Teaching and Learning Forum 2005 [ Home Page ] [ Contents - All Presentations ]

The Reflective Practitioner

All abstracts
    Teaching and Learning Forum 2005 Home Page

The thoughtful thinking and thinker friendly classroom

Shamsul Kamariah Abdullah
School of Business
Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Campus
Email: shamsul.a@curtin.edu.my
[Friday 2.00]

In the quest to improve student thinking; it is significant to help them become more skilled in carrying out their thinking, and helping them exhibit more regularly the characteristics of good thinking. In doing this, providing a "thoughtful" classroom will enable the students to engage continuously in purposeful thinking in the pursuit of meaningful learning. A thoughtful classrooms support students' efforts at thinking by making classrooms personally safe and natural to engage in.

A thirty minutes 'sharing platform session' was introduced to the third year students taking Business Policy 320 unit in semester 2, 2004. As the unit puts greater emphasis on the higher order thinking skills, this session was used as one of the tools that can help them to develop their thinking skills more effectively. Having a 'thoughtful thinking and thinker friendly classroom' is essential to improving thinking. Firstly, such classrooms provide students with repeated, continuous opportunities to apply and practice the kinds of higher order thinking skills. Secondly, by providing these opportunities, thoughtful classrooms provide the teacher with repeated authentic opportunity to intervene in the process.

A 'mixed method' approach was used to evaluate the sessions. Two sessions were videotaped to observe the students' attitude and behavior in the class. Besides that, a short survey was administered at the end of the semester to get the students' feedback on the sharing platform.

Sharing knowledge through informal mentoring

Rozz Albon and Lina Pelliccione
Faculty of Education, Language Studies and Social Work
Curtin University of Technology
Email: R.Albon@curtin.edu.au, L.Pelliccione@curtin.edu.au
[Friday 2.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

When university students are confronted with new learning environments and complex challenging concepts, sharing knowledge may be one approach to assist in finding, discussing, understanding and learning new content. How to encourage students to reflect on what they currently know and need to know, and to take small risks to find the appropriate new information and skills, is a challenge for educators. This paper reports on some of the findings related to informal mentoring, the process and the benefits to students in their learning. Informal mentoring, while it might appear unstructured, is in fact structured into two units of study and is operationalised through a reflective and flexible approach. Opportunities for students to practice reflection are embedded within informal mentoring because of the need to be reflective in a fast paced, knowledge based future in which sharing knowledge will be a common feature. This study involved a cohort of first year pre-service Bachelor of Education students enrolled in a core Educational Psychology unit and an Information and Communication Technology unit. A qualitative approach was adopted with the use of various data generation tools such as observations, a questionnaire and a sociogram. Informal mentoring was a powerful medium to accelerate new and on demand learning.

Reflective practice: Retrospective reality and rhetoric or strategies to enhance clinical practice?

Selma Alliex and Angela McCarthy
School of Nursing
Notre Dame University
Email: salliex@nd.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00] Professional practice. Full text on website.

Reflective practice appears to be a 'buzz word' in educational circles in present times. It is encouraged and deemed essential in nursing practice and in the teaching of nursing curricula. This paper will attempt to challenge two basic assumptions upon which reflective practice is based. These are the assumptions that reflective practice is objective and that there is action associated with reflection. These arguments will be set within a nursing context. Strategies employed by the School of Nursing, Notre Dame University to enhance clinical practice using reflective practice will be addressed. This paper will address the main forum theme of The Reflective Practitioner. An area of the forum that this paper will refer to is theoretical underpinnings of innovative practices in teaching and learning from the perspective of educators in the School of Nursing, Notre Dame University.

Techniques for developing outcome statements

Claudia Amonini, Nicholas Letch and Cherilyn Randolph
The University of Western Australia
Email: crandolp@biz.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 2.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

Following a senate decision in 2002 that the university community should embrace the concept of Outcomes Based Education, there is pressure to develop outcome statements at degree, major and unit levels. A project to develop outcomes statements for a major in the Business School provides an opportunity to reflect on the curriculum.

Three stakeholders are involved - students, lecturers and employers - from whom it is appropriate to elicit data to support the writing of outcomes statements. Each group has its own view of what a student should be able to perform as a result of studying this major and each view is valid. The varied nature of the three groups means that different techniques are needed. The methodology presented here is generally applicable to any major in any faculty.

Incorporation of research and novel teaching ideas into the unit Surf equipment, design, materials and construction

Jaromir Audy, Katarina Audy and Terry Haines
School of Enterprise and Technology
Edith Cowan University, Bunbury
Email: j.audy@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 3.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text (PDF) on website.

There are four aspects of this paper which deal with the "Theoretic Underpinning of Innovative Practices in Teaching, Learning and Research" within the Surf Science and Technology Program at ECU. These are Experimentation and Testing on Real Life Damages of Surfing Equipment, Improvisation, Individuality of Learning environment, and Dissemination of results and conclusions. Experimentation and testing was conducted on real life damage of surf equipment. Improvisation was necessary due to limited resources and lack of access to commercial professional testing equipment. Students had to think laterally to make use of available resources to create testing situation where were both reliable and accurate. Individual Teaching and Learning Environment involved a number of damage surf boards that were obtained from commercial surf board manufacturers and/or individuals. Students selected a damaged surf board and had to devise a test and facility to carry out experiments from available resources. Although these units were taught there was no focus on testing the real surfboards the results and conclusions have remained within the unit. In 2004 the students were able to use their own results and the results of other students and incorporate these results into the design and manufacture of their own surfboard within other units taken concurrently with the unit. This is the first stage of dissemination of results. Moreover, for the first time this semester the teaching was focused on examining flexural and impact behaviour of various surfboard construction panels and appears to be successful from both teaching and research point of view. Because in this relatively new academic discipline there are limited relevant professional journals specifically related to Surf Science and Technology this paper is one way of disseminating the results and conclusions to a wider audience.

The development of outcomes focused chemistry PSI topics at Curtin

Maree Baddock and Mauro Mocerino
Department of Applied Chemistry
Curtin University of Technology
Email: mauro@power.curtin.edu.au, M.Baddock@exchange.curtin.edu.au
[Friday 11.30]

A number of units are delivered in Chemistry at Curtin using the Keller or PSI (Personalised Student Instruction) system. In these units students work through a number of topics at their own pace. Students sit frequent, small assessments and must demonstrate mastery of topics in order to pass. A small number of lectures are available and students must also complete a laboratory program in most units.

Since the inception of this approach in the early 1980s, the type of students completing these units has changed significantly. Many of the students enrolled in these units have no prior Chemistry knowledge and are completing courses such as public health, nutrition, biology and agriculture. Many of the philosophies and approaches to teaching and learning have also changed in this time.

This presentation describes a project that is currently underway in which topics are adapted to an outcomes focused approach. Media resources are also being produced to improve students' understanding of chemistry through a more visual approach than can be used with the traditional note based materials. Consideration has also been given to how to assess outcomes more appropriately with the introduction of a presentation based assessment.

Learners' learning squared

Sue Bailey
Social Work and Social Policy
The University of Western Australia
Email: sjbailey@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 2.30]

This paper describes the process followed and the results of a review and evaluation undertaken on a 3rd unit, Social Policy and Community Development (SW 491:305). A teaching intern in the Social Work discipline at the University of Western Australia carried out the review and evaluation. The learning models of reflective practice and experiential learning are at the centre of both the intern's role and the way in which the unit is structured and assessed. This evaluation and review draws on the intern's own reflective learning process, as well as using student feedback, computer statistics and contemporary educational literature to determine how the unit can be improved. Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies are implemented to ask the questions, Where have we been? What have we done? And what we can do better?

Issues of governance in a time of financial constraints: Some responses from Curtin University academic staff

Thelma Blackford
Department of Languages and Intercultural Education
Curtin University of Technology
Email: T.Blackford@curtin.edu.au
[Friday 11.30]

In times of financial constraints in tertiary institutions there is the need to raise funds especially since government funding has decreased dramatically especially during the past two decades. Many academics are critical of the changes that they have to make to accommodate the higher student lecturer ratio. The corporative entrepreneurial university has promoted a cult of managerialism where there has been excessive bureaucratic practice. These practices have been in response to management's need for greater transparency. This commercialising of tertiary education has had disastrous consequences for certain disciplines. The universities have looked to raise revenue through the recruitment of overseas students and many of these students study business or information technology. Disciplines such as physics, philosophy, chemistry and history have not enjoyed the popularity of the more applied subjects. The integrity of universities traditionally depended on the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, lifelong learning, the fostering of scholarly research and the teaching and dissemination of knowledge. The advent of a commercial and competitive culture at universities undermines the collegial relationships of staff within and across faculties. In this essay a range of opinions from a cross section of Curtin University academic staff is given regarding some of the implications of commercialisation on the governance of Curtin University especially relating to autonomy, managerialism, and wealth creation.

Pooling the wisdom of the masses: Reflections on collaborative group work in China

Margaret Bowering, Bridget Leggett, Michael Harvey and Hui Leng
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
Edith Cowan University
Email: m.bowering@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 4.00]

Success in the use of collaborative learning is not normally associated with education in mainland China. Therefore it was with some reservation that the lecturers in a bilingual Master of Education program adopted teamwork and think-pair-share as integral teaching and learning strategies during periods of intensive offshore teaching. However, a deliberate decision was made to introduce students to 'Western' pedagogy as well as 'Western' content. The teaching and learning experiences proved to be different from expectations and this became the subject of practitioner research. Questionnaire data collected across a four unit course is enabling informed reflection on the growing acceptance of these learning strategies.

In this paper, the authors discuss learners' perceptions and preferences regarding collaborative learning strategies. They reflect on the dynamics of collaborative learning in a Chinese cultural and organisational context and share experiences and expectations for further developing the use of collaborative strategies in offshore teaching.

From teaching portfolios to mindfulness: A search for reflective practice

Alison Bunker
Learning and Development Services Centre
Monica Leggett
School of Natural Sciences
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.bunker@ecu.edu.au, m.leggett@ecu.edu.au
[Friday 2.30]

Universities in 2005 are complex, rapidly changing organisations. Change has been driven by increased competition between universities, the system of quality audits, changing student demographics and altered student expectations. In this changing climate universities are open to new risks. One of the tools generated to deal with the requirements of quality audits is the teaching portfolio. The rhetoric looked promising. Here is a tool that will respect the complexity of the task, document work done and encourage reflective practice. The reality is very different (Bunker & Leggett 2004). In this paper we will look at the impact on the culture of teaching of the introduction of compulsory teaching portfolios. In doing this we will use two frameworks, the factory model and a more organic one informed by chaos theory and work on high reliability organisations.

The factory model attempts to define and control the university as a system, with a focus on measuring and adjusting inputs, collecting data on outputs, assuming linear processes and employing simplistic feedback mechanisms. However, the university is a complex structure which is essentially non-linear and subject to the unexpected. A model that accepts this acknowledges the total impossibility of perfectly defining the system. Instead it concentrates on core values, and mindfulness at all levels within the organisation. This is a learning organisation in which reflective practice will flourish. We will argue that the teaching portfolio has a very limited role in such a structure and ask you to consider the essence of your ideal university.

The computer laboratory teaching context: Reflecting on the role of a WebCT trainer

Yvonne Button
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
University of Western Australia
Email: ybutton@admin.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 4.00]

The Foundations of University Teaching and Learning course is conducted by the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) at the University of Western Australia (UWA). It requires participants to engage in critically reflective practice to enhance their teaching. This paper is the result of one participant's involvement in this process. It examines the purpose of laboratory teaching as well as the uniqueness of this learning environment from other small group teaching situations. Furthermore, it reviews alternative methods for presenting learning activities and the role of the teacher; before, during and after each episode in a computer laboratory. These ideas are then applied to the role of a WebCT Trainer in the context of offering university wide workshops to staff in the use of WebCT. The result has been the redevelopment of workshop learning activities and checklists that will enhance my own teaching as well as assist others in similar teaching situations.

Deep dissection: Motivating veterinary anatomy students beyond rote learning

Martin Cake
Veterinary Anatomy
Murdoch University
Email: m.cake@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00]

The profusion of descriptive, factual information in veterinary anatomy inevitably creates pressure for students to employ surface learning approaches and 'rote learning'. This is unfortunate, as a deeper evaluation of the discipline reveals a beautifully ordered subject rich in fundamental principles, concepts and patterns that define the functional 'design' of the animal body. Consideration of the educational literature leads me to suggest 10 interventions that might motivate anatomy students beyond rote learning. Or rather, I suggest that motivation alone is not enough; it is necessary that students perceive an educational environment in which deep learning approaches will bring sufficient reward (and no penalty). While we may attempt to change the students themselves (by stimulating and motivating them), it is more likely that positively modifying their perceptions and preconceptions of the course will spark the deep holistic approaches desired. Surprisingly while this may require some change to teaching emphasis, it may not require significant course redesign, since I believe many traditional anatomy practices such as dissection and interaction with museum specimens are actually eminently compatible with active, student centred learning strategies and the adoption of deep learning approaches by veterinary students.

Experiential learning in women's health: Reflections of the medical student

Sandra Carr
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
The University of Western Australia
Email: sandrac@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 11.30]

Reflection on action is utilised by medical students to enhance the development of clinical practice and professional behaviours in the area of obstetrics and gynaecology. Experiential learning and reflective practice is combined through small group reflective tutorials, writing reflective case summaries and one to one analysis and interpretation of reflections with staff. Our purpose was to explore the learning experiences students select for and document the level of critical reflection students achieve through their reflective case summary. Students were asked to consent to thematic analysis of summative reflective case summaries using N-Vivo. A series of codes relating to the themes, learning experience and level of critical reflection were developed to evaluate the content of the case summaries. Gender and ethnicity were considered as possible contributing factors.

76% of students consented to participate in the first year and 86% in the second year. The demographics of the respondents were representative of the student population. The reflective summaries documented student concern with their own clinical, communication and reasoning skills or lack of medical knowledge. They frequently utilised clinical settings where elements of urgency or emergency existed such as the labour and emergency wards. Students also reflected on professional behaviors of role models and explored the development of their own ethical professional practice. The level of critical reflection documented ranged from Listing- stating the clinical experience; Describing- the clinical experience - what they did well and not well; Applying- discussing what they might need to change and how to develop; Integrating- applied reflection to future experience and performance. Very few respondents' demonstrated the ability to reflect at the level of Integration except with discussion at interview. These reflections appear to assist students to gain new insights of their clinical practice through self awareness and evaluation.

Principles and guidelines in managing student teams

Donella Caspersz, Judy Skene and Madeline Wu
Business School
The University of Western Australia
Email: dcasperz@ecel.uwa.edu.au, jskene@admin.uwa.edu.au, mwu@graduate.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 12.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

Teamwork is a vital skill for students to acquire. However, research undertaken with student teams in a Business School confirms the influence of an array of individual level and team level factors on the performance of student teams. Yet staff and students alike often misunderstand and undervalue these aspects when managing student teamwork. The aim of this paper is to present a set of principles which may assist in the management of these factors when working with student teams. The paper is grounded both in the research program mentioned, which has been presented in previous papers, and reflection on the feedback obtained from student and staff focus groups and workshops.

Data: We're standing in it!

Kate Chanock
La Trobe University
Iris Vardi
The University of Western Australia
Email: C.Chanock@latrobe.edu.au, ivardi@ctec.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 11.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

The heavy teaching loads of Language and Academic Skills (LAS) practitioners are often felt to constrain us in research and publishing. Yet, it is our teaching that generates questions worth researching, and our consultations with students that provide much of the material we need to answer these. We have access to the assignments, instructions, and curriculum materials distributed by lecturers; to the students' written texts; and to the comments tutors write on these. We are well placed to examine these and to ask the students questions about how they interpret particular writing tasks, and how they make particular decisions about purpose, content, use of sources, mechanics of language, discursive voice, and so forth. What we lack, often, is the time to take advantage of this position, and to pursue our questions in ways that academic colleagues recognise as research. This paper looks at the potential and the problems for LAS research, and argues that LAS practitioners should have confidence in our ability to produce publishable work. Our universities need to realise our potential to contribute to their research quantum, and hence must recognise the importance of LAS advisers controlling the way our work is structured, and allowing us to build time for recording and reflecting into the teaching day.

Reshaping practice: Enriching partnerships

Fran Ciupryk, Mary Morris and Jennifer Pearson
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.pearson@ecu.edu.au
[Friday 2.30]

A new BEd (Early Childhood Studies) course at Edith Cowan University is currently undergoing a process of re-conceptualisation. A key feature of the intended new course pedagogy is the adoption of rich (integrated) learning tasks and assessments. The unit will use an investigative and discovery approach, and appropriate rich learning experiences to integrate work across the three areas of Math, Science and Technology & Enterprise. The teaching and learning process explored a work based approach to learning providing opportunity for student centred presentation of workshops and tutorials. The lecturers and student teachers worked collaboratively to plan, implement and assess an integrated rich task with a group of children in a mini-teaching environment. Reflection of data suggests that considerable dialogue was required to support the participants to construct their understandings of rich tasks.

PowerPoint and pedagogy: Maintaining student interest in university lectures

Jennifer Clark
School of Classics, History and Religion
University of New England
Email: jclark1@metz.une.edu.au
[Thursday 3.00]

This paper discusses the relationship between the use of presentation software and the maintenance of student interest in university lectures. The evidence of surveyed university students suggests that PowerPoint, used as a presentation tool in university lectures, is pedagogically effective while it provides variety and stimulates interest in the learning environment. By capitalising on raised interest levels it is possible to use PowerPoint to bridge the direct and constructivist teaching models, but unless PowerPoint is used in conjunction with effective teaching, it will not ultimately hold student interest and without that its effectiveness as a teaching tool will fail.

Why divide the indivisible?

David Clark-Murphy
College of Business
The University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: dclark-murphy@nd.edu.au
[Thursday 11.30] Refereed research. Full text on website.

Management education in universities has frequently involved segregating areas of business in order to concentrate on narrow subject areas for intense analysis and understanding. This appears intuitively comfortable for education in specific professional areas such as accounting, finance, and law, but the principle of focussing on silos of subject education has its problems.

Whilst a valuable and effective means of studying subjects in detail, management education and qualifications that are based upon concentrated attention to single subjects in isolation, denies the true nature of managing real businesses. Real executives work within highly complex working environments that frequently involve making simultaneous management decisions that affect marketing, finance, human resources, occupational health and safety, accounting, change, team development, legal and ethical compliance, client relationships, risk, contractual obligations, and organisational culture and politics. Executive education curricula design that is less complex in structure that reality then denies executives the opportunity to learn, practice, and to be assessed for integrated skills in a manner and to standards that are transferable to their workplaces.

Some managers make good decisions in complex environments, others do not. The capacity of managers to make decisions may also be impeded by an increasingly complex working environment (Savas, 1987; Keating, 1988; Karpin, 1995). Thus one solution is to provide appropriately realistic and complex organisational simulations in which student managers can make decisions, experiment with alternatives, reflect upon the outcomes, and learn about the more holistic and comprehensive consequences of their decisions.

Small campus, collegial development, a community and learning: Some reflections on developing reflective practice amongst part time casual tutors

Robbie Collins
University of Wollongong, Shoalhaven Campus
Email: robbie@uow.edu.au
[Friday 2.30] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

Reflecting on the experiences of a small campus in a change management process, this paper suggests the importance of the collegial development of part time casual tutorial staff. The discussion and examples document the way reflective practice is developed where these staff are facilitated in becoming a community of learners. The paper suggests that the development of these staff in the learning community on the campus and in the wider community is especially important on a small campus where subject delivery is from a remote home campus.

The paper notes that community engagement is important in the way that the learning community on campus becomes part of the wider potential learning community, especially with the development of knowledge intensive industries so that universities act as 'knowdes' in the knowledge web of the community. The paper highlights the importance of such a community of learners in supporting university learning and teaching policy and strategy and in particular, in the embedding of graduate attributes into subjects. The paper suggests that 'remote' campus experience provides insights for universities generally in the development of learning communities with regard to part time and casual staff.

Infopathways: An online interactive information literacy course

Kate Croker
Mathematics and Physical Sciences Library
Sarah Delfante
The University of Western Australia
Email: kcroker@library.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 11.30]

In recent years there has been an increase in development of online technologies in the learning environment, and online access to learning resources and information. This development, together with the demand to provide increased flexibility in teaching and learning delivery, has meant that libraries are offering online information literacy tools in addition to the more traditional face to face information literacy instruction.

The development and implementation of an online information literacy tool requires collaboration between librarians, and technical and academic staff. Many online information literacy tools are self directed and not assessed. The content therefore must have immediate impact due to its relevance and usefulness. The tool itself needs to be appealing and retain the attention of the intended audience. InfoPathways is an online information literacy tool created by the reference librarians and Web Coordinator at the University of Western Australia (UWA) Library. It is composed of seven distinct but linked modules introducing library and research skills. The intended audience is first year students. In 2004 a major redevelopment of InfoPathways was undertaken by members of the UWA Library's Teaching and Learning Team. The upgrade enhanced the look and feel of the tool making it more attractive to first year students, as well as increasing its interactivity.

This presentation demonstrates InfoPathways appearance before and after the upgrade, and discusses why the redevelopment took place. We will outline the teaching and learning theories inherent in the tool's design. Technical issues affecting the upgrade, such as working in a WebCT environment, will also be discussed. Finally the presentation will summarise future directions for InfoPathways design and application.

Reflective practice: It sounds like a good idea, but is it a procedure that is fostered in Australian universities?

Dell Dennis
Business Studies
The University of Notre Dame Australia, Broome Campus
Email: ddennis@nd.edu.au
[Friday 12.00]

Reflective practice is increasingly valued in a range of settings. It is particularly favoured in teacher training and in school environments, and it is also encouraged in many industry settings where it is more commonly referred to as Continuous Improvement (CI). Here reflective practice is promoted through Continuous Improvement Programs (CIPs) with the aim of enhancing productivity (outputs) through efficiency gain, and it appears to work well in these environments.

With the focus of my work now in university settings and in maintaining my interest in this topic, I pose the question: Are Australian university lecturers (by and large) effective reflective practitioners or do we need to advance or even formalise this process within the structures of the various institutions to foster reflective practice as a routine part of our work? This paper will examine a range of issues with the aim of promoting reflective practice as a useful tool for lecturers, and to seek ways that lecturers can contribute to developing a culture within their work environment which values the practice.

Inknowvative communication-in-organisations learning: A hybrid PBL and action research approach

Carolyn Dickie
School of Management
Curtin University of Technology
Email: dickielc@iinet.net.au
[Thursday 4.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

Growing pressure for restructuring and reforming tertiary education is encouraging inknowvative practices by lecturers and students to promote and develop 'employable' skills. The hybrid approach was developed to stimulate lecturers to operate as reflective practitioners in amplifying pedagogic knowledge through action research and students to maximise their learning of content and skills as adult learners by means of problem based learning strategies. The current report outlines methods by which lecturers can build continuous improvement into a unit's curriculum design and processes, and illustrates the value of student empowerment, communication and leadership in formal and informal learning groups.

Fostering industry relevance in a final year unit

Kate Fitch
School of Media Communication and Culture
Murdoch University
Email: k.fitch@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00]

Industry relevance is a buzzword, but one with real implications for student learning, curricular development and graduate outcomes. The challenge is to develop a meaningful and intellectually rigorous degree, which fosters analytical skills and critical thinking, and the development of professional values and practical skills.

The shift of MSC307 Media Planning from a summer unit, wholly taught by an industry practitioner, to a semester unit offered an opportunity to trial alternative teaching methods in order to better prepare final year public relations students for communication related careers. Rather than assessment based on tests and an examination, assessment centred on the production of documents relevant to professional communication practice. This contextualised assessment demanded students apply the higher level learning processes of analysis, synthesis and evaluation and encouraged students to adopt a 'deep' (rather than a 'surface') approach to learning. The unit used a combination of the lecture-tutorial teaching model and two hour seminars (for 80 students), both of which were designed to foster active participation. Small group discussion in tutorials centred on case studies and hypothetical scenarios and encouraged students to draw on their theoretical knowledge and to consider the ethical implications of their choices, as well as improve their professional communication skills. The final session in Week 13 focused on career development.

This presentation reflects on the unit, which ran for the first time in semester mode in 2004, and incorporates student responses. Some changes are planned for 2005, when the unit will be offered externally for the first time. The big question is: did the active learning approach foster a deeper understanding of professional communication practice, without compromising academic excellence?

E-learning takes to the high seas

Vanda Hartley and Dorit Maor
Murdoch University
Email: D.Maor@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 4.00]

A web based online role play simulation of Nicolas Baudin's expedition to Terra Australis, using a socioconstructivist epistemology, gave French students in the TAFE sector the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and forced them into an unknown world where survival is dependent on their French conversation. The research investigated to what extent a social constructivist approach to teaching and learning online can enhance the use of language acquisition for learners of foreign languages. Students took different authentic roles on the simulated voyage, enabling them to interact in realistic conversations in French, relevant to this historic event. The study was conducted over a four week period in which there was intense interaction between the participants under the watchful eye of the moderator. The students were provided with clear guidelines and a secret identity, from which they could create their own persona. Incidents were introduced at regular intervals and the characters wove their own events around these through communication, collaboration and strategic alliances in this non threatening, friendly online environment.

A qualitative methodology, drawing on interpretive research, was employed to analyse the data. The study focused on how the use of a social constructivist pedagogy could enhance language acquisition for learners of foreign languages and also analysed to what extent the students' participation in a web based online role play simulation affected their communication skills and fluency in French.

Teaching generic skills: A case study on IT skills for spreadsheets

Amy J. Hearman
School of Earth and Geographical Sciences
The University of Western Australia
Email: ahearman@agric.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 2.00]

The aim of this study was to assess generic skills at university, with a focus on the range and evolution of students' skills in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Western Australia. Although spreadsheets are widely used across many disciplines in the faculty there is no communication, strategy or common class in which to teach these generic skills. This raises the questions of how, when and where do we teach generic skills at university, how do we cope with a range of student abilities and how do we do this in an environment with limited time and resources? Students from different years into their university courses were surveyed to assess the current range and evolution of Microsoft Excel skills. Teaching staff within the faculty were also surveyed to ascertain what, where and when Microsoft Excel skills are taught within the faculty. Survey results showed that approximately 50% of units require students to use Microsoft Excel and the same skills are taught across 17 different units within the faculty. Results from the short skills quiz showed that the average skill level increases with time at university but the range of skills (indicated by the coefficient of variation in quiz marks) also increases with time spent at university. These results will inform the development of extra web based resources on Microsoft Excel skills and also provide data in assessing if this resource based learning will reduce the range of student abilities in Microsoft Excel at university and be a possible strategy in teaching generic skills across all disciplines in higher education.

Communities of practice: Groups of reflective practitioners

Geof Hill
Office of Research
Queensland University of Technology
Email: g.hill@qut.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00]

After years of being an active aspirant of Reflective Practice and desiring to move beyond 1:1 reflection I began exploring group reflective practice under the notion of a Philosophy Café. Twelve months later I was introduced to a body of knowledge that could/would/should embrace Philosophy Cafes with the Wenger and Snyder (2000) Harvard Business Review article on Communities of Practice: The Organisational Frontier, and proceeded to reinterpret my group reflective practice as communities of practice.

Now with a variety of communities of practice, as well as four iterations of the Philosophy Cafes, under my belt, it is timely to begin to reflect and attempt to articulate what I believe are some of the debates surrounding this teaching practice and to name (some of) the facilitation competencies associated with establishing communities of practice.

Using games and simulation to teach AI

Philip Hingston and Barbara Combes
School of Computer and Information Science
Edith Cowan University
Email: b.combes@ecu.edu.au
[Friday 4.30] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

In this paper, we report on the preliminary observations of an action research project that uses an animated competitive game with simulated physics to teach Artificial Intelligence techniques in an undergraduate computer science course. Students develop intelligent controllers for simulated vehicles, which compete with each other in a tournament. The simulation includes a graphical animation of the contests, and the students' solutions utilise an AI toolkit that provides animated displays showing the internal workings of their controllers in parallel with the simulation. The result is a learning experience that is motivational, engages students with the learning materials and helps them to develop mental models of the AI algorithms.

Australian university responses to student plagiarism: Shooting the messenger?

David Holloway, Richard Joseph and Timo Vuori
Murdoch Business School
Murdoch University
Email: D.Holloway@murdoch.edu.au, R.Joseph@murdoch.edu.au, T.Vuori@murdoch.edu.au
[Friday 12.00]

Student plagiarism, when detected and publicised, is a public relations disaster for Australian universities. The increasing frequency in which this problem surfaces in the press draws differing levels of responses from university management. This paper explores the nature of these organisational responses with a review and categorisation of some recent cases in Australia. The focus of this paper is on cases involving mass plagiarism since in individual student occurrences universities are usually stringent in applying policies and penalties for proven plagiarism offences. Formal university responses, such as the reporting of plagiarism case statistics on web sites, are also discussed. It is argued that Australian universities are prone to suppress the problem in order to avoid adverse public relations. What is revealed by this type of response is that university management is selective about the academic transgressions of power it chooses to pursue. It is convenient to first suppress and if this does not work, then punish individual staff and students involved. This deflects attentions way from the broader systemic dimensions of power within universities that give rise to plagiarism as a symptom.

Teaching towards praxis: Reflections on working with undergraduate women's studies students to apply poststructuralist thinking

Lekkie Hopkins
School of International, Cultural and Community Studies
Edith Cowan University
Email: l.hopkins@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 11.30] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

The scholarly fascination with poststructuralist thinking that has characterised much work in the social sciences and the humanities in the past few decades invites new questions about how to teach towards praxis for those of us working in tertiary classroom settings to prepare graduates for careers in the service professions. Among these questions are: how do we move from the densely theoretical discussions of fragmented subjectivities, and of poststructuralist understandings of power and knowledge construction, to an understanding of ways to apply these conceptual shifts to daily life and professional practice? How do we communicate what it's like to be constantly reflecting on practice, doing theory on the run? How do we teach students to think differently, not simply more deeply or with greater insight? Even more specifically, how do we work with undergraduate students to apply poststructuralist understandings of thinking beyond the dichotomous conceptual order in ways that release them into new conceptual territory?

In this paper I reflect on some ways that I draw on my own academic background (in literature and history) and current preoccupations (with story, and narrative as a site of the intersection of the theoretical, discursive and personal) to alert students to the implications of moving beyond thinking in hierarchical binary oppositions into the realm of what I call both-and thinking, or thinking in threes. Rather than attempting to provide a generic 'how to teach poststructuralist thought' instruction manual, my emphasis here is on my own professional journey. In particular I focus on the ways I have incorporated my work on a particular text that has been crucial to my own development into a new unit called Sex, Bodies, Narratives and Self in order to expose students to similar kinds of thinking processes to those I have experienced. My point is that reflecting on our own learning and intellectual and experiential development is crucial to effective teaching.

Becoming a reflective teaching practitioner: What can we learn from the spiritual leaders?

Amzad Hossain and Dora Marinova
Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP)
Murdoch University
Email: D.Marinova@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 2.30]

Reflective teaching practitioners can come from any culture, religion or country. Their achievements are based on the succession of reflective teaching practices. They not only learn from and reflect on their own practice but also win over other people who accept their teachings and become reflective practitioners themselves. A more sustainable development can be attained only if human values reflect simultaneously respect for the natural environment and desire for social justice and economic prosperity. Both formal and informal education can contribute to the development of such a world view. The paper argues that spiritual leaders (gurus) have a lot to offer to the educational process necessary for sustainability. Through their reflectivity they manifest the values which can only be acquired and not learnt. Examples are drawn from the traditional version of teaching and learning in eco-friendly Pathshala (schools) in village Bangladesh where reflective practices are still extant. In addition, the respective reflective practices of Bauls and the Pir (spiritual guide) tradition of Bangladesh in relation to environmental sustainability, sustainable development and socio-religious syncretism, are highlighted.

The paper concludes that in the forthcoming UN decade for education in Sustainable Development, a team comprising of reflective academics from different backgrounds and countries, should be formed to pioneer the development of a curriculum for reflective teaching and learning of sustainability values.

Strategies for teaching accounting in higher education

Jeya Chandra Malar Jayaprakash
School of Business
Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak
Email: jeya.j@curtin.edu.my
[Thursday 4.30] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

This paper looks at the teaching strategies adopting in teaching accounting to students. The main objective of teaching accounting is not only to develop the intellectual skills of students but also to provide them with opportunities to work individually, in pairs, small and large groups. Students in addition to intellectual skills also need to equip themselves with professional skills like writing, speaking out, presenting, computer and information literacy, decision making and teamwork. In order to achieve this, new concepts, strategies and methodologies have to be introduced in the teaching of accounting. In the old paradigm teachers were considered as the sole source of information and students approached them for every possible solution for problems encountered. However, in the modern paradigm the teachers are considered as facilitators and mainly provide their services in the form of guidance to students. This modern approach allows room for students to develop their accounting skills at their own pace and seek information as much as required, thus providing opportunities for self development. The teaching strategies used must therefore be in line with the contextual learning theory where the aim of education is the integration of content learnt with the real world experiences. Therefore, teaching tools such as interactive case studies, simulations and games, group work are widely recommended by several research organisations. The issues dealt in this paper are of high importance as the accounting industry faces rapid changes such as the advancement of new accounting software and packages, which have the capacity to manage the large volumes of accounting information. This paper is based on self reflective approach and addresses the issue of how the teaching of accounting can be developed to suit the needs of students when they enter the workplace.

Student centered learning through WebCT: An action research approach

Yesudhasan Thomas Jayaprakash
Media and Communication Studies
Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak
Email: thomas.y@curtin.edu.my
[Friday 2.30]

This paper by following action research and self reflective approach argues that WebCT can be successfully used in enhancing student centered learning and promote active learning. It demonstrates that WebCT is a highly user friendly and interactive technology that can motivate students to be independent learners at Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak, Malaysia. Through observations of interactions, and self reflection the paper discusses how students largely benefit from this technology and argues that the students are not just passive recipients of information but are active discoverers of information. The author discusses how students can be motivated to use WebCT and become pro-active learners rather than passive learners.

Outcomes for learning from the implementation of a virtual case study in information technology

Tony Jewels
Faculty of Information Technology
Queensland University of Technology

Rozz Albon
Department of Education
Curtin University of Technology
Email: t.jewels@qut.edu.au, R.Albon@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

The Faculty of Information Technology of one university is using an integrated virtual case method approach in an attempt to link theoretical constructs of IT project management with a real world, practical implementation example. The idea of using a single virtual case study approach was based on the need to provide students about to graduate, who may never have had experience of real projects, the opportunity to 'feel' some of the emotions that they would soon experience in real life. This approach attempted to provide an experience of the frustrations and elations that are part of most project environments, an appreciation of the real difficulties faced by project team members, and an understanding of the real purposes for applying the theoretical constructs covered in the unit. In turn this approach created deep learning opportunities to managing complex interactions. Over five offerings of the unit, the teaching team has attempted to identify the involvement of students in the case study, in order to determine firstly how the level of involvement might be increased, and secondly whether this involvement actually relates to better learning outcomes.

Reflection on online learning: A guide to enhancing quality

Diana Jonas-Dwyer
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
Eileen Thompson
Faculty of Economics and Commerce, Business School
The University of Western Australia
Email: djdwyer@admin.uwa.edu.au, Eileen.Thompson@uwa.edu.au
[Friday 3.30]

An ideal online learning environment is one that goes beyond the replication of learning events that have traditionally occurred in the classroom and are now made available through the Internet. It provides for different ways of learning and the construction of a potentially richer environment that provides for fresh approaches to learning, caters for different learning styles, as well as allowing for greater diversification and access in learning. In many instances, the availability of professional support and development in a timely and non-threatening format can be the deciding factor in lecturers making changes to their approach to teaching, especially where those changes include online resources. This presentation is about the development of a guide to enhance quality in an online unit that has evolved from the combined experiences of a small group of educational developers and lecturers who dedicated time to reflecting on best practice in online teaching and learning. The guide identifies a number of factors to consider when developing online learning resources, including staff readiness, learner readiness, educational design, learner support, unit organisation, interaction and collaboration, assessment, and evaluation.

Reflections on designing and implementing assessment for the development and promotion of graduate attributes

Georgiana Kirkham
School of Humanities
The University of Western Australia
Email: nin@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 12.00]

This paper draws on Marcia Periera's understanding and implementation of Schon's concept of reflective practice, to inform a partial process of action research. The action research, in this case, is focused on my reflective analysis of my involvement in the design and implementation of a new set of assessments in a cross-disciplinary unit called Environmental Law and Policy. The action research question concerning the effectiveness of the assessment is examined in the context of two different critical 'frames'. Firstly, I analyse the assessment from a practical perspective, in the light of my reflections and the informal feedback received from students. The effectiveness of the assessment is then evaluated in terms of whether it promotes the development of graduate attributes (or generic graduate skills) while exemplifying aspects of best practice. In providing a sample of the critical analysis of my reflections on the processes and products of the unit assessment, I highlight the pivotal importance of the reflective practice as a method of tertiary teaching research.

Learning in higher education: Is teaching the only consideration? Achieving policy aims without really trying

Heinz Kreutz
Academic Programs
Amy Bohren
Research Fellow and Graduate Pathways Coordinator
Monash University
Email: Amy.Bohren@arts.monash.edu.au
[Thursday 12.00]

Frequently, the focus of learning and teaching research is on the improvement of pedagogical practices and the engagement of students in meaningful learning experiences. Results from a recent study at Monash University, however, have produced some unexpected findings which point to instances where incidental learning occurs outside of the classroom. It was discovered that the sense of community within universities and interaction between students contribute not only to student satisfaction, but also to the overall learning experience.

The Monash Experience Questionnaire (MEQ) survey is regularly administered by Central Administration to coursework students. Its qualitative component had until recently been examined rather curiously, but has now revealed a wealth of information. Eight questions related to the academic, administrative and overall university experience, and resulted in 5779 comments for analysis with NVivo software. It was expected that results would highlight areas for improvement, such as feedback on assessment, however, after a comprehensive analysis and the assignment of 173 codes, it was discovered, quite unexpectedly, that results also emphasised areas in which the Faculty and university are excelling. In addition to the discovery of incidental learning, results indicated that the Faculty of Arts, at least, has come a long way in achieving some of its' and the University's aspirations. Evidence suggests that a number of goals articulated in policy documents have been achieved, including internationalisation, intellectual and cultural curiosity and collaborative learning. Such policy documentation is often seen as necessary but unrealistic or immeasurable, however, the achievement of these aims have been demonstrated somewhat fortuitously in the analysis of MEQ data.

This paper will discuss the findings of the MEQ as they relate to the broader context of learning and teaching, including the relevance of the broader learning experience to the development of graduates with a leading edge in the pursuit of their careers.

Blog this! Weblogs, critical thinking and peer to peer learning

Tama Leaver
English Communication and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia
Email: tama@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 3.00]

Most universities across Australia have in the past five years implemented campus wide courseware management systems. The University of Western Australia and Curtin, for example, are using the WebCT platform. While there are certain benefits from a 'one interface fits all' approach, can students actually learn critical skills regarding the internet and online culture when most of their tertiary education involving the World Wide Web involves one password protected system which is geared toward pointing inward, not outward? In semester two, 2004, I attempted to compensate for the inward looking nature of WebCT by also using weblogs (or blogs) as part of the unit Self.Net: Communicating Identity in the Digital Age. My paper will focus on the experience of using blogging in tertiary education, outlining some initial teaching and learning benefits and problems from both the point of view of unit coordinator, and the reactions from students (both anecdotally and using formal feedback from two surveys).

Adoption of deep learning approaches by final year marketing students: A case study from Curtin University Sarawak

Lew Tek Yew
School of Business
Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak
Email: lew.tek.yew@curtin.edu.my
[Friday 3.30] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

Application of marketing concepts is paramount for marketing graduates as they will assume intellectually demanding positions in the industry. They are expected to demonstrate 'metacognitive' and other critical skills such as integration of new and existing knowledge/schemas, communication skill and problem solving. Developing deep approaches to learning is often claimed by many researchers to cultivate students' analytical and conceptual thinking skills. Hence, this study attempts to investigate the existing learning approaches adopted by marketing students and the impact of changes in teaching strategies upon the students' learning approaches and whether there are any significant differences in deep learning scores among students with different demographic profiles. Action research methodology and 'triangulation' was adopted to collect data from all the thirty two (32) students registered in the Marketing of Services unit. Data was collected through administering the Student Process Questionnaire (SPQ) developed by Biggs (1987), interviews and personal journals. Initially, students were found to adopt a surface approach compared to a deep approach, while the students were motivated to obtain the highest grades to enhance their egos about half of their time. Changes were made to the teaching strategies throughout the semester which include amongst others the use of group problem solving exercises during tutorials, group presentations and assignments. The paired t tests conducted revealed a significant increase in the use of the deep learning approach at the end of the semester. However, this study did not discover significant differences in the deep learning approach scores among students from different demographic profiles. The results of this study suggest that marketing educators, through changes in the teaching strategies, can influence the learning approaches adopted by the marketing students.

The STIL project 12 months on: Reflections on an online, outcomes based skills training framework for teaching information literacy

Simon Lewis
Medical and Dental Library
Kael Driscoll
Mathematics and Physical Sciences Library
The University of Western Australia
Email: slewis@library.uwa.edu.au, kdriscoll@library.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 11.00]

This paper will describe the evolution of the Skills Training for Information Literacy (STIL) Project developed by the University of Western Australia Library. STIL takes the form of a web based framework, specifically designed to enable librarians to develop their teaching skills. This online resource covers a range of outcomes that have been developed by librarians, supported by links to useful learning resources and suggested methods of self assessment. The design of STIL facilitates self paced development, and it will be constantly updated as new resources come to light. The STIL framework is now being collaboratively developed by the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University. The resource aims to improve the teaching skills of reference librarians at each of these institutions. During 2004, the online framework was critically assessed by librarians at each of the participating universities. This assessment led to a major redevelopment of the online framework. Reflections on the evolution of the Skills Training for Information Literacy online framework (STIL) will be discussed in terms of its increased ability to meet the needs of its users. We will be detailing the process of ensuring the needs of reference librarians from each institution were met. Feedback on the usefulness of STIL from reference librarians involved in teaching information literacy to University staff and students will be discussed. Attention will also be given to the future direction of the Skills Training for Information Literacy framework.

The coincidence factor: Overcoming barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration

Euan Lindsay
Dept Mechanical Engineering
Greg Pritchard
Product Design, Furniture Design, Jewellery Design
Curtin University of Technology
Email: E.Lindsay@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00]

Interdisciplinary collaborations are valuable ways to exploit the strengths of a diverse range of participants, but they often only come about as the end result of a chain of fortunate coincidences. Individual academics may be keen to work with someone from outside their immediate discipline area, but it also requires the connection with a new collaborator and some common ground in which to work. With the large diversification of research areas, most of us work in an area that overlaps with another. The difficulty not only arises in identifying who it is that shares this overlap, and finding an opportunity to interact, but also acting on an opportunity when it presents itself.

The intention of this discussion session is to provide that opportunity. The presenters will lead the participants through an exercise designed to promote an awareness of the range of areas in which they and the other participants are working, and to encourage the exchange of information and ideas towards initiating collaborations between participants and their colleagues in the future.

The presenters for this workshop first met (by coincidence) at the 2004 T&L Forum, and have since worked together on a successful collaborative teaching project that continues into 2005 and beyond. This discussion is intended to identify the randomness that was involved in this collaboration, and also to systematically address how this potential barrier to collaborations can be removed.

Evaluating the use of a case study as a student project in a corporate financial policy unit

Michelle Lin
School of Economics and Commerce
The University of Western Australia
Email: mcylin@yahoo.com, linm02@student.ecel.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 11.30]

What are students' perceptions of case study assignments? In the Business discipline, especially for the MBA course, case studies are considered to be an effective teaching tool and are often used to promote student learning through class discussions. 'What if the case studies are incorporated as student group assignments rather than used for class discussions, are case studies still helpful in improving student learning?' This was the question that this study aimed to answer. To answer this question, this study surveyed students enrolled in the Corporate Financial Policy unit in the second semester, 2004 at the University of Western Australia and evaluated students' perceptions of the case study assignment, which they were asked to complete in groups. A total of 146 students responded to the survey. Most of them indicated that the case study assignment was helpful in developing their cognitive skills (i.e. enhancing their understanding and practicing applying theories), affective and personal development skills (i.e. having a sense of accomplishment and taking responsibility for their own learning), and interactive skills (i.e. team working and interpersonal skills). While students felt positively towards the case study assignment, the results showed that the assignment did not help increase their interest in the subject. Students found the assignment challenging and in some parts ambiguous. They revealed that because too much information was given to them, which made them feel confused.

Overall, the findings of this study suggest that assignments based on case studies can enhance student learning and are therefore an effective method of student assessment. However, clear explanations for ambiguous parts of the assignment and expectations of the teacher from students are necessary to improve students' learning experience.

Outcomes minus incomes: The value added by teaching and learning

Tony Lucey
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Joan Gribble
Engineering Science and Computing
Curtin University of Technology
Email: J.Gribble@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 2.30]

The outcomes based curriculum philosophy identifies learning outcomes and ensures that, through assessment, these are met by students. Achievement can be at a minimum level of competence (ready to move to the next level of unit or year of study) or at a level that exceeds this. The outcomes profile of the student cohort is therefore ragged. So too must be the 'incomes' profile of a subsequent unit (or year of study) because units and years of study are structured in a progressive fashion. The 'incomes' profile is extremely ragged at entry to Curtin University of Technology because we enrol students from very diverse backgrounds, levels of achievement and experience. Whilst we correctly focus on the identification, enablement and assessment of learning outcomes, it would be propitious to appraise these relative to students' capabilities at the start of the learning experience.

This presentation examines the way in which the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Curtin will evaluate the value added by units/years/program for students and acknowledge and encourage those students who have made the greatest progression (travelled the longest journey) as opposed to just those who achieve the highest grades (a measure of point reached on the journey). Allowing and encouraging staff to reflect on their practice so as to identify how they add value to students' learning is an empowering process. Through the professional inquiry and reflective process the achievements of academic staff can be recognised and rewarded.

Written text into visual text: An investigation into novice design students' approaches to text interpretation

Mike McAuley
Department of Visual Communication Design
Massey University
Email: M.P.McAuley@massey.ac.nz
[Friday 11.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

Illustration can be described as the clarification of information into a pictorial form. Its most significant generative source is the written word. Thus we see a crossover of domains, from the verbal to the visual. What takes place when written text is interpreted into a visual form? What perspectives do design students have on this? What is their understanding? From an educator's perspective, can changes to the delivery of a design problem given to a group of novice students affect the quality of outcome? Specifically, can extra emphasis on text comprehension strategies and the formal inclusion of analogical reasoning enhance student's design processes and lead to better design solutions? These questions were the basis for a pilot study carried out into the approaches tertiary students took towards the interpretation of written text into illustrations.

Crossing borders through reflective and participatory practice: Learning, researching, teaching and facilitating sustainability

Natalie McGrath, Dora Marinova and Peter Newman
Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
Murdoch University
Email: nmcgrath@central.murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 3.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

The complexity and diversity in a globalised and rapidly changing world require knowledge and skills by citizens, professionals and leaders that cross the borders of disciplines and institutions, cultures, gender, power, privilege and realities of society. The primary challenge of sustainability in higher education is to prepare sustainability professionals for this. Critical thinking and reflection will be necessary skills. An education in sustainability must therefore nurture these skills and in itself practice and reflect upon its foundational theory and ethic. This article analyses and reflects upon the practice of education at the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy in preparing professionals for sustainability. The analysis has been categorised into the different types of borders that this practice crosses and these include: crossing disciplines, institutions, theory-practice dichotomy, teacher-student dichotomy and difference. The article demonstrates that the best practice case studies within the analysis are closely aligned to the theoretical foundations that guide the ethic of education at ISTP. The writing of this article was in itself an act of reflection necessary for the ongoing process of an education in sustainability.

Memorisation practices: Greek students and Chinese learners

Graeme Miles
School of Humanities
The University of Western Australia
Email: gmiles@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 2.00]

A substantial amount of research has been conducted on the learning habits of students from Confucian Heritage Cultures (CHCs) looking at, among other things, their conceptions of the relationship between memorisation and understanding. The perceptions of this relationship which emerged are of interest to teachers of classical western languages, whose students must memorise a great deal of material by the nature of the languages themselves. In this study, interviews were conducted with students at the end of one or two years of ancient Greek language study regarding their memorisation practices, using the same questions as the study of Chinese learners by Marton, Dall'Alba and Kun (1996). Conceptions of memorising and understandings similar to those expressed by the Chinese learners, including the use of repetition to reach a deeper understanding, were found among these students.

Reflective learning on veterinary practice

Jennifer N Mills and Eric Taylor
School of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
Murdoch University
Email: J.Mills@murdoch.edu.au, E.Taylor@murdoch.edu.au
[Friday 3.30]

Veterinary students in their clinical years have been asked to maintain a learning journal to record their observations and reflections on various aspects of practice management during their required visits to veterinary practices. They are given a list of observations and suggested reflective questions on issues they could discuss with experienced veterinarians. Issues include client and workplace communication, public relations, financial management, marketing, leadership and life skills. Specific tasks involving financial and life plan decisions are included. Students submit 3-page reports on their reflections and several commented on the remarkable value of the experience. By assessing strengths and weaknesses in the various practices, the vast majority of students appeared to have satisfactorily assimilated key factors involved in successful practice management and devised policies they might use in their own practices. The coordinators plan to extend the scope of issues for students to discuss with practitioners to further assist students to prepare more thoroughly for making the transition into the workplace. This form of learning appears to be most appropriate for the 'Human Side' of veterinary training.

Helping demonstrators teach better in first year chemistry laboratories

Mauro Mocerino and Jennifer Bearfoot
Department of Applied Chemistry
Curtin University of Technology
Email: mauro@power.curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 11.30]

The laboratory class is a unique learning environment with the potential to achieve an enormous number of theoretical and practical objectives. Subsequently, the demands on students are also great. They must not only learn manipulative techniques, but also link theory to practice, problem solve, interpret data, interact with staff and other students, and successfully navigate the lab itself. Learning in this situation can be greatly assisted by an educator who is able to guide students through this complex of practical, cognitive and affective issues (Herrington & Nakhleh, 2003).

Frequently though, these practical sessions are taught by some of the least experienced members of the teaching staff. The process commonly known as demonstrating may seem quite straightforward on the surface, however acknowledging and facilitating group and individual learning styles, leading discussions, being able to demonstrate laboratory procedures clearly, being aware of cultural issues, ensuring safe handling of hazardous materials, objectively assessing student work and managing the class dynamics of sometimes up to eighty peers, might require a little more preparation than first thought. This paper will focus on how we prepare our laboratory demonstrators for our first year chemistry classes.

Herrington, D. G. & Nakhleh, M. B. (2003). What defines effective chemistry laboratory instruction? Teaching assistant and student perspectives. Journal of Chemical Education, 80, 1197.

Reflecting on the role of emotions in the PhD process

Angus Morrison-Saunders, Sue Moore, David Newsome and Jane Newsome
School of Environmental Science
Murdoch University
Email: angus@essun1.murdoch.edu.au, smoore@essun1.murdoch.edu.au, dnewsome@essun1.murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 2.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

This research project examined the role of emotions in the PhD process through an exploratory, qualitative, self reflective study by six recent or current PhD candidates. Despite differences in the nature of the PhD fields of study, and in the personal backgrounds of the participants, a number of common themes were recognised. We developed an interactive workshop for postgraduate students in which participants were asked to reflect on their emotional experiences in their own studies. The combined information from these sources was used to suggest some strategies for management of negative emotions that may arise during the PhD process. Of critical importance is the multiple roles of the PhD supervisor in helping manage the negative emotions that most PhD students inevitably experience at some stage in their candidature. Most important, though, is the role of self reflection in identifying potential emotional problems and their solutions; a process we recommend to PhD candidates and supervisors.

Making the invisible visible

Tim Moss, Heather Smigiel, Sharon Thomas and Neil Trivett
Flexible Education Unit
University of Tasmania
Email: Neil.Trivett@utas.edu.au
[Friday 4.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

This paper is based on a belief in the importance of making teaching visible in order to enable dialogue and work towards improvement and excellence. As Shulman writes, if we as academics are to value teaching as much as we do research "we must change the status of teaching from private to community - and therefore valued - property" (Shulman, 1993, p. 6). The aim of this paper is to report on two projects where the authors have attempted to put this claim into action - through developing and implementing a classroom based approach to practitioner research. This paper also aims to critique the outcomes of practitioner research, for the lecturers implementing the courses, and for the students who participated, in order to determine the future implications and applications of this work.

Meeting the demands of life in the 21st century: Should scientific literacy be an attribute of a university graduate?

Karen Murcia
School of Education
Murdoch University
Email: k.murcia@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 2.30]

In our rapidly changing world increasingly shaped by science, scientific literacy may well stand along side language literacy and numeracy as an essential tool for living in the twenty first century. Citizens with a reasonable level of scientific literacy may be better able to participate in public debate, decision making processes and also to adapt lifestyle and work practices to meet the demands of a rapidly developing and changing world moulded and directed by science. Without a reasonable level of scientific literacy, citizens of the future may be unable to appreciate their role and the role of others in decisions, values and actions shaping humanity's future. In a contemporary context, scientific literacy could be a relevant and desired learning outcome of a general or multidisciplinary education. In particular, it may be an attribute industry and the community expect from higher education's science graduates, as these graduates are potential experts in the community who may hold positions of influence in social debate. It can be argued that all university graduates require more than a minimal knowledge of science concepts. To be scientifically literate they require a blend of enduring key science concepts with an understanding of the nature of science and an awareness of the relationship of science with society. Universities' statement of graduate attributes could support the defining, development and assessment of scientific literacy learning outcomes generally and then specifically in science based courses.

This presentation is based on a framework of scientific literacy, which aims to clarify the construct and improve its utility. The framework should contribute to the development of a shared understanding of scientific literacy that can then underlie debate on the statement. 'Scientific literacy is a desirable graduate attribute of all university students and one that should be expected of graduates from science based courses'.

Structured experiential learning: The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is effective as a teaching tool for medical students

Pam Nicol
School of Paediatrics and Child Health
The University of Western Australia
Email: pamelan@ichr.uwa.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

A survey of final year undergraduate medical students found that only 45% felt confident in performing a developmental assessment on a child. Yet, this is a core curriculum outcome. The objective was to plan, implement and evaluate a student centred program that will increase undergraduate medical students' participation in learning, in particular, the confidence of fifth year medical students to assess the growth and development of a child. A 'Parents-as-Teachers' learner centred program was implemented using a parent completed, child development early detection system, the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). The program was designed using a social constructivist epistemology. It involved the students and the parents completing an assessment of the child's growth and development, and the student's reflection on the two methods and the process. Descriptive and interpretative analysis was made of the reports subsequently written by the students. There was a 70% agreement between student assessment and the parents' assessment. Key themes to emerge from the interpretative analysis demonstrated students benefited from this program. Students valued the experiential structured learning; they increased their confidence in developmental assessment and their awareness of the value of a partnership with parents. However, some student's continued to doubt the reliability of parental report.

Get stuffed: Who's got the time to reflect?

Michael Pearson
Dept. of Design
Curtin University of Technology
Email: M.Pearson@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 4.30]

Within undergraduate teaching and learning it is well documented that there continues to be a proclivity to 'stuff' the curriculum. One cannot blame students for the typical reaction; as my title suggests. With this in mind, I and the School of Design where I teach, have introduced a specific unit with full credit points which concentrates on the process of reflective practice in the classroom, in studio, and when working at home. The unit developed works in close association with the students' major program during the semester prior to graduation. The material the students produce is delivered and commented upon on line with weekly tutorials and lecture workshops at the beginning middle and end of semester.

This paper details two issues - the outcomes based theory that informs the unit and a student centred perspective in the form of an exemplar of a student report and a collection of students' reflective narratives. The paper reveals a wide range of reactions - which are commented upon by way of a student centred assessment process. Knowledge of this unit will generate your own personal context where these principles can be applied.

Beyond the 'warm bath': Using audio documentary as an online teaching tool

Gail Phillips
Media Studies
Murdoch University
Email: G.Phillips@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 4.00]

Teaching and learning is a process of communication between teacher and learner. The information which passes from one to the other must be absorbed and retained if it is later to be applied in a meaningful way that confirms the acquisition of knowledge. What we are talking about is not just information delivery but audience capture, and in this respect there are parallels between the teacher-student relationship and the media producer-media audience relationship. Online learning has led to a blending of the two paradigms as educators use computers to deliver instruction via multimedia formats. An ARC-Linkage project between Murdoch University and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation brought media producers and education researchers together in a project aimed at testing the effectiveness of media in the online learning environment. The aim was to see whether compelling media content could lure the student from a 'warm bath' entertainment experience to serious engagement with a given medium. The paper describes the design and production of an audio documentary intended to serve as an educational tool in a unit targeting professional media managers.

A scaffolded approach to the design of evaluation research studies: Application to educational technology

Rob Phillips
Teaching and Learning Centre
Murdoch University
Email: r.phillips@murdoch.edu.au
[Friday 3.30 - 4.25]

This workshop will explore underlying assumptions impacting on evaluation research into student learning, particularly that occurring through the use of educational technology. It will also describe an approach developed during an Australian Government staff development project on effective evaluation of student learning through Information Technology, in which staff from 18 universities around Australia worked with mentors to develop evaluation plans and carry out scholarly evaluations of the use of technology in tertiary education.

The workshop will consider issues arising in designing an evaluation of the effectiveness of an educational innovation, and describe a framework that can be used to scaffold the development of broad and specific evaluation questions. The framework will be used to develop an evaluation plan focussed on an evaluation matrix, where specific evaluation questions are matched to sources of data which provide appropriate evidence to answer each of them. The sources of data may be both qualitative and quantitative. Examples will be given of the way that the framework has been used in various evaluation research projects.

Outcomes based education: A case study of preservice teacher learning at UWA

Lucy Reilly
Faculty of Education
The University of Western Australia
Email: lucyr@mail.org
[Friday 12.00]

Outcomes based education gained momentum two decades ago and has since become increasingly widespread in many education systems throughout the world. Within Western Australia the movement toward this educational approach was initially evident in the school system. However, outcomes based education is also being taken up by institutions of higher education, including The University of Western Australia (UWA) where implementation commenced at the beginning of the 2001 academic year.

This paper considers outcomes based education with regard to the learning experiences of a group of students enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Education program at UWA. It reports the findings of a study that investigated the progression of preservice teachers' understandings and perceptions of outcomes based education over the course of a semester unit. A questionnaire administered at the outset of the unit, and again on its completion, elicited information regarding developments in the preservice teachers' learning and their perceived capacity to utilise an outcomes based approach in a classroom setting. Analysis of the data identified aspects of outcomes based education that were perceived by respondents' to be most problematic in their own learning and for their future teaching practice. The implications of these findings were considered and will further the understanding of effective teaching practices in the area of preservice teacher education and contribute to the existing knowledge base on outcomes based education.

Activity-reflection e-portfolios: An approach to the problem of effectively integrating ICTs in teaching and learning

Cameron Richards
Graduate School of Education
The University of Western Australia
Email: crichard@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 4.30] Refereed research. Full text on website.

E-learning platforms such as WebCT and Blackboard are typically viewed in higher education contexts as a convenient, economical, and flexible way of integrating new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in teaching and learning. However they can also reinforce traditional transmission approaches to education as mere repositories for content and in terms of related 'add on' uses of online interaction as a substitute and not just a supplement for face to face interaction. On closer inspection it is clear that relevant educational design principles are required to effectively integrate ICTs and, in particular, to harness their 'new learning' implications.

This paper will focus on the model of 'activity-reflection e-portfolios' developed initially for a teacher education context and extended to include a range of templates applicable to every teaching and learning context. Such a model will thus serve as an example of: (a) an integrated approach to ICTs in teaching and learning which can be adapted to different purposes and various ICT programs as well as 'new learning' methodologies; and (b) a perspective useful in evaluating merely 'add on' uses of ICTs in education. However, its primary interest and significance perhaps lies in its encouragement of the learning process as both a teaching and assessment strategy, and therefore its connection to various 'new learning' approaches such as problem based learning, authentic assessment, and collaborative knowledge building.

Issues to consider: How prepared are first year international students for study at university

Janine Rutledge and Thelma Blackford
School of Languages and Intercultural Education
Curtin University of Technology
Email: T.Blackford@exchange.curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00]

For many first year students integration into the culture, values and instructional practices of the university is a challenge no matter what their background. How effective are pathway or enabling programs in facilitating international students for undergraduate study at Australian Universities? Pathway programs have two objectives, one to meet the entry requirements of a particular program and the other to meet the academic and social expectations the university has of its student body. But, due an increasing international student voice linked to an investment of considerable amounts of money, time and effort to pursue academic goals, pathway providers also need to be responsive and tailor their courses to meet individual student requirements. This small scale research attempts to understand how prepared first year international students are for academic life after completing a pathway program.

Teaching and learning resources at the fingertips: Making sense of the mass

Elizabeth Santhanam, Lee Partridge, Allan Goody
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
Kenneth Martin
Centre for Staff Development
The University of Western Australia
Email: esanthan@csd.uwa.edu.au, lee.partridge@uwa.edu.au, kmartin@csd.uwa.edu.au
[Friday 4.30]

A variety of teaching and learning resources are available to staff in most universities and a rich (if messy) mass of information is available online. However few academics have the time to search through a library or the web to find the particular resource(s) that would be most appropriate for their needs. A 'one stop shop' for information may encourage teachers to reflect on their practice, including how to respond to student feedback on their teaching. The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning in The University of Western Australia (UWA) has compiled both UWA specific resources and generic resources. The organisation of information and the selection of material are based on a number of criteria. The presentation will discuss the background, current status and future plans of the project which is an extension of a CUTSD funded collaboration between UWA and the University of Adelaide.

Professional inquiry: 'It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive'

David Scott
Department of Civil Engineering
Joan Gribble
Engineering Science and Computing
Curtin University of Technology
Email: J.Gribble@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 3.00]

When engineering educators grapple with the intricacies of change in the curriculum design of a degree course, patterns of professional thinking and inquiry are challenged. A linear and sequential way of curriculum design (designing down) in an outcomes based approach is not a straightforward process for staff as they attempt to make statements for student learning from the broad course level to the more specific level in units of study. The process becomes even more confronting when the implications for teaching, learning, and assessment in an outcomes framework are considered. Even a cyclic or dialectic process of thinking and collaboration about curriculum design, moving from the experiential base of areas of teaching, to observation and reflection about the whole course, does not fully capture the complexities of designing a degree course for engineering students of the future. Instead, patterns of people's thinking, inquiry and reflection, which connect a holistic approach to curriculum design, need to be found.

This presentation will outline how academic staff, using the context of mapping the Generic Graduate Attributes prescribed by Engineers Australia into the civil and construction engineering degree, are engaging in the professional inquiry and reflection process. Staff are trying to take an all powerful view about whether learning outcome statements are clearly and cohesively expressed within and across the different year levels of the civil and construction engineering degree which they deliver. At the same time, assessment tasks for each unit that assess student's achievement in a developmental, progressive and culminating way are being audited for fairness and appropriateness. The professional inquiry process is a challenge for all staff who, more often than not, only work with their own immediate teaching and research interests. The process of inquiry into and reflection about these matters is muddled. It is as much about the experience of practitioner reflection, professional decision making and confirming professional intuition about a quality course as it is about arriving at a final curriculum design.

The impact of team learning on student satisfaction

Brenda Scott-Ladd
Murdoch Business School
Murdoch University
Email: b.scott-ladd@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 11.00]

Higher education has embraced industry requirement for students to be able to work in teams by instituting team or group learning across the curricula. However, the reality of trying to juggle the competing agendas associated with outside work commitments, course requirements, timetables and general expectations combined place considerable stress on students for achieving team satisfaction. Further, different learning styles and preferences also influence individual satisfaction for working in team situations. Understanding how learning preferences relate to team members learning satisfaction and which specific aspects of team learning cause students most frustration may allow us to better manage the overall learning experience.

This paper reports the preliminary findings of a study investigating student satisfaction with team learning. A specific processes and strategies were used to manage the team learning situation for a second year undergraduate students. Students were required to provide feedback on their satisfaction with peers as part of the course assessment. In addition, anonymous feedback was sought on individual student satisfaction with working in team in relation to their learning style preferences. This feedback was measured by Kolb's observing, thinking, doing and feeling scales. Learning style preferences and satisfaction with team learning was correlated with student preferences for individualism and collectivism and related to student demographics. The key findings of this study provide insights into how we can better manage team learning in the higher education environment.

Flexible learning delivery: A snapshot of student demographics and learning style preferences

Brenda Scott-Ladd, Richard Joseph and Timo Vuori
Murdoch Business School
Murdoch University
Email: B.Scott-Ladd@murdoch.edu.au, R.Joseph@murdoch.edu.au, T.Vuori@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 4.30]

Changing technology provides new alternatives for existing methods to facilitate student learning with improved flexibility. The push to provide an alternative and more flexible access to study materials utilising the latest technology is impacting on how educators are operating. In practice this means that educators are seeking ways to not only improve access to knowledge, but to do so in a way that is convenient, user friendly and allows the student to maximise the benefits of their study time. One of the new technological advances is the emergence of cheap portable digital recording devices. This technology allows educators easily and cost effectively to record traditional lectures and tutorial sessions and place them online available for both local and external students.

This paper reports on the preliminary findings of a study investigating student satisfaction with access to recorded lecture materials that have been generated using the latest voice recording technology. The findings clearly demonstrate that the students support the new alternative but room still exists in improving the service provided.

Improving acquisition of graduate attributes through outcomes focused education in a medical imaging science unit

Salim Siddiqui
Department of Applied Physics
Diane Fisher
Department of Medical Imaging Science
Curtin University of Technology
Email: S.Siddiqui@curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 4.30]

Teaching and learning is one of the core activities of the Curtin University of Technology and therefore stands as one of the top priorities on the agenda. The revised University Teaching and Learning Plan (2003-2005) states that by 2005 all courses should define and implement learning outcomes for all units. The primary learning outcomes in all Curtin courses include nine graduate attributes, with a further provision to introduce any additional outcomes the departments deem essential in their courses. The learning outcomes are defined as what students know, understand and can do as a result of learning experiences in a particular course of study. The plan further defines that the learning outcomes must be achievable, demonstrable and measurable and therefore must be clearly stated in the unit outline. In an attempt to achieve this we have designed a curriculum map using the 'designing down' approach, which means working backward from the stated culminating outcomes where each unit progressively and cohesively contributes towards the course learning outcomes. The merit of such a framework is that it provides multiple exposures to a set of outcomes and is thus traceable across the contributing units in a course. Moreover, it also provides transparency of achievements to both the students and the staff. In order to meet the professional standards set by the Australian Institute of Radiography, the accreditation competencies are also embedded in the course learning outcomes.

In this presentation we will discuss the process of curriculum design and its implementation to Medical Imaging Science 121 unit. The project was funded by the Curtin University of Technology under the Learning Effectiveness Alliance Program (LEAP) 2004.

First year physics labs in a 'suitcase'

Salim Siddiqui, Bob Loss, Glen Lawson and Ashley Barker
Department of Applied Physics
Shelley Yeo
Learning Support Network
Curtin University of Technology
Email: S.Siddiqui@curtin.edu.au
[Friday 4.00]

Over the past two decades university student demographics have considerably changed. A larger percentage of the population that now attend university come from a variety of teaching and learning cultures and a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. Under these challenging circumstances, most of the students seem to juggle their time between work, study and family commitments to complete their degree. A survey conducted by Curtin Applied Physics in October 2000 revealed that 58% of the full time students studying physics for their first time work either part time or full time and therefore are time disadvantaged as compared to their full time non-working colleagues. In order to address these issues Physics113/114/115 units were restructured into modular format providing flexible assessment using WebCT. These units have been running for the past three years. Over these years we have found that the flexible module assessment is working well to the satisfaction of the students, but some of the students are still finding it difficult to budget their time to attend laboratories to complete the unit. The laboratory program is an essential part of these units and is thus heavily weighted and requires a considerable time input by the students. At the time when these units were modularised, flexible laboratory program could not be provided due to lack of equipment, funding and staff time constraints.

The aim of this project is to design a portable laboratory program in the form of "take home kits" so that students can effectively perform their physics labs off campus. Initially the project will prototype an experimental program by small groups of students within existing units with the aim to scaling up to full units when additional equipment funding becomes available for a full suite of portable equipment sometime in 2005. Depending on progress made with these kits the intention is for the whole unit to be offered externally. This presentation describes the portable lab program, its limitations and expected outcomes. The project is funded by the Curtin University of Technology under the Learning Effectiveness Alliance Program (LEAP) 2004.

Web-Quest: An innovative approach to business education teaching and learning process

Jonothan Soh Gim Hiong and Timo Vuori
Murdoch Business School
Murdoch University
Email: G.Soh@murdoch.edu.au
[Thursday 2.30]

Information technological advances coupled with the increasing applications of computer interconnectivity and expanding Internet usage has opened up new opportunities for higher education educators. They provide alternatives for the augmentation and dissemination of teaching and learning resources in today's highly connected educational environment. However students are spending increasingly more time searching for information on the Internet and at times lesser time actually using or analysing it. This paper reports the preliminary findings of a study applying the WebQuest model approach to business education. WebQuest is an inquiry based learning activity utilising internet based resources. In WebQuest learners typically use resources available on the Internet to complete the provided learning activity. In this study after introducing the activity model and methodology to students they were asked to create new WebQuests for their peers on selected topics. The early findings clearly indicate that apart from supporting students' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation associated with the learning activity it improved their ability to interact with a rich collection of resources available on the Internet. It also provides students an opportunity to work in collaborative groups where they learn by teaching what they have learned to their peers. However, regardless of these early findings room still exists in improving the use and application of this learning activity model in higher education institution.

Creating a reflective practitioner: The experience and impact of preclinical rural attachments

Barbara Solarsh and Eli Ristevski
School of Rural Health
Monash University
Email: Barbara.solarsh@med.monash.edu.au
[Friday 11.30]

Monash University School of Rural Health has designed and implemented a rural education program in which, at a preclinical level, all years one and two students (n=465) undertake rural attachments. Thereafter in years three (n=40) and four (n=36) a limited number of students can select clinical placements at one of the four Monash Rural Clinical Schools. While it is the curriculum during the rural placements that develops qualities of a reflective practitioner, it is the number of students who select the rural option in their third year that is an additional indication of the impact of the rural program. The year one and two rural attachments provide an early experience of rural immersion, where students develop insight into the impact of the rural context on health as well as social, cultural and economic influences. The activities prompt students to reflect on the role of the doctor as one part of comprehensive multidisciplinary health service delivery, offered in a variety of contexts. These experiences are documented in a reflective journal in year one and a reflective essay in year two, which enable the students to identify their own learning processes and outcomes.

A qualitative analysis of the reflective journals and essays reveal that students have gained a number of critical insights into rural life and health. A quantitative analysis of selection patterns indicate that the number of second year students selecting the year long rural clinical placement for 2005 was almost double the number of available places. Thus, in the short term, providing students with a rural experience early in their curriculum has helped to demystify the assumptions of rurality. It has enabled students to reflect on their own approaches to health and health care through insights gained during their rural attachments and has influenced the path of their medical education.

Using concept maps to develop lifelong learning skills: A case study

Barbara Stäuble
Research and Development
Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Campus
Email: barbara.stauble@curtin.edu.my
Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.
Owing to unexpected circumstances, the presentation session for this article was cancelled.

By building on a cyclic model of lifelong learning that includes Self awareness, Self management, Meta-Learning and Self monitoring, this paper reports on attempts to introduce lifelong learning skills to a class of second year engineering students. The unit taught in this case study is Physical Electronics 203. Concept maps, student generated assessment criteria, group interaction and peer assessment were introduced to broaden students' learning experiences. A comparison of the feedback obtained through Unit Evaluation Questionnaires in two consecutive years shows a clear increase in the 'Good Learning Scale'.

The reflective practice of Samurai educators

Katie Thomas
Centre for International Health
Curtin University of Technology
[Friday 2.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

There are a range of non-western teaching practices which have been developed with a specific focus on reflective practice. The Japanese Samurai tradition is an example of a discipline of teaching and learning that relies heavily on an interlinked cycle of reflection and physical engagement. A Samurai education engages the student simultaneously in the roles of teacher and student, requires physical commitment to Ninjukai training and commitment to continuous reflection on the training experience. Samurai education utilises reflective practice as a primary tool for self development. Reflective practice, in this research, was defined as the allocation of time and energy to the consideration of outcomes of action as well as recursive alterations to practice and behaviour that are made as a result of reflective consideration. Members of the Samurai Group were involved in longitudinal research that used contextual mapping to elucidate the effective components of their reflective practice. The research found that Samurai education uses reflective practice to help people to alter their subjectivity, transcend their socialised roles and to have an increased range of responses for everyday life. These three processes overlapped and fed into each other to merge in what participants described as the most powerful learning experience of their lives. This paper begins with an overview of the research; moves to a description of Samurai education and the intellectual assumptions of the research project and then describes the primary outcomes of the research. The article concludes with some considerations of the implications of the research findings for reflective practice in education.

Staff and student attitudes to plagiarism in Australian universities

Timo Vuori, Richard Joseph
Murdoch Business School, Murdoch University
Raj Gururajan
University of Southern Queensland
Dave Roberts
Murdoch Business School, Murdoch University
Email: R.Joseph@murdoch.edu.au, T.Vuori@murdoch.edu.au, gururaja@usq.edu.au
[Friday 2.00]

Student plagiarism has become a major issue in Australian universities. While much has been written about the causes and ethical basis of plagiarism, it is argued here that a better appreciation of the issues will be gained from understanding the actual attitudes adopted by staff and students. This paper reports the results of a collaborative study between staff at Murdoch University, WA and the University of Southern Queensland. The study presents evidence formulated from a combined qualitative and quantitative methodology designed to establish attitudes towards plagiarism from a group of staff and students in an information systems program at an Australian university. The paper reviews some prior studies about plagiarism in Australian universities and discusses the empirical findings in the context of a 'plagiarism matrix' which emphasises the elements of risk, reward, morality and management. Surprisingly, there was a strong tendency for both staff and students surveyed to justify plagiarism in certain circumstances. Students in particular did not find the practice of plagiarism in conflict with their ethical values. These results underline the inherently complex nature of plagiarism.

Awareness invoking positive change: Reflections on lecturing practice in Computer and Information Science

Patricia A. H. Williams
School of Computer and Information Science
Edith Cowan University
Email: trish.williams@ecu.edu.au
[Thursday 4.00] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

Tertiary teaching is ready for change. The push for widespread adoption of student centred techniques to promote deep and lifelong learning is gathering momentum. Further, teaching in the disciplines of computer and information science has additional challenges such as student motivation and the teaching of large classes. For the author, postgraduate study in tertiary teaching has encouraged the awareness of these challenges. In addition, it has exposed the importance of defining a personal teaching philosophy, and altering teaching practice to be consistent with this philosophy and with the objectives of a wider range of educational stakeholders. Entering tertiary education as a lecturer with an industry background brings the added accountability to monitor and improve teaching skills, which has been facilitated by professional development activities and undertaking the Graduate Certificate in Education (Tertiary Teaching) taught at Edith Cowan University (ECU). This paper describes a personal journey of awareness and reflection, prompted by education, leading to positive change and practical application of student centred techniques in the computer and information science disciplines.

Relating for teaching and learning

Anne Veronica Wilson
Language and Learning Services
Monash University
Email: Anne.Wilson@CeLTS.monash.edu.au
[Friday 4.30]

The experience of first year students in higher education is receiving much attention. Beasley & Pearson (1999), among others, examine issues surrounding transition. Tinto (1997) and Kutieleh, Egege and Morgan (2002) look at ways to achieve improved learning and higher retention rates.

This paper attempts to capture the significance of first year students forming 'relationships in learning' (Brockfield & McGill 1998). My research originates from student evaluations of Conversation and Newspaper Discussion classes for Business and Economics students. The four, first year students (three International students and one local NESB student) were asked to respond through questionnaire about their reasons for attendance, what they liked about the classes and whether each had formed assignment or study groups with the other students. From this research, I argue that their responses reveal aspects of agency, understandings of learning and enthusiasm.

To further understand how these students created a learning environment from participation, I compared their use of individual consultations sessions with those of students who did not attend the conversation classes. I then used questions to focus my reflection on the ways these students built their learning. I reflected on my own teaching and in this way I am present in the research both as Language and Academic Skills Advisor and researcher. The findings, which report on my experience with a small group of students, invite discussion about the value of practitioner research. This presentation also welcomes input on equity issues and whether and how any advantage gained by students in such a learning environment could be achieved by other (larger) groups.

Beasley, Colin, J., Pearson, Cecil, A.L. (1999). Facilitating the Learning of Transitional Students: strategies for success for all students. Higher Education Research & Development, 18, (3), 303-321.
Brockfield, A. & McGill, I. (1998). Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education. UK. The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.
Kutieleh, S., Egege, S. & Morgan, D. (2003). To stay or not to stay: Factors affecting international and Indigenous students' decisions to persist with university study and the implications for support services. In K. Deller-Evans & P. Zeegers (Eds), Language and Academic Skills in Higher Education Vol. 6. Biannual National Conference LAS 2003 'in the future'. (pp. 89-98) Adelaide: Student Learning Centre Flinders University.
Tinto, V. (1997). Classrooms as communities. The Journal of Higher Education, 68(6), 599-623.

Reflections on the teaching and administrative issues connected with the launch of a fully online graduate business degree

Gordon Woodbine
School of Accounting
John Rees
Division of Resources and Environment
Curtin University of Technology
Email: Gordon.Woodbine@cbs.curtin.edu.au
[Thursday 4.30]

Online learning provides clients with significant educational experiences, including an opportunity to develop specialised professional skills. These skills include the benefits of being emersed in an electronic medium that invites users into a virtual classroom environment. In this setting, participants operate at a distance, but have instant access to masses of information and attractive interactive processes. An exciting and innovative approach to presenting conventional courses of study, in a fashion that removes the tedium associated with face to face teaching and traditional distance education learning.

Much of the promotional glitz fades when one reflects on the realities of setting up online courses. Ambitions are realised in a slow incremental fashion as one works through the maze of pedagogical and administrative issues hindering goal achievement, despite the availability of funding and management impetus for success. This paper serves to describe the obstacles and challenges associated with setting up and managing an online Masters degree, which will be of undoubted benefit to others faced with a similar task.

Reflecting on providing multiple assignment supports to first year marketing students in a large class

Venkata Yanamandram
Sarah Lambert
University of Wollongong
Email: venkaty@uow.edu.au
[Thursday 2.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

This paper describes improvements in learning outcomes in a large undergraduate marketing class at the University of Wollongong. The authors reflect on the interventions developed and evaluated, aimed at supporting students in their transition from novice researchers into self regulated researchers, and producing professional marketing reports in industry recognised report writing genres. The project, and therefore the paper, was focussed on the major assignment and the initial and ongoing supports provided to students. These have been developed through a continuous cycle of improvement - planned, developed in partnership with a central resource development unit, deployed using a website and classroom activities, evaluated and refined over 2 phases in a 12 month period.

Team teaching: Student reflections of its strengths and weaknesses

Venkata Yanamandram and Gary Noble
University of Wollongong
Email: venkaty@uow.edu.au
[Friday 11.00] Refereed research. Full text on website.

This paper examines student experiences and perceptions of two models of team teaching employed at a regional Australian university to teach a large undergraduate marketing subject. The two team teaching models adopted for use in this subject can be characterised by the large number of team members (ten and six) and the relatively low level of team involvement in the planning and administration of the team teaching process. Data for this study was collected from two identical surveys administered in the teaching sessions of spring 2003 and autumn 2004. In total, data was collected from 440 student responses. Despite the relatively weak forms of team teaching adopted to teach this subject, the majority of students like the concept of team teaching. Student experiences of these models provide support for many of the themes found in the extent literature on team teaching including the issue of variation in the teaching styles of different team members. However, this study argues that from the student perspective, the most critical factor in determining the success or failure of a team teaching effort is the actual composition of the team. A team teaching effort is not necessarily greater than the sum of its parts. A team comprised of 'good teachers', ie, those skilful in teaching large classes, is far more important than a team comprising 'experts' in different knowledge areas. This aspect of team teaching is often overlooked in the literature.

'Including a voice': Trialling a tool to improve the educational experience of external nursing students

Janette Young and Sheila Scutter
Division of Health Sciences
Lyn Barnes
School of Nursing and Midwifery
University of South Australia
Email: janette.young@unisa.edu.au
[Thursday 11.30] Refereed professional practice. Full text on website.

This paper reports and reflects on the trial use of CaptureCAM-PRO, a PC screen and sound recording program which combines high quality video with small file size and which can be emailed or downloaded from a website. Flexible delivery is one of the teaching and learning commitments of the University of South Australia, linked with intelligent use of emerging technologies. The undergraduate nursing program at University of South Australia is offered entirely in flexible mode, using the online teaching and learning environment for most courses. In 2003, of a total of 1663 students enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing at the university, 45% were externally enrolled and 19% were undertaking a mixture of internal and externally delivered subjects. Although this method of delivery increases flexibility for students and academics, it can reduce the 'connectedness' that students feel with academic staff, other students and the communication between students and staff can be limited to transfer of information by email and discussion pages. Seeking alternative educational tools and techniques from traditional higher education processes is imperative. CCP offered the opportunity to augment the visual experience of learning that predominates in distance education with aural information and 'contact'. Overall the feedback from students was very positive with regard to the usefulness of CCP as an enhancement to their learning experience. This was qualified with concerns that technical difficulties needed to be addressed before CCP was relied on as a core source of information.

Curriculum wisdom: Making curriculum decisions based on multiple forms of inquiry and reflection

Marjan Zadnik and Joan Gribble
Division of Engineering, Science and Computing
Curtin University of Technology
Email: J.Gribble@curtin.edu.au
[Friday 11.00]

Often past judgements about courses of study have been made from habit and with little reflection on any curriculum wisdom. Educational judgements, however, based on custom will not suffice in times of rapid and complex change. Even though academic staff decision making is constrained by factors unrelated to teaching and learning, it remains important to develop more sophisticated ways of thinking holistically about curriculum change. To provide opportunities for staff to think of the curriculum they deliver in terms of crafting, creating, theorising, using practical wisdom, making ethical commitments, and working within political associations is a significant challenge to those involved in leading curriculum change.

We have initiated curriculum change in the Faculty of Engineering at Curtin University of Technology which is focused on quality student learning outcomes. This curriculum approach also is driven by the accreditation organisation, Engineers Australia, for engineering programs. We will present how the change process is a journey where interdependence of thinking, balancing shared ideas, activating feedback loops, and developing synergy in the inquiry and reflection processes are fundamental to developing holistic curriculum frameworks.

Please cite as: TL Forum (2005). Seeking Educational Excellence. Proceedings of the 14th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 3-4 February 2005. Perth: Murdoch University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2005/contents-all.html

[ Home Page 2005 ] [ Contents - All Presentations ] [ Contents 2005 - Refereed Papers ] [ TL Forums Search ] [ TL Forums Index ]

The Forum Proceedings 2005 are © Murdoch University. However the copyright for each individual article remains with the authors of the article. Files from the TLF Proceedings site may not be remounted on other web servers (except proxy caches), or otherwise reproduced (other than single copies for study purposes), except with the permission of the authors.
Created 22 Dec 2005. Last revision: 2 Feb 2005. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2005/abstracts.html
HTML Editor: Roger Atkinson [ rjatkinson@bigpond.com ]