literature that reports on ways that some international universities have approached integrated learning in engineering, and Project-Based, Problem-Based and Outcomes Based learning and assessment.

Wei Yang Ng, of The School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Western Australia reports on aspects of the 'Implementation of Integrated Learning Facilities'. Here the discussion explores the shift towards employers demanding that graduates have not just theoretical knowledge but also the practical skills and generic attributes of an experienced professional engineer and the need for engineering courses to address a broader range of knowledge and skills. An integrated learning approach involves a collaborative effort to deploy a broader range of learning techniques, including a conscious use of learning from one's environment, multidisciplinary and multi-level interaction, project oriented learning approach, outcome based learning and experiential learning.

Robin Wong Kah Hoe of The School of Civil and Resource Engineering, The University of Western Australia discusses in her paper aspects of problem-based and project based education in engineering. Working in parallel with traditional lecture and tutorial methods, staff and students of Engineering at UWA utilised a collaborative student/staff project to study project based and problem based learning methods as well as its contexts and relevant applications in engineering education. In addition students conducted interviews with the teaching staff to ascertain their views on the effectiveness of project based and problem based learning with a view to implementing based and problem-based learning and teaching methods in current engineering education courses at UWA.

Bong Tze Ern of the School of Civil and Resource Engineering, The University of Western Australia has addressed in his special part of the overall project how graduate engineers need not just technical skills on graduation, but ways also for ensuring social responsibility in engineering practice and the integration of their discipline with other professional disciplines. Discussed also is employer demand for graduates to have well developed generic skills that make them work ready as team players with good communication skills, problem solving strategies and an ability to work independently.

Colin Chien Chin Siong of the School of Civil & Resource Engineering, The University of Western Australia reports here on his exploration of ways for improving teamwork for students in engineering. Aspects of how effective teamwork can assist in reducing grievances such as unbalanced workloads, free riders, and diversity difficulties in student team activities are explored in this paper. One valuable outcome from this endeavour has been the production of a Guideline Workbook for Engineering Team Projects for use in guiding future student teams undertaking engineering projects.

Unlearning and re-learning: A corporate information literacy program for law graduates

Carmel O'Sullivan
Knowledge and IT Service Centre
Edith Cowan University
Email: c.osullivan@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 12.30]

Transition from the university to the workplace can be a challenge both for employer and graduate. For large organisations, managing that transition often means investing in professional development programs that address the practical and professional skills students need to succeed in the corporate world. Having developed a year long national legal research program for new graduates at one of Australia's largest law firms, Carmel O'Sullivan has worked closely with graduates from almost all Australian law schools. The program re-visited legal research skills that had been addressed at law school, and introduced new skills and ways of thinking. From her observations of law graduates across Australia, Carmel argues that there is an identifiable information literacy gap between university and work. Many university programs teach research skills out of context, or as one off events early in a student's academic career. What passes as 'information literacy' teaching at university quite often addresses the process of finding information (Standard 2 in the ANZ Information Literacy Framework), and leaves to chance the more challenging topics of understanding the need for information, critical evaluation, managing information, synthesising new and existing knowledge, and acknowledging the cultural, ethical, economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information. Graduates who have the benefit of a more extensive grounding in research skills at university are readily identifiable in the law firm. Preparing students adequately for working life in knowledge intensive industries such as law necessitates rigorous attention being paid to the whole research process, and to the way that those skills are used in the work context.

Building on the student's experience of learning: Linking student evaluation of teaching to learning reform

Beverley Oliver
Learning Support Network
Curtin University of Technology
Email: b.oliver@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 2.30]

Instruments designed to gather and report student feedback on teaching and learning often operate in isolation from institutional pedagogical initiatives. This paper focuses on the integrated approach currently being implemented at Curtin University of Technology. The University's new online system of student evaluation asks students to report their perceptions of what helped and hindered their achievement of unit learning outcomes. Unit coordinators receive a Full Unit Report which contains percentage agreement with 11 quantitative items, as well as qualitative feedback on two items which consider the most helpful aspects of the unit and how it might be improved. Results directly inform teachers how students believe a unit can be changed to make achievement of learning outcomes more likely to occur. Teachers can also consider feedback across courses with peers. A Unit Summary Report is placed on the university intranet enabling current staff and students to see the results and changes to be made as a result of feedback, as well as enabling benchmarking with other similar units. Course Coordinators also have access to unit summary information for all units within a course to enable them to determine trends. This institutional approach captures the nexus between the institution's pedagogical philosophy (an outcomes focused approach) and key feedback from students focused on what helps and hinders the achievement of learning outcomes.

Student perceptions of the effectiveness of writing medical prescriptions using the national prescribing service case based education package

Esther Ooi, David Joyce, Ken Ilett and P Hugh R Barrett
School of Medicine & Pharmacology
Fiona R Lake and Gina Arena
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
The University of Western Australia
Email: emei80@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00]

A web based package for teaching medical prescription writing, designed and implemented by the National Prescribing Service (NPS), was introduced into the fourth year of the medical course at The University of Western Australia (UWA) as an integral part of the unit Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 406. During the course, students were required to complete prescription writing exercises in the context of six different case based scenarios. Questionnaires were administered at the start and end of the course to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of this method of teaching, and to determine whether students were prepared for the level of education offered by the NPS cases. The preliminary questionnaire asked the students to provide their a priori perceptions of the NPS teaching package, while the second questionnaire at the end of the course asked about post-completion perceptions of the package. The same questions were administered on both occasions, and utilised a five point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree). The questionnaires were approved by the UWA Human Research Ethics Committee and all participants provided written informed consent. Students were also asked to provide their student number, which was used to link the questionnaire data to other student assessment outcomes data, and to external student participation data provided annually by the NPS. After linking by an independent party, the data were de-identified prior to analysis using the SPSS ver 9.0 statistical package (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL, USA). Participation in this research provided the students with the opportunity to participate in an evidence based evaluation of therapeutics, to refine their decision making skills, and to learn how to write prescriptions in the context of a case based scenario. This research will encourage evidence based teaching methodologies that can increase the efficiency, knowledge and skills of these future doctors, and benefit the community as the whole.

Static and animated visual aids in pure mathematics

Geoffrey Pearce
School of Mathematics and Statistics
The University of Western Australia
Email: pearcg01@student.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.30]

The benefits of visual learning aids in mathematics teaching are widely accepted; however the usage of such visual aids is often limited by the considerable time and cost involved in their production. Although recent advances in computer technology have helped to overcome some of these difficulties, many teachers and researchers still question whether the benefits of visual aids outweigh the costs of their production, particularly in the case of learning aids involving animation. This paper documents an attempt to develop and implement visual learning aids for use during lectures in an undergraduate pure mathematics unit (an introduction to group theory) at The University of Western Australia. For the sake of comparison, both static and animated visual aids were produced. These included computer slide shows featuring static graphical representations of concepts; and also simple computer movies, in which animation was used to illustrate relationships between abstract mathematical objects. At the conclusion of the unit, students were surveyed regarding the quality of their learning experiences gained from these visual aids. Our findings from this survey suggest that the majority of students found the visual aids beneficial; and also that although students tended to prefer the animations to the static slideshows, the difference was not dramatic.

Woven tales: Creativity embroiders pedagogy

Jennifer Pearson
Faculty of Education
Betty Walsh
Learning and Development Services
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.pearson@ecu.edu.au, b.walsh@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 12]

This is a story of change for a teacher educator and instructional designer participating in the ECU Advantage Laptop Project. The change was multifaceted. Reshaping of the unit organisation, exploring inclusion of laptops in teaching and learning, and support to engage in examining pedagogy are some examples of the changes experienced by the participants. The laptops required new strategies to be developed to support workshop activities. Planning proformas were introduced to support development and refinement of the unit structure. Change is not without its dilemmas and successes. These will be explored to demonstrate how partnerships can produce a positive learning outcome for teacher educators, instructional designers and importantly for students engaged in new technologies.

Laptops and learning: A trial with primary teacher trainees

Jennifer Pearson and John Williams
Faculty of Education
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.pearson@ecu.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.30]

Universities continue to scramble to provide adequate computer technology support to their on and off campus learning networks of students and staff. Significant investment in back room infrastructure is a given - help desk support, high capacity servers, ease of connectivity together with effective firewalls against abuse, and significant lecturer professional development. Edith Cowan University (ECU) initiated a trial of laptop computers in a wireless environment with three sectors within the university. This paper focuses on the trial of pre-service teaching students using laptops in one of the five classes completing a core unit of Technology & Enterprise. The students were from the primary and early childhood 4 year degree course. The trial identified issues that emerged with their ability to incorporate a laptop into their learning as the ten week course progressed.

Locked out! Learning in groups, power struggles and conflict

Kerry Pedigo
John Curtin Institute of Public Policy
Curtin University of Technology

Craig Baird
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Western Australia
Email: k.pedigo@curtin.edu.au, craig_a_baird@yahoo.com.au
[Thursday 12.30]

This presentation will describe outcomes from a of a role play activity used in teaching a postgraduate business management class. The role play was structured to provide students with an authentic experience of power hierarchies in an organisation. Students were grouped into clusters, and then allocated roles to enact in a scenario intended to simulate power positions in a business management situation. Findings from observation of the interactive session and a follow up debriefing session for the mostly MBA students were used to explore the depth and extent of student learning through the role play activities. The classroom based activity used provided a platform for what emerged as a highly animated learning situation. It developed into an all out power struggle which resulted in one team of students being locked out of the class room and being refused re-entry until intervention of the lecturer. Those students who were locked out subsequently took inappropriate actions to gain some advantage over the group originally cast in power roles for the exercise.

This presentation describes learning that went beyond organisational power and resulted in an in-depth discussion about communication, leadership styles, motivation, trust, ethics, decision making, negotiation, planning and cross cultural differences. Students reported greater understanding of power roles in negotiated situations and in some instances, surprise at the depth of feeling that they experienced in what was a role play situation constructed to reflect authentic practice in business.

Approaches to managing larger student numbers with fewer resources

Rob Phillips
Teaching and Learning Centre
Murdoch University
Email: r.phillips@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 10.05]

Universities around the world are being asked to teach a wider and more diverse range of students with fewer resources. Typical responses to these pressures have been to work harder, increase class sizes or reduce contact hours, or all of the above, usually at the expense of educational quality and increased stress for staff.

However, it may be possible to reduce the overall cost of a unit while maintaining its educational quality. The Center for Academic Transformation in the USA has been developing alternative models for managing large classes for several years. These approaches have been shown to reduce teaching costs while maintaining and/or improving learning outcomes. Techniques include studio teaching methods, the use of workshops, changing the nature of face to face contact, peer study groups, using online communication facilities and web based testing.

This session will explore these approaches and present similar examples in use at Murdoch and elsewhere in Australia.

The essay plan and the role play as means of critical learning

Roderic Pitty
School of Social and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: rpitty@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00]

A focus on student centred learning requires effective means to develop students' interest in the subject being studied. Two such means are a structured essay plan, which constitutes a preliminary component of assessment, and a role play tutorial focused on a topical issue about which students have readily accessible information. This paper will review the experience of student learning in two upper level (second and third year) political science courses, one on contemporary Europe and the other on order and justice in world politics. Both courses have been taught at two different levels simultaneously, one involving students spending double time in tutorials and extra workshop study apart from the common lectures. The paper will review the suitability of both a structured essay plan and an intensive role play (concerning UN Security Council reform) as means of enhancing independent student learning.

Incentives for adopting teaching initiatives in science

Jo Pluske
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
The University of Western Australia

Trevor Holmes
Teaching Support Services
University of Guelph
Email: johanna.pluske@uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

Many academics who teach science related subjects at university level are also heavily involved in scientific research. While teaching for most of these people is done to the best of their ability, few indicators are used to assess achievements in teaching and hence teaching goes largely unrewarded. Conversely a scientist's success in research may be measured in publications, awards and invitations to speak at conferences. It is therefore not surprising that an academic will further his or her research career before a teaching career. The aim of this paper is to review two similar science faculties, one in Western Australia and the other in Ontario, Canada, in terms of incentives provided to adopt teaching and learning initiatives and then to make recommendations for science teaching awards at the University level. The scan of our two environments is timely; we have found some striking similarities in challenges and pressures as well as in the will to recognise teaching and learning activities within our respective institutions and countries. We found that some awards have grown organically where others have been more intentional in relation to a focus on future recognitions, that there are useful standards for the creation of authentic and effective awards, and that an effective awards initiative can only be so in the context of an overall teaching reward and incentive program. Further research is recommended to measure accurately the impact of teaching and learning awards on those who win them and on those who do not.

'Learning pathologies' in second year veterinary science students

Sharanne Raidal
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Simone Volet
School of Education
Murdoch University
Email: s.l.raidal@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 10.05]

Veterinary graduates require skills in self directed learning, the ability to assimilate and integrate new information and to apply information to complex clinical situations. Clinical case studies have been utilised as the basis for a novel learning activity that affords students the opportunity for self directed and collaborative learning, deeper approaches to learning and the opportunity to develop skills in group work, self and peer assessment. Cases were carefully selected from clinical records at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital to provide students with an authentic learning task that was perceived as relevant and which appealed to intrinsic motivation and career aspirations. This was considered an important aspect of the activity in progressing students towards a more contextual or relativistic thinking process. To increase student awareness of their own learning processes, as guided self reflection exercise was introduced to allow students to evaluate their approach to learning. Evaluation of student responses indicated a number of 'learning pathologies' including a strategic approach to learning, a high degree of dependency and poor awareness of the nature and purposes of assessment.

Can you bridge graduate students from a wide range of disciplines into the middle of an existing medical course?

Sally Reagan and Gina E. Arena
Education Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
The University of Western Australia
Email: sally@meddent.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 2.00]

In May 2005, 20 Graduate students commenced study in a 26 week bridging course in the Graduate Entry Medical Program at the University of Western Australia. The course bridged years one and two of the undergraduate course and allowed students from a wide range of disciplines to advance into year three of the six year undergraduate medical course.

This study looks at the students' perception of the learning environment and their learning experiences as they progressed through the intensive, integrated and problem based course. Students' perceptions of achievement relating to content and process outcomes were evaluated at four intervals throughout the course. In addition, on completion of the course they evaluated components of the course that assisted or detracted from their learning. Student perceptions were compared with assessment results.

The results indicated that despite the short length of the course, the students perceived improvements in knowledge and skills as they progressed, not just at completion. These improvements correlated with assessment results. The results indicated that background discipline was not a hindrance to learning and success in the course. Components of the course structure that assisted in learning have been identified for discussion. The results will be used for curriculum and learning environment change, without compromising quality or outcomes. This adjustment is vital to a Graduate bridging course where students come from diverse backgrounds, comprise different age groups, have different life pressures and where time is a vital factor in efficient and effective learning.

Teaching and training postgraduate research students outside the supervisory context in the UWA School of Humanities

Kate Riley
School of Humanities
The University of Western Australia
Email: rileyk01@student.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 11.30]

The focus in studies of the research training experience of postgraduates in the Arts and Humanities commonly falls upon what is learnt in the process of writing and researching the thesis, within the supervisory relationship. The object of this paper is to present findings from an investigation into the non-supervisory teaching and training opportunities for research postgraduates in the School of Humanities at UWA, in relation to the university's policies for postgraduate teaching and learning. It is hoped that this brief discussion of the status quo at UWA in late 2005 will prompt further reflection upon the role of programs run at departmental or higher organisational levels in universities in the acquisition of disciplinary specific and/or generic skills by postgraduates.

Some of the aspects covered will include: a summary of what the School of Humanities regards as constituting minimum standards for teaching and training of its postgraduates outside of the supervisory relationship; an outline of programs in place to facilitate non-supervisory training and plans for the future; to find out what significance is attributed to postgraduates' learning to teach, from informal tutoring to the enrichment courses and the UWA Teaching Internship Scheme facilitated by the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning; a discussion of the relationship between the School of Humanities' policies and those of the Graduate Research School at UWA; and a look at the moves to develop postgraduate teaching and learning in the School of Humanities.

Teaching beyond the knowledge society? The university pathway experience

Janine Rutledge and Thelma Blackford
Department of Languages and Intercultural Education
Curtin University of Technology
Email: j.rutledge@curtin.edu.au, t.blackford@curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.30]

Internationalising the curriculum is a major development by universities to globalise the learning experience and is also a strategic measure when competing with other institutions to draw in both local and international students. Curriculum is a highly contested area and, for some, internationalising learning is part of an economic discourse, while for others it has a socio-cultural focus where student difference, learning background and need for support is recognised. It is in this context that Foundation Studies programs operate by providing pathways for international students to gain entry to undergraduate courses at university and developing the academic literacy needed for tertiary studies.

This paper will present an evaluation of an academic writing unit outline in the Curtin University Foundation Studies program. It will examine the curriculum implications for this unit within the frameworks of internationalisation and the work of Hargreaves (2003). Hargreaves argues that teachers have a responsibility to teach beyond the knowledge society by addressing issues such as democracy, cultural difference and values for good in order to create a learning environment that is socially transformative. An exploration of the ways in which Foundation Studies writing teachers are positioned to act as catalysts, counterpoints or casualties of the knowledge society will be highlighted.

Curtin Engineering-Education Research Group (CE-ERG)

David Scott and Joan Gribble
Faculty of Engineering
Curtin University of Technology
Email: D.Scott@curtin.edu.au, J.Gribble@exchange.curtin.edu.au

The Curtin Engineering Education Research Group (CE-ERG) has been recently formed as an emerging research strength at Curtin University of Technology. The intentions of CE-ERG are to endorse Engineering Education as a scholarly activity and as a research discipline, to provide benefits to students as learners in terms of improved educational practices, and to promote the nexus between Teaching and Learning and Research and Development. Ultimately, it is envisaged that a cohesiveness scholarly community in the Curtin Engineering Faculty will be built upon the one activity that is common to all academic staff - teaching Engineering. Furthermore, it is hoped that a broad source of empirical evidence for all Engineering educators will be developed and that the transfer of knowledge, understanding and skills within the Engineering Education field will be shared with other engineering educators.

The research activities of CE-ERG span and connect the spectrum of research that ranges from classroom practice to rigorous research in Engineering Education. The former has identified research projects of interest while the outcomes of the latter will inform improved effectiveness in actual teaching and learning. Some of the research problems engaging CE-ERG are: In what ways is Engineering Education different from Science Education and, further, Education? How effective are our current assessment practices especially as we move towards a more complete implementation of an outcomes focused education approach and with increasingly reduced resources? and what is the impact of workload, and more particularly, 'life load' on students' capacity to learn and the methods by which they best learn?

In this presentation an overview of research activities conducted by CE-ERG will be provided together with a plan for future collaboration with other researchers in Engineering Education.

Lessons learned from using students' feedback to inform academic teaching practice

Shelleyann Scott and Tomayess Issa
Curtin Business School
Curtin University of Technology
Email: S.Scott@curtin.edu.au, T.Issa@curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.30] Refereed research. Full text on website.

This paper outlines the process that an academic within the business technology discipline adopted in using students' feedback to make ongoing developments to the curriculum and teaching practices. Sustained action research incorporating a critical friend to facilitate reflection and problem solving was adopted. The outcomes included significantly higher scores in the student feedback instrument in comparison to the school average; and increases in student satisfaction levels across the five semesters. For the academics involved there were outcomes in increased feelings of empowerment with making sound teaching decisions; increased satisfaction in observing and supporting good teaching; developing cognitively challenging assessments that were more explicit and well structured; and course work and assessments that had team working and critical thinking skills embedded.

First year physics labs in a 'suitcase': Closing the loop

Salim Siddiqui, Bob Loss and Glen Lawson
Department of Applied Physics
Shelley Yeo
Learning Support Network
Curtin University of Technology
Email: S.Siddiqui@curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.00]

It is becoming a growing trend that a greater percentage of full time university students are getting engaged in paid employment to meet their living expenses. As a result many students find it difficult to fulfil the course requirements satisfactorily at the same time. A survey conducted by Curtin Applied Physics in October 2000 revealed that 58% of the full time students studying physics for their first time work either part time or full time and therefore may be disadvantaged when compared with their full time non-working colleagues. This issue was addressed by modularising the Physics 113/114/115 units providing flexible module assessment. Over the last four years we have found that the flexible module assessment has worked well and students are generally satisfied with the structure, but some of the students are still finding it difficult to budget their time to attend laboratories to complete the unit. The laboratory program is an essential part of these units and is thus heavily weighted and requires a considerable time input by the students. To address this issue a portable laboratory program in the form of 'take home kits' has been designed so that students can effectively perform their physics labs off campus. The details of the initial plan of this project were presented at the Teaching and Learning Forum 2005. In this presentation we report the student feedback and outcomes of this project.

Workshop: Creativity in health education

Zarrin S Siddiqui and Fiona Lake
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Education Centre
David Bruce
School of Medicine and Pharmacology
The University of Western Australia
Email: siddiqui@meddent.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.00]

Creativity been highly emphasised in higher education and identified as one of the essential graduate outcomes (2003). It refers to the skills and attitudes needed in generating ideas and products that are relatively novel, high in quality and appropriate to the task in hand (Amabile, 1996). In the field of medicine, creativity might include the development of an entirely new operation, the discovery of the cause of disease, or the description and understanding of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathogenesis, or disease (Pulec, 1992). It is important to know if an adequate place for developing creativity exists in medical and health curricula. The purpose of this workshop will be to promote discussion about creativity in health education. It is proposed that understanding gained from the workshop will be transferable to other subjects.

The learning outcomes of this workshop will be to enable participants

Workshop structure
A short introduction followed by the discussion focussed on
  1. What is creativity within a professional course?
  2. Are we helping/enabling our students to be creative?
  3. What approaches are we using currently in our teaching to foster creativity?
  4. How do we evaluate students' creativity?
Pedagogical principles
Using principles of active learning the main part of the workshop will focus on participants reflecting and sharing their views on the place of creativity in health disciplines.

1. Graduate Attributes, Curtin University. 2005.
2. UWA Strategic Plan 2001. Perth, The University Of Western Australia. 2005.
3. Academic Council Working Party on Graduate Attributes Final Report. Perth, Murdoch University.
4. Amabile, T. (1996). Creativity in context. Westview, Boulder CO.
5. Pulec, J. L. (1992). Creativity: The key to progress. American Journal of Otology, 13(5), 391-392.

Workshop: Using metaphors as a tool for teaching and learning

Zarrin S Siddiqui and Diana Jonas-Dwyer
The University of Western Australia
Email: djdwyer@meddent.uwa.edu.au, zsiddiqui@meddent.uwa.edu.au
[Thurs 11.30]

The literal meaning of metaphor is "a way or phrase used in an imaginative way to describe something" (Wehemier, 2000). These have been widely used in language teaching. However, metaphors can work in a variety of ways: as insights, discoveries, arguments, models and as theories (Pugh 1989).Considerable research has focussed on the utility of constructing metaphors as a reflective tool for the professional development of teachers (Gulas 1998 - 1999; Carlson 1997). Educators use metaphors as conceptual tools for making a connection between students' existing knowledge and new or unfamiliar information, and for 'grounding' abstract concepts in concrete forms (Cameron, 1997). In this workshop the participants will create their own metaphors symbolising how they see themselves as an educator and discuss the usefulness of metaphors within their own teaching context.

Goal: To examine the relationship of metaphors with teaching and learning.

Learning outcomes: By the end of the workshop the participants will be able to

Workshop structure
Short presentation followed by combination of activities and discussion requiring active participation

Pedagogical principles
Based on Kolb's experiential learning model after an introduction to metaphors, samples of metaphors will be presented as concrete experiences. This will provide an opportunity for participants to reflect and think about constructing their own metaphors. The participants will then create a metaphor symbolising how they view teaching, students, assessment or themselves as an educator. The final part of the workshop will focus on discussion examining the role of metaphors as a reflective tool within participants' teaching contexts.

Richards, C. (1997). Researching the 'organising metaphors' which inform teachers' uses of computers in the classroom. Proceedings Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Brisbane.
Carlson, T. (1997). The use of teaching metaphors in preservice education. Proceedings AARE Conference, Brisbane.
Gulas, S. (1998-1999). What it means to teach: A tree as a metaphor for becoming a teacher. Early Childhood Education, 32(2), 35.
Pugh, S. (1989). Metaphor and learning. Reading Research and Instruction, 28(3), 97-103.
Wehemier, S. (2000). Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Helping or hindering: Students' use of collaborative technology in group projects

Goce Simonoski and Peter Dell
School of Information Systems
Curtin University of Technology
Email: goce777@hotmail.com
[Wednesday 11.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

Collaborative technology skills are valuable both in the workforce and for students at college or university. Considerable research into the use of collaborative technology between students and lecturers or teachers has been conducted, yet very little is known about how students use collaborative technology among themselves to support group projects. Email and chat services are the only collaborative technologies generally used by students in order to overcome time and distance barriers. Both applications are used less than anticipated, however, and are perceived unfavourably by students in comparison to face to face meetings.

Professional learning: What really works for university teachers?

Heather Sparrow
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
Alison Bunker
Teaching and Learning Development
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.bunker@ecu.edu.au, h.sparrow@ecu.edu.au
[Wednesday 2.00]

Across most developed countries, pre-service teachers are required to undertake extensive study in degree level courses, prior to taking up a position in schools. University teachers by comparison have traditionally begun teaching careers without qualification, completion of education or training courses, or previous experience in related fields. Further, the active mentoring they received from colleagues has often been limited, and their workloads heavy and challenging even in the initial years of their academic appointment. Changes in the nature, diversity and scale of the university student population over recent years places an ever increasing emphasis on the role of teaching. And global community demands for demonstrated effectiveness and efficiency in tertiary teaching has created intense interest in the quality of teaching and learning achieved in universities. Some typical features of contemporary university teaching and learning include high levels of scrutiny through evaluation of teaching; extensive political interventions in teaching practices, standards and outcomes; public description and judgement of teaching quality.

The current environment can be experienced as exciting, stimulating, and challenging or intimidating, stressful and overwhelming. Academics are responding in diverse ways, however, there is a notable rise of interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and also a rapid increase in engagement with different types of professional learning. University managers are keen to encourage such professional learning, but usually within a limited resource environment that demands fast, cheap solutions. This paper reviews the literature on education programs for university teachers, and their experience as learners. It also reports on the motivations, expectations, experiences and outcomes of academics engaged in different learning opportunities in one Australian university. It provides insights to help evaluate the potential of different development models, and to support effective learning that values the perspectives of university teachers as learners.

Investigating undergraduate physics learning and teaching in Australia: A Western Australian perspective

Geoff Swan
Physics Discipline
Edith Cowan University

Marjan Zadnik
Department of Applied Physics
Curtin University of Technology

Email: g.swan@ecu.edu.au, m.zadnik@curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 11.30]

A Carrick Institute (formally AUTC) funded project investigating learning and teaching undergraduate physics in Australian universities is nearing conclusion. Data has been collected and analysed from all 34 identified physics departments. An extensive report has been published entitled Learning Outcomes and Curriculum Development in Physics can be accessed via the project website at http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/super/AUTC/autc/

In this paper, we will outline the various stages of the project from the initial expression of interest in early 2003 to the conclusion of the project in early 2006. Particular reference will be made to our experience of learning in a major national project from a Western Australian perspective. With individual members drawn from 13 universities across the country this project represented a significant national effort from the physics community. We will also report on the data collection methodology, major results from the analysis, and recommendations for the future.

Improving the experience of learning: Supporting ex-beginners' language students in mixed level classes

Bonnie Thomas
European Languages and Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: bonnieth@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

In 2003 the Arts Faculty at the University of Western Australia underwent a major restructure involving the move from 8 point units to 6 point or 12 point units. For the discipline group of European Languages and Studies, this redistribution of points resulted in the creation of a new series of elective units based on literature or cultural studies. In French Studies, students must take at least 2 of these units over 2 years in order to complete a major in French. A distinguishing feature of these electives is that they are mixed level and may include students who have only completed one year of French (ex-beginners) and others who are native speakers. The vast disparity in students' command of French has provided challenges both for the lecturers and for the students. This paper aims at identifying strategies for supporting ex-beginners' French students in these heterogeneous cultural classes and indeed at promoting active and authentic learning among all students. A significant part of this project is the trial of a new web based application entitled IdeaNet which allows students to create comprehensive conceptual groupings of references, and notes about those references. The flexibility of IdeaNet ensures that students can further their knowledge by providing and consulting with an array of online notes on references relevant to the unit. IdeaNet also offers the possibility of a computer based dialogue between students, and between students and the lecturer, and therefore promotes the notion of a collaborative learning environment.

Individual linear learning: Cultural myth or ontological oxymoron?

Katie Thomas
Centre for International Health
Curtin University of Technology
Email: Katie.thomas@curtin.edu.au
[Thurs 10.05]

Western education tends to be linear and individualistic in nature and embedded in the assumption that institutional progress and processing of text guarantees learning. In this study conversational interviews were conducted with 20 members of culturally and linguistically diverse communities here in Western Australia. The research was a critical examination of the assumptions and cultural and systemic norms that shape and constrain our ideas about learning and therefore our access to knowledge. The respondents' reports were combined with archival analysis of cultural texts in an exploration of the understanding of education and learning from industrialised and non-industrialised perspectives. The research found that definitions of learning varied widely in different cultural (socialised) positions and that these definitions in themselves legitimate and further perpetuate the knowledge that is considered most valuable within a culture. The research found that repetition of linear knowledge and regurgitation of printed text are not considered education in all worldviews. Respondents clarified a distinction between different types of knowledge as 'living' or 'dead' knowledge which was strongly divergent and challenging to western definitions of education. The research also identified challenges to the notion of a 'community of learning' when cross cultural experiences of community are used as the basis of definition. These challenges illustrate a number of structural requirements for education that can produce "well rounded individuals capable of ... mature and critical thinking," where critical is defined as both an interrogative and an inquiring learning stance, and they also illustrate that there is still much to be done to develop these foundations in western education systems.

Self assessment and reflective learning for first year university geography students: A simple guide or simply misguided?

Graham Thompson and Alan Pilgrim
School of Social Sciences
Curtin University of Technology
Email: graham.thompson@postgrad.curtin.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.00]

A self assessment schedule has been developed for first year geography students at Curtin University of Technology. Its purpose is to guide students towards independent learning by encouraging them to reflect more on what and how they learn. Results of the 2003 and 2004 trials showed that the self assessment schedule had a positive impact on student learning and was at least partially effective in improving students' critical thinking skills. It helped students to plan and organise their thoughts, describe the geographical characteristics related to their fieldwork exercise and indicated that students were generally positive about becoming more independent and reflective learners. Given the students' overall positive experiences, a follow up study is proposed for 2006 that will explore ways of integrating the self assessment and reflective learning task into the introductory geography unit via an appropriate problem solving exercise. In the context of outcomes focused education, this ongoing study may provide some insight into better ways of engaging, and retaining, first year university students in higher education learning as well as evaluating this process.

Implementing a learning centred approach to teaching: A positive staff development experience

Eileen Thompson
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
Di Gardiner and Simon Clarke
Graduate School of Education
Phil Hancock
Graduate School of Management, UWA Business School
The University of Western Australia
Email: eileen.thompson@uwa.edu.au, di.gardiner@uwa.edu.au, simon.clarke@uwa.edu.au, phil.hancock@uwa.edu.au
[Thursdat 11.30]

Supporting academic staff towards a more learning centred approach to teaching has been one of the challenges facing many tertiary institutions in recent times. This paper reports on a collaborative effort by a small team at UWA to assist teachers in the Business School to prepare learning outcomes for the units they coordinate. Two experienced teachers from the Graduate School of Education and academic support staff in the Business School combined to conduct a number of workshops for unit coordinators in the Faculty of Economics and Commerce. Comprehensive workshop folders containing outcomes based education resources were distributed to staff a few days prior to the workshops. The workshops were action oriented in that after a brief introduction participants reviewed their existing Unit Outlines in relation to their objective/outcome statements. There was essentially one on one assistance provided to lecturers by members of the team during workshops. Also, information and insights have been shared, common issues debated, ideas tested, and tacit understandings of what is meant by a learning centred approach to teaching developed. Feedback from participants was very positive, with most feeling confident about writing learning outcomes following attendance at one of the workshops. The majority of participants also believed the workshops provided them with useful ideas about writing learning outcomes, that the materials in the workshop folders were relevant and of good quality, and that they would recommend participation in similar workshops to their colleagues.

Aligning academic perceptions of what constitutes a 'graduate' with university graduate attributes

Patricia A.H. Williams and Andrew Woodward
School of Computer and Information Science
Edith Cowan University
Email: trish.williams@ecu.edu.au
[Wednesday 12.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

The past few years have seen an emphasis on explicit definition of skills and ideals that were once implicit in a student graduating from university .These skills are termed graduate attributes. Whilst these attributes are defined in general at a university level, the interpretation and contextualisation is devolved to each school. This has proven difficult for some schools to approach effectively due to misunderstanding and preconceived ideas of academic staff in the application of these attributes. As part of a larger project to interpret and map all graduate attribute in undergraduate programs in the School of Computer and Information Science at Edith Cowan University, this paper describes the approach taken to address these misunderstandings and align academic thinking with the university strategic graduate attributes initiative.

Supervision: A short film

Rose Williams
Community Studies
Edith Cowan University
Email: rose.williams@ecu.edu.au
[Wed 2.30]

I surprised myself recently to find that I was registering some untoward frustration during a staff development workshop discussing examination procedures for research degree students. Sitting in the room mid-session I couldn't quite relate the feeling coherently to the conversations taking place. Talking idly with colleagues since I have begun to see that some of this frustration related to the discourses of examination being offered which implied something about research supervision relationships and research purposes of students that didn't quite 'check out' with my experiences of shepherd(ess)ing higher degree students through the process of research planning and production. Wanting to examine my reactions further I decided to have some focussed discussions with my research students regarding their experiences of the supervisory relationships I have constructed with them and to document some of my supervision practices to think about them more closely. With their permission I have made this short film about that process as a discussion opener around what the 'gift' of supervision is for students and what I gain from this process myself as a feminist teacher/learner.

Being consistent in making decisions about plagiarism: Learning from experience

Shelley Yeo
Learning Support Network
Curtin University of Technology
Email: s.yeo@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 10.05]

Staff at Curtin University of Technology often experience difficulty in deciding the seriousness of a case of alleged plagiarism and subsequently, in applying consistent penalties. A newly developed policy provides a classification framework and proforma with four criteria, each on a continuum from least serious through to most serious, and then an overall classification into three levels. The proforma has been trialled to determine the degree of consistency in the decisions that staff make when using it. In this session, participants will use the proforma to categorise several plagiarism incidents and at the same time, clarify their ideas about student plagiarism and explore the extent to which they agree or disagree with one another.

The effects of metacognitive instruction embedded within an asynchronous learning network on inquiry and metacognitive skills

Michal Zion , Michalski Tova and Mevarech R. Zemira
School of Education, Bar-IIan University, Israel and
The Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology
Email: dr-zmich@zahav.net.il
[Wednesday 12.00]

During the last decade, much research has focused on asynchronous learning networks (ALNs). Although the technology seems to have the potential to enhance students' achievement, empirical findings have been inconsistent. Whereas some studies reported the positive effects of ALN on achievement, others have shown no significant differences between ALN and control groups. Why has ALN only limited effects on students' achievement? At least one factor may explain this phenomenon: Analysing students' interactions in ALN environment indicates that quite often students do not activate metacognitive skills during their learning, and therefore their discourse is unfocused, and not effective enough for enhancing higher order cognitive processes. These findings raise the need to provide metacognitive instruction within ALN environment.

We designed an innovative learning environment, called MINT (Metacognitive guided Inquiry within asynchronous learning Networked Technology). We hypothesised that high school students exposed to MINT will improve their inquiry skills, as well as their metacognitive knowledge and behaviour skills. To address this issue, we investigated four learning conditions: Metacognitive instruction embedded within ALN, (MINT, condition a); Metacognitive instruction embedded within face to face (F2F) interaction (condition b); ALN or F2F interaction with no metacognitive guidance (condition c and d, respectively).

Results indicated significant differences between conditions at the end of the study on both post test measures: general scientific abilities and domain specific inquiry skills in microbiology. The findings indicate that MINT makes significant contributions to students' achievement, and especially to low achievers students. F2F with no metacognitive guidance (condition d) acquired the lowest mean scores. No significant differences were found between the other two groups (conditions b and c). This similarity may be a result of the quality of implicit metacognitive written discourse within the ALN environment. Unlike the F2F oral discourse, the ALN written discourse requires students to express themselves cogently in writing.

Please cite as: TL Forum (2006). Experience of Learning. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 1-2 February 2006. Perth: The University of Western Australia. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2006/abstracts.html

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