Herdsa 2010

HERDSA 2010 program: Poster session one

Learning styles and sense of entitlement: Evidence from Canada

Jean Andrey, Vivian Schoner, Rohan Jayasundera and Erin Joaki

University of Waterloo, Canada

This study on undergraduate student engagement is motivated by the reported perception that there has been a decline in engagement accompanied by an increased sense of entitlement to easy credentials. The project explores student engagement using survey research. The survey was developed based on a review of the literature on student learning, drawing in particular on the Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments (ETL) project in the UK. A draft survey containing 90 learning-based questions was developed and pilot tested with a sample of 500 students, and then modified before large-scale implementation to improve question clarity and scale reliability. The revised survey was administered, during class time, to 1851 students enrolled in a cross-section of lower year classes. Results confirm that deep, surface and strategic learning approaches are distinct from one another, and also that there is a strong inverse relationship between deep and surface learning and a strong positive correlation between deep and strategic learning. Interestingly, however, the newly created scale for sense of entitlement intersected with learning styles in complex ways. Cluster analysis of the mean scores, by scale, suggests that some of the most accomplished learners appear to have a similarly exaggerated sense of entitlement as some of the surface-dominant learners—indicating perhaps a broad cultural change rather than an across-the-board decline in interest and motivation.

Evaluation of the paediatric clinical teaching component of a new medical program

Annette Burgess

The University of Sydney, Australia

In 2005 a new medical curriculum was introduced within UNSW and the paediatric curriculum was changed significantly to include clinical, small group, hospital based teaching in years 1 & 2. Investigation of the effectiveness of these teaching activities was considered critical, given growing demands on teaching staff and limited patient availability. The evaluation investigated three clinical tutorials; Taking a paediatric history, Well baby check, and Examination of a normal child. The study evaluated development of student awareness and understanding of child health issues; competence and confidence in clinical skills; and student perception of active involvement in learning. Quantitative data was collected using survey questionnaires from a random selection of tutorial groups (168 students from a population of 364). Qualitative data were collected from focus groups. The survey and focus group questions were based on Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaire. The study concluded that early exposure to paediatrics in a clinical setting is highly valued by students. In particular, history taking and clinical examination were highly rated, whereas well baby check was less useful.

Enhancing assessment feedback in Accounting education: Issues, obstacles and reforms

Rodney Carr

Deakin University, Australia

Paul de Lange

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia

Colin Ferguson

The University of Melbourne, Australia

Bryan Howieson

The University of Adelaide, Australia

Ben Jacobsen

James Cook University, Australia

Brendan O'Connell

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia

Kim Watty

The University of Melbourne, Australia

This poster reports results from a large survey of accounting students conducted as part of an ALTC-funded project that aimed to identify issues associated with the assessment feedback process and develop recommendations to improve assessment feedback and, therefore, student learning in accounting.The survey was conducted across 12 Australian universities located in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, including Go8, rural and large urban university campuses. Students in a regular class of a variety of first to final year accounting subjects completed a questionnaire that asked about preferences and perceptions of the feedback they receive. A large number (n = 2645) of students completed the questionnaire (over 90% of the students in the classes). The results show that preferences of the accounting students we surveyed are aligned to good practices espoused in the literature (Gibbs and Simpson 2005, Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick 2004, Lizzio & Wilson 2008): accounting students prefer feedback that is individualised, diverse, detailed, constructive and timely. The results also clearly indicate that, in general, accounting students report that they are not currently receiving feedback with these features. Stated differently, accounting students at Australian universities value what the literature informs us is best practice, but the evidence from students suggests that this is not reflected in current practice.

Using university level data for institutional research: Possibilities and challenges

Keith Comer and Erik Brogt

University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Universities collect student data for a variety of purposes and stakeholders, from student secondary school records to determine who will gain entrance, to student grades for academic progression and graduation, or student engagement and teaching surveys to assess the quality of education. Combining these data sets can yield a richer picture of the institution, programs of study, departments or even individual papers. Resulting analyses can also inform the research on teaching and learning in tertiary settings and be used for professional development purposes and to improve the student learning experience. This poster offers examples of institutional research with combined data sets that has helped university departments develop better pictures of what types of students enter their program, how they progress, what curricular issues were encountered by students, where those issues originated and how they could be effectively addressed. In clarifying this, we will illustrate (a) how using New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) data can used to predict success in first year courses, and (b) how grade variability analyses (performance of the same students in different courses) can identify curricular "cake-walks" or bottlenecks. We present the benefits of these approaches for particular departments or lecturers, such as more accurate information for secondary student advising, improved use of prerequisites, or revision of assessment practices. In addition, there are also challenges in data management and data consistency as well as legal and ethical implications for using existing student data for research purposes that need to be addressed.

Examining the outcomes of a generalist Arts degree

Deanne Gannaway and Bianca Berry

The University of Queensland, Australia

A recent national study scoping Arts programs across Australia (Gannaway & Trent, 2008) indicated that the value of the educational process within a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is not necessarily appreciated immediately after graduation. The study revealed that project informants, including executive deans, program coordinators and academic teaching staff responsible for BA programs in Australia, held a common perception that Arts graduates only see the value of the degree and their learning long after leaving the program. The notion of a 10-year lapse in graduates perceiving a BA as instrumental to career path development was accepted amongst the project informants as a well established fact, although few could provide any evidence for this perception. Both this study and data from national surveys, such as the Graduate Destination Survey, indicated that Arts students do indeed take a longer time to establish a career path compared to graduates of more professions-based programs of study, such as architecture or dentistry. Despite these findings, there has been no evidence provided of actual graduates' perceptions of the contribution of the BA towards the development of the career paths. This poster reports on a pilot case study examining the impact of the BA curriculum on student employability and their future career paths. It seeks to establish what BA graduates at various stages in their working career perceive as the attained outcomes of an Australian generalist arts education.

Postgraduate Critical Care Nursing students' attitudes toward team-based learning

David Glanville, Ian Story, Elizabeth Oldland, Julie Considine, Deana Copley, Maxine Duke and Judy Currey

Deakin University, Australia

Critical care nurses have increasing responsibilities for highly unstable patients. To accelerate the acquisition of higher order critical thinking skills and functional knowledge, Team-Based Learning (TBL) was introduced into two postgraduate programs in 2009. TBL is an innovative strategy that promotes high level student engagement and produces significantly improved student learning outcomes. TBL equips health professionals with enhanced critical thinking, problem solving and clinical decision making skills by holding students accountable for their own learning, applying knowledge to clinical problems and developing team skills. This study evaluated critical care students’ engagement with, and attitudes to, team learning. A prospective mixed methods pilot study was conducted. Students’ attitudes were measured by the Team Experience Survey. The STROBE tool measured students’ level of engagement. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Of 32 students, 28 provided complete data that showed overall increased satisfaction with team learning. Significant changes occurred in Overall Satisfaction with Team Experience, Team Impact on Quality of Learning and Clinical Reasoning Ability, and Professional Development. Significant increases in students' attitudes suggested positive attitudes toward TBL. Students demonstrated and reported high engagement during TBL. STROBE data (228 observations) showed no student-to-student interactions in standard lectures, high levels of student-to-student interactions occurred in TBL. TBL led to improved student engagement, suggesting improved learning outcomes and acquisition of graduate attributes. Further research is required in larger samples from multiple sites to confirm the benefits of TBL for developing nurses' critical thinking skills through deep engagement with learning.

Learning without borders: Academics' leadership experiences and expectations of internationalisation (findings from an ALTC leadership project)

Veronica Goerke and Malar Jeya Chandra Jayaprakash

Curtin University of Technology, Australia

Gillian Lueckenhausen, Margaret Mazzolini and Jeffrey Smart

Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Shelley Yeo

Curtin University of Technology, Australia

The explanation adopted by Curtin University for internationalisation is: the process of integrating the international, intercultural and/or global dimension into the teaching, research, and service functions of the University (Knight, 1994). How do our teaching staff translate this with their students and colleagues on various campuses around the world? This poster reports on an early initiative within the ALTC-funded project: Learning without borders: Linking development of transnational leadership roles to international and cross-cultural teaching excellence. The aim of this project is to develop and disseminate guidelines and good practice examples that provide a framework for the development of academics in transnational leadership roles. Outcomes will include sustainable approaches to achieving both 'two-way' internationalisation of the curriculum and improvements in cross-cultural learning. New and experienced academic staff on two campuses, in one university were surveyed to determine their perceptions, understandings and confidence in relation to transnational learning and teaching and internationalising the curriculum. This work-in-progress will describe the outcomes of the survey and focus group discussions with actual and potential transnational education (TNE) leaders, in particular, highlighting participants’ degree of confidence when working in a transnational environment and perceptions of their own needs and the needs of others. We have also identified a group of staff with TNE leadership roles or aspirations who are willing to critically evaluate online leadership professional development and support modules. The poster will encourage further feedback on the developmental of TNE leaders that will inform refinement of the professional development modules.

The 'lived' experience of the Unit Chair

Pauline Hagel, Allison Ringer, Ambika Zutshi, Andrew Creed, Leanne Morris and Caitlyn Mecanovic

Deakin University, Australia

The unit chair (or 'subject coordinator') role has been progressively reshaped over the past decade by the extension of management practices to universities, global competition, a growing and diverse student body, increases in regulatory and quality requirements and the use of information and communication technologies. These forces have lead to a larger and more complex administrative role for academics in designing and delivering a unit of study to students. The aim of the research is to investigate how academics experience, enact and interpret the unit chair role itself, and in relation to their traditional roles of teaching and research. The first stage of the project involved an investigation of the lived experience of one unit chair over two teaching periods. Data was collected using a combination of diary keeping and document analysis. Preliminary findings identify several tensions in the experience of the unit chair: between the demands of students and the technocracy of the university; between individuals who may share the role in different teaching periods; and between the multiple roles played by academics as unit chairs, teachers and researchers. This study will result in both theoretical and practical outcomes. First, it will contribute towards understanding the current and emerging demands and dimensions of unit chair role. Second, it will improve our understanding of the different ways people experience and interpret this role in the context of their broader academic roles. Finally, our findings will influence initiatives to improve the design, resourcing, conduct and management of the unit chair role.

Designing sustainable multi-campus teaching

John Hannon, Pamela Wallace and Catherine Howell

La Trobe University, Australia

Multi-campus teaching requires the organisation of people, pedagogies, policies, resources (including technologies), and institutional systems into a coherent strategy if it is to achieve effective learning for all students. In the case of a large, first-year student cohort, with different options for technology support, the question of a viable and sustainable model for multi-campus teaching becomes critical. At La Trobe University, multi-campus teaching occurs across six campuses, consisting of one urban and five regional. Teaching programs are frequently conducted on two or more locations, with subjects (units of study) coordinated across several locations. Introduction to Sociology is a core first year subject in the Bachelor of Arts, one of the largest in the university, and conducted over five campuses to over 700 students in 2010. This subject offered the opportunity to design a model for multi-campus teaching that would disrupt the traditional mould of lecture-centred delivery, integrate institutional technologies into blended learning arrangements that combined face-to-face and online learning, and offer equivalent outcomes to all students. In summary, the model focuses on structuring the interactions of learning rather than an emphasis on locations and times of learning. Connections are emphasised: between face-to-face contact, online tasks, assessments, and in particular building a cohesive multi-campus teaching team. This design offers a sustainable model for multi-campus teaching to first year, one that is replicable in other contexts, and uses technologies to offer effective learning to all students.

Students learn from peer presentations

Yvonne Hodgson and Michal Schneider-Kolsky

Monash University, Australia

The benefits of peer learning have been widely reported. In 2008 a peer learning program was trialled for the pathology component of a biology unit. Evaluation of the program showed that students thought they learned more from lectures given by a specialist than listening to a presentation given by their peers. Students did not have confidence in their peers' ability to research a disease and distil the key points. Anxiety with the peer learning program in 2008 was related to the assessment of the content delivered by peers. In 2009 the peer learning program was modified to accommodate this feedback. Lectures to support student learning were given by a specialist pathologist and peer assessment sheets were used as a way of engaging students in peer learning. A student survey was used to gauge the students' experience of the peer learning program. In general the 2009 cohort of students was far more positive about peer learning than the 2008 cohort. When asked how they would prefer to learn pathology, 61% of the 2009 cohort stated they would prefer a combination of lectures and peer learning, while only 36% said lectures only. This contrasts with the 2008 cohort, where 100% said lectures only. Students in both cohorts reported that active learning promoted a better understanding of the topic. In conclusion, students' value peer learning and research activities when incorporated into education programs. Peer learning can be implemented as academic practice in traditional teaching modalities, such as lectures and oral presentations.

Signposts revisited: A collaborative national evaluation

Judith Honeyfield, Cath Fraser and Linda Shaw

Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, New Zealand

Pat Reid

NorthTec, New Zealand

Victor Fester and Adam McMillan

Wintec Waikato Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Debra Robertson-Welsh

Manukau Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Liz Fitchett and Helen van Toor

Waiariki Institute of Technology, New Zealand

In 2008, staff developers from three collaborating New Zealand tertiary organisations received funding from Ako Aotearoa – National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, to write a resource for new teachers in their first one-to-two months in the role. The resource, known as "Signposts", comprises ten one-page topics, with practical tips and techniques and is available under a Creative Commons licence through Ako Aotearoa’s website, where it has become their most frequently accessed and downloaded resource. In 2009, an expanded research team representing five higher education providers conducted a survey to determine Signposts’ usefulness and current applications, as well as identifying strategies for expansion and improvement. The survey was open to staff developers and teachers from all New Zealand tertiary organisations. Forty responses, while not a large sample size, offered rich and relevant data about the resource in general, and about individual topics. Most respondents found the content of Signposts was useful, pitched at the right level, and met their needs, but there was widespread support for alternative formats to the current print-based presentation. In response to the feedback, additions have been made to a second edition of Signposts including a glossary, further references and links, and a guide for users. Options for future development are outlined, and reflections on inter-institutional collaboration to assist others in similar evaluations are included. This research is significant not just for the direction it offers for future editions of Signposts, but also as it is the first such evaluation of an Ako Aotearoa project.

Building fieldwork coordinator leadership capabilities

Sue Jones, Rose Chapman and Richard Ladyshewsky

Curtin University of Technology, Australia

Megan Smith and Franziska Trede

Charles Sturt University, Australia

Helen Flavel

Curtin University of Technology, Australia

Fieldwork (a form of work integrated learning [WIL]) is an integral component of many courses and provides students with an opportunity to build their graduate employability, confidence and consolidate their professional skills as well as develop positive professional attitudes and qualities (Nash et al 2009). Despite needing sophisticated leadership skills to manage fieldwork education in order to maximise benefits for students, the university and external partner organisations (Coll & Eames, 2004), Fieldwork Coordinators (FCs) remain largely invisible in their roles within universities. In a recent national scoping study of work integrated learning, Patrick et al. (2009) strongly supported leadership for FCs. This poster will present the findings of the first phase of a national ALTC project aimed at designing and implementing an academic leadership development program for FCs from a wide variety of disciplines. The study is based on an extensive literature review and an online survey of FCs within the partner universities. The survey was developed from the "Learning and Teaching Leaders Survey" developed by Scott et al. (2008) and modified to reflect fieldwork coordination. The instrument is designed to capture both qualitative and quantitative data and also reflects the complexity of fieldwork leadership through drawing on the capabilities in the Integrated Competing Values Framework (Vilkinas & Cartan 2006) The poster will present the results from the FC survey, provide some preliminary discussion and clarify the academic leadership role of FCs. Furthermore, the presentation will provide a framework of core leadership competencies and capabilities required for successful FC mapped against two current leadership frameworks.

Effective integration of teaching and research in a first year nutrition course

Russell Keast, Wendy Hunter and Lynn Riddell

Deakin University, Australia

Successful integration of teaching and research within an undergraduate course has the potential to improve teaching quality, improve student engagement and enhance the learning environment. We present a case study where 1st year undergraduate students completed a nutrition research project including data collection, analysis and interpretation of results. Over the past three years, first year University, students enrolled in Food and Nutrition, have been required to complete three dietary research tools using themselves as subjects, enter this information into data management programs, analyse and interpret their data and write up a report on their data. The questions contained within the assessment tools were designed to maximise the students in-depth understanding of why they, as individuals, consume the foods they do. This report was marked and contributed 40% to the final grade for their unit. Anonymous student evaluation was carried out by the Deakin University official "Student Evaluation of Teaching Units (SETU)" process. Over the three year period a total of 207 students out of 371 (56%) voluntarily completed the SETU. SETU results reveals significant improvement in student satisfaction during this period, with SETU from 4 key questions increasing from an average of 3.85 in 2007 to 4.28 in 2009. The results from this case study support the inclusion of research activities at undergraduate level, and we suggest that quality teaching has been enhanced. The framework in place provided a learning scaffold for students to be confident in their ability to complete the tasks and actively engage in the learning process.

Knowledge of and attitudes toward the National Practice Standards (NPS) for Mental Health Workforce

Donna McAuliffe and Shirley Morrissey

Griffith University, Australia

Graham Davidson and Margaret McAllister

University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Harry McConnell

Griffith University, Australia

Prasuna Reddy

Deakin University, Australia

Traditionally Nurses, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists and Psychiatrists are educated in ‘disciplinary silos' at university prior to going out to placements and practice in multi disciplinary mental health settings. The National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce published in 2005 were developed to complement discipline specific education and training. There was an expectation that these standards would ultimately find their way into discipline specific accreditation standards. This poster presents data from an ALTC funded project designed to develop leadership strategies in cross-disciplinary education in mental health. The data was gathered during a series of workshops involving a range of mental health educators, mental health practitioners and industry stakeholders, exploring the question of readiness to engage in new ways of education. The results indicated that in general, knowledge and awareness of the NPS was limited. While there was in principle support for a cross- disciplinary training module incorporating these standards, a number of barriers and challenges to cross- disciplinary education in university settings were identified. Academic leadership in this area is critical if cross-disciplinary mental health education is to have a place in curricula of the future.