Friday, 23 August 2013

August Newsletter

Listen to the newsletter? Available in audio as a podcast.

This month's question:
Met with your project’s critical friend recently?  They need to get your reflections on factors influencing distributed leadership in your project. Please, catch up with them!  Your insights will inform publications on how ‘distributed leadership’ can be supported. 

Congratulations – OLT ETMST Grant Recipients
Many from the SaMnet community are part of projects awarded funding for the Enhancing the Training of Mathematics and Science Teachers Grants 2013. Congratulations to all who are involved.

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. 

ACSME will begin with a discipline and workshop day on the 19th of September - morning workshops, SaMnet gathering (12n) and meetings of Biomedical, Biology,  Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics networks.

ELSEVIER Journal Finder – Looking to publish but unsure about which journal? This resource matches your content to a range of journals.  It displays open access options, publication speeds and impact factors. Try it.

3.  Connections/Events  
Past:                      HERDSA 2013 Conference – 1-4 July 2013 at Auckland Institute of Technology. SaMnet presented to new faces, packed room – then lunch with SaMnet Scholars and old friends.
Future:                 ESERA (European Science Education Research Assoc.) – September 2-7, Cyprus. Members of SaMnet will present. Arrange to connect, contact SaMnet.
ACSME will be our next main gathering; there is a SaMnet Scholars meeting in the program from 12-1 on Thursday 19 September at the U of Canberra.

Match up:           Bring a colleague attending ACSME to the SaMnet meeting on 19 September at 12n, U of Canberra.  .

4.  SaMnet activity 
Final SaMnet survey:   
It is not too late – SaMnet scholars can still complete our final online survey on Leadership and SoTL. Lost the link? Email, and we will send it to you straight away.

Steering Committee:
The SaMnet steering committee connected on the 22/8 to discuss data analysis and publication strategies as well as the future for SaMnet. Committee members are your projects’ critical friends.  They are contacting teams to discuss the influences of SaMnet, your institution, and individuals on the leadership development in the team.  That information will help future ‘capacity building’ efforts.  (See this newsletter’s opening question.) 

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) 
Time to Decide – The Ambivalence of the World of Science Toward Education Nature Education Vikram Savkar and Jillian Lokere.
Note: This was in last month’s newsletter, but many missed it – a must read!
“Most top-level universities - despite having a publicly stated mission of education - direct more funding, awards and job security to outstanding researchers than to outstanding teachers.”
The education of future scientists is undeniably an important issue. How can we enable universities to give it a higher priority?

The argument is supported by the esteemed Eric Mazur of Harvard University commenting, "The hard work has to be done by the learner - there's not much the instructor can do to make the neuroconnections necessary for learning." The article addresses  the promise and perils of MOOCS, as well. 

6.  Leadership insights
Contains what you - as a ‘distributed leader’ - can do for your colleagues. An article shared over 10,000 times.

Why you gotta be so mean? The Chronicle of Higher Education Erik Schneiderhan
Seems strange that this title follows the previous article – it is about reviewing and reviewers’ comments. Can be applied to your academic career as both an author and a reviewer.   Ever realised that reviewing is an opportunity for leadership? (Warning: Taylor Swift does get a mention.)

7. Project in Focus: Better Judgement
Lisa Schmidt & Lambert Schuwirth, Flinders University
The OLT-funded project ‘Better Judgement’ focuses on human judgement, especially in viva voce and practice-based examinations. Judgement biases are incomplete (or incorrect) representations in the assessor’s mind of what has occurred during the assessment.  So learning to manage them is important in developing the expertise of assessors. However, biases are very hard if not impossible to train away.  A more viable approach is to focus assessor training on recognising, naming and managing biases to prevent them from unduly influencing the assessor’s judgement.  
We have developed an assessor training package containing video presentations for the theoretical background, vignettes of assessment situations, and practice recognition in well-defined situations.  There are also real-life YouTube clips for ill-defined situations, activities to apply all this to the participants’ professional contexts, and a compendium of practical strategies to prevent biases from unduly influencing one’s overall judgement. The project has demonstrated a need in this area.  It has provided a deeper understanding of how biases individually influence assessors’ judgements and how they interact with each other, as well as how such effects can be counteracted. The resources are available at
Share with colleagues.  Contact the project team to learn more.

8.  Classifieds
Want to be recognised as a ‘Science Digital Media Leader’?  Contact Assoc Prof Garry Hoban ( to submit an expression of interest.  He is looking for science academics and our colleagues in science teacher education who assign students to create animations, videos, podcasts, etc. as part of their science learning.  You will get to share your best work, publication opportunities, and extended links with colleagues.  

Contact if you are seeking contributions to – or participation in - your own OLT project or other initiative.  We can put your advertisement here.