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Creating an inclusive learning environment: Engagement, equity, and retention

Welcome, Organising Committee and Editorial

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On behalf of the Teaching and Learning Forum Committee I welcome you to the 21st Teaching and Learning Forum. It is a tribute to the various organising committees over the years, starting at Curtin University in 1992, that the Forum has continued to prosper as a joint venture between the five Western Australian universities. It is also a tribute to the regular forum-goers among you, who continue to contribute to the vibrancy of the Forum.

2012 marks a change in the management in the Teaching and Learning Forum, with the formal establishment of the WA Network for Dissemination (WAND), which is supported for two years with legacy funding from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. WAND is an overarching body overseeing three annual activities, of which the Teaching and Learning Forum is one. The others are the existing one-day WAND Sharing Day in November, and a mid-year workshop about skills required for learning and teaching grants and awards. The WAND steering committee sets general directions for the Teaching and Learning Forum Conference Committee, which oversees and manages the Forum.

In 2012, we want to return the Forum to its original roots by encouraging more discussion and interactivity in the sessions. We have a great range of presentations, workshops and plenary sessions which we hope will be thought-provoking and energising as the new academic year approaches.

I'd like to thank the committee for their efforts in what has been a rather short preparation period for this year's Forum. We especially appreciate the contributions of our sponsors, which help to keep the registration costs low. Finally, I'd like to record a special vote of thanks to Clare McBeath and Roger Atkinson, who have for many years done a sterling job of managing the paper submission and proceedings publication process. Well done, you two!

Rob Phillips
Teaching and Learning Forum Committee

Organising Committee

Rob Phillips (Chair)Murdoch University
Roger AtkinsonConsultant
Michelle ByeInstitute for Public Administration Australia, WA
Anne CoffeyUniversity of Notre Dame Australia
Sarah EtheringtonMurdoch University
Veronica GoerkeCurtin University
Bethanie GouldthorpMurdoch University
Dani Boase-JelinekMurdoch University
Pamela Martin-LynchMurdoch University
Clare McBeathConsultant
Cathy MooreEdith Cowan University
Angus Morrison-Saunders     Murdoch University
Sid NairThe University of Western Australia
Freyja van OyenInstitute for Public Administration Australia, WA
Megan PaullMurdoch University
Diana PurseMurdoch University
Audra YoungInstitute for Public Administration Australia, WA


Table 1 presents our standard summary of numbers of submissions and outcomes for TL Forum 2012. Table 2 provides an eight year overview, which suggests upon initial perusal that "steady state" and "sustainable" (a phrase used in the 2010 Editorial [1]) remain the most apt descriptors for the series, now numbering 21 Forums (1992-2012) [3].

Table 1: Summary of TL Forum 2012 numbers of submissions and outcomes

Category (a)Submitted (b)AcceptedRejectedOfferedWithdrawn(b)Net outcome(b)
Ref research13103(c)1019
Ref prof prac770707
Abstract only5353057(d)453
  1. See http://www.murdoch.edu.au/Teaching-and-Learning-Forum/Call-for-papers/ for definitions of the categories of submissions. Refereed papers, both categories, and all abstracts are published online at the TL Forum Proceedings website, http://otl.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2012/contents-all.html. The Workshop category includes one 'Symposium' and one 'Panel Discussion'.
  2. As there may be additional withdrawals after the date of last revision of this table (18 Jan 2012), numbers in these columns are subject to change.
  3. Of the 3, all were offered Abstract only publication.
  4. Added 3 from Research rejects and 1 from workshop rejects.
  5. Offered Abstract only publication.
For TL Forums 2005-2011 numbers of submissions and outcomes, see similar tables in the 2005-2011 'Welcome' pages at http://otl.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf-pubs.html
Compiler: Roger Atkinson.

Table 2: TL Forums 2005-2012 submissions and outcomes summary (a)

YearResearchProfessional practiceAbs only
Total all
SubmittedAcceptedOffer PPSubmittedAcceptedTotal(b)
a. Data sources: http://otl.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2012/editorial.html, and similar files for 2005-2011 Forums.
b. Total for PP includes submissions in the Research category that were offered publication in PP.
c. Includes all categories: Research, Professional practice, Abstract only publication and Workshops.
d. W is the number of post-acceptance withdrawals (or cancellations), all categories.
Compiler: Roger Atkinson

With the descriptors "steady state" and "sustainable" in mind, we looked back at the editorial advice offered in the TL Forum 2011 Proceedings [1]. Can we perceive an optimistic update that we can give to authors of full papers, and to the authors of abstract only presentations who are 'working up' their research and professional practice activities towards a full paper? Not readily! Perhaps the best that can be done is a repetition of last year's advice, in particular Richard Winter's perspective on writing as an act of learning:

"...writing up a report is an act of learning and in this sense, we write for ourselves so that, when we read what we have written, we find out what, in the end, we have learned". [2]
This sense of a continuing degree of pessimism about conference publication is based on a perusal of the publicly available documentation that the Australian Research Council has provided to date on its ERA 2012 process [3]. The 2012 Submission Guidelines relating to "Conference Publications - Full Paper Refereed" are almost identical to the 2010 version, though of course the 2012 documentation has deleted all references to "Tiers". The key sentence in both 2010 and 2012 is:
Institutions are required to submit information on all eligible peer reviewed conference publications for each year of the research outputs reference period. [4]
The question that may arise in the minds of at least some authors could be, "What recognition do I (and my university) receive for a conference publication of research?", or in a manner more colloquial, "Why bother?" The ARC's FAQs on ERA 2012 conference publications [5], contains the question, "How do I know if my conference publication should be submitted for ERA 2012?", but the reader has to sift much further to obtain information on "What recognition ...". However, rather than digging deeper in that direction, let's turn instead to a reiteration of one of the positive perspectives in the 2011 Editorial [1]:
A number of perspectives may be entertained. One perspective is the view that TL Forum's core strength is the interchange of ideas that will benefit teaching and learning, and research is secondary, though of course research underlies all endeavours to improve teaching and learning ... [1]
Continuing the positive perspective theme, we hope that your participation, as presenters and as members of the audiences in presentations, will be as Rob Phillips has stated above, "... thought-provoking and energising as the new academic year approaches."

Roger Atkinson and Clare McBeath
TL Forum Proceedings Editors


  1. TL Forum (2011). Welcome and Editorial. In Developing student skills for the next decade. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 1-2 February 2010. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://otl.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2011/editorial.html
  2. Winter, R. (1996). Some principles and procedures for the conduct of action research. In O. Zuber-Skerritt (Ed), New directions for action research. London: Farmer. Quoted in TL Forum 2005 Editorial, http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2005/editorial.html and in [1].
  3. ARC (Australian Research Council) (2011). ERA 2012. http://www.arc.gov.au/era/era_2012/era_2012.htm
  4. ARC (2011). ERA 2012 Submission Guidelines. http://www.arc.gov.au/pdf/era12/ERA2012_SubmissionGuidelines.pdf. The comparable file for ERA 2010 is ERA2010_sub_guide.pdf
  5. ARC (2011). Frequently asked questions. http://www.arc.gov.au/era/faq.htm

Please cite as: TL Forum (2012). Creating an inclusive learning environment: Engagement, equity, and retention. Proceedings of the 21st Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 2-3 February 2012. Perth: Murdoch University. http://otl.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2012/contents-all.html

© 2012 Murdoch 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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Created 22 Jan 2012. Last revision: 25 Jan 2012.