Category Archives: Learning Innovation

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

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.

Continue reading A model for reviewing higher education policy

Embedding Reflective Practice in a Distributed Leadership Approach


– Marina Harvey, Lecturer in Academic Development, Macquariie University

Many learning and teaching projects in Australian higher education are adopting what is known as a “distributed leadership” approach. If you want to learn about this approach – then this recently published article from my colleagues and I might help.

Continue reading Embedding Reflective Practice in a Distributed Leadership Approach

Student support services in open, distance and flexible education

Latest Articles on Student Support Services from Open Praxis

Open Praxis is a peer-reviewed open access scholarly journal focusing on research and innovation in open, distance and flexible education. It is published by the International Council for Open and Distance Education – ICDE.

OpenPraxisThe latest issue of Open Praxis features an interesting range of papers on student support services including:

  • The move from geographical to pedagogical student support at the Open University, UK;
  • Wellness promotion in online learning with examples from the US and a set of recommendations;
  • Open education resources (OER) in teaching and in learner support;
  • Student drop-out rates at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia;
  • Accessibility improvements for disabled students through cloud services at SUNY Empire State College, US;
  • Course-embedded student support for online english language learners; and
  • The introduction of an online student support platform at Wawasan Open University, Malaysia.


What’s on the Horizon? Macquarie connection

NMC and ELI Release the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition

horizon at RhodesThe New Media Consortium (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI)  jointly released the 11th edition of the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education today. The NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education.

Continue reading What’s on the Horizon? Macquarie connection

Shut up and write!

shutup and write

Is it hard to find time to write?

Losing your motivation and getting sidetracked?

Shut up and write! Mondays 3-4.30pm Library cafe, starting 3 February, look for the red sign. Just turn up – at least one person will be there each week.

‘Shut up and write’ is about getting together to simply write. Write anything at all – report, journal article, literature review, blog post. The format is get a beverage (or not) and chat, shut up and write for 25 minutes, short chat, shut up and write for 25 minutes, then say goodbye till next week.

Natalie Spence from the Learning and Teaching Centre is setting up a writing group using this format.  If Monday afternoons don’t work for you, contact for an alternative or setup your own group. Go to to find out how to get your own writing group up and running.

How is your PhD student doing?

Photo by Mike Catabay, LTC, Macquarie University

The LTC and the Department of Education are conducting research on the role of social support in doctoral education.

PhD candidates at any stage of their study are invited  to participate in focus groups and/or one-on-one interviews. A monetary incentive is provided to each participant for each session.

The findings will propose guidelines for support services and practices in doctoral education, in order to enhance the HDR experience.

Tell your PhD student about this study!

Click for more details and to sign up  or email Lilia Mantai


Has online education peaked?

Babson Survey Wordle

Although a recent survey of colleges and universities from the U.S. indicates that the number of students taking at least one online course continued to grow, the rate is the lowest in a decade.

Further, the proportion of institutions that believe that online education is a critical component of their long-term strategy has only shown a small increase.

By contrast, the percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those as in face-to-face instruction, grew from 57% in 2003 to 74% in 2013.

The 2013 Survey on Tracking Online Education in the United States by the Babson Survey Research Group was published in January (2014). Grade Change – Tracking Online Education in the United States is the eleventh annual report in this series and reports on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The survey collected responses from more than 2,800 colleges and universities and is aimed at answering fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education.

Click here to download a copy of the survey.