What’s the process for Session 2 Exams?

Here’s an overview of the main need to know’s ..….

Exam meetings in the Departments

  • Moderation of assessments should have been taking place  throughout the unit offering this session.
  • Recommended that program based committee meetings precede a full Department exam meeting.
  • The focus questions for the discussion of the units within Departments have been changed.
  • Representatives from the Faculty Standards and Quality Committee (FSQC) will attend a selection of the program meetings.
  • Department exams meetings should focus on the quality assurance process, including the mitigation of academic misconduct.


Unit Convenors will be required to provide information about their unit via the Department Exam Results Report (a shared document in One Drive here – there is one report for each Department). This document incorporates all the information required from Unit Convenors.

Exam results spreadsheets will be sent out to Unit Convenors by staff in the Student Centre.

Please refer to the document in OneDrive called Unit Convenor Exam Results Processing which includes descriptors for the different types of grades that can be used.

Discussion of Units within Departments

The discussion of units should focus on the following three questions:

  1. What pre-moderation/quality assurance was used in the design of assessment tasks and marking procedures?
  2. How were the details of assessments varied from last offering to this offering? (eg change essay question etc)
  3. Explanation of any grades not able to be finalised (number of different types on incompletes and reason/s) and details of anticipated resolution date.


Heads of Department are required to complete the FoHS HOD Examinations Report to Faculty in OneDrive and forward the report and the Minutes of Department Exam Meetings by no later than 9am on Monday 11th December.

Faculty Exam Meeting – Monday 11th November 2017 – X5B292 1.30-4.00


FoHS staff feature prominently in the VC’s awards

And Glady joins the Dean in congratulating our Faculty award winning teachers and researchers recognised in the recent Vice-Chancellor’s Learning and Teaching Awards and the Research Excellence Awards.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Learning and Teaching Awards recognise and celebrate the efforts of individuals and teams who make outstanding contributions to learning and teaching and improve the quality of student engagement, experience and learning outcomes.  We would like to congratulate our recent winners:

Learning and Teaching Award – Student Led

Dr Anita Szakay, Department of Linguistics

Annette Magee, Department of Educational Studies

Mandy Yeates, Department of Educational Studies

Vice-Chancellor’s Citation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, the team consisting of:

Associate Professor Kerry Sherman, Department of Psychology

Dr Susan Ferguson, Department of Psychology

Michael Rampe, Department of Linguistics

Christopher Kilby, Department of Psychology

Michael Catabay, Learning and Innovation Hub

Dr Jessica Alcorso, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Dr Wayne Warburton, Department of Psychology

The Research Excellence Awards provide an opportunity for us to acknowledge the quality of the research conducted within our Faculty, and recognise some of the many researchers who are contributing to truly impactful world-leading research. With this in mind, we would like to congratulate our recent winners:

Excellence in Research Award: 5 Future-Shaping Research Priorities

Professor Mark Wiggins, Department of Psychology (Prosperous Economies)

Associate Professor Kerry Sherman, Department of Psychology (Healthy People)

Early Career Research Excellence Award

Dr Carly Johnco, Department of Psychology

Higher Degree Research Excellence Award

Dr Nathan Caruana, Department of Cognitive Science

Macquarie University Research Fellowships

We also congratulate two of our early career researchers on their recent Macquarie University Research Fellowships. These highly competitive fellowships are awarded to outstanding researchers in the early stages of their career who show evidence of exceptional research potential. Please join us in congratulating:

Dr Nathan Caruana, Department of Cognitive Science

Dr Miriam Forbes, Department of Psychology

Special mention

Special mention goes to Associate Professor Kerry Sherman who received awards in both learning and teaching and research.

Transitioning from DTS to Special Consideration

We are about to enter the Rapid Improvement Transition Period – moving from DTS to Special Consideration.

Here’s what will happen:

The Disruption to Studies (DTS) Tracker Form will have a new look as of Friday 10th November 2017.  What Unit Convenors will notice is:

1.Each request will be sent to you separately with a unique case number. You may receive multiple requests for the same unit where multiple assessments were impacted.

2. There are three additional options for you to choose from when selecting a remedy. You can now refer cases when you are unable to provide a remedy, and may select “Other” when none of the existing remedies apply.

3. The student’s attachments are now hidden from view as they are only used for the administrative review step to determine if they comply with the University policy requirements for ‘serious and unavoidable’.  This limitation was directed by the University’s Audit and Risk subcommittee of the University Council.

4. You will also notice that the user interface has been improved!Please process the forms as normal for Session 2 units. 

Forms submitted on the old/existing form will continue to be processed on this form.

The NEW Special Consideration Policy and process comes into effect 4 December 2017 for Session 3 units.Please contact the Faculty Student Centre with any questions.

Teacher of the week: Kerry Sherman

Kerry Sherman is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology

My research interest is broadly within behavioural medicine, with a specific focus on psycho-oncology, the application of psychology to understanding the cancer experience and in helping people cope with a cancer diagnosis. I started at Macquarie University initially as an Associate Lecturer whilst concurrently enrolled in my PhD.  After a three-year stint in the US at a major cancer centre as a postdoctoral fellow, I returned to Macquarie in 2003 where I set up a new undergraduate unit in health psychology.

My current research projects include implementing an online surgical decision support website for breast cancer patients, investigating how we can use self-compassion to help people through the cancer experience, educating women with lymphoedema (a cancer treatment side effect) to have better self-care, and several projects to identify factors associated with adjustment and wellbeing in cancer patients, new parents and individuals with chronic illness.

What are your main teaching commitments?

I am the Convenor of an undergraduate unit in health psychology, and co-convene a health psychology unit at the honours level. My teaching is exclusively within the domains of health psychology and behavioural medicine across an eclectic range of topics. My main teaching areas include communication within health contexts and media influences on health behaviours, health promotion, health inequalities, coping and adjustment to physical illness (e.g., changes in physical appearance, impacts on close relationships, long-term cancer survivorship issues) and psychological interventions to address these diverse issues.

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a university teacher?

As an applied discipline, it is critical that students of health psychology are able to learn the theoretical and evidence-based aspects while at the same time being able to extrapolate these concepts to real-world applications. Striking a balance between the theoretical and practical aspects of health psychology is the greatest challenge of effectively teaching in this area, particularly at the undergraduate level with large class sizes and limited resources.

What has helped you improve your teaching most and why?

iLearn and Moodle are probably the most influential factors that have helped improved my teaching. In particular, I came to the realisation that there was much more that I could do with iLearn than simply posting weekly recorded lectures and the accompanying powerpoint slides. I am now utilising the full range of functionality available in iLearn to create a highly interactive learning experience for students of health psychology. The learning and teaching of the undergraduate health psychology unit is now presented in a “flipped” mode with a range of diverse interactive components enabling the students to relate the theory to the practice of health psychology.  As part of this new approach, developing virtual patient case studies has really helped students to “bring to life” the theory and evidence-base of health psychology to real-world applications.

What’s been your most memorable moment in teaching?

Probably the most memorable moments in my teaching have been when students contact me near the end of semester saying how influential the unit has been on their lives. Students tell me about how they have completely changed their lifestyle after studying health psychology, now adopting a healthy way of life. Other students relate how after their health psychology studies they are now able to gain perspective on an adverse illness-related event in their lives. I also get a lot of satisfaction from students who are inspired after studying health psychology to change their career plans to something that embraces this discipline.

Who is your favourite music band? Why?

I have very eclectic tastes in music that span across genres and decades. So here goes……Black Keys, Muse, Nick Murphy (Chet Faker) and Meg Mac are top of my list in current music. I also really like the music of Les Rita Mitsouko (French band from the 80’s), John Butler Trio, and The Doors. Last but no means least, I am a big fan of the music of Dvorak and Beethoven for symphony orchestra and Frank Ticheli (Blue Shades) and Johan de Meij (Extreme Make Over) for wind symphony. Why? Any music that gets under my skin is good, irrespective of the genre.

Faculty Teaching Superstars announced

Recently, we wondered who our Faculty Teaching Superstar would be. Well, the wait is over – and we have not one, but three recipients of this student-nominated award.

Introducing our 2017 winners: 
Dr Anita Szakay (Department of Linguistics)
Annette Magee (Department of Educational Studies) and 
Mandy Yeates (Department of Educational Studies).


All three staff were nominated by students for their amazing ability to inspire, motivate, and transform learning – whilst consistently being all round outstanding, passionate teachers.  Sample rave reviews include

Anita has this amazing ability that gives students confidence in whatever they are faced [with] in the unit. Her content is quite difficult, however she always manages to express it in the most simplified ways to help us understand easily. Her passion for linguistics, especially phonetics, has made her perfect for teaching this degree… One day I hope I can mirror some of Anita’s fabulous qualities and traits. 


Annette has inspired us by constantly reminding us how special it is to be a teacher, and all the highlights we will have [in] our careers… She is very supportive, and established positive relationships with our class group very early on in the semester. Annette… contributed massively to my learning even in such a short time. She is highly dedicated and passionate about her role.


Mandy is such an incredibly passionate and energetic teacher. I absolutely love attending her two hour tutorials and perceive them to be a highlight in my university experience…   She brings a lot of life to the class and shares wonderful (relevant) stories which are inspiring….    I have always found her to be respectful and kind to all… I feel very supported as a student in her class.

Our winners were announced at the Vice Chancellor’s Academic Staff Awards Ceremony on 1st November.
Congratulations to you all!


Article written by Alex Thackray.

Special consideration returns from Session 3

The current Disruption to Studies (DTS) process is being replaced with a new Special Consideration policy which takes effect from Session 3 (4th December 2017).What is the major improvement of Special Consideration?  

A New policy has been written with simplified English and all previous contradictory statements have been removed.  A process with defined roles, escalation points and responsibility guidelines will be introduced. 

 Withdrawal without Academic Penalty as part of the Disruption to Study process will be a separate process, no longer linked to Special Considerations. This is to reduce confusion and prevent withdrawals occurring without the student’s express consent. 

 Who is assessing the application?  

The assessment of whether a student’s circumstances were serious and unavoidable is made at the Administrative level. Student Administration processing an application may provide remedies according to the agreed Remedy Matrix, or seek input from the relevant Academic staff or Unit Convenor regarding the outcome. Any escalated application has been assessed and approved.  

 Privacy changes – Documentation will not be available for academics except in exceptional circumstances due to the enforcing of privacy legislation by the university. 

 Will I still have to grant outcomes to application? 

With this new policy and procedure, there will be a significant decrease in the number of applications you will receive. Mainly requests for online quizzes and class tests will come to you for an outcome.   

 How do I get notified about the outcome? 

With the agreed Remedy outcome that Student Administration applied, you will receive a weekly report with detailed information from the Faculty Student Administrators.  

What if students contact me regarding their Special Consideration application? 

If students have not lodged the Special Consideration application, please encourage them to apply within 5 working days after the assessment task due date, examination or test date.  Late applications will not be assessed. 

 If students have any questions regarding the existing application, please refer them to BESS. 

 What is the possible outcome?  

With an approved application, the University will attempt to provide students with 1 additional opportunity. No more than 1 alternative assessment will be offered. Students must make themselves available for the alternative assessment activity, otherwise, they forfeit the marks. Outcomes will be decided based on the agreed Remedy Matrix. 

 When do students expect to receive the outcome? 

The university aims to communicate the outcome to students within 5 working days of receipt of application. 

 Can students withdraw from an application?  

Students may not withdraw from the submitted Special Consideration application and all necessary supporting documentations. Contact the Faculty Student Centre for further advice and information.

Who will be our Faculty superstar?

As part of the Faculty Learning & Teaching plan, a student nominated teaching award was introduced for the first time this year.


Any Unit Convenor, lecturer or tutor could be nominated.

The process

A survey was made available to students via iLearn (including the iLearn survival guide) as well as using Faculty and Department social media such as Facebook, Twitter etc.  Student nominations closed last week.


Students were asked a series of open ended questions such as:

  • How has your teacher inspired you, motivated you, and transformed your understanding?
  • What is the most outstanding aspect of their teaching?
  • 250+ responses received
  • 70+ nominations
And the winner is….

The winner will be announced on 1st November at the Vice Chancellor’s Academic Staff Awards ceremony.

Teacher of the week: Garry Falloon

Garry is a recent recruit to the Department of Educational Studies.

I have recently joined Macquaire University as Professor of Digital Learning and the Fairfax Foundation Chair of Teacher Education. Prior to winning this position, I had a similar role at Waikato University in New Zealand, and before that I worked with corporates such as Microsoft and CSIRO researching and designing education programs for schools. I also have nearly 20 years experience teaching in, and leading, a range of New Zealand primary and secondary schools.

My past research activities include exploring the effect of app design on student learning pathways, technology-facilitated school-scientist partnerships, the use of synchronous virtual classrooms in supporting distance students, online learning environment design, and the design and use of digital learning objects for learning. Presently I am engaged in school-based research on using apps for building science procedural and conceptual knowledge, and for fostering higher-order thinking capabilities.

What are your main teaching commitments?

I am really enjoying my role teaching the digital technologies component in the undergraduate 0-12 years program. I spent the first week or so of my time here redeveloping the content for this, and it is a lot of fun working with some really focused and interested young people in the tutorials and online.

My other teaching work is in postgraduate MRes and PhD supervision, and there’s some good stuff happening there too! I am also working with quite a few staff on Digital Technologies teaching and research projects, and are fully engaged with schools in the Hub Schools program. I expect to be starting some applied research work with teachers at Oatlands school soon on a technology-in-STEM initiative, and I’m working as part of a team at Carlingford West exploring 3D printing in Makerspaces.

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a university teacher?

I think the biggest challenge is keeping ahead (or even pace with) of the phenomenal rate of change in my field. Digital technologies certainly have significant potential to transform education as we know it, but this needs to be supported by curriculum designs and teaching and assessment approaches that encourage and reward the sort of capabilities they are best able to support. This means more individualised and project-oriented approaches focused on building creative, critical and higher order thinking capacities that are going to be so important for everyone in the future.

What has helped you improve your teaching most and why?

A realisation that the type of skills and dispositions needed by young people exiting the education system now are fundamentally different to those required even a few years ago. The world is a much more complex place, and young people need skills and attitudes that will enable them to work together to solve the many problems that it faces now, and into the future. Realising this has changed the way (and what) I teach to hopefully encourage a more critical and inquiring attitude in my students – one that does not necessarily accept the status quo.

What’s been your most memorable moment in teaching?

I have to say that this probably happened when I was teaching new entrant children (5 year olds) in New Zealand. I can’t really put my finger on a single incident (it was a while ago now!) but I have very fond memories of working with these very young children and recall the huge satisfaction of seeing them grow and develop during their first year at school. I think that’s why I enjoy so much my current research work in classrooms.

Who is your favourite music band? Why?

That’s an easy one! It has to be Pink Floyd – I especially love their live concerts. The guitar work and melodies of David Gilmour in Dark Side of the Moon, and the magic of Roger Waters in The Wall, are standouts for me. It’s great that Waters is coming to Sydney next year. We’ve got our tickets already!

Active Learning: Special FLTC Recap

The Special FLTC Meeting on Thursday 12th October, open to all staff in the faculty, explored our big blue sky ideas for active learning in the curriculum:

Mentimeter tool: word cloud question type


We drew inspiration from PVC L&T’s Learning for the Future:

Key components of active learning outlined in MQ’s Learning For The Future


What we know: benefits

We discussed the positive impact on student learning:

and staff teaching practices:

  • high degree of freedom and creativity
  • opens up so many possibilities
  • doesn’t haven’t to be overly complicated
  • simple but effective strategies

Our experiments: testing the water

We revisited:

When it comes to active learning, there is no ‘one size fits all’, so we propose to take an approach of multiplicity, diversity and inclusivity.

Some #inspo:

In full #bigbluesky mode, we showcased:

1. Peer Instruction

We took inspiration from the peer instruction method pioneered by Eric Mazur at Harvard university – see also video (5:02):

Peer Instruction reference guide (via University of Queensland)


2. Student Peer Assessment

We recalled our Feedback Feedforward workshop where we explored Harland et al. (2016)‘s model of a student peer review and marking process – including a rebuttal(!) phase:

Example student peer review process featuring a rebuttal phase!

The study reported that the process led to:

  • better understanding of the assessment criteria
  • re-examination of their own work
  • motivation to access new primary literature before commenting
  • improved quality of thought in both reviewer and reviewee
  • new perspectives on domain literature.

We invited Nick Wilson, Department of Linguistics, to share his recent LING219 experience with a learner (group) generated digital media task (i.e. video assessment) paired with peer review using the Peergrade tool. Stay tuned for more on this!

3. ‘Wicked’ Problems

And we rounded out our inspiration with ‘wicked’ problems (Markauskaite & Goodyear, 2017) – bringing real-world, authentic, ill-structured problems into the curriculum (vs. ‘tame’, defined, single-solution problems) through:

(i) Team-Based Learning

We showcased the InteDashboard tool, used by our colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences – and affectionately referred to as Totally Brilliant Learning…man – and the team-based learning approach developed by the Duke Medical School:

which involves:

  • pre-class work
  • an individual quiz using points weighting
  • a team quiz (one answer only)
  • identify what you still don’t understand
  • clarification duties are assigned to other groups

We also recognised examples of current practice in our local community:

(ii) Students as teachers

Tracy Worthington, Department of Educational Studies, using walking galleries:

Walking Galleries with education students. Follow Tracy Worthington on Twitter to learn more: @aussietaw


(iii) Students as researchers

And Bianca De Witt and David Kaplan, Department of Cognitive Sciences, using a research-driven approach with the aide of the Emotiv EPOC+ system:

We concluded with some cross-department brainstorming about project ideas for the future.

And now, you’re all caught up on active learning.

Kill the lecture

Warning: controversial proposition

I want to rethink how we talk about face to face learning at Macquarie.

For years research has been telling us that the lecture, sage-on-the-stage is out, guide-on-the-side is in.

https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/creative-brain_765406.htm Designed by Freepik

There’s many a scholarly article addressing the effectiveness of lectures. We are always asking how to increase student engagement, how to address falling lecture attendance?

I don’t have the answer but I want to ask, why are we still talking about lectures? Why are we still timetabling lectures? If they don’t work, why are we still thinking in terms of the lecture? Let’s scrap the term! Let’s not use it anymore!

When I say lecture, what comes to mind?
If you said something other than powerpoint, lecture theatre, talking, rows of students, well done. My point is that ‘lecture’ is synonymous with a type of passive learning. By still referring to lectures, we are effectively (perhaps subliminally) supporting lectures as an effective strategy despite the evidence.


I don’t have a term for it yet. Mitch has poo-poohed Learning Time but I’m not letting the lack of a term stop me from trying to spread the idea.

If you didn’t have to have a lecture (or even a tutorial) but were able to decide the most effective format, what would you do?  You have x amount of contact hours to use in any way you see as the best fit for your unit….  What would you do?  What would you need that you don’t have now?