The Learning Revolution - where to from here?

18 February 2009

The Faculty of Health Sciences is a leader in innovative, high quality educational programs in health and health care. To ensure that we continue to lead in our field, at the conclusion of 2008 the Faculty embarked on a Learning Revolution with the aim of enhancing the learning experiences of our students by further renewing curriculum, as well as developing the knowledge and capabilities of our staff in contemporary educational practices.

Staff taking part in breakout workshops at the Learning Revolution Symposium
Staff taking part in breakout workshops at the Learning Revolution Symposium

The Learning Revolution kicked off with a Symposium, and since then we have held a number of events focusing on different elements of learning and teaching. Professor Mark Tennant from UTS presented the inaugural seminar in the Educational Expert series, in which he shared some useful insights into how and why good rapport with students is an important success factor in student learning. Following this, Dr Michael Anderson from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Education and Social Work presented a lively and highly entertaining seminar on 'Engaging Teaching: some practical approaches for enhancing learning' to over seventy faculty staff.

Subsequent events in the series have focused on a range of topics from helping students to think like clinicians, to enhancing learning through the use of video clips. To date we've heard from expert speakers from within, and external to the faculty, who have shared their insights, and learning and teaching practices with a growing group of faculty staff. Indeed, our speech pathology teaching team - who received an Australian Learning and Teaching Council award in 2008 shared their journey in successfully introducing case based learning activities within their curriculum. To date the series has been well received by faculty staff as it has allowed them to reflect on their practice, as well as rekindle their enthusiasm for learning and teaching. Over the next five months the Revolution will continue to offer a series of weekly workshops and seminars.

Under the Learning Revolution banner the Faculty is also conducting a number of supportive projects that seek to renew our facilities, and learning and teaching infrastructure. One of the projects already up and running is a revamp of the faculty's audio visual facilities in lecture theaters. Gone are the days of overhead projectors, with newly installed technology including interactive pen displays for live annotation of websites, the latest in data projectors, and the introduction of dual screens in lectures theatres which has allowed for the innovative delivery of both video and PowerPoint displays. Another new feature is the introduction of technology that allows lecture presentations to be recorded and uploaded to the University learning management systems via the Internet for reference by students. As part of this project all staff will shortly have the opportunity to up-skill in audiovisual and interactive media.

If you would like to get involved in the Learning Revolution by providing suggestions, speaking at one of our events, or providing insights into your learning and teaching experiences within the Faculty, please contact Dr Steven Cumming, Associate Dean Learning and Teaching.