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Centre for Teaching and Learning

2021 SoLT Symposium Parallel Session Abstracts

(Finalised abstracts in alphabetical order)

A digital first Library Services experience

Application of a Puzzle-based learning approach in teaching IT@SCU

Careers & Employability service new online delivery platform for customised, authentic teaching and assessment

Challenge, opportunity, voice, and safety: Using VoiceThread for staff conversations about institutional change

Collaborative design team process: Building branching scenarios

Community wellbeing support: Industry partner-led inter-professional learning

Creating Casual Connections

Diploma student pathway to success: On-demand support strategy within the new Southern Cross Model

Effective assessment design in digital learning environments in the context of the SC Model

Encouraging critical thinking and independent learning among non-traditional students in the Southern Cross Model

Facilitating student and teacher interactions with VoiceThread – Sandpit in action!

From zero to hero: A lived experience in the new academic model

Getting interactive with ClickView

How the EAP learning site is preparing ELP pathway students for the Southern Cross Model

Heart centered teaching – enabling a pedagogy of kindness

“I can’t do it…yet”: Challenging limiting beliefs about maths in the Southern Cross Model

“Meet your new mentor”: Embedding student-alumni engagement in the curriculum

One size does not fit all: Personalised approaches to intensive online learning by leveraging technology

Practical approaches to improving online learning experiences through enhancing existing content

Problem-solving from page to practice: Empowering healthcare students to enact change

Quality assurance rather than quality review: Moving from moderation to calibration

Sticky questions for developing a shared practice in the Southern Cross Model

Support and sustain diverse and effective ways of teaching and learning mathematics

Teaching research can be fun and engaging: A unique approach to teach research in an online intensive atmosphere

Teaching with collaborative technologies: The MS Teams experience

The role of information and communication technology knowledge in the success of the new Southern Cross Model

The Southern Cross Model, time pressure, and mental health: An exploratory study

Two Birds, One Stone: Using the Scholarly Practices Model to improve teaching and drive research output

What qualities and values build a collaborative community of practice?

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A digital first Library Services experience

Bruce Munro and Tanya St Clair Honey, SCU Library Services

The Library plays a crucial role in strengthening teaching and learning, and research outcomes for Southern Cross University. Library Services underwent a review process in late 2020 to ensure that service delivery met the University's needs and expectations. The realigned Library Services structure was successfully implemented for the commencement of Session 1 2021, with a drive to enhance the student experience for the Southern Cross Model through a digital first experience. A strong Library staff profile has been established with a group focused, multi-skilled approach across a range of disciplines, giving depth and breadth of knowledge across teams. As a result, Library Services have innovated the creation of self-access online learning resources for a student-centred, active learning experience.

This presentation will highlight the successes that Library Services have had to date with the development of online resources facilitating embedded learning. Examples such as H5P interactive modules to improve students’ information and digital literacy, increase engagement, and in achieving learning objectives.

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Application of a Puzzle-based learning approach in teaching IT@SCU

Dr Vinh Bui, Faculty of Science and Engineering 

While IT and engineering students are trained to recognise familiar problems with known solutions, they may not be sufficiently prepared to address novel real-world problems (Falkner et al., 2010). We must train our students to reach the required levels of analytical and computational thinking, rather than hoping that it will just ‘develop’. As educators, we are interested in teaching “critical thinking skills”. As a step in this direction, we have experimented with Puzzle-based Learning (PBL) as an active learning approach to teach students to frame and solve unstructured problems in an undergraduate and a postgraduate IT unit. A puzzle, in an educational context, is a problem satisfying several if not all of the following conditions: a) generality: it explains some universal problem-solving principles; b) simplicity: it does not have the complexity of a real-world problem; c) eureka factor: it often has counter-intuitive solutions that surprise the problem-solver; d) entertainment factor: it often entertains the problem-solver (Michalewicz & Michalewicz, 2008). This presentation will demonstrate an application of the puzzle-based learning approach to enable active learning in an undergraduate level computer networking unit and a postgraduate-level programming unit at Southern Cross University. During the presentation, participants will have the chance to play with some of the puzzles.   
 
Falkner, N., Sooriamurthi, R., & Michalewicz, Z. (2010). Puzzle-based learning for engineering and computer science. Computer43(4), 20-28. 

https://cs.adelaide.edu.au/~zbyszek/Papers/PBL-IEEE.pdf 

Merrick, K. E. (2010). An empirical evaluation of puzzle-based learning as an interest approach for teaching introductory computer science. IEEE Transactions on Education53(4), 677-680. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/5378490 

Michalewicz, Z., & Michalewicz, M. (2008). Puzzle-based learning. Australia: Hybrid Publishers. 

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Careers & Employability service new online delivery platform for customised, authentic teaching and assessment

Suzie Grissell, Gina Werner and Joseph Donnelly, Careers & Employability Service

Southern Cross Careers & Employability Service have been working closely with curriculum design teams in a number of Southern Cross Faculties with the intention to strengthen student awareness, development, and enhancement of employability knowledge, abilities, and skills. With previous success indirectly increasing graduate employment outcomes in Faculty of Health courses including Bachelor of Nursing, we have now transferred much of our previous content into online self-paced modules that support employability goals under the new Southern Cross Model.

Our innovative modules can be “plugged and played” covering a variety of topics such as:

  • Introductory (KNOW) awareness content, including self-awareness, career possibilities and decisions, and developing a professional identity.
  • Intermediate (GROW) development topics, such as building your experience, preparing for placement, and networking your way to success.
  • Advanced (SHOW) ready to graduate concepts, like job hunting, preparing application documents, and blitzing the interview.

These modules can be customised for each course to seamlessly connect and follow on from each other or can be used as stand-alone individual topics. They are designed to be used with in-class delivery or as student self-access content, and as real-world assessment tasks where authentic job requirements can easily be incorporated.

Our presentation will show you through a couple of our existing module formats currently utilised in the Faculty of Health and Faculty of Science and Engineering. We will outline how our team will assist you with the whole process from initial discussions identifying key content and learning outcome requirements; customising existing curriculum content and assessments; designing and testing out module functions; through to supporting you to deliver any of the topics within your course for free!

To preview a module recently developed, click on this Award link to browse the content. Come along to this interactive session, ask questions and see how we can assist you with our dynamic teaching ideas, online learning platform, and complementary assessment resources.

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Challenge, opportunity, voice, and safety: Using VoiceThread for staff conversations about institutional change

 Southern Cross Model Community of Practice group members from across SCU: Dr Liz Goode, Dr Mieke Witsel, Tina van Eyk, Associate Professor Suzi Syme, Dr Nicci Whiteing, Dr Vinh Bui, Rachel Lynwood, Dr Paul Whitelaw, and CoP group

In June 2021 a Community of Practice Group was formed involving sixteen staff from across the University and its Partners. This group has evolved into a social learning space (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2020) with staff at various stages of transitioning to the Southern Cross Model (SCM) who experience safety, community, and collegiality. This video presentation seeks to extend this space to the wider University community while demonstrating the use of VoiceThread for ‘giving voice’ and creating community.

Colleagues will be invited to contribute their thoughts on two questions:  

  • Does a sense of challenge and/or of opportunity in transitioning to the SCM resonate with you? If it does, can you share your challenges and opportunities? 
  • How can we create a safe space for colleagues to share their authentic thoughts and experiences as they transition to the SCM?

Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2020). Learning to make a difference: Value creation in social learning spaces. Cambridge University Press.

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Collaborative design team process: Building branching scenarios

Ellie Magee-Jessup, Dr Alessandro Pelizzon, Ros Walpole, Nikola Kalamir, Thalia Kalkipsakis

This presentation looks to explore two examples of branching scenarios developed using a design team in collaboration between an academic, an educational designer, and a digital designer.  

The H5P branching scenario tool offers up opportunity for developing engaging active learning activities which align with the tenets of good practice – scenarios can be media-rich, interactive, and responsive. This allows students to dig deeper into a concept, exploring at their own pace, with immediate feedback, and to explore multiple perspectives or pathways.  

Research has found that branching scenarios help students to learn and practise complicated decision-making processes, which can develop their critical thinking skills (Bouwer & Guerrero, 2020; Cairns & Wright, 2018; Pasklinsky, Graham-Perel, Villacarlos-Philip, Slaka-Vella, & Tilley, 2021; Santos, Cordon, & Palomo-Duarte, 2019).  

This presentation seeks to demonstrate that by taking only a few simple ideas and expanding them into a richer learning experience using the H5P branching scenario tool does not have to be a complicated or time-intensive process. Working collaboratively with the Centre of Teaching and Learning can enrich and ease the process. 

Bouwer, M., & Guerrero, J. (2020). The use of branching scenarios to improve pharmacology content application. [Paper presentation]. Proceedings of IMPRS. https://doi.org/10.18060/24539

Cairns G., & Wright G. (2018). The Backwards Logic Method of Constructing Extreme Scenarios and Considering Local Agency in Branching Scenarios. In Scenario Thinking (pp. 125-140). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49067-0_6

Pasklinsky, N., Graham-Perel, A., Villacarlos-Philip, P., Slaka-Vella, M., & Tilley, C. P. (2021). Real-time decision-making in chronic illness branching simulation. mHealth, 7. https://mhealth.amegroups.com/article/view/44857/html

Santos, D. R., Cordon, C. R., & Palomo-Duarte, M. (2019, November 21-23). Extending H5P Branching Scenario with 360° scenes and xAPI capabilities: A case study in a local networks course [Paper presentation]. 2019 International Symposium on Computers in Education (SIIE). https://doi.org/10.1109/SIIE48397.2019.8970117

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Community wellbeing support: Industry partner-led inter-professional learning

Associate Professor Christina Aggar, Professor Sandra Grace, Professor Mark Hughes, Dr Golam Sorwar, Associate Professor Jacqui Yoxall

Internationally, and in Australia, inter-professional learning (IPL), collaboration and teamwork are becoming essential in health care delivery and are core to delivering patient-centred care (World Health Organisation [WHO], 2010). Education programs to train workforce capacity in key aspects of inter-professional practice, including teamwork and collaboration skills, are required to meet future health care demands (WHO, 2010). The proposed initiative supports IPL, enabling students to approach community wellbeing from different professional lenses, providing the opportunity to work with and within the community to support wellbeing.

This presentation will describe a sustainable and scalable model of IPL based on co-design principles with industry. Our industry partners have previously identified gaps in new graduates’ skills that are needed for work readiness. These are often the soft skills, including governance, leadership, communication, and teamwork. The model involves inter-professional teams of students and academics from across the university collectively working with industry to develop innovative solutions to support industry identified issues.

In addition to strengthening industry partnerships, this model offers specific institutional opportunities including the increase in non-traditional placements and promotion of the University’s reputation for its enthusiasm for producing job-ready graduates. Students will be provided with opportunities for community-engaged learning in ways that value and respect them as partners in the learning process, as members of the University's academic community, and as ambassadors to the wider world.

A short video will demonstrate the mutual benefits of a 6-week IPL placement in aged care. We will also demonstrate how students develop an understanding of the broad scope of work in aged care and the career opportunities within the sector.

Australian Government Department of Health. (2018). A matter of care Australia’s aged care workforce strategy taskforce. https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/a-matter-of-care-australia-s-aged-care-workforce-strategy.pdf

World Health Organization. (2010). Framework for action on interprofessional education & collaborative practice. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/70185/WHO_HRH_HPN_10.3_eng.pdf;jsessionid=E56C44BE8BDDBC0C5CA392EFBC2FD3F6?sequence=1

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Creating Casual Connections

Dr Paul Weeks, The Hotel School

As higher education still grapples with the uncertainty of class deliveries during these pandemic times, much of the focus has been on how students are coping with these uncertainties and managing both their personal and study life. As our Australian States and Territories make their own, slightly bubbled decisions around ‘freedoms’, there has been an increased focus on the staff who are charged with delivering engaging, interactive, ‘entertaining’ classes even as delivery models chop and change on a, sometimes, daily basis.

As well as the above, SCU has also grappled with its curriculum/ class delivery. From a ‘normal’ university space BC (before COVID) to now rearranging to deliver in a new and innovative manner AD (after Delta). For students, this may only be a change of habit and approach to learning in the shorter, more focused world of 6x6 rather than 3x12. For staff, in the main, it’s been a longer journey.

And the final layer of uncertainty: the casualisation of the university teaching force. Whilst this is not a new phenomenon, it does represent a more nuanced challenge to both living and learning during the pandemic, as well as a shift in SCU philosophy around learning and teaching.

This presentation will use The Hotel School’s approach to managing and maintaining a predominantly casual teaching workforce as a case study and will involve casual staff participation. The presentation will suggest some challenges and possible solutions such as regular meetings, regular messaging and updates, and an open door policy. There will also be time for discussion about this most critical topic – often forgotten in the rush to move forward!

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Diploma student pathway to success: On-demand support strategy within the new Southern Cross Model

Dr Michael Brickhill and Dr Sue Muloin, SCU College

The first year of university, the transition year, is a critical time for student engagement and retention. In successful transition, students form new learner identities. This entails moving from being unfamiliar with university expectations, and perhaps lacking confidence in their ability to succeed, to being knowledgeable, confident, autonomous, and successful students (Briggs et al., 2012). Lizzio (2006) identified five senses contributing to a successful transition, including ‘connectedness’. Tett et al., (2017) defined ‘learning to fit in’ and ‘changing approaches to learning’ as key moments in transition. It is important, then, to offer commencing students timely support to move through these five senses and develop a sense of belonging.

SCU College provides support for pathway students via the College Connect strategy. The strategy has two key components: (i) multi-disciplinary workshops, combining students from several diploma courses; and (ii) online modular support materials (introduced 2021). Workshops aim to provide a learning community setting within an inter-disciplinary academic and social environment; promoting collaborative learning and connection among students (Tinto 2019) and providing triggers to encourage informal learning (Baik et al., 2017). Online modular support materials extend College Connect support beyond workshops and are designed for students to access whenever it suits them. Workshops and online modules are both examples of transition pedagogy in practice, providing engagement and support to ease the transition for first year students (Kift et al., 2010). During this presentation we will seek audience feedback on a couple of activities from the online modules (which will be demonstrated live and/or displayed via screenshots) in terms of (i) usefulness of activities for maximising student success in their studies, and (ii) seeking suggestions for other online interactive activities.

Baik, C., Naylor, R., Arkoudis, S. & Dabrowski, A. (2017). Examining the experiences of first-year students with low tertiary admission scores in Australian universities. Studies in Higher Education, 44(3), 526-538. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2017.1383376

Briggs, A.R., Clark, J. & Hall, I. (2012). Building bridges: understanding student transition to university. Quality in Higher Education, 18(1), 3-21. https://doi.org/10.1080/13538322.2011.614468

 Kift, S., Nelson, K. & Clarke, J. (2010). Transition Pedagogy: A third generation approach to FYE – A case study of policy and practice for the higher education sector. The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 1(1), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.5204/intjfyhe.v1i1.13

 Lizzio, A. (2006). Designing an orientation and transition strategy for commencing students: Applying the five senses model. Griffith University: First Year Experience Project, 1–11. 

Tett, L., Cree, V.E. & Christie, H. (2017). From further to higher education: transition as an ongoing process. Higher Education, 73, 389-406. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-016-0101-1

Tinto, V. (2019). Learning Better Together. In A. Jones, A. Olds, & J.G. Lisciandro (Eds.), Transitioning students in higher education: Philosophy, pedagogy and practice (pp. 13-24). London, UK: Routledge

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Effective assessment design in digital learning environments in the context of the SC Model

Dr Mo Kader, The Hotel School Sydney

Designing assessments for digital learning under the SC Model requires a range of considerations including student engagement, course duration, and study patterns to be integrated into the assessment planning process. Initial evidence from other similar models reveals a range of integration and pedagogical challenges (Nguyen et al., 2017) related to the design of meaningful assessments that not only take into account the online environment but the broader realities of a 6x6 model (McCluskey et al., 2019). This paper presents a range of assessment design approaches that have been used in similar delivery models in undergraduate and postgraduate business courses in Australia and internationally, and examines the impacts of those assessments on student learning and engagement. The paper examines the use of online, real-time case studies that require students to utilise by-the-hour news regarding firms to determine appropriate management solutions as well as custom-designed, simulated scenarios that require groups to compete to arrive at a business result. A third assessment method is also analysed which requires students to create a scenario and allocate it to another group in the class to arrive at a solution, allowing groups to participate in the learning process. It analyses challenges and presents solutions in aligning new assessment approaches with learning outcomes, appropriate AQF levels, and the new SC Model.

McCluskey, T., Weldon, J., & Smallridge, A. (2019). Rebuilding the first year experience, one block at a time. Student Success, 10(1), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v10i1.1148

Nguyen, Q., Rienties, B., Toetenel, L., Ferguson, R., & Whitelock, D. (2017). Examining the designs of computer-based assessment and its impact on student engagement, satisfaction, and pass rates. Computers in Human Behavior, 76, 703-714. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.03.028

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Encouraging critical thinking and independent learning among non-traditional students in the Southern Cross Model

Dr Liz Goode, Academic Portfolio Office, Dr Suzi Syme and Dr Johanna Nieuwoudt from SCU College

The widening participation agenda advanced more than a decade ago by the Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education (Bradley et al., 2008) has accelerated the ongoing growth and diversification of students at Australian universities (Lacy et al., 2017). Many higher education providers, including SCU, now serve an increasingly ‘non-traditional’ student body, including learners who are first-in-family, from low socio-economic areas, and/or mature-aged (Devlin, 2017). Such students tend to have complex competing demands on their time and focus, which can put them at greater risk for non-completion (Cherastidtham et al., 2018).

Recent evidence suggests that studying in shorter teaching periods with fewer concurrent units can enhance the success and achievement of students from non-traditional backgrounds (Samarawickrema & Cleary, 2021). However, to what extent the Southern Cross Model (SCM) can also improve success rates and academic performance is currently unclear. This presentation provides preliminary data from SCU’s enabling course, the Preparing for Success Program (PSP), which enrolled over 300 students in the SCM in Study Period 2, 2021.  

Unit performance data provide early indications that studying in the SCM can increase the success and academic achievement of non-traditional learners. Furthermore, qualitative focus group comments from 13 PSP students contribute promising evidence that curricula delivered in the SCM can enhance both critical thinking and the development of independent learning strategies among novice, non-traditional learners. The cultivation of respectful and dialogic learning environments underpinned by the GEMS Model of Success (Hellmundt & Baker, 2017) and critical pedagogy (Syme et al., in press) were found to be central to these developments. Rather than encouraging dependence on teachers, such approaches instead built students’ capacities to critically evaluate and disseminate knowledge as responsible and independent learners. Overall, this study has found that when all elements of the SCM – pedagogy, self-access modules, active classes, and scaffolded assessments – work together, powerfully transformative learning that enables the success and achievement of non-traditional learners can occur.   

Bradley, D., Noonan, P., Nugent, H., & Scales, B. (2008). Review of Australian higher education: Final report. DEEWR. https://apo.org.au/node/15776

Cherastidtham, I., Norton, A., & Mackey, W. (2018). University attrition: what helps and what hinders university completion? Grattan Institute. https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/University-attrition-background.pdf

Devlin, M. (2017, February 27). The typical university student is no longer 18, middle-class and on campus – we need to change thinking on ‘drop-outs’. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/the-typical-university-student-is-no-longer-18-middle-class-and-on-campus-we-need-to-change-thinking-on-drop-outs-73509

Hellmundt, S., & Baker, D. (2017). Encouraging engagement in enabling programs: The students' perspective. Student Success, 8(1), 25-33. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v8i1.357

Lacy, W. B., Croucher, G., Brett, A., & Mueller, R. (2017). Australian universities at a crossroads: Insights from their leaders and implications for the future. Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education. https://melbourne-cshe.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/2368895/Australian-Universities-at-a-Crossroads.pdf

Samarawickrema, G., & Cleary, K. (2021). Block mode study: Opportunities and challenges for a new generation of learners in an Australian university. Student Success, 12(1), 13–23. https://studentsuccessjournal.org/article/view/1579

Syme, S., Roche, T., Goode, E., & Crandon, E. (in press). Transforming lives: The power of an Australian enabling program. Higher Education Research & Development. 

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Facilitating student and teacher interactions with VoiceThread – Sandpit in action!

Toni Ledgerwood and Dr Mieke Witsel, Centre for Teaching and Learning

VoiceThread is an ideal technology well-suited to the SC Model, particularly for the tenets of good practice - modules are media-rich, and interactive and responsive. VoiceThread can assist teachers to create more engaging experiences to help students feel connected in the online learning and teaching space. This tool can also be used for authentic assessment.

This hands-on activity session will be a ‘sandpit in action’ where some of the active learning and online collaboration interactions possible in VoiceThread will be demonstrated. Participants will play in the VoiceThread space to try and test out new skills.

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From zero to hero: A lived experience in the new academic model

Kayleen Wood, Faculty of Business, Law and Arts and Chris King, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Our presentation will trace the timeline from March 2021 to September 2021 where the academic (Kayleen) started at ground zero learning the Southern Cross Model process. Over 8 months two SC Model units were designed and developed. The academic’s role at the beginning of the process was to provide the content and subject matter expertise. A CTL eLearning Designer (Chris) brought the capability to transform the learning content to digital modules within the Blackboard LMS. We will show that as scaffolding was gradually removed, both academic and learning designer contributed equitably to the design and development of the digital learning content as a team. By the end of the timeline, the academic became an autonomous fully functioning (almost) digital hero. 

This presentation will illustrate how we are: 

1. Providing active learning experiences for two new core units in the Bachelor of Business Enterprise using the new SC Model.

2. Facilitating learning and teaching interactions through the use of a mixture of learning activities that encourage interaction, self-directed learning, and opportunities for students to self-check and check-in along the way.

This presentation will share both the positive parts of the process and challenges experienced for colleagues to learn from.

** Participants - please download Kahoot! for interactive participation during the presentation. Search Kahoot! In Apple Store or Google Play, or click

https://www.getapp.com.au/software/121819/kahoot

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Getting interactive with ClickView

Zoe Hancock, SCU College

ClickView is a platform that provides a dynamic range of educational video content for a broad range of disciplines for use in educational settings. As a subscriber to the platform, SCU staff can use these videos in tutorials or in the design of unit modules to address three of the core tenets of the SCM module design:

  • Modules are media-rich
  • Modules are interactive and responsive
  • Modules contribute towards the development of a community of inquiry.

I have been using ClickView content to create interactive videos for English language students at SCU College. However, the range of content available including free-to-air (Australian) TV, means that academics from all disciplines may find relevant content. In this short presentation, after sharing some of the research (Brame, 2016; Haagsman et al., 2020; Vural, 2013) on what makes an effective educational video, I will show you:

  • how to search for, check, edit and share existing interactive videos
  • how you can create interactive videos from ClickView content
  • how to access and use the ClickView analytics so you can see what your students are/are not doing.


Brame, C. J. (2016). Effective Educational Videos: Principles and Guidelines for Maximizing Student Learning from Video Content. CBE Life Sciences Education, 15(4). https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-03-0125

Devlin, M., & McKay, J. (2016). Teaching students using technology: Facilitating success for students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds in Australian universities. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(1), 92–106. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2053

Haagsman, M. E., Scager, K., Boonstra, J., & Koster, M. C. (2020). Pop-up Questions Within Educational Videos: Effects on Students’ Learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 29(6), 713–724. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-020-09847-3

 Vural, O.F. (2013). The impact of a question-embedded video-based learning tool on e-learning. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 13, 1315-1323. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1017292

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Heart centered teaching – enabling a pedagogy of kindness

Dr Airdre Grant, Centre for Teaching and Learning and Deakin University, and Dr Mieke Witsel, Centre for Teaching and Learning

What is heart centered teaching and how do we, or can we practice it? Why is sharing our kindness practices to establish relationships with and among students and colleagues important, and especially now? Over the last two years, the pandemic has accelerated the shift to online teaching and a sharp uptake in the use of technology as a teaching tool. We have all experienced a tyranny of distance in our personal and professional lives. This time of increased separations, loneliness, and isolation, has meant we have had to work harder to create and sustain connection with our students and colleagues. Freire (1988) referred to teaching as an act of love. The spirit of good teaching resides in a positive and engaging connection between student and teacher. How can we, and do we, teach in a way that helps to increase connection and ‘warms up’ the teaching and learning space? This heartfelt connection is where learning, students, and staff all flourish. What strategies contribute to a pedagogy of kindness? 

We know everyone has explored and grappled with ways to connect and help students and colleagues. We look to the collective wisdom of our community. We know you’ve been in the ‘trenches’ so we invite you to share your experience about strategies you have thought about or employed to deliver heart centered teaching that helped to create richness and warmth in teaching practice across the disciplines. 

Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach. Boulder, Westview Press.

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How the EAP learning site is preparing ELP pathway students for the Southern Cross Model

Neil McRudden, SCU College

ELP Pathway students who study intensively at SCU College are required to complete a minimum of 20 course contact hours per week (Department of Education, 2019). While this is very different from the Southern Cross Model, students graduating from English for Academic Purposes (EAP) into undergraduate and postgraduate units will need to become familiar with this model as they study these modules.

This presentation will:

  • Provide working examples from the EAP learning site to show how SCU College has adapted the SC Model to the EAP unit to give fellow academics ideas of how they might use similar activities in the construction of materials for their units.
  • Provide advice on content construction for those who, like the presenter, are relatively new to H5P content.
  • Showcase and exemplify how upgrades to the EAP learning site are familiarising EAP students with the module content they will experience in future units under the Southern Cross Model.
  • Explain how these resources adhere to the tenets of Module Design outlined within the Southern Cross Model by:
    • Being clearly linked to learning outcomes and curriculum
    • Featuring media-rich and diverse activities (Devlin & McKay, 2016)
    • Promoting active learning through interactivity (Bolliger & Martin, 2018)
    • Providing opportunities for human presence to enhance community and engagement (Roddy et al., 2017).

Bolliger, D.U. & Martin, F. (2018). Instructor and student perceptions of online student engagement strategies. Distance Education, 39(4), 568-583.  https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2018.1520041

Department of Education (2019). National standards for ELICOS providers and courses. Retrieved September 29, 2021, from https://www.dese.gov.au/esos-framework/esos-legislative-framework#toc-national-code-of-practice-for-providers-of-education-and-training-to-overseas-students

Devlin, M., & McKay, J. (2016). Teaching students using technology: Facilitating success for students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds in Australian universities. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(1), 92–106. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2053

Roddy, C., Amiet, D. L., Chung, J., Holt, C., Shaw, L., McKenzie, S., Garivaldis, F., Lodge, J. M., & Mundy, M. E. (2017). Applying best practice online learning, teaching, and support to intensive online environments: An integrative review. Frontiers in Education, 2, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2017.00059

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“I can’t do it…yet”: Challenging limiting beliefs about maths in the Southern Cross Model

Dr Kerrie Stimpson and Associate Professor Suzi Syme from SCU College, and Dr Liz Goode, Academic Portfolio Office

The unit UNIP1003, Applying Quantitative Concepts, is a core fundamental mathematics unit in the SCU College Preparing for Success Program. In Study Period 3, 2021 this unit was delivered for the first time in the new Southern Cross Model. In the enabling context, maths educators are largely aware of the often-negative past experiences of their students at school (Syme et al., in press), so there is a focus on helping students to develop their growth mindset for effective learning (Mann & Willans, 2020). A primary focus in the literature surrounds maths anxiety which is described as “an emotion that blocks a person’s reasoning ability when confronted with a mathematical situation” (Spicer, 2004).

Through a strengths-based approach (Hellmundt & Baker, 2017; O’Shea, 2016) the unit is designed around authentic learning to empower students to recognise their strengths in maths and to capitalise on these in their new academic environment. This in turn aims to build students’ confidence so they can feel well prepared to succeed in their future undergraduate studies. An online survey was designed to give students a voice about how they perceived their capabilities before and after the unit. Students were invited to reflect on what they found most useful and challenging about the unit delivery in the Southern Cross Model with a specific focus on the interactive online modules, and how their skills and sense of capability developed over the six weeks. This presentation will share preliminary results from the online survey. Students reported positive changes in how they felt about their maths ability and learning from mistakes, indicating that their growth mindset has continued to develop through the interactive, online module activities.

Hellmundt, S., & Baker, D. (2017). Encouraging engagement in enabling programs: The students' perspective. Student Success, 8(1), 25-33. https://studentsuccessjournal.org/article/view/490

Mann, G., & Willans, J. (2020). “Monkey see, money do, that’s not going to actually teach you”: Becoming a self-directed learner in enabling mathematics units. Student Success, 11(1), 55-65. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v11i1.1462

O’Shea, S. (2016). Avoiding the manufacture of ‘sameness’: first-in-family students, cultural capital and the higher education environment. Higher Education, 72, 59-78. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-015-9938-y

Spicer, J. (2004). Resources to combat math anxiety. Eisenhower National Clearinghouse Focus, 12(12).

Syme, S., Roche, T., Goode, E., & Crandon, E. (in press). Transforming lives: The power of an Australian enabling program. Higher Education Research & Development.

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“Meet your new mentor”: Embedding student-alumni engagement in the curriculum

Dr Julia Caldicott and Janne Van Wulfften Palthe from Faculty of Business, Law and Arts, and Gina Werner and Leanne Baker from Careers and Employability

The undergraduate unit, Professional Development for the Workplace, is underpinned by an experiential learning approach to assist students to develop professional skills for securing employment and gaining insights into common workplace issues. Students learn about mentoring as a common strategy where ‘an expert (mentor) offers career, psychological or instrumental support to an individual with less experience (protégé), to enhance the protégé’s career behaviour and development’ (Ogbuanya & Chukwuedo, 2017, p. 88). In Session 1, the mentoring-related PowerPoint slides and readings were replaced by active engagement with an individual mentor for all of the 90 enrolled students. Leveraging the successful career programs available through SCU’s Careers and Employability, the Bright Futures Alumni Mentoring program was embedded in the unit and each student was matched with an SCU graduate working in an industry sector relevant to their degree. 

Program evaluations from mentees and mentors at the end of the 13-week session highlighted many benefits and challenges. Overwhelmingly, the program was reported by both mentees and mentors as being successful and meeting their expectations. Common benefits of participating as identified by students were: Enhanced employability skills, increased confidence, and gaining career and industry insights. Recommendations for improvement focused on the duration and timing of the program, the resources and support from the university, and contingencies if or when the mentoring relationship is challenging. Adjustments for future delivery in the new Southern Cross Model of 6-week terms will need to be considered.   

Ogbuanya, T.C., & Chukwuedo, S.O. (2017). Career-training mentorship intervention via the Dreyfus model: Implication for career behaviors and practical skills acquisition in vocational electronic technology. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 103, 88-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2017.09.002

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One size does not fit all: Personalised approaches to intensive online learning by leveraging technology

Dr Nasim Salehi and Dr Diarmuid Hurley, Faculty of Health

Online education for adult learners is typically self-directed and learner-centred whereby students are largely independent and autonomous learners, motivated by personal and professional interests (Curran et al., 2019). However, a supportive learning environment remains crucial for students to engage and progress. This is especially important for students who may lack expertise in online learning environments, who have not studied in some time, and who may be balancing work and family roles with continuing education. This presentation will focus on how can we incorporate multi-modal technologies to facilitate a personalised approach to learning by using a ‘work smarter rather than harder’ approach.

A personalised approach to student learning, complemented by a visible, encouraging peer group can facilitate a sense of comfort and support in the online learning environment. Considering students as learning partners can optimize engagement (Healey et al., 2016) and students can benefit from exposure to different disciplines and perspectives which can aid in problem-solving, and the reciprocal exchange and generation of ideas (Boud et al., 2014). The Master of Healthcare Leadership (MHL) online platform allows for self-paced, self-directed personalised learning while simultaneously facilitating peer group discussions and shared learning. We would like to share how our innovative and flexible learning environment is associated with increased motivation and engagement (Bennett et al., 2015), while the provision of ongoing support by staff and peers is equally crucial in optimising students’ learning experiences and learning outcomes.

The indications for the new academic model at SCU is that by incorporating the right technology for the right audiences, intensive online learning can be flexible, self-directed, and at the same time in-depth, and engaging, resulting in working smarter for both staff and students.

Bennett, S., Agostinho, S., & Lockyer, L. (2015). Technology tools to support learning design: Implications derived from an investigation of university teachers’ design practices. Computers and Education, 81, 211-220. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.10.016

Boud, D., Cohen, R., & Sampson, J. (2014). Peer learning in higher education: Learning from and with each other. Routledge.

Curran, V., Gustafson, D. L., Simmons, K., Lannon, H., Wang, C., Garmsiri, M., Fleet, L., Wetsch, L., Osborne, M., & Egetenmeyer, R. (2019). Adult learners’ perceptions of self-directed learning and digital technology usage in continuing professional education: An update for the digital age. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 25(1), 74-93. https://doi.org/10.1177/1477971419827318

Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2016). Students as partners: Reflections on a conceptual model. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.4.2.3

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Problem-solving from page to practice: Empowering healthcare students to enact change

Dr Nasim Salehi and Dr Diarmuid Hurley, Faculty of Health

Assessments in the intensive online learning environment should account for students’ interests (Sharma et al., 2018), link to real-world issues to enhance authentic learning (Smith & Worsfold, 2013), and communicate expectations about what is required of students (Kite & Phongsavan, 2017).

The Knowledge, Process, Practice (KPP) model is a useful framework that would suit scaffolded assessments in the new academic model. The KPP model structures the assessments around real-world problem-solving scenarios that are relevant to students' interests and professional practice (Dutke et al., 2017; Shaw et al., 2015). Each unit has three interconnected assessments that vary in modality and build progressive difficulty. Students first identify a current, relevant issue or challenge in the health, social, and community care settings, thereby facilitating autonomy and linking new information to current knowledge and experiences. Students then critically analyse the issue in-depth, based on a comprehensive ecological framework (micro, meso, macro), understanding the interconnected factors involved and providing the motivation and rationale for change. Finally, students develop an evidence-based action plan or framework to solve the issue, thereby linking best evidence to practice.

During this presentation, we will share how the KPP learning approach works and how it is supported by continuous feedback, in the form of initial assessment feedback, individual consultation, and peer discussion on weekly learning and discussion activities that serve to stimulate and focus students’ ideas. Ultimately, this serves to empower students to apply knowledge and transform future health, social, and community care services.

The indications for the new SC model are that considering the intensive nature of the units and self-direct learning, it is important to create an atmosphere of in-depth learning by motivating students to focus on real-world issues and possible resolutions (to link the theories to practice). 

Dutke, S., Bakker, H. E., Papageorgi, I., & Taylor, J. (2017). Introduction to the special issue on evidence-based teaching (EBT): Examples from learning and teaching psychology. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 16(2), 175-178. https://doi.org/10.1177/1475725717701209

Kite, J., & Phongsavan, P. (2017). Evaluating standards-based assessment rubrics in a postgraduate public health subject. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(6), 837-849. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2016.1199773

Sharma, S., Devi R., & Kumari, J. (2018). Pragmatism in education. International Journal of Engineering Technology Science and Research, 5(1), 1549-1544.

Shaw, T., Barnet, S., Mcgregor, D., & Avery, J. (2015). Using the Knowledge, Process, Practice (KPP) model for driving the design and development of online postgraduate medical education. Medical Teacher, 37(1), 53-58. https://doi.org/10.3109/0142159X.2014.923563

Smith, C., & Worsfold, K. (2013). Unpacking the learning-work nexus: ‘priming’ as lever for high-quality learning outcomes in work-integrated learning curricula. Studies in Higher Education, 40(1), 22-42. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2013.806456

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Practical approaches to improving online learning experiences through enhancing existing content

William Richardson-Davis, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Online learning poses many unique challenges in the tertiary education sector. However, it also opens up a world of opportunities in terms of new ways to engage students. This video will outline practice-based methods of enhancing existing unit content used by the SCU Digital Resources team to aid student understanding and increase engagement. 

This video presentation will act as both a practical overview and design rationale - covering the identification of areas for improvement within existing unit content, showcasing different technologies and resources for enhancing this content, and outlining the effect of these improvements on the student experience. Specific technologies and resources mentioned within this video will include H5P interactives (h5p.org) and Digital Resources Support Services (drhelp@scu.edu.au). 

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Quality assurance rather than quality review: Moving from moderation to calibration

Dr Mieke Witsel, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Assessment tasks for our students predominantly elicit extended complex responses. The marking of these involves making qualitative judgements, and then, typically, assigning a numerical score. The scores are applied in a linear fashion, as incremental measurements. However, the increments are not equidistant from each other. For example, the implications of the interval between 48% and 51% differ significantly from the interval between 58% and 61%.

As such, there appear to be holes in this ‘tapestry of assessment marking’. This contentious presentation argues that the process of assessment moderation, where teams engaged aim for consensus on (a) matters of judgement; (b) what constitutes quality, and (c) how quality can be represented, is questionable. Such moderation is a retrospective approach: a narrow process of quality review (Gillis, 2020), rather than quality assurance. A concomitant consequence of consensus review by academic teams is associated with high workload, as this activity is repeated for each subsequent assessment.

This is not to suggest that subjective judgements are unsubstantiated opinions: these can most assuredly be “soundly based, [and] consistently trustworthy” (Sadler 2012, p. 14). Quality, though, is an abstract concept. Multiple criteria are involved in judging and reporting quality (sometimes in fixed sets, as in rubrics). For example, student work can be deemed outstanding … but for reasons not listed in the criteria.

Determining grades that reflect student levels of achievement relies on peer agreement regarding the quality of the assessment design (responsible as it is for the raw evidence of achievement produced by the student), and the associated marking criteria communicated to the students. Ipso facto, academic discussion around the meaning and significance of quality, and what is deemed to count as evidence, needs to come before the design of the assessment, the articulation of marking criteria, and of teaching approaches. Sadler suggests that “Whereas moderation relevant for a single assessment task is repeated for subsequent tasks, the ultimate objective is the development of ‘calibrated’ academics” (2012, p. 17) – resulting in a situation where academics can produce grades without the need for third-party confirmation. Such an approach towards ‘calibrated academics’ has repercussions with regard to the distribution of workload (particularly for casual staff), but also multiple benefits: a stronger, peer-reviewed curriculum approach, taught by academics confident in not only their informed judgement but that of their colleagues; and above all, transparency of academic standards for peers and students alike.

Gillis, S. (2020). Ensuring comparability of qualifications through moderation: implications for Australia’s VET sector. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820.2020.1860116

Sadler, D. R. (2013). Assuring academic achievement standards: from moderation to calibration. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 20(1), 5-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/0969594X.2012.714742

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Sticky questions for developing a shared practice in the Southern Cross Model

Southern Cross Model Community of Practice group members from across SCU: Dr Liz Goode, Dr Mieke Witsel, Tina van Eyk, Associate Professor Suzi Syme, Dr Nicci Whiteing, Dr Vinh Bui, Rachel Lynwood, Dr Paul Whitelaw, and CoP group

A core function of a Community of Practice is to develop a shared practice, and a “regime of competence” in that practice over time (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2020, p. 32). To complement other professional learning activities taking place across the University for staff uplift in the Southern Cross Model (SCM), members of an SCU Community of Practice group will pose two questions in this video:

  • What 'sticky questions' - questions that are unresolved, recurring, problematic - do you have about designing and delivering learning experiences in the SCM?  
  • How would you like to explore those sticky questions?

This video presentation will use VoiceThread to engage colleagues in the discussion by demonstrating a useful teaching technology while surfacing potential ways forward to enrich our practice in the Southern Cross Model. 

Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2020). Learning to make a difference: Value creation in social learning spaces. Cambridge University Press.  

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Support and sustain diverse and effective ways of teaching and learning mathematics

Dr Christos Markopoulos and Patrick Bruck, Faculty of Education

MAT10002 Foundations: Mathematics & Numeracy and MAT10718 Maths Ideas were two challenging units with big enrolments and diverse cohorts in terms of students' mathematical backgrounds. Both units were offered twice a year, in Session 1 and Session 3/SP6. Whilst the units had performed consistently well in student feedback over many years, Dr Christos Markopoulos, Unit Assessor, and Patrick Bruck sole tutor for MAT10718 and a tutor for MAT10002 recognised an opportunity for improvement in addressing students’ expectations and needs. Success in the MAT10002 Foundations unit appears to rest on building a culture of trust. This involves: 

  • trust as belief – confident, positive expectations 
  • trust as decision – willingness to accept vulnerability based on the confidence that the other party is benevolent, reliable, competent, honest, and open 
  • trust as action – a dynamic process where teachers and students are involved in actions that require some risk-taking or faith. (Harris et al., 2013; Cerna, 2014). 

Students who completed the unit showed outstanding improvement in their mathematical confidence, willing to take risks in learning as they moved through the stages of building trust (Cerna, 2014): 

  • passive trust – for example, the incoming students unconditionally trust the lecturer with their learning  
  • active mistrust – students’ anxiety and attitude to maths mean they need to build faith in learning approaches and tools 
  • public confidence – growing student confidence and trust in both the teacher and the students’ mathematical ability is reflected by student feedback: “[He] went above and beyond. His dedication to his students is second to none.”
  • active trust – at this stage, the teacher and students work side by side towards a common goal of improving student learning. Student feedback: “[The teacher] is genuinely interested in seeing me succeed in his class.”; “I've learned not just mathematics, but how to be a great and inspirational teacher too.".  

The building of a strong culture of mutual trust between teacher and student normalises the learning of mathematics for students, who say “I CAN do maths!”. To address the MAT10718 diverse student cohort, Christos and Patrick decided to split the unit into Primary and Secondary cohorts, and tailored teaching and learning accordingly. The content was revised to better meet the students’ needs to narrow the broad content offering and to provide excellent support. The result was outstanding student feedback of the unit and teaching, alongside superb student performance. 

Cerna, L. (2014). Trust: What it is and Why it Matters for Governance and Education, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 108, OECD iLibrary Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5jxswcg0t6wl-en

Harris, J., Caldwell, B. & Longmuir, F. (2013). Literature review: A culture of trust enhances performance, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, Melbourne. https://www.aitsl.edu.au/tools-resources/resource/insights-literature-review-a-culture-of-trust-enhances-performance

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Teaching research can be fun and engaging: A unique approach to teach research in an online intensive atmosphere

Dr Nasim Salehi and Dr Diarmuid Hurley, Faculty of Health

This presentation will discuss how one can teach research to be in-depth, and yet fun, and engaging! The study of research methodology and the development of research-related skills can be intimidating subject matters for students. Yet, these skills are fundamental for translating evidence into practice and students’ ability to enact change. Incorporating enjoyment into teaching a traditionally dry subject can be beneficial for student learning.

Three approaches are used to simplify the potentially complex world of research and motivate students to improve their research skills. First, a variety of teaching materials such as engaging videos, research tips and examples, and visualised systematic frameworks and models are utilised to optimise engagement. Second, a supportive learning environment aims to make research enjoyable, understandable, and relevant to students’ practice. Third, learning content, weekly activities, and assessments are designed to gradually build students’ confidence through exposure to different types of research and the application of knowledge.   

To further motivate students, they are offered the opportunity of mentorship (if interested) to publish their work once they have completed three interconnected research units. This helps to combine research evidence with practice knowledge and experience and subsequently translates the research to practice via publishable works (King et al., 2018). Since its inception, the initiative has had great benefits, enhancing research collaboration and partnerships between industry and university, facilitating the translation of research to practice, and creating opportunities for students to continue their education.

The indication for the new academic model at SCU is that due to the intensive nature of online teaching, it is important to use strategies for teaching research in a simple, step-by-step, and engaging way. Multimodal technologies can be very beneficial to use variations in teaching research in a more personalised way. More importantly, if students are aware of the philosophy behind the practicality of research and how they can be active agents of change in their practice, they will be inspired and more motivated to learn research.

King, L., Gillham, D., & Crotty, M. (2017). Facilitating publication by clinicians who are postgraduate students: using research to inform subject design. Journal of Nursing and Health Care, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.2478/ijhp-2018-0012

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Teaching with collaborative technologies: The MS Teams experience

Dr Owen Hogan, Faculty of Business, Law and Arts

It has become imperative that university education develops the knowledge and skills needed to address the grand challenges faced by society (Brewer, 2013). Many challenges as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals, can no longer go unaddressed, positioning current and future generations as the facilitators and advocates of action. It is increasing the responsibility of universities to prepare students by inculcating the collaborative and creative skills students require to develop innovative solutions for wicked problems (Muff et al., 2013; FYA, 2018). Stimulating this type of engagement can be difficult, especially as learning moves increasingly online, and students might be placed across different regions, cultures countries, and time zones. Advances in technology have made it progressively easier to produce collaborative environments, and have become an essential tool of industry and community to undertake complex projects (Rubinger et al., 2020). Therefore, students should have reasonable exposure to such technologies to properly prepare them for current and future workplaces and projects.

To facilitate a richer collaborative student environment, Microsoft Teams was utilised across two teaching sessions at Southern Cross University within a new multidisciplinary unit - CRTV1002 Create: Innovate Change. Students used the application to undertake a Group Design Challenge that addressed a wicked/complex problem. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative results indicated that student engagement and collaboration were increased through the use of this platform. Students expressed high levels of satisfaction with the application, and groups were able to work more dynamically across time zones, regions, and international borders. The implication for universities is that they need to invest significantly in technologies that better facilitate student-to-student collaboration and engagement. Not doing so, runs the risk of graduates being underprepared for future work and community environments.   

Brewer, J. D. (2013). The public value of the social sciences: An interpretive essay. Bloomsbury Publishing. 

Foundation for Young Australians (2018). The new work reality. https://www.fya.org.au/app/uploads/2021/09/TheNewWorkReality_2018.pdf

Muff, K., Dyllick, T., Drewell, M., North, J., Shrivastava, P., & Haertle, J. (2013). Management education for the world: A vision for business schools serving people and the planet. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Rubinger, L., Gazendam, A., Ekhtiari, S., Nucci, N., Payne, A., Johal, H., Khanduja, V., & Bhandari, M. (2020). Maximizing virtual meetings and conferences: a review of best practices. International Orthopaedics (SICOT), 44, 1461-1466. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00264-020-04615-9

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The role of information and communication technology knowledge in the success of the new Southern Cross Model

Dr Ali Reza Alaei, Faculty of Science and Engineering

This presentation discusses the role and importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools, devices, and professionals in shaping the new Southern Cross model, in general, and the Southern Cross University (SCU) online study format, in particular. The demographic distribution of students at SCU shows a considerable number of students are studying via the online mode. This requires students to rely entirely on ICT tools and devices for accessing the content and engaging with peers and teachers. In addition, the new SC model itself is heavily dependent on ICT tools and devices. For example, mobile devices have allowed online learning to occur at home, the workplace, or in the public domain.

An educational system, including online education, contains four common components, including teachers, students, professionals, and the required environment facilitating the modes of study for online, offline, or hybrid. The online mode, however, needs high technological investment, including network, hardware, software, and specific online education tools. In addition, the skills and competencies of most university professional staff, academic faculty, and students need to be upskilled using pre-designed short training workshops and continuous personnel development. In the context of SCU, most of these requirements have already taken place or are in progress to successfully implement the new model. However, there are a few elements of the model that require more attention to ensure the successful rollout of the model. The first element is the curriculum design and the transformation of the content into the new format. As the mode of content delivery is changing to more active learning, a dedicated team of experts from computer interaction, user experience, graphics, and multimedia and gaming could help with this transformation. The second element is the platform for online delivery. The current technologies, including Blackboard and H5P, may help in the short term, however, the technological update is an urgent issue to be considered in the medium and long term plans. A comparison of the available platforms used at different educational institutions should be performed and some components that help active learning should be included in the current SCU platform. The integrity of all the applications used in the University should also be considered as an urgent matter for discussion. The third element is the hardware and networking infrastructure needed to run these systems and applications. This is a critical investment for the University for mid and long term plans to be able to successfully and sustainably deliver in the new model.

Brook, H., & Michell, D. (2012). Learners, learning, learned: class, higher education, and autobiographical essays from working-class academics, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 34(6), 587-599. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2012.716021

Day, B. W., Lovato, S., Tull, C., & Ross-Gordon, J. (2011). Faculty Perceptions of Adult Learners in College Classrooms. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 59(2), 77-84. https://doi.org/10.1080/07377363.2011.568813

Salisbury, L., Laincz, J., & Smith, J. J. (2015). Undergraduate Ownership of Small Mobile Devices: Engagement and Use in an Academic Environment. Science & Technology Libraries, 34(1), 91-107. https://doi.org/10.1080/0194262X.2014.999397

Shah, U., Khan, S. H., & Reynolds, M. (2020). Insights into variation in teachers’ pedagogical relationship with ICT: a phenomenographic exploration in the Pakistani higher education context. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 29(5), 541-555. https://doi.org/10.1080/1475939X.2020.1810751

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The Southern Cross Model, time pressure, and mental health: An exploratory study

Dr Johanna Nieuwoudt, SCU College

Studying at university can be a transformative experience; however, it can also be a stressful experience for many students. Students transitioning to university are also met with the challenge of how to manage their time and may feel rushed or pressed for time. Feeling time pressure has been associated with lower psychological wellbeing (Roxburgh, 2004), and research has shown that university students experience rates of psychological distress at higher rates than the general population (Nieuwoudt, 2021; Stallman, 2010; van Agteren et al., 2019). High psychological distress is associated with reduced academic performance (Stallman, 2010), but it can also lead to a lower quality of life and increased morbidity and mortality (Rehm & Shield, 2019). It is thus crucial to improve students’ psychological wellbeing. By encouraging and listening to the student voice, insight may be gained into student mental health and wellbeing.

This research investigated the psychological wellbeing of students enrolled in the Preparing for Success Program, as well as students’ perceived level of time pressure1. Data were collected in Session 1, 2019, and in Study Period 2, 2021 using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale – 21 Items (DASS-21), a Likert scale question regarding time pressure, and participants were asked to provide reasons for feeling time pressure.

The findings indicated that 51.2% of participants in the session and 57.4% of participants in the study period always or often felt rushed or pressed for time. The main reasons for feeling time pressure (session and study period) were the pressure of work and study, and trying to balance work and family responsibilities. The findings indicated high levels of psychological distress in the session, with the vast majority of students experiencing above normal levels of psychological distress. Much lower levels of psychological distress were reported in the study period, with most students experiencing normal levels of psychological distress. It appears that slightly more students always or often experienced time pressure in the study period compared to the session. However, it seems like students’ perceived time pressure did not negatively affect their psychological wellbeing. The initial survey data2 suggests that the Southern Cross Model may have a positive effect on students’ psychological wellbeing. It appears that students may experience less anxiety and stress when focusing on 1 - 2 different units of study at the same time for 6 weeks, instead of up to 4 different units of study for 12 weeks.

Nieuwoudt, J. E. (2021). Psychological distress among students in enabling education: An exploratory study. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 61(1), 6-25. https://ajal.net.au/downloads/psychological-distress-among-students-in-enabling-education-an-exploratory-study/

Rehm, J., & Shield, K. D. (2019). Global burden of disease and the impact of mental and addictive disorders. Current Psychiatry Reports, 21(2), 10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-019-0997-0

Roxburgh, S. (2004). "There just aren't enough hours in the day": The mental health consequences of time pressure. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 45(2), 115-131. https://doi.org/10.1177/002214650404500201

Stallman, H. M. (2010). Psychological distress in university students: A comparison with general population data. Australian Psychologist, 45(4), 249-257. https://doi.org/10.1080/00050067.2010.482109

van Agteren, J., Woodyatt, L., Iasiello, M., Rayner, J., & Kyrios, M. (2019). Make it measurable: Assessing psychological distress, wellbeing and resilience at scale in higher education. Student Success, 10(3), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v10i3.1411

Footnotes

1. Part of a larger study investigating students’ psychological wellbeing, grit, and time use. 

2. Based on initial results, statistical analysis is underway.

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Two Birds, One Stone: Using the Scholarly Practices Model to improve teaching and drive research output

Dr Paul Whitelaw, Hotel School Partnership

This presentation seeks to address and provide a meaningful solution for the perennial challenge confronting academics; “how do I balance the competing demands of being a good teacher and being a good researcher, particularly in terms of driving my career progression, and especially during the advent of the SC Model”.

The Scholarly Practices Model provides a simple, structured approach to addressing these challenges, especially during the rollout of the SC Model. In fact, our transition to the SC Model provides a raft of opportunities to deploy the Scholarly Practices Model to both improve student outcomes and generate research outputs.

The Model, developed by Melanie Williams and her colleagues (2013), is based upon the seminal work of Ernest Boyer (1991) and has been acknowledged by TEQSA, our higher education regulator, as an excellent way to drive scholarship in higher education. And, given TEQSA’s new interest in research outputs, this approach becomes particularly salient.

I have used the model for several years at both a personal and institutional level and have found that it addresses two key goals: it improves student outcomes, and it helps me generate publications for the scholarly journals, which in turn contributes to my research output.

This presentation will:

  • discuss this new thinking about scholarship and research
  • explain through the Scholarly Practices Model
  • demonstrate the Scholarly Practices Model with a practical example
  • share some of the outcomes and outputs from my usage of it.

Handouts will include the model and its “checklist”.

Boyer, E. L. (1991). The Scholarship of Teaching from: Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. College Teaching39(1), 11-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/87567555.1991.10532213 

Williams, M., Goulding, F., & Seddon, T. (2013). Towards a culture of scholarly practice in mixed-sector institutions. NCVERhttps://www.ncver.edu.au/research-and-statistics/publications/all-publications/towards-a-culture-of-scholarly-practice-in-mixed-sector-institutions 

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What qualities and values build a collaborative community of practice?

  •  Internal Keynote presentation 

Rachel Lynwood, Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples


This presentation will explore the question of how can or will we effectively build communities of practice to share our experiences? To unpack this question that is relevant to all Southern Cross academic staff, an internal keynote will allow colleagues the opportunity to participate in a richer scholarly discussion with the presenter, and each other in addressing the topic area. 

The classical works of bell hooks (1994) Teaching to Transgress: Education as the practice of freedom, has as an underpinning timeless philosophy, that our work as academics is more than `just a job’, and that our collegial relationships with each other also inform our relationships with students we work with. This premise presents a key philosophical and pedagogical point in the presentation, in that if we can consider some of the significant values in building communities of practice, then certainly the strength and quality of our collegial relationships with each other, contribute to the underbelly of the foundational context of our practice. 

From the perspective of my own personal narrative, and experiences as an academic staff member in Gnibi College, the basic values of decency, respect, consideration, and understanding provide a relational basis to work together in ways that support all collegial relationships authentically, if the shared common purpose and commitment are present. It can offer a safe and more productive space to collaborate and progress the core work required of us as academic staff at Southern Cross University. There is no suggestion of a model of perfection here but rather a basic premise to start from and build on as an ongoing shared practice among all colleagues. 

It could be said that this highlights the more basic human-level attributes that can perhaps not be given more emphasis and deeper consideration when we as academic staff have our collegial discussions and activities regarding our core work that we know and accept needs attending to. The works of Ali (2017) “Capital or people – what is the true purpose of education?” discusses and unpacks the importance of not getting sidelined by predominantly other social and economic factors at the expense of the connectivity, of our relationships as people who also happen to be colleagues. The underlying sharp focus presented by Ali (2017) is that we do not lose our humanity by falling into the trap of dehumanising others, this, of course, being inclusive of us as colleagues and students. 

This presentation is aimed at addressing what this abstract has captured. Ultimately to offer the platform for discussing these key aspects, in a collegial reciprocal format that allows reflections and ideas to be expressed and shared, in ways that are respectful, equal, and supportive. 

Ali, T. (2017). Capital or people – what is the true purpose of education? On the Horizon25(1), 4–6. https://doi.org/10.1108/OTH-07-2016-0043

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge. 

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