Day 1

Time 1.25pm

Room AMDC501/502

Blended and online learning: Transforming the on-campus experience?

Pauline Farrell (PAVE), Dr Ben Williams (FBL), Professor Mike Keppell (LTU), A/Prof Birgit Loch (FSET)

Panel sessions offer the opportunity to explore a topic with presentations and audience discussion.

The blurring of face-to-face learning and teaching and online learning is a significant shift for both students and staff. This disintegration of the distinction and the growing acceptance that learning occurs in different ‘places’ presents both exciting and challenging opportunities. Blended learning involves the integration of both on-campus face-to-face learning and teaching and on- or off-campus virtual learning environments utilising the affordances of each environment to enhance the student experience. Blended learning is “a design approach whereby both face-to-face and online learning are made better by the presence of each other” (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008, p.52).

Blended learning and teaching can occur at four levels of granularity. These include: activity-level blending, unit-level blending, course-level blending and institutional-level blending (Graham, 2006). A blended learning design may also be enabling, enhancing or transformative. Enabling blends addresses issues of access and equity to provide equitable opportunities in the blended learning environment. Enhancing blends focus on incremental changes to the existing teaching and learning environment. Transformative blends focus on a major redesign of the teaching and learning environment (eg online, problem based learning).

Time  1.25pm

Room AMDC505/506

Embedding of academic literacies: A collaborative approach between LAS and the faculties

Andrew Jobe (OSA), Professor Arul Arulrajah (FSET), Barbara Browne(OSA), Dr Craig McIntosh (FHAD), Dr Elena Verezub (OSA)

The development of students’ academic literacy skills is crucial to their success in their studies, and to their life and work opportunities after graduation. The quest to effectively embed academic literacies within higher education curricula continues to be a challenge for the sector. While considerable progress has been made in recent years (e.g. Chanock, 2012; Briguglio, 2014), work is still needed to articulate the nature of the collaborative relationships upon which embedding is founded, along with the types of activities that can be meaningfully pursued.

In this panel session, we present a four-stage embedding model, developed within Student Advancement at Swinburne, based on the assessment cycles within a unit of study. These stages are designated: design of assessments; preparation for assessment; processes of assessment; and responses to assessment. The model will be used in the panel session to describe a range of embedding initiatives that have been pursued in units across Swinburne’s three faculties over the last year: Marketing (FBL); Sociology (FHAD); Civil Engineering (FSET). The successes and challenges of the program will be discussed by panel members working on each of these initiatives. A focus of the presentations will be on the collaborative relationship between discipline academics and Learning & Academic Skills Centre (LAS) academic literacy specialists in the implementation of the approach.

In the subsequent discussion, attendees will be invited to share with the group academic literacy issues that they, as staff, have needed to engage with in their teaching, along with their perceptions of the relevance and suitability of the model and the activities described. Part of the objective of this discussion will be to consider how the approach can be implemented/adapted on a larger university-wide scale.

Time  2.20pm

Room AMDC301

Debate: New academics should focus on their discipline research and not teaching research

A/Prof Kym Fraser (LTU), Professor Santina Bertone (FBL), A/Prof Deirdre Barron (FHAD), Dr Llew Mann (FSET), A/Prof Alex Maritz (FBL)

This promises to be a lively and hotly contested debate about a very topical issue for SUT academics. Some managers strongly support their staff engaging in learning and teaching research while others do not. Academics themselves sometimes believe that doing so can inhibit their career progression. In this debate we will separate the myths from fact and construct compelling arguments for you to consider. The audience will be asked to actively engage with the key issues. Come along, contribute to the discussion and choose which side of the debate you support.




Time  3.25pm

Room AMDC301

Open access, MOOCs, OERs - what is the role of 'openness' in higher education?

Robin Wright (Information Resources), Fiona O’Donnell (lnformation Resources), Professor Mike Keppell, Dr Kulari Lokuge Dona (LTU)

There’s a lot of talk about ‘open’ education at the moment, but what is really meant by ‘open’ and why do Australian universities want to do it? This panel session will explore the move towards openness in the Australian higher education sector and ask: How are the ‘open’ initiatives currently being implemented worldwide improving access to knowledge, changing pedagogy and improving the delivery of higher education products in the global market?. The panel will discuss the role of ‘open’ in online and blended pedagogy, and the value that openness could bring to strategic planning and the expansion into online learning.

Participants will discuss the ‘open’ projects currently operating at Swinburne: Open Access to scholarly resources via Swinburne Research Bank; the use and development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OERs); and the Open Education Licensing project; and review their impact on Swinburne’s activities and possibilities for incorporating open initiatives into other areas.

Open online education and moves towards open access to knowledge are expanding areas for educators, and operate alongside the rapid expansion of digital delivery mechanisms available to students. So how important is it for Swinburne to integrate ‘openness’ into its existing business planning, and how effectively could ‘open’ initiatives be employed to benefit Swinburne, both locally and in the global market for online education products?

This session will include screenings of short video selections from the Open@Swin video program which contains interviews with academic staff currently engaged with OERs at Swinburne. Participants can also provide examples of when they have used open content in their own teaching, and incorporate this into the wider discussion around how ‘open’ initiatives can benefit Swinburne.


Day 2

Time 10.20am

Room AMDC501/502

Serious fun with gamification: The way of the future?

Professor Dan Hunter, Dr Grainne Oates (FBL), Dr Clinton Woodward (FSET)

Panel sessions offer the opportunity to explore a topic with presentations and audience discussion.

Learner motivation is seen as one of the key factors in student success (Brown, Armstrong, & Thompson, 2014; Clark, Howard, & Early, 2006; De Castella, Byrne, & Covington, 2013). Gamification with points, rewards and badges encourages learner motivation and engages students in their learning. Similar to other online games, educational institutions have adapted tangible systems of rewards to create digital badges that give recognition to leaners. These gamified resources also encourage students to spend more time on formative exercises by presenting them in a fun and interesting way. The use of digital badges in education has generated a new focus on ‘outward’ facing and employability badges as well as ‘inward’ badges for developing identity, community and trust (Coleman, 2015).


Time 10.20am

Room AMDC505/506

Developing and assessing employability within and outside the curriculum

Professor Glen Bates, Dr Tim Moore, Mary Appleby

(Office of PVC Student Advancement)

Raising the employability of graduates is an important challenge in higher education. Over the last decade there has been an increased focus on identifying the outcomes in higher education that best prepare graduates for the workplace, and thereby increase their attractiveness to potential employers. In this panel session, we examine three areas of assessed activities identified as important in raising the employability of our graduates. These include written communication, international study tours and extracurricular activities. As written communication is often identified as an essential skill in the workplace, we consider the relationship between writing for university assessment and how this can be adapted to the workplace. A focus of the discussion will look at how we can develop and assess our students’ ability to recognise and shape their writing to adapt to the particular purpose and audience for whom they are writing. As international study tours have been identified as a high impact experiences that directly contribute to employability, we examine quantitative and qualitative data obtained from a group of students who completed a humanitarian study tour in India, and discuss the personal and employability outcomes identified in this experience. The final part of the panel session focuses on the Swinburne Emerging Leaders Program which was introduced to provide a vehicle for students to better articulate their experiences within and outside the curriculum. This program focuses on the development of boundary crossing skills in students’ across their lifecycle as Swinburne students and the importance of extracurricular activities in raising employability.

In the subsequent discussion, participants will be invited to share with the group how they have approached the issue of employability in their academic work, and especially in assessment tasks. This will be accompanied by a broader consideration of the nature of student employability and the University’s role in that process.

Time 11.25am

Room AMDC301

Let's get rid of exams: Is authentic assessment the answer?

Mish Eastman (PAVE), A/Prof Mike Wilmore (FHAD), Sue Kokonis (Swinburne Online)

Panel sessions offer the opportunity to explore a topic with presentations and audience discussion.

Assessment is an integral part of the learning experience for students. It should be about uncovering the quality of students’ learning and of teaching more effectively, as it allows an examination of what the student knows and does not know.  Ramsden’s view (2003) is that assessing students is about understanding their learning and its fundamental goal is to improve student learning. Formative assessment is fundamentally about good teaching and learning through allowing students to improve their performance on the same task. Sadler (1989) suggested that formative assessment included both feedback and self-monitoring.

Nothing that we do to, or for, our students is more important than our assessment of their work and the feedback we give them on it. The results of our assessment influence our students for the rest of their lives and careers – fine if we get it right, but unthinkable if we get it wrong” (Race, Brown, Smith, 2005).

Assessment is at the core of good teaching and learning which is the highest priority at Swinburne University. Authentic assessment is about empowering the learner for the future by engaging them in assessment tasks that simulate or engage the learner in real-life situations. It emphasises the application of knowledge in real-world contexts such as deciphering a complex taxation portfolio with a client who has sold three properties. It could involve developing a community of practice to engage parents of autistic children to empower them as carers. Other authentic assessment tasks could include communication designers engaging with a major company to develop a powerful brand and marketing campaign. What is central to these tasks is that they are complex, ill-structured, student focussed and application-oriented assessment tasks. Wiggins (1993) described authentic assessment as “engaging and worthy problems or questions of importance, in which students must use knowledge to fashion performances effectively and creatively” (p. 229).


Time 12.20pm

Room AMDC301

Learning on the move: How do we stop and reflect about our learning?

Sharon Rice (PAVE),  Dr Kulari Lokuge Dona (LTU), Dr Paul Meulenberg (ITS)

Panel sessions offer the opportunity to explore a topic with presentations and audience discussion.

Education’s digital revolution has enabled learners to access resources and collaborate from anywhere, at anytime and on any device. Being able to “learn on the move” enables students and educators to use personal electronic devices to consume content, collaborate and produce artefacts using smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. While these technology-rich activities can sustain high levels of student engagement and peer collaboration, educators need to figure out how to develop resources and instructions to enable a rich learning experience. HeadApp, piloted by Dr Grainne Oates, is an example of such a resource that enables learners to revise their learning by participating in a quick mobile quiz each day.