Teaching@Sydney

Welcome to Teaching@Sydney. Stay informed about teaching and learning news and events with this monthly bulletin produced by the Institute for Teaching and Learning.

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Dr Susan Coulson

#EdTech Talks: Student-generated digital media with Susan Coulson

August's #edtech talk will be by Susan Coulson on student-generated blended digital media for assessment.

Susan will speak about how integrating different media forms provided students with a new approach to learning, presenting and understanding.

Time: 12th August 2016, 12-1pm
Venue: Room 218, Level 2, Fisher Library South, F04
Register: Click here

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August's #edtech talk will be by Susan Coulson on student-generated blended digital media for assessment. Susan will speak about how integrating different media forms provided...[more]

New to teaching at Sydney this semester?

If you're new to teaching at Sydney, you might want to check out the online program 'An Introduction to Teaching at Sydney'. It contains six modules: effective teaching, student engagement, assessment and feedback, inclusive teaching, evaluation and reflective practice, & support for you and your students. The program is primarily aimed at casual academics who have teaching roles, so please pass on the link to your tutors and demonstrators.

We're also running our two-day Principles and Practice of University Teaching and Learning (P&P) program in November. It is free for all staff, and forms part of the University's confirmation process for the appointment of continuing staff.

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If you're new to teaching at Sydney, you might want to check out the online program 'An Introduction to Teaching at Sydney'. It contains six modules: effective teaching...[more]

QS-Wharton awards

Reimagine Education Awards 2016

Are you involved in a project or initiative which is innovative, scalable and re-thinks pedagogical approaches for today's learners and tomorrow's leaders, entrepreneurs and thinkers? Applications for the prestigious Reimagine Education Awards are now open for 2016. Alongside an overall winner, the awards cover a wide variety of categories reflecting the importance of innovations in pedagogy and technology and the need for these to be aligned.

The awards are announced at the Reimagine Education Conference held in the Wharton School, Philadelphia on 5-6 December 2016.

Follow in the footsteps of our award winners last year from the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Business School. If you are interested in applying, please contact us.

More details on the awards and conference are available on the Reimagine Education website.
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Are you involved in a project or initiative which is innovative, scalable and re-thinks pedagogical approaches for today's learners and tomorrow's leaders, entrepreneurs an...[more]

Engage your students with Track & Connect

Do you coordinate a large, first-year undergraduate or postgraduate unit? The Track & Connect program, a proactive retention strategy designed to increase student engagement and success during the transition to tertiary study, will be entering its ninth cycle in Semester 2, 2016.

Track & Connect provides students with key information about support services and resources, while also providing detailed, de-identified feedback for unit coordinators. It is part of a suite of analytics tools available to staff at the University.

If you think that the Track & Connect program might be helpful to your students and you’d like more information about the program, including our successful trial of text messaging software, please contact Dr Sophia Barnes, Student Experience Coordinator in the STAR Team, Student Support Services.

Please note that Unit of Study Coordinators will need to obtain approval from their Faculty or School to participate in the program.

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Do you coordinate a large, first-year undergraduate or postgraduate unit? The Track & Connect program, a proactive retention strategy designed to increase student engagement an...[more]

Accessible resources

Ensuring your teaching resources are accessible to the widest possible audience

The April issue of Teaching@Sydney outlined some simple ways in which tools such as Word or Powerpoint can be used to ensure that teaching resources are accessible to the many students who have some level of visual impairment. Most handouts, lecture slides and manuals are made using these programs although the principle of building in accessibilty before conversion to PDF extends to other authoring tools, including LaTeX and Google Docs.

One of the easiest to implement of the tips is simply to use the University templates for Word and Powerpoint, which are designed with accessibility in mind (and to resist reducing the font size). The PowerPoint, A4 document and event booklet templates have recently been updated by Marketing and Communications with enhanced bar graphs for people with colour vision deficiencies. Switching teaching resources to these new templates is one step in making sure that they will be accessible to the widest range of staff and students.

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The April issue of Teaching@Sydney outlined some simple ways in which tools such as Word or Powerpoint can be used to ensure that teaching resources are accessi...[more]

Upcoming widening participation events

We have two great events coming up for those interested in widening participation, equity and inclusive teaching.

On Wednesday 24 August, the recipients of the Widening Participation travel grants will be presenting their research in progress. Come and join the discussion with Maegan Baker (FASS), Cathryn Forsyth (Dentistry), Melissa Hardie (FASS), Rebecca Johinke (FASS), Melinda Lewis (Educational Innovation), Renee Lim (Sydney Medical School), Kieryn McKay (FASS), Alison de Pree-Raghavan (Education & Social Work) and Karen Walker (FASS).

Topics include improving student engagement and retention at the University of Sydney, and developing Indigenous cultural competence.

Date: Wednesday 24 August 12-2pm - lunch will be provided
Venue: New Law School 102
Registration: Click here


On Thursday 1st September, we are delighted to welcome Professor Penny Jane Burke to give a seminar on her research on Capability, Belonging and Equity in Higher Education: Developing Inclusive Approaches.

Penny Jane Burke is Global Innovation Chair of Equity and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Equity in Higher Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Penny is passionately dedicated to developing methodological, theoretical and pedagogical frameworks that support critical understanding and practise of equity and social justice in higher education.

Her research expertise includes gendered formations, higher education access and participation, pedagogical experiences and practices, and student and professional identities. She has published extensively in the field of equity in higher education.

After returning to study via an Access to Higher Education course, followed by a BA Honours and MA, Penny was awarded a full-time Economic and Social Research Council doctoral studentship from 1998-2001, which resulted in the publication of her book Accessing Education Effectively Widening Participation (2002).

Her most recent sole-authored book, The Right to Higher Education: Beyond Widening Participation was published by Routledge in 2012. Her co-authored book Reconceptualising Lifelong Learning: Feminist Interventions (with Sue Jackson) was nominated for the 2008 Cyril O. Houle World Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education.

Penny was recipient of the Higher Education Academy’s prestigious National Teaching Fellowship award in 2008, is Editor of the international journal Teaching in Higher Education and she is the Access and Widening Participation Network Co-Convenor for the Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE).

Penny has held the posts of Professor of Education at the University of Roehampton, the University of Sussex and Reader of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London.

Date: Thursday 1st September 10.30am-12.00pm - morning tea will be provided
Venue: Law Seminar Room TBC
Registration: Click here

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We have two great events coming up for those interested in widening participation, equity and inclusive teaching. On Wednesday 24 August, the recipients of the Widening Participat...[more]

Successful Law eLearning showcase

This July, the Sydney Law School presented their new strategies and technologies for enhancing learning at the Law eLearning Showcase, most notably through the creation of video and audio resources for today's students. The event was opened by the Dean of Sydney Law School, Professor Joellen Riley and supported by the Associate Deans of Education and Postgraduate Coursework, Dr. Scott Grattan and Professor David Hamer. The eLearning team of Mai Stringer and Cameron Murray showcased the technologies, and resources available to aid in the development of materials to be used in the delivery of legal education, including a suite of borrowable gadgets such as iPads, Android tablets, microphones and an All-in-one recording kit as well as a number of learning and teaching focused videos filmed using the school’s resources. Although the gadgets and videos were of great interest to those in attendance, the testimonies of guest speakers Professors Joe Campbell and Anne Twomey were a clear highlight of the presentation. Each Professor provided a recount of their experiences utilising the technology to produce audio and video materials to cover integral but static aspects of the curriculum (Legal history of Equity and the background to Public Law) in a manner that was sustainable to deliver and engaging to students. In Professor Campbell’s Equity unit of study site, the School is trialing offering the podcasts both as streams from YouTube and as downloadable files (both via Blackboard) to allow students the opportunity to listen to the content on mobile music device and at their leisure. The School plans to review the statistics at the end of the semester to gauge the popularity of each method and to help inform future progress in this area.

What was clear throughout the showcase was that such approaches privileged learning over technology, and were supported not only by the devices on display but the wonderful work of Mai Stringer and Cameron Murray whose combined knowledge and support for the School made this step in the educational revolution less daunting and more feasible through the provision of a suite of online resources and encouraging support. Such events herald an exciting era for teaching and learning at Sydney Law School. Mai and Cameron welcome questions, thoughts and feedback from those within the Law School, and the wider University, and can be reached at law.elearning@sydney.edu.au.

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This July, the Sydney Law School presented their new strategies and technologies for enhancing learning at the Law eLearning Showcase, most notably through the creation of video an...[more]

HERDSA 2016: Best paper prize

Dr Kate Thomson (Faculty of Health Sciences), Dr Jen Scott Curwood (Faculty of Education and Social Work) and Associate Professor Martin Tomitsch (Faculty of Architecture, Design, and Planning) received the Taylor and Francis Prize for the Best Paper by a New Researcher at the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia’s Annual Conference in Fremantle, Western Australia. Their paper is entitled 'Participatory professional development: Designing a mobile website that links student feedback with best practice teaching resources’ and it is based on their Ask Charlie project funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching. If you're interested in the project, please contact Kate via kate.thomson@sydney.edu.au

Other University of Sydney presentations included:

The shape of things to come: Peer-to-peer videos promoting safety and wellbeing at the University of Sydney
Rebecca Johinke

Shaping access and equity in the doctoral curriculum: questions, observations and provocations 

Tai Peseta & colleagues

Students as partners - a way to re-shape higher education pedagogy or neoliberal seduction?
Tai Peseta & Amani Bell

Next year the HERDSA  conference will be in Sydney, so save the date (and save on travel and accomodation fees!) 27-30 June 2017.

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Dr Kate Thomson (Faculty of Health Sciences), Dr Jen Scott Curwood (Faculty of Education and Social Work) and Associate Professor Martin Tomitsch (Faculty of Architecture, Des...[more]

Change 5 minutes of the class

Small changes in teaching: the last 5 minutes of class

In a series of articles in The Chronicle from his book "Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons From the Science of Learning", James M. Lang presents simple and practical ideas ideally suited to try out in lectures. In the fourth article, quick suggestions for making better use of the final minutes of lectures:

  1. The minute paper: ask students to write down their thoughts on two questions:
    • What was the most important thing you learned in today's lecture?
    • What are you still unsure about?
    If these answers are entered on the class discussion forum or via a response device, the students answers can be displayed anonymously in the class for discussion.
  2. Closing connections: offer students the opportunity to finish the lecture early after they have made a list of 5 ways in which the lecture material relates to contexts outside the lecture theatre.
  3. The metacognitive five: after a mid-semester test or quiz, ask students to spend two minutes writing down how they studied. As with (1), this information could also be collected electronically. Before the final exam, make a slide with two columns, showing the approaches used by high and low achieving students and spend 5 minutes talking about study strategies.
  4. Close the loop: repeat an activity used in the first 5 minutes of class and discuss how the lecture material has moved their understanding forward.
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In a series of articles in The Chronicle from his book "Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons From the Science of Learning", James M. Lang presents simple and p...[more]

Teaching@Sydney is changing!

Teaching@Sydney is changing to a new, more collaborative and interactive format in August. If you have a unikey, you can easily contribute to the new Teaching@Sydney. We invite staff and students from around the University to write about anything related to learning and teaching, in the broad areas of teaching tips, examples of educational excellence, news and updates, and teaching research. If you have an example of innovative teaching, an encouraging story of student engagement, an exciting learning and teaching project you've been working on, an impactful tool or approach that your students are raving about, we'd like you share it with the University via the new Teaching@Sydney.

We hope you have enjoyed receiving the current format in years past, and look forward to working with you to surface great ideas about learning and teaching. Stay tuned for more information in August, and start thinking of things you could share![close]

Teaching@Sydney is changing to a new, more collaborative and interactive format in August. If you have a unikey, you can easily contribute to the new Teaching@Sydney. We...[more]

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Current Events & Registration

register Sign up for Teaching@Sydney details 2016
register 3 Minute Thesis Registration 2016 details 3 August
register #edtech talks: Susan Coulson details 12 August
register Foundations of Research Supervision Forum details 19 August
register Widening Participation travel grants - research presentations details 24 August
register WORKSHOP: Working in partnership with students to enhance higher education details 10 October
register Principles & Practice of University Teaching & Learning details 24 - 25 November

closed #edtech talks: Mark McEntee and Melanie Keep details 22 July
closed Workshop: Threshold Concepts in Biochemistry - Addressing University Students’ Learning Difficulties details 20 July
closed Masterclass: Using discussion boards to enhance student learning details 20 July
closed Workshop: Applying the Teaching Practice Inventory at Australian Institutions details 20 July
closed Seminar and Hands-On Workshop: Blending Virtual and Physical Reality to Engage the Next Generation of Students details 4 July

August 16
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June 16
May 16
April 16
March 16
February 16
December 15
November 15
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August 15