Thursday, 4 February 2016

February Newsletter



On behalf of SaMnet, happy new year to all of you. We hope you have enjoyed your break, come back refreshed, and ready to face a new year of science and mathematics education.

From next month, the SaMnet newsletter will include the Australian Council of Deans of Science blog as part of the integrated newsletter covering the SaMnet, ACDS, ACSME and IJ-ISME communities! Look out for the new newsletter in March!

This Month’s Question:
As the new year begins, we want to provide you with new opportunities for collaborative teaching and learning projects. Special interest groups within the umbrella of science and mathematics education in Australia – FYiMaths is just one example – develop and flourish because of the hard work of the community involved, including the work of SaMnet scholars.

What special interest groups in science and mathematics education, whether Australian or internationally, are you involved in that you feel the SaMnet community should know about? Please let us know at samnetaustralia@gmail.com and we shall highlight them in future editions of the newsletter.

Ireland’s National Teaching & Learning Network, the Network for Advancing Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) was relaunched in 2015. This network is open for international members, so if you are considering travelling to Ireland, keep your eyes on potential opportunities coming from the network!

We would like to draw your attention to two surveys looking at staff and academic perceptions on aspects of student learning and employability:

  • Our colleagues from Monash are exploring science academics' perceptions of employability. Could you please complete their survey at: http://goo.gl/forms/IDjiIQ7ix5 
  • Dr Nazim Khan (UWA) has also invited you to participate in a survey on staff attitudes on student class attendance, available here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FCBJKL8


2.  Conferences & publication

Call for Abstracts for Oral Presentations and Posters - 2016 RACI Chemical Educational Division Symposium
Monash University, Melbourne, 31 March-1 April, 2016
The symposium is an opportunity for participants to discuss four key themes in chemical education, with each discussion chaired by a leader from the Australian Chemical Education community.
Submissions are open until Monday 8 February; please submit your text-only abstract here.

Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth, 29 June-2 July 2016
The STARS conference makes its way to Perth in 2016.
Submissions close Monday 8 February; please check here for more details.

Rural education in Australia poses a fascinating set of challenges and provides opportunities for educational innovation.
Interested authors should submit an expression of interest, including a 250-word abstract, to jcox@csu.edu.au. Submissions are open until Friday 27 February 2016.



3.  Connections/Events  

Past:
2015 Biomed Forum – Canberra, ACT
FYiMaths NSW Meeting – Sydney, NSW
HAPS Australia Regional Meeting 2015 – Melbourne, VIC

Current:
University of Melbourne – 3 February 2016
University of Sydney – 5 February 2016

Monash University, Melbourne, 31 March-1 April, 2016
The symposium will allow participants to discuss and present on four key themes in chemical education.
Registrations for the event are open now; click here to register.

Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth, 29 June-2 July 2016
The STARS conference makes its way to Perth in 2016.
Early bird registrations are open; click here for more details and registration.

Brisbane Convention and Education Centre, Brisbane, 7-9 August 2016
The theme of this conference is “Improving STEM Learning: What will it take?”
Early bird registrations are open; click here for more details and registration.



4.  SaMnet activity 

The proceedings from the ACSME 2015 conference on ‘Transforming Practice: Inspiring Innovation’ are now available online; click here for the online proceedings.

Furthermore, the special issue of IJISME on ‘Assessing Laboratory Learning’ is available online. The link to the issue is available here.

We are currently hard at work on the transition to an integrated SaMnet, ACDS T&L, ACSME and IJISME newsletter, delivering news, events and support for practitioners and educational innovators as an arm of the Australian Council of Deans of Science Teaching and Learning Centre. This transition will occur next month; watch this space!



5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times
A report by the Higher Education Authority in Ireland has shown concerns about drop-out rates in technology-related courses, with suspicions focused on low maths entry requirements. Concerns about mathematical abilities of students entering university are worldwide; what should Australian universities do about these requirements, as highlighted by recent news from Sydney University?

Trudy W. Banta and Catherine A. Palomba, Chapter 2 in the book Assessment Essentials: Planning, Implementing and Improving Assessment in Higher Education
What is the purpose behind your assessments? Who are the stakeholders affected? When should assessments be conducted? At a student, faculty and institutional level, well-crafted assessment planning can help engage the goals of the institution for all relevant parties. What is your approach to assessment planning? Have you written down your assessment planning documents?



6.  Leadership Insights

Susanne Morton for the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) blog
Contextualising your institution with respect to the unique local factors of the institution, including its history, provides an important step towards enacting cultural change within an institution. Could this approach extend beyond gender equality, as used by the SAGE project? How would your institution’s history and unique local qualities affect the way you approach institutional change?

Audrey Williams June for The Chronicle of Higher Education
Three perspectives are offered here on how simply hiring people of diverse backgrounds is not enough to entrench diversity. Rather, the environment of the institution, from the leadership team down, must be conducive to supporting diversity policies. What aspects of these perspectives do you observe here within your institutional context and how do they contribute or detract from change?


7. Classifieds

The SMART Directory indexes useful websites relevant to teaching and learning in science and mathematics, with annotated resources and a rating system indicating the usefulness of the resources. The Directory is ready for testing, and the developers welcome feedback and comments on the site, which is available in beta here.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

November Newsletter

1.  Issue 40 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter 



This Month’s Question:
As we move towards the end of the year, we are reviewing the SaMnet workshops conducted this year. Here is your chance to have your say on future workshops! Suggestions for future workshops have included stronger engagement with STEM education literature, understanding the leadership environment within your university and leading change in your university beyond your unit.

What other elements do you think are vital for SaMnet scholars to experience in future workshops?
Let us know at samnetaustralia@gmail.com

The Australian Government has announced the establishment of a new National Institute for Learning and Teaching to begin on 1 July 2016. This will replace the current Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT). This follows a report on the strengths and weaknesses of the current programme, completed after extensive consultation with the higher education sector. The report is available here: https://docs.education.gov.au/node/38401



2.  Conferences & publication

Parkroyal Melbourne Airport, Melbourne, 11 December 2015
Science faculties are invited to nominate 2 or 3 leaders responsible for the development and/or delivery of WIL programs in science or mathematics, as delegates to the Forum and members of the new network.
RSVPs are to be sent to kally.kneale@deakin.edu.au with delegate details (name, email, dietary requirements). No registration fee, but numbers are limited.

Along with the launch of the new WIL in Science Network, the Forum will also introduce the WIL in Science Lighthouse Projects, “action-learning projects designed to establish visible WIL organisation and leadership in science-based faculties.” Expressions of interest for projects are now open.
More details on how to submit expressions of interest are available here.

The special issue invites papers from education, neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology and computer science researchers on the topic of “Brain, mind and education: Understanding learning in digital environments.”
Manuscript submissions are due by 29 January 2016, check here for submission details.

Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth, 29 June -2 July 2016
The STARS conference makes its way to Perth in 2016.
Submissions are open now; please check here for more details.



3.  Connections/Events  

Past:
National ASELL Science Workshop – Melbourne, VIC

LaTrobe University, Melbourne, 4-5 December, 2015
This is the inaugural Australian regional conference of HAPS, the largest society of human physiology and anatomy teaching professionals.
Online registrations close today!

Shine Dome, Canberra, 8-10 December 2015
This forum will see the launch of the Bioscience Education Australia Network (BEAN), the new umbrella network combining CUBEnet and VIBEnet; as well as hosting the Mathbench Symposium, which will launch and demonstrate the Mathbench-Australia website.

Parkroyal Melbourne Airport, Melbourne, 11 December 2015
Join discipline leaders and TL champions from across Australia at this inaugural national forum to launch the new WIL in Science Network.

University of Technology Sydney, 11 December 2015
This is an all day workshop; registrations are free and limited, so get in quick here.



4.  SaMnet activity 

As we approach the end of the calendar year, SaMnet is interested in what you have achieved this year and what you have planned for next year.

Do you have an initiative, project or interest to chare with the community that you would like feedback on? Do you have any publications that you wish to disseminate to the wider SaMnet community? Please contact us at samnetaustralia@gmail.com



5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Carl Wieman for Change Magazine
"Current methods of evaluating teaching at colleges and universities fail to encourage, guide, or document teaching that leads to improved student learning outcomes." Carl proposes the Teaching Practices Inventory, an evaluation approach which monitors the extent to which academics employ teaching practices that are known to work. Would this be an effective mechanism of promoting change in teaching practices amongst academics within your institution?

Mark Francek, Professor of Geography at Central Michigan University
Mark outlines three key elements that he considers to necessary for good teaching: building a sense of community within the classroom, holding students accountable for their learning and relevance to student perspectives. Are these elements embedded within your teaching practices? What other elements do you think are essential to teaching?



6.  Leadership Insights

Philip Shapira, reviewing Designing the New American University by Michael M. Crow and William B. Dabars
Aligning your initiatives with the goals of those higher up within your institution is one means of driving change in the institution. The article highlights some of the pressures and trends in the American system that allowed for a new cultural environment within Arizona State University. Are these trends evident in the Australian system? How could you combine those with external cultural shifts outside the classroom to effect change in your instutition?

Ellen Harries, Rachel Wharton and Rob Abercrombie, supported by LankellyChase Foundation
SaMnet aims to foster 'distributed leadership'.  That is part of a strategy touted in this report on how to change complex social systems - like your department, faculty, university, or discipline.  This report provides a nice, reasonably succinct, conceptual overview of how different disciplines and professions have defined systems and how they can change.  It also outlines principles about pursuing 'system change'.  


7. Classifieds

The SMART Directory indexes useful websites relevant to teaching and learning in science and mathematics, with annotated resources and a rating system indicating the usefulness of the resources. The Directory is ready for testing, and the developers welcome feedback and comments on the site, which is available in beta here.

The Department of Mathematics at The University of Auckland is advertising for a Professional Teaching Fellow in Mathematics. This is a teaching-focussed role; the position is intended for candidates with a PhD in Mathematics, or a closely related discipline, who demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence in the teaching of Mathematics at the undergraduate level. Applications close Sunday 13 December 2015.

The School of Mathematics and Physics is advertising for a Learning Designer. The successful appointee will work on a University of Queensland Technology-Enhanced Learning project to develop dynamic, interactive simulations to enhance student learning. Candidates should possess qualifications in a relevant discipline such as mathematics, physics, engineering or similar and be comfortable with web-based technologies and programming. Applications should be sent to A/Prof Tim McIntyre either via mail or emailed to t.mcintyre@uq.edu.au. Applications close Monday 14 December 2015.

The School of Mathematical Sciences is advertising for a Research Fellow in Mathematical Sciences. The successful applicant will conduct independent and joint research in areas related to financial mathematics; they will also be expected to teach financial mathematics at a Master’s degree level. The position is intended for candidates with a PhD in a relevant discipline, strong knowledge in the area of financial mathematics and the ability to teach it at a Master’s degree level. Applications close Sunday 10 January 2016.

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is aiming to substantially increase the number of top female faculty members by offering high-profile, tenure-track positions to top female scientists in research fields in which TU Delft is active. You will be offered the unique chance to establish your own research programme of international repute. More details on the Fellowship and how to apply are available here. Applications close 8 January 2016.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

October Newsletter


1.  Issue 39 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter 


This Month’s Question:
Interested in hosting a SaMnet leadership and/or SoTL workshop in your capital city in 2016? SaMnet HQ are happy to assist.  

Suggest a timeframe and area of focus.  Indicate what role you would undertake - hosting, co-facilitating, facilitating segments, etc.  Guess what level of attendance - 3 colleagues, 15 from your faculty, 35 from across the university?  

We can provide soft copies of handouts, lesson plan/run sheet for a typical workshop, coaching on organising, advertising, running.  

Expressions of interest are due 1 December to facilitate planning for 2016. Please contact samnetaustralia@gmail.com



2.  Conferences & publication

Shine Dome, Canberra, 8-10 December 2015
This forum will see the launch of the Bioscience Education Australia Network (BEAN), the new umbrella network combining CUBEnet and VIBEnet; as well as hosting the Mathbench Symposium, which will launch and demonstrate the Mathbench-Australia website.
More information about the forum can be found here.

LaTrobe University, Melbourne, 4-5 December, 2015
This is the inaugural Australian regional conference of HAPS, the largest society of human physiology and anatomy teaching professionals.
Poster and workshop submissions are open until Friday 20 November.
Regular registrations are open until Thursday 12 November.

Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth, 29 June -2 July 2016
The STARS conference makes its way to Perth in 2016.
Submissions are open now; please check here for more details.
               


3.  Connections/Events  

Past:
The OLT Future of Tertiary Education Workshop – Adelaide, SA
International Society for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) 2015 - Melbourne, VIC

Monash University, 25-27 November, 2015
Online registrations are now closed.

Shine Dome, Canberra, 8-10 December 2015
Online registrations are open until Friday 27 November.

Melbourne, 11 December 2015
Keep this date free; more information about registrations will be made available closer to the event.

University of Technology Sydney, 11 December 2015
This is an all day workshop; more information will be made available closer to the event.

4.  SaMnet activity 
As we approach the end of the calendar year, SaMnet is interested in what you have achieved this year and what you have planned for next year.

Do you have an initiative, project or interest to chare with the community that you would like feedback on? Do you have any publications that you wish to disseminate to the wider SaMnet community? Please contact us at samnetaustralia@gmail.com 



5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Innovation and entrepreneurship are the themes for this month’s section:

Deba Dutta for Inside Higher Ed
The drive to instil innovation skills in students comes with a question – can students actually learn how to innovate? The author suggests that while innovation cannot be directly taught, there are other mechanisms by which we can help students embrace innovation. What steps do you think are necessary to embrace a cultural change towards innovation and entrepreneurship in your institution?

Karen MacGregor for University World News
Entrepreneurship and work-integrated learning are being prioritised around the world in order to address the needs of students in changing socio-economic times. Does this reflect the Australian environment, and how should Australian universities respond to this changing landscape?

Note that the ACDS is holding a forum on Work-Integrated Learning in Science on 11 December – more information above!



6.  Leadership Insights

Jillian Kinzie, Pat Hutchings, and Natasha A. Jankowski, in the book, Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education
Evidence of student learning can be a powerful tool for driving institutional and national change. The authors outlines the principles that focus assessment towards good practice and change. How can you implement these principles in your assessment schedules? How can you drive effective change in your institution through assessments that contribute to overall student learning?

Jenny Rood for The Scientist: Exploring Life, Inspiring Innovation
Retiring professors often take with them a wealth of institutional knowledge and experience in their disciplines. ‘Post-retirement postdocs’ are an emerging phenomenon that seek to keep these institutional leaders contributing to the wider research body. How would you seek to retain this vast realm of knowledge within your research discipline? What contributions do you think are best suited to these leaders, whether it be mentoring, research, or other contributions?


7. Classifieds

The 2015 RiAus Postgraduate Survival Guide comes at a time when the national conversation is focused on the way in which we can train up the next generation of STEM-skilled graduates to take on the transition to the digital economy and contribute to Australia’s growing knowledge economy and industry.

The SMART Directory indexes useful websites relevant to teaching and learning in science and mathematics, with annotated resources and a rating system indicating the usefulness of the resources. The Directory is ready for testing, and the developers welcome feedback and comments on the site, which is available in beta here.

For mathematics educators with an interest in undergraduate mathematics education for secondary school teachers, mathematicians, academics in other discipline areas and teachers in maths support classes, state groups have been formed to consider state based issues, facilitate more frequent contact and encourage new members to participate in the FYiMaths network.

The Department of Mathematics at The University of Auckland is advertising for a Professional Teaching Fellow in Mathematics. This is a teaching-focussed role; the position is intended for candidates with a PhD in Mathematics, or a closely related discipline, who demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence in the teaching of Mathematics at the undergraduate level. .Applications close Sunday 13 December 2015.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

September Newsletter




This Month’s Question:
Have you published any education-focused publications this year? SaMnet would love to promote your work to the wider SaMnet community. If you have published any papers in 2015 focused on your teaching and learning practices, please let us know so that we can disseminate it amongst the SaMnet community!

Congratulations to SaMnet Scholar Maria Parappilly (Flinders) for receiving a 2015 Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning from the Office for Learning and Teaching on 28 September.

A number of OLT Citations were given for student learning in science, including Mary Boyce (Edith Cowan) and Chris Thompson (Monash). If you know of others who have been recognised by the OLT for their contributions to student learning, please let us know.

Maria, along with Lisa Schmidt (Flinders) and Samantha De Ritter (Flinders) has also recently published the journal article “Ready to learn physics: a team-based learning model for first year university” in the European Journal of Physics. Congratulations to Maria, Lisa and Samantha for their publication!

We continue to invite SaMnet scholars to complete the survey by Beth Beckmann (ANU) on how your work with SaMnet has been recognised within your institution.

The survey can be found here: https://apollo.anu.edu.au/default.asp?pid=8720

Any questions about the survey, the National Teaching Fellowship or professional recognition can be addressed to Beth at elizabeth.beckmann@anu.edu.au  

Support for this activity has been provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views expressed in this activity do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learn ing and Teaching.



2.  Conferences & publication

LaTrobe University, Melbourne, 4-5 December, 2015
This is the inaugural Australian regional conference of HAPS, the largest society of human physiology and anatomy teaching professionals.
Poster and workshop submissions are open until Friday 20 November.
Regular registrations are open until Thursday 12 November.

Shine Dome, Canberra, 8-10 December 2015
This forum will see the launch of the Bioscience Education Australia Network (BEAN), the new umbrella network combining CUBEnet and VIBEnet; as well as hosting the Mathbench Symposium, which will launch and demonstrate the Mathbench-Australia website.



3.  Connections/Events  

Past:
The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME) – Perth, WA
59th Annual Meeting of the Australian Mathematical Society – Adelaide, SA
The OLT Future of Tertiary Education Workshop – Adelaide, SA

Monash University, 25-27 November, 2015
Online registrations are open until Monday 26 October.

Shine Dome, Canberra, 8-10 December 2015
Online registrations are open until Friday 27 November.

Melbourne, 11 December 2015
Keep this date free, more information about registrations will be made available closer to the event.



4.  SaMnet activity 

ACSME 2015 was a resounding success!  This was the first time the conference was held in Perth, so thank you to the 2015 Organising and Program Committees for all their hard work in putting on an excellent conference.

Next year ACSME moves over to Brisbane, focused on “The 21st Century Science Graduate: What is the place of our STEM graduates in the world? How do we prepare them?” ACSME 2016 will be supported by the Australian Council of Deans of Science Teaching and Learning Centre.

The conference dates are Wednesday 28 September to Friday 30 September (just prior to the ComBio 2016 conference), so remember to keep those dates free. More information about the conference will be given closer to the dates, so watch this space!



5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Geoffrey Boulton and Colin Lucas for the League of European Research Universities
The authors argue that universities should not merely be defined by specific outputs demanded by governments and industry. Instead, they should play a more fundamental role allowing them to adapt to changing societal needs and values, contributing to society but not burdened by external demands. How do you see the role of the university and its value and contribution to society in today’s environment?

Tom Bartlett for The Chronicle of Higher Education
Are your findings reproducible? The Reproducibility Project tested 100 social psychology publications from 2008 and found that only 39% of these results were reproducible. Do you think this would apply to your field of research? What biases are involved when deciding to publish results?



6.  Leadership Insights

Colleen Flaherty for Inside Higher Ed
The American Association of University Professors is bringing together academics in a collaborative manner to understand student evaluations of teaching. This national collaboration is reflected locally with SaMnet and its discipline networks fostering institutional leaders and best practices in science and mathematics teaching in Australia. How have the national networks instituted by SaMnet facilitated your approach to teaching, learning or professional institutional recognition?

Katherine Aquino for Planning for Higher Education
Initiatives taken by an institution must be inclusive of the people driving the change within the institution. The book outlines that the human aspect of the organisation must be engaged with and included to provide a cohesive strategy for change. Have you taken on the task of structural change within your institution? How would you go about developing the interpersonal networks needed to successfully enact change?


 7. Classifieds

The 2015 RiAus Postgraduate Survival Guide comes at a time when the national conversation is focused on the way in which we can train up the next generation of STEM-skilled graduates to take on the transition to the digital economy and contribute to Australia’s growing knowledge economy and industry.

The SMART Directory indexes useful websites relevant to teaching and learning in science and mathematics, with annotated resources and a rating system indicating the usefulness of the resources. The Directory is ready for testing, and the developers welcome feedback and comments on the site, which is available in beta here.

The School of Mathematics and Statistics is seeking to expand its expertise in Pure Mathematics. Successful applicants will be required to lead research programs and have a strong commitment to the teaching and supervision of research students at undergraduate, MSc and PhD levels. Candidates with a background in Analysis are strongly encouraged to apply, with applications closing Sunday 11 October 2015.

For mathematics educators with an interest in undergraduate mathematics education for secondary school teachers, mathematicians, academics in other discipline areas and teachers in maths support classes, state groups have been formed to consider state based issues, facilitate more frequent contact and encourage new members to participate in the FYiMaths network.