Science & Maths TL News: Jan/Feb 2017 |


ACDS Science and Maths TL Headlines

• WIL in Science local network kick-off: Perth & Melbourne

• FYiM workshop Sydney

• Academic Integrity workshops: Brisbane, Melbourne

• New issues of IJISME

• SaMnet newsletter

Welcome back to 2017, lots happening in February as we prepare for the new academic year.  Tell us what’s happening near you via


WIL in Science local network launches: Perth & Melbourne

The WIL in Science project starts off 2017 with launches for two local networks growing out of our national WIL in Science network. Prof Jo Ward is convening a local network workshop for WIL in Science academics in WA and SA on February 1. Prof Cristina Varsavsky is hosting a launch workshop for a local network for Vic/Tas on February 10. The local networks will offer practical help through peer learning and critical friends for specific initiatives. Come along and share your triumphs and challenges.

Contact the ACDS TL Centre ( and we’ll put you in touch. Local networks are also planned for NSW and Queensland and, recognizing our ‘tyranny of distance’, Prof Mal Campbell will host a virtual peer network. More coming soon…


FYiM workshop: problem-based learning in maths

The First Year in Maths (FYiM) network is holding a workshop on problem-based learning in maths in Sydney on Feb 9. Problem-based learning (PBL) uses authentic, real-world problems to help learners explore principles, ideas and application. This workshop will bring together maths educators currently using problem-based learning with colleagues interested in exploring this approach. Read more about PBL and the workshops here.


Academic Integrity: Assessment design workshops

Authentication of assessment and academic integrity are hot topics in universities. Christine Slade and Susan Rowland are leading assessment design workshops to create assessment case studies that ensure verification of student identity. The workshops will run in Brisbane, Feb 2 and Melbourne Feb 6. Find out more about academic integrity and these workshops here.


IJISME latest issues: final issue for 2016 and a special issue on Rural STEM education

IJISME has just released its final two issues for 2016.  Issue 5 looks at teacher professional development in Indonesia and new teaching ideas for undergraduate maths, physiology and astronomy. Issue 4 is an IJISME Special Issue on Issues and Opportunities for Rural Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education.


Dates for your 2017 diary (and check the SaMnet listings below):

ACDS 2016 Teaching and Learning Conference: July 17-18, Monash University, Melbourne

ACSME: September 27-29, Monash University, Melbourne


Cheers, Liz

Prof Liz Johnson, Director ACDS TL Centre  


SaMnet News and Ideas

Happy Holidays from the team here at SaMnet!

This Month’s Question:

This month’s question is focused on the 2017 calendar. With a new year comes new conferences and workshops. Which workshops and conferences are you most looking forward to in 2017? Share your favourites with us and we will distribute it across the community.

Thank you to all the community members who responded to the last issue’s question. Their contributions and publications are listed on this page here; please check out the list for a snippet of what the ACDS Teaching and Learning and SaMnet community has contributed this year.


However, the ACDS Teaching and Learning and SaMnet community is a large and vibrant community; if you would like to add your publications to this list, please let us know at to disseminate your work to the wider community.


Upcoming Events and Activities


FYIMaths Forum on Problem-Based Learning

University of Sydney, Sydney, 9 February 2017

In this forum, current examples of PBL will be showcased, with discussion on how it contributes to the development of graduate skills; industry representatives will share what they value about maths graduates and the pitfalls and benefits of PBL will be discussed.

Registration is now available; click here to register.


RACI Centenary Conference

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, 23-28 July 2017

As part of the RACI Centenary Conference, the Chemical Education Division of the RACI will host a three-day meeting on the theme of “Chemistry Education for the Next Century”.

A call for abstracts is now open, based on three themes; please click here for more details.


Australian Conference for Science and Mathematics Education 2017

Monash University, Melbourne, 27-29 September 2017

Save the date for the 2017 ACSME, to be held at Monash University in Melbourne in 2017.


The Discipline days are an integral part of the ACSME Conference.

Taken from the Chemistry Discipline Network’s November newsletter; here is a summary of the Chemistry Discipline Day:

The 2016 Chemistry Discipline Day focused on the theme of Collaborative Learning. SaMnet Scholar Associate Professor Gwen Lawrie (UQ) summarised the Collaborative Learning Principles as positive interdependence, individual accountability, social skills, group processing and communication (face to face or online).

General group discussion then followed on the topic:

“How do we capture individual student outcomes in collaborative processes and what resources/capacities do we wish existed?”

Common points raised during discussion included the following:

  1. The time input necessary to carry out detailed assessment of the functioning of individual students in their groups,especially where observation is used;
  2. The need for rubrics;
  3. Assessment of group activity/output is often a mix between assessment of the group and of the individual;
  4. Peer assessment/review of different aspects of the individual output;
  5. Self assessment and/or reflective writing frequently reported; and
  6. Requirement of group meetings being minuted and that record assessed/peer assessed.

ACSME 2017 will be held at Monash University in Melbourne from 27-29 September, so make sure to save those dates in the calendar for the next iteration of ACSME!


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Does Putting the Students in Charge of Their Learning Enhance Transfer?

Marilla Svinicki for the National Teaching and Learning Forum

What is the role of goal setting in learning outcomes? Should students be given clear instructor-based goals to achieve, or interesting tasks from which they set their own goals? What do instructor-based goals in teaching and learning actually reflect? How does goal setting relate to the research done in constructive/productive failure teaching?

Teaching in Higher Education – there isn’t enough evidence to tell us what works and why

Angela Carbone for The Conversation

Where is the evidence to inform and guide educators about modifications to teaching practices or programs? The author calls for a more systematic study of causes and effects in the implementation of teaching practices; citing work done by John Hattie and others in the secondary education context. But is the university classroom too complex for a simple cause and effect measure? Is it better to think of the environment as a ‘complex adaptive system’ where practice is informed by adaptive assessment and consideration?


Leadership Insights 

Working in Groups and Facilitating Discussions

Jane Fried with Peter Troiano in Of Education, Fishbowls and Rabbit Holes: Rethinking Teaching and Liberal Education for an Interconnected World

The authors provide a number of key ideas to keep in mind when working with groups in different circumstances. Active listening, effective facilitation of discussion and keen observation of group dynamics are helpful in multiple circumstances; could you see how this can be applied in your workplace and where it might arise?



Is Balance a Myth?

Kerry Ann Rockquemore in the Monday Motivator for the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity

Too often we place our writing, our health, our personal relationships into peripheral moments while the accountabilities pile on. However, what if we shifted our thinking? There will always be more work to do than time to fit it in as an academic, so why not arrange our priorities accordingly? By shifting your priorities, you can start to identify and align your time with your professional and personal priorities and start to achieve a better balance. The author outlines 5 steps to help achieve a realistic balance.


Guide for First Year Coordinators in Mathematics

This guide is intended to be a practical resource for Heads of Schools of Mathematics intending to establish or review a First Year Mathematics coordination role, academics in existing First Year Mathematics coordination roles or those who might be thinking of assuming such a role.


Create Change Masterclasses – University of Queensland

These engaging and interactive classes deliver on the goal to develop game-changing graduates, and also complement the Federal Government National Innovation and Science Agenda, which highlights the need for new ideas in innovation, and new sources of growth to deliver the next age of economic prosperity for Australia.

Create Change Masterclasses provide UQ staff, students, alumni and community members with the opportunity to learn essential skills from leading UQ thinkers and proven change-makers.

The first three classes in the series each take around an hour to complete:

•  Ideas to Impact: Take your ideas and create change in the world

•  Power to Change: Using power and influence to change the world

•  Engage to Innovate: Bring your innovation to fruition with the right help

UQ recognises that the skills to innovate, take good ideas to market and connect with the right groups are key to giving ideas value and creating change. The Masterclasses provide advice on developing those skills in an accessible and engaging way using a mix of videos, tips and case studies as well as links to further learning and resources.  The Masterclasses link to UQ courses and entrepreneurial support programs, including ilab, the UQ Idea Hub, and the start-up community. 


Conference Proceedings of the International Conference on Teaching Physics Innovatively

The International Conference on Teaching Physics Innovatively, held at the Graduate School for Physics in the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest on 17-19 August 2015 has published its conference proceedings, focused on physics education in secondary schools. These proceedings provide an international perspective on the common challenges that we face in science education, particularly for students that we encounter in tertiary education and the background they arrive with.

SaMnet Leaders, Will Rifkin and Manjula Sharma


Newsletter compiled by Emma Yench and Gabriel Nguyen.