Connections in Learning and Teaching

Community site for the Connections seminar series

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Designing and Implementing Effective Peer Review with PeerMark – 31 May 2011, 1-2pm, Goodsell LG19

Posted by on June 7th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Dr. Shawn Ross, School of History and Philosophy

Peer review improves student writing and teaches valuable skills related to critical assessment of others’ and one’s own work. In an environment where staff are encouraged to “assess efficiently”, peer review also has the potential to replace some instructor marking. Effective peer review, however, requires an effective but easy-to-use platform to manage logistics (e.g., anonymising submissions, distribution of the assignment to be reviewed and the reviews themselves) and provision of adequate support material for students (e.g., instructions, rubrics for assessment, exemplars).

PeerMark, a component of TurnItIn integrated with Blackboard, provides an accessible yet robust platform for peer review, one that provides necessary features without excessive complexity. In this interactive seminar, Dr Ross (School of History and Philosophy) will demonstrate the use of PeerMark, and discuss some of the components of successful peer review, using examples involving a range of History and Archaeology assignments and paper writer drawn from courses of various levels and sizes. Time will be set aside for discussion of the pros and cons of peer review, peer review vs. peer marking, and ideas for implementation.

Teaching and Assessment Strategies for Large Classes in Engineering that Encourage and Motivate Students to Learn Threshold Concepts Effectively – 17 May 2011, 1-2pm, Goodsell LG19

Posted by on June 7th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Dr. Gangadhara Prusty, Engineering

In large and diverse groups of students, it is often difficult to identify and help the students who are struggling. In 1st year Engineering Mechanics 1 (>275 students) and 2nd year Solid Mechanics 1 (>300 students) at UNSW, Dr Ganga Prusty has used a blend of online and face-to-face teaching to help students learn threshold concepts needed to progress in their studies.

Dr. Prusty combines traditional classroom teaching with use of a new online teaching tool – the Adaptive eLearning Platform, to create a learning environment for 21st century multi-tasking, netgen students, who learn differently from their predecessors. The result is a smooth and enjoyable learning process which goes beyond the ‘book and board’ and engages and stimulates students to learn and achieve. Evidence of the effectiveness of the approach includes a significant reduction in failure rates, improved student satisfaction with the courses and improved performance in subsequent courses.

Dr. Prusty is leading a project entitled “An adaptive eLearning community of practice for mechanics courses in engineering” funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), in which the Adaptive eLearning Platform is being evaluated across several universities for learning of threshold concepts in engineering mechanics. The technology supports interactive virtual laboratory activities (simulations) through which teachers can diagnose common conceptual sticking points in large classes – sticking points that would otherwise only be picked up by skilled one-to-one coaching.

How do we help students to become global citizens? – 10 May 2011, 1-2pm, John Goodsell Building LG19

Posted by on April 27th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Panel: Jacquelyn Cranney, Stephen Marshall, Janet Chan, Jennie Lang, and Eileen Baldry.
This interactive session will examine the concept of “Global Citizenship”. As a UNSW graduate attribute, global citizenship is defined as “a commitment to embracing cultural diversity” and graduates are expected to be:

  • culturally aware and capable of respecting diversity and acting in socially just/responsible ways
  • capable of applying their discipline in local, national and international contexts
  • capable of initiating as well as embracing change
  • ethical practitioners
  • capable of effective communication.

Some questions to explore:

  • How do we know that our graduates have these capabilities?
  • What assessment and quality assurance strategies are needed?
  • Should the development of this attribute be within the formal curriculum domain or the extra curricular domain?
  • Within the formal curriculum domain, are educators aware of this graduate attribute?
  • What is the best way to teach and assess this attribute within the curriculum?
  • How does “global citizenship” relate to the concept of “Internationalisation of the curriculum”?

We welcome your input to this session, which will be chaired by Jacky Cranney, ALTC National Teaching Fellow, and will feature a panel of colleagues from across the university, including Janet Chan (President, Academic Board), and Stephen Marshall (Director, Learning and Teaching@UNSW)

You must register to attend.  For more information and to register online, go to:

Designing Assessment to Develop Students as Researchers – 3 May 2011, 1-2pm, John Goodsell LG29

Posted by on April 27th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Dr Patsie Polly (School of Medical Sciences, Medicine) and Ms Gwyn Jones (Learning Centre)

In this interactive session, Dr Patsie Polly (School of Medical Sciences, Medicine) and Ms Gwyn Jones (Learning Centre) share their experience of designing and implementing an approach to assessment to enhance student learning and engage them as researchers.  Their approach, which engages tutors and students into a community of practice, has resulted in both positive learning outcomes and increased confidence amongst students as researchers.  Aspects include: development of standardised and explicit marking criteria, skills workshops (SWLs) and a skills focus guide (SFG).  Come along to hear about how this approach was implemented and the impact it has had; plus discuss how it can be applied in a range of different assessment contexts to build student engagement and skills development.

You must register to attend.  For more information and to register online, go to:

Improving Student Engagement with Pre-class Preparation Work: Panel Session with UNSW Academics 12 April, 1 – 2pm, Goodsell LG19

Posted by on March 31st, 2011 · Events, Talking about Teaching

Florence Chiew, Social Sciences & International Studies; Lisa Ford, History & Philosophy; Rebecca LeBard – Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences
Do you encounter difficulties engaging students in pre-class reading or other preparation work? Do you suspect your students sometimes just ‘wing it’ in your class?
Pre-class preparation enables students to engage in class activities and supports them in developing deeper understanding of the concepts. In this seminar, a panel of UNSW academics of various levels and experience will share their tried-and-tested strategies which aim to encourage and engage students to undertake pre-class preparation work.  Join us for a conversation and share your experiences in this challenging and important area.

You must register to attend.  For more information and to register online, go to:

Using Video in your Teaching: Why and How? 8 March 2011, 1-2pm, Goodsell LG29

Posted by on February 15th, 2011 · Events, Showcasing Teaching

Are you interested in learning about how video can be used in teaching?  This seminar, led by L&T’s Creative Development Team, will outline why you might want to use video in your teaching, explore how to go about doing this and articulate the support available to academics interested in using video to enhance their students’ learning experience.
Bill Twyman (ASB) will demonstrate how he has used video to personalise the predominantly online Master of Business and Technology course.

You must register at:

For more information please contact Erin Withers on ext 58636 or

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**2011 Seminars are currently being planned and will commence in March. Please check back here in mid-February for full details**

Posted by on January 27th, 2011 · Announcements, Events

**2011  Seminars are currently being planned and will commence in March.  Please check back here in mid-February for full details**

Learning to Teach Online: Development Resources Available

Posted by on October 28th, 2010 · Resources, Showcasing Teaching, Technology Enabled Learning & Teaching

Earlier this year, Simon McIntyre and Karin Watson, COFA, presented a Connections seminar on their Learning to Teach Online project.  The project is designed as a free professional development resource for teachers from any discipline worldwide. It aims to help them better understand online learning and teaching, and to help them get starting in developing their own online teaching practices – a necessary skill in today’s changing society.

The project has now gone live and you can access professional development resources here, including videos on managing your time; using blogs for peer feedback; online medical tutorials and more…

You may like to discuss and contribute feedback and comments in our online forum:

Wikipedia & Higher Education Links

Posted by on October 27th, 2010 · Resources, Technology Enabled Learning & Teaching

Go to the TELT Diigo group to see a number of interesting articles and resources about Wikipedia:

Diigo is a social bookmarking site.  You can read about it- including a ‘how-to’ guide on how to join etc here:

Thursday – Familiarity Breeds Content: Bridging the Gap between Online Learning and Social Media with PeerWise

Posted by on October 25th, 2010 · Events, Showcasing Teaching, Technology Enabled Learning & Teaching

Paul Denny, University of Auckland
28 October, 12 – 2pm
LG 29 Goodsell Building
This hands-on workshop introduces the PeerWise tool, giving participants an opportunity to experiment with the interface and view typical examples of the real-time feedback that is produced. Benefits of involving students in the construction and sharing of assessment questions will also be discussed.
Read full abstract and bio here: Familiarity Breeds Content abstract and bio

You must register to attend. For more information and to register online, go to: