Herdsa 2009

Program: Tuesday Day 2 - Concurrent Session One

 

Will students notice the difference? Embedding graduate capabilties in the curriculum (Full Research Paper)

Theresa Winchester-Seeto
Macquarie University Sydney Australia
Agnes Bosanquet
Macquarie University Sydney Australia

This paper describes the way in which Macquarie University is implementing graduate capabilities in the curriculum. It asks: What potential is there for graduate capabilities defined at an institutional level to improve student experience?  In embedding graduate capabilities in the curriculum, is it possible to move beyond rhetoric and enact positive changes for learning and teaching?  Without academic and student engagement, any changes are likely to have a limited impact. There are three key challenges involved: interpreting the guiding principles and graduate capabilities in terms that are meaningful and relevant to different disciplines; embedding graduate capabilities in the curriculum at unit and program level through constructive alignment; and demonstrating that units and programs provide students with opportunities to develop the desired capabilities. Three case studies – from Chiropractic, Health Studies and Accounting - are presented to demonstrate the importance of a discipline or program specific approach in the implementation phase to ensure that students notice the difference.

Keywords – graduate capabilities, curriculum, student learning


DEPT: an embedded approach to academic skills development (Showcase)

Catherine Barratt
Monash University Melbourne Australia

This paper will examine the learning outcomes achieved by better integration of academic skill development with unit content.  The Graduate School of Business (GSB) ADEPT program delivers a comprehensive range of learning support modules designed to improve academic outcomes.  Through use of generic and unit-specific modules, academic skill development is closely aligned with course content and assessment requirements.  The program offers students a scaffolded academic skills development program with an emphasis on quality and responsiveness to student needs. ADEPT began in 2006 as a faculty strategic initiative project aimed at assisting students at risk. The model eventually produced however, aimed to give all students enabling skills to allow them to engage effectively with the curriculum. Consequently all students in the units identified for support were given access to the program. This program was not based on a deficit or remedial  model – a model which often involves delivery of a language and learning program to a limited group of students identified as having ‘problems’. Instead the language support staff worked with the unit leaders to deliver a program designed to assist all students to acquire the skills required to complete assessment tasks.  The benefits of such an approach were twofold – all students were offered the opportunity to participate in an academic enrichment program which also captured the students at risk cohort.

In addition, a content-based diagnostic task supplied by the academic staff was assessed for language diagnosis in the areas of Grammar and Vocabulary, Structure and Cohesion and use of Academic Register.  Unit specific specialists also assessed the writing for content to contribute to an overall picture of the students’ strengths and weaknesses. The results of the diagnostic writing language assessments were sent to the students via email. Firstly, the students were alerted to areas where they may need assistance. It was then suggested that they may benefit from forthcoming ADEPT workshops and were directed to specific workshops that addressed these areas. This information was entered into the database for future comparisons of student progress and engagement.

Since the program’s inception in 2006 there has been a distinct shift from delivery of stand-alone workshops to embedded delivery within unit lectures and tutorials. Utilising the embedded approach ensures that all at risk students within the cohort are captured. Both quantitative and qualitative evidence suggests that the program has impacted significantly on both student performance and satisfaction. Academic and student engagement is high with the workshop attendance rate increasing fourfold since 2006. Attendance numbers for 2008 were over 8,000.


A case of embedding graduate attributes: student perceptions of their learning outcomes (Showcase)

Kerry Hunter
UTS Sydney Australia

Curriculum design at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) aims to develop the desired profiles of graduates by embedding the development of Personal, Professional and Intellectual attributes within professional and disciplinary fields. Each faculty at UTS is thus responsible for the constructive alignment of intended graduate attributes with course aims, subject objectives, teaching and learning activities and assessment.

The Faculty of Information Technology (IT) at UTS had expressed concern about the oral and written communication ability of its students for a number of years. Several programs had been implemented to address this concern, but with little success due largely to their ‘add-on’ and optional nature. However, the adoption of a graduate profile framework by the university opened up the possibility of repositioning written and spoken communication as a key graduate attribute, and therefore at the heart of the curriculum.

In 2007, the university’s academic support unit was requested by the IT Faculty to develop and deliver a one semester ‘Communication’ subject to be undertaken by all first year students in IT. This subject, Communication for IT Professionals, took a socially constructed, cultural and contextual approach that situated the development of written and spoken communication within broad social and ethical issues relating to IT. The subject now aligns communication skills with the Faculty’s graduate attributes as follows:

The presentation will focus on the student experience of this subject. Data collected from students over three consecutive years are provided. The surveys and group discussions were analysed to gauge student perceptions of their learning outcomes. The responses indicate students identified positive learning outcomes aligning with the pedagogy of the course design that aimed to maximise development of the graduate attributes. However, questions arise that have implications for academics planning similar programs.

Keywords: embedding, graduate attributes


Who's attributes are they anyway? Using e-portfolios to give graduate attributes back to the students (Showcase)

Peter Johnson
Bond University Gold Coast Australia

Background
Universities are becoming increasingly focussed on the need for their students to develop specific graduate attributes (GAs) during their degree programs. Bond University, along with most higher education institutions in Australia, has developed a set of GAs that characterise all Bond graduates. These have been further refined to reflect desired program-specific attributes, which have been mapped and integrated into the curricula. However, GAs belong not to a subject or a program, but to our students. Thus, the most important step in the GA process is to deliver the GAs to students by integrating them into the student experience, and providing students with a means to demonstrate their development and achievement of these skills and qualities. This can be achieved through the use of student electronic learning portfolios (e-portfolios), which provide a web-based platform for students to plan and assess their development of graduate skills, document and reflect on their learning experiences, and collate and showcase exemplars of work. This Showcase session will present and discuss the results of an e-portfolio project conducted in the Faculty of Health Science & Medicine, Bond University. The major aims of this project were to:
- integrate the use of graduate attribute-focussed e-portfolios into a variety of learning activities in the Bachelor of Biomedical Science program, and
- evaluate the effects of the e-portfolio on student learning and engagement with program and graduate attributes.

Methods
Students were provided with access to an online e-portfolio structured according to the Bond Graduate Attributes. Students enrolled in two generic first semester subjects (Human Biology and Scientific Thinking & Research Skills) prepared four assessment items for integration into their e-portfolio, each designed to demonstrate development of specific GAs and also give students experience in the different uses and styles of the e-portfolio. Students enrolled in the same subjects, but from other programs (Bachelors of Sports Science, Exercise Science, Forensic Science), completed identical assessment items but did not use the e-portfolio, and served as a control cohort. Assessment items were de-identified to eliminate experimenter bias. In addition, 5 point Likert scale questionnaires were administered to students pre- and post-participation to identify and characterise perceptions and experience of the process.

Results & Discussion
The results from control and e-portfolio interventions cohort surveys will be presented to identify perceived changes in :
- understanding of the alignment of content to learning objectives and assessment
- awareness of graduate attributes, and understanding of their role within their study program and relevance to future careers, and
- ability to plan towards development and attainment of learning goals and graduate attributes.
The effect of using e-portfolio on the quality of integrated assessment items will also be discussed. This Showcase will also highlight approaches for developing a platform to facilitate Faculty and University-wide implementation of e-portfolios.


Comprehensive curriculum planning to improve student learning in experiential learning placements (Full Research Paper)

Ieva Stupans
UniSA Adelaide Australia
Susanne Owen
UniSA Adelaide Australia

Universities are increasingly required to complement a focus on student acquisition of specialist knowledge and practical skills, with ensuring that students begin to develop the values, dispositions and identity of their professions. Experiential learning provides opportunities to integrate university–based theoretical and practice elements with real world experiences involving practicing professionals and consumers. Through these opportunities, classroom-based knowledge becomes relevant. Students begin to build their sense of professional identity and reinforce their understanding of the importance of lifelong learning. They can also develop some understanding of their possible role in their profession and as a citizen.

While  many valuable experiences within experiential learning are unplanned and ‘just happen’, explicitly defined outcomes and comprehensive planning and scaffolding which link learning and assessment tasks are also essential.

Research funded through the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (formerly Carrick) in 2007 regarding pharmacy experiential placements has highlighted the valuing of experiential learning by students, practitioners, professional bodies and academics. However further integration of university learning within the workplace context through systematic planning and preparation in pre-placement, during placement, and post placement phases will enhance student learning.

This paper is relevant to many health and other professions. It presents a model highlighting curriculum processes for lifelong learning and professional identity building and involving planned approaches to reflection and action planning for future skill building.

Keywords: Experiential, curriculum planning, health


Learning and teaching of collaborative decision-making with patients: a critical perspective (Showcase)

Marissa Olsen
Charles Sturt University Albury Australia
Franziska Charles
Sturt University North Parramatta Australia
Higgs Joy
Charles Sturt University North Parramatta Australia

Collaborative approaches to decision-making in care have been suggested to be effective in empowering patients to achieve optimal health within their own unique life context (Trede & Higgs, 2003). Recent evidence suggests that graduates from nutrition and dietetics tertiary programs in Australia felt there was too little emphasis on development of the practical skills required to support patients to make change to their dietary behaviour (Cant & Aroni 2008). Dietary behaviour is complex and determined by multiple factors such as personal preferences, economic situation, cultural background and social situation. When decision-making takes this complexity into account, patients can be empowered to become more actively involved.   Learning opportunities for tertiary students that incorporate complexity can support the successful development of the necessary skills, beliefs and values for collaborative decision-making practice. This may necessitate the critique and revision of tertiary learning and teaching strategies of decision-making approaches. This paper reports on the development of a practical resource underpinned by articulated learning and teaching approaches that enhance collaborative decision-making practices.  This resource was informed by a critical literature review that explored existing learning and teaching strategies utilised in tertiary education to facilitate learning about collaborative decision-making. In addition, an empirical study exploring decision-making in early career dietetic practice provided insight into the values and beliefs that may underpin the use of collaborative decision-making approaches. Findings will be drawn together to assist tertiary academics in preparing future practitioners to begin, and continue, their journey of learning about collaborative decision-making.

Cant, R., & Aroni, R. (2008). From competent to proficient; nutrition education and counselling competency dilemmas experienced by Australian clinical dietitians in education of individuals. Nutrition & Dietetics, 65, 84-89.
Trede, F., & Higgs, J. (2003). Re-framing the clinician's role in collaborative clinical decision-making: re-thinking practice knowledge and the notion of clinician-patient relationships. Learning in health and social care, 2(2), 66-73.


Allied health work-integrated learning in the NT: Student placement experience and outcomes (Showcase)

Narelle Campbell
Flinders University, Northern Territory Clinical School Darwin Australia
Anna Smedts
Flinders University, Northern Territory Clinical School Darwin Australia

Our research addresses the allied health (AH) student experience of work-integrated learning (WIL) placements in the Northern Territory (NT). Most AH training courses are offered through southern-state universities that negotiate placements for final year students into NT workplaces. The NT AH workforce has known ongoing recruitment and retention challenges although, anecdotally, supervisors believe that providing student placements is a workforce recruitment strategy. The outcomes of our research will provide an evidence base on which to discuss that proposition as well as inform strategies to improve current placement models. Pre-and post-placement questionnaires were administered to AH students via a web-based survey tool. Preliminary analysis of responses (n = 22) revealed that 90% of students rated their placement as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ on a 5 point Likert scale. No student rated their placement as ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’. The majority (73%) of students who gave a positive rating also indicated that the placement had increased their interest in working in the NT, both in the short- and longer term. Many students reported that cultural exposure was a major incentive for undertaking placements in the NT; however, this was tempered by pre-placement anxiety about working effectively with indigenous people. Post-placement data showed an increase in student cultural confidence and that students believed their skills had improved. Analysis of qualitative responses provided insight into student learning goals, placement highlights, and challenges. Our ability to align these responses against data from a concurrent study on the AH supervisor perspective is a particular strength of this research, and will be presented in brief. The discussion has significance for any professions providing work-integrated learning placements.


Preparing graduates to provide inter-professional health care: the rhetoric and 'reality' (Showcase)

Mark Barrow
University of Auckland Auckland New Zealand
Sue Gasquoine
Unitec Institute of Technology Auckland New Zealand
Jennifer Weller
University of Auckland Auckland New Zealand

The role of good teamwork in the provision of quality health care is increasingly acknowledged in the literature (Baker et al, 2006; Wagner, 2004).  Indeed weaknesses in teamwork, particularly any perceived inability of multi-professional healthcare team members to work together, are viewed as an impediment to effective health care provision (see for example the report of the 2007 New Zealand Health Workforce Taskforce).

Thus, those institutions that provide education for health care professionals (that is universities and – in the NZ environment – institutes of technology/polytechnics) increasingly recognise the development of team membership capabilities amongst the desired outcomes of graduates. Important amongst these capabilities is the capacity to work constructively with members of a range of health care professionals in the provision of care. The extent to which our health professionals graduate with these capabilities is, at this stage, unclear.

In this study a small group of researchers interviewed second year resident medical officers (RMOs)and nurses two years from graduation who were employed in hospitals in Auckland.  These interviews explored a range of issues related to the development of participants' professional identity and beliefs, their experiences of providing health care and their experiences of working with other healthcare professionals to do this.

This presentation explores some of the issues arising from the participants’ narratives, particularly with respect to an individual’s conception of her/his role and the negotiation of working interactions with members of other health professions.  The narrative data is considered using theoretical frameworks derived from the work of Goffman (1959) and of Lave and Wenger (1991).  These are drawn on to suggest some conclusions about the extent to which educational institutions are preparing, or indeed can prepare young healthcare professionals who are able to work inter-professionally.  Conference participants will be invited to consider the implications for providers of education for health care professions and how they deliver practice experience for students.

Baker, D., R. Day, et al. (2006). "Teamwork as an essential component of high-reliability organisations." HSR: Health Services Research 41(4 (part 11)): 1576-1598.
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life . Harmondsworth, Penguin Books.
Lave, J. and E. Wenger (1991). Situated Learning: legitimate peripheral participation . Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Wagner, E. (2004). "Effective teamwork and quality of care." Medical Care 42(11): 1037-1039.
Workforce Taskforce. (2007). “Reshaping medical education and training to meet the challenges of the 21st century: a report to the Ministers of Health and for Tertiary Education from the Workforce Taskforce”.  Wellington: Ministry of Health.


Air Gondwana: Using ICT to create an authentic learning environment to teach basic negotiation skills (Full Research Paper)

Des Butler
Queensland University of Technology Brisbane Australia

In recent years greater emphasis has been placed by many Law Schools on teaching not only the substantive content of the law but also the skills needed for the practice of the law.  Negotiation is one such skill.  However, effective teaching of negotiation may be problematic in the context of large numbers of students studying in a variety of modes and often juggling other time commitments.  This paper examines the Air Gondwana program, a blended learning environment designed to address these challenges.  The program demonstrates that ICT can be used to create an authentic learning experience which engages and stimulates students.

Keywords: authentic learning, computers, cognitive apprenticeship


Bringing e-Learning to Life - Student Engagement and Empowerment (Concise Research Paper)

Christopher Cheers
Holmesglen Melbourne Australia
Swee Eng Chen
Holmesglen Melbourne Australia
Kamran Zarakhsh
Holmesglen Melbourne Australia

Digital technologies have the potential to support spontaneous, self-organizing learning activities when students are engaged, want to learn and empowered to drive their own learning. We have a learning design that integrates a problem-based learning philosophy and approach with appropriate e-learning platforms and communication tools, which interface with tutorial discussions and supporting learning materials and resources. This paper outlines the elements of our approach and some initial evaluation of its effectiveness.

Keywords: Learner Centred Learning, Digital Ecosystem, Ubiquitous Learning Environment


Spaces for learning: effective design of online resources (Full Research Paper)

Barbara White
Charles Darwin University Darwin Australia
Jodi Tutty
Charles Darwin University Darwin Australia

At CDU Information Technology is taught using web based learning materials in technology rich learning spaces which focus on active and experiential learning experiences for students. These online resources developed for a face-to-face teaching situation are also required for students learning at a distance. This paper outlines the development of online resources for a first year unit Database Concepts that are appropriate for these disparate learning requirements. Central to the development was a clear learning design, iterative development processes, a focus on usability and allowing for choice in learning. The unit detailed in this paper was the winner of an ASCILITE Best Small Project in 2006.

Keywords: Active learning; new learning spaces; online resources


Towards a model first year experience - a staff perspective (Full Research Paper)

Natalie Brown
University of Tasmania Hobart Australia
Andrea Adam
University of Tasmania Hobart Australia

The University of Tasmania (UTAS), like many of its mainland counterparts, is increasingly paying attention to issues of transition and the student first year experience. One initiative, the First Year Teaching Forum, devotes a day to staff (academic and general), from all campuses, to meet together to consider, discuss and pose solutions to first year issues. In 2008, staff attending the forum were allocated to interdisciplinary teams and asked to draw on their own experiences to propose models for first year at UTAS. The resulting models have been analysed to outline the major themes that emerged with a view to identifying initiatives and strategies that could be considered for future implementation.

Keywords: first year experience, orientation, transition


Social Learning Spaces at UQ: The impact on the student experience (Showcase)

Kelly Matthews
University of Queensland Brisbane Australia
Deanne Gannaway
University of Queensland Brisbane Australia

There is strong evidence that students who are actively engaged in their learning, both curricular and co-curricular, are more likely to succeed in higher education (Zhao & Kuh, 2003).  Recent research identifies several emerging key factors that contribute to greater student engagement, including opportunities for positive student-staff interactions, and the inclusion of students in a quality learning environment (Kuh, 1991; Kuh, 1995; Kuh, 2001).  The transition into university, commonly referred to as the first year experience, is a crucial phase in the broader student engagement process (Krause, Hartley, James et al., 2005).  Tinto’s theory of student departure frames transition within a complimentary duality, whereby new students have to assimilate into both the academic environment and the social environment of the institution (Tinto, 1993).  Consequently, students tend to thrive in a challenging, yet supportive academic environment where they feel a sense of belonging to a social community (Upcraft, Gardner, & Barefoot, 2005). 

Over recent years the University of Queensland (UQ) has invested substantial resources in developing informal student spaces as one means of further engaging students on campus.  There is a risk associated with this investment, however, given the lack of empirical evidence demonstrating the impact of such spaces. 

The primary aim of this research is to establish the impact of informal student spaces on student engagement and retention. This presentation reports preliminary data relating to informal learning spaces designed for Science students. An online survey of students has been undertaken, with data from both users and non-users of the spaces identifying levels of student engagement.  Questions considered include: To what extent does this type of space impact on student engagement?  Who uses this type of space, how do they use it and why do they use it?  Can quality informal spaces increase student/staff interactions? 

As a consequence of this project, tangible evidence will be provided to UQ (and other similar institutions) on which to base decisions regarding the future development of similar spaces.

Krause, K. L., Hartley, R., James, R., & McInnis, C. (2005). The first year experience in Australian universities: Findings from a decade of national studies. Canberra: Department of Education, Science and Training.
Kuh, G. D. (1991). Involving colleges: successful approaches to fostering student learning and development outside of the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kuh, G. D. (1995). The other curriculum: out-of-class experiences associated with student learning and personal development. Journal of Higher Education, 66.
Kuh, G. D. (2001). The effects of student-faculty interactions in the 1990s. The Review of Higher Education, 24(3), 309-332.
Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Upcraft, M. L., Gardner, J. N., & Barefoot, B. O. (2005). Challenging and supporting the first-year student: A handbook for improving the first year of college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Zhao, C. M., & Kuh, G. D. (2003). What we’re really learning about student engagement from NSSE. Change 35(2), 24-32.


Enhancing the first-year student learning experience through quality improvement of courses (Full Research Paper)

Sheila Scutter
University of South Australia Adelaide Australia
Denise Wood
University of South Australia Adelaide Australia

The importance of the first-year experience has gained considerable attention in recent years in light of the growing evidence from studies in Australia and overseas showing a link between student engagement and retention. This research, combined with evidence of increasing student disengagement and a high level of attrition during the first-year, highlights the need for a planned and integrated approach to the design of the first-year curriculum. Such an approach provides for transition to university study, acknowledges the diversity of the first-year cohort and makes no assumptions about the “digital literacy” of the students. Despite significant research in this area however, there remains a recognised need for an integrated approach to course development and strategies for improving the quality of courses designed to enhance the first-year learning experience. This paper describes an Australian Learning and Teaching Council funded project involving the development of an online tool that provides a comprehensive approach to peer review and supports academics in the development of first-year curriculum materials. The web-based peer review system harnesses the collective wisdom of academics through communal processes involving reflective practice and the sharing of resources and exemplars.  In exposing their work to such scholarly appraisal academics can also have their work affirmed and use this as evidence when seeking promotion or teaching awards.

Keywords: Student engagement, first-year experience, peer review


Design, implementation, and assessment of an authentic advanced undergraduate psychology research methods course (Full Research Paper)

Marc Wilson
School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington Wellington New Zealand

Psychological research methods and statistics courses are an increasingly common undergraduate requirement, but are amongst the least popular classes in undergraduate curricula. This paper describes the rationale and implementation of a PSYC325 advanced-level research methods course designed to provide a ‘valid’ (authentic) research experience. Student researchers choose research topics and develop specific research questions, complete ethics for their project, collect and analyse data, before submitting, then revising and resubmitting, a report in journal format. I present evidence for the perceived and actual utility of the course, firstly in the form of student evaluations of important course-relevant aspects (e.g., stimulation of interest, utility of material, quality of feedback) that compare favourably with departmental norms, and secondly in the better-than-peer performance of PSYC325 alumni outperformed in subsequent research-related study.

Keywords: Teaching research methods, psychology, authentic assessment


Developing a research culture through the first-year curriculum (Showcase)

Marjorie Kibby
The University of Newcastle Newcastle Australia

The revision of the Film, Media and Cultural Studies major to include a foundation course (Film, Media, Culture) provided an opportunity to examine, at a meta-discursive level, the embedding of a research-teaching nexus and the follow-on benefits for student learning. Zetter (2002) summarises the links between teaching and research as falling into three categories: experiential, conceptual and operational. This course involves the provision of activities in all three categories: incorporating the teachers' research into the curriculum, providing a historical context for current research, developing students' research and enquiry capabilities, teaching discipline specific research skills, and developing a staff-student community of scholars. The curriculum focused on developing an understanding that knowledge was constructed and contested, and that students began the course with valuable experiences and opinions. A series of structured tutorial exercises were developed that exemplify an instructional design where students and teaching are not separate from research activities, but are purposefully integrated with them. The activities facilitate teachers working side by side with students, in a collaborative investigation of the course topics. Before and after surveys, focus group discussions and a student evaluation of the course were conducted in order to better understand how students undertake research and how a research culture might be inculcated much earlier in undergraduate programmes. Zetter, R. (2002) Implementing teaching and research links in departments, Exchange 3, 12,14. http:// www.exchange.ac.uk/issue3.asp


Critiquing undergraduate student participation in academic research using Kincheloe and Steinberg's eight cognitive benefits. (Full Research Paper)

Heather Sharp
University of Newcastle Newcastle Australia
Linda Stanley
University of Southern Queensland Springfield Australia
Marie Hayward
University of Southern Queensland Springfield Australia

Using Kincheloe and Steinberg’s Eight Cognitive Benefits, this paper engages in a reflective analysis of a collaborative research project involving a university lecturer and four undergraduate students.  The Eight Cognitive Benefits present as critical pedagogical directives influenced by post-formal thought, which is, in part, characterised by the ability to engage in flexible problem solving within a range of authentic situations. Kincheloe and Steinberg suggest that as a benefit to students’ research, this approach “...pushes students to new depths of insight” (1998b, p. 241). This framework was selected as part of a post-project process debriefing the experiences of the students, and  applied as a way to link practical aspects of collaborative research with critical pedagogies; a pertinent consideration in the case of this research project, due to the existence of potentially unequal power relationships. Using this framework, the genuine collaboration that occurred and the resulting emancipatory discourses of learning experienced by the students and academic are detailed. The collaborative research project this paper addresses was writing a chapter for a Bachelor of Education course textbook.

This paper categorises the Eight Cognitive Benefits into two domains, internal and external, enabling an engagement in critical self-reflection for the internal domain, and critique of authentic connections made outside of self within the university context, for the external domain. By addressing each of the benefits individually, effective outcomes of student-academic collaborations aligned with the theories of Kincheloe and Steinberg (1998a) are demonstrated to have occurred. In particular, it is the experiences of the undergraduate students, rather than the academic, that forms the focus of this paper.

The critique offered in this paper can be transferred to other educational contexts when educators and students engage in authentic research collaborations.

This paper is dedicated to the memory of Professor Joe L. Kincheloe (1950-2008).

Keywords: critical pedagogy, student engagement, research collaboration


Systematic quality assurance for diverse student experiences (Full Research Paper)

Jeanette Baird
AUQA Melbourne Australia
George Gordon
University of Strathclyde Glasgow Scotland

This paper discusses the challenges in quality assurance of the student experience and presents a model for systematically considering the needs of diverse groups of students. Drawing from a discussion of student-centred and institution-centred ways of defining the student experience, we suggest that the most comprehensive way to consider the student experience is as the experience of people while in their identities as students, recognising the interconnectedness of academic and other developmental experiences, but also the credentialing or judging function of the institution. We propose a representation of the student experience as four overlapping spheres: umpiring, coaching, enabling and developing. Building on this model, and starting with the identification of possible student cohorts, a ‘similarities/differences’ analysis of intended outcomes and institutional provision across the four spheres can be conducted. Subsequently, differences in required quality assurance mechanisms can be identified. By making explicit ideas and assumptions that are usually implicit in institutional planning and quality assurance, the potential arises for different ways of looking at old problems and a more holistic consideration of the student experience. Use of this approach may assist institutions to justify and prioritise improvements.

Keywords: student experience, quality assurance, diversity


The student experience revealed in audits of Australian universities (Showcase)

Joyce Kirk
RMIT Melbourne Australia
Joan Cooper
UNSW Sydney Australia

The analysis of the student experience showcased in this paper draws on the reports of the audits of all Australian universities conducted by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) in the period from 2002 to 2007. The paper offers a national view of the student experience as revealed through the quality audit process. The commendations, affirmations and recommendations found in the reports point towards examples of  good practice, in particular those that have been included in AUQA’s publicly available database,  as well as areas for improvement. 

Although few universities in the first cycle of audits had developed coherent statements of the characteristics or qualities of the student experience they presented a series of surrogates or indicators of it. These included learning support, student support, campus life, transition, equity and student conduct. The analysis highlights specific areas and programs of strength in relation to the student experience and identifies areas for improvement. By comparing the student experience found in the AUQA audits with relevant Australian and international literature the paper suggests strategies and programs that are relevant to the areas needing improvement.

Since the conclusion of the first cycle of audits AUQA has adopted a thematic raher than a whole-of-university approach in its audits. While one of the themes of the second cycle of audits is internationalisation, universities are able to nominate a second theme. In 2008 a number of universioties nominated the student experience as their second themes. The paper concludes with an overview of the audit reports of those universities. There are encouraging signs that the student experience is becoming an area of focus in Australian universities and more so than might have been the case when the initial AUQA audits were conducted.

Keywords: student experience, quality assurance, support for student learning


Enhancing the student experience through responding to student feedback: distributed leadership approach (Full Research Paper)

Sandra Jones
RMIT Melbourne Australia
Brenda Novak
RMIT Melbourne Australia

How to improve student satisfaction with their learning experience has become a major concern for universities worldwide as the pressure on Higher Education to move to a more self-funded model has increased. As government financial support is tied to demonstrable measures of excellence in student learning and satisfaction, pressure is applied to universities to improve student feedback, increase student retention and graduation rates and improve graduate employability skills.  In most instances the focus for improving student satisfaction is on the individual academic leading the design and delivery of the educational experience for students.  This paper presents a different focus in recognising the multi-layered, distributed leadership contribution needed to support the academic in order to enhance the student learning experience as evidenced in their feedback.  Arising from the ‘lived experience’ explained in this paper a framework for a multi-level, distributed leadership approach to improving and responding to student feedback is presented.

Keywords:Distributed leadership; student feedback; critical success factors


The importance of affect: enjoyment, responsiveness and creative teaching (Full Research Paper)

Linda Hodson
University of Sydney Sydney Australia

My research explores pre-service teachers’ experience of quality pedagogy and its impact upon their developing understandings of teaching and learning. Grounded in co-inquiry and constructivist understandings of knowledge, this exploration unfolds as part of one of a number of case studies which examine the ways in which outstanding teacher educators engage with their students and engage students in their subject. The affective qualities experienced by participating students within such engagements, as well as throughout the research process itself are specific sites of inquiry. Research across disciplinary fields highlights the importance of affect in the integration of experience, and this investigation both illuminates and problematises the interrelations posited between academics' experiences of their subject and teaching and students' experiences of learning by recent studies in higher education (HE). The data generated are presented in the form of 'creata' so as to offer a more visceral sense of the qualities experienced in their creation.  

Keywords: affect, pedagogy, student experience


Bursting with Phenomenography: The intellectual life and scholarship of Michael Tasman Prosser (Showcase)

Tai Peseta
The University of Melbourne Melbourne Australia
Peter Kandlbinder
The University of Technology Sydney Sydney Australia

The student learning research community has had a powerful impact on effective university teaching and learning, not only in Australia but also in Europe and the UK. The outcomes from this research community often structure the conceptual architecture of development programs for university teachers as well as institutional mechanisms for quality assurance and enhancement. One of the key scholars in this research community is Michael Prosser. Many contemporary practitioners of academic/educational development identify him as having a significant impact on the field of higher education teaching and learning (Kandlbinder, 2006; 2007; Kandlbinder & Peseta, 2008).

Informed by life history and critical theory, this presentation asks: what has been Prosser's intellectual project? In response, we draw on data from a research project concerned with understanding the historical conditions which led to a turn to student learning in higher education teaching and learning. Drawing on an interview with Prosser and complemented by a close reading of his key texts, we trace the development of his intellectual journey from his early studies in concept mapping to his later work on constitutionalism. The presentation tracks the collaborations, central moments and conceptual shifts in Prosser's work and it elaborates the lines of inquiry that were prominent at the time in which he wrote. We follow the story of a specific scholar in order to elucidate the conditions which have left behind a particular legacy for researching the student learning experience.


Improving student transition by working with staff conceptions of the student experience: academic development for organisational change (Full Research Paper)

Fiona Wahr
RMIT University Melbourne Australia
Kathleen Gray
University of Melbourne Melbourne Australia
Alex Radloff
Central Queensland University Townsville Australia

A whole-of-university approach to student transition is essential, and academics’ understanding of the realities of the student experience is fundamental to any such efforts. However, a review of the literature suggests university transition activities may overlook or gloss over the kind of academic development needed to shape academics’ understandings of transition and thus to effect meaningful organisational change. This paper reflects on work done by one academic development unit to assist academics to improve their students’ transition to university. Analysis of three different initiatives forms the basis for discussion of ways academics think about student transition, and ways academic developers can work with these understandings. The paper concludes with considerations for academic development practice that can make a contribution to a university’s approach to student transition. For academic development to make a systemic difference to the experiences of students entering university, it needs to encourage, support and validate academics’ active, evidence-based understanding of and response to the student experience.

Keywords: Academic development, first-year experience, learning readiness, organisational change, student-centred teaching, student experience


Customising educational approaches to the needs of students: but how well do we know our students’ needs? (Full Research Paper)

Kerry Shephard
University of Otago Dunedin New Zealand
Samuel Mann
Otago Polytechnic Dunedin New Zealand
Nell Smith
University of Otago Dunedin New Zealand
Lynley Deaker
University of Otago Dunedin New Zealand

How much do teachers in tertiary education know about the values, attitudes and dispositions of their incoming students and, if this knowledge were to be available, how could their educational approaches and the resulting student learning experiences be customised in relation to it? Tertiary education institutions internationally are involved in various ways in promoting sustainability through education; an activity that in many cases is designed to influence students’ affective attributes. In New Zealand, Otago Polytechnic has committed itself to the goal that “every graduate may think and act as a sustainable practitioner”.

Polytechnic staff have teamed up with researchers from the University of Otago to benchmark the sustainability world-view attributes of an incoming cohort of Otago Polytechnic students. The research was designed to support academic staff in Polytechnic departments who need to know more about the sustainability interests and characteristics of their students, so that they may provide appropriate educational programmes to support their needs. The research was also designed as the first stage of a longer-term programme to evaluate the impact of institutional changes on how students transform during their tertiary-education experience.

The data demonstrates that even before students start to study in the institution they have different sustainability values-sets, presumably related to their different interests and previous experiences, that may have led them to choose particular programmes. This in turn may influence the nature of the learning programme that the teachers in each setting may wish to devise.

Keywords: first year students, affective attributes, sustainability.


Providing choices for learners and learning – alternative pedagogical approaches within units to recognise diversity in learning foundations (Showcase)

Judy Nagy
Deakin University Melbourne Australia

his showcase seeks to solicit views about a market based approach to the provision of postgraduate education for students that are shoppers for educational products. The concept of strategically providing alternative pedagogies within large postgraduate subjects (somewhat like streaming) as a means of increasing student choice means that consumers can select the way in which they are going to learn. The proposed model seeks to empower both the students and academics by allowing them the ability to choose the approach that suits their educational philosophy and preferred learning/teaching style. This represents an innovation in flexibility that explicitly recognises diversity in learner and teacher foundation skills and reaches both teachers and learners by utilizing their own frames of reference.

The view that all students can be blended into one learning environment presumes that a standardised approach to learning is appropriate. The concept of ‘one size fits all’ education may have been traditionally valid when the presumption of a common entry level skill set had some validity. Contemporary students select the type of institution and modes of learning they desire bringing with them diverse competencies particularly for post-graduate international students that have already experienced a culturally defined learning style. In this environment it makes sense to approach the task of designing an appropriate learning environment which takes the predominant student frames of reference into account increasing the chance that students will absorb the information we seek to teach (Eisner 2003).

The suggested model is not proposed for all units of study and may only be justifiable/economical in large/core subjects. Current student centred learning approaches require students to critically engage and be actively involved in collaborative learning. However, planned curriculum development that encompasses strategies to build skills and graduate attributes does not necessitate embedding all skills into every unit of study. There is room for a flexible approach that allows variable pedagogical approaches in perhaps first semester studies allowing a smoother transition from prior learning foundations, with latter units of study building and further developing skills. The implementation of alternative pedagogies has the capacity to smooth learning pathways and encourage greater retention and progression.

This project has received internal university funding to conduct a staged on-line survey of commencing students to illicit responses to issues such as perceptions about progress, constraints, expectations, affinity with or alienation from teaching styles, tools employed in the learning environment and relationships with fellow students. By comparing data across the demographic groups, it is anticipated that differences in learning progress and styles will be highlighted. Data collection is complete and analysis is in progress. A reference group will be asked to examine the data and consider whether a trial of alternative teaching/learning models is appropriate. Styles chosen will encompass best practice pedagogies and assessments for each style allowing students flexibility to achieve outcomes in a manner that is closer to their preferences.


University students personal achievement goals and perceptions of tutorial goal structures (Full Research Paper)

Vennessa James
Flinders University Adelaide Australia
Shirley Yates
Flinders University Adelaide Australia

Despite the widespread adoption of tutorial classes as learning forums in higher education, few studies have investigated students’ experiences of the motivational emphasis of tutorials and the relationships between students’ perceptions of these goal structures, their self-reported personal achievement goals and their course achievement. Achievement goal theory is an important motivational construct as it provides explanations for students’ approaches to the mastery of knowledge, skills and understandings and to performance in the academic domain. In the present study 176 university undergraduate students’ personal achievement goals were measured at the beginning of a course of study (Time 1) (T1) and their perceptions of tutorial goal structures measured at the end of the final tutorial (Time 2) (T2) for the same course. Students’ prior and concurrent course achievements were also collected for the same academic domain. Partial least squares (PLS) path modelling analyses using SmartPLS revealed students’ self-reported mastery-approach and performance-approach goals at T1 positively and significantly influenced their perceptions of the corresponding mastery and performance tutorial goal structures at T2. Significant direct relationships were also demonstrated between prior achievement and personal mastery-approach and performance-approach goals at T1. The study highlights the role played by university students’ prior achievement in predicting their personal achievement goals and their personal achievement goal orientations in predicting their perceptions of achievement goal structures in tutorials. These findings have important implications for tutorial based learning.

Keywords: achievement goal theory, tutorial goal structures, path modelling


Collaborative inquiry using 'learning' projects (Full Research Paper)

Pauline Hagel
Deakin University Burwood Australia
Kerrie Saville
Deakin University Burwood Australia
Melissa A Parris
Deakin University Burwood Australia
Fiona Graetz
La Trobe University Burwood Australia
Fara Azmat
Deakin University Burwood Australia

In this paper we describe a collaborative inquiry process underway within the business faculty of an Australian university. This process involves both Human Resource Management (HRM) and Management academics and was commenced in October 2007 with the broad aim of developing and sustaining an ongoing conversation within these disciplines to enhance our teaching and the learning of our students. A key vehicle for facilitating the inquiry process is a network of learning projects. In this paper we provide a brief outline of these projects and use social learning theory to discuss and evaluate the role of projects in sustaining the inquiry process.

Keywords: collaborative inquiry, scholarship of teaching and learning, social learning theory, student experience


The Creation of Technology-Enhanced Mentorships and their Effect in Improving Perceptions of Social Inclusion and Skills in Older People and in New Undergraduates (Poster)

Julian Green

This poster illustrates a key area of research that the School of Health and Social Sciences at University of Wales, Newport, is currently proposing. This area seeks to examine the impact of various online and mobile technologies on issues of social inclusion within a community, as well as skill transferability between younger and older mentors.

The research theme is woven around the creation of two new School posts: a module developer and a research officer within the Technology Enhanced Learning and Learning Support (TELLS) team in the School. The TELLS team will subsequently initiate the first stages of an e-learning programme of supportive mentorships, constituting a longitudinal study into issues which benefit perceptions of social inclusion and the effective transference of a skills set.

Samples will be drawn from a group of older people near to, or already in, retirement and domiciled in the surrounding areas of Newport in South Wales, and a group of Newport first year undergraduate students new to the academic environment, who will be starting the academic year in September 2009. The project is framed around the idea of a mutual mentoring programme, in that an older person will be paired with a younger student at the University.

It is envisaged that the partnership between student and older persons will also be mutually beneficial through, for example, the transference of skills, such as technological support in using social networking sites and webcam video conferencing clients. In addition, it is foreseen that the relationship should also help to foster transference of skills from the older mentor in the form of ‘life’ skills, such as time management and organisational empowerment.

This poster illustrates these aspects, together with diagrams visually representing the use of established and developing technologies and the transference of skills between mentors. The evaluative aspects of the project will focus upon the following:

  1. The mentors’ perceptions of engaging with technology – i.e., levels of confidence.
  2. The experience of training to use technology and post training support.
  3. The experience of training as a mentor.
  4. The experience of using technology to support the mentoring role.
  5. The helpfulness (or hindrance) of the peer mentor role.
  6. The extent to which these experiences and perceptions respond to the issue of social isolation and whether the project has increased social inclusion.
  7. Whether the project is viable and sustainable beyond the formality of the project timescales and project team.

Common Units: setting students on the road to success (Poster)

Nicola Rolls
Charles Darwin University Darwin Australia

Charles Darwin University's common units program recognises the need for all beginning university students to have fundamental academic skills and contextual knowledge for academic success. This innovative approach seeks to enable students to assume responsibility for their own learning both within the University and beyond by equipping them with graduate attributes. These include: the academic skills of critical thinking, reading, writing, verbal communication, researching and information communication technology skills, and the opportunity to understand the social, cultural and political context for their study and their work. The program is unique in being a multidisciplinary and compulsory component of all first year degrees at Charles Darwin University. It has been developed in recognition of the broad demographic and high number of non traditional students typical of small regional universities. It received a Carrick citation in 2007 for “Best Practice in Curricula, Teaching, Assessment, Support and Research” and continues to adapt its approaches to ensure it meets the needs of its diverse body of students.


First Semester, First Year: Generic Skills Development in the Humanities (Poster)

Lorraine Sim
University of Ballarat Ballarat Australia

This presentation details teaching initiatives and curriculum development I have undertaken in recent years as the Course Coordinator for a first-year, foundational course in the School of Behavioural, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ballarat called ‘Narrative and Text’. The course typically has over 200 enrolments and is undertaken by students from several Schools and disciplines across the university (e.g. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, Performing Arts). While this course provides an introduction to the study of literature and film at tertiary level, as a compulsory first-year unit in the School’s first-year Foundation Programme, it also aims to develop students’ generic skills in critical thinking, essay writing, research, effective reading and co-operative listening and debate. When I inherited the unit in 2006 when I joined the University, I felt that generic skills development needed to be more explicitly foregrounded in the Course Guide and assessment tasks, particularly given that this course comprised part of the School’s foundational first-year programme of study, and sought to be of benefit to students from a diverse range of degree programmes.

To this end, I revised the assessment structure to include written and oral, individual and group, assessment activities each of which targeted particular generic skills; revised the Course Guide and Assessment Guidelines so that the relationship among course content, assessment tasks and learning outcomes associated with generic skills development was more explicit; and introduced (with the assistance of other University staff) a series of Skills Lectures on essay writing, library research and effective reading.

I also initiated dialogues with the Course Coordinators of the other two foundational first-year units offered by the School (one in history and philosophy, the other in sociology and politics) as to how each course might target particular generic skills through their respective assessment tasks and class activities (e.g. literature review, student-led debate, group research assignment), thereby maximising the areas of generic skills development the programme fostered.
Formal and informal student feedback in regards to generic skills development in ‘Narrative and Text’ has been illuminating. Many students commented on the benefits the explicit focus on core skills development in the course afforded them in first semester, first year, while other students viewed generic skills development to be significantly less important than learning core course content.
Having taught this course for three years, in a national teaching and learning environment that I perceive to be increasingly focused on institutional and teacher-led initiatives which foster students’ generic skills development, there are two issues I would like to raise in this presentation. One relates to how educators can ensure that the provision of generic skills development opportunities and support for students does not dampen their propensity to be self-directed learners who take responsibility for their own learning achievements. The second relates to how we might determine the best time for such generic skills development courses or modules in the undergraduate student experience.


An approach to academic support programs which results in good attendance (Poster)

Ruth Warwick
Charles Darwin University Darwin Australia

This paper discusses the development and reach of a successful new style of delivering academic support services. The context is the unusual demography of the student population at CDU, where there is a high proportion of external undergraduates who choose to study on-line. Furthermore, a multiplicity of cultures among the domestic student cohort means there are a high number of students from Language Other Than English (LOTE) backgrounds. In all, CDU enjoys a broad diversity in the composition of its student body.

The earlier academic support program was produced within this context. It was introduced in semester two of 2007; however, although the student demand for one-on-one ‘editing’ support was high, their willingness to attend workshops and develop their skills was low.

The newly appointed leader to the program in Semester 2, 2008, needed to help students recognize the value of academic support so they would choose to use it to help them reach their personal study goals. In turn, this behaviour would facilitate the development of independence and confidence, which hopefully would lead to a life-long learning attitude.

In just one semester, their attendance at the workshop programs and endorsement of the approach has become evident. Fuelled by student demand, this embryonic program is growing quickly, and its full reach has not yet been seen.

An emerging challenge is to translate this methodology to a wider team of academic support staff.


UniStep: a supplementary enabling transition program for students to step-up to uni - developing confidence, academic literacy, awareness of sustainability and improving the student experience (Poster)

Neera Handa
University of Western Sydney Sydney Australia
Erst Carmichael
University of Western Sydney Sydney Australia
Clare Power
University of Western Sydney Syndey Australia

UniStep Academic Literacy is an exemplary, free, supplementary enabling program for newly enrolled students at the University of Western Sydney (UWS). Using the distinctive content theme of sustainability, and offered in both day and evening modes, UniStep is customised to facilitate the transition of both full time and part time students to university. This program develops students’ academic literacy and study skills and social networks crucial for progression and retention at university.  UniStep responds to the UWS context which includes 52% of enrolled students being the first in their family to attend university (Reid, 2003). Furthermore, the proportion of its undergraduate students involved in paid employment exceeds the national average by 10% (Campbell, 2008). UWS is based across five major campuses and significant numbers of UWS students come from low Socio-economic Status (SES) and/or Non English Speaking Background (NESB), or are mature age students and/or articulate from the TAFE system. The multi-campus, multi-mode presentation of the program ensures that UWS as a “non elite, community focused institution” (Shah, Grebennikov, & Singh, 2007, p. 1) addresses its aim of encouraging the diverse student population from the Greater Western Sydney region to engage with learning in a supportive situation.

The poster will showcase the distinctive features of this intensive 40 hour face-to-face, pre-semester program and will include evidence of its success from rigorous and regular end of course and follow up student evaluations that demonstrate high levels of student satisfaction, student retention and progression in the critical first year of study. 

The originality of the UniStep program lies in its topical theme of sustainability, program specific Academic Skills workbook and a sustainability based book of readings developed in conjunction with a lecturer from the field. Sustainability is highly relevant to current global issues such as climate change (UNEP, 2007) and in alignment with the Greening UWS Policy. Students are introduced to the topic through a guest lecture, readings and tutorial discussions.  They learn to critically analyse materials to develop both an understanding of sustainability and to develop critical literacy skills. Students are guided through stages of assignment preparation including task analysis, research, reading, note taking, writing and referencing. Additionally they engage in online learning to further research and discuss the topic through the UniStep Blackboard site. UniStep entwines critical thinking and sustainability to develop students’ ability to evaluate and apply skills to their own study context (Handa & Carmichael, 2007) thus empowering them to better adapt to higher education culture and its demands.  

Positive feedback from UWS staff as well as external colleagues, through a national benchmarking project (Farrell, et al., 2007), confirms the uniqueness of the content theme of sustainability and the comprehensiveness of this supplementary enabling program. Unistep could arguably be extended as a foundation semester subject developing students’ academic literacy, critical thinking and sustainability literacy skills. The interdisciplinary content focus as a means for learning academic literacy is both pertinent and topical, and contributes to the development of UWS students as critical thinkers and responsible global citizens.

References

Campbell, M. (2008). Students at Risk Report.  An internal report of the University of Western Sydney.
Farrell, H. Carmichael, E., Handa, N., Power, C. and Armstrong, L. (2007). Benchmarking of University Transition Programs. Presented at the biannual conference of Australian Association of Language and Learning. Melbourne Australia, 29 - 30 November 2007.
Reid, J. (2003). ‘Why the Government’s figures don’t add up’.  UWS Media release. September 03. Retrieved September 19, 2005, from http://www.gws.org.au/cgibin/mediareleases.pl?form_type=mainmenu
Shah, M., Grebennikov, L. and Singh, H. (2007). Does Retention Matter? Improving Student Retention: A UWS Case Study. Australasian Association for Institutional Research 2007 Forum Papers. Retrieved April 2007 from http://www.aair.org.au/jir/2007Papers/Index.html
Handa, N. and Carmichael, E. (2007). What has Shakespeare got to do with Sustainability? Educating Minds while Teaching. Refereed paper presented at International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. Chennai India, 4-8 January 2007.
United Nations Environment Program (2007). The Global Outlook. Retrieved June 13, 2008 from www.unep.org/geo/


Academic Literacies: A Transparency Approach for first year students (Poster)

Nicola Dunham
Unitec Auckland New Zealand

The discourse of academic literacies has become a dominant theme for curriculum development within recent tertiary pedagogy. Despite numerous research based models for intervention into academic literacies student attrition, retention and quality in teaching and learning remain as pertinent issues within the tertiary sector. Definitions of Academic Literacies take many forms including reference to rule and conventions relating to subject specific knowledge, language and formats for engaging in the discourse. This small scale study was conceived out of recent curriculum developments on a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) Programme resulting in the creation of a compulsory course to facilitate new student transition into the academic discourse of early childhood education and teacher education. The research project is embedded in the epistemological stance regarding academic literacies as a developmental process with particular interest in student perceptions as they journeyed through their transition into the academic genre. A ‘transparency’ approach was developed for the application of a compulsory academic literacies course for year one students within the Bachelor Degree Programme, in an attempt to make apparent the component features contributing to the discursive nature of academic literacies. This multi-method targeted a variety of aspects within the academic literacies discourse and strategies were developed from research literature to support the application of the active teaching of academic literacies relevant to teacher education and particularly the early childhood sector. A methodological design of developmental action research was utilised due to the context in which the research was embedded. Due to the nature of action research this is a poster presentation of the project in progress with reports on findings and implications relating to the current phase reached at the time of presentation. Within this action research frame there were a number of significant areas of interest; One such area being student perceptions of their confidence to engage in the academic discourse on a variety of levels on entry to the Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education). Lecturer perceptions of new student confidence were also sought to enable a more holistic understanding of the problem at hand. Student perceptions of academic literacies after participation in the fore mentioned course called Academic Literacies for early Childhood Study were also explored. This research is perceived to be of pedagogical value to the tertiary sector and of particular interest to issues such as student attrition, retention and quality. Whilst it is a small scale study, the data gathered within the action research process may prove transferable to wider tertiary contexts and therefore inform teaching and learning within the sector.


Applying for a HERDSA Fellowship (Showcase)

Robert Kennelly
UC Canberra Australia
Geoff Crisp
Adelaide Adelaide Australia
Kogi Naidoo
Adelaide Adelaide Australia
Mark Barrow
Auckland Auckland NZ
Janet Taylor
Southern Cross Lismore Australia

Have you been wondering what was involved in applying for a HERDSA Fellowship? Have you thought that the Fellowship Scheme was only for the select few? The HERDSA Fellowship Scheme is based on the fundamental values of HERDSA, including the development and improvement of higher education practice; the encouragement and facilitation of scholarship in learning and teaching; the formative and summative use of peer review and the setting and maintaining of quality standards. While the Fellowship Scheme recognises high quality educational practice, it is first and foremost a professional development Fellowship Scheme.

Why would a HERDSA member apply for a Fellowship? Some members apply because it assists them in a critical phase in their career such as promotion, some apply because the award of a Fellowship represents peer recognition of their achievements over a period of time, while others recognise that the process of taking time out from their hectic schedule to reflect on their educational practices or their development and leadership roles will allow them an opportunity to move forward in their personal and professional development. Whatever the reasons for applying, the award of a Fellowship will allow members to develop as professionals and to contribute to the development of others involved in higher education.

The process of applying for a Fellowship is a personal journey; it is different for everyone. This session provides an opportunity for you to learn more about the Fellowship Scheme, what is expected in an application and what is expected in terms of articulating your reflections on your educational practice. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and clarify issues. It also provides an opportunity to learn how a HERDSA Fellowship differs from other Fellowship schemes.

Come along and meet members of the HERDSA Fellowship Committee and other jolly good fellows.


Enterprise Moodle: case studies exploring the Business Case for the Moodle Open Source Learning Management System in the University/TAFE sector.

Steve Watt
Business Development Manager, NetSpot
Allan Christie
Managing Director, NetSpot

The NetSpot team celebrated their tenth anniversary last year and currently host over 450,000 unique learning management system student accounts for tertiary institutions in Australia.   

As Moodle Partners, NetSpot are actively involved in the management of Moodle services and client relationships with institutions like the Australian National University, the University of Canberra, Dept. Education and Children's Services SA and Batchelor TAFE.  The presentation will feature case studies, explore the NetSpot partnership model for technical services delivery and also consider management issues such as Open Source Myths, the Business Case for Moodle, Total Costs of Ownership, Change Management and the case for partnering.


Moderation of assessment in transnational education: An Australian Learning and Teaching Council project (Poster)

Saadia Mahmud
University of South Australia Adelaide Australia
Gavin Sanderson
University of South Australia Adelaide Australia
Shelley Yeo Curtin
University of Technology Perth Australia
Michelle Wallace
Southern Cross University Tweed Heads Australia
Carmela Briguglio
Curtin University of Technology Perth Australia
Irene Tan
UCSI University Kuala lumpur Malaysia
Parvinder Kaur Hukam-Singh
Taylor's university College Malaysia Kuala lumpur Malaysia
Thavamalar Thuraisingham
Taylor's University College Malaysia Kuala lumpur Malaysia

Following an initial rapid increase in transnational education, indicators now point to the global market facing a period of rationalisation and consolidation. Australian universities are active in the provision of transnational education and, along with other countries whose institutions provide this specialised educational offering, need to squarely focus on quality teaching processes to best meet student learning needs, and to satisfy the expectations of other stakeholders, for instance, governments, education partners, and future students. This paper provides the conceptual underpinnings of an Australian Learning and Teaching Council project on moderation of assessment in transnational education. The project is timely given current trends in this educational space and the lack of research on transnational education in general and moderation of assessment in particular. The two year research project is anticipated to facilitate leading practice in this area with a view to it ultimately improving the student experience.

Keywords:  assessment, moderation, transnational education


Culture, community and cosmopolitanism: The international research student experience (Poster)

Cally Guerin
University of Adelaide Adelaide
Ian Green
University of Adelaide Adelaide Australia

A major difference between undergraduate and postgraduate study is the shift from ‘student’ to ‘researcher’, part of which requires that Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates enter into the current debates in their disciplines. In doing so, they gain entry to the community of that discipline; in the context of today’s multicultural, globalised academy, this appears to be an ‘imagined community’ (Anderson 1983, 1991) of cosmopolitan academics (Sanderson 2008), rather than a community of peers who work together in the same geographical location.

While there is much to be gained from that community, it must be acknowledged that a sense of community relies as much on who is excluded from it, as who is included (Young 1990). What differences have to be suppressed in order to earn membership of that community? In particular, when it comes to international HDR candidates, what diversity is lost that could be usefully mined to enrich our universities? What adverse impact could this have on our overall research breadth and understandings? Do we lose the researchers who can’t make this transformation? And if so, at what cost?

Following an earlier investigation into the experiences of transcultural supervisors (Guerin & Green, forthcoming), our current project explores what all of this means for international HDR candidates. We report on a series of interviews with international HDR candidates that illuminates their experiences of being inducted/assimilated into the imagined community of their discipline. Do they see it as a major responsibility of their supervisors to teach them how to fit into the community of their discipline? What role does cultural difference play in all this? What should be tolerated in terms of cultural difference, and what is unacceptable within the parameters of these imagined disciplinary communities? By exploring the issues from this perspective, we identify ways of helping supervisors expand the range of students they can work with effectively.

Anderson, B.R.O’G. (1983; 1991). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London and New York: Verso.
Guerin, C. & Green, I. (forthcoming). The transcultural academic: cosmopolitanism and the imagined community of the global academy. Journal of the World Universities Forum.
Sanderson, G. (2008). A foundation for the internationalization of the academic self. Journal of Studies in International Education,12(3), 276-307.
Young, I.M. (1990). The ideal of community and the politics of difference. In L.J. Nicholson (Ed.), Feminism/postmodernism (pp. 300-323). New York: Routledge.


The (hidden) leadership life of the Unit Coordinator (Poster)

Susan Roberts
Murdoch University Perth Australia
Linda Butcher
Murdoch University Perth Australia

A recent study undertaken with funding provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) has revealed an aspect of a university teacher's role that has formerly been implicit; that of leadership. We already know that the teacher is the person closest to the student because he or she usually designs a subject curriculum and then delivers it. It follows, then, that teachers are most likely to impact on their students' learning outcomes and, therefore, to lead their learning. To assist them, teachers may employ part-time staff to take tutorials and workshops. Teachers may, therefore, lead staff. In their departments and in the wider community teachers' expertise may be called upon for advice in the direction of courses and programs. They, therefore, lead knowledge and expertise in their disciplines. Often, they may help to shape and guide their research students' own programs of study and so they might also be involved in leading research. The literature on educational leadership reveals that the concept of informal or `non-positional' leadership in educational institutions has traditionally aligned with the principles of distributed or dispersed leadership. The idea of teachers as leaders in their own 'right' is only recently emerging in the literature. While teachers, on the whole, do not regard themselves as leaders the evidence, nevertheless, suggests that their roles do incorporate features of leadership in one form or another. It is on this premise that further investigation was considered warranted. A desk top audit across 38 Australian Universities was conducted, followed up by a series of cross disciplinary focus groups. Analysis revealed a general lack of clarity in defining the Unit Coordinator's role, the attributes needed to most effectively impact on their students' learning and development opportunities specific to that role. More accurate and meaningful role descriptions, linked to promotional and performance criteria, etc have now been developed.


The changing higher education landscape: the interplay between information technology, student learning and private providers through distance transnational education (Poster)

Sherre Roy
University of the Sunshine Coast Maroochydore Australia

The aim of the study is two fold; one to examine the changed landscape of higher education, in particular student perspectives of transnational higher education using information technology as the sole medium for all communications and learning and secondly to view the findings about the landscape through the lens of Chickering and Gamsons Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. (1987) The research is significant for several reasons; firstly the onshore teaching of international students is a well-established feature for Australian higher education providers, however transnational education is a new phenomenon and is at the forefront in the changes to higher education taking place today. (McBurnie & Ziguras, 2007, p. i) Secondly, in Australia the number of private providers of higher education is growing and recognition of their place within higher education industry has been boosted with the awarding of government sponsored places in past years. Although transnational education is not new to Australian public providers of higher education much of the previous research that has been identified is related to public providers of higher education offerings at course/unit level. The current study is different in that it will investigate the needs/requirements of private higher education providers in recommending pedagogical and organisational solutions to those new to transnational education and higher education. Finally Information Technology has become ever present around the globe, providing many tools and strategies that all types of organisations can be employ on a daily basis. This spread and robustness Information Technology provides a way for providers of higher education to offer people from around the globe, keen to learn, an opportunity to gain a degree. Grounded Theory was chosen for this research as it is able to accommodate both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods whilst providing a set of systematic procedures to develop a theory that will offer insight, understanding and provide a meaningful guide to actions. Stage 1 will elicit information regarding the interaction points students have with the case study organisation – a private Australian higher education institution. Stage 2 will then use the themes identified in Stage 1 as starting points for electronic interviews with participants. From the interviews it is hoped that some pedagogical and organisational recommendations may emerge to assist those who are new to transnational education and higher education. Furthermore viewing the landscape through the lens of the Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education will assist all providers of transnational higher education to more effectively employ techniques and technology that will provide students with a learning experience suited to their needs.


Developing international perspectives through videoconference tutorials for global learning (Concise Research Paper)

Maureen Bell
University of Wollongong Wollongong Australia
Paul Carr
University of Wollongong Wollongong Australia
Rob Whelan
University of Wollongong Wollongong Australia

The experiences of three cohorts of Australian students enrolled in a global learning science course are explored in this case study using interview and questionnaire data. The effectiveness of videoconference tutorials as a global learning strategy in developing students’ international perspectives, communication skills and intercultural understandings and skills is discussed. The case study raises question about effective facilitation, communication, engagement and experiential learning within the international videoconference tutorial environment.

Keywords: internationalisation, videoconference, global learning