Teaching Improvement and Equipment Scheme (TIES) Large Grants -- 2009

In January 2009, the Faculty of Education and Social Work was awarded $153,176.58 by the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) to be divided between the following four applications for large Teaching Improvement and Equipment Scheme grants:

Embedding diversity – an Indigenous-voice project
This project develops staff understanding of the social justice issues implicit in the teaching of Indigenous students. It will improve the quality of teaching and learning by providing opportunities for staff and students to understand and acknowledge the value of Indigenous cultures. The initiative will:

  • assist staff in embedding Indigenous issues and perspectives within their units of studies
  • develop and deliver a professional-development course, "Connecting to Country", to academic staff
  • develop learning-team days with the faculty and the Koori Centre to equip staff with improved skills for supporting Indigenous students as well as learning and teaching in diversity
  • support the operation of workshops of Lyn Riley’s Kinship game to first-year education students and third- and fourth-year social work students
  • support Indigenous artists, performers and writers to visit the University as guest speakers to staff and students.

IP rural – rural hubs to support interprofessional student experiences
This project builds on the scoping data completed within a 2008 TIES grant, "Development of interprofessional student experiences in rural NSW", and aims to identify specific rural-hub sites used by some faculties, as well as pilot the establishment of others. Once identified and described, these sites would require acknowledgement and support from the University as bases from which students and staff from all faculties would have the opportunity to work in rural contexts. The process of hub-site recognition would include identifying local networks and support services, accommodation and availability of facilities for teaching and learning. These sites would provide a base for students on professional placements and those carrying out research or field education, and thus support a unique opportunity for student interaction from all faculties and schools for interprofessional learning, consistent with the focus of IP rural. The project supports the coordination and enhancement of existing diverse professional-experience programs across the University, as well as the integration of rural initiatives based in the health faculties.

Working across the divide – education and health working together
Teachers who are able to adjust programs appropriately for students with special-education needs are skilled and knowledgeable about curriculum, instruction and environment, however, developing this level of knowledge requires more than simple awareness of skills and knowledge: it requires teachers who have deep understandings of the interaction between skills and theory. This cross-faculty project, involving staff from Health Sciences and Education and Social Work, will investigate how this deep level of knowledge construction can be enhanced through engaging students in multimode learning activities. The project will replicate learning activities across subjects and level of study and provide the knowledge gained about effective teaching and learning practices to faculty members involved in developing future subjects.

From paper to electronic – enhancing learning in social work field education (the PEELS project)
This project aims to respond to student feedback and changed social work professional education requirements by adapting the current, paper-based demonstration of learning, to a multimodal eTechnology process. Students are currently required to record the development and eventual outcomes of their field education in four separate documents: a learning contract, mid-placement and end-of-placement reports and, lastly, a critical-reflection essay. Together, these are the basis for assessment and ultimately the student's result of satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Feedback from students and academics indicates concern about the repetitive nature of the first three documents and their limitations in relation to demonstrating the depth of learning achieved (USE 2007, Social Work Field Education survey 2007, 2008). This project aims to review the current recording processes with the purposes of:

  • reducing repetition
  • strengthening the major themes of student learning
  • adapting to a multimodal eTechnology process
  • incorporating the detail to help achieve new standards for social work education and practice.

The project will engage an educational designer to help develop eTechnology material and will conclude with an education session for academic field-education teaching staff.