Herdsa 2011

HERDSA 2011 program: Concurrent session one

The program on Tuesday includes an ALTC Showcase stream in the Doral Room between 11. 00am and 3.00pm. This s tream is comprised of 40 minute sessions during which outcomes of a number of ALTC projects will presented. Two showcases will run simultaneously. Each showcase is allocated 40 mins in total, 20 minutes of which will be for presentation and 20 minutes for discussion. The sessions will be set up 'cafe' style for interaction. These session are designed to provide an opportunity for dissemination, feedback from the field to project leaders, and discussion amongst participants about adaptations or implications for other contexts.

Unpacking industry awareness and knowledge: How can it be used for course curriculum development - what does it mean?

Paul Adams

Graduate employability is the achievement of skills, understandings and personal attributes that are supposed to help graduates secure employment. In a recent study funded by ALTC and aimed at building teaching staff capacity to identify, model and assess graduate employability skills, survey work was used to triangulate the perceptions of graduates, teaching staff and employers associated with Communication courses at Victoria University. Participants were asked to consider graduate employment skills in terms of both the extent of achievement of these skills through the teaching of curriculum and their relative importance in terms of employment outcomes. The survey revealed some interesting divergences. Graduates thought ICT skills were very important and reported that more preparation was needed in their courses in this area. Employers and the course team, however, identified ICT skills as a less important area for development and thought that graduates were quite well prepared in this area. All groups identified industry awareness and knowledge as an area for improvement in course curriculum. But employers, graduates and teaching staff had often very different ideas of how this could be achieved. Interestingly, employers often saw industry knowledge as entailing ‘a set of personal attributes and personal qualities that matter to employers’ rather than a specific knowledge or set of skills. In order to develop a better understanding of these findings and answer some of these questions, the VU course team held a series of round tables with employers, graduates and the course team. The findings provided some interesting results.

ALTC ‘Promoting Excellence Initiative’ Strategies - Success stories in enhancing and supporting quality learning and teaching at Australian universities

Dionne Amato Ali, Judith Lyons, Helen Stephenson, Tania Stevenson

The model of change that promotes sustainable learning and teaching enhancement and dissemination and adaptation of innovative or good practice will result in student engagement and retention, productive learning and produce graduates with the desired attributes. To support learning and teaching excellence within higher education institutions the Australian Learning and Teaching Council undertook the “Promoting Excellence Initiative” (PEI). This showcase looks into the PEI approach and methods used by three universities to promote quality teaching and learning, under the themes of fostering scholarly teaching and the scholarship of learning and teaching through projects, grants, awards and fellowships. Evaluation suggests that common success factors facilitating change include the presence of strong leadership, a mixed model of centralised and decentralised academic development and emphasis on both the scholarly process and the outcomes.

Lessons from the Promoting Excellence Initiative project: The influence of context

Miriam Brooker, Rick Cummings, Judy Nagy, Georgia Smeal, Margaret Mazzolini, Marcia Devlin

The ALTC has funded the ‘Lessons learned from the PEI project’ to investigate its Promoting Excellence Initiative [PEI] (which allocated $9m to 42 institutions), with a focus on the leadership strengths developed and the lessons learnt within the university-based projects.   The overall purpose of this project is to highlight the leadership challenges faced by PEI project leaders and champions.  This showcase highlights institutional perspectives about the extent to which initiatives have promoted engagement with learning and teaching excellence within their own institutions, as distilled from institutional reports submitted to the ALTC.  As the first stage in the larger project, a cross-section of 18 of the 34 available PEI Final Reports (53%) as well as the 13 corresponding PEI Evaluation Reports from higher education institutions was analysed. An analytical framework incorporating institutional contexts, the institutional structures, leadership approaches, and institutional outcomes was utilised to code the common themes and unique outcomes within NVivo9 software. Based on the evidence provided in the PEI project and evaluation reports, it was apparent that universities supported their PEI in a variety of ways, and subsequently reported positive impacts in the following key areas: improved dissemination, heightened scholarship of teaching, and, increased alignment between institutional grants and awards and ALTC grants and awards.  The findings contain many lessons learned about what approaches and leadership qualities were most commonly effective in furthering learning and teaching within the higher education sector in Australia.

Dissemination in grants projects: Lessons for achieving seismic shifts and tectonic change

Deanne Gannaway Tilly Hinton, Bianca Berry, Kaitlin Moore

Dissemination is crucial if learning and teaching research is to inform decision-making and affect change. Dissemination strategies are active and planned efforts to persuade target groups to adopt an innovation or outcomes emerging from an investigation or project (Greenhalgh, Robert, Macfarlane, Bate, Kyriakidou, 2004). The D-Cubed Project investigated dissemination practice for ALTC Grants Scheme projects funded in the period 2006 to 2009 by exploring project leader understandings of dissemination and how those understandings are enacted in sharing project outcomes beyond the project team. D-Cubed is the first broad-scale empirical study of how ALTC-funded projects have addressed dissemination in project planning and execution. The study revealed that while grant recipients espouse an approach to dissemination which occurs systematically throughout the project and is highly engaged, practice suggests that often dissemination is in fact a collection of atomistic activities, rather than as a clearly planned strategy designed to achieve a particular purpose.  As a result of the findings, the D-Cubed project team developed a new definition and a new dissemination framework to support future innovators in developing a coherent, consistent dissemination strategy to affect sustainable change. The project outputs also include a series of resources based on the framework that support potential grant applicants in developing a coherent, consistent dissemination strategy. This showcase presents project findings and outcomes, to reflect on the academic practice of undertaking ALTC-funded grant projects, and to consider ways in which effective dissemination can trigger seismic shifts and tectonic change in teaching and learning.

Good practices in practice-based education

Joy Higgs

This session will provide an avenue for discussion of an ongoing ALTC Fellowship program on practice-based education pedagogy and will address these issues:

Practice-based education (PBE) refers to grounding education in strategies, content and goals that direct students’ learning towards preparation for practice roles post-graduation. PBE includes curriculum, subject, stream and activity-level strategies (e.g. as goal setting and curriculum design) and workplace learning. It can occur in all components of curricula including on-campus, workplace, distance and e-learning elements. (Higgs et al 2010). PBE is an interdependent undertaking between higher education, workplaces, industry partners, regulatory agencies, professional bodies, students and society. The competing interests and wide ranges of practice conceptualisations lie “– in critical uncertainty or successful strategy – between diversity and routine, theory and practice, technical skill and reflection, formal and informal knowledge, certainty and uncertainty, standards and values, performance and thoughtfulness, and practice and praxis.” (ibid, p.4) According to Barnett (2010) the traditional role of higher education was to generate new knowledge and to conduct research. Increasingly this role is being scrutinised and higher education today is under pressure from its stakeholders to prepare students for the world of work. Formal knowledge and research are in competition with the demands of the world of practice. Knowledge, action and practice are seen as being closely interrelated. Higher education as the place to equip future generations of practitioners needs to provide space to reflect, retreat and learn in order that future practitioners can understand, critique and act. In addition universities can be seen as a vehicle to help create future practices.

Welcome to 2012: Australian academic developers and student driven university funding

Peter Ling, Kym Fraser, David Gosling

From 2012 the teaching element of government-supported university funding of Australian higher education will change. Instead of an agreement struck in advance between the universities and government on numbers of undergraduate student places available by discipline, from 2012 eligible students can select a program at the university of their choice and take their government funding with them. Similarly, in the UK the Browne report (2010) is expected to create a student-led market in higher education. In the UK these changes will occur against a background of reduced public funding and a three-fold increase in student fees.

It may not be ground hog day but for Australian academic developers, like those in the UK, there is likely to be some sense of déjà vu. The authors of this paper note that in both Australia and the UK the organisation of academic development has, in the recent past, been impacted by government initiatives that influence student choices and that have consequences for funding. We argue, on the basis of data collected by the authors in Australia and the UK, that 2012 will lead to a greater propensity to reorganise academic development arrangements within universities; an area of university organisation that is already dynamic. We can expect rotation between centralised, decentralised, and hub and spoke arrangements for academic development within universities. We also expect revision of university strategic plans in ways that will impact on the nature of academic development work and lead to further imposition of key performance indicators on academic developers.

Coalface subject coordinators – the missing link in the academic supply chain

Judy Nagy, Jacqui McDonald

This abstract relates to a recently completed ALTC project about academic leadership at the lowest rung of the academic leadership hierarchy, at the coalface of academe. The contemporary life of an Australian academic has changed in every way imaginable in response to the challenges and opportunities emerging from global and national policy agendas. There have been quantitative and qualitative changes in what it takes to be an academic, with subject coordinators representing the frontline of the move towards increasingly distributed forms of learning. Multi campus institutions and the myriad of technology enablers for learning, coupled with both an increasing number and diversity of students, means that effective subject coordination requires leadership capabilities. Project outcomes have affirmed the underlying conceptual leadership perspectives adopted, and have highlighted that subject content competencies provide only one dimension to effective subject coordination and leadership. Subject coordinators require a range of skills and competencies to be effective in their roles and have few resources targeted specifically to their needs. Addressing this gap, project outcomes include three case studies developed at the partner institutions that target different aspects of findings derived from interview and survey data. The case studies are university specific and yet provide scope for customization in new contexts enabling wider adoption across the higher education sector. Each resource conceptually operates at different levels with different mediums used for implementation. Together the case studies provide a significant contribution to building subject coordinator capabilities and competencies in higher education.

*Please note that this program is indicative only and subject to change. Pre-conference workshops incur additional fees and require registration. If you have already registered to attend the conference and would now like to register to attend pre-conference workshops please download and complete the pre-conference workshop registration form.

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