The Southern Cross Model: an overview

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The Southern Cross Model, Teaching and Learning Experience: Robert Rollins

Hi, my name is Robert Rollin, and I've been lecturing in the Department of Engineering. I've been teaching in different courses starting from the associate degree, the Bachelor of Engineering Systems and the two masters degree that we offer at SCU.

So the associate degree in particular was designed to be offered under the new SCU model for the so all the new units and the associate degree in a few units from engineering that we converted were all offered straight out as under the new SCU model.

What do your units look like in the Southern Cross Model?

So I think the you the students like that, it's brief little  capsules of content and the and in my units, I did use a portfolio approach for assessment.

We used three case studies, so we use case studies from the industry. So they're a so this is engineering. So we had a small land development in Lismore that we're using it as an example. We're using the bridge designs from Kyogle Council and as a big project, give them the appreciation of a large project.

We would use the Coffs Harbour bypass on the Pacific highway.

I think the portfolio assessment worked well in terms of manageable, that every week did a little bit of work that helps them with their final assessments. And I think the one place I still need to improve is interlinking all of this, that the exercises in the unit content are better link to the story and to the assessment.

How did students respond to the assessments?

So the now the student feedback on the assessment with was, that they really enjoyed the real life examples and they also enjoyed getting to practise every week on the assessments, the portfolio approach, the portfolio approach also promoted interaction between the students.

So they were responsible to submit their answer every week. And then they also were required to critique each other's answers. So basically peer review and learning as a group. So they also enjoyed that. And so I think it really helps. Some of the people with more experience would share their knowledge so people with less experience would gain from that.

What did you learn while teaching in the Southern Cross Model?

A big difference for me is that at the end you need to be very well organised for the grading.

So that means that when you start planning your assessment, you need to think about I'm going to be grading in week six or six or at the beginning week seven, and I need to turn around my grades very quickly. So your assessments have to be planned to facilitate that. I've used a portfolio approach which helps with that approach. So I get to look at their work every week and then at the end it's a bit quicker to mark their final report.

What other advice would you give to colleagues about teaching in the new model?

I think my one best advice pieces of advice would be not to be afraid to ask for help, either from CTL or from some of your peers. I'm a big believer in teamwork and working as a team to deliver a better product. Yeah, I tried to reach out early, make sure CTL knows your needs as early as possible so they can plan it and then work within your faculty in your department to get the team effort to deliver great units for our students.