Professional Learning

“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”

Peter Drucker

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Professional Learning

Professional learning supports your professional growth, enhances your career and provides you with a community of practice across a range of disciplines, ideas and skill sets.

Elevate your practice through workshops, resources, drop-in sessions, personal reflection, and the application of evidence-based approaches to your teaching. Ultimately, our students will benefit from your commitment to lifelong learning.

Engage with other staff through New to Teaching @ SCU workshops, Teaching Technologies workshops, Scholarship of Learning and Teaching Symposium, Foundations of University Teaching Practice (FUTP) and Friday Free-for-all. Explore the professional learning opportunities below for more information.

Please contact ctl@scu.edu.au if you would like any further information about the professional learning opportunities provided by the Centre for Teaching and Learning, or to request specific professional learning experiences.

Friday Free-for-all sessions

These weekly online sessions focus on troubleshooting technical issues and general technology support and training related questions. Drop in every Friday at 12 noon (NSW/AEST).

Friday Free-for-all Collaborate room
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New to Teaching at SCU workshops

We encourage new staff to engage with these workshops run prior to the start of Term. These workshops are designed specifically to help staff learn how to work effectively in a new teaching environment.

New to Teaching workshops details
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Talking Teaching webinars

Talking Teaching provides a forum for SCU staff and guest presenters to share insights and discuss their scholarship of learning and teaching (SoLT) research and scholarly approaches to teaching. Each 1-hour lunchtime session includes a presentation with time for Q&A and discussion.

Talking Teaching details and recordings
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Teaching Technologies workshops

These professional development workshops focus on teaching using technology. Learn new skills, or brush up on technology tools you already use for teaching.

View upcoming workshops and recordings
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Topic Focused workshops

Join the CTL team and SCU colleagues for a range of andragogical workshops, or watch recent workshop recordings.

View upcoming workshops and recordings
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SoLT Symposium

Every year CTL host the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching Symposium, bringing together academics to discuss, debate, and share their insights into their teaching practice.

SoLT Symposium details
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Foundations of University Teaching Practice (FUTP)

The FUTP is a flexible, professional learning opportunity designed to improve your teaching and learning practice, enhance the learning experiences of your students, and fit in your busy career. All SCU staff, including continuing, fixed-term and casual staff are invited to enrol.

FUTP details
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SCU submissions to the RUN Learning & Teaching Awards 2023

Below are the SCU submissions to the RUN Learning & Teaching Awards 2023 in alphabetical order.

Please note that staff login is required to view the recordings.

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A step toward equity for regional psychology students

Dr Desirée Kozlowski, Faculty of Health, SCU

In 2023, the undergraduate psychology program at Southern Cross University became paid textbook-free for students. This equity initiative is at the forefront of a sector-wide awareness that open educational resources offer many benefits to students.

Arising from an idea proposed by then Course Coordinator Dr Desirée Kozlowski in 2020, the evolution was not achieved without challenges and anxiety. However, whole-of-team commitment, determination, cajoling, and close collaboration between academic staff and librarians saw the vision realised.

This social justice transformation will save 2023 ’s commencing psychology students almost half a million dollars across their degree while also increasing the representation of diverse voices within the material students encounter.

This innovation will particularly benefit Southern Cross University's regional student cohort as regional students are known to be disproportionately affected by financial pressures. The initiative is also attracting attention from other courses and institutions wishing to pursue this very contemporary approach to equity and excellence. Let the revolution commence.

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Doing a science education unit decolonially at a regional Australian University

Simone Blom, Arron Stevens, Cassie Williams and Sarah Crinall, Southern Cross University

Science knowledge development in the Australian educational context has traditionally been grounded in Western scientific principles ignoring the millennia of knowledges held by communities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples across Australia. Many tertiary institutions are getting to work respectfully acknowledging and integrating First Nations knowledges into the academy for ethical and environmental reasons.

Over the last two years, we have committed to doing the same - decolonising our Initial Teacher Education Science Education unit, Science and Technology: All Things Matter. This presentation tells this unit’s story through a First Nations relational lens to describe the process of development, practice, transition and transformation. Our story on doing science decolonially is shared by our team of Aboriginal and allied non-Aboriginal tertiary staff doing this together.

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Illuminated Learning: Dynamic Flipped Classroom Lectures with a Human Touch

Dr Karlah Norkunas, Faculty of Health, SCU

Access to online learning resources has transformed student expectations. Traditional, lengthy, pre-recorded lectures struggle to capture and sustain their attention. Enter the flipped classroom paradigm, a well-known approach that empowers students to engage with curated materials at their own pace, reserving in-class time for interactive learning. However, the standard methods of delivering these materials often fall short in student engagement.

A lightboard is a simple tool—a glass board illuminated from within, with the lecturer facing the camera on the other side. Using software to reverse the image in real time, educators can draw, write, and annotate digital content while maintaining direct eye contact with their audience. This improves student engagement, with survey respondents stating that lightboard recordings are easy to follow, hold their interest better than traditional lectures and enhance their understanding of unit content.

Using a lightboard to teach histology and embryology demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach in enhancing comprehension, engagement, and knowledge retention. By seamlessly integrating visual diagrams with direct audience interaction, the lightboard brings a new dimension to the flipped classroom, offering a dynamic and compelling learning experience for today's students.

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Digital financial advice: Evaluating student advisory skills through video

Dr Scott Niblock and  Mr Nat Daley, Faculty of Business, Law & Arts, Southern Cross University

In acknowledging the skills required for Southern Cross University (SCU) students entering the financial services industry, we have created a new video Statement of Advice (SOA) assessment. Students assume the role of a financial adviser in a hypothetical scenario concerning the provision of life insurance advice, delivering a 20-minute video presentation directed at the client. To our knowledge, SCU is one of the first Australian universities to implement a video SOA assessment, resulting in numerous outcomes. For instance, on-time submissions increased, more students completed the task, the marking process became more efficient, and students performed better than previous offerings. Our innovative video SOA assessment establishes that accreditation requirements can be achieved without needing a proctored exam, offering a more student-friendly experience and limiting the use of Generative AI. Overall, this authentic and impactful assessment task has been received positively by SCU students, with unit and teaching satisfaction increasing from 2021 to 2023.

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Transforming Mathematics Education: The Power of Trust

Dr Christos Markopoulos, Faculty of Education, SCU

My curriculum and teaching empowers Southern Cross University’s first-year education students to navigate the dual mine fields of mathematics content knowledge, and the often-associated emotions of maths’ uncertainty and frustration. My aim in MATH1002: Foundations Mathematics and Numeracy is to improve students’ mathematical competence and confidence. The result of my work is that students reduce their mathematics anxiety and develop their mathematical skills and knowledge to a high level.

Based on an evidence-based approach, I believe that success in this curriculum appears to rest in the building of a culture of trust, trust as belief, trust as decision and trust as action. The building of a strong culture of interpersonal and mutual trust between the teacher and the students has served to normalise the learning of mathematics for students.

The data from students’ success and students’ satisfaction rate during the last 7 years seem to be very encouraging for a compulsory mathematics content-knowledge unit of an average of 500 enrolments.

A significant shift in students’ normative expectations is reflected in positive responses regarding their own capacities to engage in mathematics learning. Students become willing to take risks in learning as they move from passive trust, through active mistrust, to active trust. Building trust explains a student’s exclamation that, “I CAN do maths!”

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Unlocking the gate: Innovations aimed at increasing student learning, engagement and success in the gateway subjects of anatomy & physiology

Dr Lily Guo, Dr Ken Wojcikowski, Ms Ashley Filipe, Associate Prof Nicola Whiting, Prof Fiona Naumann, Southern Cross University
(The Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Redevelopment Team, Southern Cross University)

Prior to the Team’s involvement in 2019, success in the gateway subjects of Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) was as low as 55%, meaning that many students could not continue progressing through their degree.

Our innovative initiatives that lead to unlocking the gate for our students can be divided into three steps, the first of which involved the confidence building mascot of Anatomy and Physiology known as ‘Lily’s dinosaurs’.  The second step was the online experience, made possible with the immersive Southern Cross Model, which allowed us to transform our bank of video lectures and formative questions and into ten-minute video lessons, each of which were followed by engaging interactive activities and quizzes. The final step in unlocking the gate was the on-campus classes, involving a team of dedicated academics whose teaching satisfaction averages 4.78/5, and who work in unison to make each lab more engaging with every delivery.

Our innovative initiatives allowed us to open the gate, allowing an additional ~300 students to pass the gateway subjects of anatomy and physiology per year, without compromising the academic rigour of those units.

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Using mobile learning technology in Australian undergraduate nurses' work-integrated learning; mPreceptor Project

Donna Wilson, Faculty of Health, SCU

A capstone of nursing education occurs in the Work-integrated Learning (WIL) setting, where nursing students consolidate theoretical constructs learnt on campus with real-world skill development in clinical environments. The body of research exploring the use of mobile technology in education is increasing; however, there is little evidence indicating how this mobile technology is received by undergraduate student nurses to support their learning in the WIL setting. Therefore, this research was undertaken to evaluate a mobile technology-based learning program specifically designed to support WIL, that we named mPreceptor.

mPreceptor was designed to support student learning via access to bite-sized learning, information, and resources, improved communication with clinical facilitators, and a centralised place for WIL documents such as written reflections. Whilst it prepares and supports students for WIL, mPreceptor also supports clinical facilitators by providing clear focus points for student learning.  mPreceptor content was designed to support curriculum learning outcomes and regular communication and feedback. 

 

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Using student-generated ideas to enhance development of academic skills in English for Academic Purposes

Neil McRudden, Southern Cross University College

This video presentation describes an initiative used in a 10-week English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course, which is designed to equip international under and postgraduate pathway students with the necessary tertiary academic skills. The initiative involves using student-generated ideas to form the content of activities which are designed to build confidence, thus allowing focus on development of the skill itself. The example given in the video describes how students can focus on identifying, paraphrasing, quoting and citing sources to support essay arguments by using student-generated ideas on a topic to use in a class essay writing activity. The students can hone the art of paraphrasing on these simpler texts before applying this skill to the more difficult journal articles required for use in assessments. The use of student-generated ideas in academic courses can enhance student participation and ownership of the activity (Hudd 2003) and can increase motivation during the task (Brown et al. 2013). This initiative is reintroduced in EAP when synthesis of multiple sources is covered and can be applied to other areas such as formal presentation structure. The initiative develops student confidence in academic skills acquirement and provides an engaging way in which to acquire these necessary skills. 

References

Brown H, Iyobe B and Riley P (2013) ‘An evaluation of the use of student-generated materials’ The Language Teacher37(3):3-10.

Hudd SS (2003) ‘Syllabus under construction: involving students in the creation of class assignments’ Teaching Sociology, 31:195–202.

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