Archive of previous 'Teaching Tips' seminars and other events

Details of past Teaching Tips seminars and other events can be found below.

Faculty of Science Learning and Teaching Event: Blended Learning for Engaged Enquiry in Science

Date: Wednesday 24th July 2013
Time: 10.30 - 12.00
Venue: New Law School Lecture Theatre 106

A discussion of new learning spaces, including those online such as "Massively Open Online Courses" (MOOCs), with the help of Google Australia and the Director of eLearning and Learning Space at Sydney. This event will follow up and extend the recent Faculty of Science Learning and Teaching Forum on "Learning Spaces for Engaged Enquiry".

This event is open to all and no RSVP is required.

Faculty of Science Learning and Teaching Forum: Learning Spaces for Engaged Enquiry at Sydney

Date: Thursday 23rd May 2013
Time: 1-2 pm
Venue: New Law Lecture Theatre 104

In this year's Learning and Teaching Forum, we will be discussing MOOCs ("Massive Open Online Courses") and their variants and what such online learning means for our teaching and outreach. With presentations from colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering and IT and from the Business School, we will cover some background on what MOOCs are and how they might fit with a campus-based approach to learning and teaching.

Re-engaging Students with Lectures

Date: Wednesday 29th May 2013
Time: 1-2 pm
Venue: Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre

With increasingly easy access to high quality online lectures and resources, face-to-face time can be used for quality learning activities rather than just content delivery. In this seminar, colleagues from Chemistry and Biological Sciences will present and discuss their approaches to engaging large classes.


Caleb Owens: Experiences with Turnitin

Division of Natural Sciences Retreat: Lectures in the age of MOOCs: Why, what and how?

Date: Wednesday 24 April 2013
Time: 1-2 pm
Venue: Carslaw Room 273

Dr Caleb Owens (Psychology) will talk about their experiences using the text-matching software Turnitin with their large first year classes in semester 2 2012. They will also discuss their recommendations for using the software to develop academic skills and reduce plagiarism.

Date: Monday 25 February 2013
Time: 9.30am - 4.15pm
Venue: Biomedical Building, Australian Technology Park (ATP)

More information

The lecture has been the core of university teaching for centuries. However in the age of MOOCs and easily accessible information is the teacher-centric lecture dead? The Division of Natural Sciences will be hosting a one day retreat to address this question and present alternative approaches for the future. The topics will build upon two DNS forums on lectures held in 2012.

IISME Annual Event: Teaching Science to Non-Science Majors

Date: Wednesday 13th February 2013
Time: 1.30pm
Venue: New Law Lecture Theatre 101

Tertiary academics are acutely aware of the challenge of motivating undergraduate students, particularly in large classes, to engage with lecture material. It can be even more challenging when teaching the basic sciences as service units of study where students may not see the need for or relevance of these units of study to their degree or career aspirations yet are required to successfully complete them. This symposium will bring together academics and students from a range of disciplines to discuss perspectives on teaching in science service units of study with examples of successful strategies for engaging students. The keynote speakers will be Dr Kay Colthorpe (University of Queensland) and Associate Professor Les Kirkup (University of Technology, Sydney).

Division of Natural Sciences Special Forum: Effective Use of Prep Time: Sequencing and Strategies

Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012
Time: 1.00pm
Venue: WP Young Room, Veterinary Science Conference Centre

This forum will follow up and expand on the discussion from the previous forum on 'Re-engaging students with lectures'. Assoc Prof Manjula Sharma will provide a brief introduction to sequencing in a lecture series, followed by Mr Caleb Owens who will share his experiences of using pre-lecture materials in his units. There will be lots of time for discussion again.

Faculty of Science Learning and Teaching Forum: Inquiry-orientated learning in the undergraduate laboratory

Date: Thursday 20th September 2012
Time: 1.00pm
Venue: Carslaw 175

Associate Professor Les Kirkup, School of Physics & Advanced Materials, UTS
Professor Scott Kable, School of Chemistry, Sydney.

This year's topic is on introducing and refining inquiry-based experiments and activities in our teaching labs. Les Kirkup, who holds a National Teaching Fellowship on inquiry learning in the undergraduate science curriculum, will talk about what inquiry is and how to develop experiments. Scott Kable will talk about how to transform laboratory programs towards inquiry. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussions.

Emma Carberry: Strengthening the Problem-Solving Abilities of Our Students

Date: Wednesday 19th September 2012
Time: 1.00pm
Venue: Carslaw Room 454

One of the most important attributes we hope to impart to our students is the ability to solve challenging problems, regardless of whether they go on to further study or straight to the job market. It doesn't work to teach these skills abstractly, the students need to deeply engage with specific difficult problems and many such arise in our courses. But we often leave it to students to learn for themselves how to become better at solving problems, and many end up struggling unproductively. There is much to be gained by directly supporting students in becoming better at figuring things out for themselves.

Emma will talk about the interactive structure she has designed for her mathematics tutorials in order to:

  • Motivate the students to think deeply about the problems before they come to the tutorials.
  • Analyse the structure of what they are trying to do so that when they are stuck they have ideas as to what they can try next.
  • Reflect upon what broader skills they have gained from solving a specific problem.

Rosanne Quinnell: Incorporating ways for students to record experimental design and data collection online; is a research electronic notebook feasible?

Caleb Owens: How to confront plagiarism, but never have to deal with it.

Date: Wednesday 30 May 2012
Time: 1.00pm
Venue: Carslaw Lecture Theatre 375

Many educators don’t confront student plagiarism because they fear uncovering high rates of cheating, and dread a long and difficult process in prosecuting the cases they find. However student plagiarism is best dealt with directly before students submit their first assignment. If early interventions in the context of good writing and referencing are sufficiently confronting and clear, educators need not fear plagiarism at all.

Dr Caleb Owens is the First Year Coordinator in the School of Psychology. Alongside Associate Professor Fiona White, he was recently awarded the VC Award for Support of the Student Experience for Psychology's "Constructive Feedback and Plagiarism Reduction Program".

Date: Wednesday 25 July 2012
Time: 1.00pm
Venue: Carslaw Room 535

Electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) have been embraced by many researchers as a way to harness the collaborative advantage provided by social networking and as a means of data archiving. This presentation will invite discussion on how best to implement an ELN for students in science and so bridge the gap between traditional teaching practices and e-research practices.

Adrian George: Blackboard or black boards – back to basics

Date: Wednesday 28 March 2012
Time: 1.00pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 2, School of Chemistry Building

Full colour powerpoint with lectopia voice-overs is a superb resource for students studying at home but what is most effective when students are in front of you? I don’t know the answer but argue we shouldn’t get rid of the black boards just yet! There are, however, many aspects of the technology available that can enhance learning of our students. Adrian will look at one of these – the use of classroom response devices or KeePads – in first year chemistry lectures.

Gareth Denyer: Using the ePortfolio system PebblePad as an electronic lab notebook

Date: Wednesday 29 February 2012
Time: 1.00pm
Venue: Level 4 Common Room, School of Molecular Bioscience Building

The paper laboratory notebook is increasingly unable to function as the sole repository of modern research data which is both digitally copious and, often, media-rich. The Electronic Notebook is the way of the future, better able to organise, back-up and share as well as provide a platform for collaboration, reflection and control.

We wanted to introduce eNotebooks into undergraduate practical classes but commercial products are >$2,000 per person! Instead, we have leveraged off a portfolio management system already supported by this University (PebblePad, PP).

Our trials have given us confidence that using PP will give us several benefits: increased engagement of students both before and after practical classes, increased opportunities for feedback and refection, the construction of a professional skills portfolio to enhance employment prospects and improved efficiency of organisation and assessment. Indeed, in Semester 1, 2012 we will be deploying PP in our 2nd year practical classes as well as conducting a formal research study in 3rd year.

In this presentation, Gareth will demonstrate how PebblePad can be used to allow students to record, reflect and package content and how we as tutors can assess and provide feedback through the administrative gateways which form part of the system.

At the end of the session there will be opportunity for some introductory hands-on training for those interested in experiencing the platform from both an academic and student perspective.


If you would like to host a future seminar in this series or have an idea for a seminar, please contact