Friday, 20 July 2012

July Newsletter

1.  Issue 3 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter 

This month's question: Can you create a discipline related capstone experience when your discipline only offers service teaching?
Click here to add your comments, ideas, links.

2.  Conferences & publication 

Groups of SaMnet Scholars, ranging in size up to 14, met at the following recent conferences:
·         First Year in Higher Education conference in Brisbane 
·         Chemistry Education meeting in Adelaide
·         HERDSA conference in Hobart 
·         Physics Education conference in Istanbul

IJMEST call for articles: Special issue - Quantitative skills in science: integrating mathematics and statistics in undergraduate science curricula. Call for articles by the Quantitative Skills in Science project -- Submissions due January 2013.

3.  Connections/Events  

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

Match up:  Maria Parapilly, Silam Siddiqui, Lisa Schmidt and Joe Shapter ought to talk to Chris Thompson, Gerry Rayner, Theo Hughes and Cristina Varsavsky as your projects are both addressing learning in labs. You may find it worthwhile to compare the approaches and affects of active and inquiry learning.   

4.  SaMnet activity 

Additional action-learning projects are coming on line. Welcome new SaMnet Scholars – Karma Pearce (UniSA), Nina Fotinatos (Ballarat), Jessica Vanderlelei (Griffith), Carmel Coady (UWS), Andy Broderick (UWS), and Peter Whipp, (UWA).

Coordinators of the science discipline networks and SaMnet addressed the Australian Council of Deans of Science conference on education this week.

Liz Johnson, a member of the SaMnet steering committee, has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship to explore possible components of a proposed national centre on university science and mathematics teaching.

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) 

A clear and succinct piece about structuring a SoTL article is “A Framework for Writing and/or Evaluating Research Papers” by Carolyn L. Braddom (1990, American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 69(6), p333-335).

Journals appropriate to SaMnet projects/SoTL -- click here.

6.  Leadership insights 

A respected guru of managing change in educational systems is the Canadian, Michael Fullan. His views on systematic change will reinforce what you encountered in SaMnet’s workshops. The articles are easily digestible and based on research in school systems, with implications for our university system. E.g.,

7. Team in Focus: Improve cohesion within subjects and introduce inquiry-based learning: ANU   

Current learning activities and lecture content will be re-arranged and refined to better demonstrate linkages among topics and to threshold concepts. Some inquiry-based learning activities (currently absent) – e.g., hypothesis development, statistical analysis and elementary research (1st year Biology level)-- will be scaffolded to replace some student discussion and answer writing assessments in order to enhance student engagement and learning of research and reporting skills while demonstrating the relevance of assessment tasks. More recently, the group has decided to conceptualise their ideas around learning outcomes and are looking at some of the strategies being implemented in later years to see how they might fit and scaffold some experiences (e.g,. reflection). This focus will help the project align with the university’s goals as well as the interests of the team. Attending the SaMnet Leadership Development Workshop in Melbourne earlier this year was very beneficial for the project, and connections have since been made with members of CUBEnet and VIBEnet enabling access to up-to-date information on how learning outcomes are being developed for the discipline on a national level.

Juliey Beckman – Biology lecturer and first year coordinator, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment . Among other endeavors, Juliey has been working on a Teaching Enhancement Grant, evaluating Science teaching spaces at ANU in relation to collaborative and active learning pedagogies and learning and teaching in laboratory settings.

Isabelle Ferru -Lectures in Biology at ANU. Isabelle’s education research has included the design of new courses to extend student skills; comparing work placements for medical students to coursework alternatives and designing new forms of assessment.

Beth Beckmann -Beth Beckmann supports CEDAM's professional development program for early career academics, including convening the Foundations of University Teaching and Learning course. With special interests in evaluation, flexible learning and educational technologies, Beth provides assistance with educational design and review of courses and programs.

Barbara Van Leeuwen - Head of Biology Teaching and Learning. Lectures in Biology. The major focus of her research is the impact of new biotechnologies on the individual and society, including ethical, legal, regulatory and societal issues. Barbara’s current education research examines how ethics is taught to undergraduate science students.

8.  Classifieds 

Suggestions, please. We need to know what functions of SaMnet you would like continued beyond 2013. Send to: