Herdsa 2011

HERDSA 2011 program: Concurrent sessions

Being pushed to the edge: A roundtable on the multifaceted value of tertiary students’ community engagement following national disasters

Amy Kenworthy, Billy O'Steen, Lane Perry 111, George Hrivnak, Patrick Keyz

“It is nice to see all of the students putting their education on hold in order to help out the Christchurch community” (NZ News Channel One, March 5, 2011). This quote came from a television news anchorperson who was seemingly proud of the University of Canterbury’s student volunteers. He clearly believed that the students were “putting their education on hold” as they worked to rebuild their community.  In the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes (September 4, 2010 and February 22, 2011), we saw an opportunity that was in direct contrast to the observation articulated in that quote.  Our students who were working to rebuild the community were not putting their education on hold, rather, they were enhancing it using a real-world, real-time, real-issue based teaching tool called service-learning.  Over two decades of empirical research in the service-learning domain suggests that these students may have been learning more from their experiences through serving the Christchurch community than had they been sitting in lecture theatres. Taking hold of the opportunity to actively and purposively connect students’ experiences with both their disciplinary-based academic content as well as their personal and professional skill development seemed not only obvious but essential. In this roundtable, five academics who have led service-learning projects in the wake of national disasters including the recent Brisbane floods and the New Zealand earthquakes will raise questions for discussion about how to best leverage what we know about student engagement and learning in the context of pressing local, national and global needs.  


Effectiveness of university-sanctioned Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) data: Accountability versus improvement

Josephine Healey, Rena Frohman, Sarah Stein, Dorothy Spiller, Stuart Terry, Lynley Deaker, Trudy Harris, Jo Kennedy

Evaluations are used as a major measure of teaching quality by many institutions in staff performance processes. They can also be used by teachers to inform reflections on teaching, and thus contribute to the development and enhancement of teaching, courses and student learning. Acceptance of any SET scheme does not necessarily correlate with perceptions of their usefulness to enhance teaching, or with actual usage of the instrument for teaching changes. Unless we can understand this failure to use evaluations to inform teaching and develop processes that help to remedy this, the SET process will be little more than a ritual that both teachers and students participate in because it is compulsory. This Roundtable will explore the dilemma resulting from the competing uses which SET is meant to serve. Discussion will focus on how staff can engage with, and expand on, current university sanctioned practices that determine teaching quality in order to improve teaching practice. The discussion stimulus questions are:

The Roundtable will conclude with members participating in a brief evaluation process using visual metaphor to stimulate evaluative responses to their conference experiences so far.


Making sense of higher education curricula in a changing context

Pam Roberts

The aim of this roundtable discussion is to explore participants’ curriculum practices and consider how they have been shaped by our values and beliefs and the changing context of higher education. To set the scene, two perspectives on higher education curricula will be presented to help us make sense of our curriculum practices. The first perspective is Toohey’s (1999) five orientations to curricula and the second is that of Barnett & Coate (2005) who define three essential building blocks of curriculum. We will discuss participants’ perceptions of the transformations in higher education that have had significant impacts on their curricula and if there is a need for new models or perspectives to help us to respond to our changed and changing context. Discussion will include questions such as:



Continuing professional learning of academic staff: Is this concept more valid for the current higher education landscape?

Janet Taylor, Gail Wilson

Continuing professional learning is based on the notion that learning for professionals is continuing, active, social, and related to their practice. In designing CPL activities the focus is on the spirit of critical inquiry to enable professionals to gain insights into their own learning and their assumptions about their practice (Webster-Wright, 2010). In higher education CPL has all of these facets and is framed to support different stages of an academic’s career.

Traditionally universities primarily offer professional development for teaching which addresses the acquisition of the knowledge and skills founded on epistemological concerns. Strategies include teacher preparation programs for new academics and Graduate Certificates focused on learning and teaching in a university context. Less direct professional development strategies are also apparent. Distance education universities have always included facilitated educational design as a strategy to enhance practice, while the individual academic may informally choose a mentor to assist their development. Support for communities of practice and scholarship of teaching has gained momentum in recent times.

This roundtable offers an opportunity for participants to join with us to explore the challenges facing institutions and their staff if a professional learning standpoint is adopted. Questions include:



 

*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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