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.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

August Newsletter



 
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1.  Issue 27 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter 

This month's question:
What strategies do you use when writing for dissemination? This month, the SoTL section of the newsletter is focussed on writing tips – is there anything you can add for the benefit of the community? Reply to SaMnet and you might see your name in the next newsletter!

Correction:
Last month we congratulated the new OLT National Teaching Fellows who have been a part of SaMnet. We referred to John Willison of the University of Adelaide as “Joe”. We apologise for the mistake.



2.  Conferences & publication

Discipline conferences in September and December. If you are attending, look out for the Education sections and take part and continue to increase the profile of discipline based education research.
Australian Institute of Physics Congress | 7-11 December, Canberra
Royal Australian Chemical Institute National Congress | 7-12 December, Adelaide
The annual conference for the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ComBio2015) | 28 September-2 October, Canberra



3.  Connections/Events

Past:                     
ASELL University & Schools workshops
Edith Cowan University, 9-11 July,


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.
The main annual gathering of the SaMnet Australia Community

ASELL Schools Science workshop – Sydney
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 on 22 September 2014.



4.  SaMnet activity 

Members of the SaMnet project team will be submitting a publication regarding a particular facet of collaboration within the SaMnet project teams by the end of August. Look forward to reading this in the coming months.

ACSME SaMnet gathering details are to follow in September.



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

This month we focus on writing SoTL and tips and tricks to increase your output:
Turbocharge your writing today
Maria Gardner, Hugh Kearns
Although technically targeted at PhD students, this article provides some great suggestions on becoming more efficient at writing papers. The authors dispel some of the myths of academic writing, discuss how to optimise your writing time and propose their top tips for getting out of a writing rut.

Habits of highly productive writers
In this video Jan McLean from UNSW’s Teaching and Learning unit interviews Helen Sword about the findings from her latest research project, a series of interviews with productive academic writers from around the world. Helen is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland with research interests in higher education pedagogy and academic writing.



6.  Leadership insights (Edited by Matt Hill & Will Rifkin, USyd)
                                                                                                                                                      
Two quick presentations:
7 Leadership Lies You Need to Stop Believing
Mark Sanborn
A worthwhile reality check. Allows for a reflection on one’s frame of reference.

Be a leader people want to work for
Connect: Professional Women’s Network
A series of tips from women in leadership about how to make the transition from being a member of a work group to being a leader of a work group.


 
7. Initiative in Focus: 2013 OLT National Fellowship Update: Using Cultural Capital to Drive Change
Manju Sharma (The University of Sydney) with Helen Georgiou
As part of this fellowship, focused on surveying and improving the quality of undergraduate lectures in science, several initiatives were enacted. The objectives included
identifying good practices and fostering partnerships amongst academics to share them,
developing strategies to enlist hesitant academics who are open to change, and
supporting policy efforts through advocacy within the local institutions.
The initiatives enacted to achieve these objectives included the observation and characterization of undergraduate lectures to paint a picture of pedagogical approaches utilized across the nation in science courses and the local implementation of a 'Peer Review of Teaching' program to create a culture of discussion around teaching; and an ambitious, collaborative effort to measure student outcomes in a range of undergraduate chemistry and physics lectures across the nation using existing concept inventories/surveys.

The broad results from this project indicate that innovative, evidence-based and technologically robust practices are occurring in the majority of first year science lectures, however, lecturers reveal that there are obstacles to conducting evaluations of these programs -for various reasons -and in getting colleagues on board. Lecture strategies such as clickers, the use of iPads or laptops, adaptations of the flipped lecture approach, mastery learning approaches and blended learning environments for lectures are amongst some of the approaches used. Evaluation, and subsequent communication and dissemination of successful practices are vital if local success is to be converted into widespread improvements in lectures. Details of a model of how this might occur will be discussed.



8.  Classifieds

Survey Participation: Academic Labour and Lifestyles Survey
Researchers from Monash University are conducting an investigation to better understand how academics experience work/life balance in their everyday duties and career paths. In order to explore this better, we are looking for current academics of all ages and stages in their career to take a short 15 minute survey located here. Contact Fabian Cannizzo if you have queries.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

July Newsletter



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This month's question:
Do you know what it requires to apply for a grant from the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT)?
Many in the SaMnet community do, and this month we congratulate those recently awarded grants including Peter Adams (UQ), Siggi Schmid (USYD), Adam Bridgeman (USYD), Simon Pike (SaMnet Steering Committee, Adelaide), Madeleine Schultz (QUT), Daniel Southam (Curtin), and Gwen Lawrie (UQ). Want to know more, visit the OLT grants website or talk to these scholars.

Congratulations to those recently announced 2014 OLT National Teaching Fellows, Marina Harvey (MQ), John WIllison (Adelaide), Elizabeth Beckmann (ANU), and Joe Shapter (Flinders).



2.  Conferences & publication

Last month we advertised two discipline conferences in December. Abstract submission has now closed. If you are attending, look out for the Education sections and take part and continue to increase the profile of discipline based education research.
Australian Institute of Physics Congress | 7-11 December, Canberra



3.  Connections/Events  

Past:                 HERDSA Conference 2014: Higher Education in a Globalized World
Hong Kong Baptist University, 7-10 July 2014.

University of Palermo, Italy, 7-12 July 2014.

Edith Cowan University, 9-11 July,


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.
                          The main annual gathering of the SaMnet Australia Community

20-21 August and 22 August 2014, Mercure Hotel, Sydney
A pricey, but valuable opportunity for aspiring female leaders in the SaMnet community.



4.  SaMnet activity 

SaMnet is preparing for a gathering on the discipline day of ACSME, October 1 at the University of Technology, Sydney. Details to follow in the coming months.



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

Bridget O’Brien, Ilene Harris, Thomas Beckman, Darcy Reed and David Cook, Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
Qualitative data, such as student focus groups and open-response questionnaires, are being increasingly used in SoTL projects. Standards exist for reporting quantitative data in peer-reviewed papers but not for qualitative data, which can cause concern for scientists. The authors define and explain a set of standards that authors, editors and reviewers can use to report findings from qualitative research projects.

Bernard S. Chan, Lindi M. Wahl, The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
The authors analyse peer-reviewed journal publications from 2000-2010 from Canadian scholars on Post-Secondary Maths research. They “highlight topics of continual interest, changing trends in time and newly emerging themes”. It offers a benchmark of current scholarship and allows for comparison with the Australian situation.



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

Where do you gain inspiration or wisdom for your leadership? Share your insights with the SaMnet community as a guest editor of the “Leadership Insights” section of the newsletter. Interested? Reply to this email.

Alex Malley, CPA Australia
According to the author, how you perform in meetings appears to be a “proxy for career progression”. Will these five tips help you get the results you want – a valuable read.

Eric J. Romero
The concepts [of leadership] are pretty simple: listen to followers, set an ambitions vision, create a positive work environment, etc. It’s not rocket science…” Why then is the common opinion that “on the whole, managers are terrible”?



7. Initiative in Focus: 2013 OLT National Fellowship Update: Work It Out: Enhancing students’ problem solving skills by modelling how to “Work It Out” in a just-in-time learning environment. Chris Creagh (Murdoch University): 
Chris will be running a workshop related to her fellowship at ACSME 2014 (See Connections/Events). She currently uses three “Inquiry Orientated Learning” activities with the first year Physics & Engineering cohort, one from Les Kirkup and two developed originally.  Students learn lots of different things besides experimental design and such will be the case with the ACSME workshop, which will include pedagogy as well as hands-on practice. – Stay tuned for workshop details.

Next month: Manju Sharma, Active lecture approaches in science and mathematics.



8.  Classifieds

Wanted
Experienced (and successful) grant writers willing to advise others in the SaMnet community over the next year as they seek wider support for their projects. Reply to this email if willing.