Learning and Teaching Forum

Towards 2025: Inspiring Learning

31 Oct 2016

Learning and Teaching Forum

The focus of the 2016 Learning and Teaching Forum was the UNSW 2025 Strategy, in particular, the Scientia Educational Experience. The keynote addresses provided updated information on the implementation and operational plans for the 2025 Strategy.

A number of UNSW academics shared practice on how they Inspire Learning through assessment and feedback strategies, grand challenges and partnerships, teaching excellence, work integration, curriculum and program design, digital innovation, and equity/diversity and inclusion.




Professor Ian Jacobs
President and Vice-Chancellor


merlin crossley_big.jpg

Professor Merlin Crossley
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education



Sophie Johnston
President, Student Representative Council


Tudy_Hasana.pngTrudy Hasna Taftiana
Master Candidate of Engineering Science


Keynote Speakers Video Recording

Keynote slides are available here


8 - 9am  Registration, poster gallery and coffee

9 - 10am  Keynote speakers

10 - 11am Session one presentations

11am - 12pm Poster discussions and morning tea

12 - 1pm Session two presentations

1 - 1:30pm Poster discussions and lunch

1:30 - 2:30pm Session three presentations

2:30 - 3:30pm Group discussions facilitated by Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education), Geoff Crisp



Assessment Feedback Strategies



Geospatial technologies enhancing Surveying education through project based learning


roberts_craig.jpgDr Craig Roberts, Senior Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering (bio)
            Co-presenters: Dr Bruce Harvey and Dr Yincal Zhou, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering


GMAT4150 (Field Project 2) is a final year, capstone course in the Bachelor of Engineering (Surveying) program. It has been running for many years and provides project-based opportunities for students to exercise knowledge they have learnt in the program and extend their expertise in specific disciplines. There are no lectures, no exams, lots of self-directed learning and group work. Academic staff act as clients and prepare project briefs. The student group organises itself as consultants (usually appointing a managing director), coordinates the work and provides project reports as per specifications. In 2016 students conducted a UAV 3D modelling survey of the Helensburgh waste facility management centre, laser scanned a weighbridge on-site and performed a preliminary cadastral boundary survey of the extremities of the site using an array of original survey plans combined with modern geo-cadastral modelling software with assistance from industry.


Presentation slides


Learning together how to write like a psychologist: Peer feedback in Psychology


richmond_jenny.jpgDr Jenny Richmond, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science (bio)
            Co-presenters: George Economidis and Ashneeta Prasad, Bachelor of Pschology (Hons) students


Students crave personalised feedback about how far away their work is from the standard that we expect, and an opportunity to act on that information to improve the quality of their work (Boud & Molloy, 2013). Our CATEI reports consistently tell us that we fail to deliver this ideal, particularly in large courses. Here, we will discuss how we might move away from using brief comments that merely justify the grade that is given, adopting a process that mimics the way feedback works in academic and professional settings. We will draw on examples from Psychology courses that have incorporated peer feedback and “revise/resubmit” into the assessment process, allowing students to assess their own and others work with the goal of learning to write like a psychologist. We will talk about the benefits and challenges of peer feedback, and the potential it has to enhance the Scientia Education experience.


Presentation slides


A “Skills Portfolio” approach to laboratory assessment


haines_ron.jpgDr Scott Sulway, Associate Lecturer and Dr Ron Haines, Lecturer, School of Chemistry, Faculty of Science (bio)


Until recently, assessment in first year chemistry laboratory classes mirrored common practice around the world. Students wrote up their observations and calculations onto a proforma report for each experiment. Demonstrators were issued with general guidelines for marking these reports, but there remained an element of subjectivity along with the assumption “they got the right answer, so they must have done it properly.” Assessment of manipulative and professional skills was lacking. We have now implemented a radically new model of laboratory assessment. Students are continuously assessed in the laboratory by their demonstrator, who observes and records their skills in real time. Laboratory skills are categorised as either “core” or “non-core”, with students requiring all “core” skills to pass the course. The “non-core” skills translate into merit grades. This new model has several benefits. Higher year course coordinators (and employers) can now be confident that all students who have passed first year chemistry possess a common, well-defined package of skills. Students also receive better feedback, as they see their “skills portfolio” gradually expanding throughout the year. Problem students are immediately identified facilitating prompt remedial action thereby leading to improved overall performance by the entire student cohort.


Presentation slides


Global Impact and Partnerships



Learning Engineering practice through partnership - The Mer Project


stuetz_richard.jpegProf Richard Stuetz, Director of UNSW Water Research Centre (bio)
            Co-presenter: Charlotte Wang, Environmental Engineering student


CVEN4701 - Planning Sustainable Infrastructure (www.mer.unsw.edu.au) is a 4th year course in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. It requires students in their final year to engage in a project that simulates the work they will do in professional practice, by applying the knowledge gained in 2nd and 3rd year courses to a realistic problem; causing them to integrate previously separately taught infrastructure components and recognising the broader concepts of sustainability that includes social, economic and environmental perspectives. The course was established in 2009 and in 2015 formed a partnership with Nura Gili whereby the course progressed from hypothetical problems to students engaging with a real client: the community on Murray "Mer" Island, home of Eddy Mabo. Student groups participated in a Design Competition (assessed using a range of assignment formats: technical reports, showcase poster, project management and summary video) to best meet the needs of this remote community, with industry partners and representative from the Murray Island. The Showcase Event was held at Nura Gili (http://www.mer.unsw.edu.au/news/planning-sustainable-infrastructure-showcase). In 2015, the winning group presented their solution in person on Murray Island (http://www.mer.unsw.edu.au/news/a-week-on-mer-island-deepening-the-dialogue-about-sustainable-infrastructure).


Presentation slides


A partnership between UNSW and Engineers Without Borders enhances the student learning experience


henderson_rita.jpgDr Rita Henderson, Senior Lecturer, School of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering (bio)
            Co-presenter: Dr Fiona Johnson, School of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering


Experiential learning is widely recognized to actively engage students by enabling them to make connections between class activity and real-life. Since the beginning of 2014, an on-going collaboration with EWB has allowed UNSW students to apply their engineering skills to solve actual humanitarian problems. A major initiative has been the integration of the EWB Challenge in the 1st Year course ENGG1000: Engineering Design and Innovation. The Challenge design brief, developed in consultation with community partners, has students collaborating on topics including provision of clean drinking water and climate change adaptation; their solutions are provided back to the partner for possible implementation. The partnership has also led to the participation of students on the EWB Design Summit (Cambodia) and many are electing to undertaken their Honours thesis in partnership with EWB. UNSW students are developing skills that will enable them to contribute directly to global Grand Challenges while enhancing their student learning experience.


Presentation slides


Developing future health leaders through UNSW-industry partnerships in a work-based doctorate


meyer_lois.jpgDr Lois Meyer, Senior Lecturer, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine (bio)
            Co-presenters: Professor Raina MacIntyre, Head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine and Director of the DrPH, Future Health Leaders Program & Dr Maria Agaliotis Lecturer and Assistant Director of the DrPH and Future Health Leaders Program


Our 2025 Strategy for academic excellence commits to innovative and globally relevant education that draws on productive industry partnerships, attracts high potential doctoral students and forges a community of scholars for addressing real-world practice. This presentation focuses on the Professional Doctorate in Applied Public Health (DrPH) offered through the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) that aligns with this vision. The DrPH is a three-year work-based doctorate for emerging health leaders offered in partnership with health workplaces. Begun in 2009 as a partnership between SPHCM and NSW Health, the program has expanded to having an increasing global reach, attracting doctoral students in diverse health services locations. The program’s unique learning design combining campus-based intensives with technology enhanced learning to support work-based research will be outlined. Lessons learnt to date in fostering practitioner-researchers who can function as emerging global health leaders using this educational approach will be considered.


Presentation slides


Teaching Excellence



Evolving the lecture


clout_victoria.jpgDr Victoria Clout, Lecturer, School of Accounting, UNSW Business School (bio)


The Lecture is dead, long live the lecture some say – traditional lectures being seen as knowledge transmission. For most large courses, the lecture remains to be seen as one of the most efficient (not to say effective) modes of large scale knowledge transmission. However, the modern lecture is a place for knowledge construction. For those academics who must suffer to have a lecture in their course, how can a lecture be evolved to suit the current needs of students? This presentation provides guidance and practical takeaways of how to reimagine a large lecture for active engagement. The evidence used in this presentation is from a 5 year period of teaching introductory financial accounting. In addition to live lecture evolution ideas, this presentation will cover what makes an effective pre-recorded video to supplement or replace lectures.
            Presentation slides


Do students learn effectively in an online environment?


angstmann-elizabeth.jpgDr Elizabeth Angstmann, Senior Lecturer & First Year Physics Director, School of Physics, Faculty of Science (bio)


Online courses are popular with students and staff due to the flexibility that they can offer. There is little research into their effectiveness in terms of student learning outcomes. Increases in student understanding can be measured using concept inventory tests, these tests are given to student before and after they study a topic and changes in their learning measured. These can be compared with students across a large number of institutes. Student learning gains have been measured across many first year physics courses including the entirely online course PHYS1110 Everyday Physics. These learning gains were found to be equivalent to those measured for student taking traditionally taught courses (though lower than for courses with interactive engagement, often present in blended courses).


Presentation slides


Enhancing student learning by tutorial-lecture swapping, peer instruction and online formative feedback


hussein_furqan.jpgDr Furqan Hussain, Lecturer, School of Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Engineering (bio)
            Co-presenters: Dr Peter Neal and Prof. Christoph Arns, School of Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Engineering


Until recently, a key strength of studying with UNSW Petroleum Engineering was the small class sizes. Classes of around 40 students enabled instructors to spend significant time in one-on-one and small group teaching as part of the conventional pattern of a lecture followed by a tutorial. However the effectiveness of this pattern has decreased over the past five years as student numbers have increased by 300% to 400%. In response to this rapid shift from small to large classes and to facilitate collaborative or peer learning and to encourage active student learning, we modified the delivery of three courses by using 1) tutorial-lecture swapping, 2) peer learning and 3) online formative assessment. The goal was to achieve sustainable improvement in the delivery of these courses and enhance our students’ learning experience. In this presentation we share some examples of our techniques. The lessons learnt and future recommendations will also be discussed.


Presentation slides



Curriculum/Program Design



Building a learning community




Dr Mira Kim, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Languages, Arts & Social Sciences (bio)
            Co-presenters: Jason Heffernan, Tutor, School of Humanities and Languages, Bosheng Jing, Tutor, School of Humanities and Languages, Elmir Shirinov, Master of Education (Assessment and Evaluation) student, Trudy Hasna Taftiana, Master of Engineering Science (Project Management in Civil Engineering) student


In this presentation, we would like to talk about our experience of building a learning community through the program called Personalised English Language Enhancement (PELE). The program is designed to encourage and support students who want to enhance their communication skills in English. In this program, students are provided with assistance to develop and implement their own personal projects to enhance their language skills and evaluate their own progress. Being funded by UNSW Strategic Educational Development Grants (SEF#2), the program was offered for free to 170 students in Semester 1. In this presentation, we would like to share what we have learned working in this program from the teachers and students’ perspectives.


Presentation slides


Embedding research-integrated learning into a large biochemistry course




Dr Rebecca LeBard, Lecturer, School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Faculty of Science (bio)
            Co-presenters: Geoff Kornfeld and Owen Sprod, School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and Rafal Habeeb, Bachelor of Medical Sciences student


A research-integrated learning experience is offered to fifty interested students within a large second year undergraduate advanced biochemistry course. This offering allows students to "be a scientist" and partner in a research project investigating the regulation of glutathione in yeast for three class hours per week. A Student Self-Assessment Survey showed students reported gains in attitudes and behaviours relating to feeling prepared for postgraduate research, a sense of responsibility for their project, and engaging in real-world science research, and that they’d work extra hours as they’re excited by the research.


Presentation slides


Empowering the conversation: a blended learning approach to academic integrity




Gwyn Jones, Learning Advisor, The Learning Centre, DVC (Education) Portfolio (bio)


Conversations with learners about misconduct issues are often difficult and confronting. The Learning Centre has been the ‘go to’ place for helping learners on the misconduct register to understand their role in this process. This has entailed hundreds of hours of individual consultations and group workshops, dealing with the learner’s questions, clarifying misunderstandings and listening to individual stories. It is these conversations that have informed the design of a Moodle module, ‘Working with Academic Integrity’. The module takes an interactive approach which fosters an informed conversation about academic integrity and best academic practice. This understanding enables learners to approach their assignments, and to engage with the ideas of other scholars, in an informed and responsible way. This presentation will discuss the design of the module and the feedback of the learners during the pilot and implementation phases. Examples of their thoughts will be shared by the use of video, open responses from surveys and written reflective feedback. The response from the learners has been overwhelmingly positive however their comments challenge a common assumption that “they should all know this stuff”! Our findings suggest this is not the case. The original module, used by the Learning Centre alone in the Directed Mode is now accessed and has been positively received by ethics offices from numerous Schools. The Embedded Mode of the module sits in courses within the context of a discipline so the conversation can be contextualised within that community of practice. The Module has also been a springboard for the development of school specific modules that can highlight the unique academic practices of the specific field. The learners own stories instigated these conversations about working with academic integrity and best academic practice. This approach has the potential to promote a university wide open dialogue.


Presentation slides




Replicating classroom intimacy and engagement online


mount_gavin.jpgDr Gavin Mount, Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra (bio)


Taught this semester for the first time, ZHSS 8453 Culture and Conflict affirms the central importance of political culture, as a methodology, within the field of International and Political Studies. Understanding the complex interconnections between culture and conflict is a vital strategic challenge confronting defence and security planners in the West. Believing strongly that pedagogy should determine our choice of teaching technologies, we were interested in replicating the intimacy of graduate seminars, on-line. Five themes guided our approach. To facilitate intimate interaction we used audio-only podcasts, virtual seminars and short feedback podcasts, in a trial of Collaborate Ultra. This provided flexible ways for busy post-graduate students to engage meaningfully with our material and each other. Team-taught, ZHSS 8453 deliberately emphasised our distinct, but compatible, approaches, which generated an environment of analytical pluralism. This served to encourage a culture of permission, which facilitated lively debate between students and between students and ourselves. In turn, this produced genuinely reflective teaching and learning outcomes in which students were comfortable introducing their professional experiences into the classroom. In our presentation, we will illustrate these outcomes with reference to course material, assessment and testimonials.


Presentation slides


Interactive teaching of the finite element method 


khennane_amar.jpgDr Amar Khennane, Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering and Information Technology, UNSW Canberra (bio)


The finite element method is a numerical method for solving differential equations. Nowadays the method is implemented in computer packages that include graphical user interfaces for both input and output. So, what is to be taught? Should the emphasis be on the theory, or on more “hands-on” applications using computer software? Teaching only the theory is not attractive to students. Finite element analysis is usually taught in the final years of the degree, and at this stage, most students expect that they have already completed their studies in mathematics. The “hands-on” approach, on the other hand, makes extensive use of the availability of computer facilities. Students learn to solve practical problems chosen by the lecturer. However, this approach gives students a false sense of achievement because when faced with a novel problem, they usually do not know where to start. An interactive method on how to bridge the gap between theory and practice will be discussed in the presentation.


Presentation slides


Enhanced learning through undertaking scaled construction projects in laboratory environments


shen_xuesong_johnson.jpgDr Johnson Xuesong Shen, Lecturer, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering (bio)


The lack of field knowledge presents significant challenges for students in learning advanced topics in construction engineering and project management. Also, running construction site tours for large classes is practically difficult due to workplace safety concerns and limited space. This talk will discuss the development of an innovative and interactive scaled construction learning and teaching platform used to mimic an earthmoving construction site / surface mining site in the laboratory. Numerous learning exercises have been developed based on the platform and introduced to CVEN4102 Operations and Projects and CVEN9723 Design of Construction Projects since 2015. The laboratory was found to considerably enrich the students’ learning experience and sharpen their critical thinking and problem solving skills in safe laboratory environment.


Presentation slides


Work Integration



From kitchen-hand to creative professional: learner transformation and industry partnerships in art, design and media


snepvangers_kim.jpgDr Kim Snepvangers, UNSW Teaching Fellow, UNSW Art & Design (bio)
            Co-presenters: Dr Shaista Bibi, Educational Developer, UNSW Art & Design and Nicola Yeo, BMedia Arts Student, UNSW Art & Design


In 2016 the Art & Design faculty launched a new suite of Professional Experience Partnerships (PEP) across fourth year Honours UG degree programs in Fine Arts, Design and Media Arts. By showcasing new approaches to student, staff and industry partnerships, this presentation mirrors how industry environments can generate key creative outcomes. This co-developed presentation with learners as partners will show how PEP is designed to generate self-managing pathways in creative fields of practice. Through developing joint ventures with students, staff and industry mentors, flexible opportunities and strong relationships are created with a structural focus on project(s). Providing a counterpoint to traditional notions of “internship” the structure utilises concepts of flow, matchmaking and appropriateness to meet 21st century learning goals. The focus is on learner transformation across timeframes and LMS using self–management skills to negotiate new learning scenarios, adapt and professionally communicate with university staff, hosts and industry.


Presentation slides


More than meets the eye – an innovative Centre for Eye Health final year optometry placement


Jaclyn Chiang, Senior Optometrist, Centre for Eye Health, School of Optometry, Faculty of Science (bio)


Increasing student numbers and constant developments in optometric technologies pose challenges in the capacity and delivery of practical optometric education. Hence, it is essential for the implementation of new, innovative ways to enhance student experience in the practical component of their course. Centre for Eye Health (CFEH) is a unique referral based facility offering students exposure to cutting-edge, advanced imaging technologies and increased experience in detection, diagnosis, and management of a unique patient cohort, referred by community practicing optometrists and ophthalmologists. This talk focuses on the how the program has successfully met such challenges in optometric education and highlight final year optometry student interactions with their peers, staff and patients, with objectives closely aligned with the UNSW 2025 strategy. The talk will outline a range of teaching modes which inspire self-learning within and beyond the university environment. Students’ engagement and outcomes will also be discussed.


Presentation slides


Thinking deeper, thinking together: teaching students to get the most out of clinical courses


cody_anna.jpgAssociate Professor Anna Cody, Director of Kingsford Legal Centre, UNSW Law (bio)


Kingsford Legal Centre teaches over 400 applied legal ethics students each year as well as law students studying clinical law subjects, such as employment law clinic, community law clinic and family law community education clinic. Students learn by doing real client work and reflecting on their role as a future lawyer, the law and the legal system. They work on real client files, interviewing, researching, drafting legal submissions, making legal presentations and reforming the law. Unless students spend time thinking about, analysing and reflecting on their learning process they do not reach the deeper levels of learning which are possible from a clinical subject. The courses have recently incorporated additional reflective analysis components in order to ensure maximum benefit is gained by students in their learning. Peer to peer reflection and giving and receiving feedback are essential skills which students now learn as well as how to effectively utilise feedback. The presentation will describe the elements of reflective practice which students learn in their clinical courses, and incorporate student voices, through video clips to discuss the value of this component of their learning. The learning process is very individual as each student works on different client files and comes with their own range of existing experience. The reflection process must therefore also be individualised and yet incorporates group and peer elements.


Presentation slides


Digital Innovation



The real power of technology in education: it's not personalized learning, it's personalized coaching


kasumovic_michael.jpgDr Michael Kasumovic, Senior Lecturer, BEES/EERC, Faculty of Science (bio)


The world around our students has changed dramatically and universities worldwide are struggling to keep up. Although educational games are touted as the newest saviour of our crumbling education system, most 'educational' games focus on external rewards (e.g., points, badges) to teach a concept, rather than harnessing the intrinsic desire to understand. Most importantly, there is little evidence that the majority of these new games improve student learning. I will discuss the necessity of a paradigm shift in teaching and learning and will provide examples of how to do it. I will also demonstrate how my approach provides (1) a cost-effective means of delivering digital lessons, (2) students with engaging bite-sized learning opportunities that provide personalized feedback and coaching, and (3) lecturers with information on how their students are learning to improve their teaching. My approach has the simultaneous benefit of providing universities with the opportunity to identify and support excellent students and lecturers.


Presentation slides


PlayMed – Bridging the gap between student and doctor with serious games


ooi_keith.jpgDr Keith Ooi, Senior Lecturer, School of Women’s and Children’s Health, Faculty of Medicine (bio)
            Co-presenter: Dr Michael Coffey, School of Women’s and Children’s Health, Faculty of Medicine


We developed PlayMed (using the Playconomics platform) as an online highly immersive role-playing game designed to educate medical students through experience-based learning in a virtual hospital. Online experiential learning through case-based ‘bedside’ scenarios aims to challenge and improve the knowledge of management and decision making abilities expected of a junior doctor. We performed a case-control study (game vs no game) of year 5-6 UNSW medical students assessed with an acute asthma knowledge quiz (AAKQ) and post-game feedback questionnaire. Sixty-two students were shown and/or played the game over 4 weeks and when compared with controls (n=61), had improved median (IQR) AAKQ scores, 7.0 (6.0 – 8.0) vs 6.0 (5.0 – 7.0) respectively, P=0.002 (a 17% increase in performance). Sixty-one students completed feedback, with the majority of students agreeing that the game: (i) helped to improve their understanding of the topic (87%), and (ii) will prepare them for real-life clinical scenarios (93%).


Presentation slides


Online interactivity and gamification: the impact on student outcomes


kark_lauren.pngDr Lauren Kark, Lecturer, Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering (bio)


BIOM2451 Biomechanics for Sports Scientists is a core course delivered in the second year of the Bachelor of Exercise Physiology program. It teaches mechanics to non-engineering students, who generally have limited background in engineering mathematics and physics. A blended learning approach to this course was adopted in 2015, and in 2016 the online content was modified to include greater interactivity as well as gamification. Prior to 2015, the course was delivered in the traditional classroom format. The primary aim of this research was to assess whether changes in delivery methods affect student satisfaction and exam marks. A secondary aim was to correlate learning outcomes with specific online activities. In 2015, there was on average a five-mark increase in exam results after the blended learning model was implemented. Student satisfaction remained unchanged. Data from 2016 will be analysed and included in the presentation.


Presentation slides




Virtually real! Online learning and assessment of communication skills, with multi-modal feedback


Dr Silas Taylor, Senior Lecturer, Office of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine (bio)


The Online Simulated Patient interaction and Assessment (OSPIA) platform is a novel, innovative approach to learning & assessing communication skills. Modern hospitals offer fewer opportunities for healthcare students to practice skills on real patients, whilst simulated patients (SP) are an evidence-based means for teaching these skills. However, SP programs are logistically challenging, and potentially expensive. OSPIA capitalises on our existing SP program by making interactions with trained SP’s to be available online, using video-telephony and a responsive website to enable interactions and assessment of student performance. As such, it seamlessly integrates online activities with on-campus and workplace learning and assessment. The platform is sustainable, with minimal administrative input. Features include training, a calendar function to book interactions, and innovative patient-led assessment. Feedback to students includes a ‘thumbs up’ tool and written comments, time-stamped to the recording of the interaction, whilst sophisticated ‘read-the-screen’ algorithms provide detailed non-verbal communication behaviour analysis.


Presentation slides


Tutorials, Online


mansfield_daniel.pngDr Daniel Mansfield, Associate Lecturer, School of Mathematics and Science, Faculty of Science (bio)
            Co-presenter: Associate Professor Norman Wildberger, School of Mathematics and Science, Faculty of Science


The School of Mathematics and Statistics has recently created Online Tutorials to replace every second classroom tutorial in our large first year courses Mathematics 1A and 1B, both in the ordinary and higher streams. These Online Tutorials involve a combination of videos, MapleTA exercises, live streaming, GeoGebra apps and forums presented through Moodle. These tools allow us to provide an interactive tutorial environment which encourages regular student engagement. In addition the Online Tutorials provide students with interactive visual apps and instant feedback, as well as flexibility. 


Presentation slides


Enhancing students’ participation in an online learning environment


raval_simit.jpgDr Simit Raval, Lecturer, School of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering (bio)


Engineers in general and mining engineers in particular are usually men/women of few words. At times it is even more challenging to motivate them to meaningfully engage in a discussion related to softer issues such as environment and sustainability. This presentation highlights successful implementation of online forums in a face-to-face undergraduate course MINE3910 (Socio Environmental Aspects of Mining) as well as a distance-based postgraduate course MINE8780 (Environmental Management for the Mining Industry). An assignment, called Rating Forum, was developed to make the discussion peer reviewed. The talk also demonstrates an example of creating a weekly course newsletter (SEAM - http://paper.li/f-1392953451 ) to capture current happenings in the field. The SEAM newsletter was embedded into an assignment that required students to evaluate news stories with technical lenses and reflect via blog.



Equity Diversity and Inclusion



How digital innovation and teaching excellence can address equity, diversity and inclusion


tisdell-chris.jpgAssociate Professor Chris Tisdell, Associate Dean (Education), Faculty of Science (bio)
            Co-presenters: Ines Vallely, 4th year Bachelor of Civil Engineering student and Anthony Tran, 3rd year Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) student


Digital innovation and teaching excellence can help address challenges of equity, diversity and inclusion at universities by opening up new opportunities to improve educational practice and learning. We will discuss various strategies that form part of a virtual classroom dedicated to the mission of enabling all learners to achieve their full potential. We will have a focus on the following case study: In 2015, advocates for the deaf filed federal US lawsuits against Harvard and MIT, claiming both universities violated anti-discrimination laws by failing to provide closed captioning in their online lectures, courses, podcasts and other educational materials. What does this mean for the design and delivery of blended and online learning in Australian universities, including ECHO360 recordings or YouTube videos? We will outline our recent research on the design, creation and impact of closed captions (CC) and translations in online educational video and how students were partners in the process. We will address such questions as: Why use closed captions and translations? What are the challenges? What is the impact of CC on learning? This presentation will be suitable for anyone interested in blended or online learning.


Presentation slides


MOOCs to Mainstream: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in design, thinking and learning


smith_louisa.pngDr Louisa Smith, Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Arts & Social Sciences


While Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were first heralded as a way of democratising higher education, in reality being open and online does not ensure accessibility to diverse learners. In developing two MOOCs in the field of critical disability studies, our first priority was that the courses would be accessible to people with a range of impairments from a range of cultural backgrounds. We turned to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and other strategies from disability politics as ways of framing teaching and learning opportunities and strategies. These same conceptual approaches were then used to inform an undergraduate course, based on the MOOCs, which required a more formal emphasis on assessment and feedback. In this paper, I will explore the basic framework of UDL and show how it is operationalised in the design, materials, feedback and assessment in the disability MOOCs and undergraduate course. I will also explore the impact of UDL for a diversity of learners by reporting some results from a usability survey conducted in both the MOOCs and undergraduate course. With the 2025 Strategy aiming to move more courses online and focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion, we need a clear and cohesive framework which integrates these two aims. Universal Design for Learning partnered with collaborative and creative approaches to instructional design offers a potential framework.


Presentation slides


Research and Resonance: Archival Practices, Storytelling, and Student Engagement


Weybury_Shivaun .jpgDr Shivaun Weybury, Learning Adviser, The Learning Centre, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Portfolio
            Co-presenter: Dr Dominic Fitzsimmons, Learning Adviser, The Learning Centre, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Portfolio


The Learning Centre’s UNSW Prep Program for 17-19 year-olds is a one-year pathway into a degree at UNSW, which is open to students who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage. This presentation is part of an investigation into the intersection between particular forms of assessment and the heightening of student empowerment/engagement. One of the major assessments in our course requires students to construct an archive that documents an aspect of their personal, local, cultural, geographic, political or familial experience, as if it were to be preserved for posterity. This assessment requires students to value themselves and their surroundings, to understand the importance of storytelling and the ethical issues associated with ‘making history’, and to cultivate a sense of enthusiasm and excitement in relation to research and exploration. We have found that making research resonate in a personal and meaningful way is extremely conducive to producing motivated, empowered and self-inspiring students.


Presentation slides




Staff were invited to submit a 'snapshot' of the way in which they inspire learning, practice inspired teaching or improve the student educational experience through any foci relevant to the 2025 Strategy. The best 24 posters were showcased at the Forum.

2016 Learning and Teaching Forum Posters Booklet


Templates and guidelines for poster presenters are available here

UNSW 2025 Strategy available here