Friday, 21 June 2013

June Newsletter

Listen to the newsletter? Now available in audio as a podcast.

This month's question:
Will you be attending conferences in the next month? HERDSA? FYHE? Reply to this email.

Manju Sharma, the Chief-Coordinator of SaMnet, has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship.
The title of the program is “More active lecture approaches in science and mathematics: using expert cultural capital to drive change”.
Let us know if you have garnered an award recently, as these rewards build morale … and influence. 

2.  Conferences & publication

ACSME – 19-21 September 2013 – Where SaMnet Scholars gather …
Australian Conf. on Science and Maths Educ. 2013: “Students in transition – The Learner’s Journey”.  Venue:  ANU & Uni of Canberra.  Submissions deadline has passed. 

2nd Annual VIBE workshop - 11-12 July 2013. Co-sponsored by CUBEnet.
Venue:  U of Melbourne.  Topic: “Biology Education Futures”.
Day 1: Strategies for Academic Life: Workshop for early and mid-career academics
Day 2: Biology Education Futures: Includes showcase for e-learning in biology and assessment as evidence for achieving learning outcomes.

3.  Connections/Events  

Past:                      SaMnet Skype Meetings to discuss planned ACSME submissions – 3 & 11 June 2013. Very productive conversations!  Thanks to participants. 

Future:                 HERDSA 2013 Conference – 1-4 July 2013 at Auckland Institute of Technology. SaMnet (Manju) is presenting on Tuesday 2/7 immediately before lunch. Come to the session, then have a ‘SaMnet’ lunch together.

                                FYHE 2013 Conference – 7-10 July 2013 at Te Papa Tongawera, Wellington. Tell us if you are attending.  We will gather SaMnet Scholars.        

Match up:           Introducing Dr Helen Dalton: Helen is the evaluator of the SaMnet project, visiting SaMnet HQ on various occasions. She may contact you in the coming month as part of her evaluation.

4.  SaMnet activity 

Final SaMnet survey:
SaMnet Scholars will soon find an email with information for our final survey on Leadership and SoTL. Please complete this online survey ASAP.  That will to enable the HQ team to begin analysis for our final report to the OLT.

Leadership Reviews with Critical Friends:
Your team’s critical friend will soon seek to arrange a meeting with you and your project team. That is to discuss the effect of SaMnet’s support, your institutional context, and your own capabilities in relation to development of leadership in the team.

Conference Gatherings:
HERDSA and FYHE will be two conferences where SaMnet Scholars will gather. See section 3 above for more details. If you are attending other conferences, let SaMnet HQ know so that we connect you with others and so that we can keep track of your ‘output’.

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) 

The pedagogical foundations of massive open online courses First Monday (Online Journal), David George Glance, Martin Forsey and Myles Riley. 
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are said to be based on sound pedagogical foundations. This paper attempts to validate this claim through examining the literature for empirical evidence.

Exam Wrappers Tomorrow’s Professor Blog – Rick Reis. From Chapter 2: Make Exams Worth More than The Grade by Marsha C. Lovett in the book “Using Reflection and Metacognition to Improve Student Learning”.
This blog post looks at an interesting tool called “exam wrappers”, which direct students to review their performance on an exam and adapt for future learning. New, or a reinvention of an old idea? 

6.  Leadership insights

Self-Sabotage in the Academic Career – Robert J. Sternberg, Chronicle of Higher Education
15 ways in which academics harm their own futures, often without knowing it! Can you afford not to read this article?

Deploying Collaborative Leadership to Reinvent Higher Education for the Twenty-First Century Tomorrow’s Professor Blog – Rick Reis. From Debra Humphreys in the journal, Peer Review, Winter 2013, Vol. 15, No. 1.
With discussions taking place on leadership between SaMnet teams and Critical Friends over the coming weeks, this article may fortify your understanding of collaborative leadership in the academic context.

7. Project in Focus: Developing a shared understanding of criteria and standards for undergraduate mathematics
Cristina Varsavsky (Monash University), Deborah King (University of Melbourne) and Carmel Coady (University of Western Sydney)
What do we look for when we mark the work of our mathematics and statistics students? How do we communicate this to the students? How do we develop marking schemes for the tutors who have to do the marking?

This project is engaging the mathematics community in a conversation around these questions. Not much has changed in assessment practices in mathematics departments—we need to move away from idiosyncratic marking and grading approaches that favour procedural mastery towards practices that measure the quality of all aspects of student work against external anchors ensuring comparability of standards within and across mathematics departments.

The project aims to stimulate discussion amongst those responsible for mathematics assessment and develop agreed definitions of mathematics assessment criteria and standards expressed in terms of rubrics, together with exemplars that demonstrate how judgements are made in the marking process.

The resulting resources will provide a reference framework and toolkit to support tertiary educators in the development of quality assessment standards and criteria. As a consequence, feedback and communication of expectations to students will be greatly enhanced, which in turn will nurture students' self-evaluation capabilities and enhance learning.

8.  Classifieds 

The respected journal, Science, seeks volunteer writers for their 'Science in the Classroom' project.  The project creates a set of annotated research papers and accompanying teaching materials.  

They need one expert each in the fields of geology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.  The effort is supported by the US National Science Foundation for 1 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2015.  

For information about the effort and sample materials, see -

SaMnet’s contact at Science is Pamela J. Hines <>, senior editor in the area of plant science, developmental neurobiology, developmental biology, stem cells, and evolution.  She also conceived and is editor for the refereed Education section that appears once each month in Science

Please reply directly to Pam Hines, ... and cc  Show her an example of relevant work that you have done, and bargain for a free subscription.  ;-)