SCU welcomes ALTC national teaching award winner
Associate Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie
Southern Cross University is pleased to welcome national ALTC teaching award winner Amy Cutter-Mackenzie to the School of Education as Associate Professor in Sustainability, Environment and Education. Amy grew up just across the border in Queensland and began her career as a primary school teacher. After working overseas and completing her PhD she developed her academic career at Monash University, but now welcomes the opportunity to contribute to SCU and the north coast community.
Amy's focus is experiential education, and she has merged her passion for teaching with an unshakeable commitment to sustainability through a school-community based teaching and learning approach. The quality of her scholarship in teaching was recognised through a Monash University Teaching Award, a 2008 Citation from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), and in 2010 a national Award for Teaching Excellence (Early Career category) from ALTC.
Teaching awards 2012
If you heard in 2011 about ALTC closing down, do not despair! Their grants and awards programs will continue with minor changes under the administration of the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT).
The range of awards offered under the Australian Awards for University Teaching remains largely unchanged from previous years, with individuals or teams able to apply for a "Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning", an "Award for Program that Enhances Learning" or an "Award for Teaching Excellence." Information about previous applicants is available here.
Anyone considering applying for an award of any kind in 2012 should contact Cathryn McCormack for further information.
Visiting Scholar: Professor Gráinne Conole
Professor Gráinne Conole
Professor of Learning Innovation and Director of the Beyond Distance Research Alliance at the University of Leicester.
SCU was delighted to host Professor Gráinne Conole on 5-6 March 2012. Her presentation on Designing for learning in an open world, provided a snap-shot of the evolving landscape of e-learning and new technologies, and the implications this has for students, teachers, peadagogies and systems. To clearly reflect that this is a developing area, Gráinne framed these topics within a number of research questions such as: What is the learner experience and teacher practice? What are the emergent technologies and their affordances? What e-pedagogies are there and how do they facilitate different forms of learning?
In the workshops Gráinne introduced us to Cloudworks, as a social networking environment for discussions about teaching and learning. This was used for all of the workshop activities which were chosen by participants from a rather lengthy list. The popular "How to ruin a course" activity allowed us to brainstorm things that could go wrong for students! Registered Cloudworks users could post their answers to the online discussion, and everyone could read the long list of answers already posted.
Modelling her open approach, Gráinne created a cloudscape and three new clouds for her SCU visit, allowing those who didn't attend to view the presentation and workshop slides as well as see links to the Cloudworks pages for the activities undertaken. The Mediasite recording of her presentation is available here
Updates on Professor Conole's current research and reflections on e-learning research generally can be found on her blog http://www.e4innovation.com. She has extensive research, development and project management experience across the educational and technical domains, serving on and cahriing a number of programs. She ahs published and presented nearly 1000 conference papers, workshops and articles including the use and evaluation of learning technologies. She was co-editor of the Routledge Falmer book Contemporary perspectives on e-learning research and her upcoming book to be published by Springer is entitled Designing for learning in an open world.
Professor Gráinne Conole profile page
Reports for evidencing your teaching
Evidence regarding your teaching is becoming increasingly important. It may be used when completing the Academic Staff Portfolio, participating in the unit review process, or applying for a promotion or teaching award. Teaching is a complex activity, so evidence needs to come from a range of sources and include a mix of qualitative and quantitative evidence.
Section 2.5 in The Guide to the Academic Staff Portfolio contains a wealth of information on the types of evidence you may want to use. Some of the main sources of evidence are student quotes, survey results or learning products, or from your peers. However one source you may not have considered is the full range of reports available from Planning, Quality and Review (PQR).
PQR administers all SCU institutional teaching and learning surveys. As well as the unit based Student Feedback on Learning and Teaching survey, they also conduct a range of university wide surveys such as the First Year Experience Survey, the Australian Graduate Survey and the Honours Course Evaluation Survey. Reports from each of these surveys include both quantitative and qualitative feedback data. After grading is complete, each unit assessor is automatically sent the Unit Performance Report which includes a summary of feedback data (from the Student Feedback on Learning and Teaching survey) and additional information such as enrolment by mode and campus, attrition, and the distribution of grades.
If you need further information, reports on all the institutional data collected and managed by PQR are available on request. These include a variety of course reports as well as a unit trend analysis report. Requests can be made direct to PQR (email:firstname.lastname@example.org).
Academic Staff Portfolio
Planning, Quality and Review
National Teaching and Learning Grant: Building a Stronger Future
The project team accepting the Best Paper Award at CAUTHE 2011
Despite having a range of well-established and internationally recognised degrees in tourism, hospitality and events (TH&E) education for over 20 years in Australia, only recently has the question "What constitutes a TH&E education?" been addressed. The national project led by SCU by Associate Professor Dianne Dredge, Michele Day, Maree Walo and Paul Weeks in collaboration with UQ, UniSA and VU answers that question.
During the project the team collected information about the knowledge, skills and values that underpin existing TH&E degrees. They started by searching all Australian higher education websites for TH&E programs and mapped their structure, content areas and program rules. Based on key issues identified from the mapping, they undertook a survey of industry stakeholders, educators and students, and interviewed a number of university managers about their values and decision-making about the curriculum space.
The project is now in the final stages and Dianne and the team will soon be releasing five issues papers outlining their findings. "The findings of our work have been very insightful, especially with respect to the balance between liberal and vocational education," said Dianne. "Through this project and the key contacts we've developed across the sector, we have created a framework that will help us develop TH&E education and collectively address the challenges associated with the AQF. It is essential that both the general and specific skills students gain through undertaking university studies are made explicit. This will allow students and employers to understand exactly what they can expect from a graduate in a TH&E undergraduate degree."
Dianne reflected that "Undertaking the project has been a great opportunity for SCU to provide leadership in TH&E education in Australia. As well as the practical outcomes, the project has to date resulted in three conference papers (one winning best paper at the CAUTHE 2011 conference), keynote presentations at international conferences and five issues papers that will certainly be invaluable resources to educators in the field."
School Focus: School of Tourism and Hospitality Management
The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management maintains a strong focus on teaching and learning. To find out what is happening in the School we spoke with Dr Michelle Whitford, appointed School Director of Teaching and Learning in 2011.
Michelle said "It has been great to take up the role of Director of Teaching and Learning in a School that, like me, recognises and rewards the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and is committed to the teaching research nexus. I am keen to see excellence in research contributing to excellence in learning experiences and outcomes for students. This means continuing to seek out new and innovative methods of inspiring, helping and facilitating students in their quest for knowledge."
One of the ways the School continually seeks excellence is through an effective and efficient approach to reviewing courses and individual units. This process uses a whole of School approach to ensure planning, development and delivery occur in a proactive and collegial manner. The net result is academic staff are encouraged to develop innovative and cutting edge units and programs. Two of these, the Work Integrated Learning Team (2011) and Associate Professor Dianne Dredge and team (2007) have been recognised through ALTC and Carrick citations. Dianne is currently leading a team who are finishing up an ALTC funded grant project called "Building a stronger future: balancing professional and liberal education ideals in tourism and hospitality education."
Over the next two years Michelle plans to ensure the School continues to be at the forefront of teaching and learning in tourism and hospitality management by not only encouraging increased emphasis on the teaching research nexus but also by providing ongoing support for staff who wish to push the boundaries in curriculum development. She said "A big focus will be ensuring our programs are compliant with AQF and TEQSA. At the same time we need to continue with offering relevant, competitive undergraduate and postgraduate programs and will be introducing the Master of Gastronomic Tourism in May 2012."
As Director of Teaching and Learning, Michelle's challenge is to ensure the current collegial approach to Teaching and Learning continues. She said "With so much work to do to ensure our programs are compliant with AQF and TEQSA, as well as aiming for continuing improvement, it is essential to continue with our collegial approach. I see my role as Director of Teaching and Learning as a facilitator for providing pathways and opportunities for STHM to continue as a leader in Teaching and Learning experiences, practices and outcomes."
From the literature
E-tivities: the key to active online learning
Call No: 371.334 SALM
In distance/mixed mode teaching, one challenge is getting students to participate in online discussions. As a distance student, there was nothing worse than the instruction "There is a discussion board, so discuss stuff," which inevitably resulted in not much discussion!
To my delight I came across a solution in the form of Gilly Salmon's work. This is introduced in Teaching with Learning Technologies, one of the Learning Technologies Online self-study modules. Amongst the range of topics in the module her approach stood out for me, particularly when the note in the Resource bank said: If you haven't actually read one of Gilly Salmon's books then I suggest that you do. They are packed full of practical strategies for tutoring online which actually work.
Gilly Salmon's E-tivities is a great how-to guide for active, online learning. She starts by introducing her five stage framework, providing examples and reflections from participants in her e-moderating course. The framework is a series of steps; confidence and skill at each stage will ensure greater benefits at the next. Stage 1, for instance, focuses on access and motivation. Ensuring students can access and use the discussion board and have some idea of the benefits they'll get from participating online across the teaching period provides a solid foundation for the later stages.
The greatest strength of this book is the variety of practical strategies. As well as the general discussion there are 34 chapters of resources: starting with designing and developing e-tivities, working through estimating workload for students and staff, and ending up with a range of additional necessary details. My favourites were the sections on building motivation into your e-tivities and drafting introductions for students that will spark their interest.
Overall, a great read with valuable practical advice.
Have you read a significant book/article lately that helped with your teaching? If so, write a review for us (max 300 words). Books and articles must be available via the SCU library.
Updated: 05 October 2012