Herdsa 2011

HERDSA 2011 program: Concurrent sessions

PBL curriculum re-design: A multiliteracies perspective

Susan Bridges

Social constructivism and social constructionism offer much theoretically to support the transformation of  problem-based learning (PBL) in higher education due to incorporation of educational technologies under the banner of blended learning (Bridges, McGrath & Whitehill, forthcoming). From a curriculum development perspective, few frameworks exist for a holistic approach to incorporating innovation. The application of multiliteracies pedagogy and its principles of design (New London Group, 2000) is one possible avenue for supporting and enhancing innovations in PBL curricula.  Using undergraduate dental education as a case study, this presentation will explore the conceptual fit for higher education of the key premises of the multiliteracies philosophy: diversity of students and their futures; diversity of literacy practices; and active citizenship. Additionally, the effects of curriculum ‘designing’ drawing on the multiliteracies approach will be explored. An interactional ethnography (IE) was adopted to systematically study PBL over time (Bridges, et al 2010) with a particular focus on student engagement with a variety of educational technologies. Naturally occurring classroom and self-study interactions (Year 1, 3, 4 students) were recorded across three problem cycles (1-2 weeks each) explored the role of educational technologies in mediating learning. It was evident that within the social learning process that is PBL, the appropriation of mediating tools was dependent on relevance to new knowledge. It was also evident that students’ accessing of educational technologies, visual tools and learning objects was socially and academically relevant to learning across the problem cycle.


The shape of academic leadership in higher education: Emerging patterns and paradoxes

Carol Cardno

Higher education operates in a context of high accountability and public performance expectations yet a focus on academic leadership that is directly linked to improving student learning is not evident in the literature. Much of this literature is influenced by the field of generic management research and practice whilst the specific field of educational administration, management and leadership has advanced new patterns of thinking about links between leadership and student outcomes in the context of schools. These ideas could have relevance for effective academic leadership in the post-school sector. This presentation showcases some of the current patterns and paradoxes of academic leadership. As a concept, academic leadership in higher education is extremely complex because of a wide variety of perspectives, contexts, forms, terms and mechanisms. In spite of these differences, however, some common challenges exist across contexts related to the multi-faceted expectations of the role and leadership development and assessment. Against this background, the presentation also introduces preliminary findings from a current study of academic leadership in New Zealand metro-polytechnics where the shape of academic leadership is not only unique but is also configured in ways that are helping to address one of the central paradoxes: an expectation that capable academics are capable of effective academic leadership and management.


Identification of Indicators and Measures of Impact on Teaching Preparation Programs in Higher Education

Denise Chalmers, Allan Goody, Veronica Goerke, Sue Stoney, Di Gardiner

This Showcase reports on an ALTC strategic priority project to identify the range, type and frequency of professional development programs offered by Australian institutions. By applying a theoretical and evidence-based model, the project will use this data to identify indicators and measures of effectiveness and impact, develop an evaluation framework that can be applied across a range of professional development programs and activities that take place in higher education, and trial these in different university contexts to test their veracity.


Higher Education Research & Development (HERD): Meet the new editors

Barbara Grant, University of Auckland

Catherine Manathunga, Victoria University of Wellington

Mark Barrow, University of Auckland

Tai Peseta, LaTrobe University

Bruce Macfarlane, University of Hong Kong

Ian Brailsford University of Auckland

Research in the field of higher education is gaining momentum across the globe (Haggis, 2009; Manathunga, in press; Tight, 2003 & 2008).  It is vital that the journal of the Higher Education Research Society of Australasia (HERDSA), Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) build upon its international profile and take on a leadership role in the global scene of higher education.  The new HERD editorial team is dedicated to continue widening the scope of the journal and to ensure that it invites critical debate over teaching and learning issues, research methods and directions, theoretical paradigms, leadership and policy matters in higher education.  The team hopes to foster critical engagement with current assumptions in the discourse of higher education and prompt the field of higher education research to scrutinize itself.

Our team takes seriously the Australasian aspect of our professional society so it includes members from Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong.  It also plans to encourage more articles from the wider Asia Pacific region.  We also bring a disciplinary breadth to our editorial work, with three members located in Academic Development/Higher Education, two in Education and one in Medicine & Health Sciences as Associate Dean Education.

This session will provide participants with an introduction to each of our editorial team members.  It will also outline in some detail the current editorial policy of our team and our plans for the future of this highly ranked journal.  Ample time will be allowed for questions, comments and feedback from the audience. 


The intellectual life and scholarship of Ronald Barnett

Peter Kandlbinder, Tai Peseta

A relatively small group of researchers have been responsible for formulating the key ideas of higher education teaching and learning. Ronald Barnett is an important scholar in this research community working in the UK context. He spent much of his career championing the idea of higher education and the unique contribution it makes to student learning . This showcase uses an in-depth interview and documentary analysis to examine why one of the most influential authors of this period shifted his interest from issues of teaching to questions of student learning. This data has been analysed to draw out relationships between Barnett's biography, the key questions which have underpinned his work, the historical context in which he wrote and the texts he produced. The showcase will use this analysis to develop an appreciation of the foundational ideas in higher education teaching and learning so that participants can debate their relevance for achieving quality student learning in their own institutional contexts.


Digital 'Māori Mapping': Enhancing learner engagement through a student-built atlas

Ocean Mercier, Peter Adds, Meegan Hall

This paper describes and discusses a “cultural atlas” project designed to engage Maori undergraduate students in a piece of "real research" early in their academic careers.  Following Kuh’s 2008 findings, it is anticipated that student engagement in the project ought to produce a positive impact on the current poor rates of Maori retention and success. Kuh’s (2008) findings were based on his North American-focussed NSSE research that suggests that ‘real’ research experiences at undergraduate level have a positive impact on student retention and achievement. This project set out to test these propositions through the creation of a place-based repository of Māori studies student work. In 2010 and 2011 students and staff at Te Kawa a Māui/ Māori Studies at Victoria University of Wellington developed an electronic Google Earth-based cultural atlas of student research from tailored assignments in their Māori Studies courses (http://www.victoria.ac.nz/maori/atlas/). We were particularly interested in how map-based visualisation of place, history, society and culture, affirmed students’ identities and enhanced (particularly) Māori student engagement. We are also exploring how student-created maps draw upon and add to Māori mapping initiatives, past and present. Although very preliminary, data about student engagement has been primarily collected in the form of anonymous student feedback on specific mapping activities, though we will also share observations regarding student engagement in a range of our courses.


Students' experiences of feedback – what can we learn?

Angela McLean, Carol Bond, Helen Nicholson

Feedback is a key component of learning yet until recently it has been relatively under-researched, particularly from students’ perspectives.  Lately, there have been calls for a reconceptualisation of the feedback process (Carless et al., 2010) and the introduction of more dialogic and socially embedded processes (Beaumont, et al., 2011; Price et al, 2011) in which student self-regulation is a key aspect (Carless, et al., 2010).  In a phenomenographic study, McLean (2011) explored students’ experiences of feedback.  Individual interviews with 28 students focused on the meaning of feedback, examples of feedback, their engagement with feedback, and how it could most usefully be provided.  Students understood feedback as: ‘telling’; ‘guidance’; ‘gaining understanding’; and ‘providing a different perspective’.  Cross-category dimensions were associated with; the meaning of information; agency; communicative direction; temporality; and application.  Patterns in students’ understandings of feedback also reflected those of previous research on conceptions of learning (e.g., Marton, et al., 1993) with one important difference.  Analysis revealed a number of factors resembling self-regulatory strategies that strongly influenced the degree to which student engaged with feedback.  Vermunt (1998) drew on phenomenographic and cognitive perspectives to develop a model of the regulation of constructive learning strategies (see also Vermunt and Vermetten, 2004).  We use McLean’s study, associated literature, and Vermunt’s (1998) model as discussion stimuli to generate ideas about the reconceptualisation of feedback in teaching and learning practices, and how self-regulation may be encouraged in the curriculum.


An evidence-based framework for quality: Bringing the best from informatics in healthcare to quality in higher education @ Sydney Nursing School

Melinda Lewis, Stuart Newman

A recent review of fifteen years of papers published in Quality in Higher Education by Harvey & Williams suggest that it is still not clear that quality assurance systems have really enhanced higher education (2010). At Sydney Nursing School (SNS), we have attempted to build and sustain quality through the use of evidence across a whole-of-faculty approach to pedagogy, technology, quality and standards. Using synergies afforded in relation to improved quality management strategies in healthcare, SNS has developed a flexible, integrated, evidence-based framework for quality across the Faculty. The framework has become the cornerstone of an ecology of quality, influenced by educational data mining and learning analytics approaches within higher education. Three layers exist. Firstly, the quality data map will record all data items that inform us of quality (e.g. evaluation surveys, eLearning site tracking data, staff reflections), data collection points, frequency/duration, ownership, analysis, visualization and reporting. Secondly, linking data sets will enable a collective and global view of the lived experience of the curriculum (intended, delivered and received). Thirdly, critical discourses and reflective practices on outcomes (the narrative of quality), will support decision-making to build transparent cycles of improvement. Implementation of the framework through 2011 at SNS has provided insight into one approach to quality management where spaces for quality conversations and actions have widened and are supported by an evidence-based framework. This showcase will explore quality in higher education, present the framework, demonstrate the approach and thereby be of interest to a wide higher education audience.


Applying for a HERDSA Fellowship: Taking your higher education to the edge

Kogi Naidoo, Robert Kennelly, Janet Taylor

The Fellowship Scheme recognises high quality educational practice in which HERDSA members can join with colleagues in a supported and structured professional recognition and learning experience.

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. Others recognise that the process of taking time out from their hectic schedule to reflect on their educational practices or to develop their leadership roles will allow them an opportunity to move forward in their personal and professional development.

The process of applying for a Fellowship is a personal journey; it is different for everyone. This interactive 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, clarify issues and hear from other fellows who have made the journey. It also provides an opportunity to learn how a HERDSA Fellowship differs from other Fellowship schemes.

Come and meet members of the HERDSA Fellowship Committee and other Fellows. Participants attending the session will have the opportunity to have their $50 Fellowships registration fees waived.


Guiding student personal and professional development: The veterinary mentor program

Blaise Webster, Gary Hamlin, Lee Fitzpatrick, Darryl Krook

Animal and human health care professionals increasingly require high levels of proficiency in non-technical competencies such as communication, teamwork, conflict resolution and reflection.  In 2006 James Cook University established a 5 year integrated undergraduate Veterinary Science degree structured around 5 themes. One of the themes, the Professional Life theme, focuses on the development of non-technical competencies. A central element of the theme is a facilitated small group program (The Veterinary Mentor Program) that supports development of non-technical competencies.  This showcase presentation will describe the Veterinary Mentor Program and discuss the evidence presented indicating that  the program provides clear objectives, effective training and support for mentors and  effective alignment of learning and assessment with the development of non-technical competencies.


A multi-disciplinary study of the benefits students gain from engaging research experiences

Kirsten Zimbardi, Paula Myatt

Undergraduate research has been associated with high levels of student engagement, academic success (Kuh, 2008), and a large range of professional and personal benefits (Hunter, Laursen, & Seymour, 2006; Lopatto, 2009). However, many previous studies have focussed on a limited definition for undergraduate research across a limited range of disciplinary contexts. In this showcase, we examine the student benefits across a range of models of undergraduate research in a large number of diverse disciplines (Farrand-Zimbardi, van der Burg, & Myatt, 2010). Sixty-eight academics were interviewed to obtain detailed information on the undergraduate research programs they coordinated. All comments relating to student benefits were identified in the interview transcripts, and categorised in relation to eight themes of benefits developed by Hunter and colleagues (2006). There were clear differences in the frequency with which certain benefits were reported in our broad study, compared with previous reports focussing on narrower examples of undergraduate research. The most frequently reported benefits related to the development of students’ skills, particularly communication skills. The second most frequently reported benefit related to the experience of thinking and working like a researcher or professional in each of the different discipline areas, for example applying research skills to solve complex industry-relevant problems. Benefits related to enhancing students’ career preparation were also frequently reported, most notably students using the outcomes of their research projects to gain employment. By investigating undergraduate research experiences across a diverse range of disciplinary and curricular contexts, we have highlighted adaptations to the traditional model of undergraduate research which specifically benefit students who plan to pursue careers outside academic research.



*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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