Wednesday, 20 August 2014

August Newsletter

1.  Issue 27 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter 

This month's question:
What strategies do you use when writing for dissemination? This month, the SoTL section of the newsletter is focussed on writing tips – is there anything you can add for the benefit of the community? Reply to SaMnet and you might see your name in the next newsletter!

Last month we congratulated the new OLT National Teaching Fellows who have been a part of SaMnet. We referred to John Willison of the University of Adelaide as “Joe”. We apologise for the mistake.

2.  Conferences & publication

Discipline conferences in September and December. If you are attending, look out for the Education sections and take part and continue to increase the profile of discipline based education research.
Australian Institute of Physics Congress | 7-11 December, Canberra
Royal Australian Chemical Institute National Congress | 7-12 December, Adelaide
The annual conference for the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ComBio2015) | 28 September-2 October, Canberra

3.  Connections/Events

ASELL University & Schools workshops
Edith Cowan University, 9-11 July,

The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME) – The University of Sydney and The University of Technology, Sydney. September 29 – October 1, 2014.
The main annual gathering of the SaMnet Australia Community

ASELL Schools Science workshop – Sydney
Arthur Phillip High School, Parramatta NSW – October 3, 2014
Do you know any high school teachers who are keen and interested in improving experiments and lab experiences for their students? Yes- please pass on the flyer.
Online registrations close on 22 September 2014.

4.  SaMnet activity 

Members of the SaMnet project team will be submitting a publication regarding a particular facet of collaboration within the SaMnet project teams by the end of August. Look forward to reading this in the coming months.

ACSME SaMnet gathering details are to follow in September.

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) (Edited by - Emma Bartle, UQ)

This month we focus on writing SoTL and tips and tricks to increase your output:
Turbocharge your writing today
Maria Gardner, Hugh Kearns
Although technically targeted at PhD students, this article provides some great suggestions on becoming more efficient at writing papers. The authors dispel some of the myths of academic writing, discuss how to optimise your writing time and propose their top tips for getting out of a writing rut.

Habits of highly productive writers
In this video Jan McLean from UNSW’s Teaching and Learning unit interviews Helen Sword about the findings from her latest research project, a series of interviews with productive academic writers from around the world. Helen is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland with research interests in higher education pedagogy and academic writing.

6.  Leadership insights (Edited by Matt Hill & Will Rifkin, USyd)
Two quick presentations:
7 Leadership Lies You Need to Stop Believing
Mark Sanborn
A worthwhile reality check. Allows for a reflection on one’s frame of reference.

Be a leader people want to work for
Connect: Professional Women’s Network
A series of tips from women in leadership about how to make the transition from being a member of a work group to being a leader of a work group.

7. Initiative in Focus: 2013 OLT National Fellowship Update: Using Cultural Capital to Drive Change
Manju Sharma (The University of Sydney) with Helen Georgiou
As part of this fellowship, focused on surveying and improving the quality of undergraduate lectures in science, several initiatives were enacted. The objectives included
identifying good practices and fostering partnerships amongst academics to share them,
developing strategies to enlist hesitant academics who are open to change, and
supporting policy efforts through advocacy within the local institutions.
The initiatives enacted to achieve these objectives included the observation and characterization of undergraduate lectures to paint a picture of pedagogical approaches utilized across the nation in science courses and the local implementation of a 'Peer Review of Teaching' program to create a culture of discussion around teaching; and an ambitious, collaborative effort to measure student outcomes in a range of undergraduate chemistry and physics lectures across the nation using existing concept inventories/surveys.

The broad results from this project indicate that innovative, evidence-based and technologically robust practices are occurring in the majority of first year science lectures, however, lecturers reveal that there are obstacles to conducting evaluations of these programs -for various reasons -and in getting colleagues on board. Lecture strategies such as clickers, the use of iPads or laptops, adaptations of the flipped lecture approach, mastery learning approaches and blended learning environments for lectures are amongst some of the approaches used. Evaluation, and subsequent communication and dissemination of successful practices are vital if local success is to be converted into widespread improvements in lectures. Details of a model of how this might occur will be discussed.

8.  Classifieds

Survey Participation: Academic Labour and Lifestyles Survey
Researchers from Monash University are conducting an investigation to better understand how academics experience work/life balance in their everyday duties and career paths. In order to explore this better, we are looking for current academics of all ages and stages in their career to take a short 15 minute survey located here. Contact Fabian Cannizzo if you have queries.