Thursday, 21 June 2012

June Newsletter

1. Issue 2 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter

A network means conversations. So, each month there will be a new discussion question. Contribute comments, ideas, links.

This month's question: Alternatives to exams for first-year students? Click here to add your comments.

2. Conferences & publication

Meet other SaMnet Scholars at upcoming conferences:
  • First Year in Higher Education conference in Brisbane
  • Chemistry Education meeting in Adelaide
  • HERDSA conference in Hobart
  • Physics Education conference in Istanbul
  • ACSME in Sydney in late September.

IJMEST call for articles: Special issue - Quantitative skills in science: integrating mathematics and statistics in undergraduate science curricula.
Submissions due January 2013.

3. Connections/Events

Past: Skype meetings in early June for projects on lectures and new media/ICT (3 projects: 7 participants) and standards, course design, and evaluation and feedback (6 projects: 8 participants).

Future: Skype meetings in late July / early August. Invitations coming soon. RSVP to connect with other SaMnet project teams who share your focus.

Match up: Luby Simson and Jim Wilnough ought to talk to Deb King, Dawn Gleason, and Michelle Livett as your projects are both addressing transition issues.

4. SaMnet activity

SaMnet’s external advisory panel met to discuss big picture strategy. They are keen for us to:
  • Extend SaMnet’s impact
  • Address science enrolments
  • Develop an evaluation tool that provides compelling evidence of effective teaching
  • Link with prominent individuals (e.g., Chief Scientist Chubb).

Coordinators of the science discipline networks and SaMnet have been invited to address the Australian Council of Deans of Science conference on education, mid-July. Have a message for associate deans (education / teaching and learning)? Tell your discipline network coordinator or us.

5. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Attend the SaMnet SoTL writing workshop in Melbourne on 16 July. Seats available.

A model for SoTL in your career? Here is the web page of a physics lecturer who has published extensively, with links to articles (journals you can publish in). He addresses specific innovations as well as systemic issues, i.e., why good practices fail to spread.
Charles Henderson, Western Michigan U. --

The Benefits of Making it Harder to Learn, Lang, Chronicle of Higher Education. Resonates? Thought provoking?

6. Leadership insights

Ken Wilber describes both externally visible and harder to discern internal factors that can affect how people respond to opportunities for change. He attempts to integrate across a range of theories from psychology and brain science –         

Everett Rogers completed a revealing ‘meta-analysis’ of thousands of studies of how people respond to new ideas and new technology. A quick overview –

Groysberg and Slind, Harvard Business Review, see a change toward “conversational” leadership -

7. Team in focus: Chemistry to Biology knowledge transfer, does it work? U of Wollongong

We have successfully used a range of student engagement and collaborative activities along with peer assessment methods developed within a first year chemistry context and transferred them into second year biochemistry unit. This involved training and supporting a new set of staff and tutors in order for them to implement these in their biology teaching. The primary objective was to restructure the biochemistry unit with active learning workshops so that student motivation was improved and to reverse the trend of a large proportion of students under achieving in the summative examination. We are getting positive outcomes so far according to student surveys, focus groups, interviews, and feedback from tutors. Our next aim is to analyse data, disseminate results at ACSME and prepare paper submissions.

Karen Fildes – Research: ecotoxicological assessment of pesticide effects in native wildlife; SoTL: group learning in large classes;currently teaching first and second year cell and molecular biology subjects with 400-500 students.

Simon Bedford – Supporting online communities – help desks and mathematics support, blended learning approaches of imparting tacit knowledge – retrosynthetic analysis, quality enhancement of teaching –frameworks for performance standards (ChemNet), 15 years’ experience in the UK HEA arena.

Glennys O’Brien -- Director of First Year Studies, School of Chemistry; SoTL: supporting engagement with active learning via group work (POGIL), lab preparation (prelab program) and maths assistance, curriculum development supported by holistic mapping of Chemistry subjects, co-director of ChemNet

Lynne Keevers -- Academic Development Unit; research interests in social justice, feminist studies, and participatory action research.

Paul Carr – Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning); research in geology of minerals and volcanoes.

8. Classifieds

Seek literature on assessing visual / multi-media works in science. Karma Pearce, UniSA c/-