Newsletter 1-05, July 2005
This is the first newsletter for the year and my first as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). As I take up this position I am conscious of the many innovations and projects initiated during Margaret Gardner’s term. Some of these are only now coming to fruition and yet together they will form the foundation for further advances in teaching and learning well into the foreseeable future. I am grateful to all those who have assisted and advised me as I took up the reins as DVC (Academic) and for the support given to me as I came to grips with the plethora of policies, procedures and reference documents that underpin and frame the formal structures of teaching and learning.
Without question, potential students seeking a first class education expect to enjoy high-quality teaching delivered by academics who are passionate about their disciplines and who employ teaching methods and strategies that stimulate each student’s curiosity and quest for knowledge. We are all aware that pressures on funding and the demands of performance-driven research outcomes have constrained the attention to teaching quality in some instances. Initiatives such as the targeted use of the enhanced student charge to improve staff:student ratios and to enhance the quality of the teaching environment, together with the many activities listed below, represent a coordinated effort to improve the experience of teaching and learning at UQ.
The University’s commitment to innovation in teaching and learning is best illustrated by the recent opening of the Collaborative Learning Centre in the Sir James Foots building in Staff House Road. It would be disappointing if this Centre was merely seen as a test bed for teaching techniques dependent on a saturation of digital, visual and electronic communication and teaching aids. Its true significance is in placing more of the development of learning with the students who are able to engage directly with sub groups within their cohort both in and beyond the space occupied. The availability of an access grid node and a video conferencing facility further increases the potential impact of the teaching to be conducted in the Centre. I look forward to the outcomes with interest and have asked that we make case studies of courses that best grasp the possibilities of the Centre to enrich the teaching offered.
Over recent weeks I have met with each Executive Dean and Director of Studies to discuss the teaching and learning priorities to be included in each Faculty’s Operational Plan for the 2006-2010 period. I have been impressed by the commitment of the Faculties to the improvement of the learning experience and to further improve the quality of teaching offered. Virtually all have identified the need to better integrate the leading research carried out in the Schools and Centres with the teaching program. This should be a fundamental expectation of a research intensive university such as UQ and will be warmly encouraged by me as future initiatives are confirmed.
Professor Michael Keniger
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
|1. LAUNCH, COLLABORATIVE LEARNING CENTRE|
The St Lucia Collaborative Learning Centre within the Sir James Foots building was launched in May. The two-level Centre comprises a series of innovative formal and informal teaching and learning spaces equipped with state-of-the art technologies. Wireless network technologies extend to adjoining outdoor areas and a coffee shop, and into wide external corridors equipped with data points, plasma screens and connections for student and teacher interaction.
Altogether, there are seven teaching spaces in the Centre, with two 90-seat collaboration spaces allowing three distinct learning modes: individual study mode; presentation mode; collaborative learning or “pod” mode. Staff will find it simple to reconfigure the room, physically and electronically, to move between learning modes. Other spaces are equipped with video-conferencing facilities and access grid end-points.
The CLC will be available for timetabled classes from semester 2, 2005 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Staff intending to use the Centre’s facilities are required first to undertake TEDI training. See http://www.uq.edu.au/facilities/index.html?id=26136 for further information.
The Centre will be available for student use from 7.00am to 9.00am and from 5.00pm to 10.00pm Monday to Friday.
Planning is proceeding on another collaborative learning space for Gatton.
|2. MIT iCAMPUS OUTREACH INITIATIVE|
In May 2005 the University of Queensland signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to work closely with MIT as a ‘hub’ institution, implementing, supporting and redistributing MIT iCampus educational tools and pedagogies (see: http://icampus.mit.edu) UQ is one of seven hub institutions on four continents.
The MOU flowed out of a November 2004 visit to the UQ campus by Dr Phillip Long, Director Learning Outreach with the iCampus Outreach Initiative. In the meantime, staff from the Schools of Information Technology & Electrical Engineering (ITEE) and Natural & Rural Systems Management (NRSM) have been liaising with MIT about the adoption of some of MITs iCampus Outreach projects.
Dr Mark Schulz, School of ITEE, has been designated the academic contact for the collaboration. Dr Schulz and Professor Trevor Grigg, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International & Development), visited MIT in early June to progress the collaboration.
MIT is keen for UQ to pursue just one particular project for 2005/06. The iLabs project “is dedicated to the proposition that online laboratories – real laboratories accessed through the Internet – can enrich science and engineering education by greatly expanding the range of experiments that students are exposed to in the course of their education” (cf http://icampus.mit.edu/outreach/) The intention is to develop a UQ-based remote laboratory experiment, embed it in an existing UQ course, and make it available to the wider academic community. This initial remote laboratory will demonstrate the commitment, capability and ability of the UQ iCampus project teams.
This 2005/06 focus on the iLabs project does not stop UQ promoting and discussing other possible iCampus projects. A website, iCampus.uq.edu.au has been established to act as a ‘home’ for UQ iCampus projects.
I have extended an invitation to Dr Long to visit UQ again in 2005, during Teaching & Learning Week (see Item 11 in this Newsletter).
|3. LEARNING AND TEACHING PERFORMANCE FUND (LTPF)|
As previously advised through this Newsletter, the Federal Government will establish a Learning and Teaching Performance Fund (LTPF) with funding of $54.6 million in 2006, increasing to $113.8 in 2008, as part of the Government’s renewed focus on teaching quality in Australian universities. The Fund will reward those institutions that best demonstrate excellence in learning and teaching.
Stage 1, which will determine an institution’s eligibility for funds, was completed in March 2005. Institutions were required to demonstrate a strong strategic commitment to learning and teaching. Stage 2 will assess institutional performance in learning and teaching and is expected to be based on three categories of indicators, using 2004 or the most recent available adjusted data:
1. Student satisfaction: Course Experience Questionnaire Generic Skills, Good Teaching and Overall Satisfaction Scales/Item (55% weighting)
2. Outcomes: Graduate Destination Survey full-time employment and full-time study results (25%)
3. Success: commencing student progress & retention (20%)
The Minister is expected to announce the list of Universities that are eligible for Stage 2 and the allocation model for Stage 2 by the end of July.
Universities will be given two weeks to respond to the results of the Stage 2 assessment by providing a contextual framework for the results. This process can be viewed as the qualitative input to balance the use of the above quantitative indicators.
An Expert Panel has been established to:
· advise the Federal Education Minister on interpretation of the indicators;
· assess DEST-provided data & University submissions on the data; and
· recommend the band of universities where there is clear evidence of better performance based on the indicators.
|4. CARRICK INSTITUTE FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING|
The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching will provide grants of $M25.883 each year from 2006 for learning and teaching innovation.
During 2005 Projects will build on/complete work undertaken by the AUTC (Australian Universities Teaching Committee). To date, two expressions of interest have been called:
1. in April, for collaborative projects to enhance the assessment of learning in the areas of Biological Science, Accounting, Media and Communication. A BACS Faculty team has been invited to develop a more detailed submission.
2. in July, for collaborative projects aimed at building leadership capacity in higher education institutions, in ways that facilitate a culture of excellence in learning and teaching. The Institute anticipates funding three projects, with up to $200,000 available to each project over a period of approximately two years during 2005-07. UQ will submit a collaborative proposal.
From 2006, the Institute will also administer a much-enhanced teaching excellence awards scheme. A University of Melbourne report on strategies for the organisation and management of the expanded program was considered by the Carrick Institute Board in June.
Advice on the new teaching awards for 2006 will be provided to universities in the near future. A national State-based ‘road-show’ will be presented in September, and the call for Awards will be made in semester 1, 2006.
Meanwhile, TEDI has been contracted to carry out the administrative support function for the AAUT awards in 2005, acting as the Carrick Institute's agent. This involves organising the receipt and review of the AAUT submissions and organising the Awards ceremony in Canberra, at Parliament House on 29 November.
|5. ENHANCING THE FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE|
5A. First Year Experience Project
Following the adoption by Academic Board of the Report on Creating a Positive First Year Experience (see: http://www.uq.edu.au/teaching_learning/index.html?page=25735&pid=13775), the First Year Experience Project, which is jointly funded by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and the Faculties, was launched in March 2005. The Project is advised by a Reference Group chaired by the DVC(A); and terms of reference include the following:
· to monitor the implementation of the ‘FYE Subprojects’ – which will be considered pilot programs in 2005 – in each of the seven faculties
· to exchange the ideas generated by the interventions with a view to wider adoption within and across Faculties
· to promote the First Year Experience projects within Faculties
· to review and evaluate the implementation of the recommendations at the end of 2005.
Faculty projects variously have the following objectives:
· to develop academic writing & research intervention skills
· to develop different learning skills & approaches, administer early diagnostic assessment exercises, conduct early one-on-one interviews to identify students at risk
· to develop an elective research-based course for credit
· to develop physical & virtual drop-in centres, with lead tutors
· to provide additional Week 1 tutorials for socialisation & explication of course objectives.
Strategic initiatives include:
· a revised orientation/induction program for students (see below)
· the development of a University-wide tutor training program
· support for the Attrition study at UQ Gatton and UQ Ipswich
· strategic use of the Enhanced Student Charge, which, in 2005, was focused on improving staff:student ratios.
5B. Orientation/Induction Program 2006
The June 2005 Teaching and Learning Workshop was focused on the long-term strategic objective to improve the overall student learning experience and to build effective learning communities.
The Workshop, targeted at Executive Deans, Directors of Studies, Faculty and School Teaching & Learning Committee Chairs and Faculty/School First Year Coordinators, was the first stage in planning and preparing Faculty- and School-based programs aimed at inducting all first year students into their university learning experience. Based on some successful models in place at other Australian universities, the Workshop considered the possible format of and inclusions in an induction program; identified key issues to be addressed in the planning process; and provided an opportunity to share ideas and approaches.
Two linked workshops have been scheduled for semester 2, 2005, intended to continue Faculty efforts to design a first year student induction program for 2006 implementation:
1. Monday 26 September: a working session to aid the planning and preparation process.
2. Monday, 31 October (in conjunction with Teaching and Learning Week 2005 [31 October – 4 November 2005]): to confirm 2006 arrangements in each faculty and to inform all faculties of the collective response to the induction program for first year students across the university.
|6. ELECTRONIC COURSE PROFILE (ECP) SYSTEM|
Development of the Electronic Course Profile system commenced this month.
The Project Team would like to thank staff members who attended the April prototype demonstration sessions at St Lucia, Ipswich, Gatton and Herston and gave valuable feedback that has lead to a number of improvements in the system design.
The system will be piloted in Semester 1, 2006 in four pilot schools: Information Technology & Electrical Engineering, Pharmacy, Music and Agronomy & Horticulture. The diverse range of teaching and learning practices used in the pilot Schools will assist the Project Team in testing and improving the system before it is fully implemented in Semester 2, 2006. The support of the academic and general staff in the pilot Schools is greatly appreciated and their feedback will be valuable in helping to improve the system and to inform the planning for full system implementation.
The system prototype shows its functionality and features and can be found at http://www.uq.edu.au/teaching_learning/index.html?page=25525&pid=13775. The Project Team has been working with Corporate Web Services in the Office of Marketing and Communications and with TEDI instructional designers to design a simplified interface that will have a similar “look and feel” to Blackboard.
While the primary objective of the Project is to provide an environment to support staff in developing course profiles and delivering consistent information to students, the Project Team has been looking at ways to utilise the collected data to reduce the load of other administrative tasks. The Project Team has also been collaborating with the Library and the UQ Bookshop to implement a process that will see details regarding text book and learning resource requirements entered into the Electronic Course Profile system become the authoritative source for ordering texts/resources, thus eliminating duplication in work processes. The ECP system will also simplify the process of data collection and timetabling of examinations.
Any enquiries about the system should be directed to the Project Manager, Josh Humphries at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|7. TEACHING & LEARNING SPACE|
7A. Refurbishment of centrally-controlled teaching rooms
The Teaching & Learning Space Committee has been considering the program of refurbishments to centrally-controlled teaching rooms to be undertaken over the summer period 2005/06. The program will include rooms in the Richards, Parnell, Hawken, Chamberlain and Otto Hirschfeld Buildings on the St Lucia campus, as well as rooms at the Ipswich and Gatton campuses. The refurbishment of teaching spaces includes cleaning, painting, improving the air-conditioning if required, and upgrading and installing audio-visual equipment including computers.
7B. Enhanced Student Charge – Faculty Space refurbishment
Senate has determined that 25% of the Enhanced Student Charge is to be allocated to refurbishment of Faculty teaching spaces. Projects totalling $M1.6 will be undertaken in 2005/06 and include:
· Refurbishments to School of Music teaching rooms, Zelman Cowan Building
· Construction of informal learning area, Chemistry Building
· Refurbishment of teaching rooms, Chamberlain Building
· Establishment of first-year learning environment, Hawken Building
· Refurbishments to Level 3, Edith Cavell Building
· Air-conditioning of School of Agronomy & Horticulture Labs
· AV upgrades
|8. UQSES 2005|
The University of Queensland Student Experience Survey is being conducted again this year. The purpose of this survey is to determine how satisfied students are with various aspects of their UQ experience.
The survey will be conducted online, from 22 August. As with the 2001 and 2003 surveys, first year undergraduate, final year undergraduate (+ honours) and final year postgraduate coursework students will be eligible to participate. To encourage the selected students to complete the online survey, staff who teach these student groups are being asked to promote the survey at the beginning of their lectures in week 4 (15 August) of this semester. Heads of Schools will shortly be receiving a letter and ‘promotional materials’ for distribution to teaching staff. Approximately 4,250 students responded to the 2003 UQSES (35 percent of the cohort surveyed). It is hoped the student response rate will improve this year with the help and support of teaching staff.
|9. TEACHING & LEARNING COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES|
Minutes of meetings of the central Teaching & Learning Committee are available at:
9A. Establishment of Working Parties
The following working parties of the Teaching & Learning Committee have been established in 2005:
Postgraduate Coursework Awards Graduate Attributes
This working party has been established to implement Recommendation 1a of the Senate-approved Report of the Postgraduate Coursework Awards Working Party - "that the Teaching and Learning Committee develop statements of graduate attributes for the different levels of postgraduate coursework programs (graduate certificates, graduate diplomas, coursework masters and professional doctorates)". The Committee for Academic Programs Policy (CAPP) is establishing principles for professional doctorate programs that will articulate with the General Award Rules.
Membership of the working party comprises:
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) (Chair): Professor Michael Keniger
President, Academic Board or nominee: Professor Sue Spence
Two nominees of Teaching & Learning Committee: Professor Gwen Jull; A/Professor Fiona Rohde
Director, TEDI or nominee: Dr Catherine Manathunga
President, University of Queensland Union or nominee: Ms Leah Sanderson
Secretary: Mrs Kim Lamb
The working party will report to Teaching & Learning Committee no later than October 2005.
Quality Assurance Principles: Non-Standard Teaching Periods
This working party has been established to consider the model for non-standard teaching periods in terms of curriculum design and its impact on quality assurance. The working party will report to the Committee for Academic Programs Policy (CAPP).
Membership of the working party comprises:
Three members of the Teaching & Learning Committee: Professor Sue Spence, Dr Colin Birch, A/Professor Fiona Rohde
A representative of TEDI: A/Professor Peter Jamieson
A representative of the Faculty Executive Officers: Mrs Patricia Robinson
A student representative who had participated in a summer semester or intensive postgraduate studies weekend: Ms Lucy Webber
Secretary: Ms Anne Gilmore
Education Principles on Indigenous Australian Matters Working Party
On the recommendation of the Senate Standing Committee for Equity, Diversity and the Status of Women (EDSW), the Vice-Chancellor has agreed that a statement of education principles be developed to expand upon those sentiments expressed in HUPP 8.10.3 – Reconciliation and, specifically, to address matters related to Indigenous education at this University. A working party has been established with the following Terms of Reference:
· to develop a statement of education principles on Indigenous Australian matters as it relates to the development of inclusive curriculum and pedagogy;
· to identify relevant University policies where these principles might be included.
Membership of the Working Party comprises:
Chair, Teaching & Learning Committee: Professor Michael Keniger
Two members appointed by the Chair, Teaching & Learning Committee: A/Professor Heather Beattie; Ms Denise Chalmers
Director, ATSISU or nominee: Mr Michael Williams
Director, The Equity Office or nominee: Ms Ann Stewart
Academic Registrar or nominee: Ms Lesley Chase
A student representative, appointed by the President, UQ Union: Mr John Tapp
Secretary: Ms Anne Gilmore
The working party will report to Teaching & Learning Committee no later than October 2005.
9B. Review of Examination Period
The Teaching & Learning Committee has considered options for revising the Academic Calendar to accommodate longer examination periods in semesters 1 and 2, and in the summer semester. Recommendations were forwarded in early July to the Committee for Academic Programs Policy; and this Committee will in turn recommend to Academic Board in August.
|10. ASSESSMENT SUBCOMMITTEE ACTIVITIES|
Minutes of meetings of the Assessment Subcommittee can be found via:
Current activities of the Assessment Subcommittee include:
10A. Monitoring Quality Assurance in Assessment
The Assessment Subcommittee continues to focus on the dissemination and monitoring of current UQ assessment policies and practices. The Chairperson met with the Directors of Studies in April to discuss the development of their own quality assurance and quality control processes with respect to assessment practices. The group also discussed adherence to quality assurance principles, with a view to formulating guidelines that could be used by Schools.
10B. Grade Distributions
Assessment Subcommittee continues to monitor and analyse the distribution of grades over the past seven years.
10C. Special Examinations
Assessment Subcommittee continues to monitor and analyse trends relating to the award of special examinations.
|11. TEACHING & LEARNING WEEK 2005|
Teaching and Learning Week 2005 will be held from Monday, 31 October through to Friday, 4 November. As always, a highlight of the Week will be the presentation of the annual UQ Teaching and Learning Excellence Awards, on Monday evening, 31 October.
The Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI) is convening the Effective Teaching and Learning (ETL) Conference to be held on the St Lucia campus on 3-4 November. The theme is Challenging Issues for Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century. For details, visit www.tedi.uq.edu.au/ETLConference
A broad outline of the Week’s planned events follows. Please note that this outline is still to be confirmed.
## The Tuesday and Wednesday activities are interchangeable at this stage.
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