Tuesday, 16 December 2014

December Newsletter

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1.  Issue 30 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter 

This Month’s Question: Specific Grading is said to bring rigour back into academic marking. It involves all assignments as pass/fail, with limited second chances, which contribute to the final grade (as described in this article). Do you think that specific grading is likely to be feasible and effective in the Australian science context? Send thoughts to samnetaustralia@gmail.com.



2.  Conferences & publication
Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) Conference
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 6-9 July, 2015
The theme of the conference is Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World
Abstracts due February 15, 2015

European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) Conference
The University of Helsinki, Finland, 31 August-4 September, 2015
The theme of the conference is Science Education Research: engaging learners for a sustainable future.
Abstracts due 31 January, 2015

Call for Papers – International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IJISME)
Assessing Laboratory Learning in Undergraduate Science – Abstracts due 10 January, 2015, Manuscripts due 13 April, 2015

Call for Papers – International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
Call for papers for December Issue: Last day for Submission, 31 December 2014.



3.  Connections/Events

Future: SaMnet Leadership Development Workshops - January and February 2015

Each year SaMnet conducts leadership development workshops for academics in science and mathematics who are invested in teaching and learning. Benefits of attending these workshops include support in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), career development, and leadership in academic institutions.

SaMnet will be conducting five leadership development workshops in January and February, 2015.

Click on any workshop to register or express your interest in attending one of SaMnet’s leadership development workshops.
 



4.  SaMnet activity 
SaMnet is working with host SaMnet scholars at each institution to put together the February leadership development workshops. We would like you to come along whether you are new to the community or can offer experience and advice.

Western Australia Workshop - Curtin University, 28 January
Victoria/Tasmania Workshop - Monash University, 19 February
New South Wales/ACT Workshop - In Sydney, February date TBC
South Australia Workshop - In Adelaide, February date TBC
Queensland/Northern Territory Workshop - Griffith University, February date TBC

Click on any workshop to register or express your interest in attending one of SaMnet’s leadership development workshops.



5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) (Edited by - Emma Bartle, UQ & Matt Hill, USYD)
This month we focus on research supporting the shift to learner-centred teaching:

Professors’ Place in the Classroom is Shifting to the Side
Dan Berrett, The Chronicle of Higher Education
This article presents findings from a triennial survey produced by the Higher Education Research Institute. The survey was sent to 16,000 academics across 269 institutions to explore their teaching methods in the tertiary classroom. Data confirms the shift in pedagogy towards learner-centred teaching, changing the role of academics from “sages on stage” to “guides on the side”.

Reading Guides Rediscovered
Trent W. Maurer, Judith Longfield, Featured on Tomorrow’s Professor Blog
With flipped classroom approaches gaining momentum in university courses, it is even more crucial students come to classes prepared and having completed pre-readings. Yet research suggests 80% of students do no pre-reading. Setting the reading isn’t enough– students also need to be taught HOW to effectively read. This article looks at how reading guides can be utilised to ensure students get the most from their reading preparation.



6.  Leadership insights (Edited by Matt Hill & Will Rifkin, USyd)

Tips for a Winning Research Proposal
Mark Matthews, editor of Prism
15 great tips on writing winning research proposals. How many of these do you employ when applying for grants in education or discipline based research?

To Change a Campus, Talk to the Dean
Audrey Williams June, The Chronicle of Higher Education
More than almost any other administrator, deans are in a better position to influence people and forge consensus. To succeed, they must manage up and down, engaging regularly with senior officials, the faculty, staff, and students.” How well do you know your dean, or their KPI’s? How will that frame your goals?



7. Initiative in Focus:
Have you an initiative, project or interest to share with the community in order to get feedback or disseminate your work? Contact samnetaustralia@gmail.com.



8.  Classifieds
Two types of positions: PhD students and Postdoc.

Domestic PhD Scholarships in Science and Engineering Education (2-positions) – Curtin University
Two PhD scholarships (covering both academic fees and living stipend), funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant, are available for the holders to conduct research in a project that investigates the nature of learning in Science and Engineering laboratory activities. The final practical objective of the project is an assessment of the level to which student learning in a physical laboratory setting can be replicated in remote/online laboratories. In this regard, the project is strongly aligned with the contemporary and future delivery of degree programs in Science and Engineering in the rapidly developing era of online, remote-access, education.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Graduate Employability for Monash Science
Monash University are seeking a three-year postdoctoral research fellow in the field of science education. The focus of the GEMS (Graduate Employability for Monash Science) project is to better understand the needs of employers and recent graduates in the workplace. The skills cited by employers as lacking in recent graduates include problem solving, numeracy, communication, team working, leadership and commercial awareness. Many academics would argue that development of these skills is embedded within degree programs. This is an international issue and we aim to address it for Monash Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) graduates, thus enhancing their employability and career trajectory.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

November Newsletter



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1.  Issue 29 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter 

This Month’s Question: Have you an initiative, project or interest to share with the community in order to get feedback or disseminate your work? Contact samnetaustralia@gmail.com.


2.  Conferences & publication
The University of Hong Kong, 14-15 May, 2015
The conference aim is to provide a platform that brings together all our partners and stakeholders – higher education experts, scholars, researchers, educators, and students – to share visions on assessment and feedback in higher education.
Abstract Submission Deadline Extended to December 5, 2014

The University of Helsinki, Finland, 31 August-4 September, 2015
The theme of the conference is Science Education Research: engaging learners for a sustainable future.
Abstracts due 31 January, 2015

IJISME is looking to release two special issues, both which involve members of the SaMnet community as guest editors.
Inquiry and Problem-Solving in the Undergraduate Science Curriculum – Abstracts due 5 December, 2014, Manuscripts due 20 February, 2015
Assessing Laboratory Learning in Undergraduate Science – Abstracts due 10 January, 2015, Manuscripts due 13 April, 2015


3.  Connections/Events  

Future:                 National Summit on Distributed Leadership – 1 December, RMIT Melbourne
                                Registration closes 21 November.
Contact Sandra Jones for more information.
Register here.

December discipline-based conferences
CUBEnet Forum 2014 | 11-12 December, Canberra

SaMnet Leadership Development Workshops – February 2015
                                (Brisbane/Melbourne/Adelaide/Perth/Sydney)
Dates to be confirmed in December Newsletter


4.  SaMnet activity 

SaMnet HQ is preparing for the 2015 SaMnet Leadership Development to be held in capital cities in February. Leaders from amongst the community are being contacted to take on the role of hosting a workshop. Should you wish to assist in the co-ordination of a 2015 SaMnet Leadership Development Workshop, please contact samnetaustralia@gmail.com.


5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) (Edited by - Emma Bartle, UQ & Matt Hill, USYD)

Rick Reis, from Louise Poulson and Mike Wallace “Learning to Read Critically in Education Leadership and Management”.
Don’t have the time or money for a large research project? Maybe you have the opportunity to supervise an honours student in discipline-based education research. Contains issues to consider, and why small-scale research is still valuable.

Rick Reis, from Nicholas Walliman’s book in the Sage Study Skills series
Coming from the science disciplines, we talk less explicitly about philosophy. But “the alternative to philosophy is not no philosophy but bad philosophy” (emphasis added). Have a read of this quick guide to philosophical attitudes that you may hold in research.


6.  Leadership insights (Edited by Matt Hill & Will Rifkin, USyd)
                                                                                                                                                        
Lisa M. Baird, through Mary Bowerman, The Chronicle of Higher Education
This account details the real process of implementing a grant to introduce more female professors in an institution. It helps us see how to lead and initiative, the factors affecting women in STEM areas in the US and understand more about interdisciplinary programs across STEM fields as well as career challenges and opportunities for female academics.

The Chronicle Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education
“The Chronicle Review asked 12 scholars what nonfiction book published in the last 30 years has most changed their minds – not merely inspired or influenced their thinking, but profoundly altered the way they regard themselves, their work, the world.”
Editors Warning: After reading this article I immediately purchased one of the books on the list, so read with care.


7. Initiative in Focus:
Have you an initiative, project or interest to share with the community in order to get feedback or disseminate your work? Contact samnetaustralia@gmail.com.

8.  Classifieds
Domestic post-graduate research scholarship available: Investigating the origins of students’ alternative models of forces.
The School of Engineering and Information Technology at UNSW Canberra is offering a scholarship for a Masters by Research Candidate to undertake the project. The project will require collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. The successful applicant, subject to admission, will be awarded a SEIT Masters by Research Scholarship with an annual tax-free stipend of $27,049. The successful applicant would be expected to be available to commence their studies in Session 1, 2015.

Supervisors: Dr Kate Wilson and Dr Tim Turner

Thursday, 23 October 2014

October Newsletter



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Last month’s question: Have you had any success introducing undergraduates to discipline based education research?
Answer from The University of Sydney: Four students in 1st year have completed research projects with the Sydney University Physics Education Research Group with Matt Hill (PhD Student, Trainee Supervisor) and Manju Sharma (Trainer). These included projects on teaching diagrams, understanding student responses in an online environment, the ability to use tabular data and learning multiple representations online.
Advantages: Real (publishable) education research has been completed, and 1st year students have been able to experience it themselves and learn from the process.
Difficulties: A high level of understanding was asked of the students in a very short period of time. Limited time for data collection so 3 out of the 4 made use of existing data.
For more information contact m.hill@physics.usyd.edu.au.


2.  Conferences & publication

The 8th Australian NZ Mathematics Convention – The University of Melbourne. 8-12 December, 2014
The conference is building in a Mathematics Education session and they are looking for a significant group of participants. Talks in the session will be 25 minutes.
Abstracts are due on November 17

Other discipline conferences in September and December:
Australian Institute of Physics Congress | 7-11 December, Canberra


3.  Connections/Events  

Past:                      The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME)
                                The main annual gathering of the SaMnet Australia Community.


Future:                 SaMnet Leadership Development Workshops – February 2015
                                (Brisbane/Melbourne/Adelaide/Perth/Sydney)


4.  SaMnet activity 

SaMnet HQ is preparing for the 2015 SaMnet Leadership Development to be held in capital cities in February. Leaders from amongst the community are being contacted to take on the role of hosting a workshop. Should you wish to assist in the co-ordination of a 2015 SaMnet Leadership Development Workshop, please contact samnetaustralia@gmail.com.


5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) (Edited by - Emma Bartle, UQ & Matt Hill, USYD)

Susan Rowland and Paula Myatt
“In this article we provide a guide intended to help natural-science faculty initiate SoTL projects while they negotiate the mechanics and politics of developing and maintaining a SoTL research program in a science department”

Compiled by the Research & Evaluation Team, the University of Minnesota
A two page “brief” summarising the paper “Active learning not associate with student learning in a random sample of college biology courses” (2011). Make sure you read until the end for the implications!


6.  Leadership insights (Edited by Matt Hill & Will Rifkin, USyd)
                                                                                                                                                        
Bernard Marr
Finding the end of the teaching year stressful? Do you know how to manage emotions in times of stress to “remain cool, calm, and able to do what needs to be done”?

Phillip Brown
What would you expect the most common answer to be to the following question: What are the qualities, skills and competencies you want in your leaders? What are people looking to you for? (How to actually develop this trait – now that’s for another time)!


7. Initiative in Focus:
Report on Chris Creagh’s (OLT National Teaching Fellow) ACSME Discipline Day Workshop
During the workshop Chris led the participants through two engaging tutorials designed to support student learning of diagrams and formulas. These tutorials (designed for university physics students) were highly interactive and included a range of learning experiences including discussion and teamwork, hands on exercises around the room and multimedia presentations. You can see two of the videos yourself here and here. And for more information contact C.Creagh@murdoch.edu.au.



8.  Classifieds

Soon SaMnet will be sending out a survey constructed by Beth Beckmann (ANU) to continue to investigate the impact of the SaMnet community on you and your work. Look for this in your inbox later this year!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

September Newsletter


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This month's question:
Have you had any success introducing undergraduates to discipline based education research? Many universities offer programs for undergraduate students to participate in research, have you tried education research projects? Share your stories to samnetaustralia@gmail.com


2.  Conferences & publication

The 8th Australian NZ Mathematics Convention – The University of Melbourne. 8-12 December, 2014
The conference is building in a Mathematics Education session and they are looking for a significant group of participants. Talks in the session will be 25 minutes.
Abstracts are due on November 17

Other discipline conferences in September and December:
Australian Institute of Physics Congress | 7-11 December, Canberra


3.  Connections/Events  

Future:             The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME) – The University of Sydney and The University of Technology, Sydney. September 29 – October 1, 2014.
                        This conference is the main annual gathering of the SaMnet Australia Community. We will not be hosting an exclusive gathering, rather we encourage SaMnet to use all aspects of the conference as an opportunity to network with each other and our colleagues in the wider community.

Arthur Phillip High School, Parramatta NSW – October 3, 2014
Do you know any high school teachers who are keen and interested in improving experiments and lab experiences for their students? Yes- please pass on the flyer.
Online registrations close today (22 September 2014).


4.  SaMnet activity  

ACSME is next Monday! 

SaMnet will be active at the ACSME conference through many presenters (both talks and posters) and conference delegates coming from the SaMnet community. We will not have an exclusive gathering but look forward to seeing many of you there next week.


5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) (Edited by - Emma Bartle, UQ)

Is confusion really linked to learning?
Steve Kolowich
Intuition tells us that to effectively teach a concept to a student we need to explain it in clear and straightforward terms. Dr Derek Muller (Former student of the Sydney University Physics Education Research group) which actually concluded the opposite – ambiguous and “confusing” educational videos actually demonstrated better learning outcomes straightforward and clear videos on the same topic.

Margaret Clifford
Learning is the ultimate goal of education. This paper explains, however, that experiences of failure may actually promote academic success. Failure can result in increased persistence, task initiation, task interest and, eventually, performance improvement. The authors proposes a set of factors which can be used to predict whether failure will have a positive or negative impact on student performance.


6.  Leadership insights (Edited by Matt Hill & Will Rifkin, USyd)                                                         
                                                                                  
Craig McInnis, Paul Ramsden and Don Maconachie
This resource presents the fundamental principles of good teaching, in the context of leadership in an educational institution. How can leadership decisions shape positive educational ourcomes? It helps ‘distributed leaders’ of our community to understand motivations of those above them... and to manage upward.

Excerpt from Academic Research, Chapter 4 of The Full-Time Faculty Handbook by Sharon Ahern Fechter (compiled by Rick Reis)
Managing your research takes leadership. Leadership in constructing a research agenda allows for your work to be defined, focussed and influential. How do you decide what you will be researching next?


7. Initiative in Focus: 

All three of the 2013 OLT National Fellowships that we have been keeping you up to date with this year will be heavily involved in the ACSME conference. Come along to meet the fellows and investigate their projects further.

Manju Sharma (The University of Sydney)
Keynote – Monday 9:15-10:15am – Using engagement in lectures as an entree for learning

Garry Hoban (The University of Wollongong) 
“DigiXFest – Science Media” Event – Monday 5:15-7:15pm Monday) – Drinks and canap├ęs followed by showcase and judging

Chris Creagh (Murdoch University)
Afternoon Workshop on the Discipline Day (At UTS) – Wednesday 1:00-3:00pm – A Toolbox of Diagrams and Interrogating Formulas


8.  Classifieds 

The 8th Australian NZ Mathematics Convention organisers are looking for suggestions of appropriate keynote speakers in Mathematics Education. Contact Deb King.