Wednesday, 30 August 2017

MOOC pilot underway

Dear Colleagues

The pilot of our Fellowship MOOC 'Contemporary approaches to university teaching' is well and truly underway with just under 200 colleagues enrolled. I had hoped that perhaps we'd enrol 100 colleagues in the MOOC and am therefore overwhelmed by the response.

Participant feedback on the MOOC has been extremely positive and we have gleaned very useful information from the participants which will help us when we revise the MOOC in time for launching early in 2018.

As well as the participants enrolled in the MOOC, approximately 30 colleagues nationally and internationally have requested guest access to review the MOOC. Again, their responses have been overwhelmingly positive with several universities indicating that they want to use the MOOC for their staff teaching professional development when we launch next year.

Teaching induction research
In the next few weeks the blog will host posts from colleagues who have recently had their teaching induction research published - Don Houston and Cassandra Hood from Flinders University Australia, and Schalk Fredericks from North-West University South Africa. Also expect to see a post from Denise Chalmers and Lynne Hunt on their recent publication on evaluating teaching.

If you wish to contribute to the blog about your teaching induction program, please do contact me at



Sunday, 25 June 2017

Pilot of MOOC

Dear colleagues

This week we begin the enrollment of the 80 plus new teaching staff who have expressed interest in enrolling in our pilot MOOC Contemporary approaches to university teaching.

The last few months have seen Linden, Josh, David and myself compiling, editing, loading and formatting the modules into the MOOC platform. Each module should take participants approximately 2 hours to complete.

Each module has been reviewed by content experts and the MOOC itself has been reviewed by over a dozen colleagues.

If you are interested in seeing the pilot MOOC, please contact Linden Clarke ( who can enrol you as a guest.

We will be back in August to update you on the pilot. We will also begin to load posts by colleagues who have written articles/theses on teaching induction and related areas.



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Teaching Today’s Diverse Learners module

The Teaching Today’s Diverse Learners module that Teresa De Fazio and I have been working on is aimed at supporting participants to think more deeply about the diverse student cohorts entering higher education and the richness this offers to the learning and teaching experience.

The module is designed to be taken after completion of the Learning and Teaching Theories and Principles and Collaborative Learning: Profiting from Peer Power modules and is intended to build on what participants learned in those modules. Given the breadth of ideas related to diversity we encourage participants to think about what diversity looks like in their teaching contexts, the support for both staff members and students that is available within their institutions and most importantly how they work with diversity so that students feel part of a more inclusive, motivated and inspired learning culture. The module involves the following sections:

  1. Introductory Activity: Who are we referring to when we consider diversity?
  2. Reflection: Acknowledgement of country
  3. Defining diversity
  4. Who are we actually talking about when we consider diversity in higher education?
  5. Responding through practical strategies
  6. Determining the role of the university and its staff
  7. Final reflection, review and next steps


Each one comprises self-paced activities including videos; readings and reflection exercises. Is there anything missing from the list? We realise it may be difficult to respond as you cannot see what each area includes, but we are trying to determine if there is anything more general that we may be missing, bearing in mind that the idea of this module is to help staff think about how to best support students to learn, it is not about specifically addressing a particular cohort in relation to their diverse needs but thinking about how to be inclusive so all students regardless of their background feel they can participate and learn.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Ann  Luzeckyj and Teresa de Fazio

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

To quiz or not to quiz?

Dear All

Colleagues from 19 Australian universities are contributing to the development of the ‘Contemporary Australian Teaching Practices’ MOOC which we will pilot in semester 2, 2017. As the MOOC is designed specifically for university staff who are new to teaching, we have designed it to introduce basic concepts such as how to provide constructive feedback or teach a diversity of students.  Ideally I would like to see our new teaching colleagues spend about two hours a week across a semester, exploring a different topic every week.

However, it is possible that some colleagues who have been teaching previously will access the MOOC. While I want to encourage people to dip into all of the 11 modules, people will of course, pick and choose what is of value to them: just in time, just for me.

I wonder if it would be useful therefore to have say one multiple choice question from each module in a preliminary ‘self assessment’ quiz, which colleagues could use to guide their choices.

What do you think? To quiz or not to quiz???



Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Quality Assurance and our responsibilities: a module under development

Julie Fleming and Kogi Nadioo are developing the module on 'Quality Assurance and our responsibilities ­ helping guide your career development’. Our introduction should provide you with enough information to help demonstrate where we are taking the module. We’d be happy for your feedback.

In this module you will gain an understanding of the overarching learning and teaching frameworks that assure the quality of Australia¹s higher education providers, including your institution. We start by examining the overarching regulatory body TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency), whose role is to safeguard the interests of students as well as to accredit our courses and units. From January 2017, a new regulatory framework applies to all registered providers of higher education in Australia. The framework is known as the Higher Education Standards Framework and it describes a range of specifically developed threshold standards all institutions must meet.

Our responsibility as educators is to understand these requirements, ensuring compliance. A second important framework governing our institutions is the AQF (Australian Qualifications Framework). This framework is the national policy for determining Australian qualifications in education.

Moving on from these overarching regulatory frameworks, we will then examine your institution¹s related policies and procedures that help assure and enhance the quality of course learning and teaching. This will include understanding your role as an educator and the impact of, for example, policies and guidelines relating to academic integrity and your institution¹s code of conduct.
Another important consideration is collecting and examining different datasets to inform the assurance of those standards. These include internal unit and teaching evaluations and external data including Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Our aim is that you are continually reflecting on the impact of your academic/professional role through quality enhancement and alignment with internal and external frameworks supporting the quality of learning and teaching. Upon completion of this module, you will develop a personal development plan, based on your choice of a professional development standards framework, that will support you in completing your probation requirements and/or set you up to progress in your higher education career.

Julie and Kogi

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Scholarly teaching and scholarship of teaching: continually improving your teaching

Dear All

We are developing the module on scholarly teaching and sotl. This module is expected to provide 2 hours of engagement by the participants. So the module is a practical introduction to the concepts and at the end, we will direct people who want to engage further, to resources/literature.

The ‘table of contents’ for the module is given below. What we want to do in the module is introduce new teaching staff to the difference between being a scholarly teacher and engaging in the scholarship of teaching. We’ll ask staff to: view a video clip of international colleagues discussing their definitions of SoTL; skim a chapter on the benefits of SoTL; and find a teaching and learning journal in their discipline.

Then we plan to introduce the different types of evaluation strategies that can be used to improve teaching and collect evidence to improve student learning and for probation, promotion, teaching awards. This work will be based on the 2009 Light, Cox and Caulkin evaluation chapter in their book “Learning and teaching in higher education”. Strategies include things like peer review, buzz groups, questionnaires, reflective triads, and focus groups. In terms of activities, we will ask participants to try one of the strategies.

As we are in the process of finalising our module, we would appreciate your thoughts on the current approach to the module and our questions below.

  1. Can you suggest great resources that we simply must include?
  2. Are there particular (short) activities that we might consider?
  3. Any other feedback?

Module table of contents

Welcome video (introduction to the module)

Context and definitions

Teaching and learning scholars

Why take a scholarly teaching approach?

Concerns about SoTL (the pros and cons of engaging in L&T research)

Where do I start?

Using evaluation to improve your students’ learning

  • Buzz groups
  • Peer review of teaching
  • Questionnaires
  • Etc

Where do I get help from/go from here?

Using SoTL and scholarly teaching to progress your career



Kym Fraser, Swinburne University of Technology

Bernie Fisher, Australian Catholic University

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Learning and Teaching Theories – a module under development

We have undertaken to develop the module on learning and teaching theories for the Induction program.

One of the reasons for our interest in this particular topic was that both of us have had extensive experience in assisting applicants for Learning and Teaching grants and awards, and in preparing and mentoring staff for Higher Education Academy Fellowships. In both these mentoring roles, we have found that most applicants have little knowledge of the higher education literature, and the long history of educational research, principles of teaching, and how students learn. Nor can staff readily call on theory to support their learning and teaching approaches and practices. At best, there may be a single reference in applications to Biggs and Tang (which is of course, a standard text in higher education), or a brief reference to Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, as an argument for ‘social learning’.

As teaching academics, we need to be ‘double professionals’ who know about not only the seminal work in our discipline field, but also how that discipline is best taught. There are specialist journals in teaching particular disciplines and professions, and the module on Scholarly Teaching directs your attention to such journals, but there is a rich literature in learning and teaching in general, and if you are to think reflectively and deeply about your practices for teaching students effectively, you should have some knowledge of this literature, and the significant theories that shape or have shaped our current pedagogies. We would have liked to have included a lot more in our module but it was not feasible given the limited amount of time participants will have to spend on each module.

Our module so far consists of some learning activities, video sections, some links to several short documents, and an MCQ, to ‘test’ that you have a very basic knowledge of the education theorists. It also, as a stretch activity, includes making a voki, to encourage participants to use a free app that may open up a world of new technologies that can be used to engage students in this digital world.  The voki activity is at the icebreaker level. It starts to get participants thinking about articulating their first thoughts about their philosophies of teaching. Participants will need to continue to grapple with the development of their teaching philosophies and may need some other form of professional development, like mentoring to fully develop written artefacts.

We would welcome any comments you have for the scope of the module, and any resources we might consider essential.
Sue Bolt and Yoni Ryan