Thursday, 25 June 2015

June Newsletter




http://samnet.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=4a47095bec249296fc19b68ad&id=9e05ee0b4b
 
This Month’s Question:
With the fifth SaMnet Leadership-Development Workshop taking place earlier this month, we will be reviewing our workshops for future years. Here is a chance to have your say! What elements would make the workshop worthwhile for you to come along again? What elements would you suggest are vital for those new to SaMnet, or SoTL and Leadership in the STEM disciplines? Let us know at samnetaustralia@gmail.com.



2.  Conferences & publication
Monash University, 25-27 November, 2015
Universities are invited to send two person teams to showcase a laboratory experiment for improvement. Due date for EOI for experiments to be evaluated at the workshop: 17 August

Flinders University, Adelaide, 28 September – 1 October, 2015
Call for abstracts for presentations in the Maths Education Special Sessions close on the 30th of June. Please note that the dates clash with ACSME (see below), but the conference organisers have offered to try and schedule talks of ACSME participants on the first two days so you can get to Perth for ACSME.

Perth, 30 September – 2 October, 2015
The theme is Transforming practice: Inspiring innovation.
Early bird registrations close August 6th.



3.  Connections/Events  
Past:
QLD/NT SaMnet Leadership-Development Workshop – Brisbane, June 9


Future:
The University of Melbourne, 6-7 July, 2015
An annual workshop providing an opportunity for mathematicians, statisticians and mathematics educators to meet. Unfortunately/excitingly the venue is fully booked so registrations will be placed on a wait list.

Perth, 30 September – 2 October, 2015
This is the main gathering and sharing event on the SaMnet calendar each year.

Melbourne, 1-4 July, 2015
Registrations are closed, but look out for other SaMnet scholars at this event.



4.  SaMnet activity 
This month we held our 5th SaMnet Leadership-Development Workshop for 2015. This workshop was held in Brisbane and hosted by SaMnet Scholar, Sarah-Jane Gregory.

24 people attended the workshop and cited that one of the most useful aspects included a presentation from OLT National Teaching Fellow, Prof Pauline Ross on Career progression: Understanding the System. Participants also found sharing experiences and hearing from others, and looking at effective change frameworks as some of the most useful parts of the workshop.

Thank you to all involved, especially Sarah-Jane as host. If you are interested in hosting a workshop at your institution please send an email to samnetaustralia@gmail.com.



5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

From the book, A Concise Guide to Improving Student Learning: Six Evidence-Based Principles and How to Apply Them, by Diane Cummings Persellin and Mary Blythe Daniels. Featured in Tomorrow’s Professor Blog.
This is an overview of several studies on “desirable difficulties”. This work seems to align with interest in “constructive failure” or “productive failure”. That is, give students practice in something that is particularly challenging to do. Then, when they are examined on similar problems, they will actually perform better.
Meg Bernhard in The Chronicle of Higher Education discussing a recent paper of Carl Wieman
How do you evaluate your teaching? Wieman argues that “The ultimate measure of teaching quality... is the extent to which professors use practices associated with better student outcomes”. Over the last two years the SaMnet Action-Learning project teams have been evaluating their teaching to this measure. How can you do this over the coming semester?



6.  Leadership insights

Jay Schalin and Jenna Ashley Robinson in The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy
In the student transition from “learning for learning’s sake” to more practical outcomes such as employment and vocational pursuits at university, how can academic institutions respond? How can academia instil lifelong-learning practices in an era where access and “opportunities abound for life-long learning”?

Dan Berrett in The Chronicle of Higher Education
Harvard University and the University of Michigan announced in 2012 $40 and $25 million dollars in funding respectively to encourage faculty members to “experiment in the service of learning”. The question arises, what can happen when so much money is offered to projects? Will the money spark change when other attempts have failed?


7. Classifieds

This is a teaching-focussed role; the Department is undertaking a major, multi-year revision of its undergraduate pedagogy and curriculum with the goal of producing a truly superb undergraduate experience in physics. They are looking for candidates with a strong background in university teaching who are familiar with current developments in physics education research.  

Saturday, 30 May 2015

May Newsletter



This Month’s Question:
Two months we asked the question, what is the biggest hurdle preventing you from using more new innovations in the classes you teach, or units you manage? We had a variety of multiple choice responses from the community ranging from lack of access to appropriate teaching spaces or professional development in teaching innovations to a heavy workload especially in the area of administration demands. (Click here for the results in last month’s newsletter.)

Here we present a couple of reflections from members of the SaMnet community. Do you have something to share on this discussion or a future topic? Email us at SaMnetAustralia@gmail.com.

From Theo Hughes – Monash University
The chart supports a line I have been pushing for a while; that getting the admin side of teaching right is critical due to the indirect effects it has on both staff and students. Admin should be organised so well that (1) it blends into the background so it is never/rarely an issue that students complain about and so that (2) academic staff only have to spend a small amount of time on it to have things run smoothly and hence have a much larger amount of time to focus on teaching innovations. This will not happen magically by itself. Someone needs to take responsibility for ensuring this happens and I would suggest the employment of high quality, discipline specific admin staff to support teaching is essential - one of whom is tasked to be the "Manager". You want to be providing administrative support for say Physics, then you better have a degree in Physics. This also provides employment opportunities for Physics graduates.

From Manju Sharma, with Helen Georgiou – The University of Sydney
My OLT Teaching Fellowship found that in many instances of sustained good practice there was support of the type advocated by Theo.  Sometimes, these were administrative roles, at other times these were not administrative.  But discipline specific support such that teaching teams can innovate, find out if their innovations are effective, and improve is really important for local pockets of excellence in science and mathematics education in universities. Keep an eye out for my report. 
Thank you to Theo, Manju, and Helen for contributing to the discussion.


2.  Conferences & publication
Perth, 30 September – 2 October, 2015
ACSME submissions are now open. This is the main gathering and sharing event on the SaMnet calendar each year. The theme is Transforming practice: Inspiring innovation.
Early bird registrations close August 6th,
Submissions due June 5th.

Melbourne, 1-4 July, 2015
The conference organising committee is almost the same as FYHE in recent years but the scope of the conference has broadened to include all year levels in HE, not just 1st year.  The change in focus provides a broader platform for the dissemination of works associated with student experiences in higher education as a whole.

Monash University, 25-27 November, 2015
Universities are invited to send two person teams to showcase a laboratory experiment for improvement. Due date for EOI for experiments to be evaluated at the workshop: 17 August


3.  Connections/Events  
Past:
February SaMnet Leadership Development Workshops

Future:
QLD/NT SaMnet Leadership-Development Workshop - Brisbane                 
There are a small number of last minute registrations available - please contact workshop host Sarah-Jane Gregory directly - s.gregory@griffith.edu.au
Date: Tuesday 9th, June, 2015
Location: Nathan Campus, Griffith University


4.  SaMnet activity 
Last chance to register for the QLD/NT SaMnet Leadership-Development Workshop with special guest, OLT National Teaching Fellow, Professor Pauline Ross.
- enable sharing strategies for spurring adoption of innovative teaching practices,
- offer training in participating in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL),
- provide insight on leading change in universities, and
- offer advice on career progression and leadership in academic institutions.

The workshop will run approximately from 10am to 3:30pm. Registration and lunch is free for attendees.

Contact host Sarah-Jane Gregory to register - s.gregory@griffith.edu.au



5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Adeline Koh in The Chronicle of Higher Education
“In each course [that I have integrated Wikipedia into] I’ve been amazed by student reactions to the assignment: they overwhelmingly report that this is the most engaging — and nerve-wracking — aspect of the course, as their work has public impact, and that editing Wikipedia is tremendously empowering.” The examples are not from science or maths education, but could you see this working in our context?
Steve Kolowich in The Chronicle of Higher Education
As educators we seek to support students as they attempt the courses we teach. In the classroom we see students becoming increasingly distracted by mobile devices and social media, what about their Facebook use when doing assignments or studying? A helpful article, especially for those in roles promoting a healthy first-year student experience.

6.  Leadership insights

Review by Shelley Nicholson, Book by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal
This article provides an overview of one the classics in the study of organisations.  It aligns with our thrust to expose science academics to just the insights into organisations that have real staying power and scaffold their understanding in a way that will be understood by others. That is, it helps to give them the language of organisational studies and insight.  

Nilofer Merchant, Fellow at The Martin Prosperity Institute on “New Power”
How one can come up with an idea that resonates with others, but the credit may not flow back to the originator.  And that is not a bad thing. 








Friday, 24 April 2015

April Newsletter



http://samnet.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=4a47095bec249296fc19b68ad&id=9e05ee0b4b



This Month’s Question:
Last month we asked the question, what is the biggest hurdle preventing you from using more new innovations in the classes you teach, or units you manage? We had 22 responses from the community.

The responses were shared amongst all six available responses ranging from lack of access or training in new technologies to what we termed *less-willing* colleagues. The majority of respondents however said their workload was the biggest barrier, especially the administration demands they feel burdened with.


The responses highlight the importance of the continued activities of the SaMnet community. At the SaMnet leadership development workshops participants are trained in leadership which can be used to motivate less-willing colleagues and gain access to and training in educational innovations. Over the last three years many in the network have participated in action-learning projects where they trialled education innovations and shared results around the country through SaMnet.

Are you someone who finds the workload too great to be trying out new innovations? Skip down to section 6 of this newsletter, Leadership Insights, for a great article on managing competing demands in a university and making time for what will have a long term impact (or just follow the link here).

What advice would you give to the SaMnet community based on these results? Reply to SaMnetAustralia@gmail.com



2.  Conferences & publication
Perth, 30 September – 2 October, 2015
ACSME submissions are now open. This is the main gathering and sharing event on the SaMnet calendar each year. The theme is Transforming practice: Inspiring innovation.
Early bird registrations close August 6th,
Submissions due June 5th.

Melbourne, 1-4 July, 2015
The conference organising committee is almost the same as FYHE in recent years but the scope of the conference has broadened to include all year levels in HE, not just 1st year.  The change in focus provides a broader platform for the dissemination of works associated with student experiences in higher education as a whole. The organisers have also scheduled the conference to closely precede rather than clash with HERDSA this year so that many of our senior T&L folk are able to attend both not just one conference and thereby disseminate, collaborate and mentor the next generation of HE T&L staff.

Monash University, 25-27 November, 2015
Universities are invited to send two person teams to showcase a laboratory experiment for improvement. Due date for EOI for experiments to be evaluated at the workshop: 17 August



3.  Connections/Events  
Past:
February SaMnet Leadership Development Workshops

Future:
Registrations are now open for the free SaMnet Leadership-Development Workshop
Date: Tuesday 9th, June, 2015
Location: Nathan Campus, Griffith University



4.  SaMnet activity 
Registration for the Brisbane Leadership-Development Workshop is now open for Tuesday 9th, June, 2015. The workshop will:
- enable sharing strategies for spurring adoption of innovative teaching practices,
- offer training in participating in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL),
- provide insight on leading change in universities, and
- offer advice on career progression and leadership in academic institutions.
The workshop will run approximately from 10am to 3:30pm. Registration and lunch is free for attendees.



5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education
An article about providing video feedback on student papers, which has been tested by some academics at Monash University. Two messages, (1) They not only tried the approach, but they also wrote a paper about it; (2) they have gained some international notice for it – at least with this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Carol E. Holstead, The Chronicle of Higher Education
You may have seen this article doing the rounds, but the data is in – there are some clear positives to pen-and-paper note taking over using technology. Do you get your students to take pen-and-paper notes?



6.  Leadership insights
We are highlighting just the one article this week, based on the responses to the question in last month’s newsletter.

Kerry Ann Rockquemore, President and CEO of the US National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity

“It seems to me that there is a core challenge that faculty members face: certain aspects of our work have built-in, daily accountability while other aspects of our work have no short-term accountability.” Developing your career, and investing in quality teaching have little to no short-term accountability but we would agree that these are no less important than our high-accountability administration tasks.

Kerry Ann gives five steps to realistic balance, but will you make the time to read them?




7. Initiative in focus: National standards for agriculture education launched
The University of Tasmania, with The University of Adelaide (Information provided by Phoebe Bobbi, project officer) 

In a national first, tertiary-level education standards for agriculture have been developed to help universities design and deliver programs that meet agreed standards, attract more students and produce skilled graduates.

The national standards were recently launched by Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, in front of 700 delegates at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Outlook 2015 conference in Canberra.

Led by the University of Tasmania, in collaboration with The University of Adelaide, University of Western Sydney and Charles Sturt University, the standards were developed through a nationwide consultation with industry, students, and academics as part of the Federal Government funded Agriculture Learning and Teaching Academic Standards project.