Monday, 28 October 2013

October Newsletter

This month's question:

Feedback for the newsletter – What advice would you give to the next newsletter? Favourite section? Section could do without? Reply to

2.  Conferences & publication

EduRe ’14 – The International Virtual Conference on Education, Social and Technological Sciences will be held on March 13-14, 2014. No need to travel as collaboration and sharing will occur online. Abstracts due December 10.  All papers accepted for the conference will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

WA Teaching and Learning Forum 2014 – University of Western Australia, 30-31 January. The theme is Transformative, Innovative and Engaging. Submission deadline for refereed papers just closed 24 Oct.  Abstracts and workshop proposals welcome until 14 November.

3.  Connections/Events  

Future:                 February 2014 SaMnet Leadership-development workshops. Host one -register your interest -

Match up:           Interested in using videos on the learning process in physics (or another science)?  Contact Chris Creah.  See a description of her Fellowship effort below – on just-in-time teaching and peer learning. 

4.  SaMnet activity 

The SaMnet HQ team has been completing the final report for the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. We detail development of the SaMnet community and achievements of the 28 project teams. We will share the link in the newsletter once the report is approved and on the OLT website.

Action-learning project teams are still gathering and evaluating data and using their / your results to influence the attitudes and teaching of colleagues. Assistance is still available from SaMnet HQ, critical friends, and your peers.

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) 

Sam Wineburg, The Conversation
Do you spend most of your time writing scholarly work or publications for wider audiences? Which would you prefer to spend your time on? Where does your university’s administration see your impact? A tricky balance – no doubt.

Emily Atterberry, USA Today
The new poster-boy of teaching – flipped classrooms – is being assessed for effectiveness. The results are only preliminary, but one study has so far found no difference on learning! Read for yourself.

6.  Leadership insights

Two from a LinkedIn newsletter:
Joel Peterson, Chairman, JetBlue Airways. Stanford Business School
Anxious about any of the following? (1) Work, (2) Companionship or (3) Balance between work and family? Advice from the reflections of business school graduates 40 years down the track.

Deep Nishar
Do you see compassion as an important quality of a leader? Nishar argues for it and tells you where to learn it!

7. Project in Focus: 2013 OLT National Fellowship: Work It Out: Enhancing students’ problem solving skills by modelling how to “Work It Out” in a just-in-time learning environment. Chris Creagh (Murdoch University)

An OLT Fellowship can take a winding path from first inspiration to final report, and I know for sure that my path was not mapped out at the start. I had a teaching strategy in mind, as I had been thinking about the importance of diagrams and formula in facilitating communication and understanding in physics. The six-step strategy I am developing encourages peer learning and just-in-time teaching. It leans heavily on Vygotsky’s ‘zone of proximal development’ to promote effective learning between peers and a master-apprentice approach to develop a deeper understanding of content.
Problematically, there are many apprentices / novices and not many available masters / experts. So, videos were created in which the student audience eavesdrops on the discussion of experts, i.e., me and my tutors, discussing the “thing” that I want to get across to the students.
The two new videos constitute a 5 – 7 minute impetus for tutorials, which have associated pre, during and post video and concluding activities. Once everything is released on my Fellowship website, they will be open educational resources. Some academics have already suggested that the videos might be useful for tutor training!

A Toolbox of Diagrams – get some diagrams and stick them in your toolbox so that you can pull them out and modify them as you need, to help in communicating ideas. 

Interrogating Formulas – ask them questions to help you understand the underlying physics.

Chris Creagh – Dr. Chris Creagh is a senior lecturer in Physics and has a Grad. Dip in Secondary Education. She has received two Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching / Enhancing Learning as well as a Carrick (Australian Learning and Teaching Council) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. At the moment, she is an OLT National Teaching Fellow trying to find a way to assist first-year university students kick-start / bootstrap their own learning.

8.  Classifieds – So far same as last time...

As the end of session is approaching, and you will be looking forward to time to write, we will repeat our offer from last month.  Publish on aspects of your SaMnet project – on the learning innovation or a case study of your efforts to drive change.  Let us know in SaMnet HQ what you are aiming to publish and what data that we have been gathering from your project, and others (permission needed), that might be helpful.  Your write up might be suitable for IJISME or another journal we can identify.