Newsletter 2-04, September 2004
Teaching and Learning Newsletter 2-04, September 2004
|INTRODUCTION FROM THE DEPUTY VICE-CHANCELLOR (ACADEMIC)|
This is the time of year when I'm sure everyone feels breathless, like hanging on to the front of the wave not sure if it's a dumper. This can make newsletters talking about the changes ahead and those underway seem an overwhelming reminder that we are all just holding on, not sure if the wave is a blessing or a curse.
Nevertheless, from my vantage point, there are some significant opportunities to improve teaching and learning on the horizon. Most immediately, the devotion of the extra 25 percent student charge to learning and teaching will provide opportunities to create better environments from improvements in teaching and learning facilities to increased numbers of staff to assist with better or more interesting classes and assessment. At present, we face some uncertainty about the funding from the 25 percent which will be resolved on 9 October, but I think the University commitment to more direct improvements in teaching and learning is something that will be sustained over the longer term irrespective of election outcomes.
The Learning and Teaching Performance Fund and the Carrick Institute will, between them, provide more funding for teaching and learning: in the case of the Carrick Institute, in the form of grants for teaching and learning innovations and, from the LTPF, funds that can be devoted in ways similar to the extra 25 percent charge to directly enhance the student and the teacher experience.
The university sector has not previously had access to funds of this magnitude for these purposes. It is important that we are able to gain access to and use these funds for long-term, tangible improvements. Too often in the past, funds that were available funded research that has not influenced teaching practice, or produced exciting teaching and learning product that was tied to the particular interests of the small number of individuals involved in the project. While all innovation will have failures and run down blind alleys, we have the means to make considered appraisal of what will matter to us collectively at program, School, Faculty and University level. It is important that these opportunities for funding are seen as something in which many can be engaged; not only individual or small group enthusiasms (although there must be room for these as well).
We have a number of big projects underway in the University at present that should offer staff new areas to try. The Blackboard implementation will have many points at which staff can get involved and try the tools it provides for more flexible teaching and learning. A new Collaborative Learning Centre (CLC) on the St Lucia campus will open next year and staff will have time to experiment with these different spaces and what they provide for teaching. A CLC is also being designed for the Gatton campus. We hope the Centre will be available in 2005/06 and will connect to the St Lucia CLC. And Faculties are at present considering their plans for refurbishing or altering their teaching spaces for the future.
I hope that improvements in the first year experience will be built with Faculty and School input and the resources that are to be provided centrally. I expect that we will see a variety of ideas being tried to give students more excitement and a feeling of belonging. I also believe that the pilot to be undertaken to provide staff with a way to gain a peer evaluation of their learning materials for use in various appraisal or promotion processes will be extended and give staff who wish to make a case for excellence in teaching a better way of building and demonstrating that case.
In all having faced many years of inexorable deterioration in staff:student ratios and limited funds to fuel innovation or support good teaching practice, I think we can look forward with some small confidence that things will be a little better.
Professor Margaret Gardner
|1. NELSON REFORMS|
1A. Learning and Teaching Performance Fund (LTPF)
In June 2004, the University submitted its response to the DEST Issues Paper on how institutional learning and teaching excellence will be assessed for purposes of Learning and Teaching Performance Fund Stage 2 allocations. University representatives also attended consultation sessions held in Brisbane in July 2004.
Consultations with the sector will continue over the next 12 months.
$54.4 million will be available to reward teaching excellence through the Fund in 2006.
1B. Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
On 11 August, Minister Nelson launched The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, to be established in Melbourne. Appointments to the Institute include:
The Federal Government will provide funding of $22 million to the Institute in 2006. The Institute's responsibilities include:
The Australian Universities Teaching Committee (AUTC) has been overseeing the development of the national Institute. Consultations with the higher education sector and other stakeholders included a series of discussion meetings, a discussion paper and a forum to consolidate the input received. The AUTC's advice to the Minister on the establishment of the Institute was released in July.
1C. Use of the Income from Enhanced Student Charge
At its March 2004 meeting, the University Senate determined that additional income generated for the University from increases in Student Contribution Charges be used to improve student:teacher ratios and the general student learning environment for undergraduate students, including the quality of teaching and learning facilities. Twenty-five (25) percent of that income is to be used to improve teaching and learning facilities, covering both University (centrally-controlled) facilities and those maintained by Faculties and Schools.
These decisions will be reflected in UQ's Strategic Plan 2005-2008.
To ensure that funds from the increased student contribution charges available from 2005 are applied innovatively in Schools in ways that will contribute to the desired outcomes agreed by Senate, Faculties have been asked to prepare five-year expenditure plans with KPIs against which Faculties can report annually. The plans are to include specific expenditure for 2005 focusing on first year programs/courses and students.
A request has gone from the Teaching and Learning Space Committee to Faculties seeking their priorities over the next 10 years to create improved teaching and learning spaces at Faculty and School levels. The Committee will then formulate an overall plan for providing better teaching and learning facilities for the University.
|2. TEACHING & LEARNING COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES|
Minutes of meetings of the central Teaching and Learning Committee are available at:
Major issues under consideration include:
The Teaching and Learning Committee is currently reviewing the University's policy on plagiarism. It is expected that an updated policy will proceed to Academic Board in October.
Strategies to be considered, aimed at minimising plagiarism, include:
For further information, contact the Secretary of the Teaching and Learning Committee, Mrs Kim Lamb, on Ext 51975 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2B. English Language Proficiency Requirements
A University policy on English language proficiency requirements is in the final stages of collaborative development with the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International & Development). The policy has been devised in response to an identified need for the University formally to articulate a sufficient level of English language proficiency required to be demonstrated by students from non-English speaking backgrounds (regardless of citizenship status) to succeed in their program of study. The policy also provides for measures to enrich the experiences for these students while studying at the University, as well as the experiences of other students and teaching staff with whom they interact.
The draft policy statement includes:
The draft policy will be considered by Academic Board in September.
For further information, contact the Secretary of the Teaching and Learning Committee, Mrs Kim Lamb, on Ext 51975 or email email@example.com
2C. Teaching and Learning Workshops
The first Teaching and Learning Workshop for 2004 was a great success, with three sessions held over 10 and 11 June. The Workshop ? Converging on-campus and online approaches to teaching and learning: Issues and challenges ? focused on the challenges and opportunities teachers face with the introduction of online teaching and learning environments.
The theme of the semester 1 workshop will be taken up in the semester 2 Workshop during Teaching and Learning Week 2004, which will have the broad theme Creating Learning Communities. (See Item 7. below)
|3. ASSESSMENT SUB-COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES|
Key activities undertaken by the Assessment Sub-Committee over the past few months include:
3A. Development of best-practice guidelines for assessment in association with Dr Clair Hughes from TEDI and Dr Merrilyn Goos from the School of Education. Draft copies will be available for comment by the end of September.
It is proposed that hard copy and Web-based versions of the guidelines will be produced. Particular attention will be given to the development of guidelines for criterion-referenced assessment and ways to reduce the potential for plagiarism.
In association with TEDI, it is proposed to run some staff development workshops in 2005 that have an in-depth focus on assessment.
3B. The Sub-Committee has discussed several issues relating to the accuracy of marking and recording, calculating and downloading of grades. It is envisaged that Faculty and School Teaching and Learning Committees should address these issues within their processes of quality control/quality assurance in assessment. Although some of these issues will be solved with the introduction of a new University Gradebook system, it is important that Schools maximise the accuracy of their marking and recording systems.
3C. On the recommendation of the Academic Board, the Senate on 20 May 2004 resolved to discontinue the granting of deferred special examinations. This change takes effect for examinations arising from Semester 2, 2004 enrolments. Students may still apply for deferred special examinations if, for acceptable reasons, they are unable to sit special examinations approved from Semester 1, 2004 and held in August. However, this will be the last time such applications are considered.
|4. T & L WORKING PARTY ACTIVITIES|
The following working parties have reported or are about to report on their investigations.
4A. Peer Review of Learning Materials
4B. AV and ICT Standards for Teaching and Learning Spaces
The following working parties are continuing their investigations:
4C. Enhancing the First Year Experience
4D. Electronic Course Profiling System
|5. BLACKBOARD IMPLEMENTATION|
After an extensive evaluation process by the eLearning Working Party, the decision was made to purchase the Blackboard Learning Management Software to replace the University's current eLearning platform, WebCT.
As an interim step, UQ was required to upgrade to WebCT Campus Edition for semester 2, 2004 courses. The conversion of existing courses to WebCT CE occurred seamlessly in July 2004.
It is envisaged that Blackboard will be fully implemented in semester 1, 2005. The comprehensive Blackboard implementation plan includes:
For planning purposes, Directors of Studies have been asked to provide the Project Manager by 6 September with a list of 2004/2005 Summer Semester and semester 1, 2005 courses currently in WebCT-CE or proposed as new Blackboard courses.
|6. REVIEW OF THE TEACHING AND LEARNING COMMITTEEQSES|
A review of the Teaching and Learning Committee, including its Assessment Sub-Committee, is currently being undertaken as part of the Academic Board's regular cycle of reviews of its committees.
The review is being chaired by Professor Michael Keniger, Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture and expects to report to Academic Board Standing Committee in late 2004.
Issues being considered by the review committee include the efficiency and effectiveness of the committee structure, improved methods for carrying out business, the objectives of the Committee, the relevance of the terms of reference, and the size and structure of the Committee.
Submissions to the review have been invited from the University community.
|7. TEACHING & LEARNING WEEK 2004|
Teaching and Learning Week 2004 will be held from 15 ? 19 November, with the theme of the Week being Creating Learning Communities. The broad structure of the Week is:
Faculty participation will be invited in the UQ Gatton and UQ St Lucia Showcase Days.
The UQ Ipswich Showcase Day will be held on 1 November, and is being coordinated by Clair Hughes, TEDI. Again, Faculty participation will be invited and encouraged.
|8. UQSES 2003|
University and Faculty level reports on the 2003 University of Queensland Student Experience Survey have been distributed to Executive Deans and Faculty Directors of Studies, and are also available in PDF format on the Reportal.
The Indicators Portal within the Reportal contains a number of quantitative reports, prepared by Management Information Section (MIS), aggregated to Faculty, School, program and field of study level. Item level reports are also available by survey cohort and by school.
TEDI's Education Consultancy and Evaluations Unit has prepared Faculty Qualitative Data Reports which have recently been distributed to Faculties. The ECE Unit is now preparing detailed quantitative and qualitative reports for each School to inform teaching and learning improvements, including curriculum review. The School reports will bring together data from both the 2003 and 2001 UQSES surveys. Schools will find that the item level analysis will be particularly useful in identifying areas for attention.
|9. POSTGRADUATE FLEXIBLE LEARNING FUNDING SCHEME 2005|
Applications to the 2005 Postgraduate Flexible Learning Funding Scheme will be invited in mid-September through Executive Deans, Directors of Studies and Heads of School.
To assist prospective applicants with the application process, TEDI will hold a workshop on Wednesday, 13 October 2004, between 9.30am ? 11.30am, in the Library Conference Room (Level 1, Duhig Building). Further details will be included in the invitation for applications, as will the Funding Scheme Guidelines for 2005.
The Scheme will provide funding to assist with the innovative design or redesign of teaching and learning in existing or new postgraduate coursework programs with a view to enhancing student accessibility to programs and their learning experiences and outcomes.
|Professor Margaret Gardner |
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and
Chair, Teaching and Learning Committee