Category Archives: Academic Practice

Welcoming and student bonding activities for Online Learners

Another academic term has just started at Macquarie University Campus.  First-years are looking around for opportunities to meet new friends, join a social club and attend one of the many induction sessions.  What a great way to start their journey into academia!  But what about our fully online learners? Do they have the same opportunities to ‘bond’? Do they experience the same level of engagement with academia as our campus students?

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Masters Thesis Rejected Because It Looked Too ‘Fun’

Kurt Vonnegut - The Shapes of StoriesIn an interview from Open Culture* Kurt Vonnegut in his autobiography Palm Sunday tells how his master’s thesis in anthropology for the University of Chicago “was rejected because it was so simple and looked like too much fun.”

The elegant simplicity and playfulness of Vonnegut’s idea is exactly its enduring appeal. The idea is so simple, in fact, that Vonnegut sums the whole thing up in one elegant sentence: “The fundamental idea is that stories have shapes which can be drawn on graph paper, and that the shape of a given society’s stories is at least as interesting as the shape of its pots or spearheads.”

Kurt Vonnegut went on to become one of the great American writers of the second half of the 20th century – See more here.

by mayaeilam.   Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

2014 Learning and Teaching Grant Opportunities

2013 ISP PosterMacquarie University has a range of learning and teaching grant programs designed to provide academic and professional staff with internal funding to undertake scholarly work related to learning and teaching.

The internal learning and teaching grant opportunities are:

  • Enhancement Program Grants

Continue reading 2014 Learning and Teaching Grant Opportunities

Calling all Teachers – the “secrets” to effective teaching

Fish TeacherAre you new to teaching, new to Macquarie University or would like to revisit and develop your teaching skills? Then the Foundations in Learning and Teaching (FILT) program will definitely be for you.

Join Dr Trudy Amber from the Faculty of Arts as she takes you through this 5 Module continuous mode program. There are 9 face-to-face teaching sessions with on-going support and reflection between each module, facilitated through iLearn.

This program commences on Wednesday 12 March through to Wednesday 28 May with 9 x 2 hour sessions, 12 noon to 2pm in W6A 107.

For more information on this exciting program or to register, please click here

A model for reviewing higher education policy


– Marina Harvey, Lecturer in Academic Development, Macquarie University

How do you review a university policy? The assessment policy was one of the first policies to be reviewed at Macquarie University as part of its quality framework and cycle, however it was difficult to locate any guidelines about how this could best be done within a higher education context.

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Unlock the Hidden Secrets of W5C 210…and All the Other Rooms Too

The new Room Profile page from Timetables tells you all you need to know about teaching spaces across Campus, including photographs, room capacity, equipment, access details, Echo360 and a host of other info.
Just click on the room in the list to view:
Look out for new Smart Codes on classroom doors so that students can view timetable details with the QR readers on their phones.

Guides for Academics from Students with Disabilities

A blind person using a BrailleNote Apex BT 18 Braille Notetaker

At some point in a career every teacher will encounter students with some level of disability or impairment.

 The University of Melbourne has recently released another two of their informative guides providing tips and advice that students with disabilities want teachers to know.  The new guides are the ones about Acquired Brain Injury and Anxiety.  Other guides cover topics such as Hearing Impairment, Mental Illness, Blindness, Dyslexia, MS, and mobility problems.  The guides can be found at

 You might also be interested in some of the Inclusive Practice resources produced by Macquarie.

– Tony Dwyer, LTC’s Head of Web, Media and Development Services

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.