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Educating for sustainability

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Teaching and Learning Forum 2010 Home Page

Links to full text for refereed papers will be made live on about 25 January

The pragmatic portfolio: An assessment approach for distributed learning

Matthew Allen and Elaine Tay
Curtin University of Technology
Email: m.allen@curtin.edu.au; e.tay@curtin.edu.au

Portfolios, especially where they involve some use of or link to online technologies, are currently a popular focus for learning innovation in universities, drawing on a tradition of using portfolios in some areas of higher education and attempting to extend and broaden this practice. In some cases this focus has led to ambitious plans for whole-of-institution approaches, often involving significant technological development. However, the term portfolio can also cover a wider variety of possible learning and assessment activities and there are ways of using portfolios which, while quite traditional in their own form and approach, enable teachers to approach other aspects of their curriculum and pedagogy in far more innovative ways. This paper explores the conceptual basis on which the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University of Technology is utilising a pragmatic approach to portfolio assessment within individual units of study, so as to enable a more thorough implementation of distributed learning. In this form of learning, where students regularly contribute to their own and others' learning through short tasks and conversations, the evidence of achievement is widely distributed and not easily accessible for either formative or summative assessment. As explained in the paper, students are required to collate, select, and then contextualise a sample of these numerous productive moments of their ongoing study. The paper concludes that while other goals for portfolio assessment (such as encouraging reflection) can also be used with this approach, its primary value is in unleashing the potential of social media creativity in a manner that motivates students via the requirement of assessment, enables feedback to be provided to guide learning, and which promotes shared responsibility between teachers and students in determining the kind and extent of their learning activities.

Sustainability of future professionals

Selma Alliex
University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: salliex@nd.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

As educators it is our responsibility that we not only teach our students sustainability strategies but also practices to sustain them in a world that is ever changing. This study addresses the theme of this conference because it deals with teaching students strategies to equip themselves with practices that will impact on their role as professionals. This pilot study aimed to assess effectiveness of a 3 week self-care intervention program from the perspective of 3rd year nursing students at the University of Notre Dame Australia. The methodological approach underpinning the study was descriptive and the students were engaged as active participants in the study with the aim of having a positive impact on the lives of the participants. The study sought student nurse participants who would be involved in three 1 hour instructional sessions. All students were given the opportunity to participate in the research. Students who consented to participate were given a pre-questionnaire followed by three 1 hour instruction on self-care. On completion of the third session, students were asked to complete the post-questionnaire and were invited to participate in a focus group interview. This paper will present the findings from this innovative pilot project. Recommendations from this study were included as part of the University's strategy to promote and facilitate students self-care abilities

Using teaching observations to reflect upon and improve teaching practice in higher education

Doug Atkinson and Susan Bolt
Curtin University of Technology
Email: d.atkinson@curtin.edu.au, s.bolt@curtin.edu.au

The high intensity of delivering courses in both undergraduate and graduate university courses often makes it difficult for teachers to stop and reflect on their practice. However, the quality of teaching impacts directly on the student learning experience and therefore it is essential to continually evaluate and improve teaching performance.

To establish an environment in which reflective practice is embedded in teachers' workloads the Teaching and Learning Coordinator for the School of Information Systems (SIS) called on volunteers to participate in action research. The main intervention was a series of teaching observations conducted by the Curtin Business School (CBS) Teaching and Learning Coordinator. A total of ten staff were observed over the year. In Semester 1, 2009, the first cycle of observation began with five staff. As a result of the success of the first cycle, a second cycle with a further five staff was conducted in second semester. The cycles consisted of (1) an invitation to participate, (2) scheduling with the observer, (3) observation at class, (4) a written report, (5) discussion between teacher and observer, and (5) a group debrief at the end of the semester.

It was evident from the debriefing session that some teachers had reflected on their practice and the observer's feedback and had, subsequently, experimented with pedagogical innovations. After the second cycle, participants were interviewed to evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention and inform further planning for enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in the School of Information Systems. In this paper, the challenges of using teaching observation for teacher development are described and the outcomes of this research are presented.

Predicting effort, enjoyment and performance in a tertiary practical class using aspects of self-determination theory

Lauren K. Banting and Ben Jackson
The University of Western Australia
Email: bantil01@student.uwa.edu.au, bjackson@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

The current research aimed to identify appropriate teaching strategies to encourage increased levels of effort, enjoyment and class performance for students enrolled in a sports science university course participating in practical classes. A self-determination theory perspective was taken in the assessment of class motivation, measuring external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation and intrinsic motivation. It was hypothesised that more self-determined forms of behavioural regulation and intrinsic motivation may improve these outcomes. Participants (N=371) were recruited from an undergraduate sports science program midway through the semester and completed measures of class enjoyment and effort; behavioural regulation and intrinsic motivation. Individual's class performance scores were also collected at the end of semester for comparison. Using regression analyses, it was found that identified regulation and intrinsic motivation predicted performance and effort; and intrinsic motivation predicted class enjoyment, whilst external regulation negatively predicted enjoyment. Further regression analyses revealed increased class enjoyment and intrinsic motivation to be significant predictors of improved class performance. Examination of differences across year groups also revealed higher levels of self determined motivation amongst students in the highest year group level. Ramifications for teachers of practical classes are discussed in terms of fostering identified regulation and intrinsic motivation for positive and long-standing effects on student effort, enjoyment and performance.

Teaching smarter? The place of workshops in the curricula for undergraduate history teaching

Cedric Beidatsch and Susan Broomhall
The University of Western Australia
Email: susan.broomhall@uwa.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice paper. Full text on website]

In recent years there has been increasing pressure to find more "efficient" or "sustainable" ways to teach. Workshops have been much touted as a solution to reduction in classroom contact hours, in which large numbers of students can be taught, often in collaborative group exercises, in place of tutorials. This paper reports on research comparing workshop and tutorial teaching in an undergraduate history unit, exploring the skills, materials and content that each format offers and assessing their role as part of contemporary history teaching practice.

A framework for leading systematic, strategic and sustainable improvement

Lorraine Bennett
Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, Monash University
Email: Lorraine.Bennett@calt.monash.edu.au

Over the last decade universities around the world have begun to view quality assurance systems and programs as a high priority. This focus has been driven by a number of factors, including increased public and government scrutiny of the quality of education being provided by the sector. The emergence of routine internal and external review and audit processes, the establishment of quality audit agencies, such as the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), the pending Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), bodies such as the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) and its various antecedents and national and international ranking tables are evidence of the seriousness in which accountability and quality outcomes are being taken by government, professional bodies and potential students. Indeed in recent years, government funding for universities has largely relied on formulas driven by quality perceptions and performance indicators.

The challenge for university leaders is how to best respond to this changing landscape. All universities want to provide quality education and produce quality research and indeed their statements of purpose universally make this claim, but achieving systematic, strategic and sustainable improvement requires, among other things, targeted planning, enthusiastic implementation and monitoring and adequate resources, but fundamentally success turns on the quality of the leadership.

This paper describes the Engaging Leadership Framework' (ELF), a product of an ALTC funded project, which has now moved into a roll-out and consolidation phase. The purpose of the initial project was to develop a tangible, strategic leadership tool which would identify and bring together in a practical way key elements which underpin effective leadership of change and improvement.

The ELF provides both a conceptual structure and systematic process to guide actions. It consists of three dimensions which bring together:

  1. a vision - expressed as the 'trilogy of excellence' (the pursuit of excellence in scholarship, engagement and management);
  2. a process - the incorporation of a quality cycle; and
  3. participants - acknowledging diverse leadership perspectives, inputs and roles.
The ELF offers a systematic, strategic and sustainable approach to leading change in learning and teaching.
55 minute workshop
Practical application of the engaging leadership framework

Lorraine Bennett
Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, Monash University
Email: Lorraine.Bennett@calt.monash.edu.au

Over the last decade universities around the world have begun to view quality assurance systems and programs as a high priority. This has largely been driven by increased government and public scrutiny, quality driven funding models and the emergence of external audit and quality agencies.

The challenge for university leaders is how to best respond to this changing landscape. All universities want to provide quality education and produce quality research and indeed their statements of purpose universally make this claim, but achieving systematic, strategic and sustainable improvement requires, among other things, targeted planning, enthusiastic implementation and monitoring and adequate resources, but fundamentally success turns on the quality of the leadership.

As a result of funding from the ALTC, a project was undertaken which set out to develop a tangible strategic leadership tool that could identify and bring together in a practical way key elements which underpin effective leadership of change and improvement. The result of the initial project was the Engaging Leadership Framework' (ELF) which has now moved into a roll-out and consolidation phase.

The ELF provides both a conceptual structure and systematic process to guide actions. It consists of three dimensions which bring together:

  1. a vision - expressed as the 'trilogy of excellence' (the pursuit of excellence in scholarship, engagement and management);
  2. a process - the incorporation of a quality cycle; and
  3. participants - acknowledging diverse leadership perspectives, inputs and roles.
The purpose of this workshop is to illustrate how the ELF offers a systematic, strategic and sustainable approach to leading change in learning and teaching. Participants will be encouraged to apply the ELF to an area for improvement within their context and to explore its potential in building leadership capacity.
Getting ready for industry: Mental Health (Nursing) unit curriculum review

Richard Bostwick and Michael Monisse-Redman
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine, Edith Cowan University
Email: m.monisse-redman@ecu.edu.au

Over the next decade a significant proportion of the workforce will begin retiring and/or moving onto new endeavours leaving a significant gap in the existing mental health workforce (Cleary & Happell, 2005; Elder, Evans & Nizette, 2009). Although staff retention remains a priority the reality of an aging workforce now forces the industry to begin looking at longer term solutions including improving the number of professionals entering the mental health profession after undergraduate studies. Being the largest proportion of the current health workforce, a project has begun that aims to improve interest and industry relevant skills in the undergraduate nursing program at Edith Cowan University.

In late 2008, work began on the development and implementation of a new undergraduate curriculum that would augment existing passive teaching models with active models of care such as self-efficacy, consumer perspectives and narratives, a broader range of service provision particularly in older aged persons and child and adolescent mental health, the General Practice environment and a greater emphasis on primary and secondary care. The new curriculum was developed in line with the National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce (2002), a protocol under that aims to standardise mental health practice (skills and knowledge) across all disciplines in mental health. Industry and community partnerships provided significant input into this curriculum redevelopment and implementation.

This paper will give an overview of the new nursing undergraduate mental health curriculum at Edith Cowan University, the process of closing the gap that existed in content exploring mental health clinical models outside the tertiary setting, the National Curriculum Guidelines and how these, once integrated and implemented, will form one future solution to the impending workforce shortage.

Linking reflective practice and creative work: Vocational training for the creative industries

Chantal Bourgault du Coudray
The University of Western Australia
Email: Chantal.Bourgault@uwa.edu.au

Given its ubiquitous use, legitimate questions have been raised about the meaning of the term 'creativity'. Nevertheless, many degree courses now claim creative skills and products as outcomes, even though the challenges of teaching and assessing creativity are well known. This paper assumes that it is both possible and desirable to foster creativity pedagogically, drawing primarily on Negus and Pickering's understanding of creativity as a form of communication that 'embraces both the ordinary and the exceptional in terms of their production tension' (2004: 159).

Weighing into debates about how creativity can be taught, I argue that the teaching of reflective practice should be a key component of curricula that train students for creativity. This assertion is supported in a general sense by recent careers research, which stresses the importance of individual career-management skills such as reflection and strategic goal-setting. But as Bridgstock's empirical study of creative workers has noted, creative industries careers require particularly refined skills of this type (2006). The unique necessity for reflective skills in the management of a creative career would therefore suggest that they should be embedded in the core curricula of creative degree courses.

My argument is further supported by the observation that creative work typically involves the communication of a uniquely subjective point of view, and is often motivated by emotional orientations; as Nelson and Stolterman argue, the creation of something is typically 'roused out of a want, a desire, a hope, a wish, a passion, an aspiration, an ambition, a quest, a call to, a hunger for, or will towards' (2003: 141). Being able to recognise such desires or feelings, and then find an appropriate form for their expression, is crucial to creative processes. Reflective practice, with its internal orientation, facilitates that kind of awareness.

I conclude by examining, with reference to my own teaching and creative practice, how appropriately targeted and guided reflective exercises might be integrated into creative courses.

Student and teacher perceptions of assessment and constructive alignment in creative writing units

Fiona Burrows
School of Social and Cultural Studies, The University of Western Australia
Email: burrof01@student.uwa.edu.au

The problem of adequate assessment methods within University Creative Writing Units is one that is continually noted by teachers and students alike. This paper looks at student and teacher perceptions of the constructive alignment of assessment and outcomes in two Creative Writing units at The University of Western Australia. Using a mixture of focus-group discussions and written surveys, students and teachers involved in lower-level and upper-level Creative Writing units were questioned on their opinions regarding the forms of assessment and constructive alignment in their respective subjects. The results show a similar response from both students and teachers, with a clear preference for the methods of assessment found in the upper-level unit (for which the majority of marks are given for a Folio of work) and a sense of dissatisfaction towards the lower-level unit (for which an examination forms part of the assessment requirements). Both groups found that the examination was not constructively aligned with the outcomes of the unit, whereas the forms of assessment in the upper-level unit satisfied these requirements much more successfully. Both groups provided suggestions for improvement of the constructive alignment of assessment and outcomes. These results are relevant to the structure of creative writing units both at The University of Western Australia and in a broader context, as evidenced by the continual growth and popularity of this subject in universities Australia-wide.

UWA's strategy for sustainable online units

Yvonne Button and Silvia Dewiyanti
Centre for Advancement Teaching and Learning, The University of Western Australia
Email: yvonne.button@uwa.edu.au, silvia.dewiyanti@uwa.edu.au

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are enterprise systems within Universities for delivering and managing online learning activities. They provide flexibility of access and a range of tools for creating activities to meet students' needs. However, the development of LMS software is itself an issue, as it has implications for the redevelopment of online units. Sustainability refers to meeting current needs without compromising the ability to meet future needs. In relation to LMSs, this means developing appropriate online learning activities and materials that can be easily maintained, shared and reused within future LMSs and/or other systems. This presentation will focus on UWA's strategy for developing sustainable online units. This involves a central unit, Faculty/School based staff and strong communication between the two.

The eLearning Development and Support (eDS) Team provides Learning Management and Lecture Recording systems instructional and technical support at central, faculty and individual staff levels as well as administration, user awareness and education, and helpdesk services.

Faculty/School staff teach in various subjects and are responsible for developing the learning materials and scaffolding the learning activities and assessments of their students. If they use central eLearning systems as part of these activities they will inevitably interact with the eDS team.

A clear understanding of responsibilities is important in ensuring that online units are not only developed but remain sustainable. In achieving this, the eDS team must engage with staff about the life cycle of a unit and alert them to their responsibilities within that cycle; as well as assist in the development of staff knowledge of the LMS tools and skills in using those tools effectively. Equally, if staff elect to use central eLearning systems as part of their teaching they have responsibilities for understanding the unit life cycle and developing their skills and units in a way that ensures sustainability.

Big Ears and Noddy: Listening as a necessary academic skill

Rose Carnes
OnTrack Enabling Program, Murdoch University
Email: r.carnes@murdoch.edu.au

Both the Bradley Review and the subsequent Federal Government's response, will mean an increasing number of low SES students entering university over the next decade. This in turn creates a direct challenge to the manner in which we have traditionally interacted with our students. Are we being like Big Ears with Noddy; taking the newcomers into the academic world, then demanding that they convince us that they will be "good students" and fit readily into our world? What assumptions underlie the manner in which we listen and speak to our students and they to us?

As is the case in enabling programs, OnTrack includes development in students of the traditional tertiary skills of reading, writing, use of technology and note taking. It has not encompassed teaching listening skills which is remarkable given that they are central to many academic activities and the key to building relationships in this new and foreign world. During second semester 2009 listening skills were specifically taught to OnTrack students on the Peel campus. Preparation and evaluation of this process raised further questions such as: what is, and where do we find information on, listening in an academic context; what hinders successful listening for both students and academics; how might listening relate to success at university?

This paper will consider some of the implications of the above questions in the context of the changing university population and the Bradley Review.

Developing a communications skills framework: Writing, speaking, critical information literacy, and interpersonal skills development

Denise Chalmers
Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL), The University of Western Australia
Siri Barrett-Lennard
English Language and Study Skills Adviser, Student Services, The University of Western Australia
Nancy Longnecker
Science Communication Program, Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences, The University of Western Australia
Email: denise.chalmers@uwa.edu.au, siri.barrettlennard@uwa.edu.au, longneck@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

The University of Western Australia has recently undertaken a significant curriculum review and development process. One recommendation was the Communication Skills should be explicitly taught and assessed in each of the programs of study. A working party was established to advise the interim Boards of Studies on how this might be achieved. A Communication Skills framework that applies across the curriculum has now been developed to guide the development of students' Communication Skills throughout the curriculum. The framework takes a developmental approach to communication skills under four broad dimensions: written, oral, critical information and interpersonal skills. The components of each of the dimensions will be examined in the presentation. By explicitly embedding these skills in the curriculum, the capacity of students to effectively and productively engage in their own learning, in their professional and personal life will be enhanced. Through the application of the communications skills framework it is intended that students are more prepared for their current context and have developed the capacity to capable of meet their own needs into the future.

Why and how can we teach e-citizens with e-books?

Atul Chandra
School of Accounting, Finance & Economics, Edith Cowan University
Email: a.chandra@ecu.edu.au

As the digital age moves ahead rapidly, the digital teaching and learning gap between educators and students requires continual bridging. For this reason, educators are increasingly embracing digital teaching tools and technologies to achieve learning outcomes for students. This line of thought has been followed to examine the reason and methodology of teaching current and future university students with e-books.

A new definition of e-citizens was created, being persons who are digitally literate including university students. Also a multi-dimensional e-citizen framework was developed for educators to evaluate the digital appetite of their students and themselves. The first dimension represents the birth period of the e-citizen, second the probability digital media acceptance by e-citizen, third depth of technological immersion of e-citizen and fourth the extent of teaching and learning outcomes achieved. Other dimensions can be added to this e-citizens model too.

Using e-book for the unit Auditing revealed that the uptake of e-books by Masters students was low. The multi-dimensional e-citizen framework so developed can provide educators a structured approach to identify the digital appetites of e-citizens and then best apply the digital tools and technologies, such as e-books, to achieve the teaching and learning outcomes.

Using online social networking for outreach, engagement and community: A case study in using Facebook from the University of Western Australia

Lisa Cluett
The University of Western Australia
Email: lisa.cluett@uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

Student Services at The University of Western Australia is piloting the use of the online social network Facebook to build community around potential, prospective and enrolled students. The UWA Student Services Division focuses considerable attention on the early part of the student journey; from enrolment through to Link Week (week 3) and beyond. However, attention is now being broadened to include the pre-enrolment period which is seen as a particularly key time in building a positive relationship with incoming students. Staff are using the page to provide more comprehensive and consistent communication and to refer students to existing face-to face and online programs and services. The intention is not to replicate or replace any existing services, but to create a personal, friendly and welcoming online presence. A Facebook fan page called 'UWA Students' invites fans to join and is open to anyone who feels a connection to the University. It is available at: http://www.facebook.com/UWAstudents

The talk resource: Education, sustainability and communication economics through audience response systems and dialogue

Michael Connor
Keepad Interactive
Email: mconnor@keepad.com

If the UN sees education as vital to sustainable development, it also sees the concept of sustainability as core to the concept of education, which, in a UNESCO formulation, "is understood to involve organised and sustained communication to bring about learning" (International Standard Classification of Education: ISCED 1997: 7). This paper briefly posits a history of the dilemmas facing educators intent on managing such sustained communication, characterising them in terms of communication economics (where once we faced dilemmas of communication demand, we now face dilemmas posed by communication over-supply). Just as managing sustainable prosperity requires a balancing of the four widely acknowledged forms of prosperity - economic, ecological, social, and cultural - so too does sustainable and productive communication require careful negotiation of communication variables, which can be characterised using these same four terms.

The paper then isolates a key function that cuts across all four variables - dialogue - proposing it as a hinge for both sustainable future prosperity and sustainable communication. It then shows how educational dialogue can be managed using the relatively simple, but not uncontroversial technology of audience response systems (ARS). It briefly outlines a debate surrounding ARS that reflects something of a resistance to their increasing adoption in the university sector and highlights again the dilemmas facing sustainable (and sustainability) education, which are those we face in moving from transmissive teaching to transformative learning, from teacher-focused to learner-centric pedagogies, or from passive to interactive educational engagement. The paper concludes by suggesting that ARS is a useful transitional technology, one that can help harness talk as a resource in dealing with these dilemmas.

A [workshop] will also be run in conjunction with the paper, demonstrating many of the issues it raises.

55 minute workshop
Raising and sustaining dialogue in large groups with audience response systems

Michael Connor
Keepad Interactive
Email: mconnor@keepad.com

Audience response systems (or personal response systems, class response systems, student response systems, or "clickers") are a relatively simple technology designed to increase the involvement of people in a class, seminar, meeting, or any event in which the action tends to be one way (from a teacher, lecturer, or presenter to a group). Allowing every individual to respond to displayed questions or propositions through various input devices (keypads, mobile devices, laptops/PCs), and processing (and displaying) the results instantly, such systems can increase the "dialogue" factor in large audience settings, thus raising levels of engagement and interactivity.

This hands on workshop takes participants through the main uses and basic functions of ARS (using one) and addresses some key pedagogic issues in their use, including:

Participants will also be invited to consider some recent debates surrounding the increasingly widespread adoption of ARS in the university sector (mostly in the US), and issues affecting its sustainable use.

Sustainability, survival and engagement: implications for curriculum and pedagogy in social professions

Trudi Cooper and Rowena H. Scott
Edith Cowan University
Email: t.cooper@ecu.edu.au, r.scott@ecu.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice paper. Full text on website]

The purpose of this paper is primarily to provide conceptual discussion of the implications of social sustainability for higher education. In this paper we examine the implications of concepts of social sustainability, survival and engagement for university curriculum and pedagogy in social professions. The first part of this paper briefly discusses the implications of social sustainability for the vision of university education and curriculum in the context of current debates in higher education. The second part of this paper provides an example of successful methods to engage initially reluctant learners with analysis of political, social and ethical issues relevant to social sustainability and survival. The first part of this paper is conceptual, whilst the second part provides an example of practice.

Teaching and learning in postgraduate manual therapy education: Perspectives on clinical supervision

Rebecca J. Crawford, Peter J. Fazey and Kevin P. Singer
Centre for Musculoskeletal Studies, School of Surgery, The University of Western Australia
Email: crawfr04@student@uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

Clinical teaching of postgraduate manual therapy students in the patient-care setting represents a complex teaching and learning environment that is not well documented in the literature. The opportunity for students to practically apply new class-taught knowledge and skills to real patients is important for the successful delivery of education common to all health professions. High priority is placed on affording the time and resources to do so. The clinical supervisor (CS) is the primary teacher tasked with facilitating active learning in this highly individualised environment. CSs are generally not formally educated in teaching and instead rely on previous experience and informal guidance to shape their practice. The trend toward collaborative and interactive teaching appears to be gathering momentum in medical education. This exploratory descriptive study surveyed ten past or present CSs associated with the Masters of Manual Therapy (MMT) program at The University of Western Australia (UWA). The aim was to provide a framework for comparison to the experience and practice within other health disciplines, and to inform future MMT staff development opportunities. Perceptions of desirable qualities, skills and teaching strategies were canvassed in participants. Survey results were discussed by the current MMT CSs as an internal development initiative. The results of this study provide a basis for future professional development of clinical supervisors in postgraduate manual therapy.

Opportunities and challenges of units simultaneously taught to undergraduate and postgraduate students

Bronwyn Crowe
The University of Western Australia
Email: croweb@are.uwa.edu.au

Universities across Australia are taking the opportunity of a deregulated market and strong demand to expand their postgraduate coursework courses. Simultaneously teaching units to postgraduate and undergraduate students is a quick and efficient means of increasing the number of units offered to postgraduate students. The study investigates the opportunities and challenges of simultaneous units through interviews with staff, and postgraduate and undergraduate students at The University of Western Australia. Simultaneous units are seen to increase the number of units available to postgraduate students and potentially improve the educational experience of both postgraduate and undergraduate students. However, the increased diversity of students within a unit creates different student and staff expectations, and a more complex unit to design and manage. Academic staff need to recognise how the different demographics, professional focus and fee structure of postgraduate and undergraduate students leads to different requirements of a quality education.

Varieties of English in Australian higher education: An intersectional analysis of dialect and race in student experiences of dis/advantage

Marco Cuevas-Hewitt
The University of Western Australia
Email: hewitm02@student.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

This paper concerns the place of speakers of nonstandard Englishes in the Australian higher education context, with the question motivating the inquiry being: 'Is it possible for Australian universities to successfully balance their commitment to cultural diversity with their status as Standard Australian English (SAE) institutions?' Studies regarding cultural diversity in Australian education have often merely reproduced governmental discourse in which the primary factor determining one's social status or level of opportunity is seen to be competence in the English language. It is precisely this perspective which informs the oft-made bureaucratic distinction between people of English-speaking backgrounds (ESB) and Non-English-speaking backgrounds (NESB), with the latter category serving as a catch-all, heuristic device for the targeting of measures aimed at generating greater social inclusivity. Without wishing to deny the very real disadvantages that NESB students do face, nor question those programs catering to them, I argue in this paper that an over-emphasis on linguistic competence only serves to obscure a number of other equally-important factors pertinent to one's relative level of dis/advantage in Australian higher education. Is it the case that ESB students are uniformly privileged (as many scholars are wont to suggest), considering the sheer diversity of students hailing from English-speaking backgrounds? What if we took into account other factors within the ESB category, such as those of dialect and race? Would we find discrepancies between the experiences of SAE-speakers and speakers of nonstandard dialects of English? Would we encounter any asymmetries between native English-speaking students from settler societies and those from post-colonial societies? These are some of the key issues with which this paper will attempt to grapple.

Improving quality of student learning through moderated assessment

Marguerite Cullity and Glenda Campbell-Evans
Edith Cowan University
Email: m.cullity@ecu.edu.au, g.campbell_evans@ecu.edu.au

Moderation is "a process which removes significant variation of standards in assessment" (Blackburn & Kranenburg, cited in Laxer & Young, 2000, p. 179). Literature indicates the importance of creating an evidence based and reliable framework to advance the quality of assessment and moderation practice (Ecclestone, 2001; Laxer & Young). Lack of consistency of moderation policy, practice and process across a course, its units and its tutorial groups can reduce consistency, accuracy and fairness and, thereby, disadvantage students. This project examined staff's moderation practices and processes in a humanities faculty at Edith Cowan University and conducted a University-wide, national and international document analysis. The paper reports on staff moderation practices and processes when assessing student work and ways in which consistency, accuracy and fairness of moderation is obtained or hindered by relevant policies, processes and practices. The paper also presents a work-in-progress moderation resource package for staff.

The use of video as an assessment tool: The perceptions of staff and students in a School of Nursing

Annie Das
University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: adas@nd.edu.au

The traditional method of assessing skills in the School of Nursing, University of Notre Dame, Australia (UNDA) is by observing and recording student performance. This process is dependent on face to face observation and feedback by academic and sessional staff within the School of Nursing. Assessment of skills through observation under examination conditions is very stressful for both student and examiners and does not always engage or reflect the student's true ability. This method of assessment also puts a strain on human and financial resources in an education based organisation. It is an ongoing challenge to develop assessments that students concur with and are feasible and viable for the university.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of video assessment in education. A descriptive study was undertaken and explored the perceptions of video assessment of second year nursing students enrolled in a nursing skills unit. It focused on the academic staff members' and students' perceptions of video assessment, which was implemented as a strategy to assess the psychomotor skills and the impact on human and financial resources of the School.

It is crucial that assessments are demystified if students are to be confident enough to understand and transfer their learning to practice proficiently. It was the intent of this study that video assessments of skills will substantially impact on the students' ability to perform the skill in a non-threatening environment and will also determine the effect on human and financial resources in the School of Nursing.

55 minute workshop
Can we develop sustainable approaches to moderation?

Melissa Davis, Jon Yorke, Kathryn Lawson et al.
Curtin University of Technology
Email: m.davis@curtin.edu.au, j.yorke@curtin.edu.au, k.lawson@curtin.edu.au

Institutions adopt a diverse range of practices in an attempt to improve their confidence in the moderation of assessment. Traditional approaches to moderation include double marking of assessments, spot sampling and post hoc analyses of results. In this workshop we will argue that these approaches are based on a narrow view of moderation; one that may prove to be unsustainable in higher education.

This workshop will commence with a brief outline of the moderation cycle adopted by Curtin, a model based on an holistic view of assessment spanning design to feedback. Moderation project leaders (from projects funded at Curtin during 2009) will outline their work, raising a number of questions relating to the sustainable development of moderation. Working in small groups facilitated by moderation project leaders, participants will address the following issues:

  1. What are the problems with current approaches to moderation?
  2. What approaches are effective and sustainable?
  3. What changes do we need to make and how can we make them?
A summary of the outcomes will be made available to all participants.
Anatomical knowledge retention in final year pre-registration physiotherapy students: Implications for anatomy education?

Manisha Dayal and Will Gibson
School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology
Email: m.dayal@curtin.edu.au, w.gibson@curtin.edu.au

Anatomical knowledge and understanding forms much of the basis of physiotherapy education and practice. As such, anatomy is often taught as a foundation stream within the first year(s) of physiotherapy education. This model relies on the assumption that further learning in future years builds upon the knowledge gained in the beginning year(s) of the course. In fact, final year physiotherapy students graduate and practice despite having not formally studied anatomy for three years. There is very little evidence for the efficacy of this mode of anatomical learning within a physiotherapy educational context. Perhaps as a reflection of this, there is no current published information regarding the retention of anatomical knowledge in end of course pre-registration physiotherapy students.

We employed a simple anatomy identification task among 113 physiotherapy students who were all within 1 week of sitting their final pre-registration oral exam. Students were asked to identify and correctly label the bones of the carpus of the hand from a diagram that was presented to them by the investigators. Students completed the task independently and had no prior knowledge of the task.

The results of this study will be discussed within the context of the demands and constrictions placed upon anatomy education within a physiotherapy curriculum and suggestions will be made as to how we may facilitate learning and knowledge retention throughout the entire education of our future physiotherapists.

From remediation to development: One university's journey towards a sustainable approach to student English language proficiency

Katie Dunworth
Curtin University of Technology
Email: k.dunworth@curtin.edu.au

This paper describes the key features of an institution-wide, two-year project to investigate ways of enhancing student English language proficiency at one Western Australian university, Curtin. The university has very high numbers of international students (over 35% in total across all campuses) and a growing number of domestic students who speak English as an additional language (EAL), and it was at this group that the project was particularly targeted. The initial intention was to develop and implement an action plan which would address concerns, expressed by staff and students, about the English language proficiency levels of current students and graduates; an issue which was not limited to Curtin but reflected across the tertiary sector and a subject of interest to employer groups, researchers and the media. The project involved the introduction of a post-entry English language diagnostic instrument, evaluation of English language gate keeping procedures at the point of entry, the introduction of measures to develop student language proficiency into units of study, and support for staff. Most challenging was the intention to promote an institution-wide understanding of the construct of English language proficiency in a tertiary context and to establish an environment of collective responsibility for student language development.

The project's outcomes have now been embedded into the operational practices of the University, and this paper evaluates the extent to which the these have been successful and sustainable for the institution from the perspective of students, as measured by take-up rates of optional activities, formal feedback and measurements of student progress; staff, as measured by feedback and involvement; and alignment to guidelines and regulations governing the sector on this issue.

Strategies to enhance the well-being of refugee youth in universities in Western Australia

Jaya Earnest, Gabriella de Mori, Mariana Jorge and Amanda Timler
Centre for International Health, Curtin University of Technology
Email: J.Earnest@curtin.edu.au

Strong educational institution-based programs inclusive of communities, families and academics have the capacity to increase psychosocial well-being and educational outcomes for refugee students. The needs of refugee youth are complex and multi-faceted requiring a coordinated approach between educational institutions, families, communities and service agencies. Within this context, this project undertaken at Curtin University has developed a CD for university students and academics as a resource to enhance the wellbeing of refugee youth in Western Australia. An initial Rapid Need Analysis (RNA) of refugee students was conducted and guided the development of the CD resources. Over 35 qualitative, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a cross-section of refugee students from each University in Western Australia. The RNA highlighted the unique academic and psycho-social needs of refugee students and guided the design of the two CDs resources. The student CD was designed to provide a culturally sensitive resource that would assist students to overcome identified learning difficulties and access a range of useful services on campus and in their communities. The overarching aim was to maximise their engagement in student life and subsequently enhance their psychosocial well-being. Student recommendations for academic engagement were drawn from the interview analysis and guided the academic CD design. The CDs were designed, developed and trialed in late 2009. This paper reports the findings of the RNA, the design and development of the CD resources and provides recommendations for university academics. The project concludes that there is a strong relationship between psycho-social wellbeing, university learning and educational outcomes for students from refugee backgrounds. The study has documented that refugee students overcome significant pre and post migration stressors as they resettle in Australia, display a dedication and commitment to achieving university success and aspire to a better future for themselves and their families.

Student attitudes and preferences towards non-invasive animal-based and computer-based practicals

Jo Elliott and Dominique Blache
The University of Western Australia
Email: ellioj01@student.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

There have been recent moves to replace the use of animals in teaching with interactive computer programs and simulations. However, it is important to understand student attitudes towards non-animal alternatives to the use of animals to ensure that students receive a valuable learning experience. Previous research suggests that students support the use of non-animal alternatives to the invasive use of animals but the replacement of non-invasive animal use has received less attention. The aim of this study was to determine the attitudes of undergraduate science students towards the use of non-animal alternatives to replace non-invasive animal use in practical classes before and after exposure to non-animal alternatives. Students were surveyed before and after taking part in a non-invasive practical involving the use of live sheep and a computer simulation of the same class. The results showed that, both before and after completing the practical series, students agreed with the statements that non-animal alternatives provide a valuable, and an enjoyable, learning experience and that this attitude did not change (p = 0.688; p = 0.549, respectively). However, students did not feel that non-animal alternatives provide as good a learning experience as the use of live animals. In addition, students rated the animal-based exercise as more enjoyable than the computer simulation (p < 0.001). The non-invasive nature of the practical, the species used and the relative simplicity of the concepts presented are thought to have contributed to these attitudes.

A place-identity mediated model of homesickness in first year university students experiencing a rural-to-urban relocation

Neville R. Ellis
Curtin University of Technology
Email: neville.ellis@student.curtin.edu.au

An underlying premise in educating for sustainability within Australia is ensuring that rural and remote students not only have access to higher education, but also have access to university-based support resources to ease the transition to university and difficulties associated with rural-to-urban relocation. Previous research indicates homesickness affects 60 to 70% of first year relocated university students (Fisher, Murray, & Frazer, 1985), eliciting symptoms akin to depression and anxiety (Brewin, Furnham, & Howes, 1989) and impairing academic and daily functioning (Morrow, 1996). A greater understanding of homesickness is needed to inform effective university-based initiatives aimed at easing the transition to university for first year students relocating from rural-to-urban environments. The aim of the present study was to explore university place-identity as a mediator of the relationship between perceived social support, neuroticism, student accommodation and homesickness. One hundred and sixty five first year university students relocated from rural backgrounds and undertaking second semester at Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia completed an online survey containing a measure of homesickness, satisfaction with perceived social support, neuroticism, university place-identity and a number of demographics. Structured equation modelling (SEM) revealed the combination of university place-identity, satisfaction with social support and neuroticism accounted for 20% of the variance in rural students' homesickness. Specifically, results indicate university place-identity fully mediates the relationship between satisfaction with social support and homesickness. However, results indicated neuroticism has a direct relationship with homesickness. While accommodation did not have a significant relationship with homesickness students living on campus had greater university place-identity. This study provides support for an ecological perspective of homesickness and adds to the understanding of homesickness processes in first year university students relocating from a rural-to-urban environment. University-based initiatives aimed at increasing students' time spent on campus and promoting social interaction within the university environment is recommended to ameliorate homesickness and ease the transition to university for students relocating from rural-to-urban environments.

Evidence of quality: The teaching criteria framework at UWA

Jacqueline Flowers
The University of Western Australia
Email: Jacqueline.flowers@uwa.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice paper. Full text on website]

Sustainability in higher education can be defined in the approach we take to teaching our students - by using sustainable practices in our definitions of good teaching, and incorporating them in to the expectations we have for teaching staff, we can create a sustainable teaching and learning environment.

In 2008, as part of UWA's involvement in the national ALTC Teaching Quality Indicators (TQI) project a new framework of teaching criteria was developed to better support good quality teaching and learning within the institution, and enhance the value placed on teaching by enabling more robust developmental and evaluative systems for promoting, recognising and rewarding good teaching.

The framework is premised on a shared understanding of good teaching which has been developed through extensive consultation across the University throughout the project, and which is based in the research evidence about the types of teaching practice which improve student learning outcomes. The project has developed this shared definition of good teaching, along with providing a structure around which to talk about teaching, and the associated development of examples and guidelines of sources and types of evidence staff can collect which can demonstrate the achievement of good teaching. The new teaching criteria framework underpins the teaching component of the academic portfolio, and will therefore inform all of the University's reward and recognition processes from developmental annual review discussions, through to promotion applications. By robustly defining what is meant by good teaching, and assisting staff to understand how to demonstrate it, the framework may be able to improve the value placed on teaching as an academic endeavour and go some way to supporting sustainable education.

This paper describes the process UWA went through in developing the new framework, the way that good teaching has been defined in the UWA context, and how the resulting framework is being used to enhance and support good teaching practice.

Students' perceptions and attitudes towards the evaluation of university teaching

Manonita Ghosh
The University of Western Australia
Email: mghosh@meddent.uwa.edu.au

Student feedback is a fundamental component of evaluation and a driver for improvement of university teaching and learning. Nevertheless, using students to evaluate teaching performance has always been controversial. There is an increased focus on reliability and validity of students feedback to improve the quality of university teaching; however, minimal focus on student's attitude towards this process. The aim of this study is to investigate what students think about the Students Evaluation of Teaching (SET) surveys employed in most universities. This qualitative research explored complex issues and interpreted the deeper meaning of students' expectations through focus group interviews with Honours students studying Humanities in an Australian university. The students indicated that they are more likely to give their honest feedback when they feel that the instructor is enthusiastic and "really" cares for the students, and when they are not concerned about the consequences of providing negative feedback. However, they are not confident that their comments get any attention. They expressed their desire to know how their feedback is addressed in terms of improving teaching. This study highlights a number of concerns that relate to the student perspective of "closing the feedback loop".

Painful failure or painful beginnings? Delivering 'pain' education online to undergraduate physiotherapy students

Will Gibson and Katharine Smith
School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology
Email: w.gibson@curtin.edu.au, k.f.smith@curtin.edu.au

Increasingly, students and faculties request greater flexibility from teaching academics in terms of learning and teaching environment and methods of delivery. There is an increasing expectation that appropriate units will be moved to a blended or entirely online delivery mode. Whilst 'ilectures' are routinely employed within the School of Physiotherapy at Curtin University, there has been no previous trial of delivering a subject entirely online. Knowledge and understanding of 'pain' is a key aspect of physiotherapy education and clinical practice and requires a high degree of initial theoretical understanding from the student or practitioner. This subject was felt to be ideal to deliver online via Camtasia recording software which allows online lectures to be recorded, produced in a download-friendly format and placed on the web for student access. The weekly online lectures were complemented with a lecturer-moderated, open electronic discussion board accessible via the unit's website.

To gauge students' perceptions and expectations around online learning, two voluntary, anonymous surveys were conducted. The first was prior to the initiation of the unit (n=126 respondents) and the second after the last online lecture and prior to the assessment of the subject (n=124 respondents). Results will be presented demonstrating students' initial perceptions and concerns toward online delivery as well as how their perceptions had changed at the end of the semester. What students felt was helpful toward their learning, what didn't help and their perceptions and suggestions toward future online delivery will also be discussed. A proposed new model of delivery for this subject will be presented based on the feedback generated by this action research project.

English enrichment in an accounting conversion program

Kaye Haddrill, Phil Hancock and Eileen Thompson
The University of Western Australia
Email: kaye.haddrill@uwa.edu.au

This paper discusses the English enrichment program which is run by the University of Western Australia (UWA) Business School in conjunction with its postgraduate Master of Professional Accounting (MPA). In 2008, when the Business School was planning its MPA program for 2009, it was aware of the critical nature of the communications skills of its graduates. Both CPA Australia (CPAA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA) had in their accreditation guidelines emphasised the need for graduates to be able to write and speak clearly and precisely. There was also criticism of many MPA programs for failing to do this, most notably by Dr Bob Birrell a demographer from the University of Melbourne. Concurrently, UWA expected a large percentage of the students who would undertake the MPA program would be international students. The growth in numbers of international students undertaking studies in Australian universities had been recognised for some time but the recent addition of Accounting to the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) had seen a rapid surge in the enrolments in accounting conversion programs

The Business School MPA program team has developed an integrated program for English enrichment based on the model at Macquarie University which runs over the duration of the three semester MPA course. Each semester, the team works with unit coordinators to select methods whereby English can be embedded into the unit curriculum. The key strength of this program is the full engagement of the Unit Coordinator which allows the Learning Advisor to produce lessons which are highly contextualised to the unit and therefore desirable to the student. Classes are well attended and feedback from the student cohort has been overwhelming positive. The English skills learnt in these enrichment classes are transferable to all other units and preliminary findings show positive effects on their standard of writing.

Supporting pre-service primary teachers to improve their mathematics content knowledge

Brenda Hamlett
Edith Cowan University
Email: b.hamlett@ecu.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice paper. Full text on website]

This paper reports some of the findings of doctoral research into an approach to addressing concerns about low levels of numeracy amongst pre-service teachers. When someone is told that his/her performance is not up to a required standard, there can be a tendency to react negatively and to lose confidence. The research involved the development, delivery and evaluation of a mathematics module within a first year unit that was designed to improve skills in a range of literacies without decreasing levels of confidence amongst the students. The unit Becoming Multiliterate was offered as part of the BEd (Primary) and BEd (Early Childhood Studies) courses at Edith Cowan University and entailed students completing diagnostic tasks in mathematics, writing and science at the start of the semester to identify their weaknesses. Students were then provided with targeted support to enable them to reach identified benchmarks. Given that teacher registration bodies are likely to introduce literacy and numeracy standards for graduating teachers in the near future, the strategies used could be applied to similar courses elsewhere.

Addressing English language proficiency in a business faculty

Anne Harris
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.harris@ecu.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice paper. Full text on website]

In the Faculty of Business and Law at Edith Cowan University, the percentage of international students enrolling in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses is increasing rapidly. The vast majority of these students come from backgrounds where English is not their main language of communication and a number come from regions where English is barely spoken. In order to assist these students in the most effective manner, at the beginning of first semester in 2009, the Faculty initiated the Business Literacy and Numeracy Project. This paper delves into the literacy aspect of this project. It charts why such a project was established, outlines various actions taken, and proposes some likely outcomes.

A win-win-win situation: Engaging in learning, research and marketing through creative technologies

Shane Henderson and Mark McMahon
Edith Cowan University
Email: s.henderson@ecu.edu.au, m.mcmahon@ecu.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice paper. Full text on website]

As the game industry develops, courses in game design are emerging along with a research focus on games as highly engaging environments. New courses and fields also require innovative approaches to marketing. This paper outlines the design and outcomes of a project to elicit benefits in research, teaching and learning, and marketing in the context of a university course in Game Design and Culture. Creative technologies were used by students to develop game levels with a focus on immersion. These were trialed with visitors to an entertainment expo of which Edith Cowan University was a sponsor. The benefits of the project in terms of research, teaching and marketing are described.

The multigenerational workforce: A challenge to leaders and managers

Joyce Hendricks and Vicki Cope
Nursing, Midwifery and Post Graduate Medicine, Edith Cowan University
Email: j.hendricks@ecu.edu.au, v.cope@ecu.edu.au

The current Australian Nursing workforce is representative of four generations of Nurses. This generational diversity frames attitudes, beliefs, work habits and expectations associated with the role of the nurse in the provision of care and in the way the nurse manages their day to day activities. These generational differences present a challenge to contemporary nurse leaders and managers who are working in a health care environment which is fraught with challenges. Challenges related to economic factors, a shortage of nurses, the aging nursing workforce, new technologies and an emergent nursing workforce that appears to not hold fast to nursing tradition and dogma. Leadership challenges are further compounded by leaders' whose leadership style remains inflexible and unresponsive to workforce dynamics.

The intent of this paper is to raise nurse leaders and managers awareness of generational factors in order to facilitate the reframing of perceptions and viewpoints such that generational differences are reconsidered and re-evaluated to align with the potential of strengthen the Nursing profession. This is undertaken by examining generational characteristics and the potential for developing and using leadership strategies which focus on mentoring and motivation; communication, the increased use of technology, and the ethics of nursing to bridge the gap between generations of nurses.

Growing our own: A leadership program in an undergraduate nursing program in Western Australia

Joyce Hendricks, Vicki Cope, Maureen Harris and Lynne Cohen
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.hendricks@ecu.edu.au, v.cope@ecu.edu.au

This paper discusses a Leadership Program implemented in the School of Nursing at Edith Cowan University to develop leadership in fourth semester nursing students enrolled in a three year undergraduate nursing degree to prepare them for the dynamic 'changing world' environment of health care. Students were invited to apply to undertake the program in extracurricular time. 19 students applied to the program and 10 were chosen to participate in the program. The numbers were limited to ten to equal selected industry leader mentors.

The Leadership Program is based on the belief that leadership is a function of knowing oneself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust amongst colleagues, and taking effective action to realise one's own potential.. It is asserted that within the complexity of health care it is vital that nurses enter the clinical setting with leadership capabilities because graduate nurses must take the lead to act autonomously, make decisions at the point of service, and develop a professional vision that fits with organisational and professional goals Thus, the more practice students have with leadership skills, the more prepared they will be to enter the workforce.

The program consists of three components: leadership knowledge, leadership skills and leadership in action. The leadership program focuses on the student-participant's ability to be self reflective on personal leadership qualities, critically appraise, and work within a team as well as to take responsibility for ensuring the achievement of team goals as leader. The program is practical and is reliant on the involvement of leader mentors who hold positions of leadership with the health industry in Western Australia.

Students completed a pre and post program questionnaire related to abilities and skills in leadership. This paper discusses pre and post evaluation data against program outcomes. The findings demonstrate that participants of the program increased their ability to influence, persuade and motivate others; to effectively communicate; to team build and work collaboratively; to develop problem solving and perseverance skills to overcome obstacles; and to serve as agents for positive change.

Development of online laboratory report assistant

Jasmine Henry
School Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, The University of Western Australia
Email: jasmine@ee.uwa.edu.au

Many engineering students struggle to relay technical information in an appropriate manner. A problem is that students rarely overtly learn how to present technical data in an appropriate form, usually this occurs (if it does) more by trial and error from handing in a large number of laboratory reports/assignments and receiving back good (or poor) grades. Meaningful marker feedback is usually sparse due to large volumes of marking and tight time lines to return work to students.

How do we teach our students to produce reports with good written expression, appropriately displayed data and logical conclusions? How can we enable our academic markers to give constructive and meaningful feedback to large classes via laboratory reports? A positive approach to enable our students to learn better report writing practices was to develop an on-line laboratory report template. The template allowed students to click on a "help" box which explained what information should be put under each heading for example, the aim(what did you achieve in this laboratory? What questions are you trying to answer), conclusions (did you answer the aims of the experiment?) or the discussion (were the results as expected from the theory), areas where lists/tables are appropriate etc, correct referencing. The idea of this template would be that students could concentrate their efforts into the actual content of their reports rather than the presentation of the report.

A template was trialed in ELEC1302 - Power and Machines Technology, in the Solar Cell Testing Laboratory. This presentation will report on the development of the on-line laboratory report writing system - the trials and tribulations., student reaction, lecturer reaction, areas to be improved and future development of the system.

Keynote presentation
Sustainable online and mobile learning: Content is no longer king

Jan Herrington
Professor of Education, School of Education, Murdoch University
Email: j.herringon@murdoch.edu.au

The development of large numbers of multimedia and CD-based programs throughout the 1990s and early 2000s characterised the 'coming of age' of computer-based learning in Australian universities. However, it is perhaps the process of developing these programs that was of most value to a generation of educators rather than the resulting programs themselves. Under increased pressure of an abundance of resources freely available on the Internet, teacher-developed content is no longer king. This presentation will argue that if we are to educate for sustainability, learning environments need to focus less on teacher-developed content and more on the tasks that generate student-developed products. It will draw on principles of authentic learning to present strategies and examples for sustainable computer-based and mobile learning in higher education.

Support for educators in experiential biodiversity and sustainability education

Elaine Horne
Department of Environment and Conservation
Email: elaine.horne@dec.wa.gov.au

There is growing concern worldwide regarding children's decreasing involvement with activities in the natural environment. Currently as many environmental concerns are increasing, the majority of sustainability education takes place inside classrooms or schools. When out-of-doors, students' experiences mostly consist of sporting or other physical activities. Is it important for students to venture outside and explore their environment? Why is it important?

Half way through the Decade of Education for Sustainability, during the International Year of Biodiversity we are hearing the expressions 'Nature Deficit Disorder' (Frances Kuo, 2001), The Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights' (The Chicago Wilderness Alliance, 2009), a Green Hour for kids every day ( National Wildlife, USA) and in the USA 'No Child Left Inside' legislation has been passed. With such widespread agreement regarding the importance of learning about nature, how should we manage educational environments in order to deliver important messages such as biodiversity conservation?

In Western Australia the EcoEducation section of the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) runs curriculum linked programs for school students in natural areas, develops and provides curriculum materials related to the natural environment, provides support and professional development for teachers and visits classrooms with in-school environmental activities. We also provide exciting Practicum experiences for trainee teachers in a supported environment with WACOT registered teachers.

The biodiversity and conservation education offered by EcoEducation can be tied to many areas such as national parks; management of environments including indigenous perspectives; erosion, pollution and waste issues and their reduction; issues of fire, feral species and other threatening processes; and education for responsible decision making. Typically activities include hands-on experiences in out-of-doors programs that develop key concepts. The student feedback on these is always very positive.

How can we make biodiversity and sustainability education easier for educators? A range of strategies developed over 15 years of EcoEducation will be presented. After this session, educators will know where and what sort of support they can get for embedding biodiversity and sustainability education and for achieving the out-of-doors health and attention goals for children embedded in No Child Left Inside legislation, Green Hour and the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights.

'I am if you are': An interesting paradox in role-play case simulation training

Jill Howieson
Faculty of Law, The University of Western Australia
Email: jill.howieson@uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

Role-playing is a recognised teaching and learning tool, used extensively worldwide in various settings, including professional training simulations in areas such as law, medicine and economics. However, role-play as a teaching technique has largely proceeded by way of assumed teaching methods and the theoretical and practical underpinnings of its use are under-explored. With culture change initiatives currently under way in the legal dispute resolution environment and particularly in ADR processes such as negotiation and mediation, in which educators commonly use role-play and case simulation training, it is imperative that we begin to understand the theory that underpins the role-play method and the techniques that constitute best practice in role-play case simulation training. An empirical study of 642 law students from The University of Western Australia set out to investigate what might be occurring psychologically in students during role-play and how this might translate to deeper learning about ADR processes and skills. The results support the underlying assumptions that students have a natural ability to participate in the simulations effectively and that it is a valuable learning tool. The results also show that being able to 'get into role' leads to greater levels of learning and intriguingly, that students tend to feel that they have a better ability to get into role if they perceive that their negotiating or mediating partners are also in role. The paper discusses the need to continue to explore the psychological underpinnings of role-play, and to build a research and theory base that can support the quality of education required to create sustainable culture change.

Keynote address
'Get zooming': Education for sustainability and the sustainability of learning

Marnie Hughes-Warrington
Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching)
Monash University

How do we best ensure that students have the chance to expand and apply their understandings of sustainability? Compulsory 'breadth' subjects? Embedded graduate attributes? Co-curriculum programs? In this talk, Marnie Hughes-Warrington will explore how using student self evaluation in a 13 billion years in 13 week, first year course triggered her continuing explorations of the places for sustainability both within and beyond tertiary education.

Are we on the same page? Differences of understanding between staff and students around the instruction of academic integrity

Trina Jorre de St Jorre and Penny Hawken
The University of Western Australia
Email: Jorret02@student.uwa.edu.au

Academic misconduct at university is a major concern: it jeopardises student learning, the fairness of assessment and the reputation of institutions. Thus it is important that universities take student misconduct seriously and devise policies to reduce if not eliminate the incidence of misconduct. Factors that affect student attitudes towards academic integrity are extensive and highly variable. However, the education of students about academic integrity has a significant effect on student attitudes and the incidence of misconduct (Bisping et al, 2008). In turn, the effective education of students in academic integrity requires the instruction of staff by the university so that a consistent and unified message is delivered to students. Therefore this study was designed to assess student and staff satisfaction with instruction on academic integrity within a science faculty in an Australian university. Staff and student surveys were distributed online and participants were asked to rate their agreement with statements regarding their satisfaction with instruction on academic integrity. The majority of students surveyed thought that the university had provided them with sufficient information about academic integrity and policy. Most of the staff surveyed were satisfied with the amount of information given to staff about policy and staff responsibilities, but were unsure whether the amount of information given to students about academic misconduct and policy was sufficient. However, only 51% of staff were aware of the institutional processes in place to inform students about issues of academic integrity. Given the importance of a holistic approach to the education of students about ethical scholarship, the results of this study highlight the need for universities to ensure that both staff and students are made aware of campus-wide initiatives to regulate academic misconduct.

Bisping, T. O., Patron, H., & Roskelley, K. (2008). Modeling academic dishonesty: The role of student perceptions and misconduct type. Journal of Economic Education, 39, 4-21.

ClimbIt as an interdisciplinary learning and teaching tool

Jo Jung and Shane Henderson
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.jung@ecu.edu.au, s.henderson@ecu.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice paper. Full text on website]

This paper discusses a trial of teaching and learning strategy based on an interdisciplinary approach. The project title, ClimbIt, is meant to capture the spirit of the tool and the location of where the tool will be situated within the university building. The term ClimbIt stemmed from an idea of providing students with access to computer laboratory usage information on the walls in a stairwell in Building 3, Edith Cowan University, Mount Lawley campus, Perth. A user scenario, which the ClimbIt project is based on, was that a device with a visually engaging user interface design would communicate live 'weather-like' information as they walk up the stairs - hence the title - in real time.

The idea of ClimbIt stemmed from the students' needs to find a lab and computer to complete their assignments between classes. As labs are booked for classes during semesters, students often have to experience awkwardness and cause nuisance to other students and lecturers in classes by knocking on the doors. The ClimbIt project was envisioned as a solution. The core objectives of the project were to: (1) provide an engaging and stimulating learning environment for students; (2) reflect the industry practice of working in collaboration with people from diverse backgrounds; and (3) provide a solution to an authentic problem (i.e. access to lab usage information). As a result, ClimbIt acted as a teaching and learning strategy and a deliverable product (a tangible outcome) that can be used by real users.

Interdisciplinarity is often regarded as an ideal approach for teachers and students to engage in teaching and learning. Nevertheless, many learning institutions and their pedagogies has been framed by disciplinarity. One of the weaknesses of teaching and learning in the isolation of framed disciplines is that it does not reflect the reality of industry practice and prevents students from being ready for industry when they leave university. The Climbit project is an attempt to immerse our students in an authentic problem-solving scenario that steps outside of the traditional notions of discipline and allows them to safely explore the post disciplinary worlds' new workflows while having the guidance and support of the academic framework.

The journey of interdisciplinary teaching and learning by students and academic staff is discussed according to the product development phases. Subsequently, a summary of findings and recommendations for future projects of this nature, based on the authors' observations and surveys are listed.

Managing professional judgment in an undergraduate presentation assessment using consensus moderation

Rosemary Kerr and Vimala Amirthalingam
School of Accounting, Curtin University of Technology
Email: r.kerr@curtin.edu.au, V.Amirthalingam@curtin.edu.au

Employers want graduates who are competent communicators. In a large Bachelor of Commerce unit students are given the opportunity to develop presentation skills in a group assessment. Ensuring consistency and comparability in marking presentations across multiple tutorial groups can be challenging because individual marker 'professional judgment' can skew mark allocation. This presentation reports on the development and use of resources to facilitate a consensus moderation activity for tutors with the aim of establishing an agreed standard for a first year presentation. A rubric was developed that outlined explicit criteria. This rubric formed the basis of communicating assessment expectations and feedback to students on their competency in presentation. At a tutor meeting, videos of student presentations were shown and marked against the rubric. Tutors' marks were collated and the unit coordinator lead a discussion where interpretations of the criteria were clarified and the group agreed on a mark for each presentation. In order to establish the effectiveness of the moderation activity and test inter-assessor reliability the unit coordinator conducted double marking with a sample of tutorial groups. Results indicate that the moderation activity was useful in assisting new tutors understanding of the standard expected and confirmed the approach of the more experienced tutors. Double marking indicated that there was good consistency across tutorial groups. Feedback was gathered from tutors on the meeting process, resources, and rubric and where improvements could be made for further development of resources to assist fair and equitable presentation assessment.

Confronting fatalism in teaching climate change: Reflections on an undergraduate international relations unit

Natalie Latter
School of Social and Cultural Studies, The University of Western Australia
Email: natalie.latter@grs.uwa.edu.au

This project examines some of the problems that can arise for students studying the subject of climate change, particularly a sense of fatalism or powerlessness that can arise when discovering the enormity of the problem and the minimal political action that has taken place. These problems are explored through a critical reflection on the design and content of a three-week section of a first year Political Science and International Relations Unit at UWA, 'The Contemporary International System'. One lecture, one general discussion tutorial, two simulation role play tutorials and one assessed position paper were devoted to climate change in the unit. The particular format of the climate change section of the unit is assessed in terms of its effectiveness at avoiding fatalistic responses from students, and the process is then reflected on from the perspective of the teacher, incorporating feedback from students regarding what they have gained from the climate change section of the unit.

I tweet therefore I am? Challenges in learning identity by teaching web presence

Tama Leaver
Curtin University of Technology
Email: t.leaver@curtin.edu.au

In Internet Studies 202, which shifts to become the first-year flagship unit Web Communications 101 in 2010, learning about the internet and the world wide web is most directly accomplished by experimenting with creating and managing a sense of students' identity online. In order to conceptualise the way identity is conveyed online, the traces of any single person are conceptually divided: firstly, there are internet footprints, which are those conversations, artefacts and media that individuals purposefully and knowingly place on the web; and secondly, there are our digital shadows which contain all of the information ostensibly about 'us' but out of our control. In order to 'claim' our identity, the unit argues that we must make some internet footprints, otherwise any digital shadow will be the only sign of our identity in the digital world. Claiming identity online thus became the core assessment task for the unit, in which students are asked to create a web presence for themselves. The presence, in order to be assessable, is purpose-built during the unit, incorporates both personal identity and a theme (such as Erin the Journalist, or Isaac the Chef), and must be live on the web by the end of the unit. This paper will discuss several challenges in implementing web presence as an assessable learning activity, and the challenges include: the difficulties of working on the internet, and thus publicly, not behind the bounded walls of a learning management system; how to deal with copyright issues since working in public either complicates or just removes and fair dealing rights of reuse for copyrighted material; ensuring students are confident enough to create in the public eye, and how to manage those cases where students chose not to self-identity online; and finally, making the task authentic and purposeful, or trying to ensure the assignment doesn't just result in one more blog discarded at the end of a unit.

55 minute workshop
Student publication in new media

Nancy Longnecker
The University of Western Australia
Will Rifkin
University of New South Wales
Joan Leach
University of Queensland
Lloyd Davis
Otago University
Email: longneck@cyllene.uwa.edu.au, willrifkin@unsw.edu.au, j.leach@uq.edu.au, adelie@stonebow.otago.ac.nz

Publishing on the web involves a set of skills and critical insights that are increasingly important for professional work. Our graduates will need to employ blogs, podcasts, videos, and other web-based media to engage with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders. Their audiences could be local or international, narrow or broad.

Development of teaching and learning strategies to enable students to communicate in 'new media' about science is the aim of the workshop facilitators under a project funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) for 2009-2011.

Experience over the last decade indicates that new media production engages students in authentic tasks and work-integrated learning. Our students' reflective essays and other forms of feedback consistently reveal that they learn about teamwork, oral and written communication, critical thinking, and ethics.

Student-produced Day in Science websites at UNSW provide career guidance for high school students [A HREF="http://www.adayinscience.net/">http://www.adayinscience.net/], and science videos produced by students at the University of Otago win accolades and reap a high volume of visits on iTunes University.

This conference workshop is part of the participatory-design approach of our ALTC project. We will start by asking who is already having students complete assignments in 'new media' and who is considering such approaches, particularly - but not exclusively - in science.

We will share examples gleaned from previous workshops here and abroad - such as video reports and animations created in biology classes and wikis in chemistry. The main part of the workshop will involve small groups identifying the sorts of assignments and support material they would like us to develop for their classes. A short survey form will be employed at the end to find out who has teaching materials to contribute, who wants to evaluate examples that we have gathered, and who is willing to try new and refined materials that we generate.

Rifkin, W., Longnecker, N., Leach, J., Davis, L. & Orthia, L. (2009). Motivate students by having them publish in new media: An invitation to science lecturers to share and test. In 2009 UniServe Science Proceedings. http://science.uniserve.edu.au/images/content/2009_papers/rifkin.pdf

Improving student engagement through a structured peer support program involving international students

Alexandra Ludewig and Tracy Dunne
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia
Email: alexandra.ludewig@uwa.edu.au, tdunne@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

Every year thousands of international students from all over the world are welcomed to Australian university campuses. Many of these students speak languages which local students are keen to learn in order to become true "global graduates". This paper documents a study carried out at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and outlines the development of a model of peer support that aids the learning of both local and international students.

Over a number of years, German Studies in association with the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (FAHSS) has coordinated a voluntary peer support program between international students (who were native speakers of German) and local students (who were studying German). However, the success of the programme has become difficult to quantify as it lacked formal structure and a sound evaluation methodology. In semester two of 2009 the scheme received an 'Improving Student Learning' grant, which enabled a dedicated commitment from staff with the resources to analyse the effectiveness of such a programme. The overarching aim of the program was to evaluate a model of engagement and a manual for peer-assisted study that could be applied equally to other upper-level European and Asian language units taught at UWA.

Two online tools for feedback on grammar and style in academic writing

Greg B. Maguire
Edith Cowan University
Email: g.maguire@ecu.edu.au

This paper introduces two online academic writing tools which could help address some contrasting feedback problems. Firstly, undergraduate students often want more feedback on style (including grammar) rather than just the content in their academic writing. Second, many research students frustrate their supervisors by failing to learn from detailed corrections to their writing style. The literature suggests the former may be related to workload challenges while the latter could arise from not empowering or motivating clients to improve.

Within a broader set of writing and editing resources [http://www.chs.ecu.edu.au/org/rhd/writing/resources.php], I independently developed a numbered coding system for specific types of style and grammatical errors (select "standard faults and symbols"). The second and more innovative tool provides three layers of explanation for each fault (select "interactive web tool"). The first layer briefly expands the coding system's explanation, the second involves several corrected examples, and the last corrects a more complex example of academic writing but also edits it in the direct style I promote.

In my role as an academic writing consultant working with non-English speaking background (NESB) and ESB researchers, I seek to develop their writing skills rather than to just provide an editing service. My feedback strategy depends on the client's strengths. It may involve highlighting the problem text and providing the fault number, with or without further editing; the latter approach is more time-efficient and also fosters self-reliance. In my writing workshops I promote independent learning by only intensively teaching two of these twenty common faults i.e., lack of subject-verb and noun-clause agreement, and then challenging participants to master the rest by exploring the interactive web tool. While feedback on these tools from clients has been encouraging, convincing more academics to trial them with their students would help provide opportunities for valuable appraisal of their broader usefulness.

Migrating courses to Moodle

Philip Marriott
NetSpot Pty Ltd
Email: Philip.Marriott@netspot.com.au

Many higher education institutions are adopting Moodle as their Learning Management System (LMS). The problem exists of how to best migrate existing courses, created in the legacy LMS, into the new Moodle format. There are a range of migration options available that include automated script-based conversions, manual recreation of courses, and variations in between. Migration efforts can also produce variable, and often unexpected, results. Moodle is predisposed to present courses in a flat, linear structure and legacy LMSs that present and store courses in a hierarchical screen-based structure often have navigational and visual issues in Moodle. This paper reviews the current Moodle migration options and makes recommendations based on a literature review, and evaluations of Moodle migrations conducted by NetSpot for a number of Australian and International Universities.

Teaching for persistence and achievement

Pamela Martin-Lynch
Murdoch University
Email: p.martin-lynch@murdoch.edu.au

Over the next few years the higher education sector faces significant challenges in terms of recruitment, access and retention of students from academically disadvantaged backgrounds. In an effort to help overcome some of these challenges, it is important to identify modes of teaching which support students' social, personal and academic development to facilitate a strong sense of belonging to their respective institutions. In the past it has been possible, although not desirable, to maintain a firm line of demarcation between academic and service responsibilities to tertiary students but this line will become increasingly difficult to maintain under the influence of the Bradley Report and the time is ripe to recognise that teaching is, indeed, a service profession. With more students from diverse ethnic, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds coming into the higher education sector, teaching strategies and practices will need to incorporate a commitment to the pastoral care of students since 'access without support is not opportunity' and the rationale behind the current overhaul of Higher Education is to create opportunities where they have been denied previously for a number of reasons (Wilson, 2009). This paper will discuss key ideas from over forty years of research into student retention and first year experience to argue that an holistic approach to teaching, particularly in the first year of tertiary study is a defining factor for assisting student persistence and achievement. In doing so, I will draw on good practice and principles, and discuss the costs and benefits of implementing some of these strategies which may transform the life and learning experiences of all students, but particularly the educationally disadvantaged.

Wilson, K. (2009). The impact of institutional, programmatic and personal interventions on an effective and sustainable first-year student experience. Paper presented at the 12th Annual Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference, Townsville. http://www.fyhe.qut.edu.au/past_papers/papers09/ppts/Keithia_Wilson_paper.pdf

Virtual worlds, real outcomes: authentic learning in and about virtual communities

Helen Merrick, Stewart Woods and Tama Leaver
Curtin University of Technology
Email: h.merrick@curtin.edu.au, s.woods@curtin.edu.au, t.leaver@curtin.edu.au

This paper considers the challenges of designing appropriate, student-centred assessments for a mixed-mode online learning environment unit which focuses on the idea of 'Virtual Communities'. Since 2001 the unit has been offered on-campus and externally at Curtin University, while a parallel version also runs as an Open University Australia unit. A central aim of the unit is to provide experience in managing and participating in online community/ team environments. Since the first run in 2001, the assessment task relating to this outcome has changed significantly from year to year, in response both to student feedback and technological developments. With each iteration, changes to the assessment involved not only the nature of the task, but also the technology that was required to be used, the extent or nature of student interaction, and the extent to which student participation was directly assessed. The paper will focus on three key iterations of the 'online community' assessment task: an online virtual team group project, a communal blog, and finally a collaborative wiki. In general, student satisfaction with and enthusiasm for the task increased with each iteration, which moved from a clearly-defined, directly assessed group project to a highly experiential learning task with no direct assessment for the final outcome. However, there have been some notable differences in experience between Curtin internal students (who also meet face to face) in comparison the those taking the unit through Open Universities Australia (who interact entirely online). In concluding, the paper considers a number of questions raised by this comparative exercise, including how best to design assessments that serve both mixed-mode and online-only students, and how to respond to differentials in student learning styles and openness (and challenges) to online collaborative work.

Turn it off: A case study on environmental leadership

Belinda O'Brien
Environmental Programs, Edith Cowan University
Email: b.obrien@ecu.edu.au

Teaching and Learning comes at a cost, a cost to the environment. The environmental impacts associated with teaching and learning is being examined at Edith Cowan University and some important initiatives are being developed to reduce its environmental footprint. This presentation will provide an overview of the environmental programs being run at Edith Cowan University and will explore environmental data such as energy consumption and what we are doing to reduce it, water use consumption, the challenges and impacts of travelling to and from university, working from home, operating hours of universities, conflicting views of urban development and how all staff can be involved with changing behaviour within our University community.

Facilitating national benchmarking of achievement of graduate attributes and employability skills at course level

Beverley Oliver and Barbara Whelan
Curtin University of Technology
Email: B.Oliver@curtin.edu.au, B.Whelan@curtin.edu.au

In recent years, there has been a very high level of activity in the Australian higher education sector on graduate attributes and mapping them in course curricula. Development of a multiplicity of tools and practices will make it increasingly difficult to benchmark-a practice likely to be encouraged in the emerging debate on standards, and is unsustainable. This paper reports recently developed university-wide practices at Curtin University, and their strong link with ensuring graduate employability. It also provides a snapshot of an audit of similar practices in universities across the sector, as reported recently by representatives from teaching and learning (or academic development) centres. The results show great disparity in practice between institutions and, in some cases, within individual institutions. Many institutional representatives reported high interest in sharing ideas and curriculum tools across institutions, indicating potential for national benchmarking and collaboration to improve the sustainability of such practices.

Intersectional outcomes in women's studies: Student perceptions and practice

Suzanne Passmore
The University of Western Australia
Email: suzanne.passmore@gmail.com

The term 'intersectional analysis' refers to the practice of simultaneously analysing a number of identity categories such as race, gender, class, sexuality and so on. This practice developed primarily from challenges to mainstream (white) feminism by women of colour in the 1970s and 1980s who argued that mainstream feminism only represented the interests of white, middle class women. The practice of intersectional analysis has been adopted by feminists and incorporated in Women's Studies over the following twenty years. This article examines the question of whether intersectional analysis is being effectively taught in the university undergraduate context. It draws on results from a questionnaire administered to 17 students in an upper level Women's Studies unit that promoted intersectional analysis at The University of Western Australia. The questionnaire was designed to elicit information about both students' understandings of the term 'intersectionality' in the context of Women's Studies and the students perception of the ways in which intersectional content is delivered in Women's Studies. Evidence from the student's research assignments is also used to gauge student engagement with the concepts and methodologies of intersectional analysis and to account for the difficulties associated with self-reporting. The results suggest that whilst students understand what intersectionality is, why it is important, and can identify the ways in which they receive intersectional content, there is a gap between this and their implementation of intersectional analysis in their own work. If Women's Studies is to remain sustainable as a discipline in a global and multicultural context, then the teaching and learning of intersectionality must be addressed.

Climate change: Creating online education in Western Australian primary schools

Jennifer Pearson
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.pearson@ecu.edu.au

The climate change debate has left many teachers confused and unsure about what to teach or if they can indeed fit yet another subject into their crowded curriculum. In Western Australia the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) was launched in 2005 to support teachers in implementing education for sustainability across the whole school. While this has been successful in establishing a model of integrated programs for teachers a significant number of teachers choose not to participate. The challenge to conceptualise a novel approach to the designing and delivery of material that children can access with minimal support from teachers was explored. This project reviewed the teaching and learning theories that would support students with online learning and the key elements essential to engage and motivate students. The appropriate technology to deliver activities to promote hands on learning through the curriculum areas of technology and enterprise, science and society and environment were examined. Learning journeys developed were presented as 'Operations' centred on key sustainability issues of energy, waste, water, biodiversity and air.

Evaluating pre-service primary science education: Self efficacy and beliefs

Jennifer Pearson
Edith Cowan University
Email: j.pearson@ecu.edu.au

The common evaluation tool used at ECU to determine the degree to which a unit has supported pre-service teachers learning is the Unit and Teaching Evaluation Instrument (UTEI). While this delivers a range of responses about satisfaction of the unit it does not provide an instrument to test the pre-service teachers self efficacy and belief about their science teaching and learning capabilities. Pre-service teachers at ECU Australia have traditionally completed two units of science education as part of the Bachelor of Education degree. In 2006 a change in the degree structure resulted in only one science unit being offered. It became critical to gather information about the effectiveness of the planned sequence of lectures and tutorials to increase the well documented low self efficacy and beliefs primary pre-service teachers have. Results will be shared from the 2008 data collected.

Early years science: Delving into dinosaurs with the Western Australian Museum

Jennifer Pearson
Edith Cowan University
Brad Kruger
Western Australian Museum
Email: j.pearson@ecu.edu.au, brad.kruger@museum.wa.gov.au

Developing new material for early year science learning is a challenge for education sites such as the Western Australian Museum of Perth. Pre-service teachers from Edith Cowan University collected data from 8 schools who participated in the trialing of the new 'We Dig Dinosaurs' K-3 program. The assessment strategy was based on the TWHL chart. This approach provided opportunities for pre-service teachers to conduct diagnostic assessment before the planned excursion, formative assessment through participatory observation during the excursion and summative assessment a few weeks after the excursion. Teachers were also interviewed about the appropriateness of the excursion and supporting materials to assist young children to understand the outcome of Life and Living. The research question used as the focus of the work was, "In what ways, if any, does the implementation of an early years program 'We Dig Dinosaurs' support children in understanding key Live & Living outcomes?"

Sustaining change in higher education

Coral Pepper
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia
Email: Coral.Pepper@uwa.edu.au

In this presentation I report on leading for sustainable change in a higher education context. Leading for change has been conceptualised as occurring in three phases called initiation, implementation and institutionalisation by Huberman and Miles (1984). Sustainable leadership comprises the three aspects of; leading learning, distributed leadership and succession planning (Hargreaves & Fink, 2003, 2005 & 2006). I use these frameworks in my discussion of survey data collected from unit coordinators who participated in an initiative to implement problem based learning into their teaching units.

Transformative learning in educational tourism

Tim Pitman, Susan Broomhall, Elzbieta Majocha and Joanne McEwan
The University of Western Australia
Email: tim.pitman@uwa.edu.au, broomhal@cyllene.uwa.edu.au, elzbieta.majocha@uwa.edu.au, joanne.mcewan@uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

Transformative learning is important not only for the learner, but so too the teacher-as-learner. Educational tourism - here defined as tourist experiences that explicitly aim to provide structured learning, in situ though active and engaged intellectual praxis - provides an opportunity for university teachers to engage with lifelong learners beyond the Academy. Both the medium (educational tourism) and the participants (lifelong learners) can generate transformative experiences for the teacher which may in turn inform and improve his or her classroom teaching. This paper outlines the results of an Australian Learning and Teaching Council study into how humanities scholars use educational tourism to engage with lifelong learners. The study found that educational tourism is characterised by intentional and structured learning experiences that provide opportunities for the teacher to immerse him or herself in experiences that have the potential to challenge previously held beliefs and biases. Furthermore, the typical educational tourist is a well-educated, critical lifelong learner and as such, challenges the teacher in ways which may not occur in the classroom.

Going places: Cultural studies and praxis

Rebecca Rey and Golnar Nabizadeh
The University of Western Australia
Email: rebecca.rey@uwa.edu.au, nabizg01@student.uwa.edu.au

This paper is primarily concerned with the importance of combining theoretical classroom analysis of Cultural Studies with interactivity and real-life extramural cultural practices. As a working model of the current academic climate, we consider in particular the integration of Cultural Studies into the academic syllabus in the discipline group of English and Cultural Studies (ECS) at The University of Western Australia. The purpose of the paper is to delineate how Cultural Studies is incorporated into the syllabus, and whether pedagogical practices concerning Cultural Studies can be improved. Following our research - qualitative and quantitative - we observe that Cultural Studies has been successfully incorporated into the syllabus in many of the units offered in the discipline of ECS. Nonetheless, our research also shows that undergraduate students are highly motivated to understand Cultural Studies in practice. Our findings suggest that the notion of praxis is highly relevant to the field of Cultural Studies, and an enabling activity from which students would benefit to deepen their curiosity, understanding and enjoyment of the area. We draw together data from undergraduate, postgraduate and staff members in ECS to suggest strategies to enhance the way in which Cultural Studies is integrated into the academic syllabus at UWA, keeping in mind that this institution's pedagogical practices may be representative of others. While the scope of quantitative research is limited to the UWA academic environment, we believe that the lessons learnt can be valuable for other tertiary institutions that incorporate some aspect of Cultural Studies in any humanities disciplines groups.

Getting the teamwork edge: Sustaining skills for future employability

Linda Riebe, Dean Roepen and Bruno Santarelli
Edith Cowan University
Email: l.riebe@ecu.edu.au, d.roepen@ecu.edu.au, b.santarelli@ecu.edu.au
[Refereed professional practice paper. Full text on website]

The 'Employability Skills Framework' developed by peak industry bodies, The Business Council of Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has identified that teamwork is a skill that is highly sought after by Australian employers. The ability to work in teams has also been identified as a significant graduate outcome of higher education. However, there are issues associated with engaging students in teamwork at university, for example: student perceptions of working in teams; free-riding; and, valid assessment of both process and product aspects. This paper shares some insights into some problems of teaching teamwork skills, as well as some solutions, from both the literature and the authorsŐ personal experiences. Tuckman's model of group development is used to identify how teamwork skills might be better facilitated to positively engage students in teamwork, so that they are more than just surviving an assignment, but learning skills they can sustain and transfer to the workplace.

Overseas students in Australia: An experiential view

Maria M. Ryan and Madeleine Ogilvie
Edith Cowan University
Email: m.ryan@ecu.edu.au, m.ogilvie@ecu.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

Overseas students have access to a number of learning opportunities available by virtue of a highly competitive tertiary education market system. Despite the increasing trend for remote, online-based learning programs, many students elect to travel outside their home country to experience the cultural difference of studying abroad. The benefit is symbiotic, with crucial university funding being attracted by increased numbers of overseas students seeking an enriched studying experience. The focus of this paper is the on-campus learning experience received by expatriate students studying in Australia and Singapore. How these students adapt to the different physical, social and emotional environments is examined. It concentrates on students' consumption of the 'home' phenomena through an experiential and sensory approach demonstrating the influence of the senses in the adaptation process.

In depth interviews were conducted with twenty-two students using photoelicitation as an autodriver. Students were given disposable cameras and asked to take photos of important places, people and things that represented home to them in their own country as well as their country of study. When recounting their experiences, all students referred to the positive influence of their senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste) on their experiences, making those experiences more memorable and real. In some instances awareness of this sensory influence helped bridge the gap between their home and country of study. Therefore, it seems that adaptation to the new environment via positive sensory experiences is important if the student is to have a positive, constructive experience studying aboard.

An understanding of the role that experiential feelings and the senses play in the adaptation and learning process is vital for the Australian tertiary institutions if they are to optimise the learning experience for overseas students in a social, cultural and economic context, as well as their economic impact for our tertiary education system.

Sustainability in the tourism curricula in Australian universities: Beyond the rhetoric?

Dale Sanders and Megan Le Clus
Edith Cowan University
Email: d.sanders@ecu.edu.au, m.leclus@ecu.edu.au

Learning about and for sustainability has become an important agenda in Universities across Australia. Accordingly, the higher education sector and its many disciplines and fields of study have introduced a number of strategies and ways for both introducing new sustainability units, and also integrating sustainability concepts and principles into existing curricula. Tourism, as a field of study in Australian universities, has largely grown with this trend toward the inclusion of sustainability content in core teaching and research practice since the release of the Bruntland Report in 1987. It has also widely adopted the report's definition of sustainability as "... development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (WCED 1987, p.43). There is also a dedicated international journal that addressed these issues, the Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

This preliminary research sought to investigate the extent of the incorporation of sustainability into the tourism curricula in higher education by undertaking a course description analysis based on an exploration of course related data published on the websites of the 26 Australian Universities that currently offer tourism programs. The results of this research indicate that most undergraduate tourism programs have a very strong business focus, with only a few describing specific units related to the study of sustainability in their course outlines. Whilst the proportion of identifiable sustainability units and sustainability content in this study was low, it is recommended that further research be undertaken to uncover and map the scope and scale of the integration of sustainability concepts within individual units. This will provide a clearer indication of whether tourism as a discipline or area of study has moved beyond the rhetoric to be fully inclusive of sustainability policy and practice.

Environmental and social sustainability impacts of teaching and research: Some ideas

Rowena H. Scott
Edith Cowan University
Email: r.scott@ecu.edu.au

One aim of Australia's 2009 National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability is to equip all Australians with the awareness, knowledge, skills, values and motivation to live sustainably in order that future generations can meet their needs. Despite the efforts of ECU Green Office Program, their brief is not to address curriculum issues so consequently this paper aims to be a starting point for discussions that examine how we at Edith Cowan University teach and conduct research that considers their environmental, social, cultural and economic implications. This paper focuses on two main issues: how ECU units teach in environmentally sustainable ways and how ECU units teach in socially sustainable ways. This examination of how we currently address issues of sustainability in our practices of teaching and research will enable us to discover gaps and opportunities for further addressing these complex issues in our curriculum and research. The principles of sustainability encompass the notions of many solutions to any problem so we will investigate current good practices with the understanding that "one size does not fit all". Together we may find exemplars of good practice in another discipline and accept these tips as recommendations for enhancing our own good practice.

Designing a comprehensive rubric for laboratory report assessment

Salim Siddiqui, Robert Loss, Aidan Hotan, Ming Lim and Marjan Zadnik
Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Curtin University of Technology
Email: s.siddiqui@curtin.edu.au, r.loss@curtin.edu.au, a.hotan@curtin.edu.au, m.lim@curtin.edu.au, m.zadnik@curtin.edu.au

Assessment moderation processes play a vital role in maintaining quality assurance for university courses. These processes ensure that the assessment is consistent, reproducible and transparent. They also assure students that their work is assessed with fairness and addresses the stated learning outcomes.

In line with Curtin's Assessment & Moderation Policy, we applied a moderation process to first-year science enabling units. One of the major assessment components of these units is the laboratory work, which involves taking a wide range of measurements of physical quantities with due regard to measurement uncertainties, analysing the data, calculating the results and interpreting the results. The students then present their work in a formal scientifically written report to their laboratory demonstrator for assessment. The students' reports are assessed using a specific rubric which is available to students and the demonstrators through Blackboard at the beginning of the semester.

To gauge any variations in marking, eight demonstrators and two staff members were provided with a set of six de-identified laboratory reports for marking using the current rubric. The results obtained showed that the percentage standard deviation of all the demonstrators varied from 18% to 42% from the mean value. We believe this may be due to a wide range of demonstrators' experience and background knowledge and also whether they have completed the annually run Curtin's Laboratory Demonstrators' Workshop. In consultation with the Office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning, the current rubric was re-designed to show a further breakdown of marks for future use. Following discussion with demonstrators and staff the re-designed rubric was accepted with some modifications. To check the validity and reliability of the new rubric, another set of six reports were marked by the same assessors. In this presentation we will discuss the results of the current and the modified rubric.

How do undergraduates perceive the place of history within their wider university studies?

Lesley Silvester
The University of Western Australia
Email: silvel01@student.uwa.edu.au

What are university students' perceptions of history? History educators have voiced concerns that the incorporation of history, with other subjects, into social and environmental studies has resulted in students failing to appreciate its relevance (Burvill-Shaw, 2007; Tristram & Byerlee, 2007). A survey of first and second year students at one Australian university was conducted in 2009 to determine students' perceptions of the importance and relevance of history. The results confirmed findings of other research and showed that although history was not considered relevant to a career, there is a healthy interest in the subject. The challenge to history educators is to keep and expand that interest. It is suggested that schools and universities should combine approaches to develop history as a vocational subject to increase its relevance in the minds of the students.

Problem based learning versus case based learning: Students' perceptions in pre-clinical medical education

Nita Sodhi-Berry and Helena Iredell
School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia
Email: nsodhi@meddent.uwa.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

Problem based learning (PBL) is a small group learning method widely used in medical education. However, educators have concerns with its potential for group dysfunction, the difficulty in truly accomplishing self-directed learning and its sustainability. Yet it is recognised that medical education wishes to retain small group teaching that is interactive and collaborative in nature but develop one that has efficacy in educational practice, attaining the learning outcomes and resource use. Case based learning (CBL) has been acknowledged as a more structured approach to collaborative learning that consolidates and integrates newly acquired knowledge and skills. Little research has compared PBL with other small group methods. This study investigated students' perceptions towards CBL and PBL, after a pilot CBL intervention in a core unit.

All Year 2 and Year 3 students enrolled in the medical degree at The University of Western Australia received the CBL intervention over six weeks in a core unit, after experiencing PBL for at least 1.5 years. Of all students, 82.3% (n=255) completed a 22-item questionnaire about their perceptions towards the relative advantages of these two methods. An overwhelming 79% (n=201) of students strongly supported CBL, with only 12% (n=30) supporting the PBL method. This tremendous support for CBL over PBL was consistent across both year 2 and year 3, as well as for both males and females, with no significant difference between the different groups (p>0.05). The majority of students perceived case based learning as having more advantages than problem based learning, with CBL being able to achieve most of the recognised benefits of PBL. CBL is a promising alternative to PBL in medical education, offering a more sustainable alternative that still captures the positive characteristics of PBL but in a way that is more efficient in resource utilisation.

Surviving and sustaining teaching excellence: A narrative of entrapment

Heather Sparrow
Edith Cowan University
Email: h.sparrow@ecu.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

This paper discusses issues of social sustainability in the context of teaching excellence in contemporary universities, and reports the findings emerging from a work-in-progress study of Award Winning Teachers. It provides evidence that teachers recognised for their passion, commitment and expertise in teaching, work well beyond their paid hours to achieve excellence. Most become 'entrapped' in a culture of over-work that can have a negative impact on their lives and well-being. Factors that influence 'teaching sustainability' are presented, to support university teachers, administrators and managers in thinking about ways to improve the teaching and learning environment for teachers as well as for students.

Embedding sustainability education in the engineering curriculum through a national design competition

Brad Stappenbelt and Chris Rowles
The University of Western Australia
Email: brad.stappenbelt@uwa.edu.au, chrisr@mech.uwa.edu.au

In order to progress the process of change toward the Millennium development goals and global sustainable development, education necessarily plays a significant role. Amongst the many challenges facing educators is the question of how to better align the higher education curriculum with the requirements for global sustainability whilst achieving the dual outcomes of educating about and for sustainable development. At the University of Western Australia (UWA), sustainability education was embedded within a core first-year engineering unit through the adoption of a national design competition. The Engineers Without Borders (EWB) design challenge was employed as the focus of student activity within the unit Introduction to Professional Engineering. This unit is the foundation of the engineering student's professional development at UWA. The content of this unit includes examining multi-disciplinary, legal, ethical, social, sustainability, communication and environmental considerations related to professional engineering practice. The EWB design challenge provided students with the opportunity to learn about professional engineering whilst contributing towards a real international development project. The understanding and application of the triple bottom line concept was a core requirement for the successful completion of both the design task and the unit of study. The EWB design challenge was integrated in the unit using a project-based learning framework and several innovative approaches such as the use of a cultural advisory panel and interactive workshops were utilised to enhance student engagement. The adoption of the EWB design challenge competition assisted in the development of a range of sustainability related generic engineering graduate attributes specified through the Institute of Engineers Australia (IEAust) accreditation standards. These included an understanding of the social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities of the professional engineer, and the need for sustainable development; understanding of the principles of sustainable design and development; and understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities and commitment to them. Many student comments indicated that their experience with the EWB sustainable development project was a transformative experience.

Relational education for sustainability

Laura Stocker
Curtin University of Technology
Kathryn Netherwood
Lance Holt School
Email: L.Stocker@curtin.edu.au, kathryn@lanceholtschool.wa.edu.au

In this paper we show how a relational ontology can underpin education for sustainability, by locating the learning process within children's own place and community. We show how an open, inquiry-based, relational approach can lead the children into a deeper understanding of the place and community that sustains them, and ultimately into a deeper sense of stewardship for that place. We show that sustainability education and values education can support each other by presenting a series of short narratives reflecting on activities at Lance Holt School an independent primary school in the west end of Fremantle. The narratives are developed from deep conversations with parents and teachers, and participant action research with classes over a period of years.

The social side of social media: Technology or collaboration?

Elaine Tay and Matthew Allen
Curtin University of Technology
Email: e.tay@curtin.edu.au, m.allen@curtin.edu.au

This paper discusses how course design may draw upon social media in order to teach students appropriate skills for a network society in the context of team-work based learning. The emphasis is not upon web 2.0 and social media as inherently suited to providing educational solutions, but upon the ways in which they can be adapted by course designers within the framework of explicit learning objectives. More specifically, we provide a case study of how the use of social media in a blended or wholly-online learning environment provides affordances for team-based collaborative learning, especially when incorporated within a course design that encourages independent, self-directed and authentic learning. This paper argues we need to assess the social aspects of social media, rather than upon the technological, that is, avoid the fetishisation of 'apps,' through the creation of assessment that alternately foregrounds a critical appraisal of web 2.0 technologies and places onus upon the students to develop, with guidance, teamwork skills and processes. We provide an example of how it is possible to integrate web 2.0 technologies into their learning processes and assessment, in order to teach about the realities of collaborating with others in small teams in a work environment increasingly mediated by the Internet. In order to achieve these learning outcomes, course design needs to balance scaffolding with the need to place the imperative for learning specific content and skills upon the students, the latter through the provision of assessment outcomes and resources that the students need to work towards together.

Recognising, enhancing and developing sessional teachers: A sustainable approach

Eileen Thompson, Sue Miller and Bonnie Thomas
The University of Western Australia
Email: eileen.thompson@uwa.edu.au

This paper outlines a project designed to develop a university-wide approach to the professional development of sessional teachers at The University of Western Australia (UWA). Informed by previous studies concerning sessional staff conducted by the Australian Universities Teaching Committee (AUTC) and the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), the current project aims to help the university meet its responsibility of providing quality teaching for the large number of students who are taught by sessional staff. The RED Report, the publication produced by the ALTC project team, emphasises in particular the urgent need to Recognise, Enhance and Develop sessional teachers and consequently the imperative to develop systemic and sustainable policy and practice in relation to sessional staff. The integrated model developed at UWA by the project team (consisting of six representatives from different faculties and an academic developer from the Centre for the Advancement for Teaching and Learning) aims to achieve these objectives. The project also builds on previous research by Hicks (1999) and others who investigated the relevant value of centrally-provided versus faculty-based, discipline-specific professional development of sessional staff. The model to be described exemplifies centralised and decentralised practices that cater for the needs of different disciplines; and ongoing collaboration between the central teaching and learning unit and faculty representatives responsible for the professional development of sessional staff.

First do no harm: Using systems thinking to build capacity and capability and sustain knowledge on safety and quality for health professionals

Sandy Thomson, Joan Sheppard and Robert Laing
Murdoch University
Email: sandyt@southwest.com.au, r.laing@murdoch.edu.au

Health professionals are under extreme pressure to provide safe quality care to patients. They also require knowledge and understanding of the complex system they work in and the challenges they face particularly in areas of leadership, management and avoiding harm to patients. Through extensive surveys of health professionals within acute and aged care sectors, the need for a stand alone course focussed on service improvement and management skills was identified. This need was supported by evidence that patients are still being harmed and that for many health professionals exposure to the principles of continuous improvement is limited. Building the capacity and capability of the workforce through education on quality and safety is a national agenda item for the new National Health Reform Commission and is a standing agenda item for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

In response to this Murdoch University developed and implemented a stand alone short course on quality and safety in health care in 2007. A key feature of the course was applied learning with the requirement to undertake a quality improvement project associated with student's workplace and to develop a "tool kit" of resources which they can continue to use in professional life. Due to demand this short course has now been converted to a Masters in Health Management Quality and Leadership with students from across Australia enrolling.

Students are assessed pre and post completion of the Unit to ascertain their level of knowledge of quality and safety (which includes aspects of accreditation, clinical and corporate governance, use of data and evaluating methodologies). A follow up evaluation is conducted 6 months post completion of the unit to assess the level of embedded learning. Preliminary data indicates that 80% of students indicated a basic to no understanding of quality and safety principles on enrolment and on completion of the course, 90% indicated high to full competence. Evaluation of the embedded learning indicates these skills are being retained and utilised in every day practice. Students have the choice to remain part of a network to receive up to date information, and lecturers also provide a mentoring role for dealing with issues in the workplace. The high levels of satisfaction with the course, the level of improvement and the level of embedded learning will bring about sustainability of knowledge and application of key skills in quality and safety for today and for tomorrow.

From scholarship to publication in a journal: Insights from a guest editor

Iris Vardi
Curtin University of Technology
Email: i.vardi@curtin.edu.au

Presenting teaching and learning innovations and investigations at conferences, and even getting these published in conference proceedings, is different from getting published in a top ranked international journal. This presentation highlights some of the differences between conference and journal publication in teaching, learning and higher education. It draws on the presenter's experience as a guest editor for a special issue of Higher Education Research and Development (HERD): an educational journal ranked by the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative as A* (i.e. in the top 5% of journals for the discipline). The presentation will examine what journal reviewers and editors look for in a submission, what they comment on, and how editorial decisions are made. It will also explore how you can progressively develop your scholarly endeavours to publication.

Investigating attrition at the course level

Iris Vardi
Curtin University of Technology
Email: i.vardi@curtin.edu.au

Universities often investigate attrition through interviewing and/or surveying students who have left the university. This type of investigation provides useful general information that can be applied across the university. It informs university-wide retention plans and typically addresses matters such as support services, orientation programs, programs for prospective students, socialisation into the university and peer group, and the like. However, such investigations do not address the reasons for students leaving a specific course. They are also often hampered by the difficulty in contacting and obtaining information from this student group. Based on an investigation of first year attrition in a specific undergraduate course, this presentation highlights additional ways in which attrition can be investigated at the local area level. It presents a range of techniques that can be triangulated with the findings from interviews or surveys designed specifically to address local issues. Further, it demonstrates how this additional information can inform the development of course specific retention strategies.

Grading clinical practice: Are performance standards the answer?

Robert Waller
Curtin University of Technology
Email: r.waller@curtin.edu.au

Post-graduate physiotherapy programs have been running at Curtin University since 1978. As part of the programs students complete a Clinical Practice Unit. In 2008 Performance Standards (PS) were introduced with six criteria reflecting different aspects of clinical practice to guide grading of students. Prior to the introduction of the PS examiners used an exam marking guide. Without PS to assist in the allocation of marks the process was subjective and open to inconsistency between examiners. The introduction of PS aimed to address these issues. In 2008 the Clinical examiners used the PS to grade a student who had been videoed doing a patient exam. The inter-examiner reliability across parts of the PS criteria was moderate. The variability in the interpretation of the PS by different examiners highlighted the need for further development.

For 2009 the PS were modified in response to the inter-examiner reliability study. A limitation of the 2008 study was that the examiners marked the video exam separately and did not have the opportunity to discuss the marking process to allow for moderation. The inter-examiner reliability has been retested again in 2009. This process has resulted in significant improvements in grading clinical practice performance of post-graduate physiotherapy students. This presentation will showcase the PS and how they are used in the clinical setting to improve moderation. The results of this study will be presented along with lessons learnt and future directions for moderation in Post-graduate Physiotherapy clinical practice.

Virtual wound clinic: Using a virtual world for inter-professional health care education

Robin Watts, Leah Irving, Kim Flintoff and John Lin Wen Ying
Curtin University of Technology
Email: R.Watts@curtin.edu.au, L.Irving@curtin.edu.au, K.Flintoff@curtin.edu.au, j.LiWenYing@curtin.edu.au

The Virtual Wound Clinic is a collaborative project between Curtin University and Kings College London (KCL) to develop an inter-professional approach to clinical education using the virtual world Second Life. Initially students from two Schools from each institution - Nursing and Pharmacy - will participate however if found to be feasible this will be expanded to include other disciplines in both IPE and discipline specific learning activities. The project uses a case study around wound management with a strong focus on hand washing. All actions, responses and communication by students (through their avatars) in the virtual clinic are recorded in a learning management system by integrating Second Life with Moodle thus facilitating close monitoring of learning and assessment.

While much there is much interest around the possibility for authentic learning contexts in virtual worlds this is still relatively early days and there are many considerations for integrating these technologies in teaching and learning. This paper outlines the process and pedagogy of the project as well as the practical requirements, considerations, barriers and bridges for undertaking such a project in higher education.

The impact of diverse student backgrounds and flexible delivery modes on assessment outcomes

Jianhong (Cecilia) Xia and Shelley Yeo
Faculty of Science and Engineering, Curtin University of Technology
Email: c.xia@curtin.edu.au, s.yeo@curtin.edu.au
[Refereed research paper. Full text on website]

Managing the diversity of student backgrounds in today's complex higher education classrooms is a challenging task for lecturers. This paper reports on action research involving a complex nested group of units in Geographic Information Science (GIS) delivered to a diverse student body, including international and domestic students from different disciplines studying in on-campus, online and distance education modes. GIS is a technology-dependent discipline of relevance to a wide variety of other disciplines including, for example land management, urban development or health sciences, to facilitate land-use planning, map disease distribution, analyse spatial patterns of crime or model urban growth. The concern of the lecturer was that adaptation of the learning activities necessary for accommodating flexible modes of delivery and student backgrounds would impact on student assessment outcomes. The research findings indicate that while there were some significant differences in assessment outcomes associated with student backgrounds and discipline, no differences could be ascribed to, for example, language background of students. This paper discusses the study and seeks explanations for the results. The implications for teaching and further action research with this unit in order to sustain student numbers and teaching and learning standards in the future are also presented.

Please cite as: TL Forum (2010). Educating for sustainability. Proceedings of the 19th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 28-29 January 2010. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://otl.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2010/abstracts.html

© 2010 Edith Cowan University. Copyrights in the individual articles in the Proceedings reside with the authors as noted in each article's footer lines.

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