Science & Maths TL News: July/Aug 2016 |


The ACDS TL Centre has been busy over the mid-year period – lots to tell you!

ACDS TL Conference held July 21-22

The ACDS TL Conference was held at the University of Sydney with sessions and keynotes on student engagement, authentic assessment, measuring and recognizing teaching excellence, students as partners, indigenous science and WIL in Science. Presentations and conference wrap coming soon to the events page of the ACDS TL Centre website (

WIL in Science Faculty planning workshops: Aug 18, 24, 25

The ACDS WIL in Science project is leading WIL Faculty Planning workshops in Melbourne (Aug 18), Sydney (Aug 24) and Brisbane (Aug 25). These workshops for Faculty WIL and T&L leaders will help you construct the next steps for your Faculty to grow work-integrated learning. Register via ( workshops-faculty- planning/).

ACSME Program released

Early-bird registrations for 2016 ACSME in Brisbane (Sep 28-30) close on Aug 5 th so be quick! The ACSME program is available here ( 2016-program- released/.

Evidence-based Practice for STEM learning and teaching: ACDS occasional paper 

The ACDS has launched its first occasional paper “Evidence-based Practice in Learning and Teaching for STEM disciplines” from Prof Tina Overton (Monash) and Prof Liz Johnson (Deakin). This paper presents core principles for effective learning and teaching strategies that can be derived from the research evidence of how students learn.

On the ACDS TL centre website

Good Ideas Blog – this month our blogger Kelly Matthews is joined by Lucy Marston-Mapstone to report on staff and student perceptions of skill development. They conclude that we need to do much more to build coherence and invite students as co-designers of learning.

Dates for your diary (and check the SaMnet listings below):

• WIL in Science Faculty Planning Workshops – Aug 18 (Melb), Aug 24 (Syd), Aug 25 (Bris) see ( workshops-faculty- planning/).

• ACEN conference – Sep 28-30, Sydney (

• ACSME conference – Sep 28-30, Brisbane (

Cheers, Liz

Prof Liz Johnson, Director ACDS TL Centre


SaMnet News and Ideas

This Month’s Question:

SaMnet continues to invite you to contribute to our understanding of the broader impact of Roy Tasker’s work on cognitive load theory, student learning and visual representations in science education.

By contributing to this survey, we can start developing matrices to evaluate the achievements of academics whose careers are heavily invested in optimising teaching for learning.

Direct Survey Link:

By participating in the survey, you are consenting for us to use your responses, anonymously, in research publications. Any questions about the survey should be directed to

The results of this survey will be published in an edition of the newsletter later this year.


Thank you all for your ACSME submissions; your contributions will form part of the program proceedings that will accompany ACSME 2016; we look forward to seeing you there in person for another wonderful ACSME proceedings!


Upcoming Events and Activities 

ACER Research Conference 2016

Brisbane Convention and Education Centre, Brisbane, 7-9 August 2016

The theme of this conference is “Improving STEM Learning: What will it take?”

Early bird registrations are open; click here for more details and registration.

24th IUPAC International Conference on Chemistry Education (ICCE 2016).

Institut Kimia Malaysia, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, 15-20 August 2016. This is the 2016 edition of the biennial chemistry education conference of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

Registrations are still open; please click here for registration for international participants.

Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education 2016 (22nd UniServe Science Conference) – Supported by the Australian Council of Deans of Science Teaching and Learning Centre

University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane 28-30 September 2016

The theme of this year’s ACSME conference is ‘The 21st Century Science and Maths Graduate’.

Submissions for talks, posters and workshops are OPEN; details are available here.

Early bird registrations are open; details are available here.

ComBio 2016

Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane, 3-7 October 2016. This conference incorporates the annual meetings of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Australian Society for Plant Scientists and the Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology.

Early bird registrations are open; please click here for more details and registration.

4th International STEM in Education Conference

Beijing Normal University, China, 26-28 October 2016

The theme of the conference is ‘Connecting Informal and Formal STEM Education’.

Registration details will soon be made available here.

APPC-AIP Congress 2016

Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, 4-8 December 2016

This is the 22nd biennial Congress of the Australian Institute of Physics, and it will be run in conjunction with the 13th Asian-Pacific Physics Conference, the triennial meeting of the Association of Asia-Pacific Physics Societies.

Calls for oral and poster presentation abstracts are open; more details are available here. Submissions close 5:00pm AEST Monday 4 July 2016


There’s only a couple of months remaining until ACSME 2016 is upon us! Early bird registrations close on Friday 5 August, so make sure to get in quick to secure your place at ACSME 2016.

To inform you about the sessions and the workshops that you can sign up for, the program and conference details are available on the website.

Do remember to print out a copy of the ACSME Flyer and stick it up on the noticeboards to generate interest and discussion!

We look forward to welcoming tertiary science and mathematics educators from across Australia to this exciting annual conference, and hope to see you in sunny Brisbane in September!

We would like to bring to your attention the release of the first issue of the International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IJISME) for 2016.

The second issue of IJISME for 2016 has started, with a number of contributions already released. Keep an eye out for future releases of IJISME in 2016.


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

College Student Persistence
From the book Developing Effective Student Peer Mentoring Programs: A Practitioner’s Guide to Program Design, Delivery, Evaluation, and Training by Peter J. Collier

What are the transition periods for students in higher education? Do these transition periods have anything in common with each other? Extracting the common pattern can allow us to build a critical mass for change by bringing together common and complementary interests for innovative practices. Could this be done in the student transition period, of particular interest as semester starts up again?

Strategies of Contingent or Just-In-Time Teaching and Peer Instruction
Traci Freeman and Brian Vanden Heuvel in Clickers in the Classroom: Using Classroom Response Systems to Increase Student Learning, edited by David S. Goldstein and Peter D. Wallis

Real-time information about student learning is a valuable benefit of clicker technology; but how should we interpret and respond to this information? The authors highlight the teaching strategies used in the classroom responding to real-time student information, drawing upon learning theories in a practical and flexible manner. As instructors, how do you react to these teaching situations and how could you adapt your teaching methods to this information?

Leadership Insights

The Making of a Teaching Evangelist
Dan Berrett for The Chronicle of Higher Education

Eric Mazur’s transition from the lecture theatre to active learning is driven by personal experience and evidence on what actually aids student learning. The ‘personal revelation’ that drives him can be used as a strong rhetorical tool to influence the perspective of others towards more effective teaching and learning practices. How could you use this tool, among others, to drive the change that you want to see in your teaching environments?

Revolution in Higher Education (Review)

Robert P. Delprino reviews Revolution in Higher Education: How a Small Band of Innovators Will Make College Accessible and Affordable by Richard A. DeMillo

How do you start the conversation on large-scale institutional change? The book reviews a possible revolution on higher education, detailing what steps led to the conversation and where the resistance to change will come from. What strategies could you employ to drive the conversation for institutional change, and how will you overcome the resistance to those changes? Focus and planning are key if you are to overcome the challenges that await.


The Four I’s of Networking: Building Strong Connections
Chris Golde for the Grad|Logic: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Graduate School Blog

It takes active effort to build your professional network. Our author has given us four I’s to transition from the first meeting to creating enduring connections: Identify, Initiate & Inquire, Invest and Intensify. Each ‘I’ takes us through a different stage of building strong and healthy professional relationships. Have you been practicing your I’s whenever possible? Try out your networking I’s at the ACSME 2016 Conference at the end of September!


Post-Doctoral Fellow in Molecular-Level Visualization in the Tasker Research Group at Purdue University

Roy Tasker is seeking a post-doctoral fellow to conduct innovative research and development in molecular-level visualization for learning chemistry. The Tasker Group (see is establishing a research and development facility to produce and evaluate new animations and simulations, embedded in effective learning designs informed by research in cognitive science, for learning chemistry at all levels. A visualization production facility with a dedicated animator/graphic designer will be available, in addition to access to a state-of-the-art eye-tracking system.

The post-doctoral fellow will be expected to develop an original R&D program within the VisChem project involving molecular-level visualization in chemistry education, assist in writing grant proposals, assist in mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, present research findings at conferences, and draft manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication.

Qualified applicants will have a PhD (or a strong prospect of earning this degree by July 15, 2016) in chemistry, chemistry education, or a related field; evidence of strong oral and written communication skills; and a demonstrated ability to collaborate in a team. Desirable experience includes analysis of qualitative or quantitative data, and at least one of the following ‹ conducting chemistry education/science education research addressing student misconceptions; production or evaluation of molecular-level animations and simulations.

Applicants should submit a letter of interest that specifically addresses the essential and desirable criteria above, and the reasons for applying; a curriculum vitae detailing research outcomes; copies of any formal academic transcripts; and a list of three academic referees who have been asked to send a confidential letter of recommendation, all directly to Professor Roy Tasker at

OLT Project on Pedagogical Content Knowledge – Chemistry Discipline Network

The OLT Project on Pedagogical Content Knowledge has come to an end, resulting in the development of the ChemPCK website, available here.

This site contains the distilled pedagogical content knowledge from all our participants. It is searchable by topic and type of teaching strategy, so if you are looking for inspiration in your teaching please have a look. There are teaching strategies and expert insights (quotes), as well as a set of seven steps to transform teaching that you may find helpful. Please also suggest this site to anyone in your department who is new to teaching chemistry.


SaMnet Leaders, Will Rifkin and Manjula Sharma


Newsletter compiled by Emma Yench and Gabriel Nguyen.