Keynote Speakers & Presentations

This year's conference featured a presentation by the ALTC Discipline Scholars in Science (Professor Sue Jones and Professor Brian Yates) and two Keynote Speakers (Associate Professor Simon Pyke and Associate Professor Garry Hoban).

ALTC Special Presentation

Sue Jones

Professors Sue Jones and Brian Yates from the University of Tasmania have recently been appointed as ALTC Discipline Scholars in Science. Their presentation provided delegates with an opportunity to engage in dialogue and to provide feedback for this ALTC Learning and Teaching Academic Standards project.

Professor Jones teaching expertise has been recognised with an ALTC Australian Award for Teaching Excellence Australian Award (2008). She fosters a learning environment that encourages students to become articulate, competent scientists. She is the First Year Coordinator for Zoology, and works on easing her students' transition into university studies. She also teaches at second and third year level, with her research interests are reflected in her third year teaching. She is a triple Teaching Excellence Award winner, a fellow of HERDSA (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australia), and received a Carrick Citation in 2007. Her primary research focus is the evolution of viviparity in vertebrates, using viviparous (live- bearing) lizards as model species. Her second major interest is how environmental stressors affect the endocrine (hormone) system.

Brian Yates

Threshold learning outcomes for science graduates: a progress report on the Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Project

Abstract: The Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Project (LTAS) has been established by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) to engage discipline communities in the development of academic standards. As a demonstration project, the LTAS will lay the foundations for demonstrated achievement of learning outcomes by graduates, and will provide institutes with tools with which to develop standards-related processes. Discipline Scholars are leading this process, working with their discipline communities to define core learning outcomes for program/majors. These will be threshold standards, expressed as the minimum learning outcomes that a graduate of any given discipline must have achieved.
As the Discipline Scholars in Science, we are working with the Australian Council of Deans of Science and a Reference Group of stakeholders drawn from the academic community, employer representatives and professional bodies. We also seek to engage more broadly with our discipline community via fora such as this UniServe Annual Conference. In our presentation, we will outline the scope of the LTAS and its relevance to current issues in the tertiary education sector. We will provide a report on our progress to date, and present draft Threshold Learning Outcomes for information and discussion.

Keynote Speakers

Simon Pyke

Simon M. Pyke is Associate Dean (Learning & Quality) in the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Adelaide. He has received several university, state and national teaching awards including the D. R. Stranks Medal for Excellence in Chemistry Education. He currently leads two projects funded by ALTC, Developing leaders of change in the teaching of large university chemistry classes and Advancing Science by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory (ASELL). Professor Pyke is the representative of the Australian Council of Deans of Science on the ASELL project and has hosted the first multidisciplinary ASELL workshop at the University of Adelaide in April 2010. Details of Simon's presentation will be made available shortly.

The Advancing Science by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory (ASELL) Project: The Next Chapter

Abstract: Most researchers agree that the laboratory experience consistently ranks as a significant factor that influences students’ attitudes to their science courses. Consequently, good laboratory programs should play a major role in influencing student learning and performance. The laboratory program can be pivotal in defining a student's experience in the sciences, and if done poorly, can be a major contributing factor in causing disengagement from the subject area. The challenge remains to provide students with laboratory activities that are relevant, engaging and offer effective learning opportunities.
The Advancing Science by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory (ASELL) project has developed over the last 10 years with the aim of improving the quality of learning in undergraduate laboratories, providing a validated means of evaluating the laboratory experience of students and effective professional development for staff. After successful development in chemistry and trials using the developed principles in physics and biology, the project has now expanded to include those disciplines. This presentation will discuss the activities of ASELL and provide a report about the first ASELL science workshop held at the University of Adelaide in April 2010.

Garry Hoban

Garry Hoban is an Associate Professor and Science Education Coordinator in the Faculty of Education at the University of Wollongong. He has developed several innovative teaching and learning strategies of which the latest is “Slowmation” (abbreviated from "Slow Animation"), which is a simplified way of making animations. He currently holds a $240,000 ARC Discovery Grant to research the value of students creating and sharing animations of science concepts and has recently been awarded a $140,000 Australian Learning and Teaching Council Competitive Grant to disseminate the strategy to science teacher educators at other universities across Australia. Examples and instructions can be seen on his web site at He has published over 80 international books, journal articles and book chapters in teaching and learning for science education and professional learning.

"Data dumping, after the test you forget it all": Seeking deep approaches to learning with slowmation (Student-generated Animations)

Abstract: It is not uncommon for university students to rote learn facts and formulae for the purpose of memorising information for a test. Unfortunately, these surface approaches to learning are encouraged by assessment approaches that do not require deep thinking and are often actively promoted by the complex and inflexible teaching and learning system embedded in university courses. Where possible, academics should encourage students to develop a deep approach to learning by using innovative teaching and learning strategies in their subject design.

A “Slowmation” (abbreviated from Slow Animation) is a narrated digital animation created by students that is played slowly at 2 frames/second to explain a concept. It is a simplified way of making animations that has been developed over the last four years by Garry and is one way to promote a deep approach to learning a concept. This strategy encourages such an approach because students design a sequence of five multimodal representations when creating a slowmation involving thinking about a concept in many different ways. These digital animations can be shared and critiqued by other students or instructors. See for examples and instructions