The Southern Cross Model: Exploring Immersive and Engaging Learning

Thank you for your contributions!

2022 SoLT Symposium Parallel Sessions

Contributions listed in alphabetical order - apart from SCU colleague Keynote presentations. Recording link located with contribution details (login required).

Professor Fiona Naumann and Associate Professor Matthew Leach, Faculty of Health 

Transforming an Institution 

The transition to the Southern Cross Model (SCM) required an institutional vision to be distinctive within the higher education sector and deliver a better way of learning. In this keynote you will hear from the Vice Chancellor about the genesis of the institutional vision and why it was important for the SCM to become a reality. It has required boldness and a commitment from the entire institution to transform processes and practice to deliver the new way of learning. We took a bold step to remove lectures and placed students at the centre of their own learning, empowering them to engage with their own learning journey.  

During this session we will review the process of institutional transformation, the fundamental rethink on how to design and deliver learning within the SCM, the creation of effective partnerships between the Centre for Teaching and Learning and the Faculties and Colleges that built institutional capacity, the process of working in discipline teams to take a whole-of-course approach to curriculum design and delivery, and how we brought (or are bringing) the students along to learning within the SCM. Participants will then be invited to reflect on their own experiences and share their own successes and failures, as key learning comes from reflection and the sharing of wisdom.  

Please reflect on the following questions and bring your thoughts to the session: 

  • What have you learned from your transformation to the SCM?  
  • What experience and wisdom needs to be shared with our new academics and sessional staff who join SCU and how do we support them to become an integral part of the SCM? 

Onboarding new staff into the Southern Cross Model 

The second session element will explore how best to share this wisdom of transformation with those joining SCU. There will be a facilitated discussion around effective ways to onboard new staff, enabling them to be able to design and deliver according to the underpinning principles of the SCM. Finding the best academic and professional staff for the University is the first step to building effective teams. However, the process of onboarding new staff is crucial in ensuring recent hires can be productive and content members of the team. Onboarding needs to be more than orientation for employment. It needs to convey the underlying values of the SCM, a clear rationale for why we transformed our teaching practice, guidance on how to create truly inspirational and engaging learning experiences for students, and ongoing mentorship and support to design and deliver within the model. Participants will be invited to share their thoughts for effective onboarding of new staff into the SCM.  

Please reflect on the following question and bring your thoughts to the session: 

  • What are the essential elements to include in a staff onboarding process for the SCM?  

Dr Patrick Gillett from Faculty of Business, Law and Arts, Tina van Eyk from Centre for Teaching and Learning, Kylie Day from Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Dr Carolyn Seton from Faculty of Science and Engineering, and Patrick Bruck from Faculty of Education

As one of six core tenets central to the Southern Cross Model (SCM), establishing a Community of Inquiry (COI) is a key objective of all SCU educators. Presented as a collaborative constructivist theory of online learning (see Garrison et al., 2000), COI targets the high level of student disconnectedness often associated with online learning (Garrison, 2007).  

While the body of published work involving the COI framework is extensive, few resources are available to help guide educators as they work toward this objective. A cross-faculty research project was therefore undertaken to examine one particular component of the COI framework – Teaching Presence. The research outcome, a Teaching Presence rubric for asynchronous instructional methods, offers explicit guidance for colleagues who seek to develop this particular ‘presence’ as part of their teaching and learning activities. 

The presentation and associated discussions will probe the concept of Teaching Presence and its relevance to the SC Model. Alignment with the Symposium theme is achieved by demonstrating how an immersive and engaging learning theory, like COI, can be effectively explored, developed, and applied by a team of colleagues acting as a type of ‘teaching innovation group’ (Gregori-Giralt & Menendez-Varela, 2021). In terms of its practical application, the Teaching Presence rubric offers widespread value for SCU and higher education more broadly. For example, the rubric provides explicit directions for educators wanting to develop effective levels of Teaching Presence in their units and can highlight key areas to focus their efforts. Additionally, the rubric can be used by Course Managers (e.g. Associate Deans of Education and Course Coordinators) who are charged with the difficult task of assessing underperforming units. In this way, the rubric provides a PEER evaluation method to complement Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) data. Lastly, the focus on developing a rubric for professional development purposes will be of considerable interest to teaching scholars. Despite its inherent value, the use of rubrics to inform and guide instructional activities has received limited attention in the higher education literature. Publication of the Teaching Presence rubric development project is aimed for early 2023 and will make a substantial contribution to SCU’s growing international reputation as a leader of innovative approaches to higher education.

Garrison, D. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: Social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(1), 61-72.  

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education, The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2), 87-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1096-7516(00)00016-6

Gregori-Giralt, E., & Menendez-Varela, J.-L. (2021). The content aspect of validity in a rubric-based assessment system for course syllabuses. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 68, 100971–. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2020.100971

Southern Cross University. (2021, January 19). Introducing the Southern Cross Model [Online Module]MySCU Blackboard learning site. Retrieved 10 September, 2022.

Dr Michael Brickhill, SCU College

Academics in pathway programs engage with students who may be academically less prepared than students in bachelor programs. These students bring forth a diversity of prior experiences, however, this can present challenges. Among international students, differences in academic practices can lead to behaviour that is acceptable in their home countries but deemed unacceptable at their new institution (McGowan & Lightbody, 2009). These differences can manifest in the form of academic integrity breaches (Song-Turner, 2008). Investigating such breaches can be challenging, depending on the assessment and discipline. While research in sciences has explored related mismatches in academic practices (Paxton & Frith, 2014), less exploration has occurred in mathematics (Seaton, 2019), where assessments are driven by procedures with a finite number of outcomes.  

MATH1003 Quantitative Methods with Economics is offered within Southern Cross University’s (SCU) Diplomas of Business and Hotel Management. Under the current assessment scheme, two tasks require students to present (i) calculations with explanatory summaries and/or discussions for given business scenarios (due end of Week 6); and (ii) a formal report addressing supply and demand in a business setting (due beginning of Week 4). Interventions have been embedded within MATH1003 workshops to reduce the likelihood of students being referred for academic integrity investigation for these tasks.  

For the calculations task, referral can occur when summaries and/or discussions are deemed too similar to peers. To address this, students are asked to discern potential integrity breaches within three submissions for an exemplar question. The intervention for this task was introduced in 2018 and staged in Week 6 tutorials under SCU’s former 13-week session-based teaching model (with the task falling due in Week 7). The timing of this intervention has changed with the transition to the Southern Cross Model, where the calculation task has replaced an examination task. The intervention is now staged in Week 6 workshops, ahead of the task due later that week. Despite this change in timing there continues to be a reduction in academic integrity referrals for this task.  

The report task gives students experience in report writing in an authentic business context. To address potential academic integrity concerns in this task, students are asked to compare a submission for a similarly structured report against marking criteria and offer insights on report components where academic integrity concerns could arise. The low number of referrals for this task to date suggests this intervention also promotes awareness and practice of academic integrity within MATH1003. 

McGowan, S & Lightbody, M. (2009). ‘Another chance to practice’: Repeating plagiarism education for EAL students within a discipline context. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 4(1): 16-30. https://doi.org/10.21913/IJEI.v4i1.193   

 Paxton, M. & Frith, V. (2014). Implications of academic literacies research for knowledge making and curriculum design. Higher Education, 67, 171-182. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-013-9675-z   

 Seaton, K. A. (2019). Laying groundwork for an understanding of academic integrity in mathematics tasks. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 50(7), 1063-1072. https://doi.org/10.1080/0020739X.2019.1640399   

 Song-Turner, H. (2008). Plagiarism: Academic dishonesty or ‘blind spot’ of multicultural education? Australian Universities Review, 50(2), 39-50. 

Dr Vinh Bui, Dr Ali Reza Alaei, and Associate Professor Raina Mason from Faculty of Science and Engineering 

Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) allow computers to create computer programs, essays, articles, research papers, books and theses with a near-human-crafted quality. This poses a serious challenge in maintaining Academic Integrity (AI). Currently, there are more questions than answers about how we can assess student work that is completed in whole or in part by an artificial intelligence or how do we create authentic assessments when artificial intelligence bots are involved? To identify when someone has used algorithmically generated text in their writing is very difficult, and proving it is impossible in a near future. Therefore, any instances of suspected academic misconduct involving algorithmically generated text need to be confirmed through discussion. In addition, assessments that require applications of problem-solving and critical thinking skills are likely the way we as human educators will challenge an AI in this game. This proposal is intended to discuss this interesting issue based on a review of the related literature and the authors' recent experience from the SC Model. The discussion will contribute to the assessment design methodology in the SC Model.

Dr Kerrie Stimpson, Associate Professor Suzi Syme and Dr Rikki Quinn from SCU College

Using a strengths-based approach (Hellmundt & Baker, 2017; O’Shea, 2016), the units UNIP1003 Applying Quantitative Concepts – a maths unit in the Preparing for Success Program (PSP), and HLTH1001 Introduction to Science for Health Professionals – a foundation health unit in the diploma programs, are designed around authentic learning to empower students to recognise and use their strengths in their new academic environment.  

Through constructive alignment, authentic assessments are linked to unit learning outcomes and learning activities (Biggs, 1996). Students are required to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios based on everyday examples and future areas of study. Each assessment builds on the next, starting with an online quiz as a low-stakes assessment, clearly linked to the first modules. 

In the health diploma unit, the Southern Cross Model has provided the impetus to set up better scaffolding and provide students with the opportunity to use feedback to improve their final assessment. To this end, the students are first required to complete a draft report for an experiment based on their module content with clear real-world relevance. Students are then required to create a final report building on this draft, using the feedback to make improvements. The significance of these assessments to learning outcomes and future studies is two-fold. Firstly, it allows students an opportunity to hone their ability to communicate scientific information. Secondly, students have the opportunity to use feedback from the draft to improve their final report, mimicking real-world scientific processes.  

A challenge in the PSP maths unit has been to ensure students see the relevance of the assessment questions to their current content and to future disciplines. The first written assessment has two parts based on everyday financial scenarios and consists of short- response questions that provide scaffolding to a larger problem-solving scenario. Students reflect on assumptions made and how the question relates to the real-world. Students use feedback from the first written assessment to improve their approach on the next problem-solving assessment. The online assessment workshop allows students the opportunity to work through examples in preparation for the assessments. The online modules clearly signpost the relevance to assessments. 

Biggs, J. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, 32(3), 347–364. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00138871   

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   

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  


View recording from 1:36 min (login required).

Dr Elizabeth Emmanuel, Dr Ya-Ling Huang, and Professor Fiona Naumann from Faculty of Health

International students make up 21% of all students enrolled in tertiary education in Australia, compared to 6% on average across Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries (OECD, 2019). Almost 7% international students (n=15,804) of all students (n=277,590) studied in Australia in the field of Health in 2020 (Australian government, Department of Education, 2022). This new environment can be very intimidating for international students from Cultural and Linguistic Diverse (CALD) backgrounds (Humphrey & Forbes-Hewitt, 2021). Students encounter a number of challenges as they adjust to a new environment that impede their development (ForbesMewett, 2019).

This study aims to: i) explore barriers, facilitators, and interventional strategies which are used to support international students from CALD backgrounds in their learning from existing literature, as well as from the Southern Cross Model (SCM); and ii) co-design an educational support intervention with academic staff and international students from CALD backgrounds within the SCM. This is a three-stage multimethod research concept which includes: Stage 1 a scoping review of the literature; stage 2 a qualitative focus group study within the SCM; and stage 3 co-designing the educational support strategies with academic staff and international students from CALD backgrounds within the SCM. Specifically, the scoping review aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of existing evidence with regards to barriers, facilitators and interventional strategies for international students from CALD backgrounds studying in tertiary health education settings. The qualitative focus group study aims to identify perceived barriers, facilitators and interventional strategies which are used to support international students from CALD backgrounds of their learning within the SCM. The samples will include academic staff who have had experiences in teaching international students from CALD backgrounds within the SCM; and international students from CALD backgrounds. The evidence-based literature and the focus group outcomes will be used to guide the co-designing process of the implementation strategies for international students from CALD backgrounds within the SC Model for different health disciplines (nine disciplines of Bachelor programs and Master program). 

Australian Government, Department of Education. (2022). Selected higher education statistics-2020 student data. https://www.education.gov.au/higher-education-statistics/student-data

Forbes-Mewett, H. (2019). Mental health and international students: Issues, challenges and effective practice. International Education Association of Australia (IEAA). 

Humphrey, A., & Forbes-Mewett, H. (2021). Social value systems and the mental health of international students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of International Students, 11(S2). https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v11iS2.3577

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).(2019). Education at a Glance 2019. https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/EAG2019_CN_AUS.pdf
  

Dr Liz Goode from Academic Portfolio Office/SCU College, Dr Sharen Nisbet and Dr John Haw from Faculty of Business, Law and Arts, Dr Johanna Nieuwoudt from SCU College, and Robert Rollin from Faculty of Science and Engineering

Reflecting critically on academic practice and its impact on students is one of the cornerstones of effective tertiary teaching and learning (Boyer, 1990). This need for reflection becomes particularly acute within the context of curriculum change, where long-held assumptions about teaching and learning are often surfaced and transformed in the pursuit of renewed – and better – ways of delivering education.  

In this presentation, a multi-disciplinary group of academics reflect on their evolving approaches to facilitating stronger student engagement in the Southern Cross Model. Through an ongoing process of co-operative inquiry (Heron & Reason, 2008), this group of colleagues from pathways, management, tourism and engineering consider how their philosophies and practices have changed over nearly two years of teaching in the new delivery model. Applying Mezirow’s (1991) theory of transformative learning to their own practice, the co-presenters reflect on the assumptions they brought to their initial work in the new model, the disorienting dilemmas that caused them to question these assumptions, and their ongoing efforts to explore renewed approaches for encouraging student engagement and success. Audience perspectives on these issues will also be sought, to open a conversation among colleagues about how we, as teaching and learning practitioners, can refine our practices and enrich our understandings of what it means to deliver engaging and inclusive teaching in an immersive model.   

Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.     

Heron, J. & Reason, P. (2001). The practice of co-operative inquiry: Research “with” rather than “on” people. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice (pp. 179-188). Sage.     

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. Jossey-Bass.   

Dr  Michael Brickhill and Ros Walpole, SCU College  

Diploma courses are popular pathways for both domestic and international students. This pathway can provide a stepping stone for those who wish to transition to a degree course, especially for those who are yet to meet the academic requirements for degree entry. Diploma students bring to university a rich diversity of educational and personal experiences: different ages, nationalities, prior learning experiences, and expectations of their role as learners (Wingate 2007). Many are not well prepared for their studies, nor the expectation that they must actively participate in their learning (Tinto, 2017; Wingate, 2007, 2015, 2018). Two key questions faced by academics teaching pathway students are: 1. How can we encourage academic skills and literacy development in Diploma students? 2. Simultaneously, how do we encourage self-management and independent learning? Diploma students need a high level of support from the institution to gain epistemological and sociocultural access to the knowledge being taught in their chosen discipline (Wingate, 2015). However, there is a danger that the provision of such support could lead to students becoming overly dependent on their teachers (Nallaya & Hobson, 2021). Two strategies have been embedded to support students in EDUC1001 during Term 3 to become independent learners. Support is embedded within EDUC1001 tutorials and workshops via timetabled College Connect lab sessions; and associated online modular support material, which students can access on an as-needed basis. There is a difference in academic performance between those who attended College Connect labs and/or accessed the College Connect Blackboard site. Moreover, in-class scaffolding and modelling support appear to have improved student performance in self-management strategies to produce an academic essay.  

Nallaya, S., & Hobson, J. E. (2021). A division-wide framework to scaffold the development of English language and intercultural learning. Journal of Academic Language & Learning, 15(1), 162-186. https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/767   

Tinto, V. (2017). Through the eyes of students. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 19(3), 254-269. https://doi.org/10.1177/1521025115621917   

Wingate, U. (2007). A framework for transition: Supporting ‘Learning to Learn’ in higher education. Higher Education Quarterly, 61(3), 391-405. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2273.2007.00361.x   

 Wingate, U. (2015). Academic literacy and student diversity: The case for inclusive practice. Multilingual Matters. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.scu.edu.au/lib/scu/detail.action?docID=2000150  

 Wingate, U. (2018). Academic literacy across the curriculum: Towards a collaborative instructional approach. Language Teaching, 51(3), 349-364. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444816000264   

Dr Nicola Whiteing, Professor Jennene Greenhill, Lucy Shinners, Dr Elizabeth Emmanuel, and Nicole Graham from Faculty of Health

This presentation will explore how the Discipline of Nursing is integrating an Open Educational Resource (OER) into nursing programs, taking an innovative whole-of-course approach to curriculum design aligned to the SC Model.  

The OER includes case studies of five families from a variety of backgrounds in local and regional QLD and NSW. Case studies have been popular in nursing, to help students bring their learning to life and enhance critical thinking (Li, Ye & Chen, 2019). They serve a purpose in teaching or assessing an individual’s symptoms and nursing management, for example, a patient with asthma. However, traditionally students are only exposed to the patient and their circumstances once as applicable to an individual unit. With this new holistic approach, families are introduced in year 1 with case scenarios that are scaffolded as students’ progress through their course.  

Taking a transformational, place-based approach, the OER case studies are set within local and regional areas so learning is contextual and relatable. Through the introduction of the OER in year 1, students are able to ‘get to know’ families who live in the region and follow their stories throughout their program. The families experience a variety of political and socio-economic circumstances which helps students to learn about different healthcare contexts, build knowledge and understanding about the families’ circumstances from a holistic, person-centred, interprofessional perspective, and engage at a deeper level.  

Each family case study is integrated into multiple units across the program, building in complexity, which encourages students to learn through the lens of the unit they are studying, while drawing on information learnt in previous units. Each OER chapter contains opportunities for students to engage with the material using branching scenarios, videos and other interactive experiences. Case studies can be used in units through self-access, face-to-face content and assessment. Students develop skills in critical thinking, reflection and discourse as well as the development of clinical skills. This supports the SCM by linking self-access material with assessments, promoting successful completion. We envision that with the inclusion of this OER in the curriculum, students will develop a broad spectrum of knowledge, skills and professionalism and will be able to transfer these to a variety of healthcare contexts as they build their professional identity as registered nurses. 

Li, S., Ye, X., & Chen, W. (2019). Practice and effectiveness of “nursing case-based learning” course on nursing student’s critical thinking ability: A comparative study. Nurse Education in Practice, 36, 91-96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2019.03.007

Jeanti St Clair, Faculty of Business, Law and Arts and Marlon Jones, Centre for Teaching and Learning

This presentation explores an exemplar of an authentic portfolio assessment within a Bachelor of Digital Media intermediate unit delivered in the Southern Cross Model. The assessment is scaffolded to build student capacity through weekly active learning tasks which provided students with opportunities to gain practical experience in a peer-learning setting. These tasks also support skill development through authentic, industry-relevant activities and reduce social isolation by building a community of enquiry through peer feedback ahead of the students’ major assessment project.  

This presentation also provides an insight into the collaborative design process and workflow in creating this assessment structure, in particular for asynchronous virtual delivery. Assessment task design and management of the assessment workload within synchronous and asynchronous learning spaces is outlined. The presentation includes a video-recorded tour of the assessment and learning site, as well as discussion between the educational designer and academic about the design challenges and solutions, and the possibilities for application in other disciplines and cohort sizes. 

Annie Long and Ros Walpole from SCU College

The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course aims to develop English language proficiency, address academic culture, and foster the development of academic literacies. Integral to the success of the 6-week SC Model is a high degree of independent learning and collaboration. 

This presentation will provide one example of a lesson created for the EAP unit, the capstone unit in the English Language Program offered by SCU College, which embodies the principles of independent learning and collaboration. This lesson can be the first time international students with English as an additional language (IEAL) have encountered this style of learning; many have experienced a teacher-directed classroom culture in their own countries. Therefore, they must adjust to this new learning academic culture. 

The EAP classroom provides a safe environment to transition from teacher-dominated classrooms to student-centred ones, which can cause initial discomfort for some students. One of the major differences our students experience is self-directed learning, i.e. class work undertaken only in class to researching on own (Lea & Street, 2006; Wingate, 2007, 2015, 2018); utilising background knowledge (Andrade, 2009) to independent learning (Mathias et al., 2013; Wong, 2004); and introducing activities that build students’ confidence to take ownership of their learning (Lopez & Bui, 2014). 

The EAP unit aims to acculturate international students to avoid IEAL students from becoming overwhelmed and negatively impacting their learning outcomes (Roche, 2016). The presentation focuses on a lesson involving a jigsaw reading, research, and collaboration, that raises awareness of the academic culture at SCU while utilising self-directed learning strategies. 

Andrade, M. S. (2009). The effects of English language proficiency on adjustment to university life. International Multilingual Research Journal, 3(1), 16-34. https://doi.org/10.1080/19313150802668249

Lea, M. R., & Street, B. V. (2006). The "Academic Literacies" model: Theory and applications. Theory Into Practice, 45(4), 368-377. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15430421tip4504_11 

Lopez, I. Y., & Bui, N. H. (2014). Acculturation and Linguistic Factors on International Students’ Self-Esteem and Language Confidence. Journal of International Students, 4(4), 314-329. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v4i4.451  

Mathias, J., Bruce, M., & Newton, D. P. (2013). Challenging the Western stereotype: do Chinese international foundation students learn by rote? Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 18(3), 221-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/13596748.2013.819257  

Roche, T. (2016). Assessing the role of digital literacy in English for Academic Purposes university pathway programs. Journal of Academic Language & Learning, 11(1), A71-A87. https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/439 

Wingate, U. (2007). A framework for transition: Supporting ‘Learning to Learn’ in higher education. Higher Education Quarterly, 61(3), 391-405. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2273.2007.00361.x  

Wingate, U. (2015). Academic literacy and student diversity: The case for inclusive practice. Multilingual Matters. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.scu.edu.au/lib/scu/detail.action?docID=2000150 

Wingate, U. (2018). Academic literacy across the curriculum: Towards a collaborative instructional approach. Language Teaching, 51(3), 349-364. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444816000264 

Wong, J. K. K. (2004). Are the learning styles of Asian international students culturally or contextually based? International Education Journal, 4(4), 154-166. https://openjournals.library.sydney.edu.au/index.php/IEJ 

Dr Johanna Nieuwoudt, SCU College

Through applying active learning pedagogy in the Southern Cross Model, the academic outcomes of diverse cohorts of students can be improved (Goode et al., 2021). However, it should be noted that active learning is not necessarily inclusive (Harris et al., 2020). To ensure an inclusive and equitable quality education for all students, it is increasingly important to embed cultural diversity in units. Many people think that science is ‘acultural’ (Gondwe & Longnecker, 2015). However, the science curriculum is generally based on Western knowledge and does not acknowledge Indigenous cultures and knowledges. This can have an impact on students’ view of science and their sense of belonging. When it comes to embedding Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in the curriculum, it can seem like a daunting task. Many educators may fear ‘getting it wrong’ or being accused of being ‘tokenistic’ in their approach (Hoger, 2020). This fear is genuine and understandable; however, it is not an adequate reason to intentionally exclude Indigenous perspectives in the curriculum. By excluding Indigenous perspectives, the curriculum is not inclusive. Through applying culturally responsive pedagogy, the learning experience of all students can be enhanced, irrespective of their culture (Morrison et al., 2019).  

This presentation showcases examples of embedding Indigenous Australian knowledge in the curriculum of an introductory science unit delivered in the SC Model. While this unit’s formal student feedback from Study Period 2, 2020 to Term 2, 2022 indicate no increase in feedback scores, written comments illustrate the importance and value of embedding Indigenous Australian knowledge in units. Measurements to determine if embedding cultural diversity ‘works’ are discussed, including student feedback, unit grades, sense of belonging, and cultural understanding. This presentation illustrates the importance of embedding Indigenous Australian knowledge in the curriculum to ensure inclusive learning to promote cultural understanding and making higher education more inclusive and equitable. 

Gondwe, M., & Longnecker, N. (2015). Scientific and cultural knowledge in intercultural science education: Student perceptions of common ground. Research in Science Education, 45(1), 117-147.   
 
Goode, E., Syme, S., & Nieuwoudt, J. E. (2021). “I have a lot of ‘I'm doing it’ moments”: Improving the success of non-traditional students through the Southern Cross Model. Southern Cross University Scholarship of Learning and Teaching Paper No. 1. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3973253   
  
Harris, B. N., McCarthy, P. C., Wright, A. M., Schutz, H., Boersma, K. S., Shepherd, S. L., Manning, L. A., Malisch, J., & Ellington, R. M. (2020). From panic to pedagogy: Using online active learning to promote inclusive instruction in ecology and evolutionary biology courses and beyond. Academic Practice in Ecology and Evolution, 10. 12581-12612. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6915   
  
Hoger, D. (2020). Avoiding the trap of cultural tokenism. Community Early Learning Australia. https://www.cela.org.au/publications/amplify!-blog/june-2020/cultural-tokenism   
  
Morrison, A., Rigney, L., Hattam, R., & Diplock, A. (2019). Toward an Australian culturally responsive pedagogy: A narrative review of the literature. University of South Australia. https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2019-08/apo-nid262951.pdf

Dr Julia Caldicott, Faculty of Business, Law and Arts

The undergraduate unit, Internship B (BUSN3006), is a capstone double-weighted unit for business, information technology, and tourism management students. The unit provides the opportunity for students to evaluate contemporary issues facing organisations in their chosen field and demonstrate their competencies as emerging professionals. One of the unit modules is devoted to professional identity formation, where students consider the importance of a strong professional identity, explain differences in personal and professional identity, and analyse their own emerging professional identity. Work Integrated Learning (WIL) activities, such as an internship, can be an ideal space to facilitate a student’s professional identity development since they can become aware of what matters most in practice and the values and interests that influence decision-making (Trede 2012, p. 163).  

In the past, students explored skills and competencies of professionals in their field but a self-assessment of their own professional identity was not an explicit requirement. To assess the achievement of related learning outcomes students now complete a portfolio assessment in Padlet (or Trello). There are three main components to the assessment: 1) Critical incident analysis in relation to professional identity formation, 2) Appraisal of supervisor’s skills and qualities in reference to professional/industry requirements, and 3) LinkedIn profile update. The educational opportunities of Trello as a tool for organising and self-organising student activities have been identified. These include the development of students' self-design competency, time management skills, attitude to meaningful self-development, goal-setting abilities, the enhancement of motivation and involvement, and reflective thinking (Zakharova & Belyakova, 2020). The critical incident analysis component prompts students to reflect on a recent incident in their placement and analyse the impact on their professional identity. Evaluating their workplace supervisor’s skills and qualities in relation to industry-specific literature requires students to identify the characteristics of a professional in their chosen industry sector. The final component of the assessment requires students to update their LinkedIn profile, thereby attending to their online professional identity. The real-world learning experience gained through the internship placement, together with unit resources and assessment design, aims to foster students’ professional identity development. Early evaluations indicate that the authentic and practical nature of the assessment provides a source of motivation for students to satisfactorily complete the assessment.  

Trede, F. (2012). Role of work-integrated learning in developing professionalism and personal identity. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 13(3), 159–67. 

Zakharova, I. & Belyakova, E. (2020). Agile methodology capabilities in supporting student teachers’ professional self-determination using the Trello platform. Tomsk State University Journal, 454, 190-197. 

Dr Christos Markopoulos, Dr Lewes Peddell and Patrick Bruck from Faculty of Education

The quality of primary and secondary school mathematics teaching relies on individual teachers’ mathematical competence (Rowland & Ruthven, 2011; Ball, Thames & Phelps, 2008; Hill, Rowan & Ball, 2005). That, in turn, relies on the quality of teacher education and training. This presentation explores an approach to enhancing pre-service teacher training to enhance teachers’ mastery of mathematics teaching and the implications for teaching and learning within the SC Model.  

In Australia, the government has pushed for improvements to shift pre-service teachers’ mathematical capacity (AITSL, 2011). In particular, primary and early childhood education students are now expected to have a level of numeracy broadly equivalent to the top 30% of the population (AITSL, 2011). This reflects an agreement amongst educators on the importance of sound mathematics learning in early schooling, and the recognition that the early stage learning of mathematics has a significant positive influence on later learning (Nguyen et al., 2019; Orcos et al., 2019). The importance of a “profound understanding of fundamental mathematics” is well recognised (Mason, 2008; Graeber & Tirosh, 2008; Ma, 1999). Teachers’ mathematical content knowledge, importantly, should not be limited to topics and the procedures. Hill et al. (2005), in introducing mathematical knowledge for teaching, argued that “teachers not only need to calculate correctly but also need to know how to … represent mathematics concepts and procedures to students, provide students with explanations for common rules and mathematical procedures and analyse students’ solution and explanations” (p.372).  

The presentation explores a curriculum response to the aforementioned challenge at SCU in the Faculty of Education and provides clues for navigating the numeracy teaching and learning challenges in the SC Model. Pre-service teachers in the Faculty of Education Primary and Early Childhood degree courses are introduced to specialised mathematical knowledge for teaching in a mathematics discipline unit, Foundations of Mathematics and Numeracy: Numbers That Count, and to mathematical pedagogical content knowledge in a unit entitled Mathematics Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy I. We have explored 270 pre-service teachers’ capacity to incorporate specialised content knowledge into tasks that require pedagogical content knowledge of teaching mathematics in early childhood and primary education settings. and the implications for delivery in the SC Model. Over a two-year period, data were collected on two cohorts of pre-service teachers enrolled in the two units. Findings of the study will be shared, along with potential implications for teaching and learning in the SC Model. 

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, (2022), Accreditation of initial teacher education programs in Australia, AITSL, Melbourne. https://www.aitsl.edu.au/tools-resources/resource/accreditation-of-initial-teacher-education-programs-in-australia---standards-and-procedures   

Ball, D. L., Thames, M. H., & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching: What makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59(5), 389-407. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487108324554 

Graeber, A., & Tirosh, D. (2008). Pedagogical content knowledge. In P. Sullivan & T. Wood (Eds.), Knowledge and beliefs in mathematics teaching and teaching development (Vol. 1, pp. 117-132). Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.   

Hill, H. C., Rowan, B., & Ball, D. L. (2005). Effects of teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching on student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 42(2), 371-406. https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312042002371 

Ma, L. (1999). Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics: Teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.   

Mason, J. (2008). PCK and beyond. In P. Sullivan & S. Wilson (Eds.), Knowledge and beliefs in mathematics teaching and teaching development (Vol. 1, pp. 301–322). Rotterdam/Taipe: Sense Publishers.   

Ruthven K. (2011). Conceptualising Mathematical Knowledge in Teaching. In T. Rowland, K. Ruthven (eds.), Mathematical Knowledge in Teaching, Springer.   

Nguyen, T., Duncan, R. J., & Bailey, D. H. (2019). Theoretical and methodological implications of associations between executive function and mathematics in early childhood. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 58, 276-287. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2019.04.002  

Orcos, L., Hernandez-Carrera, R. M., Espigares, M. J., & Magrenan, A. A. (2019). The Kumon method: Its importance in the improvement on the teaching and learning of mathematics from the first levels of early childhood and primary education. Mathematics, 7(1), 109–. https://doi.org/10.3390/math7010109

Dr John Haw, Dr Sharen Nisbet, Dr Patrick Gillett, Rita Duval from Faculty of Business, Law and Arts 

Teacher–student partnerships are a vital aspect of the education experience. Graduates rate their satisfaction with these partnerships via the Good Teaching Scale of the Course Experience Questionnaire. Assessment feedback is the most common context for rating these adult learning partnerships for many students. This places great importance on the personalisation of assessment feedback, which is heightened under the SC Model with its emphasis on timeliness and constructive alignment.  

The current study aimed to assess student satisfaction with two types of assessment feedback, audio and written, using items from the Good Teaching Scale. Students were randomly allocated to receive either voice or written feedback in various units taught within the SC Model during 2022. The results found that students who received voice feedback thought the marker had spent more time providing feedback than students who received written feedback. Comments from students also supported the partnership benefits of receiving the audio feedback. 

Our presentation will focus on our experiences using voice feedback as part of transitioning to the SC Model.  

The Yen Cao, The Hotel School

This presentation will highlight the role of social media in students’ active learning to construct an effective professional identity/brand. One anticipated objective of students undertaking tertiary education is to attain the relevant skills and knowledge required to successfully develop and demonstrate their professional identity that is then utilised to enter and perform in their chosen workplace role (Stewart, 2010). Our responsibility as educators is to prepare and equip students with the appropriate information that will enable them to grow their professional brand (Stewart, 2010). By transitioning to the SC Model, each of the 6 teaching weeks will focus on one element of personal branding (e.g. Week 1: Understanding career path options based on capabilities and preferences; Week 2: Understanding the expected industry climate and trends in the field and how to strategise accordingly), resulting in the development of a professional identity by term end. Similarly, the three assessments all prepare students to utilise their knowledge, verbal, and body language skills to exude a professional identity. 

Methods that have been incorporated in the active learning student experiences studying unit, HOSP1001 Introduction to Professional Practice, that have proven to be effective include: (1) providing a nurturing safe learning environment that encourages students to voice their honest perception of their current online and physical brand without judgement and allowing them to independently talk through their areas of improvement to lead them to problem-solve and reach a successful outcome; (2) students challenging the educator through debate to receive productive feedback that will enable them to pinpoint areas that require improvement; (3) emphasising the relevance of the content to their professional identity through reflection of contemporary examples on popular social media platforms (e.g. TikTok); and (4) roleplaying in realistic workplace scenarios and tasks to encourage students to carefully consider their behaviour and approach in a professional workplace.  

Through the application of these methods, it has been recognised that students were able to appropriately undertake career-related decisions through problem-solving, realise their passion for their target industry, identify careers compatible with their capabilities, and to become self-aware of the influence of their mindset and behaviours in the workplace on their professional relationships, career progression and company operation (Mancini et al., 2015). The conclusion and evidence from these methods include students communicating to educators that they have successfully attained their desired position for their internship, progressed to supervisory and managerial positions, transitioned to different departments, and strengthened their confidence in independently overcoming work-related challenges, actively seeking further opportunities, and taking initiatives in enacting new workplace policies and strategies. 

Mancini, T., Caricati, L., Panari, C., & Tonarelli, A. (2015). Personal and social aspects of professional identity.: An extension of Marcia’s identity status model applied to a sample of university students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 89, 140-150. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2015.06.002  

Stewart, D. W. (2010). The purpose of university education. Psychologist-Manager Journal, 13(4), 244–250. https://doi.org/10.1080/10887156.2010.522480 

Dr Ya-Ling Huang,  Dr Gopi McLeod and Associate Professor Paul Orrock with students Julia, Stephanie, Sandra, Anna, Shannon and Bridget from Faculty of Health

The application of evolving technology within learning environments has revolutionised higher education and paved the way for flexible and innovative delivery approaches. Flexible delivery options such as blended and online learning pedagogies are an attractive prospect, particularly to students with external responsibilities and commitments. Health science disciplines provide a unique challenge to institutions navigating digital content delivery with multiple practical-based competencies necessary for registration in their chosen field. Many online and face-to-face learning studies focus on the student cohorts, particularly in medical and nursing fields, measuring knowledge and skill-based outcomes. This highlights the importance of understanding both staff and students’ experiences to optimise university teaching and learning.    

 Our study aims to explore the online and face-to-face teaching and learning experiences, and perceptions of health science staff and students at Southern Cross University. This is a mixed method design, combining a survey and a form of qualitative data in single data collection between May and June 2022. A 10-minute Qualtrics survey was distributed via bulk email platform to staff and students with 2 weeks follow up. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive data analysis and qualitative data was analysed using thematic data analysis. Around 14% (n=211) valid response was received for the student survey and around 28.8% (n=26) valid response was received for the staff survey. On average, students reported 74% of their time towards online learning compared to 55% of online teaching reported by staff. Staff and students’ educational experiences were similarly reported as good (38.5%) and fair (37.5%) Active positive learning experiences also included critical thinking skills, problem solving, working with others, and learning independently. The preliminary qualitative data discovered both students’ and staff’s voices regarding positive and negative aspects of online learning when compared to face-to-face learning, such as flexibility, better work-life balance, increased self-efficacy and access to learning, different skill acquisition, decreased sense of face-to-face interactions and connections, and technical issues.  
  
Online learning can be a valuable option for institutions, particularly when combined with traditional face-to-face delivery, in order to provide both staff and students with optimal environments to achieve their individual requirements within the higher education system.  

Associate Professor Steve Purcell, Faculty of Science and Engineering and Dr Kayleen Wood, Faculty of Business, Law and Arts  

End-of-term exams and summative quizzes are unfavourable to many in the Southern Cross Model. However, external accreditation and professional and statutory bodies might require students to have appropriate levels of competence across a domain of study, demonstrated via a final exam. Similarly, quizzes can be advantageous by assessing student comprehension of a subset of content not covered by other assessments. However, in a post-COVID world of online non-invigilated exams/quizzes, we have had to rethink assessment design. Some argue that exams do not accurately or fairly assess learning due to reasons such as stress on the student and perceptions about rote learning. When poorly designed, online exams/quizzes can be one of the assessment types most likely to allow opportunities for collusion and cheating. On the other hand, peer-reviewed literature touts summative quizzes as a real-world assessment that can help students to become work-ready in certain industries. Further, quizzes offer unit assessors a high-quality assessment tool to balance against longer assessment items.  

We overview the pros and cons of summative quizzes in tertiary education and draw on new data from multiple units across two faculties at SCU. Our analysis begins with an exploration of the value of practice quizzes as a formative tool to improve student learning. We discuss data and case studies on the performance of students who cheat on non-proctored tests. Lastly, we present the elements of good and poor quiz questions and offer an array of techniques for preparing questions and quiz settings to foster authentic assessment in the Southern Cross Model. Strategies can be adopted so that quizzes address real-world scenarios and assess students’ understanding and synthesis of unit content.    

Daffin Jr, L. W., & Jones, A. A. (2018). Comparing Student Performance on Proctored and Non-Proctored Exams in Online Psychology Courses. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks JALN, 22(1), 130–. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v22i1.1079 

DeSouza, E., & Fleming, M. (2003). A comparison of in-class and online quizzes on student exam performance. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 14(2), 121–134. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02940941 
 
Harper, R., Bretag, T., Ellis, C., Newton, P., Rozenberg, P., Saddiqui, S., & van Haeringen, K. (2019). Contract cheating: a survey of Australian university staff. Studies in Higher Education (Dorchester-on-Thames), 44(11), 1857–1873. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2018.1462789 

 

View recording from 34:47 min (login required).

Dr Patrick Gillett, Faculty of Business, Law and Arts

This pre-recorded video showcases the use of VoiceThread to coordinate a ‘presentation-style’ assessment in a postgraduate Management unit. Specific attention is given to three ‘assessment design concepts’ associated with the Southern Cross Model (ISCM, 2021) and the way they inform the decision-making process. These concepts are ‘Authenticity,’ ‘Academic Integrity,’ and ‘Manageability.’ The video highlights an effective, time-efficient, and professionally rewarding approach to student assessment, which SCU colleagues might also consider and adopt.

Southern Cross University. (2021, January 19). Introducing the Southern Cross Model [Online Module]MySCU Blackboard learning site.

View recording from 20:36 min (login required).

Peter Murphy, Faculty of Education and Dr Anuradha Khara, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Assessment tasks serve multiple purposes in the teaching, learning and assessment continuum. While traditional assessments have been a hurdle, authentic assessments seek to harness the learning potential of assessment tasks. ‘Assessment, if well designed, also acts to build students’ capacity to make judgements beyond immediate tasks or learning outcomes’ (Bearman, et al., 2014, p. 6). 

The SC Model presents predictable challenges in accommodating learning and assessment activities in a six-week timeframe. The assessments for DSGN1009 (Design thinking and communication) unit were designed not only as a tool to assess but also for students to learn the technical content and to demonstrate and achieve industry skills needed for employment.  

This unit sits under the Bachelor of Education where students, after completion of the course, work directly with school students. While working on the assessments, students get an understanding of the process involved in creating a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of their design and of what is possible and what could be challenging for the school students when they undertake a similar task.  

Our students are likely to require to undertake learning tasks throughout their lives (Boud, 2000). The educational design approach used in designing this unit prepares students for this. Within this unit, students assumed the role of a designer who was tasked to contribute towards one of the three proposed United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Affordable and clean energy; Climate action; and Life below water. The assessments were staged in smaller learning tasks chunks that formed part of the tutorial and workshop activities.  Students worked on the series of tasks, the responses to which are unique based on the design they developed to work on for the chosen SDG. Students worked in groups during these sessions on specific tasks that contributed towards their individual assessments. This space provided them with a safe environment to receive constructive feedback to improve their work to reach the appropriate standard required for the completion of the task. By explicitly embracing a connectivist approach, this space also provided an opportunity for students to continually share and reflect as members of a Community of Inquiry (COI). The constructive feedback and the progressive assessment also remove any scope for contract cheating or academic integrity breaches (Bretag, et al., 2019). Student feedback from using this approach was very well-received with 4.6/5 satisfaction rate. We look forward to discussing the aspects of the unit that led to such high satisfaction rate.

​Bearman, M., Dawson, P., Boud, D., Hall, M., Bennett, S., Molloy, E., & Joughin, G. (2014). Guide to the Assessment Design Decisions Framework. Australian Government: Office for Learning and Teaching. http://www.assessmentdecisions.org/guide 

Boud, D. (2000). Sustainable Assessment: Rethinking assessment for the learning society. Studies in Continuing Education, 22(2), 151-167. https://doi.org/10.1080/713695728

Bretag, T., Harper, R., Ellis, C., Haeringen, K. V., Newton, P., Rozenberg, P., & Saddiqui, S. (2019). Contract cheating and assessment design: exploring the connection. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

Dr Ali Reza Alaei and Dr Reza Ghanbarzadeh from Faculty of Science and Engineering

Block mode delivery, also known as intensive mode teaching, is a condensed form of education in which classes are scheduled over a short period of time (Ghapanchi et al., 2021). This presentation first aims to highlight the model's advantages and challenges. Then, it provides some strategies and solutions to those challenges taking into account our experience and relevant literature. Victoria University (VU) was the first Australian university to use a 'block' model of learning in 2018, which builds a degree program from units studied in sequential blocks. Students complete one unit at a time and then move to the next. In the VU model, the block is characterised by three half-day teaching sessions per week, delivered in small classes rather than large lecture halls. Each class takes 3 hours and consists of a maximum of 35 students, and assessments are completed within each block. Students can complete up to 10 (4-week) blocks each year (Victoria University, n.d.).  

Southern Cross Model (SCM) is another form of the block-based intensive mode of teaching designed and executed at Southern Cross University. It is composed of six terms, each term being six weeks. Students complete one module of a unit every week, including a workshop, a tutorial and several readings, interactive content, videos and other activities. A maximum of three assessments are included for each unit to assess students' progress and learning outcomes. SCM requires careful implementation to realise its full benefits. It may be intense, but it can also foster student engagement and reduce stress. The model has some unique advantages compared to the traditional mode of education. Some advantages of using the model include more focus on the study, less stress, student motivation, engagement and improved performance. Besides, it comes with several challenges such as time management, shorter memory retention, keeping up with a subject, student burnout, high toll on students when missing a class, pressure on teaching staff, maintaining quality when switching to block model, less visibility of the inter-relation of the subjects, and student attrition. Results from recent statistics of the BIT and MIT units in Terms 1-4, 2022, indicated that the student success rates in the majority of the units have increased, while the student satisfaction rates have declined in a number of units, especially those with technical content. The decline in satisfaction rates directly links to some of the above-mentioned challenges.

Ghapanchi, A., Purarjomandlangrudi, A. & Miao, Y. (2021, October 9). Does students' adoption of block mode of teaching boost positive learning outcomes in tertiary sector? [Paper presentation]. 2021 Proceedings of the Information Systems Education Conference ISECON, 68-77. Foundation for Information Technology Education. http://proceedings.isecon.org/ 

Ghapanchi, A. (2022, July 15). Five pitfalls of adopting the block mode of teaching, and strategies to overcome them: opinion. Campus Review. https://www.campusreview.com.au/2022/07/five-pitfalls-of-adopting-the-block-mode-of-teaching-and-strategies-to-overcome-them-opinion/ 

Thi Thao T, N., Purarjomandlangrudi, A. and Ghapanchi, A. (2022). Uncovering Insights Gained from Applying Block Mode of Teaching: Case of Higher Education. Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.5171/2022.505189 

Victoria University Melbourne Australia. (n.d.). VU Block Model. https://www.vu.edu.au/study-at-vu/why-choose-vu/vu-block-model

Dr Jenelle Benson, Centre for Teaching and Learning and Dr Elizabeth Emmanuel, Faculty of Health

The level of preparedness for engagement is critical to a smooth transition into tertiary studies. For this reason, many tertiary institutions offer preparatory programs to help beginning students to transition and equip them with fundamental skills they need to succeed (James, 2016). These initiatives are often referred to as enablers, kickstarters, or getting-ready programs. Regardless of such programs, many first-year students appear unprepared, which is likely exacerbated by today’s increasingly diverse student population (Benson et. al, 2022). With this shifting demographic, it is more important than ever to better prepare students for tertiary studies in order to support and improve their experience and performance (OECD, 2021).  

This presentation will centre on current research on the impact Unit Warm-Ups (UWU) in a first-year nursing unit had on students' ability to navigate unpreparedness and anxiety. Moving to a six-week delivery model, it is important that we incorporate the identified beneficial parts of the UWU project into the current Module O of the Southern Cross Model (SCM) to increase students' preparedness and decrease anxiety as they work in this new learning format. This is especially true for larger class sizes which our research suggests benefit from using unit warm-ups to increase preparedness and reduce anxiety. The class size for this first-year unit ranged from 300 to 500 students over the four years. The analysis of the pre- and post-survey showed a positive trend in students’ understanding and preparedness after participating in the UWU over the baseline year of 2018. Students also had an increased pass rate after the UWU was integrated into the unit in 2019. Incorporating the UWU into the current unit orientation (Module O) will be discussed to demonstrate what parts are already there and what parts need to be added to help support student preparedness and reduce anxiety in the SCM. 

Benson, J., Chaseling, M., Emmanuel, E., Markopoulos, C., & Paredes, J-A. (2022). Your success is our goal: An intervention for failing students, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 19(2), 147-164. https://doi.org/10.53761/1.19.2.10  

James, T. (2016). The juxtaposition of STEPS to the undergraduate arena: The lived experience of transitioning into undergraduate study. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 56(2), 250–267. https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/informit.198215992470328  

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (2021). To what level have adults studied? In Education at a Glance 2021: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1787/e7fdaf2e-en

Ram Ramanathan, The Hotel School

This presentation will aim to demonstrate how a sense of belonging can be induced in students in higher education where I will describe the interventions that I have applied in my teaching. It is understood that learners from non-English speaking backgrounds and generally students who are commencing the first year of an undergraduate program feel a lack of sense of belonging. A sense of belonging is an outcome of engagement. Student engagement is a multi-faceted approach and it involves academic engagement (participating in assessments), social engagement (peer-to-peer interactions and socialising whilst in class), cognitive engagement (going above what is required academically), and affective engagement (feeling a sense of affiliation with the study environment). By engaging students, we induce a sense of belonging in them. 

I am enrolled in a PhD and would like to share my understanding of the literature and teaching strategies on how to measure the sense of belonging through interventions that can keep learners engaged, reduce attrition and improve academic achievements. Research showed that social engagement appears more salient than academic engagement when relating to belonging. Categories such as network, solidarity, living space, geographical and cultural location, life attitudes, and personal interest played a big part in the inferences from the data analysis. Negative data such as stress and unhappiness were also considered to classify the sense of ‘non-belonging’ and were related more to personal space and life satisfaction. The surroundings and personal spaces played a significant role in the definition of belonging when the higher education provider is a home away from home, and natural and cultural factors add to the sense of wellbeing. Personal space belonging was reflected in the Psychological Sense of School Membership (PSSM), and Sense of Belonging (SB) instruments. There is evidence as identified in the study that belonging has multi-dimensional aspects that influence academic engagement (Ahn & Davis, 2020).

Ahn, M. Y., & Davis, H. H. (2020). Students’ sense of belonging and their socio-economic status in higher education: a quantitative approach. Teaching in Higher Education, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2020.1778664

Neil McRudden, SCU College

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is a direct entry pathway program designed to equip international students not only with the necessary academic skills to thrive in undergraduate and postgraduate study, but to prepare them for study within the Southern Cross Model. This presentation will provide an example of andragogic techniques used in this unit, and in other College units embedded within the Southern Cross Model, to allow adult learners to master the required academic skills in an engaging and communicative manner. Andragogic principles state that adult learners learn most effectively through student-centred tasks which involve active practice and participation in informal and socialised contexts (Knowles, 1984).  

This presentation will showcase an example of a simple and effective student-centred task that the EAP team at SCU College have used to successfully facilitate student mastery of the key academic skills of paraphrasing and referencing sources. In this activity, students are encouraged to complete a full sentence expressing a disadvantage or advantage of a given topic on a post-it note (or Collaborate whiteboard for online classes), with their surname and the year. Students are tasked in groups to write a paragraph outlining the advantages or disadvantages of the given topic. Students are then asked to choose advantages/disadvantages written by their peers as support for their paragraphs and are encouraged to paraphrase the ideas and correctly reference the authors when using this support. It is hoped that the example showcased in this presentation can be adapted and used by lecturers and curriculum designers across SCU when conducting tutorials and workshops face-to-face or online. 

Knowles, M.S. (1984). Andragogy in Action: Applying Modern Principles of Adult Education. Jossey Bass.

Dr Diarmuid Hurley and Dr Nasim Salehi from Faculty of Health 

Integrated within Blackboard, VoiceThread offers an opportunity for teaching staff to design immersive and engaging activities and assessments, and for students to connect and collaborate with one another. VoiceThread enables the submission of individual presentations but also facilitates peer discussion and feedback, and aids in the development of a collaborative learning community, which is especially important for online learners (Bodas et al., 2020; Delmas, 2017). Another important feature is the ability for both educators and students to choose how they want to engage via video, audio, text and drawing comment modalities. An example of this application could be an immersive, multi-modal engagement discussion forum as opposed to the more traditional text-based Blackboard discussion boards. Indeed, the incorporation of video and audio in discussion platforms has been found to predict increased student engagement (Mejia, 2020).

There are however very limited guides out there on how to use and maximise the benefit of VoiceThread in students’ learning. This video will represent a succinct “how-to” guide as well as incorporating some lessons learned from experience with its use. The video will cover different types of assessments and activities, their setup and modification, potential issues and workarounds, simple grading, and how to instruct students about submission. The dual aims of this presentation are to stimulate interest in using VoiceThread in teaching and assessment and to provide a step-by-step guide to doing so. 

Bodis, A., Reed, M., & Kharchenko, Y. (2020). Microteaching in isolation: Fostering autonomy and learner engagement through VoiceThread. International Journal of TESOL Studies, 2(3), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.46451/ijts.2020.09.14 

Delmas, P. M. (2017). Using VoiceThread to create community in online learning. TechTrends, 61(6), 595-602. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-017-0195-z 

Mejia, C. (2020). Using VoiceThread as a discussion platform to enhance student engagement in a hospitality management online course. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education, 26, 100236-. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhlste.2019.100236 

Dr Mieke Witsel, Shelley Barfoot, Dr Lachlan Forsyth, Chris King, Tim Magoffin, Michelle Metanoia, and Tina van Eyk from Centre for Teaching and Learning

During the implementation of a new educational model, Southern Cross University explicitly asked academics to adapt to new educational strategies and approaches. Such learning involves change, and in this, the human condition cannot be ignored. One cannot forcefully compel people to change (Fullan, 1993), but it is judicious to consider the conditions that support adjustment to that change. Engagement in professional learning is inherent to academic career development and enhances emotional wellbeing, and this, in turn, enhances teaching quality and student outcomes (Hascher & Weber, 2021).  Learning is in essence an uncertain process and can involve discomfort (Twyford & LeFevre, 2019). In addition, personal dilemmas may coexist as academics attempt to reconcile personal beliefs regarding teaching, with a promoted approach that is different to their accepted norms (Saroyan & Trigwell, 2015). Mezirow’s (1991) concept of transformative adult learning emphasises rationality. O’Sullivan (2012) places rationality on a co-equal footing with movement and emotion, involving “...a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions”.  

The Centre for Teaching and Learning creates space for emotions and feelings surrounding response to significant change. The Professional Learning team facilitate focused workshops, and support academics to share their practices with colleagues via webinars. The team provide a library of practical teaching resources, offer drop in-sessions, and answer support requests. The team purposefully allow academics to feel supported and aim to reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm, particularly around adoption of teaching technologies. They enable academics to feel confident in their capabilities, excited about learning opportunities, and comfortable to share practices with peers. The Educational Designer team support academics in the transition of unit materials to the new model. Academics’ self-esteem and motivation are supported by Educational Designers who acknowledge workload and negotiate a staged, realistic, and resource-sensitive transition. The team assist in building confidence in the transformation of content, suggesting ideas and adapting activities to better support student engagement, simplifying the process, and providing support in moments of disillusionment. This very Scholarship symposium offers learning opportunities for peers to discuss and share their teaching and learning experiences. Given that the model presents significant educational change, it follows that academics may have been presented with “disorienting dilemmas.” We ask the audience to critically reflect on their previous assumptions and to engage in reflective discourse. In so doing, we hope to gain deeper understanding of ways to support academics’ emotional response to educational change.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Hyler, M.E. (2020). Preparing educators for the time of COVID ... and beyond. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 457-465. https://doi.org/10.1080/02619768.2020.1816961  

Fullan, M. (1993). Change Forces: Probing the Depths of Educational Reform. London: Falmer Press.

Hascher, T., & Waber, J. (2021). Teacher well-being: A systematic review of the research literature from the year 2000–2019. Educational Research Review, 34, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2021.100411  

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. Jossey-Bass.

O’Sullivan, E. (2012). Deep transformation: Forging a planetary world view. In E. W. Taylor & P. Cranton (Eds.), The handbook of transformative learning: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 162–177). Jossey-Bass.  

Saroyan, A., & Trigwell, K. (2015). Higher education teachers’ professional learning: Process and outcome. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 46, 92-101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2015.03.008  

Twyford, K., & Le Fevre, D. (2019). Leadership, uncertainty and risk: how leaders influence teachers. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 4(4), 309–324. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPCC-02-2019-0002 

Kerrie King and John Laing from The Hotel School

With a primary objective to develop a new assessment regime to align with SC Model delivery it was decided to give vivas (oral assessments) a trial run. The Hotel School (THS) has a history of incorporating written case studies into both coursework and assessment tasks, so developing a case study-based oral presentation which requires students to reflect on theory covered in the latter weeks of the 6-week term seemed a natural reflection of SCM principles, designed to both enhance academic integrity and circumvent opportunities for academic misconduct.

From the outset two key hurdles were identified. From a teaching perspective one of the main hurdles is to make sure that the new assessment regime would be achievable in terms of volume and time spent marking, specifically, that assessments can be marked within a one-week turnaround at the end of the term. A parallel objective is to develop academic support material to assist students in preparing for this kind of assessment. Research conducted at Griffith University suggests that vivas (or interactive orals) allow students to “demonstrate knowledge verbally in an authentic setting representative of what would be encountered in the workplace” (Sotiriadou et al., 2020). Vivas are well known for their role in the defence of PhD. However, PhD defence is a high-stakes environment that doesn’t accurately reflect the lesser-stakes intention of this newly designed assessment task. Vivas allow the examiner to assess the student on the spot and, with use of a well-detailed rubric, the marker can complete the entire assessment process in an efficient and timely manner. In this presentation, we will look at how viva assessments have replaced content that was previously assessed via written submissions such as reports and essays and how vivas are currently being implemented at The Hotel School. We will also discuss how a generic viva rubric can be adapted across different units. 

Sotiriadou, P., Logan, D., Daly, A,. & Guest, R. (2020). The role of authentic assessment to preserve academic integrity and promote skill development and employability, Studies in Higher Education (Dorchester-on-Thames), 45(11), 2132–2148. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1582015

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