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Feature Story

Students as Partners at UNSW Symposium
Symposium follow up
 
The Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) would like to thank staff and students who came together to explore the thought provoking area of ’Students as Partners” on April 7th.  Many commented on how exciting and engaging the approach of “Students as Partners’ is for UNSW, with 93% of those who completed the survey saying they left with ideas for how they might build partnerships in their own contexts. A particular thanks to those who shared their ideas and practices -  we received very positive feedback on how motivating it was to hear how others from within UNSW were approaching this area as well as through reading the case studies from other institutions. 
 
Students as Partners is a way of thinking that involves students as collaborators in aspects of teaching and learning including curriculum and assessment change and subject based inquiry, where students share responsibility for bringing about change with university staff. As Mick Healey (2014) says “Partnership is essentially a process of engagement, not a product. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome in itself”.
 

The presentation slides from the day are now available from the Symposium webpage. We encourage all those who attended as well as those who were unable to come to continue to explore the area. A follow up meeting will take place to continue discussions around this theme Thursday 5 May, 2-4pm in Room 1025, Level 10, Library Tower. If you were unable to attend the Symposium and are interested in joining this meeting, please contact ltevents@unsw.edu.au for further details.
 
UNSW staff and students are invited to join the Australian Students as Partners Network here and attendees who have not had the chance to complete the Symposium evaluation are invited to do so here.

Events

Upcoming Connections in Learning and Teaching Seminars

Exploring the potential of a transdisciplinary information information system on sustainability
Presented by Dr. Eilean Watson, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
When: Wednesday, 20 April  | 12:00 - 1:00 pm 
Where: Room 208, Library


In the book “Tackling wicked problems through the transdisciplinary imagination” Dovers (2010) alerts us to the need to make explicit the disciplines, knowledge systems and institutional systems involved in tackling wicked sustainability problems. He notes the need to enhance our collective learning by connecting the many disparate inquiries and experiments in the sustainability field. This potential project proposes to address these issues by developing an innovative online database-driven information system that can support transdisciplinary learning, teaching and research. 


Beyond the lecture? - virtual seminar
Presented by Melanie Hibbert, Associate Director of Instructional Media, Barnard College, Columbia University
When: Thursday, 28 April  | 10:00 - 11:00 am
Where: Room 1025, Level 10, Library (back entrance)


In this Virtual Connections Seminar, Melanie will cover topics such as producing media on various budgets; using analytics to reflect on media use; recommended tools and "best practices”.The virtual seminar will be offered in a variety of ways to allow for flexible participation. Participants will be able to attend face to face, in locations across campus or by watching the live presentation on Youtube at: 
http://bit.ly/1Maew3y

Reframing Assessment: This time it's personal  - virtual seminar
Presenters: A/Prof Abby Cathcart, Principal Fellow of the HEA (Queensland University of Technology, Australia) and Dr Darrall Thompson, Learning Futures Fellow (University of Technology Sydney, Australia).  A joint session with the Higher Education Academy

There have been many major projects, initiatives and frameworks developed to enhance assessment practice at institutional, national and international levels. However, we need a deeper conversation about the significant barriers to implementation. Compliance pressures in both research and teaching can tend to cause a surface approach in even the most dedicated academics. It is proposed in this webinar to both present and engage with these challenges with a focus on transforming assessment. The concept that assessment methods have a significant backwash effect is clear when we see that the predominance of high stakes exam-based assessment throughout school years of study encourages both parents and children to focus on marks and grades as the only determiner of value and progress. The single mark given conflates the reasons for differentiation between students’ performances and obscures the diversity of orientation that may inform future study and employment. The culture of the single mark or grade needs to change and this webinar proposes that a focus on assessment is the way to begin this transformation.  Sessions are hosted by Professor Geoffrey Crisp, PVC Education, UNSW Australia and Dr Mathew Hillier, Office of the Vice-Provost Learning and Teaching, Monash University, Australia.  Register via:
 http://ta.vu/4may2016


Improving the quality of teaching in the workplace
Presented by Dr Joel Rhee, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and Dr Kirsten Challinor, School of Optometry and Vision Science
When: Monday, 9 May  | 1:00 - 2:00 pm 
Where: Room 208,  Library 


BLAST (Blended Learning Approach to Supervisor Training) is a project with the goal of improving student learning within the professional placement setting through improved quality of clinical supervisor training. As part of the project we developed a range of blended learning resources for use in training of health professionals that provide workplace supervision of UNSW students. This was informed by a scholarly approach, which included a review of the literature and pilots where the various modules were deployed and evaluated on a group of clinical supervisors. We will present and discuss important lessons that we learnt through this process. There is potential for adaptation and widespread implementation of these modules for use in a wide variety of health professionals disciplines and care settings.

Why gamified learning and using games to teach are not the same thing
Presented by Dr Michael Kasumovic, BEES
When: Wednesday, 11 May  | 1:00 - 2:00 pm 
Where: Room 208,  Library


Most mobile games are a bit of a paradox: They attempt to hoard your time in hopes that you will spend money to progress through the game more quickly, so you can ultimately save time. This is the same feeling one gets when playing most 'educational' games as they focus on external rewards (e.g., points, badges) to teach a concept, rather than harnessing the fun inherent in learning a new topic. In this seminar, Mike will demonstrate some examples of how he's trying to improve educational games by allowing students to have fun by exploring concepts through hypothesis testing, thereby focusing on internal motivation. He'll also discuss how there is no magic bullet in game design and how every concept needs to be taught differently within a game, just like when teaching concepts in class.

A Great Debate: Of course you can measure good teaching! (It's a 5.3)
When: Thursday, 26 May  | 1:00 - 2:00 pm 
Where: The Galleries, John Niland Scienta Building (G19)


So, can we measure excellent teaching? Or is focusing on measurement missing the point?
We hope that this will be a stimulating, controversial and, above all, fun debate for the whole university community.
 
For the affirmative - Prof Merlin Crossley, DVC(Education) and team
For the negative - Prof Eileen Baldry (Professor of Criminology and Academic Chair, UNSW Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Board) and team

Our recently released 2025 Strategy declares UNSW as an institution that is both teaching intensive and research intensive, achieving excellence in both these arenas. The concept of ‘excellence’ in teaching has been both critiqued and explored in recent years (HEA
2014, 2015), but there is growing movement towards evaluating and accrediting university teaching.  Evidencing our performance in teaching and learning will be an important dimension of demonstrating the Scientia Educational Experience, but there is debate about the worth of student evaluations, and a danger that focusing on ‘metrics’ could devalue aspects of great teaching and learning that are difficult to quantify.
 

For more information regarding any of these events and to register, please visit the Connections webage.

Upcoming Network Meetings


UNFED at Art and Design
Network Meeting, presenters include Dr. Arianne Rourke and Peter Sharp
When: Friday, 22 April  | 2:30 - 4:00 pm 
Where:
Elwyn Lynn Conference Centre, Corner of Oxford Street and Greens Road


TELT Administrator's Meeting
Network Meeting
When: Thursday, 28 April  | 12:00 - 1:00 pm 
Where: Room 1025, Level 10,  Library (back entrance)


Podcasts and Event resources

Podcast of Innovation Within 2: MOOCS Innovating Education and Engagement at UNSW
Panel includes: Dr. Martin Bliemel and Dr. Jenny Buchan, UNSW Business and Dean Utian, Built Environment

Innovation Within
 is a series of lunch-time talks exploring innovative practices within UNSW that facilitate Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UNSW for Students, Faculty and other stakeholders.
Talk 2 Tuesday April 12, 1 - 2 pm Michael Crouch Innovation Centre


Watch this discussion now

Petition for the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT)

The Office for Learning and Teaching  (OLT) is due to close mid year and as government have not communicated any plans to establish a successor there is now considerable concern that this institute will not be funded. 
 
A
petition has been started to allow the university community to raise our concerns. Angela Carbone, Director of Educational Excellence at Monash U who initiated the petition says “The OLT has promoted Australia’s cutting edge higher education internationally. It has also been instrumental in initiating, developing and sharing innovations in learning and teaching that have had a profound impact on our students.” She calls on the government to act on the recommendation in Ross Milbourne’s review of the OLT and create a successor organisation.
 
We urge you to add your name to this important issue and to distribute it as widely as you can.

The Learning Pilot active learning spaces (PALS) initiative

The Learning Environments team invites you to be part of the pilot active learning spaces (PALS) project. The PALS initiative enables teaching staff and students to trial new CATS spaces that support active learning and are equipped with configurable furniture, multiple whiteboards and screen switching.  By volunteering to teach in these spaces, you and your students will have an opportunity to trial the room's design, provide feedback and be part of future learning space design and development at UNSW. There are three spaces available for timetabled classes– two with 42 capacity and one with 70 capacity – and all three are serviced with high-level technical and professional support. 
 
The PALS initiative leverages other similar projects, including ‘The PLACE’ at the UNSW Business School. If there is demand, we will aim to make additional spaces available for whole semester or casual bookings. Eighteen academic staff and their classes are participating in the PALS pilot this semester, and are already providing extremely positive feedback. 
  
For more information please visit the PALS website: https://www.learningenvironments.unsw.edu.au/content/PALS
 
Staff are invited to:
 
•   Register their interest in using these spaces for teaching in Semester 2 2016 (or beyond)
•   Attend an information session – 1-2pm, Wednesday, 27 April 2016, Mathews 227 – to find out what is on offer and how to become involved. RSVP to Courtenay Atwell, Project Officer in Learning Environments (c.atwell@unsw.edu.au, 0403 553 836)
The PALS initiative leverages other similar projects, including ‘The PLACE’ at the UNSW Business School. If there is demand, we will aim to make additional spaces available for whole semester or casual bookings. Eighteen academic staff and their classes are participating in the PALS pilot this semester, and are already providing extremely positive feedback. 
  
For more information please visit the PALS website: https://www.learningenvironments.unsw.edu.au/content/PALS
 
Staff are invited to:
 
•   Register their interest in using these spaces for teaching in Semester 2 2016 (or beyond)
•   Attend an information session – 1-2pm, Wednesday, 27 April 2016, Mathews 227 – to find out what is on offer and how to become involved. RSVP to Courtenay Atwell, Project Officer in Learning Environments (c.atwell@unsw.edu.au, 0403 553 836)