Category Archives: Academic Practice

Does work-integrated learning actually make students work ready?

Dr Calvin Smith from Griffith University will present and discuss the results of a landmark project that assessed the impact of work-integrated learning on student work-readiness:

Monday 17 February
9.30-11.30am in E6A116
Details and registration

WiL - by NASA Goddard Photo and Video ready students are those who possess the basic skills and competencies needed to work within specific occupations. Specifically, work-ready students have “a combination of content knowledge and employability skills, such as communication, team work and problem solving, which enables effective professional practice”.[1]

Continue reading Does work-integrated learning actually make students work ready?

Top 25!

international uni photoOn Friday 24th of January 2014 The Times Higher Education published its list of the top 100 most international universities in the world. Macquarie University was not only one of the many  well established institutions named in this list, but made it to the top 25. Our university is in fact  number 9 on the list, a position higher than many prestigious international universities, like the University of Oxford and all other New South Wales Universities.

About 10 years ago Macquarie  launched a  global marketing campaign to attract and sign up international students. This has resulted over the years  in an increased number of international students studying at Macquarie but also in an increasing number of partnerships with overseas universities, both in terms of research and teaching.

But how well placed is Macquarie to respond to the challenges of internationalisation? A response to this question can be found at Macquarie’s Strategic Plan document ” Our University: A Framework of Futures”.  According to our Strategic Plan, we are not only interested in effectively recruiting international students, but we take an holistic approach to internationalisation that involves enhancing the international student experience, developing staff capability of internationalisation and enhancing the international experience of our home students (See Figure 1).

MQ internationalisation
Figure 1: Extract from ‘Our university” A Framing of Futures” (page 20)

The Learning and Teaching Centre has developed some useful resources that can support academics with understanding the challenges and opportunities  of our internationalisation agenda.  It also runs hands-on workshops on teaching culturally diverse tutorials .



10 Reasons Why Your Unit Guide Might Not Be Approved

Unit GuidesAre you a Unit Convenor preparing your Unit Guide for publication?

Before you submit your Unit Guide to be approved on UNITS, check this list of the most common reasons Heads of Department give for sending Unit Guides back.

    1. Learning Outcomes don’t start with an action verb.
      Think about how to finish the sentence: ‘at the end of this unit of study, students will be able to….’ . The next word should be the ‘action’ verb that begins your Learning Outcome. This resource on writing Learning Outcomes offers more guidance.
    2. Readings aren’t listed.
      List all unit materials, including textbooks, required and recommended readings.
    3. Curriculum Mapping is incomplete.  You need to map Learning Outcomes, Assessment Tasks and Graduate Capabilities against each other. Click here for some instructions.
    4. Learning Outcomes and Assessment Tasks must all be mapped against each other, and against Graduate Capabilities.
    5. Typos, factual errors or broken links.
      Make sure information from last year is updated, such as teaching staff contact details, or hyperlinks.
    6. Assessments don’t meet the requirements of the Assessment Policy.
      Check the requirements here.
    7. All the Graduate Capabilities are mapped.
      You should select only the Graduate Capabilities which are addressed most in your unit.  Check the LTC’s resources on Graduate Capabilities for more information.
    8. Some of the Assessment details are missing.
      Macquarie’s Unit Guide Policy specifies certain information that must be included about assessments, including dates, length, weightings, submission method, grading criteria or standards, and more.
    9. There’s no explanation of changes from previous offering.
      If you’ve made changes to the unit since last time, it’s a Unit Guide Policy requirement that these are listed in the Unit Guide.
    10. Technology Used and Required is not listed.
      You should list all technology students will need to use in the Unit, including broadband internet, iLearn, and any software.

Did you know?

Students may have grounds for appeal of their grade if the Unit Guide was not in accordance with the Unit Guide Policy, or the student had been disadvantaged by variation of the assessment requirements or feedback provisions laid out in the Unit Guide.  Check the Grade Appeal Policy for further details.

We all need a (critical) friend!

book cowanJohn Cowan was the first Professor of Engineering Education in the UK, at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, where his educationally-oriented research and development concentrated on student-centered learning and the learning experience. On moving to the Open University in Scotland as Director in 1987, he encouraged innovative curriculum development and campaigned nationally for rigorous formative evaluation in higher education. When he retired from his tutoring duties in the autumn of 2011, he had been teaching, conducting, and publishing accounts of action research studies of his practices since 1952.

Continue reading We all need a (critical) friend!

Are you a People Person? Or a Planet Person?

If you’re involved with running a People or Planet unit this year, here’s an opportunity to connect with colleagues doing the same.

Join the People and Planet Knowledge Network to meet up and share thoughts and experiences with colleagues from across the University, whilst reviewing and building teaching and learning skills.

Image courtesy Macquarie University Sustainability

First get-together of the People and Planet Network for the year:
Let’s Reflect: How reflection can enhance skill development
Tuesday, 15 April, 12noon-1pm
More details

Panos reflects on MOOCs

panos vlachopoulosIn October 2013 I engaged in a discussion with fellow online learning scholars in the Association of Learning Technology Mail-list (UK). We discussed various issues related to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and their perceived and actual value for enhancing learning in Universities. Perhaps the most well thought out contribution was made by Professor Diana Laurillard  from the Institute of Education, University of London. She wrote: Continue reading Panos reflects on MOOCs

How do I know whether my TEDS results are “good” or not?

It’s difficult to determine a clear “standard” for TEDS results, since we know that they are affected by a range of contextual variables that relate to the learning and teaching environment.

Over the years, analysis of TEDS data has demonstrated persistent and consistent differences according to:
• discipline area (Faculty – this is more a reflection of student cohort differences than variation in teaching or curriculum quality);
• class level (100, 200, 300-500, 800-900-level, with 600- 700 level yet to be examined); and
• class size (this tends to have more impact on teaching than unit evaluation results, but is evident in both).

Interpreting Your TEDS Results – in Context

Without a measure of the variation attributable to each of these factors, it’s hard for an individual teacher or unit
convenor to “place” their own TEDS results in the context of their own teaching environment. However, help is at hand!

Now that we have been running the revised TEDS surveys for several semesters, we have sufficient data to provide descriptive statistics for groups of evaluations within the same context, at least to Faculty by Unit Level refinement in
most Faculties. These statistics, based on the distribution of mean (average) scores rather than individual scores in Faculty/Unit Level category, will enable you to see where your results are placed in relation to others who teach in the same context.

Where to Access

Guidance for interpreting your results in relation to the data summaries, and the summary tables themselves, are available NOW for LEU surveys only at

The TEDS team are working on the LET tables and will inform all staff when these are ready to be accessed.

Flipped Classroom – New resource

The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and problem-solving elements of a course are reversed.

The shift is from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered learning environment. To hear how your colleagues have been implementing this delivery model into their teaching, please visit this new resource on the LTC website.

A corresponding workshop will be run in October. Click here to register.


Positively Re-designed: PSY 963’s Faculty Partnership Program Project

Dr Monique Crane, Lecturer in Organisational Psychology was the academic lead on a Faculty Partnership Project in Session 1 this year that aimed to redesign PSY 963 Coaching and Positive Psychology in a way that was both engaging and academically challenging for students. The LTC project team worked with Monique to rejuvenate the curriculum for blended delivery, introducing a number of tools and techniques that included collaborative authorship tasks and video scenarios.

PreziPrezi for Collaborative Authorship
With collaborative authorship teaching tasks, PSY 963 students literally contribute to the workshop material, creating a mixture of expert content and student-generated content for the unit.

Collaborative authorship is a strategy that makes use of participatory technologies in the classroom as a way of developing student-centred learning opportunities and increasing student engagement. Monique reported that such participatory technologies allow “students to collaboratively develop an outcome related to the workshop content through the use of an online medium such as Prezi or a Wiki. This process can be moderated and guided by the chair in real time. At the end of this process, all students have access to their collaboratively authored resources that will assist in guiding their future practice.”

Monique is now a collaborator on a project funded by a grant from the Innovation and Scholarship Program (with the LTC’s Oliver Coady) to extend the work from the Faculty Partnership project in examining the role of collaborative authorship in the classroom to improve student engagement and skill transfer.

PSY963 VideoAuthentic Video Scenarios
Macquarie’s Human Resources Department collaborated with Monique and the LTC project team in the production of video scenarios for PSY 963 which demonstrate a coach implementing a strategy with clients in different situations. Rather than actors, the videos star professional coaching experts based here at Macquarie who also helped script the videos. These videos are not only core resources for the unit itself but can also be used in other professional development settings, as well as a teaching resource in the classroom or online.

Monique says she values the insights gained from her experience working with the LTC project team and is now implementing the new teaching strategies she has learned across all her units. “The LTC has expertise in the area of adult learning and this means that they are able to provide insight into new teaching methods and content delivery. Students are exposed to innovative teaching techniques too.”