Category Archives: Academic Practice

Top Tips If You’re New To Teaching (Or Need A Refresher)

[adapted from a previous article by Chris Froissard]

Are you a new member of teaching staff at Macquarie? You may be feeling overwhelmed, in the lead up Session 2, having to familiarise yourself with a new learning platform, a myriad of new educational technologies, and the many policies and customs of your department and faculty.

You may be an existing convenor who feels a bit rusty with what tools are available, knowing where things are, and what support is on hand.

Do not despair, here are some helpful pointers to ensure your preparation for Session 2 is as smooth as possible.

10. SKILLS WORKSHOPS

There are a number of skills workshops on offer in and around the start of Session 2 to support your use of our learning technologies.

Brush up on iLearn Basics, Lectern Training, the new Echo360 Active Learning Platform, Feedback Studio and Rubrics, Learning Analytics, and Gradebook.

View and enrol in upcoming workshops via the Teche Events page.

9. SELF-HELP ON ILEARN FOR YOU AND YOUR STUDENTS

Are you new to iLearn, or are you rusty on just how to use a particular iLearn activity? What if your students have questions too?

There are Quick Guides available for both staff and students on the MQ website and are accessible through the footer of each iLearn course.

You can also enrol in the following self-paced iLearn tutorial units:
Discover iLearn for Convenors Online Course
Discover iLearn for Tutors Online Course
Discover iLearn Gradebook Online Course

8. OPEN ILEARN

Developing a new unit or redesigning an existing one? Where can educators discover superb exemplars of effective unit design in iLearn?

Over 2000 units are open in iLearn so you can explore examples of different approaches other convenors and educators take when designing their units.

Chris Froissard, Faculty of Arts Senior Learning Designer, wrote a great overview of the Open iLearn initiative and gives a number of specific examples you can take a look at.

The Faculty of Arts iLearn ToolBox also provides some very helpful information about how you can develop your iLearn site.

7. DROP-IN CLINIC

Drop-in Clinics are available so you can just turn up and get help from Learning Technologies Support personnel or a Learning Designer – no need to book!

The Central Drop-in Clinic runs:

17 July – 28 July 2017 (Mon-Fri) – C5A 201 10am- 2pm

31 July – 4 August 2017 (Mon-Fri) – W6B 259 10am- 2pm

and the Arts Drop-In Clinic runs:

Every Monday 1pm -2 pm and Tuesday 12pm -1 pm – W6A 325

6. WHAT ARE THE MAIN PROCEDURES THAT I NEED TO COMPLY WITH?

Unclear about university requirements around learning and teaching?

There are numerous policies you need to be aware of, you can access them through Policy Central. Specifically, make sure you are familiar with the Assessment Policy.

5. HOW DO I: CREATE A NEW, OR COPY, AN EXISTING UNIT GUIDE; CREATE A NEW OR COPY, AN EXISTING ILEARN SITE?

The one-stop-shop for all of these requirements is the cousin to iLearn, iTeach. For guides on how to use it go to iTeach Quick Guides

4. RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS

If you are getting a sense that some of your students, particularly first-year students, may be struggling to adapt to university studies, there are numerous support units you can point them to.

Mac101 provides an overview of life at Macquarie and points to other support locations around campus.

There are a number of “Wise” units, developed to provide specific Learning Skills and development support. There is CareerWise, InfoWise, StudyWise, and WellbeingWise.

3. COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE/STAFF UNITS

Most of the faculties have either a “Community of Practice” or Staff page, containing useful faculty-based information. Here are links to some of these pages.
Arts Community of Practice Page
FSE Staff Information Page
Survival Guide to Faculty of Human Sciences

The FBE Community page is currently in development – for more information contact the FBE Learning & Teaching Team.

For more information on FMHS Community Units, contact the FMHS Learning & Teaching Team.

2. ONEHELP

Where can I go if I have a problem such as …?

The answer to this one is simple. OneHelp is the university’s one-stop-shop request ticketing system that allows you to place a request for help on just about anything.

1.  YOUR FACULTY LEARNING DESIGNERS

Get to know your Faculty Learning & Teaching Teams a little better. They are a wealth of knowledge, have a vast range of expertise and are there to support you for all your teaching needs.

Learning Innovation Hub Learning Designer Fidel Fernando has (so far) profiled 4 of the 5 Faculty Learning & Teaching Teams.

FBE
FMHS
FoA
FHS
FSE has not yet been profiled, contact Natalie Spence.

Ten Easy Ways To Put Research And Inquiry Into Units (8/10)

This series of posts presents ten simple suggestions to help you change your units or parts of your units to develop students’ research skills and competencies that you can adapt to suit your particular context.

10 easy ways

  1. Change an assessment to an inquiry
  2. Change a laboratory class to guided discovery
  3. Engage students in gathering or working with data
  4. Turn your unit of study into a conference
  5. Arrange for students to interview researchers
  6. Invite students and staff to research speed-dating
  7. Get students to write an abstract
  8. Change essays into academic articles
  9. Turn the class into a hypothesis-generating forum
  10. Create a competition

8. Change essays into academic articles

Essays are the very best way to teach students how to write in an academic way. They are excellent training for writing academic articles. But it’s clear from research on students’ awareness of research that they often don’t make the connection between what they are doing in writing an essay and what academics do when they do research.

The simplest way to change students’ views about research is to frame the essay as a research activity. However since students don’t always make the connection, it’s important to explicitly refer to the similarity of essay writing and academic article writing, to talk about issues you have had when your articles have been reviewed, things like, unclear focus, argument not clear etc. You could change the assignments students have to do from “Essay on…” to “Academic research article on….” Or you could break up an essay into component parts for progressive assignments, e.g. write an abstract; write a conclusion to an article. You could give students an article from which the abstract or conclusion has been omitted and ask them to write an abstract (see Number 7). But remember always to make explicit in your instructions and feedback the link with research articles.

Ideas From HERDSA2017

Two weeks ago the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia hosted HERDSA2017, a key conference on research and development in higher education. This year’s theme was “Curriculum Transformation” with presentations organised around practical implications, drivers and facilitators in curriculum transformation. A few colleagues from Macquarie and I enjoyed stimulating, eye opening and thought-provoking conversations.

Here is what I learned based on selected presentations I attended:

Continue reading Ideas From HERDSA2017

Ten Easy Ways To Put Research And Inquiry Into Units (7/10)

This series of posts presents ten simple suggestions to help you change your units or parts of your units to develop students’ research skills and competencies that you can adapt to suit your particular context.

10 easy ways

  1. Change an assessment to an inquiry
  2. Change a laboratory class to guided discovery
  3. Engage students in gathering or working with data
  4. Turn your unit of study into a conference
  5. Arrange for students to interview researchers
  6. Invite students and staff to research speed-dating
  7. Get students to write an abstract
  8. Change essays into academic articles
  9. Turn the class into a hypothesis-generating forum
  10. Create a competition

7.   Get students to write an abstract

Students frequently write essays or reports and they are often involved in reading academic papers. But they often don’t make the connections. To teach students to write coherent, cogent essays and articles, one way to start is to encourage them to write good abstracts. Abstract writing is an important skill for academics to learn but the ability to precis an argument is essential in whatever profession students undertake.

You could preface the activity with a class session where students brainstorm what they think are the qualities of a good abstract.

Examples

“Students are given a paper which the tutor has written, but from which all references to it (journal name, volume, page numbers, author name) have been deleted. The students then write an abstract for the paper. The exercise is used in tutorials to develop the skills of writing, critical analysis, summarising information and research design and planning” (Plymouth University, UK)

“In a development of this approach the teacher collects the abstracts and puts them in a common format and chooses the best four or five which are then put with the original abstract. Students vote for ‘best abstract’. Then the teacher reveals which is the author’s abstract often to the surprise of the students!” (Brigham Young University, USA).

Redesigning Programs and Unit Assessments – Key Points From A Seminar

On the 4th of July, I was fortunate to attend a seminar at AGSM by Chris Rust, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, Oxford Brookes University, UK. As Macquarie University is currently engaged in program review, the topic Redesigning course assessment was timely. Over the course of three hours, Chris shared his thoughts and insights into improving programs and unit assessments. I summarise some of the key points and ideas that intrigued me and may interest you.

Continue reading Redesigning Programs and Unit Assessments – Key Points From A Seminar