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  1. Design for learning in higher education

    A critical part of a university teacher’s work involves learning design. Teachers routinely engage within a complex interplay of factors including their own beliefs about teaching and learning, discipline expertise, knowledge of past student cohorts and experience in different teaching and learning contexts. This occurs in an increasingly dynamic and demanding higher education environment that attempts to cater for the changing needs of students. This seminar will present findings from a program of research that has focused on investigating university teachers’ design practice with the aim of developing better ways to support that practice. The seminar will also look forward to consider how the emerging field of learning analytics might support teachers’ design work particularly for the online learning environment.

    Professor Lori Lockyer
    School of Education
    Macquarie University
    2014

  2. University corridors, student engagement and ethos

    This presentation is based on a comparative study of learning spaces in two campuses in Australia and New Zealand and the impact on the university ethos of “what is on the walls for students”. It critically examines the role of corridors and informal spaces in campus on students’ sense of belonging and their engagement. Questioning the presumption that learning happens only in a classroom where the expert delivers knowledge and transitional spaces have the sole role to organise walking, we also explore if institutional arrangements stay focused on discipline, hierarchies and control rather than on students’ engagement in learning.

    Dr Stefan Popenici
    Senior Lecturer in Higher Education
    Centre for the Study of Higher Education
    University of Melbourne
    2014

  3. Learning outcomes and direct assessment

    Over the last few years there has been an increasing interest in measuring university effectiveness in terms of what students learn and can do as a result of their course of study. Current institutional performance indicators are usually proxies for student learning and involve external testing and surveys of student satisfaction and engagement. These often do not measure specific learning outcomes.
    This seminar will explore a possible path to more meaningful institutional indicators through specifying a set of generalised undergraduate learning outcomes; examining assessment options for testing individual student achievement of them; and using these direct assessment results to measure teaching effectiveness of universities in terms of the success of their students in achieving their specified learning outcomes. Challenges and recent developments in using direct assessment to evaluate learning outcomes will be discussed.

    Lin Martin
    University of Melbourne
    2014

  4. Internationalization of the Heartland

    Recently US Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from the State of Minnesota, commented that the United States needs a refreshed version of international policy and diplomacy after years of knee-jerk reactions and over-hyped responses to global events. Klobuchar's "internationalization of the heartland" provides a template for internationalization in Midwestern US universities as they develop strategic plans for internationalization that both recognize the "common sense" roots of America's heartland as well as its diversity and global interconnectedness brought about through immigration and global commerce. This presentation will provide an overview of initiatives at the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development, leading to an interactive discussion on the possible tensions and linkages between local motivations (such as heartland values) and institutional internationalization efforts.

    Christopher J. Johnstone, Ph.D.
    Director of International Initiatives and Relations
    College of Education and Human Development
    University of Minnesota
    2014

  5. Assuring graduates' English language learning outcomes: Options and strategies

    Australian universities states that oral and written communication skills are important graduate attributes. Yet there are perceptions within the community that graduates lack the necessary communication skills, as we see from employers and through allegations of soft-marking. There is a gap between what universities state is important and public perceptions that raise questions about the quality of Australian higher education. This presentation will discuss the findings from an Office for Learning and Teaching Senior National fellowship focused on effective and economical ways of addressing the gap without increasing workloads for academics.

    Associate Professor Sophie Arkoudis
    Lecturer in Higher Education
    Centre for the Study of Higher Education
    University of Melbourne
    2014

  6. Fostering Interaction in online education: Where did the teacher go?

    The field of educational technology has a longstanding interest in the concept of interaction and interactivity. With every emerging technology comes the promise of new forms of interaction and novel ways of engaging students in the learning process. The attention researchers, teachers and developers of educational technology have given to interaction is well founded. The educational theories and the teaching and learning frameworks used to guide research and practice in the area of educational technology and online learning have consistently emphasised learning as a social process that involves interaction among people, and between people and artifacts. However, in this presentation I will argue that educators and technologists have not done a particularly good job in using technology in systemic ways to enhance and support teaching and learning interactions. One result of this, I will argue, is that we risk sidestepping teachers and the valuable process of teaching when we “go online”.

    Professor Gregor Kennedy
    Director of eLearning
    Centre for the Study of Higher Education
    University of Melbourne
    2014