Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Issue 1 of the ACDS Teaching and Learning Centre - March Newsletter

Science & Maths TL News: March 2016

This month is the first of our new format with the ACDS TL Centre combining with SaMnet to bring you news, views, events and ideas in one extended package.
The ACDS Teaching and Learning Centre is maintained by the Australian Council of Deans of Science (ACDS) to support Science Faculty leaders of learning and teaching. Our website includes updates on activities around Australia, links to other discipline education networks and resources from our projects on the Science Threshold Learning outcomes and more recently Work-Integrated Learning. This year, the ACDS has become the host for the SaMnet newsletter and the ACSME conference.
SaMnet is a national network that brings together university academics to collaborate on national issues in university science and mathematics educations. 

ACDS TL Centre News

Evidence-based practice for teaching and learning
If you haven’t already seen it, take some time out to read a special edition of the journal Nature on ‘Building the 21st century scientist’ (vol 523 pp255-376) published 16 July 2015. Stephen Bradford and colleagues have published a powerful call for evidence-based practice in teaching and learning (pp 282-284). As the authors say, ‘every university now has at its disposal the tools to improve undergraduate STEM teaching, and no defensible reason for not using them.’
ACDS WIL project: Lighthouse projects
Six projects in work-integrated learning for science have been supported through the ACDS WIL in Science project funded through the Office of the Chief Scientist. Projects will report during the year through regional meetings and at a second national WIL in Science workshop in December 2016. The project will add material to the ACDS TL Centre site during the year.
On the ACDS TL centre website
• New ideas in T&L: February draws on the experience of the SaMnet project to reinforce the value of teaching teams that include complementary expertise and can leverage external connections. Thanks again to our resident blogger, Dr Kelly Matthews…
• Presentations from the ACDS FYiSM workshops for first year leaders in science and mathematics are available from our website. Rich feedback from participants is being summarized for circulation shortly
Dates for your diary: ACDS Teaching and Learning conference - July 21-22
The annual ACDS Teaching and Learning Conference for Faculty leaders is back in Sydney this year at the University of Sydney on July 21 and 22. The conference invites Associate Deans Teaching and Learning and nominated leaders to network and explore current issues.
Cheers, Liz
Prof Liz Johnson, Director ACDS TL Centre

SaMnet News and Ideas

This Month’s Question:
Two sides of the coin are being asked in this month’s question.
  1. What opportunities do you see for introducing new teaching initiatives in your classrooms this year?
  2. What challenges will you face this year in implementing your teaching initiatives?
Let SaMnet know what you are doing and how we can support your efforts this year at!
New opportunity!
An exciting PhD opportunity has arisen in science higher education. Check out the classifieds below.

Upcoming Events and Activities

Professor Carl Wieman at Sydney Ideas - A Scientific Approach to Teaching Science and Engineering
4:30pm-6:00pm, University of Sydney, Sydney, 11 March 2016
The focus of the talk will be on setting the stage for a new approach to teaching and learning by combining new and developing research on more effective ways to teach, learn and evaluate teaching with information technology.
Registrations are free; click here to register.
2016 RACI Chemical Educational Division Symposium
Monash University, Melbourne, 31 March-1 April 2016
The symposium will allow participants to discuss and present on four key themes in chemical education.
Registrations for the event are open; click here to register.
The 4th International Conference for Science Educators and Teachers (ISET) 2016
KhonKaen University, Thailand, 3-5 June 2016
The theme for this conference is ‘Bridging the Gap, Moving to the Future’. How do we translate education research to the classroom more effectively?
Call for abstracts: online submission until 5 March 2016.
Early bird registrations now open.
Students Transitions Achievement Retention & Success (STARS) Conference 2016
Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth, 29 June-2 July 2016
The STARS conference makes its way to Perth in 2016.
Early bird registrations are open; click here for more details and registration.
ACER Research Conference 2016
Brisbane Convention and Education Centre, Brisbane, 7-9 August 2016
The theme of this conference is “Improving STEM Learning: What will it take?”
Early bird registrations are open; click here for more details and registration.
Preparations for ACSME 2016 are well underway! The theme this year is “What is the place of STEM graduates in the world? How do we prepare them?” At the moment, the keynote speakers lined up for ACMSE 2016 include Toss Gascoigne, Daniel Southam (Curtin), Peter Ellerton (UQ), Ruth Bridgstock (QUT), and Jackie Randles (USYD). The website will be updated with more information, including submission dates and registrations, soon.
The Special Issue of IJISME on Inquiry Oriented Learning edited by Les Kirkup (UTS), Gerry Rayner and Chris Thompson (Monash) was delayed. However, it is due to be published soon, so keep an eye out for the Special Issue when it comes out!
For participants who gave a presentation at ACSME 2015, Alexandra Yeung (Curtin) will soon announce a callout for you to submit full papers based on your presentations at ACSME 2015. The submission timeline is as follows:
Acceptance of invite: Fri 18 March
Paper submission: Fri 13 May
Sent to reviewers: Fri 20 May
Paper reviews completed: Fri 24 June
Authors advised: Fri 8 July
Revised papers due: Fri 29 July
Authors notified and proofs sent: Fri 12 August
Publish: September
Keep an eye on your inbox for the callout by Alex!


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the Humanities
Julio M. Ottino and Gary Saul Morson for The Chronicle of Higher Education
What is the relationship between STEM and the humanities? A number of our research methods in SoTL come from social sciences and the humanities. How could we do more to bring together the best practices across disciplines to further enhance our research, teaching and learning?
Core values still vital in era of edutech change
Gregor Kennedy in The Australian
Technology has often been used as a vehicle for greater access to material. However, the transformational promise of educational technology, Gregor argues, can only be achieved if “they make possible what would otherwise be impossible.” How do you use technology in your educational approach?
Leadership Insights
Employability: time for higher education sector to step up
Hamish Coates in The Australian (subscription required)
What direction should higher education take in order to address the question of employability? Hamish argues that, rather than rethinking the purposes of higher education, universities should take an active role in helping students get a job before graduation while giving students a broad and liberal education. As active leaders in education and training, how do you think we should approach the question of employability?
How to make an impact with your research in the workplace
Matthew Reisz for Times Higher Education
Research alone will not enact change. Rather, translation, engagement with stakeholders and following up research with a clear strategy are key to transformation. The article outlines a number of strategies that you can undertake to deliver impact in the workplace. What could you add to ensure that your work makes an impact where you are located? Where else could these approaches be applied?


Opportunity for PhD Study in University Science Pedagogy, Assessment, Curriculum Development – University of Queensland
Applications are sought for a full-time PhD student to work in the Faculty of Science and the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, based at the St Lucia campus in the new Learning Innovation Building as part of a team investigating curriculum development innovations in science at the whole of degree program level. The selected applicant will have scope to design their project with the guidance of a small supervisory team led by Dr Kelly Matthews. Applicants who successfully meet entry requirements for PhD and are awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award will also be eligible for annual top-up scholarships valued at $10,000, with opportunities for overseas internships and conference presentations. More information and application details are available here.

A couple of corrections to last month’s SaMnet newsletter:
• The ‘2015 Biomed Forum’ item in Connections/Events should instead read ‘2015 Biosciences Forum’, as it brings CUBEnet and VIBEnet together as the “Biosciences Education Australia Network” (BEAN). More information on the event and the program of the Forum can be foundhere.
• The permanent link to the special issue of IJISME on ‘Assessing Laboratory Learning’ is foundhere.
We apologise for the mistakes.

SaMnet Leaders, Will Rifkin and Manjula Sharma
Newsletter compiled by Emma Yench and Gabriel Nguyen.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

February Newsletter

On behalf of SaMnet, happy new year to all of you. We hope you have enjoyed your break, come back refreshed, and ready to face a new year of science and mathematics education.

From next month, the SaMnet newsletter will include the Australian Council of Deans of Science blog as part of the integrated newsletter covering the SaMnet, ACDS, ACSME and IJ-ISME communities! Look out for the new newsletter in March!

This Month’s Question:
As the new year begins, we want to provide you with new opportunities for collaborative teaching and learning projects. Special interest groups within the umbrella of science and mathematics education in Australia – FYiMaths is just one example – develop and flourish because of the hard work of the community involved, including the work of SaMnet scholars.

What special interest groups in science and mathematics education, whether Australian or internationally, are you involved in that you feel the SaMnet community should know about? Please let us know at and we shall highlight them in future editions of the newsletter.

Ireland’s National Teaching & Learning Network, the Network for Advancing Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) was relaunched in 2015. This network is open for international members, so if you are considering travelling to Ireland, keep your eyes on potential opportunities coming from the network!

We would like to draw your attention to two surveys looking at staff and academic perceptions on aspects of student learning and employability:

  • Our colleagues from Monash are exploring science academics' perceptions of employability. Could you please complete their survey at: 
  • Dr Nazim Khan (UWA) has also invited you to participate in a survey on staff attitudes on student class attendance, available here:

2.  Conferences & publication

Call for Abstracts for Oral Presentations and Posters - 2016 RACI Chemical Educational Division Symposium
Monash University, Melbourne, 31 March-1 April, 2016
The symposium is an opportunity for participants to discuss four key themes in chemical education, with each discussion chaired by a leader from the Australian Chemical Education community.
Submissions are open until Monday 8 February; please submit your text-only abstract here.

Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth, 29 June-2 July 2016
The STARS conference makes its way to Perth in 2016.
Submissions close Monday 8 February; please check here for more details.

Rural education in Australia poses a fascinating set of challenges and provides opportunities for educational innovation.
Interested authors should submit an expression of interest, including a 250-word abstract, to Submissions are open until Friday 27 February 2016.

3.  Connections/Events  

2015 Biomed Forum – Canberra, ACT
FYiMaths NSW Meeting – Sydney, NSW
HAPS Australia Regional Meeting 2015 – Melbourne, VIC

University of Melbourne – 3 February 2016
University of Sydney – 5 February 2016

Monash University, Melbourne, 31 March-1 April, 2016
The symposium will allow participants to discuss and present on four key themes in chemical education.
Registrations for the event are open now; click here to register.

Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth, 29 June-2 July 2016
The STARS conference makes its way to Perth in 2016.
Early bird registrations are open; click here for more details and registration.

Brisbane Convention and Education Centre, Brisbane, 7-9 August 2016
The theme of this conference is “Improving STEM Learning: What will it take?”
Early bird registrations are open; click here for more details and registration.

4.  SaMnet activity 

The proceedings from the ACSME 2015 conference on ‘Transforming Practice: Inspiring Innovation’ are now available online; click here for the online proceedings.

Furthermore, the special issue of IJISME on ‘Assessing Laboratory Learning’ is available online. The link to the issue is available here.

We are currently hard at work on the transition to an integrated SaMnet, ACDS T&L, ACSME and IJISME newsletter, delivering news, events and support for practitioners and educational innovators as an arm of the Australian Council of Deans of Science Teaching and Learning Centre. This transition will occur next month; watch this space!

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times
A report by the Higher Education Authority in Ireland has shown concerns about drop-out rates in technology-related courses, with suspicions focused on low maths entry requirements. Concerns about mathematical abilities of students entering university are worldwide; what should Australian universities do about these requirements, as highlighted by recent news from Sydney University?

Trudy W. Banta and Catherine A. Palomba, Chapter 2 in the book Assessment Essentials: Planning, Implementing and Improving Assessment in Higher Education
What is the purpose behind your assessments? Who are the stakeholders affected? When should assessments be conducted? At a student, faculty and institutional level, well-crafted assessment planning can help engage the goals of the institution for all relevant parties. What is your approach to assessment planning? Have you written down your assessment planning documents?

6.  Leadership Insights

Susanne Morton for the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) blog
Contextualising your institution with respect to the unique local factors of the institution, including its history, provides an important step towards enacting cultural change within an institution. Could this approach extend beyond gender equality, as used by the SAGE project? How would your institution’s history and unique local qualities affect the way you approach institutional change?

Audrey Williams June for The Chronicle of Higher Education
Three perspectives are offered here on how simply hiring people of diverse backgrounds is not enough to entrench diversity. Rather, the environment of the institution, from the leadership team down, must be conducive to supporting diversity policies. What aspects of these perspectives do you observe here within your institutional context and how do they contribute or detract from change?

7. Classifieds

The SMART Directory indexes useful websites relevant to teaching and learning in science and mathematics, with annotated resources and a rating system indicating the usefulness of the resources. The Directory is ready for testing, and the developers welcome feedback and comments on the site, which is available in beta here.