Teaching and Learning Forum 2008 [ Home Page ] [ Contents - All presentations ]

Preparing for the graduate of 2015

All abstracts

Presentations are listed in alpha order by first author
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Assessing tutorial participation and participation in assessing tutorials: A teaching intern's experience

Gillian Abel
School of Social and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: abelg01@student.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice. Full text on website]

This paper combines a discussion of the assessment of class participation in tutorials with some comment on my own experiences as a teaching intern. Utilising interviews with discipline based academic staff I sought to gain an appreciation of the basis on which participation marks were allocated. This was done in light of charges that participation marks are overly subjective, a concern I had in relation to my own marking, and also that they are used as a 'fudge factor' or discretionary mark. In the process of this investigation I became aware of a noteworthy perception that academic developers and discipline based academics are at crossed purposes. This disjuncture appears to emerge from the perception that academic development is based upon a deficit model and also that much of its advice is unworkable in a context where casualisation of teaching and increased bureaucratisation are having a negative impact. While I empathise with the latter I can see areas where critical engagement with academic developers can be productive and beneficial for both discipline based academics and, of course, students. Although this paper is largely a reflection on my own limited professional practice it raises some important issues regarding the dissemination of research by academic developers and its acceptance by discipline based academics.

(Re)assessing student assessments: A snapshot of collaborative and creative learning

Angela Barns, Christopher Munro, Claire Hickey, Dionne Fernandez, Ashleigh Warner and Daniel Ventris
Curtin University of Technology
Email: A.Barns@curtin.edu.au

Although outcomes-based education is gaining in popularity and use, its effectiveness is mediated by students' and educators' engagement with and ownership of, assessment practices. Drawing on their recent experiences of responding to a third year social work assessment, the presenters (student and educator team) identify three themes which they consider to be crucial in the production of meaningful and responsive assessments; working the boundaries of conventional assessments; (re)assessing groupwork; and capturing learning. Each of the themes is accompanied by interactive activities providing participants with hands-on experience of the issues.

With 'reducing constraints' and 'encouraging creativity' as key framings, the presenters describe their experiences of 'working outside' conventional methods of assessment. After collectively choosing a social issue, the tutorial group collaboratively decided upon the creation of a montage of photos, written text and music, as their preferred way of responding to the broad assessment topic of "working with vulnerable populations".

The collaborative experience identified above relied on the practice of tutorial-based groupwork. Whilst a favourite within classroom teaching, many students, and educators, experience the process as not only unhelpful but limiting in its facilitation of learning. The presenters identify the importance of transparent and accountable practice in mediating the production and exercise of power in relation to groupwork, particularly in relation to issues of participation and exclusion.

Despite postmodern and interdisciplinary approaches to assessment, many students in social work and the social sciences are confronted with traditional assessments. The students' use of photography, music and written text challenged such conventions, providing a new landscape for engaging their own learning, and teaching their peers (and tutor!). The 'success' of the project is diverse but is highlighted through the sense of connection and ownership of the work. The session concludes with a list of ideas and resources prepared by the presenters, which may be useful for educators and students in producing mutually beneficial teaching and learning spaces.
Keywords: assessments; creativity; collaborative

What are the communication and information technology skills of students commencing first year courses in health?

Katherine Bathgate and Kay Sauer
School of Public Health
Curtin University of Technology
Email: k.bathgate@curtin.edu.au

Two of the graduate attributes of Curtin University of Technology are that students can communicate effectively and access, evaluate and synthesise information relevant to their course of study. To enable students enrolled in the Faculty of Health Sciences to meet these attributes first year students enrolled in Public Health, Biomedical Science, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy and Psychology study Health Science Communication 180. This unit, through weekly tutorials teaches students the communication (oral and written) and computing skills they need to be successful students and effective health professionals. The aim of this research is to discover the current communication and information technology skills of first year students commencing courses in health in order to prepare for the needs of future students. The information will be used to improve the learning outcomes and activities in the unit as well as provide a snapshot of students entering health courses at Curtin University of Technology. In March 2007, 714 internal and external students enrolled in Health Science Communication 180 (72% of cohort) were surveyed as to their current communication and information technology skills. The survey instrument was the same as was used to survey similar cohorts in 2000 and 2001 as part of a LEAP grant, with additional questions about the use of current technology. The results of this research will be compared to the results from 2000 and 2001 to demonstrate how first year student skills and needs have evolved over this time. This presentation will highlight the major findings of this research and implications for the learning outcomes and teaching strategies of Health Science Communication 180 and similar first year units.

A case study in student retention

Susan Beltman
Department of Education
Curtin University of Technology
Email: S.Beltman@curtin.edu.au

Attracting and retaining teacher education students is a concern internationally, nationally and locally. In Australia teaching is sometimes seen as a less desirable alternative to readily available, better paid jobs in the current thriving economy. Other retention research points to the importance of local programs and practices, or of the need to consider background characteristics of individual students. In this paper a sociocultural perspective is taken where individual students are seen to be situated within multiple contexts. A case study is presented of one university's teacher education program where the students are asked why they came and why they stayed.

Students in their first (n = 198) and final (n = 59) years of early childhood, primary and secondary programs completed a questionnaire in regular classes and were asked closed and open-ended questions relating to factors indicated by research to affect students retention at university (e.g. number of hours of work, family responsibilities, self-efficacy). Data analysis includes first years' semester weighted grade averages (n =124).

Findings reveal a diverse student group in terms of age and ethnicity. Enjoyment and confidence vary across programs, with confidence in success accounting for a unique proportion of the variance in semester weighted average. One interesting finding was that grades correlate negatively with hours of paid work but positively with the number of hours spent in family responsibilities. Discussion centres around questions such as what is meant by the term "retention" and how relevant a particular case study might be for the individual program, the institution and tertiary education programs in other contexts.
Keywords: retention, teaching, sociocultural

Understanding the changing face of employment

Dawn Bennett
Faculty of Media, Society and Culture
Curtin University of Technology
Email: d.bennett@curtin.edu.au

The call to produce vocationally aware, work-ready graduates is gaining intensity within the university sector. Alongside this, however, is the apparent assumption that the world of work is correctly understood. In many industries and, consequently, for many graduates, this is simply not the case. In broad terms, the focus in the general workforce is shifting from ongoing employment towards ongoing employability. Barriers to understanding the changing face of work include national data collection exercises and graduate destination data which measure employment in terms of single, full-time jobs: a model of employment that represents less and less of the general workforce. The fluidity of employment and increasing casualisation experienced by the creative workforce exemplifies emerging employment trends in many other occupations. Around the world, the creative workforce engages in protean careers which necessitate the continual development of new opportunities and the attainment of the corresponding skills required to meet each new challenge. Protean careerists consider their success in terms of personal career satisfaction rather than a pre-ordained hierarchy. To meet the demands of work within the 'new careerist model' of protean careers which require 'do-it-yourself' career management, graduates need a diverse range of skills and knowledge as well as the confidence to market their skills talents. This paper unravels the realities of the protean career and reveals the world of work awaiting increasing numbers of graduates.
Keywords: graduate attributes, employment, employability

Defining global skills is an important step towards the preparation of future science graduates

Conny Bertram
School of Paediatrics and Child Health
The University of Western Australia
Email: connyb@ichr.uwa.edu.au

The increasing communication technology and the resulting irrelevance of distance have promoted globalisation in economy, research and education. The noticeable impact of globalisation on employability in science research raises the need to investigate the relationship between globalisation in science, employability and science teaching. In this study the six dimensions of employability: content knowledge, practical skills, information management, critical thinking, interpersonal skills and cultural understanding are illustrated and simplified into single parameters. Researchers from two different universities (UWA -Perth and TU -Berlin) were interviewed and the results were used to focus on dimensions with high global relevance. The survey verified the importance of current learning outcomes including content knowledge, practical and communication skills, but also highlighted a trend for more global skills such as information retrieval and additional languages. The latter two parameters indicate increasing importance of the new dimensions "information management" and "cultural understanding" for employability of future graduates.

Increasing globalisation and the expressed need for international collaborations, demands science teaching outcomes to remains dynamic and adaptable to new required skill sets. The study points out the need to further investigate employability parameters and identify global skill sets that enhance occupational expertise with global expertise. Several starting points for discussions about strategies to explore global employability parameter are suggested and combined with ideas of how to implement strategies for developing global skills in science teaching. Ongoing reflection on teaching comparability, connectivity and outcomes on a global scale is required to ensure preparation of competitive future graduates.

Student engagement in learning and teaching

Daniel Boase-Jelinek
Centre for Learning and Teaching
Edith Cowan University
Email: d.boase_jelinek@ecu.edu.au

How shall we engage the students of 2015 in learning and teaching? In this exploration of student engagement a model is proposed to help answer this question. The model is based on the idea that students are engaged when their emotional, behavioural and cognitive processes are all activated to achieve a learning outcome. Engagement is diminished when any one or more of these elements is missing; students not emotionally engaged are probably bored, students not behaviourally engaged are passive, and students not cognitively engaged are simply memorising facts. When all three elements are activated then we can be confident that students are engaged in learning. Developmental issues must also be considered in the learning and teaching context. In young children, engagement is driven by curiosity about their world. Children appear to lose much of their curiosity during the early school years and engagement is driven by external forces (the teacher, family, peers), and not all of these forces are acting in the same direction. The aim is to develop students (our graduates of 2015) who are self-engaging; who have reached the point where engagement in learning brings its own rewards. Technology can foster engagement by enabling emotional, behavioural, and cognitive processes. Technology can also disable these processes; much of our online material is intrinsically boring, passive, and not challenging cognitively. Furthermore, online delivery of learning separates students and teachers, and can be an isolating experience for all involved. It therefore does little to engage students. But some people are doing exciting things with technology and there is much to learn from their explorations.
Keywords: engagement, technology, practice

Highly rated university tutors (as depicted by student evaluations) and self-directed learning

Sonja Bogunovich
School of Business
University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: sbogunovich@nd.edu.au

Student evaluations can be seen as a method utilised by universities across Australia and worldwide to determine the teaching performance of their academic staff. Such evaluations utilise a number of criteria against which students then allocate a numerical mark in order to rate their tutor. Essentially, the higher the numerical rating, the better the teaching performance is deemed to be. The aim of this paper is to outline research findings that demonstrate a link between highly rated tutors (as determined by student evaluations) and the use of self-directed learning strategies.

A survey of tutors from across a range of disciplines, who tutor at first and second year undergraduate level, was carried out. The survey took the form of a self-assessment survey and was provided to tutors who achieved an above average rating on their teaching evaluations within one university. Tutors were asked to identify classroom practices and philosophies that were integral, or otherwise to their everyday teaching practice. These practices and philosophies as outlined in the survey were derived from a literature review undertaken in terms of practices and strategies that underpin the promotion of self-directed learning. The survey results were then collated in the form of quantitative data in order to demonstrate a relationship between highly rated tutors and the use of self-directed learning strategies. Participants, who achieved an above mean use of self-directed learning strategies, were then asked to participate in an interview. Due to a number of time restraints, only tutors who demonstrated an above mean use of such strategies, as revealed through the self-assessment survey, were contacted for interview. Information collected from the interviews was collated in the form of a list of the actual strategies being used by these tutors and is outlined in the following pages.

A model formative assessment strategy to promote student centred self regulated learning in higher education

Jayakumar Bose
School of Earth and Geographical Sciences
The University of Western Australia
Email: jai.mso@gmail.com

Learning is now conceptualised as an active process by which students construct their own knowledge and skills. As adult learners are already involved in the process of self-regulation, higher education institutions should focus on strengthening student-centered self-regulated learning. Self-regulation can be facilitated through formative assessment. Along these lines, this paper proposes a model strategy of formative assessment that complements existing university teaching, and can be used in higher education to promote student-centred self-regulated learning with minimal effort and time input from teachers. Based on this model, a real-world teaching environment example on writing an essay as a challenge task has also been developed. This model strategy incorporates Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick's seven principles of good feedback practice that promotes self-regulation.
Key words: Formative assessment, feedback, self-regulated learning, essay writing

Curriculum change: Equipping the economics graduates of 2015

Murray Brennan
School of Business
Murdoch University
Email: m.brennan@murdoch.edu.au

This presentation raises the issue of whether the standard neoclassical undergraduate economics curriculum needs to be altered to adequately prepare future graduates for the changing global business environment. Two aspects will be addressed: the emergence of climate change as a significant influence on business activity; and the emergence of China as the dominant player in the international economy.
Keywords: curriculum change, graduate attributes, skills

A role for integrative studies as a foundation component of Australian university courses

Neville W. Bruce and Brilliana von Katterfeld
Centre for Integrative Human Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: neville.bruce@uwa.edu.au

The aims and structures of undergraduate university curricula are being examined and debated extensively both nationally and internationally. Much of the debate focuses on the relative merits and balance of general versus discipline or vocationally based material within university curricula. Here we compare the Australian tertiary educational experience with that of leading international universities in terms of emphasis on general studies. We conclude that Australian universities have lost much of the general educational values that form the essential foundation of an education able to equip students for their futures as citizens of the world. We suggest that one practical way of addressing this problem is to introduce integrative studies as a foundation component common to all university courses. Integrative studies is increasingly recognised as a significant pedagogical approach in its own right and one that has the merit of both broadening students experience of subject material and enabling them to meaningfully integrate material across disciplines to tackle the complex multifactorial problems increasingly evident in both individual careers and society.

The real world! How Curtin prepares Health Promotion students for the workforce

Sharyn Burns, Sue Dimitrijevich and Lisa Cooper
School of Public Health
Curtin University of Technology
Email: s.burns@curtin.edu.au

In today's competitive marketplace graduates need to be able to demonstrate the application of skills, not just the acquisition of knowledge. Health Promotion students at Curtin University are provided with the opportunity to achieve many practical skills in all units which enable them to achieve the core Health Promotion Competencies required by graduates and practitioners. To reinforce their theoretical learning undergraduate students must complete three professional practice units each of which aims to develop and enhance skills needed to be successful in the workforce. This session will describe the skills students develop in planning, implementing and evaluating a health promotion campaign on campus, the facilitation of research seminars, the process of applying for a health promotion position, and practical experiences gained in Australia and overseas. Students are provided a unique opportunity to gain invaluable experience working with health organisations in international settings in either developing or developed countries. These sequential units have been well received by students. Feedback from industry suggests Curtin students are highly competitive in the job application process and very competent graduates.
Keywords: professional practice, overseas placements, job applications, campaign

What students want: A ten minute guide to more relevant feedback

Sandra Carr, Penny Bovell, Leitha Delves, Sue Miller, Nancy Longnecker, Natalie Skead, Yolanta Szymakowski, Eileen Thompson, Lee Partridge & Angela Yinnakis
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Western Australia
Email: lee.partridge@uwa.edu.au

The value of constructive feedback in supporting and enhancing student learning is indisputable. Teachers know it, students know it, and yet it often remains an aspect of the student learning experience that is unsatisfactory. This presentation details the early stages of a campus-wide project designed to improve the provision of quality feedback to students. In a series of focus groups, students across the university discussed their experiences relating to the feedback they received during their university studies. While there were some generic characteristics of effective feedback identified by students, what emerged was an awareness that there were discipline-specific needs which students prioritised differently depending on the faculty in which they were studying. The preliminary results from this project offer a number of easy suggestions that will help teachers deliver more meaningful and effective feedback to their students.
Keywords: assessment, formative feedback

(50 minute workshop)
Enthuse 'em or lose 'em: Change your students from passive listeners to active learners

Lisa Cooper, Sharyn Burns, Sue Dimitrijevich & Melissa Mairata
School of Public Health
Curtin University of Technology
Email: l.cooper@curtin.edu.au

Engaging students can sometimes be a challenge for even the most passionate lecturer. Teaching today is about providing a reflective classroom that will enable the students to engage continuously in purposeful thinking in the pursuit of meaningful learning. In an effort to move away from didactic delivery, the Department of Health Promotion, Curtin University has implemented a variety of interactive learning activities combined with PowerPoint presentations which has enhanced critical thinking; enquiry based learning and enriched student discussion. This workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to experience a range of innovative and interactive strategies guaranteed to motivate even the most reluctant learner. Participants will experience a smorgasbord of activities focusing on attitudes, values and skills development. While workshop facilitators are based in the School of Public Health, these strategies are appropriate for cross-faculty implementation. Activities include but are not limited to values continuum, mind mapping, placemat, graffiti walk, and the use of media.

Understanding HIV: What tertiary media educators need to know

Trevor Cullen
School of Journalism
Edith Cowan University
Email: t.cullen@ecu.edu.au

The title of this abstract needs a definite response because many of our international media students come from countries that have, or will experience, a serious HIV epidemic. Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director of the United Nations AIDS Programme, stated on World AIDS Day (1 December 2006) that 42 million people were already infected with HIV and that this number could double by 2020. The pandemic is still in its infancy and Asia, with more than 60 per cent of the world's population, is destined to become the new epicentre. The seriousness of the situation is evident when you consider India's population: a one per cent increase in HIV infections will translate into 6 million new HIV cases. A similar scenario could develop in China - a country with the largest population in Asia. As vast parts of southern Africa have shown, the HIV epidemic, if allowed to spread unchecked, will ultimately cripple a country's workforce and devastate social, political and economic life.

Research on the role of the media in regards to the HIV epidemic highlights the need for accurate information that encourages debate and lessens fear and stigma. These last two factors act as a major barrier for openness and debate.

This talk examines the findings of four studies that tracked media coverage of the disease in the United States, Southern Africa and the Pacific region from the 1980s. A more recent survey on Asia, conducted by the international Federation of journalists (IFJ), is also examined. The studies report past mistakes and present recommendations for future coverage. These findings will inform tertiary media educators who have a responsibility to instruct their local and international students about the disease and how to report, as effectively as they can, on the emerging HIV epidemic in their respective countries.
Keywords: Education, media, HIV

(50 minute panel discussion)
Future leaders in learning and teaching: Experiences of non-positional leaders in a Carrick Project

Rick Cummings
Teaching and Learning Centre, Murdoch University
Renato Schibeci
School of Education, Murdoch University
Susan Roberts
Teaching and Learning Centre, Murdoch University
Email: r.cummings@murdoch.edu.au

Murdoch University was awarded a two year leadership grant by the Carrick Institute in July 2006 to establish 9 sub-projects in developing curriculum leaders among staff who do not hold a formal leadership position at the university. The sub-project leaders (known as Curriculum Improvement Leaders) were provided with formal development in a range of leadership areas and funded for a day a week over the two years to generate an improvement project within each of their schools. The sub-projects are varied in terms of focus, process and outcomes, and are at different stages of completion. The overall project has identified a number of issues related to non-positional leadership, institutional sustainability and organisational change. The presentation will be a panel comprising the project leaders giving an overview of the entire project including its aims, structure and outcomes, and the Curriculum Improvement Leaders each providing a brief overview of their sub-project with particular emphasis on leadership development and outcomes.

Innovative youth health expo and community engagement

Gabrielle Davie
School of Nursing
Murdoch University
Email: G.Davie@murdoch.edu.au

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand (Chinese Proverb).
A strong indicator of a healthy community is accessibility to core services including health and education" (McMurray, 2003). In 2006 I developed a third year undergraduate nursing unit Family & Community Health Care. The unit covers primary health care, social determinants of health, health education and promotion within a community as part of a Bachelor of Nursing degree at School of Nursing, Murdoch University, Western Australia. The university campus is situated in Mandurah on the Peel Education Campus and includes a Senior Secondary School, and Technical and Further Education facility. This School of Nursing commenced in 2003, and presented a unique opportunity to establish an innovative nursing curriculum and teaching methodologies appropriate for nursing professionals in the 21st century. Murdoch University is committed to playing a pivotal role in the engagement of youth in this region. Developing this unit enabled me to create a reciprocal learning environment in our co-located education campus to assist in achieving this objective. A Youth Health Expo was prepared and presented by our 3rd year undergraduate nursing students and attended by the local youth in both 2006 and 2007. The Expo exhibits included sexual health, drug awareness, nutrition, the role of exercise in health and adolescent drinking and driving. The Health Expo exposed the nursing students in their future professional role as patient educators within community health as well as enhanced there youth -friendly interpersonal skills. This innovative Health Expo at Murdoch University School of Nursing addresses the issue of community engagement and offers a reciprocal exchange of knowledge.
Keywords: health education, reciprocal learning, community engagement.

Writing from source : Avoiding the P word

Jeanne Dawson, Grace Conti-Bekkers, David Packer & John Fielder
Student Learning Support Centre
Curtin University of Technology
Email: j.s.dawson@curtin.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.]

Many students who technically plagiarise do so for reasons other than a premeditated desire to cheat. While a rigorous 'detect and punish' approach may effectively deter some plagiarism and enhance a university's reputation for high ethical standards, it does not address the underlying unresolved learning issues of which plagiarism is often a symptom. This paper describes a series of learning support interventions that address some of these unresolved issues. The objective of these interventions is to develop students' capacity to write in a scholarly voice that is informed by the literature in their discipline but that remains distinctly their own. In doing this, the interventions are also designed to facilitate, through experiential learning, students' engagement with academic discourse as empowered subjects. To address plagiarism ethically and equitably through future demographic and general change, universities will need to invest heavily in authentically educative strategies rather than policing strategies.

The arts skills summary: Building employability awareness in Arts students

Leitha Delves
Student Projects Manager
The University of Western Australia
Email: Leitha.Delves@uwa.edu.au

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of WA is keenly aware of the perception some students hold that an Arts degree does not equip them with transferable workplace skills - a perception which does not marry well with the enthusiasm with which employers seek Arts graduates specifically for the valuable range of generic skills they do typically possess. It is within this context that the Student Employment Readiness Project (SERP) was formed within the Faculty, which aims to raise the profile of employability issues in Arts students and staff.

The first stage of the SERP project has involved the creation of the Arts Skills Summary online application - a resource which sits within the Faculty's website and is available for use by all Arts students. The application consists of an exercise in which the user is guided through identifying and describing assessment tasks and activities from their studies which serve as exemplars of the attainment of certain generic skills. In describing these exemplars the user is given instruction on how to frame their answers in the form of statements addressing selection criteria.

As with any innovation which is designed to meet certain purposes, the application needed to be evaluated in order to confirm that it works the way it should, and that it serves the purpose for which it was intended. The evaluation took the form of a survey which was administered firstly to students who had fully completed the Arts Skills Summary exercise using the online application, and then subsequently to students who explored the application, but did not necessarily complete the exercise. The results of the evaluation were very strong in confirming the usefulness of this resource to Arts students, as well as the students' enthusiasm for such a resource.
Keywords: employability, generic skills, innovation

The living memories project: Real life clients, real life rewards

Leitha Delves
Student Projects Manager
The University of Western Australia
Email: Leitha.Delves@uwa.edu.au

The Living Memories Project is a collaboration between the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of WA, and the Disability Services Commission (DSC), where student groups work with the DSC to produce videos for people in group homes with intellectual disabilities. The project was set up in 2006 and based on its initial popularity with students was run again in 2007. The success of the project lies primarily with its array of mutual benefits for both organisations, and both sets of participants.

The project holds a number of distinct objectives from the point of view of the DSC.

From the point of view of the student, the project seeks to provide digital media students with an opportunity to extend their digital media production skills in the context of a working relationship with an actual client.

The Living Memories Project is in the preliminary stages of evaluation, and initial feedback from project participants has shown some surprising trends. In particular, they reported being drawn by the potential for personal rewards and producing work with a purpose, rather than the intended professional/experiential benefits.
Keywords: experiential learning, disabilities, community engagement

Innovative technology engaging first year students in independent and collaborative learning in foundation units

Alma Dender
School of Occupational Therapy
Curtin University of Technology
Email: A.Dender@curtin.edu.au

The goal of the approach is to provide first-year students with user-friendly learning experiences which reflect their focus on being able to access learning materials electronically in a manner that suits their diverse lifestyle needs. Engagement of first-year students in effective learning experiences is critical to encourage their advancement to second year. The use of i-lecture technology integrated with graded investigative and exploratory learning exercises is a significant contributing factor to meeting the needs of Generations X and Y's electronically-aware learners, who seek tangible, relevant, rapidly accessed and sensorily stimulating learning experiences. Why technology? It is well known that it is the preferred medium for communication of today's students. It makes sense to deliver learning experiences via a method which students embrace in all other facets of their lives, therefore improving engagement in learning. The approach to teaching is to deliver complex content by embedding it in a delivery system which students admit "they can't live without". The distinctive approach is the use of pre-recorded i-lectures integrated with a workbook to replace face-to-face lectures, forming the theoretical foundation for the practical, activity based laboratories, where application of theory and consolidation of learning takes place. In this way independence and collaboration in learning is encouraged.
Keywords: i-lecture technology, interactive, first-year students

Re-drafting the major first year written assignments: What do lecturers and students think?

Katalin Dobos
Communication Skills Coordinator
Curtin University of Technology
Email: k.dobos@curtin.edu.au

Assessment at university is an essential part of the learning process. The associated feedback has many purposes but the most important are to encourage students to learn as well as being an indicator of the quality of learning and teaching. Assessment tasks are the most direct measures of student learning. Research has repeatedly shown that assessment does not merely serve to inform students about their achievements, but is also a condition for the quality of their learning. It is therefore essential that feedback is both immediate and appropriate.

First year tertiary students often find the task of writing a long assignment daunting. Four years ago we introduced re-drafting of the major written assignment into the communication skills units in order to help students acquire the skills to successfully write in an academic context. Re-drafting is used as part of the formative assessment to encourage self-directed student learning strategies and to enhance the quality of students' writing.

This presentation briefly outlines the theoretical background behind redrafting and describes the way re-drafting is used in our various units. I will show some samples of feedback sheets we use and I will also discuss student responses to surveys on the value of re-drafting.
Keywords: assessment, redrafting, formative feedback

Alternative pathway entry to ECU: Mapping teacher education student experiences

Eva Dobozy
School of Education
Edith Cowan University
Email: e.dobozy@ecu.edu.au

The patterns of ideology and organisational culture in higher education institutions are changing. Like all 'living systems', teacher education courses at Edith Cowan University (ECU), are dynamic and adjusting to ideological shifts and changing conditions. Understanding student experiences and achievements is crucial to policy development. Consequently, timely responses to the changing needs and circumstances of an increasingly diverse student population are imperative. This paper aims to explore the achievement, engagement, and retention gains of students who entered different teacher education courses at ECU in 2007 through the portfolio and interview pathway. Specifically, the paper reports on the findings of a preliminary study. The results show that portfolio and interview pathway students are engaged and perform well in comparison to students who entered their teacher education courses through traditional means. The paper concludes that alternative pathway entry deserves serious attention with respect to its potential to attracting greater numbers of students into teacher education courses.

Teaching Aboriginal students: Learning the narrative

Kerrie Alaylee Doyle and Angela Durey
Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health
The University of Western Australia
Email: Kerried@cucrh.uwa.edu.au, AngelaD@cucrh.uwa.edu.au

Narrative is integral to Aboriginal culture. Story-telling has long been an effective way for generations to learn about their culture. Individual interpretations of stories are encouraged and keep teaching and learning alive. Evidence suggests that in mainstream educational settings Aboriginal students feel confident performing a task in front of an audience only after they have mentally rehearsed the behavior or skill required. This can create challenges in health care settings where experiential learning and pseudo-questioning are commonly used to 'teach' health students. Aboriginal students who have survived the secondary education experience, or who have achieved 'mature-age entry' to university, will have internalised survival behaviours such as social agreement or compliance with the dominant cultural norm. However, limited understanding by mainstream educators of cross-cultural learning styles can lead to misunderstanding when dominant expectations of success are not met.
Keywords: Aboriginal; learning styles; narrative

Developing a student retention plan

Jim Elliott
Student Transition and Retention Team Manager
Curtin University of Technology
Email: j.elliott@curtin.edu.au

Student retention is a matter of serious concern to the University. Poor retention impacts upon the University's reputation, and has significant implications for funding. In September 2006, the author was given the task of developing the University's Retention Plan. This paper describes the processes involved in this task, and progress made in the first year of the project. Key aspects to be addressed in this paper include:

Keywords: retention; attrition, planning

Why study German? A survey among students studying German

Sandra Eubel
Women's Studies & German Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: eubels01@student.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

Over the past decade, budget cuts in the education sector have led to less language options offered at High School level. However, there is a strong interest among students entering university to study languages. Although the German Department at the University of Western Australia is a small department, it is nevertheless a thriving and intellectually stimulating place and has repeatedly been recognised for its steadily increasing enrolment numbers over the past 5 years. This leads to questions such as 'Why do students choose to study German?'. This paper will examine current theories in language acquisition motivation research such as the 'Integrative/Instrumental Motivation Theory' (Gardner & Lambert, 1972) and the 'Self-Determination Theory' (Deci et.al. 1991). It will then continue to have a look at what types of motivation can be found among first year students and a group of second and third year students participating in this study. The findings of this study indicate that a variety of factors influence the students' interest in studying German and that there appear to be shifts in the motivational orientation between first and second/third year students. Motivational orientation seems to shift towards the more intrinsically regulated forms of motivation. As the motivational circle continues, this stresses the importance of factors such as 'Competence' and, 'Fun' in the long process of language learning. Lecturers and teachers of German can use this shift to their advantage when they integrate this in their units.

The impact of Lectopia on learning outcomes in second year Pharmacology

Lynette Fernandes, Chris Cruickshank and Moira Maley
The University of Western Australia

The introduction of online lecture recordings via Lectopia in second year Pharmacology was associated with a marked decrease in lecture attendance. The impact of Lectopia on learning outcomes was examined using an online, voluntary student survey that was not anonymous. In total, 91% of students, 58.5% of whom were female, completed this survey. Students were asked whether they usually attended both, one or no lectures per week. A trend was observed such that the more lectures attended, the higher the mark obtained in laboratories, summative assessments and final exam. Students who attended both lectures had significantly higher marks inlabora tories, summative assessments and final exam compared with students who did not attend lectures (p<0.05). The effect seen with laboratory marks suggest that weaker-performing students might be less likely to attend lectures. Students who routinely attended one lecture per week had significantly higher marks in summative assessments and the final exam compared with students who did not attend lectures (p<0.05). Students were also asked how many times per week Lectopia was used instead of attending lectures. Again, the trend observed in these data was such that the number of times Lectopia was used instead of lectures was inversely proportional to marks obtained in laboratories, summative assessments and final exam. Furthermore, students who attended both lectures per week had significantly higher marks in the final exam compared with students who did not attend lectures (p<0.05). That data associated with summative assessments failed to achieve significance may be due to the small number of students reporting that they used Lectopia instead of attending both lectures per week. Importantly, this suggests that attendance at lectures is important for learning outcomes in second year Pharmacology. Furthermore, the use of Lectopia as a replacement for lectures may be inappropriate for science units.
Keywords: Lectopia, outcomes, pharmacology

Complexity of course review: Indicators and measures

Sonia Ferns, Beverley Oliver and Sue Jones
Curtin University of Technology
Email: S.Ferns@curtin.edu.au

With increased pressure from industry and Government, universities are obliged to provide quality teaching and learning experiences for students that encompass engaging learning activities and relevant content. It is essential that courses provide outcomes that meet the needs of all stakeholders while maintaining cost effectiveness.

As a consequence, universities are exploring the process of course review or program performance in an effort to monitor the currency and relevance of the content of a particular course. The intention is to ensure all courses on offer at the university incorporate quality pedagogical practices and content relevant to industry demands. Teaching and learning in a university context is complex and frequently liked to research, Government initiatives and partnership arrangements. Establishing a one size fits all course review model is therefore a challenge.

This presentation explores the relevance of a range of indicators and associated measures which, when considered collectively, will provide an overall picture of a course in terms of quality, relevance and viability. Suggested approaches for rating a course against the selection of indicators will be presented.
Keywords: course review, indicators, measures

ICT support systems for pre-service music teachers: Are they valued?

Anita Fuhrmann and Andrea Stanberg
School of Music
The University of Western Australia
Email: afuhrmann@meddent.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

The first teaching practicum for pre-service music teachers can be daunting and challenging as their skills and identity as teachers are developed in a primary school context. This study was part of an ongoing project, investigating the use of information and communications technology (ICT) resources while pre-service teachers undertook their first practicum. These resources included an unmoderated discussion board and a web-based resources directory. Both resources were made available to the pre-service teachers through WebCT. Content analysis of discussion board postings, survey and focus group discussions were used to investigate the pre-service teachers' perception and use of these resources.

Diversity in reflective practice by human biology students using online test feedback

Georgina Fyfe
School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University of Technology
Jan Meyer and Julie Hill
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Sue Fyfe
School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology
Kathryn Sanders
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Mel Ziman
School Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Edith Cowan University
Nicole Koehler
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Email: G.M.Fyfe @ curtin.edu.au

A study of the responses of first year Human Biology students in three WA universities to automated feedback associated with online formative and summative assessment tasks has yielded interesting insights into how students perceive and use feedback. At the completion of their assessment task students were asked to complete a short on-line survey as a means of reflecting, in light of the feedback they had received, on their assessment performance. The post-test survey instrument included a series of questions with radio button choices plus opportunities to type in comments. Three levels of engagement of the students with the reflection survey were considered; the case where questions were left entirely blank (no engagement), that in which students selected radio buttons but did not type extra comments (moderate engagement), and that where students provided both radio button and typed in responses (high engagement). Levels of engagement were mapped against demographic factors and whether or not students had completed the survey within 48 hours of their online test. While older students, Native English speakers and those with higher test scores were more likely to complete the reflective survey within 48 hours of testing, there was no difference in this respect according to gender. Older students and high achieving students displayed lower levels of engagement with most sections of the reflective survey. Students who waited more than 48 hours before completing the survey had lower test marks, were more likely to be surprised by those marks and less likely to accept them as an accurate reflection of their understanding of the topic. Responses of particular demographic subsets to questions about how the feedback helped them with their learning, perceptions of the reasons for their performance and strategies for improvement are explored in this presentation.

Building physiotherapy communities of practice in clinical education through blogging

Peter Gardner
School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology
Richard K. Ladyshewsky
Graduate School of Business, Curtin University of Technology
Email: P.Gardner@curtin.edu.au

The novice clinician spends a large amount of time in new clinical activities to develop their clinical knowledge base. An important step in the development of their clinical reasoning (CR) is time spent reflecting on clinical experiences in the broader contexts of ethics and evidenced based practice. In the past, the School of Physiotherapy at Curtin University of Technology has assessed this "Key Graduate Attribute" via an end of semester written exam with typically poor outcomes and negative feedback from students. The unit coordinators sought to develop a new model of developing and assessing students' reflective practice. During their final year, students complete a series of four to five week full-time clinical placements in a variety of health-care facilities throughout urban, rural, and international settings. Students at times find these experiences isolating and report that they miss the peer support that they have felt in the preceding years. Given the evidence that the development of CR skills can be supported by peers,it a 'community of practice' strategy was established to support reflection, which was leveraged using technology. The technology of 'blogging' was used to support students' development of CR. A blog, analogous to an online journal, is short for web log and is written by individuals or groups of people on the world wide web. The students were randomly assigned to blogging groups of five, each with an academic moderator. The blog required students to reflect on their clinical experiences and to discuss specific ethical, communication or clinical reasoning experiences. Student feedback was positive and they gained value from reflecting with a community of peers. . Academic moderators were able to give feedback throughout the semester to facilitate the development of reflective skills. A more robust method of reflective practice assessment was achieved.
Keywords: Blogging, Clinical reasoning, Peer Learning

Evaluation of postgraduate nursing student portfolios for assessment of clinical performance development

Fenella Gill
Princess Margaret Hospital and Edith Cowan University
Kerry Southerland
Edith Cowan University and Royal Perth Hospital
Lucia Gillman
Royal Perth Hospital and Edith Cowan University
Email: fenella.gill@health.wa.gov.au

The student portfolio was introduced to guide performance development and clinical practice assessment within postgraduate nursing programs. We sought to evaluate the student portfolio, ascertain whether different levels of clinical performance could be discerned and valued, and to what extent evaluation rigour had been applied to the process. Descriptive mixed quantitative and qualitative methods were used to address the aims. Questionnaires, focus group interviews and independent review of the student portfolios were undertaken. Participants were students undertaking the graduate certificate in clinical nursing in 2007 (n=17), and clinical facilitators / faculty staff (n=7). To date the questionnaires and focus group interviews have been analysed.

The portfolio was viewed as a positive method of assessment, and students reported that the portfolio enabled them to organise evidence of their skills and experiences. The portfolio process identified areas of strengths and weakness, and assisted them in both clinical and professional development. Students perceived that the portfolio workload was high, especially for full time students, contributing to stress. Some students felt that portfolio expectations were not immediately clear to them and others did not agree with the requirement for reflective writing, believing it to be a personal experience. Students did not indicate a preference for grading of the portfolio.

The portfolio identified what was required of the student and provided structure and guidance for learning. Facilitators recognised varying levels of student motivation, insight and expectation of the portfolio process and clinical development. Reflective practice was valued by facilitators to promote student critical thinking. Facilitators perceived both value and difficulties in introducing grading of portfolios. Findings supported the use of portfolios in assessment of clinical performance. To structure learning and provide evidence of performance development, students and their facilitators were required to be both organised and motivated to use the portfolio effectively.
Keywords: Portfolio, Clinical assessment, Nursing

With the wider world in mind: How the 2015 United Nations Millennium Development Goals can deepen teaching and learning

Adrian Glamorgan
Curtin Centre of Excellence for Cleaner Production
Curtin University of Technology
Email: a.glamorgan@curtin.edu.au

Since 2000 the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals have served as a universal framework encouraging action from governments, business and civil society to achieve specific targets for world development by 2015. As educators prepare graduates towards that date, these eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be an opportunity for pedagogical leadership as well as an invitation to excellence in teaching and learning. The first six or seven Goals more or less attend to specific needs of people in developing countries. The seventh Goal for Environmental Sustainability and the eighth Goal for Global Partnership put the onus on more privileged countries and institutions to take initiative. Posing these Millennium Goals in curriculum can enrich teaching and learning, evoke fresh content, new enquiry, perhaps also encourage a personal journey into sustainability and demonstrate corporate responsibility. Some disciplines more readily incorporate MDGs; other disciplines, and teachers and learners with very different life experience, may find they traverse unfamiliar territory. In such cases, rather than being overwhelmed, there is wisdom in introducing MDGs tentatively to already established content, waiting for teachers and learners to develop confidence and insight about the impact of world poverty and affluence on their subject material. Equanimity and self-reflection on this process may tell us as much about the development dynamic as the subject matter itself. Observation and reflection methods assist. We can also seek ways both large and small to connect with teachers and learners from similar learning areas in developing countries, ideally in our own region. Apart from serving the needs of the poor, this method serves the need of the intellect. The Millennium Development Goals thus become a resource for teaching sustainability, encouraging teachers and learners to be curious, dream, plan, learn and act with the wider world in mind.

Transforming professional education: The lost art of service and global citizenship

Trevor Goddard and Kit Sinclair
School of Occupational Therapy
Curtin University of Technology
Email: t.goddard@curtin.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.]

Traditionally the university sector was charged with the public duty of educating professionals to serve the very community investing in them. University service played a vital role in community development throughout the 19th and 20th centuries; however the 21st century higher education sector is a different beast. This paper identifies the current challenges presented to university service by globalisation and rationalism that sees a shift towards a student as customer focus in education and demise in university community engagement. The authors propose service is a vital component of education, and indeed research and leadership, in preparing graduates for global citizenship and reconnecting universities with communities.

The Curtin University China Occupational Therapy abroad program is restructuring curriculum around a service learning model to prepare for graduates of 2015. This paper identifies how the program meets evolving global demands and addresses Morin's complex lessons for education. Global citizenship is critiqued within Bell's model of reflective practice, with the Oxfam global citizenship ladder and the internationalised curricula and service learning literature demonstrating the outcomes service learning can deliver.

Rejuvenation of the service function should form an integral component of curricula, enhancing the political and social awareness of students to graduate more informed and competent global citizens. Engagement with international issues such as human rights through the United Nations Global Compact enables students to develop into future community leaders. This paper presents the descriptive theoretical background to further research identifying the capacity of international service learning to enhance graduate global citizenry.
Keywords: international service learning, global citizenship, professional education, university service, united nationals global compact, human rights

Introducing tutorials in Human Neuroanatomy

Maria João Grade Godinho, Jan Meyer & Stuart Bunt
School of Anatomy and Human Biology
The University of Western Australia
Email: mgodinho@anhb.uwa.edu.au

The notion that "scientific truth was best accomplished when scholars removed ethical concerns from their research" (Grubb & Marvin, 2005) is deeply seated in the higher education system, particularly in biological sciences, percolating from the level of academics all the way to students. However, many areas of neuroscience, such as stem cells research, have the potential for significant social impact and therefore need to be debated in the scientific context. To address this requirement, the Human Neuroanatomy unit at UWA was restructured to include tutorials. The tutorials included topics presented in lectures as well as others more of an ethical or sociological nature. The aim was to encourage students to develop informed opinions which would enable then to participate in community debates as "scientifically" educated citizens.

One of the most important objectives of any teaching at tertiary level should be to provide students with a set of transferable skills which will assist them in the future. In order to successfully complete their participation in the tutorials, students were required to read material provided, search the literature and engage with it in a critical manner by writing referenced essays and participating in discussions.

This presentation reports students' perceptions about the project. Most students found the process difficult, as much from their need to learn new operational skills, as from their readiness for higher level learning processes of critical evaluation and argument construction. Nevertheless, over half of the students admitted that the tutorials had been a valuable learning experience and more than 90% recognised that it had enhanced their generic science skills. Furthermore, although the majority of students preferred tutorial topics which consolidated their learning, some were pleased to contextualise the anatomical knowledge acquired in lectures within a larger framework of other disciplines, of science in general, and of society.
Keywords: tutorials, neuroanatomy, generic skills

Will the Net Generation use personal devices and social software for supplementary learning experiences?

Veronica Goerke and Beverley Oliver
Office of Teaching and Learning
Curtin University of Technology
Email: v.goerke@curtin.edu.au

Recent research reports confirm common perceptions that the Net Generation are wireless, connected and 'always on'. Much of the literature around mobile learning suggests that these students (who equip themselves with convergent and mobile devices, and are heavy users of Web 2.0 social software) can be persuaded to use both not only to socialise, but to enhance their learning experiences in higher education.

This presentation reports on a research project which explored this concept: if students have devices and wireless access to social software, will they necessarily use those devices and applications for learning activities as well, or will they steadfastly use them for socialising only?

In this research, 54 undergraduates in three international locations were provided with personal digital assistants (PDAs), and were encouraged to adopt them for supplementary learning experiences and collaborate with international peers. The research reports on students' use of the devices, social software and other applications over a year. Overall, uptake of the PDA device was limited, and students often preferred to use all applications (for learning and socialising) on laptops and desktops rather than handheld devices. In addition, students were unlikely to use social software applications for learning purposes. This suggests little transference of social behaviours to learning behaviours.

This research also confirms recent international reports that students of the Net Generation are sending clear messages about their resistance to attempts by educationalists to 'muscle into' their virtual socialising spaces.
Keywords: student engagement, mobile learning

Reading preparation for tutorials

Wendy Grace
Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
The University of Western Australia
Email: gracew01@student.uwa.edu.au

The issue of how to encourage active student participation in tutorials often overlooks a more fundamental problem: many students arrive unprepared in the first place, having failed to complete the required reading for that week. If it is agreed that tutorials are most effective when students are stimulated by the readings, and eager to exchange their ideas in a friendly and open discussion, with the tutor playing a minor facilitating role, then, obviously, lack of preparedness impacts directly on the essential purpose of these activities. Anecdotal reports by lecturers and tutors suggest that lack of preparedness for tutorials is fairly widespread throughout the Humanities and Social Sciences. A survey conducted in May 2007 tended to confirm these views: the amount of time spent on reading in an average academic week was less than desired, while the students also regarded it as a low priority compared to other assigned tasks for the unit, such as writing essays. The two chief factors cited by students as reasons preventing them spending more time on tutorial readings were work commitments and the demands of other units. The following report will present these and other preliminary findings of the survey, all the while offering some tentative ideas for a general understanding of the implications of this problem.
Keywords: reading, tutorials, participation

Encouraging a reflective approach to learning as a means of strengthening academic and work place learning

Jane Grellier
Department of Communication and Cultural Studies, Curtin University of Technology
Diane Fisher and Janice McKay
Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Curtin University of Technology
Email: j.grellier@curtin.edu.au
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

For many profession-based programs the development of a reflective approach to learning is seen as important in supporting the subsequent professional role the graduates will assume. In the past two years, we have introduced reflective writing to four groups of first and second year students at Curtin University, a focus that will increase as their courses proceed. Our research backs up the emphasis of many commentators in this area that reflection is difficult for students in their early tertiary years. In particular, students are often confused about how to write reflectively: in comparison with the more formulaic academic genres they are becoming familiar with, the looser and less regimented approach to reflective writing leaves some of them insecure. In this paper we will outline our initiatives in introducing reflective practice to beginning undergraduate students from several courses at Curtin University of Technology. We will describe some of the techniques we used to help them develop their reflective skills, include examples of their reflective writing, and share their evaluations of the process. Ongoing progress within the Medical Imaging undergraduate program will be discussed.

Interdisciplinary clinical education: Working, living and learning together in China, India, South Africa and Ukraine

Nigel Gribble, Trevor Goddard, Alma Dender, Jan Kelly and Carolyn Mulkearns
Occupational Therapy
Curtin University of Technology
Email: N.Gribble@curtin.edu.au

Flint et al (2000) state "... an urgency exists for innovative interdisciplinary education approaches that "mimic" life in the community and the natural environment so that the boundaries between education and community life become less defined and therefore, more integrated." Annually, 75 allied health students from the Curtin University Faculty of Health Science undertake a four week clinical education placement in China, India, South Africa or Ukraine. With interdisciplinary practice widespread in the Australian healthcare system (Smith & Pilling, 2007), it is imperative that students demonstrate relevant skills and behaviours to work effectively as healthcare workers. Curtin's interdisciplinary program provides a unique opportunity for Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Human Communication Science students to live and work together - for more than 700 hours - in culturally diverse social and health milieus allowing the roles, skills and philosophy of the respective disciplines to be understood.

The international clinical education program evolved from the service learning models of Kenworthy-U'ren and Peterson (2005) and Godfrey et al. (2005). Each student cohort completes a cultural orientation program before travelling to the host sites. Students deliver services to the clients and children in the same location year after year. For the final three weeks, students practice autonomously with guidance from the clinical supervisor provided via phone or email exchanges. The interdisciplinary make-up of each cohort enhances the quality of services delivered to each resident or child. It is the autonomous practice and reciprocity factors that allow the program to meet Flint's challenge bringing diverse allied health students together.

This innovative interdisciplinary education program is creating professionals with the Curtin Graduate Attribute of 'recognising and applying international perspectives' able to practice in a globalised environment as international citizens. Sustainability of the Faculty of Health Sciences international program will be assured through the creation of an interdisciplinary clinical education unit for allied health students.
Keywords: interdisciplinary education; international service learning; clinical education

Implementation of a health risk assessment program by level 3 Human Movement and Exercise Science students

Kym Guelfi
School of Human Movement and Exercise Science
The University of Western Australia
Email: kym.guelfi@uwa.edu.au

Students graduating with qualifications in Human Movement and Exercise Science are expected to be skilled at assessing health and fitness parameters and counselling individuals on major lifestyle health issues. However, until recently, students were provided with limited opportunities to develop and refine their practical skills in this domain. Consequently, in 2007 a student-directed Health Risk Assessment programme was implemented. This involved university staff members volunteering for a one-on-one Health Risk Assessment to be conducted by a Level 3 student. This Health Risk Assessment consisted of a brief assessment of health and lifestyle parameters, followed by professional feedback and counselling about areas of concern based on individual results. The students were observed while conducting these one-on-one sessions and assessed on their measurement technique, counselling skills, manner and professionalism. After completing the assessment with their individual "client", each student was provided with immediate feedback about their performance to allow for further development. This programme has significantly improved the student learning experience, with an overwhelmingly positive response from the students. It is hoped that in the future a more permanent programme may be opened up to the wider community to allow for further practical experience in health and fitness assessment and lifestyle counselling for Human Movement and Exercise Science students.
Keywords: practical, assessment, learning

The teaching of 'book history' in English and Cultural Studies units

Per Henningsgaard
Department of English and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: hennip01@student.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

Book history is a field of study concerned with 'the influence of manuscript or printed materials on the development and transmission of culture', typically concentrating on six related topics: 'authorship, bookselling, printing, publishing, distribution, and reading' (West, 2003). This article evaluates the teaching of book history in English and Cultural Studies units at the University of Western Australia (UWA), which ceased offering a stand-alone unit on the subject in the late 1980s. Since then, book history is only ever addressed in English and Cultural Studies units as an ancillary to other themes and theoretical inclinations, in particular text-based formalist criticism. As this approach is typical of Australian universities, the findings of this paper have implications outside of UWA. It is the intention of this article to establish current practices associated with the teaching of book history at the tertiary level. Furthermore, this article demonstrates some of the pedagogical advantages of incorporating book history into the English curriculum, before suggesting that contextualist literary theory, of which book history is an example, is better suited than formalist literary theory to contemporary ideas about good teaching practice, as well as meeting expectations about the generic skills students should possess upon completion of a university course. In an effort to support these claims, staff were surveyed and follow-up interviews were conducted. Overall, the findings suggest that staff practice contextualist criticism and raise issues of book history (especially in their lectures), but they rarely identify these practices to their students, thereby depriving both parties of a potentially valuable teaching and learning opportunity.

Curriculum in higher education: Getting it all together

Owen Hicks
Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
Email: ohicks@iinet.net.au

What use is being made of 'curriculum' in higher education in Australia? What use could be made of the concept of curriculum? Does it have relevance at the institutional, program and coal-face level? Could 'curriculum' be the key to an effective integration of all the elements essential to the provision of appropriate quality learning opportunities for students? Can 'curriculum' enhance engagement with students, and, if so, how?

This presentation draws on national initiatives of the Carrick Institute to explore and elaborate upon the concept of curriculum in a higher education context. Various models and definitions of curriculum are presented and their potential utility at various levels within universities is explored. Concepts of the 'integrated and 'aggregated' curriculum are elaborated and their implications for institutions, programs, students and academics are outlined.

In the recent past, the term 'curriculum' has been given limited currency in Australian universities, but there are signs that this situation is changing. There is a growing recognition of the usefulness of the concept in higher education and a rejection of the limiting application of 'curriculum' in the school system. Greater scrutiny is being given to what higher education institutions are offering students, through processes such as AUQA audits and the Learning and Teaching Performance Fund. This is ensuring a thinking through of the 'what, why, how, when and where' of the learning opportunities being made available. Demands are greater for the presentation of consistent integrated packages. The requirement for coherence and integration of programs may give 'curriculum' a place of much greater prominence in our institutions in the coming years.

The session will provide the opportunity to gain some familiarity with recent thinking on curriculum in higher education and to discuss and debate a range of related issues.
Keywords: curriculum, higher education, integration

Taking baby steps: The impact of test length on first year student engagement with online formative assessments in human biology

Julie Hill, Jan Meyer, Kathy Sanders
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Georgina Fyfe
School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University of Technology
Sue Fyfe
School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology
Mel Ziman
School Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Edith Cowan University
Nicole Koehler
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Email: jhill@anhb.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

This paper investigates the impact of test length on student engagement with an online feedback-enhanced formative assessment exercise. A 30 item version of the exercise had been shown to be effective in enhancing learning, but engaged relatively few students from the lower end of the class distribution and retained the attention of relatively few male students. Comments in a questionnaire survey and a fall-off in commitment to coherent responses across the survey lead us to suspect that one barrier to effective use of the formative exercise arose from the limited capacity of some students for sustained concentration and effort which was not compelled or directly rewarded. We therefore trialled a shorter 10 item test, looking to see not only whether it improved participation rates, but that the trade-off between time and content did not significantly compromise efficacy. The participation rate for the shorter test was 40% greater than for the long test, the difference being greatest amongst low achieving students. Failure to complete tests was practically eliminated. The greater number of times students, especially males, used the shorter test more than compensated for the decrease in content at each exposure. There was no loss in efficacy and weaker students benefited the most, in contrast to the situation with the longer test where the high fliers displayed the greatest learning gains. While female students gained the most individually from practice with the shorter tests, the enhanced participation and repetition rates of male students meant that they benefite d most as a sector.

"This isn't science!" Challenging pre-service primary teachers' views of science through explicit reflection

Christine Howitt
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology
Email: c.howitt@curtin.edu.au
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

This paper reports the results from a pilot trial where pre-service primary teachers' views of science were deliberately challenged through weekly perturbing statements and associated readings within a science methods course. This explicit reflective approach to nature of science aimed to encourage the pre-service teachers to critically examine their prior beliefs, values and practices of teaching and learning science. The theoretical basis of this research was based upon a framework of facilitated reflection that included opportunity for reflection, expectations regarding the quality of reflection, and scaffolding to support the development of reflection as a skill. As a consequence of this explicit reflection, 89% of pre-service teachers believed they had grown as teachers of science, 83% believed their attitudes and/or beliefs about science teaching and learning had been challenged, and 94% believed they had grown as reflective practitioner. Common themes identified for pre-service teachers' perceptions of change were challenging existing views, analysing practice, development of critical thinking skills, and reflecting on future science teaching, Examples of documents used to challenge views of science will be available for discussion.
Key words: primary science teacher education, explicit reflective practice, nature of science

Academic leadership for course coordinators: Professional development program pilot results

Sue Jones, Rick Ladyshewsky, Beverley Oliver, Helen Flavell and Inna Geoghegan
Curtin University of Technology
Email: sue.jones@curtin.edu.au

In 2006, Curtin University was awarded a Carrick Grant to develop an academic leadership course for course coordinators. A survey was conducted to determine the areas in which course coordinators felt they most needed professional development. Survey results were used to inform development of a professional development program which included peer coaching and flexible delivery. The program was advertised widely and heavily oversubscribed, indicating a high demand for professional development for this group of academic leaders.

A series of nine two hour modules was piloted throughout Semester 2, 2007 focusing on development of leadership capabilities. Modules included understanding the role of the course coordinator as leader; excellence in curriculum design; personal understandings of leadership capability; course review; leading a team; managing change and resistance; emotional intelligence and communication; managing upwards; and coaching. Modules were supported by extensive online resources to provide background reading, additional learning and activities to extend and support participants.

Challenges in conducting the program included: lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the course coordinator; participants not identifying themselves as leaders; and some level of discomfort with a managerial/leadership approach to their role. A flexible approach to meet the needs of participants was required to maximise the learning opportunities.

This presentation will provide an overview of the evaluation of the program, lessons learnt, and future directions for embedding the program within the University.
Key words: leadership; management; course, teaching and learning

Diversity: A longitudinal study of how student diversity relates to resilience and successful progression

Adrianne Kinnear, Mary Boyce and Heather Sparrow
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.kinnear@ecu.edu.au

This Carrick Institute-funded project describes the journey of diverse cohorts of students as they progress through the later years of their degree and into the workforce. It arose from a need to

The study focuses on the students' perceptions of the institutional environment, and the factors they identify as important for course progression and for effective entry into the workforce. When complete, the study will provide insights into contemporary 'whole of university life' experiences, and it is already providing a rich database of student perceptions and coping strategies. Emergent themes are being extracted to inform and develop institutional practices to support resilience.

This presentation will focus on the outcomes from the initial stage of the study, a questionnaire distributed to more than 1300 students in the penultimate or final years of their study that asked students to identify the factors assisting their progression and mitigating against withdrawal. The students were spread across 12 disciplines and represented a number of important diversity groups, for example mature age, first generation to university, with parental responsibilities, international onshore, indigenous students, and those with self-reported disabilities. The themes that emerged from this rich database of students perceptions will be described and the extent to which these themes altered between the different student diversities will be discussed. The current and later stages of the project will be briefly outlined and audience comment encouraged and welcomed.
Keywords: student perceptions, qualitative, transition to workforce

Why are we doing this subject? Expectations and experiences of bio/medical science students taking introductory physics

Les Kirkup
Department of Physics and Advanced Materials
University of Technology Sydney
Email: Les.Kirkup@uts.edu.au

There is a growing awareness amongst academics from the bio/medical sciences of the importance of 'physical thinking' and that recent developments in these sciences are urging greater reliance on the quantitative approaches of the type sponsored by physicists. By contrast, many students of the bio/medical sciences wait to be convinced of the relevance and value of physics to their major. What, specifically, do students majoring in the bio/medical sciences expect as they enter a first year physics subject, what do we know of the alignment of their experiences with those expectations, and to what extent should we take into account student expectations when designing such a subject? Equally importantly, how are student attitudes towards physics influenced by their first year experience?

In this presentation I will explore the issue of the role of physics in the curriculum of bio/medical science majors and examine the background to a revitalisation of a first year subject designed for such students at UTS. I will present an evaluation of student expectations and experiences of the physics subject, as well as the manner by which it is being redesigned, trialled and evaluated. I will make connections to a broader study funded by the Carrick Institute which is examining how a first year physics subject may be best designed and developed to meet the immediate and future needs of students from the bio/medical sciences.
Keywords: service teaching, student expectations, first year experience

Outcomes of a Carrick project linking online assessment feedback to reflective practice

Nicole Koehler, Jan Meyer and Katherine Sanders
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Sue Fyfe
School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology
Mel Ziman
School Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Edith Cowan University
Georgina Fyfe
School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University of Technology
Julie Hill
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Email: nkoehler@anhb.uwa.edu.au

This presentation describes the outcomes of a Carrick project to create feedback comments for automatic delivery in online assessments in first year Human Biology, and to promote active engagement with the feedback through an online reflective practice instrument administered in association with each piece of assessment. This project was realised over three phases - a survey of student attributes and understanding of feedback; an analysis of patterns of error in past assessments and construction of a set of operational guidelines for the writing of feedback comments; and implementation and the evaluation of the appeal and benefits to learning.

Partial linkages between the information gathered at each stage of the project allowed the tracking of the interaction of different classes of students with the feedback-enhanced assessments. Significant influences of age and experience, confidence, gender, language and, particularly, involvement in paid employment upon the use of feedback-enhanced formative tests and the benefits derived from them were revealed. Participation in paid employment was associated with decreased expectation of success, lower achievement and greater dissatisfaction with assessments. Speakers of languages other than English tended to have unrealistically high expectations of performance at the outset of their courses and to have difficulty adjusting those expectations in the light of interim test results.

Engagement with the feedback-enhanced assessments was associated with learning gains at each implementation, under formative and summative regimes. Males were more likely to fail to complete assessments than females. Decreasing the length of the assessment task improved both participation and completion rates without diminution in the total amount of test practice achieved. The feedback was perceived very positively by students. The approach used in this project is amenable to implementation in other first year courses. The feedback already written has the potential for application to other first year courses in the biological sciences.

Support for this (report/publication/activity) has been provided by The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training. The views expressed in this (report/publication/activity) do not necessarily reflect the views of The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.
Keywords: feedback, engagement, articulation

Posner on the uselessness of moral theory: An empirical analysis

Andy Lamey
Department of Philosophy, The University of Western Australia
Kirsty Best
School of Media, Communications and Culture, Murdoch University
Email: alamey@istar.ca
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

Richard Posner has argued that teaching moral philosophy is a misguided and pointless exercise. According to Posner, ethicalphilosophers exaggerate the role rationality play in moral judgement. As a result, classes on moral philosophy are "useless," as they invariably fail to influence students' thoughts or behaviour. We sought to test Posner's claim by surveying students in two university units dealing with ethics. Our findings suggest that, contrary to Posner's suggestion, ethics units do in fact influence students' moral thinking, including the judgements they make about particular moral issues. The influence of ethics units on students' behaviour was smaller, lending some support to Posner's view that there is a difference between making a moral judgement and possessing sufficient motivation to act on it. However, the purpose of ethics units may not be to cause students to embrace a set program of action, but to teach them to think critically about morality. Our evidence suggests ethics units succeed at this goal, and so are not the arenas of pointless futility that Posner portrays.
Keywords: moral philosophy, teaching, Posner

Teaching and learning methods practised at university and vocational training institutions: A comparative study

Cindy Lane
School of Humanities
The University of Western Australia
Email: lanec01@student.uwa.edu.au

It appears that university and vocational colleges are different, yet similar. They are similar in the aims of graduates to find work, and in the aims for the courses in the post-school education system to meet the demands from students and employers. However, where they differ is how these demands are met, and the understanding of the role these different education institutions are expected to play in preparing the graduate for the global experience.

With their similarities and differences, in the final analysis the Australian National Training Authority believe that more specifically TAFE, (however I would extend that to include all vocational training institutions) and university both provide excellent opportunities for learning, and both meet the education and training needs of a highly diverse range of people throughout Australia. (NCVER 2001 Statistics, 2001). The following survey also highlights some of these differences and similarities, and I feel substantiates the need for separate learning systems.

This project is aimed at investigating the relationship between university and vocational training institutions; their differences and similarities in engaging a deep learning experience and in developing lifelong skills for the students. It reveals some answers to the following questions. What is the difference between education in universities and education in vocational training programs? Are the two separate, or are they pursuing similar learning outcomes? Is higher education developing generic skills, and if they are, are these skills readily transferable to the vocational workforce? Are universities taking on specialised niche education, and if so are they complementing or replacing vocational training programs?

This survey reveals the restructuring of curricula to meet evolving demands by the university under study, and the necessity for the vocational colleges in this study to follow suit in preparing the graduate for 2015.

Putting windows in the ivory tower: Challenges and changes to university practice in the face of Web 2.0 tool use by students

Tama Leaver
Centre for the Advancement of Teacing and Learning
The University of Western Australia
Email: tama.leaver@uwa.edu.au

Historically, university policies and practice have existed behind the closed doors and high walls of an ivory tower. There was implicit faith and respect for the independence of higher education, and minimal government regulation or oversight of the workings of the university. In line with this, university teaching was seen as a private practice, accessible only to enrolled students and largely the exclusive province of the academic teacher. However, in the last few decades, there have been increasing calls from both governments and the public for increasing transparency and accountability on a number of areas. In addition, for all sorts of reasons from course fees to cultural changes, students have also started pushing for levels of accountability which are sometimes heeded by universities, but also, increasingly, have led students to take matters into their own hands. The establishment, for example, of websites like ratemyprofessor.com (initially in the US, but increasingly across the globe) has seen students taking certain aspects of teacher evaluations into there own hands, especially in situations where universities are not making their own evaluation data accessible to students. Locally, in 2007, over 7500 students joined the UWA network on the social software system Facebook. One of the largest groups joined by students in this network was called 'WebCT is the biggest piece of shit ever invented' and had over 500 members, many venting their anger at what they saw as failures of the WebCT learning management system. Using these examples and several other snapshots, including students posting videos of surreptitiously-recorded videos of teachers to YouTube, this presentation will explore some of the issues raised as these 'Web 2.0' tools allow students to create and publicly share aspects of university learning and teaching that would previously have been private. Ultimately, as Web 2.0 tools are on the rise and may very well be even more widespread in coming years, this paper asks what happens when student-generated (or, at least, recorded) content and criticism makes its way online, effectively putting unexpected windows in the ivory tower.
Keywords: transparency, Web 2.0, student engagement

Forensic investigation: Raising the bar on qualifications

Simon Lewis
Department of Applied Chemistry, Curtin University of Technology
Alex Wells
Forensic Division, Western Australia Police
Beatrice Tucker
Office of Teaching and Learning, Curtin University of Technology
Tamsin Kelly
Department of Applied Chemistry, Curtin University of Technology
Email: S.Lewis@curtin.edu.au

The National Institute of Forensic Sciences recently conducted a major review of Forensic education and training in Australia. In the final report, recommendations by Senior Managers of Australian and New Zealand Forensic Laboratories (SMANZFL) were made to raise the level of qualification required for police forensic staff to degree level by the year 2010. Formerly the requirements had been for various advanced diplomas including the Diploma of Public Safety or the National Diploma of Forensic Investigation (Crime Scene Investigation) or (Fingerprint Identification) streams.

Over the last twelve months staff from the Forensic Course Team and Western Australia Police Forensic Division have developed a program leading to the award of a BSc (Forensic Investigation), as a part of a strategic partnership between Curtin University and the Western Australia Police. As well as giving a thorough grounding in discipline specific competencies, it will give also provide a broader understanding of current practice and future trends in forensic science. Contemporaneous with the development of this program, the Curriculum 2010 process was initiated at Curtin and this has been extensively utilised to ensure that the new program fulfils Curtin's graduate outcomes and Western Australian Police requirements for professional competencies, which are needed to maintain the various board certifications required for the forensic disciplines covered by the degree program.

The first students from this program will graduate in 2010 thus fulfilling the requirements of the SMANZFL recommendations, significant national interest has been shown in this approach, which is unique within the Australian context.
Keywords: forensic investigation; partnerships, course development

Countryweek: An undergraduate learning adventure to examine rural, remote and Indigenous health issues

Ivan Lin, Angela Durey, Tania Wiley, Des Thompson and Jan Hall
Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health
The University of Western Australia
Email: taniaw@cucrh.uwa.edu

Comprehensive and well resourced primary health care is necessary to address disparities in urban/rural and Indigenous/non-Indigenous health profiles. This raises an important question: are we training health science graduates well enough to meet the health needs of people in living rural and remote Western Australian communities? In response to these challenges, the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health (CUCRH) initiated an innovative program in 2001 to offer students a multidisciplinary learning adventure in a rural or remote setting. The rationale behind this decision was to teach and inspire would-be health professionals to work in rural and remote practice. Countryweek is underpinned by the principles of experiential education or learning through action. Students are immersed in an environment that allows them to improve their knowledge and understanding of rural/remote health issues and Aboriginal health by applying primary health care principles in context. Findings suggest that Countryweek both engages and challenges students in issues related to rural, remote and Aboriginal health within a primary health care context. Students strongly value the opportunity to meet members of the Aboriginal community and learn about Aboriginal health first-hand in a 'safe' environment.

A diversity of study strategies: Interviews with international students

Joo-Dee Loh
Social Work
Curtin University of Technology
Email: dee_loh@yahoo.com

International higher education is indeed a lucrative market and international students are now an essential part of Australian universities' income and teaching classes. In addition, the revenues drawn from international education fees contribute considerably to Australia's broader economy. At the local level, research has tended to focus on the 'problems' or 'supposed deficits' of students and the 'difficulties' international students encountered. Little research has focused on how international students cope or overcome such 'issues'. This paper provides the findings of an interpretive research project which explored the experiences of international students in an Australian tertiary institution. Through a series of in-depth interviews, participants spoke of the many ways students negotiate challenges whilst studying in a foreign country. The research found that challenges and/or issues international students' encountered whilst studying in Australia are interrelated, for instance, the effects of language challenges influenced students' academic writing, communication, and listening skills. This research also highlights that international students are not a homogenous group. Finally, the paper reveals the many ways international students navigate their way around a new learning environment.
Keywords: International student, higher education, globalisation

Collaborative learning: The designing futures cluster program builds innovation and capacity

Marina Lommerse
Faculty of the Built Environment, Art and Design
Curtin University of Technology
Email: m.lommerse@curtin.edu.au

The Designing Futures Cluster Program is the result of an educational collaboration between Curtin University and FORM Contemporary Craft and Design, the peak representative body for craftspeople and designers in Western Australia. It has a demonstrable impact at an institutional, state and national level.

The program involves Curtin students and graduates working with WA art and design practitioners and learning from each other through projects focused on individual and collective goals. The program is underpinned by a clear, adaptable framework and is supplemented by interrelated resources and a supportive network of industry and community partners, government agencies and practitioners. Through an action research environment provided by the Curtin/FORM collaboration, the program resources and framework continues to evolve, encouraging the State-wide network to grow. The flexibility of the framework facilitates the differing objectives and experiences of a variety of student and practitioner groups and makes use of community opportunities.

I first used the program for Interior Architecture students, and now the strategies are implemented across the Faculty of Built Environment, Art and Design in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. In 2004 I facilitated the first series of workshops at Curtin where undergraduate students and WA design practitioners learnt with each other and from each other. The positive impact on participants led to FORM engaging me to research and write a program for delivery in their State-wide Designing Futures initiative. I used action research on the development, delivery, reflection and analysis of pilot cluster programs. Intense curriculum development and the publication of a manual for FORM over 2005-06 has matured the program into a comprehensive program package of knowledge, skills and resources. I will illustrate how the program enhances the learning of Curtin students and how Curtin's collaboration with an external organisation benefits students, graduates and the professional sector they are entering.
Keywords: Craft and design education, creative industries, Western Australia economic sustainability

Songs in the key of life: Making use of popular music as an engaging tool for tertiary students

Lorel Mayberry
School of Public Health
Curtin University of Technology
Email: L.Mayberry@exchange.curtin.edu.au

Innovative strategies will be explored and themes will be illustrated by selections from the vast array of popular songs (from the 1950s to today) that deal with relationships. According to Bloustien and Peters (2004, p32) popular music is vitally important to young people and "central to Australia's cultural identity". According to Firth (2006, p.108) popular music 'can transcend the everyday material world, taking us 'out of ourselves'. Music can reinforce collective identities or be used to mark out individual differences and values." Using discussion and debate, participants will be encouraged to share their own learnings and ideas about the use of music within their field.
Keywords: innovative strategies; music; awareness; issues

The times they are a-changing? The shifting nature of campus community

Wayne McGowan and Lee Partridge
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Western Australia
Email: wmcgowan@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

On one level we can say it is self-evident that university communities are changing. For example, advancements in technology, students' part-time work, larger and more diverse student populations and the advent of voluntary student unionism are but a few changes over the past generation that present, at least on the surface, as influences on how students engage with the wider campus community. While concerns about change are often dismissed as simple nostalgia, there is potentially a serious side to this shift. As Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) point out, "The research is unequivocal: students who are actively involved in both academic and out-of-class activities gain more from the college experience than those who are not so involved."

In 2005, The University of Western Australia (UWA) undertook a Survey of Student Engagement (SSE) that considered a number of dimensions aimed at capturing students' academic and out-of-class experience. In respect to students' participation in out-of-class activities, the survey results revealed a less than favourable picture. In this paper, we introduce a research initiative that takes up the challenge of determining whether these changes are transforming the campus community in terms of how students feel about, relate to and interact with each other and their university. In so doing, we present preliminary findings from a more in-depth inquiry into students' out-of-class experience and reflect on ways of gaining an even deeper understanding of this less well understood aspect of the student experience.
Keywords: students, engagement, community

Where shall the future student learn? Student expectations of university facilities for teaching and learning

Patricia McLaughlin and Anthony Mills
School of Property, Construction and Project Management
RMIT University, Melbourne
Email: patricia.mclaughlin@rmit.edu.au
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

This paper examines some of the issues surrounding educational facilities - their design and impact upon student learning now and into the future. It details some of the recent literature in this area with particular emphasis upon teaching and learning trends that match the needs of modern students. The responses of a group of first year university students in the School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University are also matched against these trends. The conclusions from these responses drawn indicate that the future university student will want flexible learning spaces that can adapt to both individual and collaborative work with a strong emphasis on social learning and advanced technology. The responses also indicate a mismatch between existing lecture theatres and tutorial rooms and the third space learning that these graduates of 2011 want. The results have implications for all higher education institutions as we enter the new millennium.

Gender, work, expectation and achievement amongst first year human biology students

Jan Meyer
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Mel Ziman
School Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Edith Cowan University
Kathy Sanders and Julie Hill
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Georgina Fyfe and Sue Fyfe
Schools of Public Health and Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University of Technology
Nicole Koehler
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Email: jmeyer@anhb.uwa.edu.au

As part of a project designed to deliver effective automated feedback for online assessments we examined the relationships between engagement in paid work, expectations and achievements in a group of 1099 first year Human Biology students from three West Australian Universities. We found that overall more than two thirds of our first year students were in paid work (67% of females, 57% of males) and that students in paid work both expected and achieved lower grades. We have gone on to examine possible gender differences in the impact of involvement paid work on expectation and achievement. Significant differences were found in the interaction between participation in paid work, expectation and achievement in males and in females. Whether in paid employment or not female, but not male, students obtained lower final grades than expressed expectations at the outset of the course. While female students in paid employment expected lower final grades than those who did not work, male students in work actually expected higher marks. The grades achieved in online summative assessments during the semester followed the pattern of expectations at the outset of the course. Non-working females obtained significantly higher test scores than those who worked while the opposite trend was evident amongst the males. Overall there was no significant difference between the grades of males and females for online tests, but males were more likely to report that their grades were lower than expected. The greatest learning benefit from practice with the feedback-enhanced online tests was seen amongst non-working males and working females.

Support for this (report/publication/activity) has been provided by The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training. The views expressed in this (report/publication/activity) do not necessarily reflect the views of The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.
Keywords: gender, paid employment; expectation; goal setting

Interactive whiteboard technology: Weaving together teaching and learning

Karen Murcia
School of Education
Murdoch University
Email: K.Murcia@murdoch.edu.au

Interactive Whiteboard technology has become the thread that weaves together creative teaching and learning experiences in my undergraduate Introduction to Science workshops. The benefits in using an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) have been in its interactivity and fluid integration with other technologies. The IWB has been used as a traditional whiteboard but importantly operated like a computer screen with a fingertip mouse. The IWB has become the port for accessing a range of technologies such as word files or pictures, digital images, video clips, audio and internet material. The capacity of the technology made it a powerful learning tool when integrated with effective pedagogy. It provided access to a range of learning styles and when used appropriately placed students at the center of the learning experience. This technology has taken workshops to a higher level of presentation and performance, which has been effective in motivating and engaging students. In this presentation I will share my learning journey with IWB technology and critically evaluate the use of the technology and its effect on students' learning.
Keywords: Interactive Whiteboard, Creativity, Teaching and Learning

Promoting effective classroom discussions: Reflections on the Socratic method in first-year English tutorials

David Nel
Department of English, Communication and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: neld01@student.uwa.edu.au

One of the most ancient forms of teaching in the humanities disciplines is the Socratic method. The method involves students' responses being subjected to a rigorous process of enquiry by the teacher. Despite the perception of this approach as being somewhat confrontational, often taking the form of a "grilling" of students, there is a growing consensus among educational researchers that, when properly conducted, this method is an excellent way of developing the critical thinking skills for which the humanities are praised. This paper aims to expand understanding of the nature and effective elements of the Socratic teaching method in English literature classes by exploring the experience of first-year literature students in tutorial classes. The findings from the qualitative survey indicated some general conditions under which the Socratic Method functions most effectively, namely: active participation, and what one educational researcher calls "productive discomfort". They provide evidence for some general conditions under which the Socratic Method functions most effectively and if employed, would benefit the teaching of future Tutorial groups.

Using the emotion of art to build cohesion, collaboration and empathy between student nurses

Caroline Nilson
School of Nursing
Murdoch University
Email: c.nilson@murdoch.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.]

Art therapy is used as a tool for personal growth and greater self-understanding. Art enhances communication between individuals, groups and professional teams and is an effective tool to explore change. In 2006, I developed and coordinated a third year Bachelor of Nursing unit on Maternal and Newborn Health Care. The first cohort of the Bachelor of Nursing students was entering their final year. Being a small group, having shared two years together, one would have thought that they would be supportive and cohesive. However to the contrary, the group was fragmented, insular and remote, with little demonstration of compassion or empathy for one another. Knowing that the ability to communicate and collaborate is essential to working well within the interdisciplinary health team, the group needed to evolve from being distant individuals with a student mindset to a model of engagement.

The project describes the changes in the dynamics of the group and personal growth of the students as a result of using art therapy as an assessable component in the unit. The students were required to develop an artwork, which reflected their interpretations, emotions and feelings about the process of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Not only did the activity develop an overwhelming change of individual appreciation for one another, but the marked change in their attitudes and development toward professional accountability was noted by lecturers and unit coordinators who taught the students in their following and final semester.

Leading curriculum reform: Lessons learnt and challenges ahead

Beverley Oliver, Sue Jones and Sonia Ferns
Curtin University of Technology
Email: b.oliver@curtin.edu.au

Many universities in the higher education sector are undergoing rapid curriculum reform to meet student needs and demands, and to conform with the Federal Government's push for diversity. Over the past year, Curtin University has been engaged in wide-scale curriculum reform which has encompassed change at the macro and micro levels. These range from larger changes such as the structure and nature of award, and university-wide course management tools to more fine-grained yet equally important change such as aligning learning outcomes to graduate attributes and implementing strategies for change at the unit level. The leadership of such a broad program of curriculum reform in a large and complex institution has been an exciting and challenging opportunity. This presentation will be an interactive discussion on the sorts of challenges and issues that need to be managed for successful change management. This will include challenges such as discerning what attributes and skills the future graduate will need, and how they will be engaged in learning; getting "buy in" from academic teaching staff as to those needs and having them engage in reforming curricula at the micro and macro levels. The presentation will discuss the lessons learnt so far, and how as yet unmet challenges might be addressed.

Promoting reflection through self-marking

Ron Oliver and Deanna Heal
School of Communications and Contemporary Arts
Edith Cowan University
Email: r.oliver@ecu.edu.au

At ECU we are continually striving to discover strategies that can improve the learning in our large first-year class CMM1108, a core unit for 400 students in the School of Communications and Contemporary Arts. This unit seeks to develop students' capabilities to make effective and efficient use of digital technologies as productivity and creativity tools in the communications and arts fields. As part of the assessment requirements students complete a number of design activities which contain both practical and theoretical components. We have always worried that our first year students have never really demonstrated the levels of reflection we have sought in the design and development of their submission and we have used a number of strategies to overcome this. Previously we have required students to seek feedback from their peers and colleagues on aspects of their design work and this has led to some reflective activity.

In Semester Two this year we experimented with a strategy of requiring students to self-mark their design activities using the same criteria and rubrics as their tutors as a means to have students reflect on the quality of their work against the requirements and criteria. At the end of the semester we examined the students' self-marks and their tutors' marks and we gathered information describing their perceptions of the self-marking process as a learning activity. This session will discuss and describes outcomes from this experiment. We will discuss the similarities and correlations between students' self-marks and their tutors' marks, how these changed over time and students' impressions of the learning opportunities and outcomes this strategy provided. We will conclude with some remarks concerning the value of self-marking as a strategy promoting reflection among first year university students.
Keywords: large classes, engagement, reflection, first-year students

Tutorial questions as a learning activity: Student surveys and teacher reflection

Laurie Ormond
School of Social and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: ormonl01@student.uwa.edu.au

In September 2007 I conducted a two-part study with a small group of second-year English students at UWA, to investigate student perceptions of the process of developing, asking, and answering questions within tutorials. I was inspired to conduct research in this area by my experiences as a new university teacher in the discipline of English. Confronted by the vicissitudes of a "group discussion" able to swing from dreadful silence into fannish obsession, it seemed imperative to find a way to better understand the dynamics of tutorial sessions. Participants in this study were asked to respond to a perception-based survey, and to pen a "reflective statement" in which they could expand on their personal feelings and opinions. The survey and accompanying reflective activity were constructed around several different issues that influence the process of question-led tutorial discussion. Ten students replied to statements about peer learning, their confidence and comfort in tutorial, levels of preparation, anxiety about assessment, and perceptions of the level of importance placed upon their enjoyment of the primary texts.

The results of the study provided me with some fascinating insights into my students' perceptions, but the small number of respondents means that these remain fragmentary glimpses, and my ability to interpret these results within the wider context of research into Higher Learning is limited. This research has instead proved the most useful on a smaller scale, as I was able, in analysing my results, to incorporate an important component of personal reflection. My discussion in this paper is based around the way in which the process of designing, conducting and interpreting the research project has provided an invaluable opportunity to re-evaluate my students' perceptions, and to reflect upon my own philosophies of teaching within the tutorial context.
Keywords: Reflective teaching practice

(50 minute Workshop)
From the ground up: A structure for the implementation of a systemic peer review process

Lee Partridge
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Western Australia
Email: lee.partridge@uwa.edu.au

Peer review of teaching strikes horror into the hearts of many academics. It is a curious thing that a profession that comfortably accepts the involvement of their peers when it comes to assessing their research, find a similar procedure abhorrent when applied to their teaching. Implementing a systematic process of peer review across a discipline group or school, let alone an entire faculty or university, is plagued by obstacles. This session takes participants through a programme of staff workshops which were designed to introduce peer review into the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at The University of Western Australia in 2007. Participants will be actively involved in an abridged version of three workshops, which were run over a period of a year, and which helped staff take ownership of the process.

In the current climate of accountability, and the need and desire to show improved teaching practices in the higher education sector, discussions around peer review of teaching are gaining increasing prominence. In many countries, peer review is already well established as a process that is carried out as a matter of course and a condition of employment as an academic. In Australia, the Carrick Institute has recognised the importance of establishing peer review of teaching by identifying it amongst its priority projects. Conversations about the best way to introduce peer review of teaching are emerging at faculty and institution level around the country.

The benefits of peer review as a means of identifying and developing quality teaching practice are well accepted. Despite this, many problems exist, particularly in the early stages of establishing such procedures in teaching environments. Although wide ranging, the most common concerns and broadly be classified as under the headings of 'fear' and 'too busy'. Too often, the implementation of peer review of teaching is imposed as a 'top down' process with those required to undertake it left feeling they have little input into the procedure. This adds to the feeling of resentment towards the practice, less effective engagement with the process, and reduced benefits in terms of enhancement of quality teaching.

A project undertaken in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (FAHSS) at UWA involved taking a group of teaching academics through all stages of development of a peer review programme, from determining what aspects of teaching would be addressed, to designing and trialling a standards framework, and finally, recommending how it could be implemented across the entire faculty. This grass-roots involvement led to a sense of ownership in the programme and lessened the common barriers to successful peer review programmes. Although full implementation is yet to occur, this 'bottom up' approach will hopefully smooth the way towards a greater uptake by teaching staff across the faculty of the peer review process.

Outline of workshop structure
The 50 minute workshop will reflect as closely as possible (but in a condensed format) the three workshops and procedures that were at the centre of the project to implement a managed peer review process in the FAHSS at UWA.

Participants will be involved in reviewing and critiquing existing peer review of teaching framework documents drawn from various higher education institutions around the world. They will then work to develop contextually relevant documents that would be appropriate for use in their own discipline and institution. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to role-play both giving and receiving feedback having considered issues of sensitivity in the provision of constructive feedback.

The workshop will conclude with a discussion around making the best use of the experience of peer feedback both for the observer and the observed.

Pedagogical principles
The workshop will utilise an active learning format with maximum participation from those attending. By the end of the session, participants should be appropriately confident to replicate a similar process in their own school or faculty.

Learning outcomes
As a result of participating in this workshop, participants will

Keywords: peer review, cultural change, change management

Out damned SPOT: The questionable reliability and validity of student evaluations of teaching

Lee Partridge
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Western Australia
Email: lee.partridge@uwa.edu.au

At The University of Western Australia, the student evaluation of teaching system is known as SPOT (Student Perceptions of Teaching). Such processes, albeit with different names, are endemic in the Australian tertiary education sector as a measure of teacher effectiveness. But are the scores obtained on these rating scales an accurate reflection of the quality of the teaching? The reliability and validity of the evaluations used have been questioned for some years but the debate over their effectiveness as accurate measures of teacher quality has recently been reignited. Beyond the original intention that they be used as a tool of self-reflection to assist teachers in improving their practice, the scores are now being utilised in performance management, accountability and promotion. In addition, the recent move towards substantial university funding being tied to the quality of teaching provided, has generated an even greater imperative to be sure that such a highly weighted indicator is providing a realistic account of teacher effectiveness. This paper reports on a small scale study undertaken to query the basis of the questions asked in standard SPOT evaluations. By rewording the statements such that the emphasis is on the student learning rather than the teaching, some interesting deviations in the ratings were found. Reasons for such variance, and the questions that arise as a result, are examined.
Keywords: Student evaluation of teaching, quality teaching, teacher effectiveness

Introducing problem based learning to second year genetics students

Coral Pepper and Susan Barker
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
The University of Western Australia
Email: cpepper@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

Problem based learning (PBL) is a successful teaching and learning strategy used to engage students in deep rather than surface learning and where the learning is student focused rather than teacher focused (Biggs, 1999; 2003). First steps to better engage students and improve the student experience, through PBL, were initiated in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (FNAS) during 2006. This presentation reports on the implementation of a PBL task into the FNAS Introductory Genetics unit in 2007. Data for the research were gathered through student feedback surveys and a cross reference to assessment in the previous year. Student responses to the PBL task were mixed, with some reporting satisfaction on working collaboratively to solve challenging questions, and others less appreciative of this opportunity. Our challenge in 2008, will be to provide a more formal and integrated structure to the PBL component of this unit to better ensure that the desired outcome of deep learning of Mendelian genetics concepts is achieved.
Keywords: problem based learning, student experience

Implementing problem based learning into Natural Resource Economics

Coral Pepper and Jo Pluske
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
The University of Western Australia
Email: cpepper@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

Problem-based learning is a successful teaching and learning strategy used to engage students in deep rather than surface learning and where the learning is student focused rather than teacher focused (Biggs, 1999; 2003). The strategy is also successful in aligning university courses with the real-life professional work students are expected to undertake on graduation. At the University of Western Australia, plans to introduce PBL into a number of units taught in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (FNAS) were initiated in 2006, to better engage students and improve student experience. This paper reports on the implementation of PBL into a core first year FNAS unit in 2007. Data for the research were gathered through student feedback surveys and semi-structured interviews. While the implementation is perceived as a successful strategy to engage students in deeper learning there are still challenges, linked to group processes, to overcome.
Key words: problem based learning, student experience.

Student and staff perceptions of Lectopia

Rob Phillips
Murdoch University
Maree Gosper, Margot McNeill, Karen Woo
Macquarie University
Greg Preston
University of Newcastle
David Green
Flinders University
Email: r.phillips@murdoch.edu.au

Some Australian universities have had a long tradition of capturing analogue recordings of lectures and providing these for distance students or storing them in libraries for students who may have missed a lecture. However, the recent emergence of web-based lecture recording technologies, such as Lectopia, has heralded a growing use of digital lecture recordings by all students. This is pushing the boundaries of established practice and challenging the role of the face-to-face lecture as a prime teaching strategy.

Four Australian universities - Macquarie University, Murdoch University, Flinders University and the University of Newcastle - have been collaborating on a project funded by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. This project investigates the impact of web-based lecture recording technologies on current and future practice in learning and teaching in higher education. This presentation reports on preliminary results of this research, arising from surveys of students and staff, and in-depth interviews.

This and other studies have found that Lectopia is very popular with students. Lectopia provides flexible and convenient access to lectures for students who cannot attend lectures for work, family and lifestyle reasons. Many students use Lectopia in positive ways to support their learning, and they see it as assisting their ability to achieve better results. Academic perceptions of the value of Lectopia are mixed. It is seen as a tool to provide flexibility for students unable to attend lectures, and to support external students. However, many academics report falling attendance, and are concerned at the loss of contact with students and a diminished learning experience. Many students reported that listening to a lecture recording is just as valuable as attending face-to-face and this is challenging to the self-perception of many academics about their role as lecturers.

On the other hand, other academics have reported no apparent changes in attendance, and have used the Lectopia technology to enrich the learning experience of their students, largely by changing the unit structure and activities.

This session will present some of the results of this research and explore the implications for future university teaching.

School lighthouses: Leading curriculum change in the context of a whole-of-institution re-structure

Susan Roberts and Rick Cummings
Teaching and Learning Centre
Murdoch University
Email: s.roberts@murdoch.edu.au

With funding awarded by the Carrick Institute, a complex project was established to develop highly regarded academics at Murdoch University as leaders of curriculum improvement within their schools. Thirteen academic staff were identified to lead nine school sub-projects, acting as 'lighthouses' for curriculum improvement in their schools. Over the past 18 months, these staff have used a range of leadership competencies and group techniques in planning, progressing and reflecting on their sub-projects, underpinned by the action research cycle of action, reflection, review, and re-action. Interim reports written as part of the evaluation process, and interviews with each lighthouse leader reveal a number of structural, human resource, political and symbolic issues encountered during the course of their sub-projects, which align with the organising framework for change identified by Bolman & Deal (2003). A particularly significant issue for all the sub-projects was the comprehensive institutional re-structuring at Murdoch during 2007. Sub-project leaders therefore had to be especially creative and sensitive in their approaches to curriculum improvement. This presentation will discuss the various approaches used by the project leaders, the adaptations they have had to make, and the success of each sub-project, as perceived by them.
Keywords: academic leadership; curriculum improvement; institutional re-structure

Gender differences in students' reflection upon online formative assessment activities

Kathy Sanders
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Georgina Fyfe
School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University of Technology
Jan Meyer
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Mel Ziman
School Exercise, Biomedical & Health Science, Edith Cowan University
Sue Fyfe
School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology
Julie Hill
School of Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Nicole Koehler
Anatomy & Human Biology, The University of Western Australia
Email: jmeyer@anhb.uwa.edu.au

This presentation reports on gender differences in the pattern of responses to a short on-line survey designed to encourage students to reflect, in the light of feedback, upon theirperformance in an online MCQ assessment. This post-test survey instrument included a series of questions with radio button choices plus response boxes for free comments. The questions related to possible reasons why the test score may not have accurately reflected understanding of the topic, the aspects of test technique which may have affected scores, and for identification of problem content areas. Students were then asked to identify or suggest strategies for improvement. As might be expected from previous studies, a significantly higher proportion of females than males completing the online test went on to complete the survey.

Despite a lack of difference in self-reported test marks between males and females, males were more likely to report that they had obtained lower than expected marks. They were no more likely than females to claim that their marks failed to accurately reflect their understanding of the topic, but females were more likely to actively assert that the issue of inaccuracy did not apply to them. Whether through radio button selection or free response males were, conversely, more likely to actively deny that they had difficulties with their test technique or with any particular content area. Amongst those who did provide responses to these three questions there were no real differences between males and females in the selection of reasons provided, though females did tend to nominate a wider range of issues. There was a marked difference in the tenor of the additional free responses provided, however. Except when providing possible strategies for improvement, males were significantly more likely to suggest that external factors, rather than aspects of their own behaviour were responsible for their perceived shortcomings.

Support for this (report/publication/activity) has been provided by The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training. The views expressed in this (report/publication/activity) do not necessarily reflect the views of The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.
Keywords: gender, reflective practice; locus of control

Are workshops a valuable way to engage the future student? Evaluating workshops and tutorials in Women's Studies

Eleanor Sandry
English and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: eleanor@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

Since 1997 Women's Studies units at the University of Western Australia (UWA) have been structured to include one lecture, one workshop and one tutorial each teaching week. These classes are an hour in length and each fulfils a specific role in the teaching and learning strategy for the unit. In particular, workshops were introduced to act as bridges between lectures and tutorials. This paper revisits the concept of workshop teaching in the context of Women's Studies at UWA, and re-evaluates, ten years after the introduction of this type of class, how workshop teaching is understood to function by both lecturers and students. The project on which this paper is based consisted of a student survey and informal interviews with members of staff. The results of the project have been used here to explore whether including workshop classes can be seen to increase the learning opportunities for students over and above the more common practice of providing two hours of lectures and a one-hour tutorial or a one-hour lecture and a two-hour tutorial in Arts and Humanities units. It is suggested that, although the use of workshops needs to be considered carefully in the context of each unit's structure and requirements, workshops can provide a valuable way of engaging students in a process of interactive learning. Workshops are shown to situate students' understandings within a broad social and cultural context, as well as enlarging their thought by exposing them to the opinions and perspectives of many other students taking part in the unit.

Partnerships: Building 'relationships of substance' to better serve the needs of schools and universities in preparing teachers of the future

Sue Sharp and Will Turner
School of Education
Edith Cowan University
Email: s.sharp@ecu.edu.au

'Partnerships' is a concept generating increasing interest and significance in teacher education institutions in Australia. The Commonwealth of Australia (2007) is increasing funding to support collaborative approaches to practicum, research, induction and professional development. Developing and maintaining genuine university-school partnerships in teacher education work is critical in providing opportunities for prospective teachers to learn in the continually changing and evolving context of practice. When all stakeholders work with shared, negotiated purpose, engaged participation, and common goals, opportunities for prospective teachers to be prepared for future challenges in education are enhanced. Central to the development of partnerships at ECU Joondalup is the belief that teaching is a collegial process and teachers, teacher educators and pre-service teachers learn in the context of 'relationships of substance'. Sustaining the principles and processes on which partnerships at ECU have been developed and enacted, is perpetually challenging. These successes and challenges are underpinned by the interdependency of all participants and the fluidity of their varying roles within the ECU Joondalup partnership program. This paper outlines the key successes and challenges of partnerships, focusing on the relationships and interdependency of stakeholders as a key element. Positive future directions in developing 'relationships of substance' that support the preparation of graduate teachers to work in the schools of the future are discussed.
Keywords: teacher education, partnerships, interdependence

Latour meets the digital natives: What are they really like?

Stephen Sheely
Centre for Advancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Western Australia
Email: stephen.sheely@uwa.edu.au

French sociologist of science Bruno Latour has written many influential books in recent decades exploring how science and other evidence based disciplines deal with facts, information and knowledge (Laboratory Life, Science in Action). One of the abiding themes in his work has been the social construction of knowledge and how things can go from being surprising revelations, to established facts, to background knowledge. The idea of students as "digital natives" has traversed this path in a very short time and this paper will use some of Latour's ideas to examine how this has happened. It will examine what it means to be a "digital native", how the term came about and how it entered everyday language. More importantly it will explore what this actually tells us about the coming generation of students their attitudes, skills and behaviours and what the impacts might be for how we teach and how they learn.
Keywords: students, digital natives, knowledge

Learning interactively for engagement (LiFE): A needs analysis of refugee students at university

Jenny Silburn
Teaching and Learning Centre, Murdoch University
Jaya Earnest
Centre for International Health, Curtin University of Technology
Email: J.Silburn@murdoch.edu.au, J.Earnest@curtin.edu.au

Currently very little is known about refugee student perspectives and their adaptation into university. For students from this cohort, the acculturation process has three distinct aspects: language competence, behavioural participation and identification. Preliminary research at Murdoch University established several challenges for refugee students which include developing a critical meta-cognitive learning style, balancing learning with earning and adapting to Australian values. Facilitating the early engagement of students with their studies and campus life has been shown to lead to greater student satisfaction and improved retention rates.

The current study funded by a Carrick Competitive Grant will document the perspectives and needs of refugee students at Curtin University and Murdoch University. This project will lead to the development of an awareness-raising DVD for academic staff to increase their understanding of the specific pedagogical needs of refugee students.

The project has commenced with a needs analysis to ascertain the specific learning needs of refugee students. The information gained from this will be used to develop and trial tailored programs for refugee students. This paper presents initial findings from the needs analysis undertaken with refugee students at the two universities. The analysis reveals the socio-cultural, learning and enculturation needs of refugee students.
Key words: refugees, pedagogy, acculturation

(50 minute workshop)
Just a minute: Public speaking strategy

David Smith
Broadcasting and Journalism
Edith Cowan University
Email: david.smith@ecu.edu.au

Seeking a way to encourage broadcasting students to ad-lib, I've adapted a BBC radio games show. Students compete against each other and are asked to talk for a minute on a subject allocated without hesitating, repetition or going off subject. The opponent can challenge at any time. The clock is stopped while their challenge is debated and if successful they will continue with the subject. The person still talking at the end of a minute wins the game.

The game is played every week with the student playing a different opponent each week. Students can be paired into teams. Each win is recorded and the winner gets a prize at the end of the semester. Within a short time students are able to speak with growing confidence as they device strategies to deal with diverse subjects. The application of the techniques can be spread much further than broadcasting. Any occupation that requires imparting information could lean on the skills required for the task.

One of the key aspects is the surprise element. Participants are only given 30 seconds to consider what they are going to say. The subject matter can be serious or frivolous. Another technique is to get the next contestants to argue from the opposite angle. The exercise is fun whilst demanding. The performance is discussed after with tips on how the student might improve their performance.

Although this is being used on students it would also help those who teach to become more fluent in addressing students.

Engaging engineering students: The preferred learning and teaching style nexus

Brad Stappenbelt
School of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Western Australia
Email: brad.stappenbelt@uwa.edu.au

The preferred learning styles of engineering students at the University of Western Australia were examined in light of the predominant teaching methods employed. The primary goal of the present study was to identify whether mismatches in teaching and preferred learning styles influence student academic performance and progression. The Index of Learning Styles questionnaire (Felder & Silverman 1988) was used to identify individual learning style preferences. The study consisted of 1248 participants ranging from first to fourth year students, across five engineering units. The typical learning style preference of an engineering student at UWA was found to be active, sensing, visual and sequential, while the prevalent teaching style is passive, abstract, verbal and sequential. There exists a mismatch between the preferred active learning and passive teaching and visual learning and verbal teaching styles. The most extreme mismatch appears in the input dimension where eighty nine percent of engineering students have a preference towards the visual learning style. Nearly a third of these students indicated an extreme preference for this learning style. These findings concur well with the results from a number of other studies conducted at American universities. The present study found a clear correlation between lower visual learning style preference and higher student pass rates. Female students in particular indicated lower visual learning style preference than male students (i.e. 92% for males compared to 84% for females) and demonstrated a correspondingly higher pass rate for units attempted. There was also a correlation between superior academic performance and lower visual learning style preference. Inconsistently performing students were found to be significantly more visual than consistently performing students. A similar trend was observed in the processing dimension where students displaying lower preference for an active learning style achieved better pass rates and marks. The conclusion of the present study is that academic impact of learning style preferences is influenced by both the preferred learning and teaching style congruence and the strength of a particular learning style preference. The learning style preference profile of students in each year does not appear to alter significantly from first to fourth year engineering. This would suggest that preferred learning style is not a key contributor to student attrition rates.

An experiment in the use of peer assessment in mathematics and physics tutorials

Raymond Summit
Department of Mining Engineering and Mine Surveying
Curtin University of Technology
Email: R.Summit@curtin.edu.au

A common observation amongst lecturers and tutors is that students who would most benefit from regular tutorial attendance are often the ones who do not turn up to tutorials. In most cases, this leads to poor student results. Another hindrance to student progress is students' lack of preparation for tutorials. In the mathematical and physical sciences, tutorial problems are typically assigned so that students can build their skills in the procedures discussed in lectures. Tutors often observe that students typically do not find the time to work through all the tutorial problems, and in many cases, very few problems are attempted. This paper discusses the use of continual peer and tutor assessment in tutorials to address both of these problems (attendance and participation). It highlights the successes and failures of the experiment.

Becoming a student ... again!

Geoff Swan
Department of Physics
Edith Cowan University
Email: g.swan@ecu.edu.au

In semester 2, 2007, I enrolled to become a university student ... again, the last time being my graduate diploma in education back in 1990. The circumstances are very different today, not least of which being that I am now an external student studying units that are delivered online. I also work full time and support a family. An additional important difference is that I am currently both a lecturer and a student (in a very different knowledge area) at the same institution, ECU. This has provided me with first hand knowledge of the ECU student perspective and the sorts of difficulties students' experience from minor administrative hurdles to concerns with assessments and juggling study with work and family commitments. Studying has also helped me reflect on my own teaching and unit coordination, and the sorts of directions I give to my students. For ex ample, with the shoe firmly on the other foot, would I put into practice the sort of study advice I've been giving to students for well over a decade? Becoming a student has been a rich and rewarding experience for me in many ways, and I trust it will help improve my performance as a lecturer and unit coordinator. This presentation will discuss my experiences as a student and the impact they might have on my teaching and coordination of units in the future. I encourage others, who may be in a similar position, to come along and share some of their own experiences at this session. Please note that there will be no physics, science or mathematics content in this presentation!
Keywords: student, experience, perspective

Online student learning resources: An improving student learning initiative in accounting

Ann Tarca, Matthew Tilling and Eileen Thompson
UWA Business School
The University of Western Australia
Email: Ann.Tarca@uwa.edu.au

Used effectively, online resources promote more active engagement by students with the learning resources, and interaction with each other, the teacher and the subject content. In addition, feedback from students indicates they value being able to access learning resources online and they use online resources as an aid to both preparation for class and assessment of learning. This presentation reports on the impact of a series of non-compulsory online problems on improving student learning in a final year undergraduate accounting unit. The online problems were designed to supplement the regular face-to-face tutorial activities and consisted of questions and solutions that provided timely feedback to students about their levels of understanding and competence. Although not directly assessable, it was expected that completion of the online problems would help students to improve their tutorial marks for attendance, preparation and participation (30% of the unit's final grade). Also, the online problems provided a richer set of practice problems that were all potentially assessable in the final exam. During this presentation we will share with you the responses from the student survey and focus group sessions, and seek your input into how to make more effective use of the online problems next time the unit is offered.
Keywords:.online learning resources, improving student learning, accounting

Problem based learning for first year students: Perspectives from students and laboratory demonstrators

Natasha Teakle
School of Plant Biology
The University of Western Australia
Email: teakln01@student.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research. Full text on website.]

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching approach developed over 30 years ago and involves students undertaking a less structured 'task' set in a relevant context. Students work in small groups to identify the knowledge or skills that they must attain to approach the task. PBL encourages independent learning, critical thinking and many other skills valued by employers, such as working effectively in teams. Despite the reported benefits of PBL, it has not been widely implemented at universities, particularly at first year level where it is perceived to be too challenging for the students. This study assessed the implementation of a PBL format in a first year biology practical class at The University of Western Australia. 135 students and 8 demonstrators were surveyed and their responses to the PBL task analysed. The survey results indicate that students were generally positive about the PBL task, they did not find it too challenging and particularly liked the 'team work' aspect. Some students initially found the lack of direction and defined outcomes difficult, while others found adapting to group dynamics a challenge. The demonstrators' perception of the PBL format was variable. Some found this teaching method successful and beneficial for students. Others were uncomfortable with their role change from 'teacher' to 'facilitator' and did not see benefits in using PBL. The survey results indicate that PBL can be successfully implemented on a small scale and PBL is not too challenging for first year students. The results highlight the need for both students and staff to be well trained in the theory of PBL for its implementation to be successful.

Resurrecting the dead: Use of online learning in forensic science

Sasha Voss
Centre for Forensic Science
The University of Western Australia
Email: sasha.voss@uwa.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.]

This study aimed to incorporate online learning into a traditional face to face forensic unit with a heavy emphasis on problem based learning activities. An online component consisting of both a forensic software tool and the more usual WebCT learning platform were incorporated into a postgraduate forensic entomology unit at the University of Western Australia (UWA). The selected online material and activities were designed to address the known issue of variation in student learning success associated with problem based learning approaches. Students were surveyed to evaluate student perceptions of the online component and its value as a learning tool.

The online component was positively received by students who considered it a valuable supplement to traditional teaching delivery. In particular, the introduction of an online component to a traditional problem based activity proved a successful learning tool. Students demonstrated a preference for the online activity over the paper version and the felt that the online activity increased their understanding of the lab and assignment exercises. Students also liked the convenience, flexibility of access to information, communication options, quiz feedback and interaction activities offered via WebCT. Significantly, all students surveyed wanted an online component to be integrated into the rest of the forensic program at UWA. This study highlights the benefits of implementing a blended learning format to a unit with a problem based learning focus. Incorporating online learning into forensic teaching has the potential to overcome the observed disadvantages associated with problem based learning.

Bridge over the theory-practice divide

Judith Wilson
School of Nursing
University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: jwilson6@nd.edu.au

This qualitative study was conducted to explore how the student midwife in the final stages of her Postgraduate Diploma of Midwifery Course perceived the theory practice gap. Much research has been published about the theory practice gap from the perspective of educators or employers but little is published on the view of the student who sits in the centre of this dilemma. This study was conducted by interviewing 5 student midwives with a set of open ended questions. The first of these questions sought to ascertain if indeed the student perceived such a gap existed. Further questions explored factors, if any, that widened or narrowed this gap. All interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed. From this study recommendations for practice were identified.
Key words: Theory practice gap, hermeneutic analysis, evidence based practice

Curtin's new online professional development program on internationalising the curriculum

Shelley Yeo
Office of Teaching & Learning
Curtin University of Technology
Email: s.yeo@curtin.edu.au

Many universities claim to deliver an international curriculum, but this is a very wide-ranging concept with staff across the university likely to be involved in the delivery in a variety of ways. Some will develop or manage offshore programs, some will coordinate units with both onshore and offshore locations, some will be assessing learning outcomes related to international perspectives or intercultural skills, and most will be teaching classes with both international and onshore students in them. But how do staff gain the necessary skills to deliver an international curriculum? Experience has shown us that occasional seminars and workshops for staff are mostly inefficient-low number of attendees at scheduled seminars but frequent requests for assistance at often inopportune times. One solution at Curtin University of Technology has been the development of a comprehensive online self-paced professional development program. There are six general pathways through the program (according to staff needs), three different levels of engagement with the materials (according to specified learning outcomes and staff needs) and two different forms of evaluation (according to the will of those undertaking the program). In this session, the needs of staff will be discussed and the program briefly demonstrated.
Keywords: internationalising the curriculum

Turnitin: A tool for teachers

Shelley Yeo and Mike Williams
Office of Teaching & Learning
Curtin University of Technology
Email: s.yeo@curtin.edu.au

Turnitin is an electronic text matching system that operates via the web (http://www.turnitin.com/), and which compares text in students' assignments to electronic text on the Internet, in published works, on some commercial databases, in assignments submitted by other students in the same class, and in assignments previously submitted by students at other universities across the world. The reports generated identify the degree of text matching in the submitted document and lecturers then determine if plagiarism has occurred.

Curtin University of Technology conducted a trial of Turnitin during second semester, 2007 that involved 30 academic staff. The trial evaluated the effectiveness of Turnitin as a tool to assist in the detection of plagiarism and academic misconduct across a wide variety of academic disciplines. Dedicated one-on-one training in the use of the Turnitin system at the start of the trial was provided. A post-trial survey, including formal and informal interviews, was used to assess the administration, resourcing and support implications of using Turnitin and the degree of support among academic staff for its use. Just over 90% of participants stated that if Turnitin was available in 2008 they would use it.

Turnitin is designed to allow students to submit draft versions of their assignments to Turnitin prior to a final submission for assessment. Students receive the report back showing any incidences of matched text or possible plagiarism. Teachers can then help the student identify ways of improving their writing practices. Most participants felt it would have been useful if students had access to Turnitin in order to submit drafts of their work prior to final submission. It was clear that Turnitin would have a valuable role as a training aid, especially for first year students.

One of the main aims of making Turnitin available at Curtin in 2008 is the raising of staff awareness of issues related to academic integrity, the availability of tools such as Turnitin to both detect plagiarism and its ability to provide a teaching and learning aid for students. It is believed that Turnitin can assist teachers and students work towards a reduction in plagiarism and help in building a culture of academic integrity in all forms of writing at university.
Keywords: Turnitin, plagiarism, awareness

Leading in a learning organisation: Senge's model of the learning organisation within a school of nursing

Michele Zolezzi
School of Nursing
University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: mzolezzi1@nd.edu.au

Teachers are leaders because they take responsibility for learning. This leadership is not derived from a traditional view of leadership which assumes individuals are powerless, suffer from limited personal vision and are thus unable to respond positively to change. Peter Senge (1990) argues that this form of leadership creates

...learning organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together. (p.3)
There are five basic principles which, when applied correctly, will create an optimal learning organisation. These principles are:
  1. Systems thinking
  2. Personal mastery
  3. Mental models
  4. Building shared vision
  5. Team learning
Students are members of The School of Nursing which is a learning organisation within many learning organisations: the University of Notre Dame, the profession of Registered Nursing, the stakeholders of the profession such as the community which Registered Nursing serves or the politics which govern the funding and structure of Health Care.

Graduates then become the leaders/teachers in the learning organisations where they are employed.

It is the intention of the School of Nursing at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle that graduates are empowered to participate proactively in their careers. Indeed, it is the shared vision (principle 4) of all Schools of Nursing that graduates are not only equipped to operate in isolation but able to contribute, through the five principles of a Learning Organisation, to the continuous improvement of Registered Nursing. Without teacher/leadership these principles cannot be applied. There are three aspects of leadership which are central to the development of the learning organisation. They are:

  1. The Leader as designer
  2. The Leader as steward
  3. The Leader as teacher
These three aspects of leadership will form the foundation of this paper. These three aspects have profound effects within the School of Nursing at both staff and student levels as teachers cannot and should not be differentiated from the students in the pursuit of excellence.

Please cite as: TL Forum (2008). Teaching and learning for global graduates. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 29-30 January 2008. Perth: Curtin University of Technology. http://otl.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2009/abstracts.html

© 2009 Curtin University of Technology. Copyrights in the individual articles in the Proceedings reside with the authors as noted in each article's footer lines.

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Created 26 Jan 2008. Last correction: 17 Jan 2010.