Friday, 23 May 2014

May Newsletter

1.  Issue 24 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter 

This month's question:
Have you found a helpful recent article in the area of The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning? For the next few months or so, Emma Bartle will be a guest editor, helping SaMnet to collate and share relevant articles for the community. Send articles to Emma, or SaMnet and they may be shared in an upcoming newsletter.

2.  Conferences & publication

Themes include transformative innovation and change in higher education and the impact of technological developments on learning and teaching.

Australian Conference for Science and Mathematics Education – Share your work with the Science & Maths Education community. 29th of September to 1st of October, 2014. Abstracts, papers and ideas exchange submissions close June 6.

3.  Connections/Events  

Future:                 HERDSA Conference 2014: Higher Education in a Globalized World
Hong Kong Baptist University, 7-10 July 2014. Proposals past due, 7 March 2014.

ASELL University & Schools workshops (9-11 July, Edith Cowan University)
Are you interested in improving science experiments and lab experiences for your students? Maybe you know high school teachers who are also in this category? EOIs for submission of experiments are due 30 May 2014. Registration due June 14.

Match up:           There have been some replies, but we are still looking for experienced SaMnet Scholars willing to support newcomers.
Register your areas of specialty with SaMnet HQ (  Or, request a critical friend – same way – identify the area of focus where you desire support, e.g., second-year tutorials in chemistry. 

4.  SaMnet activity 

The SaMnet community is growing as a true network. We are working with academics by including inviting more contributions to the newsletter from the readers and connecting experienced SaMnet Scholars to emerging SaMnet Scholars.

SaMnet HQ is progressing with disseminating the SaMnet model to a wider audience through publications. We look forward to sharing these with you later this year.

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) 

Two articles this month about learning attitudes:
Brief produced by University of Minnesota Office of IT
Intellectual curiosity describes the impulse of a person’s drive to “pursue, enjoy and engage in learning opportunities”. This study reveals how, like cognitive ability and effort, intellectual curiosity positively associates with academic performance.

Rick Reis on a chapter 7 of the book, The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony With Your Brain by Terry Doyle and Todd Zakrajsek.
Your view of yourself as a learner changes how you learn, even how you read this excerpt. How do your students view themselves as learner? What does this mean for how effective your teaching can be received?

6.  Leadership insights

Two articles for you if you lead a team:
Baird Brightman
Do you experience aggressiveness, narcissism, disorganisation, reluctance to change in people you work with? Maybe the words aren’t that strong – but how can you manage people with regards to toxic behaviour.

Judith Sherven
“Isn’t one of the payoffs expected from achieving leadership status the freedom to no longer have to do the ‘daily grind’ work... the ‘tedious phone call’ work?” WHY then do you find it so hard to wean yourself from doing the task yourself?

7. Initiative in Focus:  This month – More active lecture approaches in science and mathematics |Manju Sharma (Contact: Helen Georgiou)
A key paper published in PNAS this week asserts that the evidence for taking Active Learning approaches (rather than ‘traditional’ ones) in science education is so strong, that were it a medical intervention trial, the existing treatment would be stopped.

This fellowship involves the description and development of models in which evidence-based recommendations from research –such as Active Learning approaches –may be more efficiently and successfully implemented to achieve better learning outcomes and experiences.

They key elements constituting the work include the description or showcasing of practices in undergraduate science lectures across the country to highlight innovative techniques, and it also involves the provision of support to evaluate practices for individuals and groups that are enacting change in their institutions. Participating institutions have engaged in the administration of concept surveys in physics and chemistry, mentoring programs and have provided interviews. Additional updates will be provided later in the year.

7b. Project in Focus: National project sets standard for agriculture education
The AgLTAS (Agriculture Learning and Teaching Academic Standards) project began in August, with the aim of developing a learning and teaching academic standards statement - outlining what an agriculture student should know, understand and be able to do upon graduation from a bachelor degree. The national project, OLT funded until mid-2015, is led by the UTAS, with the Uni of Adelaide, UWS and CSU.

Following eight months of an extensive consultation process with academic, students and industry, the project team finalised the Statement on the Nature and Extent of Agriculture and associated TLOs in late March. Project Leader, Dr Tina Acuna says that input from a range of stakeholders was a vital aspect of the project, “it was important for us to engage with a wide audience to ensure we created a document that truly reflected the views of all of our stakeholders”.

In April, the document received the support of the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture (ACDA) – see The full version, which includes an introduction, explanatory notes, benchmarking against the AQF and acknowledgements will be submitted to the ACDA at the 2014 spring meeting.

8.  Classifieds

Two section sevens? This is because we received a great update from the AgLTAS team. We will continue to share the Fellowship in Focus but if you have other updates to disseminate, continue to send them to

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