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Developing student skills for the next decade

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Educating for diversity and values education through children's literature and the Early Years Learning Framework

Helen Adam
School of Education, Edith Cowan University
Email: h.adam@ecu.edu.au

This paper examines a key challenge facing higher education providers: that of preparing undergraduate teachers and childcare workers to work within increasingly diverse classrooms and care centres. The author discusses this through examining the aims of the recently released Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the value of using children's literature to achieve the outcomes of the EYLF. The author makes a case for curriculum developers and higher education trainers of early childhood carers and educators to understand the value of using children's literature as a resource to achieve the outcomes of the EYLF. A particular emphasis is placed on considering the need for educators and carers to recognise how their own socialisation, upbringing and education may impact on their attitudes and approaches to selecting and using children's literature. The author firstly looks at the background and key aims of the EYLF. The author examines research evidence of the uses of children's literature in values education and in the social, emotional and the psychological development of the child. The author also examines research that relates to challenges of poor and biased text selection as well as the impact of teacher attitudes on text selection and use. The paper concludes with a challenge to curriculum designers and higher education providers to consider these challenges in order to ensure that early childhood educators receive appropriate training and curriculum guidance to best achieve the outcomes of the EYLF.
Keywords: children's literature; curriculum, early childhood, diversity, multicultural education.

Improving student skills through the integration of auditing theory and practice

Prerana Agrawal
The University of Western Australia
Email: prerana.agrawal@uwa.edu.au

The Auditing unit has provided the undergraduate students with relevant terminology, principles, standards, theory and an overview of the audit process. To allow students to apply the audit principles and theoretical knowledge to a set of "real life" facts, a case study developed in consistence with the methodology and the audit documentation used by Ernst and Young was incorporated into the unit.

The case study was a group activity carried out in the two-hour lecture session during the last four weeks of the semester. Based on a diamond company, it walked the students through the various stages of audit such as understanding the client's business, assessment of risks associated with the business, planning the audit, setting the materiality levels, identifying the areas of concern, selection of audit procedures, evaluation of findings and forming an audit opinion. Each week, the case study comprised of approximately 30 minutes of reading, 30 minutes of group discussion and 20 minutes of writing. By providing answer templates, concise and quality answers were ensured. The case study by elucidating the audit function was a step towards improving student employability, strengthening of their technical communication skills, capacity to work in teams and actively engage in the learning process. The case study required the students to exercise judgement and justify their choices in the various phases of the audit. It honed both their problem-solving and decision-making skills. Keywords: audit case study, team work, learning process, audit documentation

Pop rocks! Developing multiple graduate attributes in first year geoscience students

Leslie D. Almberg
Applied Geology, WASM, Curtin University of Technology
Email: L.Almberg@curtin.edu.au

Popular culture abounds with ill-conceived notions about how the earth works. Movies, books, music, television and even video games (e.g. 2012, Volcano, Dante's Peak, The Core, etc.) frequently misrepresent fundamental scientific principles and earth processes, warping the viewer's perception of the world around them. First year geoscience students are not immune to pop culture's portrayal of earth science and the misconceptions they bring to Geology 101 clouds their ability to differentiate between fact and fiction.

Working within an action research context, a semester-long assessment was designed with the intent to highlight and subsequently challenge students' misconceptions using examples of .bad geoscience' from pop culture. Students were required to practice and refine general employability skills such as written and oral communication, interpersonal relations, critical thinking, information literacy, and IT within this context. The project was assessed in three progressive stages: first, a low-stakes short proposal, wherein students could test their ideas and receive feedback early in the semester; second, a short essay built on the proposal, uncovering the misconceptions found in their pop piece and suggesting solutions; and finally, collaborating with a peer group to create a multimedia presentation showcasing problems with the piece of pop culture and promoting creative alternative scenarios. This project was a success in engaging students and developing their generic skills, but requires refinement to become more effective in enhancing their geoscience literacy. The lessons learned and student feedback from the trial run are applied in the cycle of iterative assessment design.

Hot links to English language development resources and services: The UWA English language corner
Refereed Professional Practice paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Siri Barrett-Lennard
The University of Western Australia
Email: siri.barrettlennard@uwa.edu.au

The UWA English Language Corner aims at assisting students to develop English language skills anywhere, anytime. Employing free social bookmarking and tagging software powered by Delicious to overcome the barriers of time and space, this website assists students to navigate through the ever-growing range of services and resources for developing English language proficiency. Annotated links tagged by skill area make it easy for students to access relevant services and resources. The use of social bookmarking and tagging software, moreover, make the website simple to maintain. The English Language Corner is available at: http://www.studentservices.uwa.edu.au/page/156053
Keywords: English language development, English language proficiency, English language skills, academic language, academic communication, academic literacy, university English, tertiary English, social bookmarking and tagging, folksonomy

From post-enrolment language assessment to work ready: Good practice principles in action

Alex Barthel
Association for Academic Language and Learning and University of Technology Sydney
Email: Alex.Barthel@uts.edu.au

Students enrolling at Australian universities come from a variety of cultural, language and socio-economic backgrounds. Over a quarter of all Australian university students are non-English language speaking background international students, mainly from China and South Asia. Many local students also come from language backgrounds other than English. Universities are thus faced with considerable educational challenges, in particular, with assessing the wide range of students' levels of English language proficiency early in their course of study and addressing their needs for either remedial English or developmental academic language assistance within their areas of study.

The context of this paper is a long-term project at a large Australian urban university which is aimed at enhancing all students' academic and professional communication skills. The university is gradually implementing a systematic approach to ensure that all its students have the necessary communication skills to complete their studies and be prepared for employment. The project is an implementation of the DEEWR Good Practice Principles for English language proficiency for international students in Australian universities. This paper focuses on a pan institution Post-Enrolment Language Assessment (PELA) project, which informs the development of all students' communication skills within their discipline area.

Processes include the design, implementation and grading of language assessment tasks as well as the development and integration of language support within students' academic course structure and throughout the length of their university studies. Details of the project outcomes to date will be presented and discussed. Pedagogical and policy issues as well as resource implications, which are wide ranging for a project of this size, will also be discussed.

What's the problem with learning?

Steve Benson
Edith Cowan University
Email: s.benson@ecu.edu.au

Much of university teaching is grounded in a traditional or semi-traditional mode, that is it is lecturer centric and at least partly didactic. There are numerous reasons for this which include: a reluctance to change on the part of academics; the changing nature of the student demographic; an increasing emphasis on "education as a service"; risk averse behaviour on the part of academics and academic managers fearing adverse student feedback and the financial imperatives which require the maximisation of student progress and retention (Benson, 2010). While "safe", traditional approaches to pedagogy do not prepare students for the world of work and this is problematic (Savery, 2006). By contrast, problem based learning (PBL) exposes students to realistic scenarios which are often ill defined. The methods students use to solve problems are often as important as the answers, and in many cases there are no "right" answers. PBL is grounded in constructivism and student centred learning (Ally, 2004). However it seems that there is uncertainty about what PBL comprises and, for reasons hinted at above, some reluctance to implement it. This paper gives an introduction to PBL, considers the benefits and the barriers to introduction. The author's pilot program using PBL for an online systems analysis and design at a Canadian university will be reviewed. The author concludes PBL helps to prepare students for the workplace and produces better outcomes and makes recommendations for successful implementation of PBL.
Keywords: problem based learning, constructivism, improved student outcomes, student skills development

Preparing health science graduates for the future: The role of inter-professional education

Margo Brewer and Diane Franklin
Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University
Email: m.brewer@curtin.edu.au, d.franklin@curtin.edu.au

Interprofessional Education (two or more professions learning with, from and about each other) is internationally recognised as a key strategy in addressing the needs of the health workforce of the future. In 2010 the World Health Organization mandated that interprofessional education be a core component of all health science curricula. Evidence indicates that authentic, interactive interprofessional learning experiences facilitate students' development of a positive attitude towards collaboration. However, questions remain about whether this has any impact on student behaviour when they enter the complex world of health and social care practice. To prepare our graduates for the future new models of interprofessional practice and supervision are required. The Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin University have developed an Interprofessional Practice Program which provides fieldwork placements for students from many disciplines within health sciences in a wide range of settings. This program incorporates three critical areas: practice, education and research. A comprehensive student orientation as well as professional development for the staff involved in these placements was developed. Quantitative and qualitative evaluations of these practice-based learning experiences were undertaken.

This presentation will outline the development, implementation and evaluation of the Interprofessional Practice Program including the challenges and their solutions along with the benefits to all stakeholders: students, staff, clients and our industry partners.
Keywords: practice, industry, interprofessional education

Employability skills in the Master of Professional Accounting: One school's journey
Refereed Research paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Diane Bunney and Len Therry
School of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Edith Cowan University
Email: l.therry@ecu.edu.au

This paper describes the efforts made by the School of Accounting, Finance and Economics at Edith Cowan University (ECU) to address concerns expressed by the accounting profession, employer groups, higher education reviews and universities regarding the employability of accounting graduates and the need for accounting graduates to demonstrate a higher level of competence in non-technical skills. A comprehensive review of the twelve core units of the Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) program at ECU was undertaken in order to investigate this issue. The initial stage of the review involved the identification of the key 'employability skills' required of accounting graduates and the next stage involved the determination of the extent to which these employability skills are currently being addressed in the program. The findings are based on the examination of unit plans, interviews with unit coordinators, the results of surveys as well as meetings with other key stakeholders. Evidence from the review indicated that there was no coordinated approach towards addressing employability skills in the MPA program; strategies currently employed are inconsistent and lack appropriate content, assessment and feedback; and there is inadequate consultation with other stakeholders. A proposed framework for the embedding and scaffolding of employability skills across all twelve core units of the MPA is presented along with a number of strategies for the implementation of this framework.

Using worksheets and the Internet to improve student learning outcomes
Refereed Research paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Madeleine Bussemaker, Shannan Maisey and Duncan Wild
The University of Western Australia
Email: bussem01@student.uwa.edu.au, maises03@student.uwa.edu.au, duncan.wild@uwa.edu.au

Undergraduate laboratory classes are being reviewed and in some cases scaled back because they are expensive to run compared to the learning outcomes for students. We believe that practical experience is essential and should remain an important part of undergraduate chemistry courses. However significant adaptations should be made to broaden the skills that students can take from these classes. We proposed to make changes which increased the value of laboratories as a tool for educating new scientists without increasing the workload for staff or students. The assessment tasks were altered to focus on learning outcomes and resources were improved and made available online and in hardcopy for students and teachers. Worksheets were introduced for each laboratory experiment and the number of full laboratory report assessments halved. The provision of worksheets placed an emphasis on the key chemical concepts and aided students in their understanding of scientific writing conventions. Students were provided with an explicit guide to writing laboratory reports and given feedback on their writing technique. The submission system was moved to the online student platform WebCT to increase flexibility and improve the quality and speed of feedback. These changes were met favorably by students, and the subsequent improvement in quality of student work was noted by the assessors. The study highlighted the importance of demonstrators as teaching staff and the need to provide them with adequate training and resources. While we acknowledge that further development is required we believe that by broadening the focus of assessment beyond chemical theory the needs of cross discipline students were met while still providing chemistry majors with a solid laboratory background.

Selling the dream: Are we offering employability or making a vocational offer?
Refereed Professional Practice paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Ruth Callaghan
Edith Cowan University
Email: r.callaghan@ecu.edu.au

Journalism programs developed in Australia in the early 20th century and flourished in the late 1980s and 1990s (Sheridan Burns, 2003; Stuart, 1997). A decade into the 21st century, there are more than 20 journalism programs around Australia competing for students interested in studying the profession and learning its practices. While research suggests just a third of these students will end up working in the industry, studies also show many students are unhappy if they miss out on a journalistic job, believing it a natural progression from their undergraduate studies into journalism employment. This paper investigates the online information provided to potential journalism students at different Australian universities and private colleges, with the intention of assessing how strongly educators are making a link between the skills offered within a set degree and eventual employment in the journalism industry. It finds that some online handbooks effectively make a 'vocational offer', linking study with a career in the field, while others are more anxious to promote multiple career paths. It argues increased candour is not, in fact, a disadvantage and could allow universities to diversify its appeal to students beyond a small core of would-be journalists.
Keywords: journalism; employability; prospectus; student expectations

Digital forms of assessment: Assessing in the digital age

Alistair Campbell
School of Education, Edith Cowan University
Email: a.campbell@ecu.edu.au

Future generations will look back at current assessment practices and wonder why it took so long to replace pen and paper assessment with quality digital forms of assessment. Digitisation of the assessment process, from student work to the recording of marks is occurring now but haphazardly and is often only a replication of the paper assessment process.

This presentation will explore the value of taking digital assessment all the way: from the task (usually in digital form) and the marking criteria, to using digital rubrics for marking and electronic feedback, and automating the digital managementof student results with the focus will be on the marking process. Working examples will be provided of what's possible now, along with guidance on how to write good rubrics. This presentation will argue through demonstration that it is time that we (in education) catch up with the rest of society and move into the digital world, especially went considering the assessment process. This lack of digitisation of the assessment process is resulting in reduced effectiveness of the assessment process. The presentation will start with a discussion about the value of going completely digital through the whole assessment process, including: development of instructional rubric based on assessment task; the student task - type of digital responses; submission - in digital form; the assessment of the task in digital form - digital rubrics; improved feedback to students; and management and reporting of the assessment results

Virtuality in team work: The UWA case study

Donella Caspersz, Marie Kavanagh, Leisa Sargent and Grant Lee
The University of Western Australia
Email: a Donella.Caspersz@uwa.edu.au

In this paper, we describe how we created a virtual umbrella for students to complete a team project in a business programme at the University of Western Australia, and present research findings analysing the outcomes. Our project was supported by a grant from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

In the first part of the paper we describe the model we developed to guide our project. Our model sought to understand antecedents and outcomes of virtuality on student teamwork. After discussing these, the second part of the paper describes the major components of the programme we developed. These were the use of a web quest team exercise embedded in the WebCT LMS system, supported by a synchronous virtual discussion environment using Google Wave. Development of these was informed by a constructivist approach to teaching and learning.

Qualitative and quantitative methodology was used to collect data assessing both student and teaching staff responses. Our results were not very promising. They confirmed ambivalence amongst students to engaging with virtuality in completing their team project. Our findings have raised questions about the ambience framing student engagement with virtuality in teamwork. As a result of our experience and analysis we argue that attention needs to be paid to how we create a virtual learning culture that legitimises the adoption of virtuality in teamwork as a teaching and learning tool. The final section of our paper presents recommendations of how we may approach this task using our teaching and learning strategies.

e-Books for research and knowledge creation!

Atul Chandra
Faculty of Business & Law, Edith Cowan University
Email: a.chandra@ecu.edu.au

New opportunities and challenges of the digital age are creating a paradigm shift in research, teaching and learning. As a result, the traditional education model based on the printed book, is radically being transformed. There is now an opportunity to convert the existing "educational factories" into future "educational laboratories", by exploiting constructivist methodologies. For maximum impact, it is imperative that the rapidly evolving digital technologies, such as e-Books enable academic research and education in a constructivist way.

In order to evaluate the digital needs of academia, the definition of digital natives and digital immigrants have been expanded to introduce the concepts of e-Citizen, digital appetite and multi-dimensional e-Citizen framework. It is expected that e-Citizens with higher digital appetite within the e-Citizen framework will embrace e-Books more readily. e-books are not just books as information repositories in electronic form, but are actually multi-functional learning objects. In the future, e-Books on the web will become a powerful electronic platform to conduct collaborative research and impart education. The initiatives which were taken to embed e-Books in the teaching curriculum of two post graduate units arose, as a constructivist approach was taken, so that students could create their own knowledge during the learning process. For this purpose, e-Books were either included in the publisher's companion website containing interactive e-resources or they were downloadable on computers.

A survey was undertaken to investigate the acceptance and usability levels of the embedded e-Books in these post-graduate programs. As expected, the digital natives embraced it enthusiastically using its powerful features and have been keen to adapt the new advancements. In contrast, digital immigrants appreciated the e-Book capabilities, but still preferred the printed book. The result from this survey and the world-wide research which has been conducted, shows that although the uptake of e-Books has been initially slow, but they are rapidly gaining popularity. Academia is already harnessing the power of e-book for its random access, portability, replication, book-marking, highlighting and many other multi-faceted capabilities. The future of e-Books is even more promising for researchers, teachers and students to create real-time knowledge with advanced collaborative and real-time technologies, such as wiki-books and mobiles. It is a constructivist educator's dream to have electronic tools where knowledge can effectively and efficiently be extracted, mixed and customised for an individual or collaborative team. As a result, integration in research, teaching and learning can be conducted anytime and anywhere. An on-going study will be implemented to investigate and monitor the usability of e-Books in some post-graduate and under-graduate programs, especially using mobile platforms, such as i-Pads.
Keywords: digital appetites, e-books, e-citizens, e-learning, digital natives, digital immigrants, e-residents, e-visitors, digital in-exile, multi-dimensional e-Citizen framework.

Achieving educational equity through engaged partnerships, teaching and research-informed practice

Brenda Cherednichenko
Edith Cowan University
Email: b.cherednichenko@ecu.edu.au

The development of happy and successful children, adults and communities is the responsibility of whole communities. Families, schools and universities working in partnership with policy makers have critical resources to engage all young people and the wider community in authentic learning and enable genuine pathways to learning, employment and civic engagement. This paper draws on international research and practice, and examines and compares how three universities are responding reflexively in their learning and teaching practice and institutional organisation to the call to improve educational access, participation and success. From remote Indigenous Australian communities, to urban low socio-economic neighbourhoods, to border communities in south-west United States, some universities are changing to better respond to the learning needs of those who have not had full access in the past. In doing so, lessons have been learned for students, for academics and for communities. This paper reports research which documents and compares these practices and identifies critical elements of successful educational partnerships between communities and universities and proposes a model to scaffold change and support effective and sustainable outcomes for all partners. This paper argues that invested community-university partnerships are the essential drivers for policy and practical change which results in social inclusion for improved community outcomes.

Measuring success: Evaluating an online community using the Facebook fan page for UWA students
Refereed Professional Practice paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Lisa Cluett and Hon Weng Benjamin Seah
The University of Western Australia
Email: lisa.cluett@uwa.edu.au

Australian Universities have joined the growing global trend of building online student communities for recruitment, engagement and relationship building. Many of these communities are built using Facebook, including the one at UWA which was developed by Student Services in response to the annual survey of student ICT needs and skills. Now that communities are being part of mainstream university activities, there is a growing area of interest and research in generating benchmarking data, advice, standards and measurement in community building to determine the success of these engagement initiatives. Most of this benchmarking applies to communities aimed at marketing and recruiting potential students to the institution. For communities that prioritise the engagement of current and incoming students (including referral, demystification and explanation) this paper asserts that most meaningful way to determine the success of the online community is to gather a range of qualitative data from the community members themselves.
Keywords: student engagement, online communities, Facebook, benchmarking

55 minute workshop
Emerging technologies: How can staff learn from and teach each other using the 'viral' model of leadership?

Lisa Cluett and Judy Skene
The University of Western Australia
Email: lisa.cluett@uwa.edu.au

This workshop will introduce the 'viral' model of educational leadership and demonstrate to participants how it can be applied in their workplaces at a range of scales to improve staff skills in emerging technologies. The workshop will include application of the model, scenario discussion and brainstorming around barriers. Participants will be invited to join the project's online community and consider becoming involved in the networking and professional development activities in 2011.

This workshop aims to:

This session is aimed at any staff interested in online student programs. This may staff aiming to improve their online presence including building communities and discussions, delivering services and providing programs online. It is open to academic and professional staff with an interest in how they can develop their skills in emerging technologies and join a growing community of leaders in WA that use interactive tools to enhance the student experience. Participants do not need any expertise in emerging technologies but should be interested and curious about how they can be used with students outside the teaching-context.

This workshop is offered as part of the ALTC-funded 'viral' project which is exploring a new model of educational leadership. The project focuses on how professional staff learn, apply and pass on skills in emerging technologies for student engagement and community building. Information sessions about the project have bee presented at UWA, ECU and Murdoch Universities during 2010 and networking professional development events have been hosted at the same institutions. The project website and online community can be found at: http://www.altc-viral.groupsite.com

A detailed explanation of the viral model can be found in the paper accepted to the EDUCAUSE conference in Sydney (April 2011) entitled Infecting professional staff with the emerging tech 'virus': how the leadership game has changed.

iPortfolio: A tool for health promotion students

Jude A. Comfort
School of Public Health, Curtin University of technology
Email: j.comfort@curtin.edu.au

Health promotion undergraduate students at Curtin University complete Professional Practice in Public Health in their final year as a work integrated learning unit. The unit incorporates the use of an electronic professional portfolio, a Curtin University developed iPortfolio. This paper reports on how the iPortfolio is used within the unit allowing students to reflect over the whole three-year course, not just a single unit or work placement. Importantly it provides a tool for students to record and consolidate evidence to support course reflections and attainment of Curtin University graduate competencies. Challenges of using iPortfolio will be discussed including the impact of differing IT literacy skills and moderation activities for academic staff. Some solutions will be proposed.

From 2011 all students within the Faculty of Health Sciences will be introduced to iPortfolio from their first year of study. It is hoped that it will be used across a range of units through the course of completing a degree. This should allow the recording and reflection on cumulative skills and professional competencies to be gained throughout their university degree. The paper will conclude with a discussion on the potential of iPortfolio from both a student and a teaching perspective especially in relation to having students ready to enter the workforce at the conclusion of their degree.

Work integrated learning for Food Science graduates

Ranil Coorey
School of Public Health, Curtin University
Email: r.coorey@curtin.edu.au

In 2008 the Food Science and Technology Program at Curtin University undertook a major review of its undergraduate degree, the BSc (Food Science and Technology). The course was benchmarked against international standards and input was gathered from food industry representatives and employers. The review confirmed a strong need for industry ready graduates who are independent and innovative thinkers. In response to this feedback the course was restructured focusing on work integrated learning. In the restructure, units were set-up to cover the fundamentals of food processing and food engineering. After completing these units, students now undertake the unit Food Processing and Preservation where they work in an environment that mirrors actual food industry settings. The learning activities are designed to develop students' skills in interpersonal communication and to integrate knowledge gained over the previous semesters. One of the learning outcomes requires students to provide innovative solutions to identified problems in food processing and preservation, which is achieved by an assessment task that where students need to develop a commercialiseable food product. The products are judged by an independent panel comprising of industry representative. The food industry supports this approach and provides assistance and material. The Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia grants an award for the winner, which also brings together industry representative. The student feedback over the last two years e has been very positive. The presentation will highlight the increase graduate employability within the food science and technology program

The value of practical placements: What student journalists learnt while working with Aboriginal communities
Refereed Professional Practice paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

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

Non-Aboriginal journalists seldom get to meet and talk with Aboriginal people about their life and beliefs, and this often results in narrow and misinformed reporting. This paper reports on an ongoing initiative between the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health (CUCRH) and the undergraduate journalism program at Edith Cowan University. Every January and July (since July 2008), eight final-year ECU journalism students spend a month with Aboriginal communities in two Western Australian towns in the Pilbara region. This is a significant departure from the usual ECU journalism placement unit, where students apply for a one-month internship in a Perth based newsroom and seldom leave the confines of the city news environment. The aim of this project is to help students achieve a better understanding of Aboriginal communities and culture, and, consequently, a more informed approach to their reporting of Aboriginal issues. The paper explains how the project began and the difficulties involved in setting up and developing such a placement. It also includes feedback from journalism students.

Engaging in the Humanities

Cathy Cupitt and Sue Trinidad
Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University
Email: C.Cupitt@curtin.edu.au, S.Trinidad@curtin.edu.au

Engaging in the Humanities was the title given to the new first year communications skills unit developed for the 'super' Bachelor of Arts after collapsing eight single Bachelor degrees into one in the Faculty of Humanities ready for operation in 2010. This new communications unit was developed through extensive research and modelled on best practice through the work of a dedicated group of staff. The paper reports on the process and data gathered after a full year of operation of running the unit with over 1200 students on campus, and through online and OUA modes. By significantly refining offerings and producing professional content via Blackboard for the new unit, the team have value-added and produced a product that is distinctive in the market for students studying in the fields of Design, Creative Arts, Media, Communication, Culture, Asian Languages and Social Sciences.

Building researcher capacity: A matter of conditions not constraints

Terry de Jong, Marguerite Cullity, Sue Sharp, Sue Spiers and Julia Wren
Edith Cowan University
Email: t.dejong@ecu.edu.au, m.cullity@ecu.edu.au, s.sharp@ecu.edu.au, s.spiers@ecu.edu.au, j.wren@ecu.edu.au

The concept of research capacity building is complex and debated across academic literature. There is, however, agreement that research capacity building is about developing the capabilities of researchers in respect to a set of 'processes' and 'process outcomes'; for example: written grant applications; research design, methodologies and techniques; and dissemination practices. Educational research capacity building is vital if Australian higher education is to promote an expert researcher population and to remain economically competitive within a globalised economy. These outcomes require a government and university sector commitment to learning, teaching and research.

A team of Edith Cowan University academics who collaborated on an Education research project experienced the building of their individual and collective research capacity as an unplanned and highly valued outcome of the project. The significance of this outcome encouraged the team to each reflect on their research capacity building experiences, with an external researcher interviewing individual team members. Interview data was electronically and thematically coded. A preliminary analysis of the data shows conditions that support or hinder research capacity building. These conditions include: Structures (i.e., meetings/institutional support) and Process (i.e., leadership). The work is located within a development framework which illustrates from a systems theory perspective the inter-relatedness of these conditions and proposes how ideally they can be promoted to optimise research capacity building. Evidence of the team's research capacity building includes increased knowledge, confidence and ability to: write grant applications and journal articles, conduct research, disseminate research findings, undertake postgraduate study, and participate in research informed teaching.

55 minute workshop
On retreat: Listening to my heart, soul, and inner teacher

Heather Deighan and Michael Wood
The University of Western Australia
Email: heather.deighan@uwa.edu.au, michael.wood@uwa.edu.au

Conversation in triads: "How I became the teacher I am"

Workshop themes
Retreat principles and practice
Sustainability of the life within the university community
Reflective process - A form and process of guided self reflection
Form and structure
Boundary markers

The workshop will provide a brief overview of the reflective retreats at UWA, to encapsulate an experience of being on retreat. Since 2008 away from the university Michael Wood and Heather Deighan facilitate reflective retreats. Two night residential retreats provide a space for participants to explore the relationship between their inner lives and the outer practice of teaching and academic life. Through an invitational process participants experience co-creation of reflective exercises. The retreats and the workshop provide a space to engage more deeply with the inner life, which sustains teaching practice. The process involves a combination of reflection on third things, personal quiet time; and the practice of deep listening. The workshop process is framed through the "who" question - who is the self that teaches? How does the quality of the selfhood form or deform the way I relate to family, my work, my colleagues, and my world? (Palmer J Palmer, 1998, The Courage to Teach). The workshop is based on the approach of Parker J Palmer. His writings in "The Courage to Teach"(1998); "A Hidden Wholeness"(1999); and "Let your Life Speak" (1999).

We aim to co-create an environment of trust, to enable and support participants in 'Being present - listening to the heart and soul of the inner teacher.' Boundary markers are carefully agreed at the beginning so that everyone feels safe to participate at whatever level they wish, without pressure. Co-creating a sense of safety deepens trust and supports building inner resources.

Workshop objective
The workshop provides the opportunity for participants: to connect with the vital parts of their practice to explore their teacher self.

Workshop activities
Introduction to Parker Palmer and Circles of Trust
Overview of UWA retreats and ongoing meetings
Exploration of the difference between Expressive and Descriptive languages

In the workshop participants can choose to engage within the group in an exploration of a poem -'Poetry Reflection' or within a triad - 'Reflection on Myself as a Teacher.'

Poetry reflection
Exploration of a poem; Debrief of the experience

Reflection on myself as a teacher
Set up of discussion questions for working in triads; Retreat and engagement; Safety and trust; Opening the space; Overhearing ourselves; Alone together

Workshop questions
How does this experience speak to me?
How am I touched?
What do I ask of myself about this experience?
Who is the self that teaches?
How does the quality of the selfhood form or deform the way I relate to family, my work, my colleagues, and my world?
Exploration of the different between Expressive and Descriptive languages

Debrief of the experience
The workshop provides the opportunity for participants to experience a pause and on retreat - to refresh, re-clarify and reconnect to what is most important internally, to sustain their academic lives.

Changing from conventional to block teaching: Benefits and pitfalls for architecture students

Michele Doray and Sarah Beeck
Curtin University of Technology
Email: M.B.A.Doray@curtin.edu.au, S.Beeck@curtin.edu.au

As a teaching methodology, block-teaching has had both its proponents and opponents. Would this methodology be appropriate in the discipline of Interior Architecture? Would learning outcomes be compromised and student experiences be limited as a result of block teaching? These were the two main questions this pilot study sought to investigate. The study germinated as a result of a comprehensive course review during which block-teaching was recommended as a teaching methodology for second and third year students in 2011. This recommendation necessitated a study which would examine the benefits and pitfalls of block-teaching so that teething issues could be ironed out prior to full implementation. The study aimed to track and compare student achievements over two semesters; one prior to block -teaching and the other while two units were block taught. The unit discussed is Interior Architecture Technical Studies 222, semester 2 2010, and it was taught with the same content in the semester 2 of 2009. The study involved a comparison of teaching methodologies over the two semesters as well as students' final projects. Ultimately, the results of the study will inform the teaching and learning objectives of the department and provide an assessment on the enhancement or otherwise of learning outcomes. This is the first of a series of studies on block teaching which aim to be self-reflective. One of the main limitations of the study was the use of content material which was not specifically written for block-teaching. While this will be addressed prior to implementation in 2011, feedback from both staff and students indicate that block-teaching has enhanced students learning experiences which was not compromised by the compacted mode of teaching.

Pedagogical value of innocence projects

Lisa Duffy
Edith Cowan University
Email: l.duffy@ecu.edu.au

Despite their philosophies, policies and services receiving increasing attention from scholars, the pedagogy of school-based innocence projects has thus far been overlooked. Although many of these projects serve as clinical models of legal education, it is unclear whether they have been required to justify their pedagogical value; as it seems the popularity of these projects, the identified need for such projects in the community, and the importance of the philosophies they adopt may be responsible for securing their success within schools. However, teaching and learning processes and outcomes identified by educators facilitating these projects are met with many challenges.

Furthermore, earlier this year, stemming from the recommendations from the Bradley Law Review of Higher Education, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) was established to evaluate the performances of institutions and their study programmes against a range of standards criteria which are to be aligned with academic standards that will represent Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLO's). In the case of law schools, these standards will assist in determining law students' graduate attributes and will include what they will be expected to be able to practise, know and understand. This paper will discuss the challenges identified by the educators facilitating Edith Cowan University's Sellenger Centre Criminal Justice Review (CJR) Project in terms of questioning how the project should teach students (based on TLO's), how the project meets these outcomes, and how the project assesses these outcomes.
Keywords: pedagogy, innocence project, clinical legal practice, law graduate skills

Standardising university English language entry requirements: One university's journey

Katie Dunworth
Curtin University of Technology
Email: k.dunworth@curtin.edu.au

The issue of student English language requirements for entry into Australian universities has been widely debated, primarily from the perspective of whether or not entry standards have been set at an appropriate level of English language proficiency. However, one aspect of the debate that has not been explored with the same vigour is the commensurability of the range of tests and courses which universities accept as capable of measuring entry-level English language proficiency, and the comparability of the scores on each measure which are accepted for entry. This paper describes one university's attempt to address this question over the course of a two-year period. The paper begins by explaining the rationale for action and goes on to analyse the processes that were undertaken to achieve the desired outcomes. The paper concludes by identifying the major challenges that were encountered along the way, and by describing the issues which have yet to be addressed.

Using blended learning to support practical and studio-based classes

Kim Flintoff
Centre for eLearning, Curtin University of Technology
Email: k.flintoff@curtin.edu.au

More and more classes in practical areas are trying to best utilise available time during face-to-face and studio/workshop sessions. In order to extend student engagement with theoretical and reflective aspects it is possible to draw upon the ubiquitous forms of online discussion forum, blog, wiki and reflective journal. Effective use of these tools can foster the development of personal learning networks for students; provide a platform for engagement beyond class time; and extend students with rich reflective activities that incorporate a critical engagement with theoretical perspectives in a discipline. This session will consider the strategies and results of student engagement in an elective Drama Education unit. The study considers the nature of the online tasks, the requisite scaffolding and staff input to assist students with a richer engagement than was possible in the 2 hours per week when the class met face-to-face. The study also looks at student behaviours and usage patterns in relation to the online learning environment that was created.

Communication tools and strategies, engaging staff, embedding skills, moving a faculty online

Kim Flintoff and Sue Trinidad
Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University of Technology
Email: s.trinidad@curtin.edu.au, K.Flintoff@curtin.edu.au

With strategic FLC funding and a project plan, along with the assistance of an eLearning Advisor to work with staff, a Faculty progressed to ensure that all first year unit offerings in the new Bachelor of Arts degree were developed and provisioned with web support via Blackboard for 2010. This paper discusses the successes and challenges of implementing such a large scale project in a Faculty with over 1200 first year students and 25 Major coordinators where the vast majority of units are offered face-to-face only but some are offered externally and managed in a fully online context. The intention has been to develop local capacity for managing online sites within the staff who managed the units and for each unit to at least meet the benchmark of Level 3 on a 5-level scale. Using a minimum benchmark for a web-supported unit as a 'Blended' online environment which complements campus based teaching and includes administrative details, documents and reading links, discussion and additional resources, the outcomes of the first year of this project have been achieved and reviewed. Useful strategies are discussed such as recognising and sharing staff uptake - letting staff explain to their peers the discoveries and benefits they've found using various tools and approaches; self-evaluation and forward planning tools for staff (most effective for unit developers - less so for tutors, etc); and embedding "elearning experts" in teaching roles in large units to model exemplary practice. The project has also informed policy development, benchmarking and standards, and similar strategic undertakings in other faculties and centres within the university. It has also identified some key areas required in staff development and generated some common approaches to learning activities in the online context.

Using online learning to foster interprofessional health education: An IPE dementia case study

Diane Franklin, Jade Cartwright and Sue Gillieatt
Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University of Technology
Email: d.franklin@curtin.edu.au, j.cartwright@curtin.edu.au, s.gillieatt@curtin.edu.au

The ageing demographic in Australia will have a significant impact on workforce planning and development in all professions working across many health care settings. Providing care to this ageing population requires the development of more effective and collaborative health professionals. Interprofessional education (IPE, two or more professions learning with, from and about each other) is internationally recognised as a key strategy in creating such a workforce (World Health Organization, 2010). The Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin University has a strong IPE agenda, supporting a range of initiatives in which healthcare students share knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for collaborative practice.

This presentation will showcase one such initiative, generously supported by the WA Dementia Training Study and the goodwill of five academic staff members. The IPE dementia case study was piloted online in September 2010 and involved 125 students from social work, occupational therapy, nursing, speech pathology, and health information management. An overview of the development phase, implementation and online facilitation will be provided. Quantitative results from the pre and post student evaluation will also be presented leading into reflections on the outcomes and future development of this on-line IPE case study.
Keywords: online learning, case study, dementia, interprofessional education

Addressing the development of the affective domain: High fidelity video to support realism in assessing psychiatric illness

Andrew Gardner
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia
David Birbeck
Learning and Teaching Unit, University of South Australia
Kate Andre
School of Nursing Midwifery and Post Graduate Medicine, Edith Cowan University
Email: Andrew.Gardner@unisa.edu.au, David.Birbeck@unisa.edu.au, c.andre@ecu.edu.au

The need to have nursing students develop interpersonal skills and attitudes that will support them in assessing clients with possible psychiatric illness is compelling. However, there is evidence that students skilled in the task of mental state assessments often take the 'safe road' by avoiding deeper levels of engagement with clients and failing to 'ask the difficult questions' within interactions while on clinical placement. The ultimate aim of the authors' work is to develop a means of supporting and assessing students' attitudinal development and preparedness to engage with clients with mental illness. This paper focuses on the design of high fidelity video leading to effective attitudinal learning and interpersonal skills development. The learning environment design presented draws on three educational frameworks; Biggs Constructive Alignment (Biggs, 1996), Millers' Triangle (Miller, 1990) and Bloom's taxonomy of the affective domain (Bloom, Englehart, Furst, Hill & Krathwohl, 1956; Krathwohl, 2002). This paper details how the authenticity of the students learning experience has been enhanced by various design features, including; using clinical experts as actors, and hence ensuring that the clinical nuances of the psychiatric are captured in the experience; plus various filming, editing and teaching approaches to support the students' experience of being the assessing practitioner.
Keywords: affective domain, high fidelity video, mental state assessment, teaching resource development

What does professional development achieve and how would I know?

Allan Goody
Curtin University
Denise Chalmers
The University of Western Australia
Veronica Goerke
Curtin University
Sue Stoney
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.goody@curtin.edu.au, Denise.Chalmers@uwa.edu.au, v.goerke@curtin.edu.au, s.stoney@ecu.edu.au

With greater attention being paid to the quality of teaching in universities more broadly, and in individual performance reviews and promotion more specifically, there are clear expectations that teaching staff will provide evidence of the quality of their teaching and of ongoing participation in teaching development programs. At the same time, academic developers are under increasing pressure to demonstrate the impact of the professional development activities that they provide for academic staff.The range and types of professional development programs and activities vary considerably from formally accredited programs such as Graduate Certificates in Tertiary Teaching, to Foundations of Teaching programs for academics new to teaching, to less formal programs with incidental workshops and seminars including peer review of teaching and processes and discussions through networks and communities of practice. Activities might be offered centrally or through schools, faculties or discipline groups. A review of the literature clearly shows that measuring the impact of these programs on enhancing teaching practice, student satisfaction, student learning and/or the institutional climate that rewards and recognises teaching has received little attention. Drawing on preliminary work undertaken for an ALTC funded project we will explore measures/evidence of impact from both the perspective of the designers and facilitators of these programs (academic developers) and the participants in these programs (university teachers). The discussion will focus on the question: What evidence would or could you provide to demonstrate that you have achieved the outcomes of teaching preparation programs in which you have participated?

Modelling professional practice: The iPortfolio for university teachers

Allan Goody and Brian R. von Konsky
Curtin University of Technology
Email: a.goody@curtin.edu.au, b.vonkonsky@curtin.edu.au

ePortfolios are a tool for students to evidence the development of competencies and the achievement of learning outcomes in their program of study. An ePortfolio can also be used by teachers for their own professional learning and to showcase the development of their professional competencies and achievements as well as modelling its use to their students. The Curtin University iPortfolio is being used in the Curtin Foundations of Learning and Teaching program as a medium for teachers to evidence their achievement of the program learning outcomes. Participants in the program use the iPortfolio to create an electronic Teaching Portfolio based on a template that outlines recommendations on the portfolio structure, types of artefacts and reflections that could be included. In addition to documents, the iPortfolio facilitates the inclusion of video and audio artefacts that can be used to demonstrate learning facilitation in the classroom and communication skills that are difficult to convey in print-based formats. Artefacts can be indexed so that they can be used in different contexts as appropriate and in a manner that is both dynamic and engaging. The format readily facilitates ongoing reflection and the maintenance of the teaching portfolio as a living document, rather than simply being an artefact repository. Teachers can selectively share their portfolios with mentors, peers and managers to seek their feedback. Artefacts can be "tagged" as evidence of particular professional and generic competencies. This presentation will demonstrate the use of the iPortfolio as a teaching portfolio that models professional practice.

Bringing the learning home: For now and for the next decade

Jan Gothard
Murdoch University
Email: j.gothard@murdoch.edu.au

Student exchange or study abroad is recognised as an increasingly important component of an undergraduate degree and research shows that a facilitated or supported process can greatly improve the outcomes in terms of cultural competence and personal and educational growth. Bringing the Learning Home, an ALTC-funded project presently being undertaken at Murdoch, Macquarie and the University of Wollongong, includes amongst its aims giving students skills and strategies to bring home their learning. As well as benefits in terms of campus internationalisation, another aspect of this - and the focus of this presentation - is working with students on converting experiences into concrete outcomes through assisting them to develop a portfolio of desirable employment attributes. Skills related to communication, working in multi-dimensional teams, problem solving, planning, organising and self-management can be important - and to a degree self-evident - outcomes of all study abroad experience; ways of teaching students to identify and understand these aspects of their learning through facilitated critical reflection are less obvious. Underlying this is an emphasis on showing students their own development of attributes such as imagination and vision; creativity and intellectual rigour; empathy; ethical practice; persistence; integrity; and tolerance. This project, still in its first year and very much in the formative stages of developing appropriate workshop strategies to achieve these goals, is driven by Aldous Huxley's (1932) adage, "Experience is not what happens to [one]; it is what [one] does with what happens ..."

Student perceptions of an English enrichment program

Kaye Haddrill, Phil Hancock and Eileen Thompson
The University of Western Australia
Email: kaye.haddrill@uwa.edu.au

This paper presents the outcomes of a number of focus group sessions held with international students who have participated in the English enrichment program run at The University of Western Australia (UWA) Business School in conjunction with its postgraduate Master of Professional Accounting (MPA).

When the MPA program commenced in Semester 1, 2009 UWA had expected a high demand for the program. The inclusion of Accounting on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) had seen large numbers of international students enrolling in other accounting conversion programs. In anticipation of the needs of the student cohort, the Business School developed an integrated program for English enrichment which ran over the duration of the three semester MPA course. The program worked closely with unit coordinators to choose enrichment methods suitable to each specific unit and was highly contextualised to the students' assessment needs. Over the last two years, from approximately 50 students, the program has rapidly grown and enrolments each semester are now more than double initial numbers. The recent maintenance of Accounting on the revised Skilled Occupation List announced in July ensures that the MPA program will continue to grow although probably at a lesser rate with the introduction of a new points test for skilled migration visas from 1 July 2011.

International students face a range of difficulties when choosing to study abroad but of critical importance is the ability to communicate in English. Spoken, written, aural and reading proficiency are each crucial to success. UWA, like many Australian universities is endeavouring to provide the support services required by international students, and this study assists us to better understand their expectations and requirements.

Moderation as an ongoing building block in course quality

Stephanie Hampson
Curtin University of Technology
Email: s.hampson@curtin.edu.au

With the increasing demand for student and staff accountability within the higher education sector it is extremely important that a variety of methods of moderation are looked at and investigated in regard to setting and maintaining standards. This presentation looks at a moderation project implemented in the new first year Humanities unit, The Design Experience 100, and its effect on the staff and students within the unit. The possible learning outcomes for students are broad and wide ranging and as such consistency of grades can be hard for students and even staff in the unit to understand or achieve. The result of this research is a collection of student work, teaching practices and assessment outcomes that can contribute not only to the long term success of the unit and the experiences of the students and tutoring staff but also to the body of knowledge in the discipline. It consists of a collection of student work representative of the various levels of achievement and of the range of projects that are possible. It is hoped that the collection will help to guide tutors currently teaching the unit, new tutors to the unit and even future students as to the variety and differences between the various levels achieved. This presentation will provide a model for how a successful, long term moderation practice with a large numbers of students and staff across a multidisciplinary field can be achieved.

Integrating academic and language skills within management units
Refereed Professional Practice paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Anne Harris and Joanna Ashton
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.harris@ecu.edu.au, j.ashton@ecu.edu.au

In Australian universities, student demographics over the past decade have changed markedly. The main shift is an increase in the number of students who have English as an additional language or are the first in their family to enter higher education. As student populations diversify, many universities are recognising that language and academic support programs require different emphases. For years, the fundamentals of learning support revolved around centrally run workshops and individual consultations but recently, a number of universities have moved towards contextualised in-course support.

This paper looks at a similar shift. In 2010, learning support at Edith Cowan University moved from a centralised model to being faculty based. The Faculty of Business and Law established a new Academic Skills Centre to service its diverse student population. Aiming to offer best practice, several methods have been adopted, the most successful of which is the integration of academic skills and English language support within targeted units in the School of Management.
Keywords: English language proficiency, embedded learning support, EAL students

Staff perspectives on the role of English proficiency in providing support services
Refereed Research paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Sophia A. Harryba and Andrew Guilfoyle
Edith Cowan University
Shirlee-ann Knight
Edith Cowan University and Curtin University
Email: sharryba@our.ecu.edu.au, a.guilfoyle@ecu.edu.au, s.knight@ecu.edu.au

A case study approach was applied to understand the challenges of offering support services to international students (IS) within a university setting. A social constructivist theoretical framework informed the collection and analysis of data. Perspectives from service providers - general and academic staff members and international students were triangulated. To date, 63 participants have been interviewed and preliminary findings show that although international students encounter a number of academic and socio-cultural difficulties during university transition, many do not access support services offered by university for various reasons including; perceived language and cultural barriers, unawareness, feeling uncomfortable; and avoiding any stigma associated with help-seeking. The data shows service providers too have reported difficulties when working with international students, such as cultural and language barriers, lack of staff, funding and training. The focus of the current paper will be on one of the major themes explicating these tensions, namely English proficiency which acts as a pervasive barrier for both staff service provision and students service utilisation. Implications of findings, recommendations for universities and direction for future research will be discussed in reference to this theme.

An eScholar program for academic staff to develop online learning tasks that introduce students to collaborative e-technologies

Anthony Herrington, Jacqui Kelly, Judy Schrape and Kim Flintoff
Centre for eLearning, Curtin University of Technology
Email: a.herrington@curtin.edu.au, jacqui.kelly@curtin.edu.au, j.schrape@curtin.edu.au, k.flintoff@curtin.edu.au

In 2009, Curtin University developed an eScholar program for academic staff to develop exemplary online learning tasks that would engage students using collaborative tools such as blogs, wikis, social media, and audio/visual programs. The presentation will include the early outcomes from projects that were conducted in 2010 and outline the learning tasks that will be conducted in 2011. We will share the reflections of the eScholars and briefly examine some of the skills both staff and their students needed to acquire to successfully implement and complete the online tasks.

Professional learning and the iPhone

Jan Herrington and Susan McKenzie
Murdoch University
Email: j.herrington@murdoch.edu.au, s.mckenzie@murdoch.edu.au

Mobile technologies are ubiquitous in society today. A recent study into student use of technologies found almost complete penetration of mobile phone ownership among higher education students (Moyle & Owen, 2009). Nevertheless, mobile learning has not significantly impacted on pedagogical practice in universities. Mobile devices, when they are used, continue to be used mainly as phones, or as organisational aids or personal assistants rather than as cognitive tools to be used to solve problems and address complex ideas.

While research has been conducted on mobile devices over the last decade or so in educational contexts (such as with individual devices like iPods, PDAs, and mobile phones), the combining of these devices into a single powerful tool in the form of a 'smartphone' (such as the Android, Blackberry and iPhone) has significantly altered their educational potential. The potential of these feature-laden mobile phones in education is yet to be fully realised, not least because teachers in higher education are often ill-prepared for the challenge of utilising them in their classes. This session will describe a project initiated in the School of Education at Murdoch University to support academic staff, not only to explore the pedagogical affordances of iPhones, but to learn a range of other technology skills. The professional learning program will be described together with issues associated with the acquisition and use of mobile phones in professional contexts, and plans to further research the initiative.

Moyle, K., & Owen, S. (2009). Listening to students' and educators voices: Research findings. Canberra: DEEWR.
Keywords: mobile learning, professional development, mobile phone

Predicting the academic performance of international students within the Australian higher education sector

Richard Hewison
Perth Institute of Business & Technology
Email: richard.hewison@pibt.wa.edu.au

A study was conducted into the effect of learning process variables (LPV) on the performance of students at a university pathway college. Demographic and LPV variables were combined to provide a student learning profile. The LPV were determined by surveying student learning characteristics: learning style, learning anxiety, self-efficacy, and beliefs about knowledge and learning. Initial analysis indicated that the students formed four LPV groups: Altruistic, Anxious, Average, and Strategic. Altruistic students were characterised by a deep learning style, low levels of anxiety, high levels of self-efficacy, and the willingness to see knowledge and learning in relative rather than absolute terms, and thus were expected to perform relatively well. When the LPV group profiles were analysed against the final semester results, the Altruistic students did perform significantly better. These findings suggest that the Altruistic student profile provides a model of student characteristics that lead to relatively higher academic performance. Further analysis incorporating demographic data also supported earlier findings of regional and linguistic differences, suggesting cultural background influences on performance. The LPV group profiles are therefore potential predictors of the academic performance of international students as well as providing a basis for the future development of early intervention strategies to enhance the performance of non-Altruistic international students.
Keywords: Learning style, educational epistemology, learning anxiety, self-efficacy

Integrating a skills demonstration assessment as a pre-requisite to field placement: A realistic assessment scenario for social work students

David Hodgson
Edith Cowan University
Email: d.hodgson@ecu.edu.au

Social Work programs in Australia stipulate that students must complete a minimum of 980 hours of supervised field placement. While on field placement, students need to practice and demonstrate skills in social work across a broad range of settings, often with people who are in urgent need of professional support. At Edith Cowan University, social work students must complete a pre-requisite subject in their third year of study before being cleared to go onto their first placement. The key assessment in this subject is a 'Skills Demonstration' in which all students must interview and interact with a 'client' for 10 minutes under assessment conditions. Students must demonstrate competent communication and interviewing skills and show the ability to practice professionally, ethically and reflectively. This simulates a realistic scenario because students must 'think on their feet' and work confidently with the uncertainty generated in this assessment. This presentation discusses the assessment in detail including the organisational arrangements of the assessment, three years of evaluation data, and the metacognitive side of the assessment that indicates its importance in creating authentic learning tasks that prepare students for real world practice settings.

The role of student-developed learning vehicles in bridging threshold concepts in engineering

Melinda Hodkiewicz and Margot Jupp
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering, The University of Western Australia
Email: Melinda.Hodkiewicz@uwa.edu.au, margot.jupp@uwa.edu.au

Mechanical and Chemical undergraduate engineering students struggle to understand the importance of a system boundary and how this affects the application and utility of subsequent calculations. This paper seeks to make three contributions. The first is to demonstrate how a combination of approaches including project based learning, simulation and laboratory exercises are necessary to bridge this threshold concept for the student cohort. The second is how collaboration with students to develop these learning vehicles contributed to the success of the approach. These learning vehicles are described and evidence of their contribution to student learning presented. Finally, the paper contributes to the growing body of research on threshold concepts.

Indigenous Australian knowledge and culture: Cross-cultural awareness for future health professionals

Julie Hoffman
Curtin University of Technology
Email: J.Hoffman@curtin.edu.au

Recent trends towards Indigenising tertiary curriculum reflect broader social changes suggested by the Rudd government's apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, the Close the Gap campaign and the recent emergence of GenerationOne. At the same time an increasing emphasis on graduate attributes and, in particular, the desirability of cross-cultural skills-essential for the global workplace-has driven this move to become more inclusive of Indigenous Australian culture, history and knowledge. The realities of Indigenising curriculum, however, poses challenges. Not least the fact that most non-Indigenous Australian students have little or no knowledge and understanding of the history of colonisation in Australia and the profound effect of historical, social-cultural and political factors on the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Similarly, the inclusion of Indigenous Australian perspectives presents challenges given Australia's dominant historical discourse and the failure of school curriculum to adequately represent an Indigenous perspective on the "settlement" of Australia and its creation as a nation state. This presentation will report on a nationally recognised program at Curtin University-Indigenous Australian Health and Culture-which gives both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in the School of Nursing and Midwifery insight into the history, diversity and cultural ways of Indigenous Australians and the importance of creating cultural safety and security when working as health professionals. As part of the presentation, a successful model for teaching Indigenous Australian content will be provided as well as the background to this unit and its introduction as a foundation course for all students within the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Keywords: Indigenising curriculum, cross-cultural training

55 minute workshop
Workshop on academic integrity

Stephanie M. Jameson
Leeds Metropolitan University, UK
Email: s.jameson@leedsmet.ac.uk

Plagiarism is a significant issue in education at the moment and the number of cases of plagiarism worldwide is growing. This workshop will describe the approach that one faculty in one UK university took in the prevention and detection of plagiarism. The intended audience is any academic concerned with the prevention and detection of plagiarism and no expertise or detailed knowledge is required. Participants will be required to share experiences of plagiarism and all are welcome. The workshop will encourage discussion and debate throughout and delegates will be encouraged to share their own experiences of preventing and detecting plagiarism in their own institutions.

At Leeds Metropolitan University we introduced an 'Academic Conduct Officer' as a 'plagiarism specialist' who deals with all the cases of plagiarism in an academic unit. Previous to this appointment, every academic in the university dealt with cases of plagiarism. We began with one appointment of a 'plagiarism specialist' (me!). My new title was 'Principal Lecturer for Academic Integrity'. The benefits of having one person dedicated to dealing with plagiarism means limiting the number of people dealing with plagiarism cases, which should lead to more consistent decision-making. When one person deals with all the plagiarism cases, then expertise is built up as that person gains experience. Also, familiarity with the University regulations grows and this normally leads to a growth in confidence in dealing with cases. The types of cases that I had to deal with included lack of referencing, collusion and ghost writing. The number of cases grew and it soon became clear that another specialist had to be appointed. We appointed another academic and set up 'the Academic Integrity Unit'.

The first part of the workshop will review detection, described by Carroll (2007:71) as 'a less attractive option than designing out opportunities and teaching students the skills they need to comply with academic conventions'. There are basically two types of detection, reactive (where the marker feels that something is 'wrong' with the student's work) and proactive (for example, the most frequently used software is Turnitin). The second part of the workshop will review preventative measures, from the perspective that the real solution is to educate students properly. As part of our approach to prevent plagiarism we have introduced plagiarism sessions as part of induction, sessions on referencing as part of all personal skills modules, and changes in the design of assessment. At the end of the workshop the presenter will share two new DVDs, which she has made in an effort to prevent plagiarism and collusion. She will also share an educational resources review on the benefits and limitations of Turnitin, which she co-wrote with two leading experts on this software.

Carroll, J., (2007). A handbook for deterring plagiarism in higher education. The Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford.
Levin, P. (2006). Why the writing is on the wall for the plagiarism police. http://www.student-friendly-guides.com/plagiarism/writing_on_the_wall.pdf

Keeping the student in the centre: A discussion arising from a review of a university-wide LMS

Shannon Johnston and Yvonne Button
The University of Western Australia
Email: Shannon.johnston@uwa.edu.au, Yvonne.button@uwa.edu.au

A learning management system is a tool generally acquired for staff to use in organising teaching and learning - from administration of assessment, to content provision and delivery, and learner activity. However, 'learning' suggests that a learner focus should be inherent in a system. A recent review of learning management systems as a replacement for WebCT at UWA revealed that the learner voice is relatively unheard. This presentation will explore the notion of the learner voice in decisions about learner experiences in university contexts, and consider them in light of the role and use of a learning management system, illustrated with some evidence from the LMS review process.

Broadening the vision: An integrated approach for developing student communication skills in new courses

Shannon Johnston, Gina Sjepcevich, Carmel O'Sullivan, Jill Benn, Lisa Cluett, Catherine Clark, Margaret Jones and Belinda Shilkin
The University of Western Australia
Email: Shannon.johnston@uwa.edu.au, gina.sjepcevich@uwa.edu.au

UWA undergraduate students in Arts, Business and Science Faculties have completed an online, self-paced, compulsory unit for developing basic information literacy skills, entitled Introductory Research and Information Skills (IRIS). The units contain Faculty-specific content, and are developed and maintained by the Library. In 2010, the Library conducted a significant review of IRIS which identified two areas of improvement: to better use teaching and learning technologies to improve interactivity and learning design, and to ensure IRIS best meets the needs of the new UWA undergraduate degrees commencing in 2012 - in particular the new defined core set of communication skills for UWA graduates. The review concluded that information literacy skills may be better taught integrated with other core communication skills, such as writing, oral and interpersonal skills, and that therefore IRIS should be expanded to incorporate these skills. A collaborative working group of staff from the Library, Student Services, Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) and various Faculties was convened to develop this broader approach to the online unit. This presentation will introduce the project, and discuss the design which has at its core the student learning experience and educational outcomes in the broader focus on communication and research skills.

Reflective journals in language teaching

Kyoko Kawasaki
Department of Asian Languages, Curtin University of technology
Email: k.kawasaki@curtin.edu.au

Reflective journals are regarded as an effective tool in teacher education and used widely. This study reports an attempt to use reflective journals in an undergraduate beginners' language (Japanese) unit. The introduction of the journal was motivated not only by the ideal of language learning that pursues an active learning process through which a learner creates their own knowledge based on their experience (Vygotsky, 1978) but also by the reality of an undergraduate unit with many elective students whose motivation and the attendance rate are both observed low.

The purpose of the journal was to promote a student-centered learning and encourage students to reflect and monitor their learning process regularly as well as to provide an opportunity to continuous learning, which is essential in language learning. For well-motivated students, it was an effective tool to review the lectures and develop their strategies. As it was an assessed activity, it also forced students with low motivation to record what was introduced in each week. However, many students wrote all entries in a short period just for the purpose of assessment. Although a few students who produced journals with detailed reviews and reflections showed outstanding performance, there was no overall correlation between the quality of the journal and the final result. This outcome suggests that more detailed guidelines, regular feedback and different assessment criteria are required in order to facilitate active learning.

In search of the middle-ground: Maintaining high teaching standards in large-class teaching environments
Refereed Professional Practice paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Philip Keirle and Susie Byers
The University of Western Australia
Email: pkeirle@cyllene.uwa.edu.au, susie.byers@gmail.com

In this paper we provide a template for transitioning from tutorial to larger-class teaching environments in the discipline of history. We commence by recognising a number of recent trends in tertiary education in Australian universities that have made this transition to larger-class sizes an imperative for many academics: increased student enrolments in the absence of a concomitant rise in teaching staff levels, greater emphasis on staff's research and service, and governmental and institutional pressures to maximise resource efficiency. All this, of course, taking place in an environment where staff are required to engage with discipline-specific pedagogies in teaching and learning to ensure that their departments, faculties and institutions successfully meet and maintain standards of quality in the delivery of higher education. The main challenge historians face here, we argue, is to ensure that the 'higher order thinking skills' associated with the discipline are developed in a learning environment often deemed incompatible with doing so. Dealing with this issue requires a particular approach to curriculum design, one that systematically unpacks the signature skills of historical thinking/writing/reading and engages with the pedagogy of large-class teaching environments. What follows is an account of our foray into unfamiliar territory, which, we hope, can act as a guide to academics moving in a similar direction.

Beyond the lecture room: Authenticity, active engagement and participation to promote employability

David Lamb
Edith Cowan University
Email: d.lamb@ecu.edu.au

This paper is based on the premise that in order to provide future event managers with the skills and knowledge to run events, they must first personally experience organising and managing an 'actual' event. This will enable students of event management to become multitasking and as a result gain highly portable skills that may help them succeed in other professions as well as event management. As educators and facilitators of such events we need to make the experience as 'life like' as possible by adopting a structured learning approach to meet the needs of students and organisations responsible for the many different events that exist in sport and leisure. Using real events and relating the theory of event management to actual practice will better equip and prepare students for careers in event management. This paper will explore how an experiential learning model was used in an introductory unit in event programming and planning (Recreation 212) to build authenticity and at the same time, equip students with practical skills to enhance their employability into the event management profession. This research based project involved a number of partners, including Lincoln University, Sport Canterbury and several primary schools all based within the Canterbury region in New Zealand. Data was collected using a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies including taped interviews; web based questionnaires and critical information from student reflective diaries. In concluding the paper, I suggest a number of innovative ways in which the rationale outlined above, could be successfully adopted for the benefit of event management students and the growing event management profession.
Keywords: learning, authenticity, experiential, employability, event management

Teaching challenge: Challenging teaching

Jenny Lane
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.lane@ecu.edu.au

This paper discusses a pedagogical approach which challenges current methods of delivery in order to facilitate deep authentic learning for tertiary students. The knowledge explosion has fueled a constantly growing and overcrowded curriculum. The dilemma for many academics is how to deliver the most relevant content while imbedding the graduate attributes and 21st century skills needed in the workplace. Rapid advances in technology combined with a diverse student population, where some students have minimal skills in the use of ICT for learning, teaching and the workplace provide a rich background for innovative pedagogy.

The author describes how challenge-based learning was successfully adopted as a pedagogical approach to deliver an engaging, content-rich 21st Century Curriculum for Teacher Education Students. In this presentation an overview of how to reconceptualise curriculum, learning and teaching strategies to implement this approach will be discussed. Strengths and weaknesses of this approach and a wealth of practical strategies and teaching methodologies will be shared. Current research is indicating that many new graduates lack confidence and skills in integrating ICT in their work. This area is also problematic for newly graduated teachers. Thus a range of e-learning strategies were modelled in the instructional methodology and this was closely linked to the assessment processes. This presentation has relevance for educators and curriculum designers in all sectors.

55 minute workshop
Thinking about critical thinking

Cheryl Lange and Jo Edmondston
The University of Western Australia
Email: Cheryl.Lange@uwa.edu.au, Joanne.Edmonston@uwa.edu.au

Critical thinking is often cited as a generic skill that research students are expected to acquire before completing their degrees. Definitions of this term abound. Within an academic context, it is usually associated with the ability to 'identify and challenge assumptions and simultaneously develop, explore, and address alternatives' (Zipp & Olson, 2008, p. 1).

What critical thinking means in practice, however, is not always made clear to students as they apply it to their reading and writing. It is also recognised that while many students need to work hard to apply their critical thinking skills, students who come from non-Western academic traditions may find the application of these skills particularly problematic.

Critical thinking, however, is widely considered a skill that can be learnt and improved (Lun et al, 2010). At the research level, where students may already have developed a critical approach, this may require support to demonstrate this clearly in their written work. For international students who enter into Australian universities with an educational background that differs from domestic students, development of these skills may also require an appreciation of the cultural basis of critical thinking that stems from the Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Egege and Kutieleh (2004) contend that this can be achieved without students feeling "academically or culturally deficient" (p. 77).

The incentive to run this workshop comes from our interest in developing our own expertise in assisting students understand and develop critical thinking skills and apply these skills to their written academic work. Following from this, the main objectives of the workshop are to explore issues involved in the development of critical thinking skills in research students; to share our experience and student materials that illustrate different abilities in applying critical thinking to written work; and to encourage participants to share their strategies for helping students develop critical thinking skills and apply them to their academic writing.

The workshop will consist of three parts: First, there will be a presentation on different notions of critical thinking. Second, there will be small group discussions in which participants will be invited to diagnose problems with the critical thinking aspects in selected pieces of student writing and to suggest strategies they might use to help students improve the content, structure and style of their writing. Finally, there will be a round table discussion aimed at identifying effective ways to help students apply critical thinking to their written work.

Egege, S., Kutieleh, S., (2004). Critical thinking: Teaching foreign notions to foreign students, International Education Journal, 4, (4), 75-85.
Lun, V. M-C., Fischer, R., Ward, C., (2010). Exploring cultural differences in critical thinking: is it about my thinking style or the language I speak? Learning and Individual Differences, 20, 604-616.
Zipp, G. P., Olson, V., (2008). Infusing the mentorship model of education for the promotion of critical thinking in doctoral education, Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 5(9), 9-16.

Exploring the conundrum of practice education for undergraduate student nurses
Refereed Professional Practice paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Melanie Lauva and Caroline Vafeas
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine, Edith Cowan University
Email: m.lauva@ecu.edu.au, c.vafeas@ecu.edu.au

This paper is an excursion into the discourse surrounding clinical supervision for undergraduate nursing students. Findings and anecdotal reviews from a research study undertaken by an author of this paper showed students and academics alike appear to have some confusion over the role description and title of those responsible for providing supervision in clinical practice. While preceptorship has been the predominate model for facilitating the clinical experience since the move of nursing education to the tertiary sector, confusion abounds over whether preceptors are in fact precepting, mentoring, buddying or partnering our students. This paper represents an attempt to explore the terminology that has become a conundrum in clinical education.

Teaching and assessing reflective practice in Allied Health

Abigail Lewis and Dawn Anderson
Edith Cowan University
Naomi Findlay University of Newcastle
Email: abigail.lewis@ecu.edu.au, d.anderson@ecu.edu.au, Naomi.Findlay@newcastle.edu.au

Reflective practice is a key component of being a competent, effective allied health practitioner. However, teaching and assessing reflective practice in a university setting can be a challenging and confusing experience. Edith Cowan University (WA) is in the process of establishing its Allied Health Program, with the recent additions of Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology undergraduate courses (plus others). The development of these courses has allowed for the teaching of reflective practice to be embedded into the respective curriculums. This has provided an ideal platform for investigating the current evidence for teaching and assessing reflective practice in allied health to enable best practice outcomes. The literature provides clear evidence that reflective practice is linked to clinical reasoning and professional competence (Higgs & Jones, 2009). For students to develop in these areas, it is essential that reflective practice be taught and assessed effectively. This requires thorough understanding and integration of academic and clinical/professional learning opportunities, combined with appropriate use of tools to encourage and facilitate the development of reflection and reflective practice in students undertaking allied health programmes.

This presentation will: Outline findings from the literature related to the teaching and assessment of reflective practice: Discuss barriers and enablers of teaching and assessing reflective practice; Provide a history of the process undertaken by the Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology Courses at Edith Cowan University; Highlight reflective practice tools developed by the University of Newcastle Radiation Program (Newcastle Reflection Analysis Tools and Inventories); and Overview a proposed research grant investigating natural reflection capacities of undergraduate students and how to individually support students development in this area.

Higgs, J. & Jones, M. (2009). Clinical decision making and multiple problem spaces. In Higgs, J., Hones, M., Loftus, S. & Christensen, N. (Eds.). Clinical Reasoning in the health professions. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Motivational interviewing skills for future medical practitioners: A self-learning package

Barbara Loessl
School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, The University of Western Australia
Email: barbara.loessl@uwa.edu.au

The aim of this project is to develop a self-learning package for sixth year medical students to acquire the skills for using Motivational Interviewing (MI). This communication technique originally evolved from the treatment of problem drinkers (Miller & Rollnick, 2002; Miller & Rose, 2009; Rollnick & Miller, 1995). MI can best be defined as "a directive, client-centred counselling style for eliciting behaviour change by helping patients to explore and resolve their ambivalence" with regards to a specific health-related goal (Miller & Rollnick, 2002). The effectiveness of MI has been demonstrated in various studies; it is relatively brief, applicable across a wide variety of problem areas (especially chronic health problems), complementary to other active treatment methods, and easily learnable by any health professional (Miller & Rose, 2009). There are various communication techniques, such as reflection or dealing with resistance, but the main basis for MI is the therapeutic relationship, meeting every patient at their stage of readiness and at their cognitive level (Rollnick & Miller, 1995).

Students will receive a self-learning package (handbook with theory, exercises and self-tests and a DVD with case examples) after an introductory lecture during campus week in semester1/2011 (anticipated student number = 205). They will also be given a questionnaire to provide feedback on content and usefulness of the package and to make suggestions for improvement/change together with a pre-paid, addressed envelope to send back to me. The package will be available online to future students.

Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change. 2nd ed. New York: Guilford Press.
Miller, W. R., & Rose, G. S. (2009). Toward a Theory of Motivational Interviewing. American Psychologist, 64(6), 527-37.
Rollnick, S., & Miller, W. R. (1995). What is motivational interviewing? Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 23, 325-334.

Transforming a faculty through curriculum reform

Kara-Jane Lombard and Sue Trinidad
Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University of Technology
Email: K.Lombard@exchange.curtin.edu.au, s.trinidad@curtin.edu.au

During the last two year the Faculty of Humanities has worked on a substantial transformational project that uses new technologies to provide a more flexible learning environment for engaging today's students. This significant and important initiative has combined eight previous Bachelor degrees into one new Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) degree, and has facilitated pathways for students not available previously, providing innovative online curriculum and enabling students to study in a number of different modes both on campus and off campus through external units and OUA. The Majors allow students choice and flexibility, focusing on a multi-skilled, forward-thinking, practical preparation for a rapidly evolving workplace. Double Majors can be combined between the three Schools and with other Faculties. Such work cannot occur without the significant contributions of the many staff in the Faculty and their combined effort has resulted in the very successful implementation of this new degree in 2010. This paper reports on the data that supports a significant Faculty transformational change which has been driven through this major curriculum reform.

Engaging mature-age students: Trials and tribulations of engagement versus participation in the humanities

Alexandra Ludewig and Tracy Dunne
The University of Western Australia
Email: alexandra.ludewig@uwa.edu.au

The University of Western Australia (UWA) has traditionally mainly attracted school-leavers and has the youngest age-profile of students in the country. Engaging mature-age students therefore requires particular thought and care in order to ensure that the offerings for and by teenagers and young adults in their early twenties do not drown out mature-age interests. Research into the levels of, and desires for, engagement among mature-age students in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at UWA has found that mature-age students share a strong desire to engage with like-minded students in extra-curricular, but nevertheless discipline-related activities. In response to these research findings, initiatives had been put in place, such as the launch of a dedicated mature-age study room, the organisation of social outings and the facilitation of study-groups. However, despite strong endorsement and involvement from mature-age students before, during and after each event, "participation" differed from "engagement". While personal timetables made it near impossible to offer anything that attracted more than five percent of the mature-age students, their level of engagement was much greater. Solely the fact that they knew something was on offer made all the difference to their perception of their engagement, with many enthusiastic and unsolicited responses received (especially via email) indicating much higher levels of "engagement".

Engineering threshold concepts

Sally Male
The University of Western Australia
Email: sally.male@uwa.edu.au

As first realised by Erik Meyer and Ray Land, investigating threshold concepts, which open up ways of thinking required for students to progress in a discipline but are troublesome for many students, can help to focus otherwise crowded curricula.

The University of Western Australia (UWA) is conducting an Engineering Thresholds project supported by the Australian Learning & Teaching Council (ALTC) and the Australian Council of Engineering Deans. We are investigating thresholds in foundation engineering courses, in order to improve engineering curricula, teaching, learning and assessment. The development of the engineering science major for UWA's new courses for 2012, provides a unique opportunity to develop an entire foundation engineering curriculum. Possible threshold concepts identified in interviews and focus groups with engineering teachers and students will be negotiated with the broader engineering education community. We are engaging engineering academics around Australia and beyond through a series of workshops and a web discussion forum. Outcomes will include an online inventory of engineering thresholds, a guide for engineering educators, and contributions to threshold concept theory. This presentation will provide an overview of the project and early findings.
Website http://www.ecm.uwa.edu.au/engineeringthresholds
The website includes resources, events and a web discussion forum.

Motivating students with automated feedback

Peter Mansfield
Edith Cowan University
Daniel Boase-Jelinek
Murdoch University
Email: p.mansfield@ecu.edu.au, d.boase-jelinek@murdoch.edu.au

We have developed a customisable web-based test system that delivers randomised questions, contextual data, and formative feedback to students as part of the Business Edge program for Bachelor of Business students at Edith Cowan University. Our aim in developing this system was to create the kind of learning conditions that motivate students to make multiple attempts at answering test questions presented to them until they get most of the answers correct. At each attempt students are presented with different data, so they cannot copy other student answers and must start each attempt from scratch. The feedback given to students during these attempts told students how many questions they answered correctly, but did not inform them which questions they had answered correctly. The results of our investigation suggest that though well intentioned, we did not come close enough to the theoretically ideal kind of learning environment required to motivate students to find the correct answers to the problems presented to them. We observed that the number of attempts students made at solving the problems dropped off during the course of the semester. We conclude that our automated feedback system needs to come closer to the theoretically ideal kind of learning environment to be beneficial for students.

An e-portfolio: A learning and assessment tool or an additional burden for students?

Dorit Maor
School of Education, Murdoch University
Email: d.maor@murdoch.edu.au

The goal of the use of e-portfolio is for students to demonstrate their learning over the semester or over a period of time in an authentic and interactive way. In this particular case, during and following an intense one-week course on e learning, students were required to describe their learning through the e-portfolio experience. These requirements provided students opportunities to develop new skills in using IT, skills of engagement with others, reflection on self and peers' work and this enabled a new way of assessment. The results were unique individual portfolios that required clear criteria to maintain equitable judgments on students' engagement and development of learning skills.

By using e-portfolio the assessment became part of the learning process. The questions that will be discussed in this presentation are: 1. To what extent the e-portfolio became part of the learning process or was it an additional burden for the students? And 2. To what extent the e-portfolio became a satisfactory tool for assessment according to students' and teachers' perspectives? Exploring these questions provides insight into different ways of assessing students' learning within a tertiary context.

ePortfolios: Demonstrating student skills for their career

Andrew Marriott and Francis Chomba
Department of Computing, Curtin University of Technology
Brian von Konsky
Office of Teaching and Learning, Curtin University of Technology
Email: b.vonkonsky@curtin.edu.au

"Rapid technological change, increasing globalisation and a changing world of employment with multiple roles during one professional life are necessitating a change from knowledge to learning society" (Heinrich 2007). Academic qualifications should be supported by lifelong learning skills, the ability to solve problems and to work independently / in a team, to communicate effectively, and to self-direct one's learning and professional development needs. A student's portfolio should typically demonstrate that he/she has met the desired university goals, and ultimately, their career requirements. For computing students, ePortfolios are inherently appropriate: they demonstrate the student's knowledge, skills and reflection about their learning, using the electronic medium of their chosen career.

Baston (2010), in A Profoundly Disruptive Technology says: "We all recognize a typical pattern in technology infusion in higher education: a buzz developing around a new kind of technology that seems to address a number of needs followed by cautionary messages--red flags--and then the tales about how the new hot technology is not really quite as sensational as it seemed." Importantly, "Disruptive" has different connotations and implications for students and lecturers, especially in an era of increasing demands for high Teaching Quality Evaluation scores.

This paper describes the design, implementation and evaluation of the use of an ePortfolio scheme used in assessment for a first year, second semester computing unit in 2010, and reports on the students' acceptance and criticisms of ePortfolios. How disruptive is this technology for students? How disruptive for lecturers?

PowerPoint practice and troublesome knowledge

Kenn Martin
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, The University of Western Australia
Email: kenneth.martin@uwa.edu.au

Flickr photo by Alex Eylar (2010)
Photo: Alex Eylar (2010). http://www.flickr.com/photos/hoyvinmayvin/4799975076/
Hello, everybody, look at your PowerPoint, now back to me, now back at your presentation, now back to me. Sadly, yours may not look like mine, but if you stopped using bulleted text and chose pictures instead, your students could retain more for longer.

Look down, back up, where are you? You're lecturing with the students listening to what you have to say instead of a PowerPoint karaoke with them updating Facebook.

What's in your hand, back at me. I have it, it's a source for free Creative Commons licensed pictures from Flickr to use in your presentations. Pictures your students will see are used with proper attribution.

Look again, You've got that YouTube clip you love working in your presentation, and without an Internet connection. Anything is possible when you use more visuals and less text. I'm on a horse.

Drawn from a Teaching with PowerPoint workshop conducted for the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at UWA, this session will appeal to those interested in developing engaging and effective PowerPoint presentations more likely to help students learn. Technical and pedagogical aspects of successful PowerPoint design that will work cross-platform without cost are discussed.

Back from the brink

Pamela Martin-Lynch
Murdoch University
Email: p.martin-lynch@murdoch.edu.au

Strategies to address issues of student retention and persistence need to take account of both voluntary and involuntary attrition. While proactive approaches to identifying students 'at risk' are undeniably preferable, it is also important that we have 'safety net' strategies in place to catch students who are about to fall, and bring them back from the brink of exclusion. This presentation will outline one such program which focuses solely on students who have been placed on academic probation due to unsatisfactory progress. The program entitled Study Skills Plus was piloted at Murdoch University in the first semester of 2010 and aims to assist students to build the academic and life skills necessary to regain good academic standing and to go on to succeed at tertiary level study. Although this is only a relatively new program, preliminary results suggest that students who participate in at least half of it make significant improvements determined by a related samples t-test, t(13) = 4.86, p<.01, two tailed for the first semester of the program.

Strategy to educate nurses for the profession
Refereed Professional Practice paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Keith McNaught and Selma Alliex
University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: Keith.mcnaught@nd.edu.au, Selma.alliex@nd.edu.au

One of the Objects of the University of Notre Dame Australia is the provision of excellent standard of training for the professions and pastoral care for its students. An identified area of need was the literacy skills of students. Towards this end, the University recently created its Academic Enabling and Support Centre (AESC). One of the Centres goals is to diagnose and implement strategies to strengthen literacy skills of students entering courses at the University. The School of Nursing in conjunction with AESC decided to pilot a project that would identify "at risk" students and support them in keeping with the University's Objects. The following paper addresses the diagnosis of inadequate literacy skills and the support mechanisms implemented to deal with this issue. The paper fits in perfectly with the theme of next year's Teaching Learning Forum which is "Developing student skills for the next decade". The focus of our strategy is to prepare students not just for the next decade but to prepare them to work in the Nursing Profession.
Keywords: academic literacy, assessments, screening, confidence/competence

When a pass is not a pass: The relationship between student performance in a core literacy unit and general academic progress in first year

Keith McNaught and Fleur McIntyre
University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: keith.mcnaught@nd.edu.au, fleur.mcintyre@nd.edu.au

Following the creation of an Academic Enabling and Support Centre in January 2010, collegial interactions focused on issues around student performance in their core discipline-specific literacy units, and the University of Notre Dame's support mechanisms, both proactive and reactive. To begin the process of examining the potential relationship between performance in an academic literacy unit and coursework progress, a case study of student performance in, and beyond, a core literacy competency unit in the School of Health Sciences was undertaken. Results revealed that low performance in a core literacy unit was related to poor course progress; however, the use of ATAR scores as predictors of student success was problematic. This case study led to immediate actions which changed practices within the University, and these are more broadly applicable and of interest to the tertiary sector. The results in this study are the beginning of parallel studies at this University, and will become the basis for a longitudinal study on the target group identified. Finally, this study provides a shared commitment to the importance of academic literacies for their capacity to shape how students learn, and how students achieve success.

Cultural competency in veterinary consultations: Exploration of learning issues

Jennifer N. Mills, Simone Volet, Farida Fozdar and Eric Yeoh
Murdoch University
Email: J.Mills@murdoch.edu.au

Australia is recognised as multicultural, and our classrooms now contain a rich diversity of students from various cultural backgrounds. We believe graduates will be dealing increasingly with clients with attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviours which differ from their own. An understanding and respect for these differences will have an impact on client communication and healthcare outcomes. This project was undertaken to explore how veterinary students understand and are likely to deal with issues of cultural diversity in professional practice, and to identify specific educational needs. Can we regard the rich undergraduate diversity as an educational resource? All final year veterinary students at Murdoch University were invited to participate in a lunch-hour workshop to explore intercultural competency in veterinary consultation. Almost the entire class attended. Groups of 6 to 7 students were formed and group discussion was triggered using a written scenario involving a challenging clinical encounter with a client from a 'different culture'. Investigative techniques included digital recordings of all small group discussions and a brief survey of intercultural experience, ethnic identity, cultural attitudes and opinions. The session concluded with a general group debrief and a short talk by an experienced Singaporean Veterinary student who presented a range of perspectives on cultural diversity in Singapore (described as a melting-pot of many Asian and Western cultures) and its impact on veterinarian-client communications and relationships. The session actively engaged the students, who highlighted key issues for further educational direction and research. Findings and implications for other health providers and will be discussed.

Principals' leadership making the difference in improving academic achievement in disadvantaged rural schools in Ghana

Erasmus K. Norviewu-Mortty
Edith Cowan University
Email: enorview@our.ecu.edu.au

The academic performance of students in public basic schools in rural Ghana during the past two decades has declined significantly. Government efforts to remedy the situation have not yielded any sustainable result. The Saboba District Junior High Schools are mostly affected. Generally, inadequate funding and resourcing are blamed for poor academic achievement of rural, low socio-economic schools.

My observation during eight years of teaching in Saboba is that the academic achievement of some students remains high while that of others in the same locality stays low. The purpose of this presentation is to report the outcome of preliminary analysis and interpretation of my research data. Literature on school effectiveness, school improvement and professional learning communities has helped to identify important issues concerning the enhancement of students' academic performance. As I analyse my case study data on four effective and less effective junior high schools at Saboba, Ghana; effective, achievement enhancing, leadership practices are emerging. 100 participants comprising principals, teachers, students, parents and local stakeholders in education took part in this research. Effective collegial and community focus leadership of the principal in recruiting local resources, and his or her ingenious management of instruction towards training exam-confident students, in a disciplined and friendly school atmosphere are emerging as key factors that set apart high performing rural, disadvantaged schools from the non performing schools.

Learning to teach: What do pre-service teachers report?

Dawn Naylor
South West Campus, Edith Cowan University
Email: dawn.naylor@ecu.edu.au

This study seeks to understand the phenomenon of learning to teach from the perspectives of seven pre-service teachers in the final semester of their undergraduate program in a regional university. Specifically, this study seeks to examine the extent to which the pre-service teachers identify and attribute the individual, professional and contextual aspects as significant influences on learning to teach. Participants were involved in three interviews in which they discussed their individual aspects such as their demographics, epistemological beliefs, dispositions and self efficacy. Professional aspects included knowledge and understanding about the nature of teaching using the dimensions of the teaching competency framework. The contextual aspects involved the nature of the learning experiences that were reported as significant or otherwise during their three and half years of course work. This presentation will provide some preliminary results from data analysis of seven case studies.
Keywords; teacher education; learning to teach; pre-service teachers

Issues involved in supporting pre-service teachers' learning in an online environment
Refereed Professional Practice paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Sheena O'Hare, Lynne Quartermaine and Audrey Cooke
Curtin University of Technology
Email: s.ohare@curtin.edu.au, l.quartermaine@curtin.edu.au, a.cooke@curtin.edu.au

Curtin University has offered a wholly on-line (apart from practicum placements) degree course in Primary Education since March 2009 through Open Universities Australia. The online Bachelor of Education (Primary) course has the same structure and units as the on-campus course. The unit construction is affected by the restriction that both the on-campus units and the online units must match in content. The challenge is to tailor delivery of unit content that is effective in a four-walled classroom to that of a virtual classroom environment, while maintaining its integrity and effectiveness. Of particular importance is the continuation of a collaborative constructivist environment when the units are taught online.

Interest in the uptake of the programme was immediately evident, attracting 876 unit enrolments in the first thirteen-week study period. Eighteen months later, in study period three of 2010 enrolments topped 5000. We attribute this phenomenal growth to a number of factors, but particularly our use of technological tools that assist our students to learn in a constructivist environment. Our commitment to this paradigm has seen the introduction of specific technology to enable a collaborative and co-operative learning mode that has unified students in a common goal.

Practitioner practices for designing and delivering online higher education courses within a learning management system

Jenni Parker
Murdoch University
Email: j.parker@murdoch.edu.au

Over the past few decades there has been a massive swing among educational theorist and practitioners towards a more constructivist approach to learning however it is still evident that many instructivist models are widely used in both classroom and online learning environments. This article looks at how online learning is currently being delivered within the higher education sector and identifies what constructivist approaches are being employed and how technology is being used to support student learning. It discusses some of the challenges educators face for designing and delivering student-centred learning environments and proposes a framework for creating more authentic and engaging learning environments.
Keywords: constructivism, online learning, higher education, technology

Strategies for developing oral communication skills in the classroom

Greg Parry
Edith Cowan University
Email: g.parry@ecu.edu.au

Communication is recognised as a crucial employability skill. I describe a number of 'communicating-to-learn' strategies used to develop oral communication skills in a foundation unit of a taught Masters program in Accounting. I evaluate the effect of these strategies on a range of measures of student performance and communication apprehension (CA). A paired samples t-test of CA in a treatment and a control group revealed significant reductions of CA in the treatment group, but not in the control group. OLS regression suggests a link between overall performance in the unit and oral communication skills. Qualitative data from focus groups suggests that 'communicating-to-learn' was effective as a teaching and learning tool.
Keywords: employability skills; oral communication; teaching and learning

The elephant in the room: Why are we ignoring the needs of international tutors?

Lee Partridge, Elaine Lopes, Siri Barrett-Lennard and Fiona Taylor
The University of Western Australia
Email: lee.partridge@uwa.edu.au

The number of international postgraduate students enrolling in Australian and New Zealand universities is steadily growing. Many of these students come from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and face challenges beyond those of local students when they commence their postgraduate studies. An increasing number of these students also undertake the teaching of undergraduate students in their disciplines, usually in a tutorial or small group environment. These teachers often have to address a combination of linguistic, cultural, academic, social and financial issues as they acclimatise in their new environment. In particular, the linguistic and cultural differences between them and their students may create a mismatch of expectations that can undermine their students' learning experiences. While this potential problem has been recognised for many years in North America, little evidence exists of systematic, dedicated development programs for international tutors in Australasia. This paper describes the process undertaken in trialling a program specifically designed to address the needs of international teachers. An evaluation of the program indicates possible improvements that could be made to establish an effective model of professional development and support for this group of increasingly influential teachers within the Australasian higher education sector.
Keywords: International teaching assistants, preparation to teach in higher education

Enhancing science literacy in tertiary education: A real-world exercise in literature research, scientific writing, and self and peer assessment

Barbara Pauk, Jan Meyer and Luis Filgueira
The University of Western Australia
Email: barbara.pauk@uwa.edu.au, jan.meyer@uwa.edu.au, luis.filgueira@uwa.edu.au

Science literacy, the ability to critically evaluate scientific outcomes and their presentation through self and peer assessment, is expected from scientists despite the fact that it is generally not taught. This project aimed to offer 75 science students (3rd year, UWA) the opportunity to acquire and improve their skills in literature research, reading and writing of scientific papers, as well as self and peer review in simulations of real-world processes of scientific publishing. This paper discusses the various assessment results, which were analysed statistically, as well as students' evaluation of their learning experience.

Students had to write a literature review on a topic related to the course content including at least 5 original journal articles published over the previous 10 years in leading international journals. The process of critically reading scientific papers had been practiced in class. Students were asked to review the manuscripts of five peers and then give an assessment of their own paper. They could use the online program "Turnitin.com" to check their manuscript for plagiarism. This program was also used for peer assessment. The students received feedback on their paper from 5 peers as well as from the academic teacher. In summary, peer assessment was more severe than the teacher's or self assessment, but within a reasonable range. The students perceived the exercise as demanding, but also rewarding and as being a great learning experience.

Leading cultural change in regional schools

Coral Pepper
Faculty of Regional Professional Studies, South West Campus, Edith Cowan University
Email: c.pepper@ecu.edu.au

In this presentation I report on leading cultural change in regional schools in the context of the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI-WA). This initiative is a partnership of the Australian Government, and the States and Territories that supports schools and their communities to embed sustainability within their culture. While many WA schools practised elements of education for sustainability in the past AuSSI-WA takes it to the next level by encouraging the use of sustainability as a key context for teaching and learning as part of a whole school approach. As part of this process, school communities are encouraged to reflect on their values as they create a shared vision for a sustainable future. Eight school leaders interviewed for the research described introducing, leading and embedding cultural change within their schools. Two research questions are answered in the presentation: first; How do school leaders perceive their leadership of the AuSSI-WA initiative? and second, How do school leaders perceive their participation in the AuSSI-WA initiative enhancing the Education for Sustainability agenda in regional WA? Leading cultural change in regional schools, much like other settings, requires an understanding of the change being initiated, envisioning a future that incorporates the initiative, sharing responsibility to introduce then embed the initiative so that it resembles 'business as usual' and taking strategic action to bring about change.

Teaching the students we have: Looking for answers in BlackBoard 9

Tricia Popov
Edith Cowan University
Email: t.popov@ecu.edu.au

Edith Cowan University's decision to trial the new BlackBoard 9 in conjunction with Blackboard managed hosting provides 'the perfect storm' of opportunity for overhauling learning and teaching in the University Preparation Course. Prior commitment to a structured delivery using the facilities of Blackboard 8 is re-imagined to include the greatly expanded capacity of BlackBoard 9 to 'teach the students we have' and attempt to reconnect with the rapidly changing expectations of an increasingly disparate preparation student cohort.

55 minute workshop
mI ready for mLearning?

Connie Price
Office of Assessment, Teaching and Learning, Curtin University of Technology
Daniel Southam
Department of Chemistry, Curtin University of Technology
Anne Lynette Furness
School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology
Email: C.Price@curtin.edu.au, D.Southam@exchange.curtin.edu.au, A.Furness@curtin.edu.au

eLearning is morphing into mLearning. Mobile learning (mLearning) takes advantage of the incredible computing power that is now available in mobile phones and other easy to carry devices such as netbooks and iPads. These devices can be used to access learning resources, but also to communicate and to participate, anytime, anywhere. The ubiquity of these devices (Smith & Caruso, 2010) means that it is now feasible to utlise these tools to enhance student engagement in class. This workshop will explore two different approaches to boost student participation using mobile devices.

Audience response systems (ARS), or clickers, have been shown to offer measurable learning benefits (Kay & LeSage, 2009). Until recently ARSs have required students to have a transmitter device, a clicker, that specifically matches the receiver plugged into the lecturer's computer (Moss & Crowley, 2010). This requirement for system specific devices introduces a cost and significant inconvenience as students may be required to purchase a clicker or they must be loaned one during class (Cain & Robinson, 2008). Systems that use text messages (SMS) from mobile phones have been developed to counter these problems, however SMS based ARSs have not been readily adopted in Australia as mobile phone plans generally do not give students free unlimited text messages. As most students now have a smart phone or other web enabled device (Oliver & Nikoletatos, 2009) an ARS that utilises the on campus wireless internet would mean that students could use the technologies they already carry with them to campus to participate, at no additional cost. The eClicker Host application (Big Nerd Ranch, 2010) will be utilised during the workshop to enable participants to connect and answer questions via a mobile device. Different questioning strategies (Rush, et al. 2010; Caldwell, 2007) aimed at eliciting different learning responses will be demonstrated.

The second mLearning strategy that will be explored is the use of Twitter to connect students in a conversation about the topic being explored in class. This 'back channel' is more than whispered conversations or note passing. Twitter opens up the conversation to everyone (including the teacher) and is not limited by physical location or time (Dunlap & Lowenthal, 2009). By learning to tweet, workshop participants can become part of the T&L 2011 back channel conversation and enhance their collective conference experience, and share ideas about incorporating mLearning in their classes and courses.

Participants are asked to bring a smart phone (iPhone, Android), iPod touch, iPad or laptop. Twenty-five iPod touch devices will be available for participants who do not have their own device. No prior experience is required. References will be provided during the workshop.

Reducing the pain of initiation: Strategies to support honours students

Lucy Reilly
Student Services, The University of Western Australia
Email: lucy.reilly@uwa.edu.au

At The University of Western Australia (UWA) the responsibility for Honours students lies with the Faculties and Schools. Coordinators and supervisors are responsible for inducting students into the content and specific skill areas of the discipline. However, they may not always have time to assist students in developing and sharpening the broader necessary set of strategies and skills - of advanced time management, research, reading, writing and oral presentations - that will best prepare students for the many demands and expectations of Honours studies. Based on feedback from Honours coordinators at UWA, it appears that access to resources and support facilities varies across disciplines. Feedback has also revealed that students often feel "alone" and "lost" during their Honours year, particularly during the first few months. In response to such feedback, an online Honours Hub was developed for students contemplating Honours and for those already doing Honours at UWA. It was hoped that the Honours Hub, alongside the face-to-face elements of the workshops, would provide Honours students with another avenue of support. This presentation will provide an overview of the resources that were developed for Honours students over the course of a year. The effectiveness of the Honours Hub will be discussed in light of the feedback that was received and future directions will be considered.

Remix, mash-up, share: Copyright and assessment policy in interactive media, games and digital design

Ingrid Richardson
Murdoch University
Email: i.richardson@murdoch.edu.au

The proliferation of Web 2.0 applications and services - characterised by dynamic interactivity, social software and the growth of user-generated content - is having a significant impact on university learning environments. However, to date, much of the teaching and learning literature and research projects in this area have concentrated on the social networking potential of Web 2.0 (i.e. the integration of blogs, wikis and social networking into pedagogical practice). This paper presents initial outcomes of an ALTC project (Remix, Mash-Up, Share) that focuses on an equally important yet under-researched aspect of Web 2.0, and particularly its implications for developing authentic assessment practices in the disciplines of interactive media, games and digital design. That is, the emergence of a type of content production that is collaborative, shared, and more significantly, often comprises the re-use and remixing of existing media content, or the 'mashing-up' and aggregation of existing services and applications.

Such work, often described as 'derivative' or akin to 'bricolage', is becoming increasingly predominant in professional new media practice, yet has not been successfully integrated into undergraduate assessment components and criteria. This is because it presents a fundamental paradigm shift away from the traditional notion of student-authored, original, 'discrete' and summative assessments, and goes against the grain of both conventional copyright regulations, and current assessment and plagiarism policies in universities both Australia-wide and overseas. This paper will specifically focus on students' attitudes and approaches to the conundrum of copyright in relation to remixed and/or shared digital content, and the need for more flexible approaches to both copyright and assessment policy in university learning and digital content production more generally.

Integrating communication skills in engineering: Enhancing the student learning experience

Helen Rogers
School of Media Culture and Creative Arts, Curtin University of Technology
Veronica Goerke
Office of Assessment, Teaching and Learning, Curtin University of Technology
Email: h.rogers@curtin.edu.au, v.goerke@curtin.edu.au

Enhancing first-year communication skills is a focus of the curriculum review currently taking place at Curtin University. This is articulated through a student-centred approach to teaching and learning, which emphasises learning in context, discipline-specific discourses and academic literacy.

This paper reports on the learning outcomes of first and fourth year Engineering students at Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. The project has based its findings on interviews with students in the Faculties of Science and Engineering, short student questionnaires, written student assessments along with participant observation of a range of their classes. The project seeks to demonstrate how engineering students benefit from the integration of communication skills in their discipline through their course of study.

The project examines how this integration has assisted students in developing their competency in communication skills and whether these skills have been improved, retained and practiced through their engineering degree at Curtin. Further the project investigates how equipped our student engineers are at the end of their degree to meet the growing demands of industry. The project focuses on first and fourth year students and units that share this integral embedding of communication skills within a technical context. This paper will report on early research findings.

Effect of merging units on student perceptions of teaching and learning: A case study in soil science and physical geography

Talitha C. Santini and Andrew W. Rate
School of Earth and Environment, The University of Western Australia
Email: santit01@student.uwa.edu.au

University Schools and curricula merge for a number of reasons, related primarily to financial considerations or common research/teaching aims. Mergers can be beneficial if these goals are realised, but need careful management to ensure that these benefits do not negatively impact student learning and satisfaction. Potential problems arising as a result of mergers include time and money required to effectively merge units, staff teaching in areas outside of their training/research knowledge, and the additional demand placed on support staff and space required to run laboratory and tutorial sessions. This case study examined the effect of merging foundation units in soil science and physical geography on student perceptions of teaching and learning, as measured by SURF (Student Unit Reflective Feedback) survey data. In the first year after the merger, all markers of student satisfaction decreased; however, these rebounded in the second and subsequent years. Individual teaching staff, as well as allocation of additional time and resources, are likely responsible for the improvement in student satisfaction over time with the merged unit. Given the growing emphasis on 'interdisciplinarity' in the environmental sciences, more units are likely to be merged in future. This study indicates that allocation of additional time and resources, particularly in the first year that merged units are run, is crucial to ensure that student satisfaction and education is not negatively affected.
Keywords: unit mergers, interdisciplinary, environmental science, student feedback

Nursing student reflections on learning clinical skills in a simulated environment

Louise Winton Schreuders and Rosemary Saunders
The University of Western Australia
Email: louise.schreuders@uwa.edu.au, rosemary.saunders@uwa.edu.au

Tertiary institutions that teach health professionals often use clinical skill laboratory teaching as a strategy to prepare students for clinical practice. Nursing students in the Masters of Nursing Science (entry to practice degree) at The University of Western Australia initially learn and practise clinical skills throughout their course in a simulated clinical environment. As part of a Postgraduate Teaching Internship Project students were asked to participate in a reflection activity on their thoughts and feelings about learning clinical skills in a simulated environment. The activity was conducted in the students' first semester Clinical Nursing Skills unit prior to their first practical experience. Reflection responses were analysed using Manifest Content Analysis methodology.

Students reflected that learning in a simulated environment was helpful because it decreased stress and improved their confidence. They reflected that this was because they were practicing basic clinical skills in a safe environment. Exposure to the clinical environment and equipment was particularly helpful and some found exposure to documentation and "work culture" helpful. Some students reflected that they would have liked more practice before their clinical practicum but that was not a sentiment shared by all students, one student reflected that "some things are better just learnt on the ward". These reflections indicate that nursing students identify they benefit from learning clinical skills in a simulated environment. Further exploration of students' reflections on clinical skills learning could assist in developing specific strategies to enhance students' learning experiences and preparation for clinical practice.
Keywords: nursing education, clinical skills, simulation, reflection

Engaging with industry to develop student skills in an applied and analytical chemistry course

Rowena H. Scott and Mary Boyce
Edith Cowan University
Email: r.scott@ecu.edu.au, m.boyce@ecu.edu.au

Curriculum Engagement and Workplace Integrated Learning (WIL) (by a variety of names) are key elements in the strategic direction of several Australian universities and significant features of many undergraduate courses. Teaching and learning that engages with external partners has the potential to deepen students' skills and knowledge of practice in realistic workplace and community contexts, develop their employability and generic skills, and contribute to graduate work and career readiness. This partnership project between two academics aims to increase Curriculum Engagement in the Bachelor of Science (Applied and Analytical Chemistry). Reflecting on current programs and teaching practices while focusing on these strategic priorities revealed potential ways to integrate industry partners in both the design of the course and the students' learning activities. Stories of success from other courses and units serve to illustrate the definitions and practices, providing a snapshot of useful ideas to be applied in other courses, particularly Natural Sciences courses. An overview of enabling factors in the tactical implementation of Engaged teaching and learning is provided. Developing and measuring the relevance and effectiveness of sustainable Curriculum Engagement are key to the revisions of this course.
Keywords: Community Engagement, curriculum development, Workplace Integrated Learning (WIL)

Curtin University's science clinics program: Promoting student learning and retention in physics, chemistry, mathematics and computing

Elisabeth Settelmaier
School of Education, Curtin University of Technology
Marjan Zadnik
School of Science, Curtin University of Technology
Email: e.settelmaier@curtin.edu.au, m.zadnik@curtin.edu.au

The clinics were originally designed for students of, physics, chemistry, mathematics and computing to enhance student learning and retention, particularly in their first year, and to identify students at risk early. An evaluation of the clinics was instigated in 2009. A survey was designed around issues raised by observations, in informal conversations with tutors (usually senior students) and with students who attended the clinics. The survey was administered to students attending clinics in all four disciplines- 49 students had responded by the end of April 2010. In addition, tutors and clinics coordinators were formally interviewed. Overall the results of the evaluation are positive: whilst clinics do not identify struggling students - since these students rarely attend, student feedback indicates that clinics have significantly improved student learning for those experiencing difficulties and who might otherwise have dropped out in the past due to a perceived lack of support and success. The clinics' efficacy is evidenced through students' tendency to attend clinics more than once and through positive student feedback on both clinics and tutors. The process of careful selection of tutors - based on tutoring skills rather than content knowledge, - was identified as a crucial ingredient of the clinics' success.

Employer satisfaction of university graduates: Key capabilities in early career graduates
Refereed Research paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Mahsood Shah
University of Canberra
Chenicheri Sid. Nair
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, The University of Western Australia
Email: sid.nair@uwa.edu.au

While employers are one of the most important stakeholders of universities, there is limited research in Australia on employer satisfaction with the quality of university graduates and on the key capabilities of early career graduates for employers in various professions. Such research is critical as governments in many countries are enhancing quality assurance of higher education with a focus on academic standards and the extent to which student have achieved learning outcomes. This paper outlines the findings of a survey undertaken in 2004 and 2008 in a large Australian university with 400 graduate employers and professional associations on their satisfaction with university graduates with respect to the key capabilities of early career graduates. The paper also looks at the employer's views about the key skills and attributes needed in early career graduates to meet changing industry trends in various professions.
Keywords: employer satisfaction of university graduates, graduate capabilities

Sport, recreation and event management practicum placements: What do stakeholders expect?
Refereed Research paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Ruth Sibson and David Russell
Edith Cowan University
Email: r.sibson@ecu.edu.au, david.russell@ecu.edu.au

Structured practicum placements or Workplace Integrated Learning (WIL) are a long-standing and integrated component of many university programs. One of the challenges of facilitating appropriate and sustainable WIL experiences, however, is the complex and multi-faceted nature of the relationship between the university, student and host agency/supervisor. Of particular importance, is the management of expectations and perceptions between the stakeholders, and there is limited research in this area. This paper presents the findings from the first stage of a research project which used self-completed questionnaires to compare the expectations and perceptions of sport, recreation and event management students and their host agency supervisors on the role of student practicum placements, the role of the practicum placement agency, the role of the university, the abilities of the students and the selection of a practicum placement. Overall, there was considerable agreement between the stakeholders, particularly in relation to the valuable learning opportunities WIL provides, and on the attributes, skills and abilities students need to demonstrate while on their placement; but there were significant differences between the groups, as to whether the placement should be voluntary, paid and/or for university credit, and the length of time the placement should be. Further, the expectations and perceptions students had about the role the agency should play in their future employment did not match up with those of the supervisors in these agencies. Importantly, these findings allow recommendations to be made to those who are involved in this important application of professional practice.
Keywords: Workplace-integrated learning, undergraduate students and supervisors, expectations

Creating cultural empathy and challenging attitudes through Indigenous narratives

Moira Sim and Toni Wain
Edith Cowan University
Email: m.sim@ecu.edu.au, t.wain@ecu.edu.au

The Australian Learning and Teaching Council has funded a grant involving all Western Australian Universities which addresses the national priority of "Closing the gap" in health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The attitudes of health professionals can be barriers or facilitators to working effectively with Indigenous people. As educators, we want to prepare graduates who are knowledgeable about cultures and can listen to the individual without assumptions. Empathy leads us to recognise that we are separate individuals sharing a common humanity.

Narrative approaches are effective in achieving sustained change in attitudes. Narratives presented in written and audio form, film and theatre is 'the next best thing' to learning from genuine human experience. The narrative approach also makes sense in the Indigenous context as story telling has an important place in Indigenous societies.

Working with Aboriginal leaders and community groups, we will collect at least 50 multimedia stories about the health experiences of Indigenous people and establish a searchable database of stories. A National Network of educators with an interest in leading educational change to improve Indigenous health will be invited to contribute to an on-line, open source library of flexible learning resources for transformative learning of cultural empathy that can be used for tutorials, workshops and self-reflective learning. These Indigenous educational resources will be mapped against health curricula.

Visual thinking

Nicole Slatter and Joanne Richardson
Curtin University of Technology
Email: N.Slatter@curtin.edu.au, Joanne.Richardson@curtin.edu.au

First year Humanities unit Art & Creativity 100 encourages students to take risks with their ideas. Working in a variety of ways, students are encouraged to embrace their fear as a force for motivation. Implementing non-prescriptive outcomes and abstaining from the provision of exemplars, enables students to interpret the unit learning outcomes and inject their individual interests into their works. Through the process of visualising ideas and presenting them in an atmosphere of critical discussion with fellow students, visual language is developed. Participation in critical discussion facilitates critical thinking and fosters a culture of questioning. Students are exposed to the wide variety of ideas from their peers, and subsequently recognise the importance of effectively visually communicating and advocating their ideas. These skills are invaluable not only to future individual creative practices but also to working collaboratively in any field.

Students synthesise information from a variety of sources endeavoring to contextualise their ideas in the wider scope of contemporary culture. This raises awareness of other creative practices, and also equips students with visual researching strategies. Undertaking technically ambitious projects allows students to face the challenges of visualising and materialising their ideas. Critical discussions during the making process provides the opportunity to practice discernment, refinement and reflective learning. The resulting creative works are a byproduct of student centered learning with a strong focus on future research.

Teaching practice based clinical reasoning and teamwork to third year medical students: What works?

Aline Smith and Amanda McBride
School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Sydney
Michael Spurrier
The University of Sydney
Email: aline.smith@nd.edu.au

This qualitative study investigated what third year medical students understood by clinical reasoning and teamwork, and identified what they perceive are the key drivers for learning these two essential skills for medical practice. Clinical reasoning is the ability to apply reasoning skills to clinical situations. This is a fundamental component implicit in medical education. Teamwork is the ability to work in a team environment. These two skills have been proposed as essential for the professional competence of a medical practitioner (Peile 2004). It is important that third year students go beyond basic medical knowledge and learn in an authentic clinical environment (Brown et al. 1989) to develop these skills.

Some key factors to enhance the teaching and learning of these skills in a practice-based situation were identified from the students' perspective. Identification of the barriers and enablers for students' learning, including solutions to these barriers, will inform future curriculum design. This research will assist the School to develop a framework to teach and assess practice- based clinical reasoning and teamwork. A rethink is required of how students learn in a practice-based environment to ensure clinical teaching is innovative, focussed, relevant and effective. This issue is compounded by increasing medical enrolments, more than doubled in last 3 to 4 years, placing an added burden on existing practice-based teaching facilities and clinicians.

Brown, J., Collins, A. & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, Jan/Feb, 32-42.
Peile, E. (2004). Clinical reasoning. BMJ 328(7445), 946.

Inside out: A way of looking forward through an educational framework

Dianne Smith
Curtin University of Technology
Email: dianne.smith@curtin.edu.au

This paper introduces an innovative curriculum design which aims to address the needs of both academics and students in an educational context in the twenty first century. Under pressures imposed through a university curriculum review, the staff of Interior Architecture have developed a four year program, which not only addresses the excellent and the redundant in the course but also how the reduced level of resourcing, student cohort changes, and the multi-dimensional nature of a contemporary academy can be catered for without reducing quality.

The outcome is a four year undergraduate program that consists of year themes which collectively underpin our discipline identity; streams that recognise that content areas are no longer discrete packets of knowledge; and modes of teaching that embrace the dichotomy of detailed professional content and the need for experimental, exploratory investigation toward possible future viewpoints. This approach encourages cross fertilisation of ideas between staff and between staff and students. It also requires the integration of knowledge and skills between fields of expertise such as design, technology and cultural studies. The design studio therefore is both a place and an activity whereby students and staff can mirror the complexity and ambiguity of design scenarios typically arising in practice or which can inform practice theoretically or conceptually.

The process by which the curriculum was developed included workshops, year-development teams, an industry-academic forum, as well as engagement with the university teaching and learning experts. These activities will also be noted as they demonstrate the importance of recognising the team members' strengths as well as the need for involvement of all future staff in order to facilitate engagement within an evolving program.

ASELL evaluation of a first year chemistry laboratory program

Daniel Southam, Mauro Mocerino and Mark Buntine
Department of Chemistry, Curtin University of Technology
Email: d.southam@curtin.edu.au, m.mocerino@curtin.edu.au, m.buntine@curtin.edu.au

Good laboratory programs that lead to student engagement and motivation are viewed as an essential component of a science course. However, cogent educational arguments for compelling students to undertake laboratories, particularly when science is taught as a service to non-science majors, are poorly communicated to students and service clients alike. At Curtin the Advancing Science by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory (ASELL) formalism is being utilised to evaluate the student experience in our first year laboratory program, with the overall aim to improve this experience. ASELL provides a framework for educational assessment of both individual experiments and entire laboratory programs in three disciplines of science; chemistry, physics and biology.

Preliminary results from ASELL surveying of Curtin students' attitudes to individual experiments and a semester-long program in first year chemistry will be presented. This evaluation illustrated that the educational validity of some experiments altered between different cohorts of students as a result of their background in chemistry, situational interest or chosen course of study. These insights have enabled us to assess each experiment and the program as a whole and to define the educational intent and outcomes of a mandatory laboratory program. Likewise, it has allowed us to strongly articulate the laboratory experience with both specific and generic graduate attributes.

Make your own rabbit hole: A new model for interactive assessment in English and Cultural Studies

Michelle Spragg and Antony Gray
The University of Western Australia
Email: spragm01@student.uwa.edu.au, graya03@student.uwa.edu.au

The 'Make Your Own Rabbit Hole' project is a new computer-based creative and reflective writing activity for use within the discipline of English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia. In a first-year undergraduate unit that explores a range of different print, visual, and digital media, students are asked to analyse and engage with a relatively recent form of online literature known as 'interactive fiction.' In order to dynamically illustrate this new genre, and in place of more 'traditional' forms of assessment, this new project invites students to write and develop their own interactive fiction using Inform 7, a free-to-use and easily accessible piece of publishing software. The aim of this activity is to guide students towards thinking reflexively about their own interactive creations in comparison to other forms of media, whilst simultaneously encouraging them to organise and develop their ideas in imaginative, 'non-linear' ways. In readiness for its pilot implementation in March 2011, and under a title inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this paper describes some of the technical and pedagogical foundations of the project's design, and its possible wider application within the rapidly growing field of e-learning.
Keywords: Higher education, e-learning, instructional design, curriculum development, English and Cultural Studies education, interactive fiction, Inform 7

Why are UWA Health Science graduates so employable?

Ania Stasinska, Colleen Fisher and Jane Heyworth
School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia
Email: ania.stasinska@uwa.edu.au, colleen.fisher@uwa.edu.au, jane.heyworth@uwa.edu.au

Health Industry Practicum (HSMD3316) is a compulsory semester-long component and final unit of the Bachelor of Health Science degree at UWA. This presentation will describe the practicum program and discuss its evaluation results and future directions and challenges. HSMD3316 comprises a 450 hour placement at a health related agency and weekly university-based tutorials. Its focuses on students' learning processes rather than the product per se. Students are supported through orientation, WebCT, academic supervision and a detailed guidebook. The program began in 2003 and each year student numbers have been increasing with 47 students placed in 2010.

Expressions of Interest to host a student are sought from non-government organisations, local and state government and the private sector in February. Interstate and international placements are increasing in popularity. Each student is interviewed to determine career goals and practicum placements that match these goals are identified. The unit is evaluated annually. Results from 2006-2010 found that students in general had a positive practicum experience, with levels of agreement ranging from 77% to 100% for individual items. Some felt their supervisors needed to be better prepared for their arrival. Supervisors overall were satisfied with the program and student. A number of students each year are offered employment immediately at the end of the practicum. Several practicum supervisors continue to mentor students or act as their referees. The practicum is highly valued by the health sector, has raised the profile of the BHlthSc and meets its goal of producing work-ready graduates.
Keywords: student outcomes, employability, practicum

Tangible support for those teaching at the coalface: Influencing policy development for sessional staff

Eileen Thompson, Lee Partridge and Sue Miller
The University of Western Australia
Email: eileen.thompson@uwa.edu.au, lee.partridge@uwa.edu.au, sue.miller@uwa.edu.au

The diversity of the student population continues to increase, directly impacting on teaching methodologies and student learning. Sessional teachers are uniquely positioned to influence many of the performance indicators, such as student satisfaction scores, pass rates and course completion rates, associated with improving the student learning experience. They are important players in establishing and maintaining institutional credibility and reputation. Sessional teachers also play an important role in developing student skills and graduate attributes (eg. discipline specific knowledge and skills, oral and written communication skills, interpersonal skills such as the ability to work both independently and as part of a team, social and ethical awareness in an international context, and information literacy and critical thinking skills conducive to lifelong learning). However, as is typical of any casual workforce, this cohort of teachers is varied and continually changing, presenting particular issues in regard to the provision of sustainable and effective support. This paper highlights some of the issues faced by sessional teachers, including the need for a unified sessional staff policy on employment, pay and conditions; as well as the necessity of systematic training and ongoing professional development for these teachers into the future. The paper reports the findings of a two year project focussed on supporting sessional teachers and discusses the steps taken to initiate the process of policy development.
Key words: sessional teachers, policy development

Engaging pre-service TESOL teachers in authentic workplace learning

Janeen Thomsett and Sharon Ainsworth
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.thomsett@ecu.edu.au, s.ainsworth@ecu.edu.au

Traditionally, ECU Pre-service Teachers who are studying the Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL) rarely get the opportunity to teach their subject minor, English as a second language (ESL), or even the opportunity to address the needs of individual ESL learners during their teaching practicum. This project aimed to address this issue. It focused on restructuring one of the curriculum units to include authentic workplace learning to complement the Pre-service Teachers' experiences in their scheduled teaching practicum program. Through this change, TESOL Pre-service Teachers gained the opportunity for vital hands-on experience teaching ESL students and working with culturally and linguistically diverse learners. The initiative was supported by a small learning and teaching project grant and the evaluation formalised through action research.

This paper provides a critical analysis of the project in terms of Pre-service Teacher learning, coursework teaching and university engagement with schools. Issues discussed include: the extent to which the Pre-service Teachers felt able to understand ESL learners and assess and cater for their needs in the classroom context; the integration of the workplace and university based learning in the curriculum unit, and changes needed to capitalise on the potential for ESL learners involved in the project to benefit from the tutoring they received.

A snowball effect to improve patient care through action based e-learning

Sandy Thomson, Joan Sheppard and Robert Laing
Murdoch University
Email: sandyt@southwest.com.au, jsheppard@bethesda.asn.au, R.Laing@murdoch.edu.au

Health professionals in all sectors are under extreme pressure to provide safe quality care to patients. This is in the face of increasing demands and scarce resources. Acquiring the knowledge and skills to fully understand this complex system and to meet these competing demands is also challenging. Murdoch University, through its Master of Health Management, Quality and Leadership, has been steadily building the capacity and capability of the health workforce through action based e-leaning education. Since 2007, over 120 units of the Masters Course have been completed by students across Australia.

The snow ball effect is determined by a particular activity associated with the patient journey experience, other activities which examine quality issues in the workplace and completion of a project to address a particular issue in the work place. The patient journey activity is a powerful exercise which aims to understand all processes a patient experiences as they enter and leave the hospital system. This activity elicits information that may not be identified through traditional patient satisfaction survey tools.

This presentation will identify examples of key improvements implemented in 2010. Long standing problems in the workplace are being addressed; new problems are being identified and resolved; more importantly students are mentoring others in quality and safety in the workplace.

Every change made by a student improves the quality and safety of care for future patients. This is the snow ball effect.

Caring beyond the curriculum: Exploring concepts of altruism amongst nurse educators acting as academic mentors

Caroline Vafeas, Melanie Zilembo and Tania Beament
Edith Cowan University
Email: c.vafeas@ecu.edu.au, m.zilembo@ecu.edu.au, t.beament@ecu.edu.au

The notion of altruism has long been associated with the motivations to become a nurse and to do the job of nursing, but little research around altruism as it applies to the context of nursing education exists within the contemporary literature. Nurse academics work within challenging environments facing issues such as high student numbers, limited resources and high workloads, yet persist within the role to contribute to the development of quality new nurses to fill a desperate shortage. The researchers are currently in the second year of an academic mentoring programme which aims to support students by aligning them with experienced nurses who are also academics to socialise them to the profession and act as a point of personal contact. While the programme has been evaluated positively from the students' perspective, the mentors now are centering on their own motivations for the role and how altruistic values have driven this. This presentation will explore these notions.

Cultivating care: Nurturing nurses for a new tomorrow
Refereed Research paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Caroline Vafeas, Melanie Zilembo and Tania Beament
Edith Cowan University
Email: m.zilembo@ecu.edu.au, c.vafeas@ecu.edu.au, t.beament@ecu.edu.au

In large academic institutions, students often feel very lost, confused, lonely, and anxious or even a fraud at being there. At Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, researchers identified a gap in provision for Nursing Students which addresses these concerns. This study used a qualitative case study utilising rich narrative and aesthetic expression to explore and describe the experiences of both student mentees and academic mentors over the trajectory of the student's Bachelor Degree programme. Findings emerging show students both want and need academic mentorship but the form upon which that takes is highly individual and changeable as the individuals professional competence and confidence increases; and as a positive and mutually accountable relationship is formed between the parties. While there is overwhelming empirical evidence to support mentorship for students in academic institutions and mentorship for newly Registered Nurses, a paucity of literature exploring academic mentorship of student nurses exists. This research aims to contribute to an emerging yet vital body of knowledge surrounding the notions of support and nurturing of health professionals of the future.
Keywords: Mentorship, support, education, undergraduate, case study

Still life: Photo journaling as a means of capturing the student nursing journey

Caroline Vafeas, Melanie Zilembo and Tania Beament
Edith Cowan University
Email: c.vafeas@ecu.edu.au, m.zilembo@ecu.edu.au, t.beament@ecu.edu.au

This presentation follows one student's photo journey through their time as a nursing student within the largest nursing school in Western Australia. Photo journaling as an aesthetic means of data collection in qualitative research has experienced popularity in the nursing literature over recent years, yet the method has yet to be used to capture the experiences of this sector of the emerging health workforce. With a burgeoning ageing population and a domestic nursing shortage a chronic problem in Australia, attention must be paid to the early socialisation experiences of new nurses to the profession.

Experiences and recommendations on the use of very detailed marking rubrics

John R. Venable
School of Information Systems, Curtin University of Technology
Email: j.venable@curtin.edu.au

One key difficulty in teaching is marking and providing detailed and useful feedback on assessments, particularly on large, complex reports. One way of setting expectations for such assignments, providing more detailed feedback, and yet reducing the effort required when marking is to provide and make use of very detailed marking rubrics. A very detailed marking rubric is several pages long with many criteria areas to be assessed, but with the ability to tick or check off how well the criteria are met (or not).

This paper describes the development and use of a very detailed marking rubric for lengthy and detailed assignments in two similar classes, one at second year and one postgraduate. Experiences gained from using the detailed marking rubric in the undergraduate class were considered when modifying the rubric and incorporating it into the postgraduate class. In both classes, the students were surveyed on their experiences and preferences with the detailed rubric at the end of the unit. The paper contrasts the reception of the very detailed marking rubric between the two classes; the undergraduate class was more satisfied with the use of the rubric and the quality of the feedback received, while the postgraduate class was less satisfied. The paper further assesses the amount of effort that went into creating the very detailed marking rubric as well as the subsequent effort and time that went into marking using the rubric and recommends that detailed marking rubrics be used differently depending on the level of the student.
Keywords: Teaching and Learning, Assessment, Marking, Marking Rubric, Marking Guide, Feedback

The changing role of an educator of pathway students transitioning to higher education

Dennis Watkins
Perth Institute of Business and Technology
Email: denjules@gmail.com

The number of Colleges providing pathway entry into University degree courses has grown considerably in Australia in the last 15 years. In one College (Perth Institute of Business and Technology hereafter known as PIBT,) increasing competition for students in the last 5 - 7 years has led to a greater number of students, from the lower section of the pathway entry level standards enrolling in diploma courses. Recent years' results show this cohort of students has greater difficulties in developing the level of skills necessary to successfully transition to higher education than more capable students. The last 18 months has seen a concerted effort, using an "Action Research" model, to seek to identify possible causal factors which may be contributing to these students' results, and taking action which has resulted in significant observable and measurable progress in developing the level of skills necessary to successfully transition to second year university. Two important upward trends have begun to emerge. One trend is the overall pass rate whilst maintaining academic standards and the second trend is in the observable and measurable performance of students who have repeated the unit. The implications of the results of this research are significant for educators of those students who may have ability, motivation or transitional difficulties in adjusting to university level education and developing the skills necessary to succeed.

Enabling teachers to use newly trained competencies: The role of psychological strengths in tertiary teacher training and development

Ramon Wenzel
Business School, The University of Western Australia
Email: ramon.wenzel@uwa.edu.au

Universities increasingly provide training for new entrants to higher education teaching. However, the trained lecturer may try the new presentation methods only if she believes that she can do this. A tutor just starting out in this role may not engage into the trained student guidance concept anymore after it went horribly wrong the first time. A unit coordinator, trained in sophisticated assessment techniques, may not employ these if he cannot see how they can be implemented. Training research suggests that development initiatives time and again fall short of providing the benefits for which they were designed. While the concepts and practices taught may be well understood, the actual application can depend on the teachers perceived application capacity rather than the objective difficulty to executing such demands. The purpose of this presentation is to outline the potential of positive psychological strengths to the discipline of tertiary teacher development.

It is argued that, in order to successfully apply trained competencies, a teacher trainee must know what to do, how to do it, and have the will to do it (hope). A trained teacher must also believe that efforts sooner or later lead to desired outcomes (optimism). A trained teacher must further have sufficient conviction that he or she can actually do it (self-efficacy). Ultimately, a trained teacher must also have the capacity to persist if obstacles arise in order to succeed (resilience). The psychological constructs are explained and scenarios illustrated. As a result, a number of derived propositions and potential studies are suggested.

55 minute workshop
Authentic, problem-based learning prepares police recruits for the complexities of policing today and in the future

Glenda Winney
WA Police Academy
Email: glenda.winney@police.wa.gov.au

The complexities for policing today and in the future demanded a review of how our recruits learn and how we teach them. The results indicated it to be acutely apparent that recruits need to learn and develop a high level order of skills in communication, problem solving abilities and emotional intelligence. Death by PowerPoint is no longer an option. We have listened to the feedback from recruits and we are undertaking changes.

According to adult learning principles, adults learn when they have a need to learn. They tend to enjoy discovering and researching materials themselves; they want to discuss it; and they prefer to engage in a learning style that suits them best. The pedagogy approach rarely fits with adult learners. A review of how police recruits learn best, validated this. While theory, pragmatic, action and reflective learning styles were all surveyed the resounding results found that police recruits understand and retain knowledge more effectively when they are able to pragmatically apply what they are being told and to then have the opportunity to reflect on what happened in order to learn from the experience. In essence, this is what police do on the job. They engage in the scenario through empathic communication, problem solving and actions. They then debrief what occurred after the event. Experientially learning in the manner that they will be engaged in on the job is logical. Problem Based Learning (PBL) fits this niche style of learning.

In PBL the recruit is faced with ill structured problems. For example this could be a crime scene that involves an unexplained death on one call out. They could then be sent to the next call out where they need to deal with a traffic stop, find drugs and then deal with unco-operative occupants of the vehicle who are threatening others lives. The problems are complex and require critical thinking capabilities. PBL assists the learner by working through a staged approach, increasing their level of critical thinking, organisational capabilities and working collaboratively with others. Of interest from a psychological perspective is how brain wave patterning correlates with these particular preferred styles of learning. When we are actively engaged in problem solving such as in experiential pragmatic style learning the brain wave pattern is in the Beta state, using some 12-18Hz of energy. Beta activity is important for conscious thought processes, creativity, critical thinking and judgement of how we need to interact with our environment. Ideally when reflecting or debriefing from an experiential experience we would be at the higher end of Alpha or the lower end of Beta (about 12Hz). The Alpha state of 8-12Hz is our relaxed, detached state of awareness such as sitting in a classroom. If we become too relaxed the energy gets too low and it may further drift into the Theta state of 4-8Hz. This is when we may start nodding off - much like death by PowerPoint.

When we have an emotive experience such as in an experiential learning activity we are more likely to remember the event due to an association of the experience. Again this correlates with feedback from recruits who struggled to learn what had been delivered to them weeks previously through PowerPoint but had no difficulty recalling what they had experienced in a scenario exercise. From a psychological and teaching and learning perspective it is clear that PBL is the logical and preferred pathway for preparing new officers for policing today and in the future.
Keywords: problem based learning, PBL, police, investigation, brain wave

Developing empathy and agency in preservice teachers: A reflection on a unit of learning

Jeannine Wishart
Curtin University of Technology
Email: j.wishart@curtin.edu.au

There has been much inquiry and debate about teachers' knowledge about literacy and how to teach it. Those pre-service teachers who have a strong literacy knowledge and pedagogy foundation are at an advantage when they make the transition to classroom practitioner. Amongst all the current debate about knowledge about literacy, one small, but important, piece of the knowledge seems to be unacknowledged; what that teacher knows about students who are experiencing difficulty learning literacy, and what it would be like to be in that situation.

It is to this end that a pre-service literacy elective that focussed on diagnosis of and intervention for students with reading and writing difficulties was restructured to focus on the students who have difficulties learning literacy, to develop a sense of empathy in the preservice teacher and a sense of agency in the primary student. Pre-service teachers were paired with a student who was perceived as being 'at risk' in regard to literacy learning from a local school. They were supported student by the classroom teacher and the university lecturer, using a coaching model. The pre-service students created an electronic portfolio containing artefacts such as student assessments, lessons and work samples as well as reflections. The portfolio was analysed to locate instances of empathy and agency. This paper attempts to situate the notions of developing these attributes within the current body of knowledge regarding literacy, pedagogy and pre-service teachers.

Improving marking of live performances involving multiple markers assessing different aspects
Refereed Research paper. Full text on website [HTML] [PDF]

Julia Wren, Alistair Campbell, John Heyworth and Rachel Bartlett
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.wren@ecu.edu.au, a.campbell@ecu.edu.au, j.heyworth@ecu.edu.au, r.bartlett@ecu.edu.au

Assessment in the arts can be challenging. The problems associated with assessing student performances are that judgements are complex and even more so when they involve multiple markers (Campbell, 2005). It can be difficult to ensure assessment is fair, valid and reliable and that students are provided with clear feedback that is meaningful to them. This paper describes the development and trialling of an innovative, technology supported tool, designed to improve the confidence, efficiency and effectiveness of student performance-based assessment in arts education.

This project is a work in progress and early trials of the Internet based digital computer technology tool suggest that it reduces tutor anxiety, increases markers' confidence, improves the management of assessment and record keeping, facilitates easy and quick moderation, and provides explicit feedback to students to enhance ongoing learning. The perception by stakeholders is that this assessment is far more accessible and easy to use than previous methods. The project was implemented in a Bachelor of Education course, with 170 third year pre-service teacher students. Group performances were assessed by three tutors simultaneously during the live performance and for one week afterwards by viewing online video recordings of each performance. The tutors were able to discuss the assessment online via a confidential 'tutor box' attached to the marking key and only visible to tutors. The assessment was presented to the students as a one page electronic marking key with the video of their performance embedded into this page. This was saved as a PDF document and emailed to students. The students' responses have been overwhelmingly positive. They reported that ease of access to this electronic assessment meant that they engaged with their feedback multiple times. The tutors reported that the process was far more streamlined and fair.
Keyword: assessment using ICT, performance assessment, multiple markers, assessing arts, assessment tools

Please cite as: TL Forum (2011). Developing student skills for the next decade. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 1-2 February 2011. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://otl.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2011/abstracts.html

© 2011 Edith Cowan University. Copyrights in the individual articles in the Proceedings reside with the authors as noted in each article's footer lines.

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