Science & Maths TL News: April 2017 |


ACDS Science and Maths TL Headlines

• 2017 Federal strategy for higher education

• WIL in Science: Leadership in WIL final report

• WIL Communities surveys

• ACSME 2017

• Symposium on stylus enabled cloud-based learning and teaching in STEM

• IUBMB New Horizons in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education Conference

• Dates for your diary

• SaMnet newsletter

News from the ACDS Teaching and Learning Centre

2017 Federal strategy for higher education

The new Higher Education Reform Package is compulsory reading for university leaders. Minister Simon Birmingham has signaled emphasis on retention and employability. These remain significant challenges for large generalist courses like the B Science. We will need to make the case for the sustained value of our degrees through the success of our graduates. 

WIL in Science: Leadership in WIL final report

The WIL in Science: Leadership for WIL final project report has now been published. This project was commissioned by the Office of the Chief Scientist, and is now available on the ACDS Teaching and Learning Centre website, as well as on the Office of the Chief Scientist website. Our work is continuing with the Successful WIL in Science funded by the Office of Learning and Teaching which is growing rapidly. Find out more at:

• The Lighthouse Case Studies: action learning projects in science faculties that explore key issues in WIL implementation

• The WIL Guide for Science: tailored WIL in Science resources

• Network meetings: regional networks of communities of practice in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and online webinars. The regional networks focus on practical strategies for WIL implementation and exploring WIL curriculum issues (assessment, organization, integration). These activities complement national activities including the annual WIL in Science National Workshop, and an upcoming program of WIL in Science webinars.  

WIL Communities surveys

We are investigating how membership in a community of practice impacts professional learning and practice. If you are part of the Victorian or WA WIL communities, we encourage you to complete the survey you have been sent. If you are in QLD, SA or NSW, your communities will be kicking off soon, so please keep an eye out for your invitation to participate!

ACSME 2017

ACSME2017 is well on its way, and submissions will soon be closing on 2 June.  This year, Monash University is hosting the conference which runs from 27-29 September. The conference site has moved to the ACDS TL Centre site this year.  The draft program will be circulated to registrants shortly. Encourage your staff to participate, share ideas and meet colleagues tackling the same challenges.

Upcoming events for science learning and teaching 

Educational technologes are now core to university teaching. New tools offer opportunities to work with online technologies during classes in innovative ways. RMIT is hosting a symposium on teaching with stylus-enabled technology to share ideas and good practice in using tablets and micro-computers.

Click here for more information!

International teaching and learning conferences link us to the best thinking available. Discipline conferences are particularly valuable in highlighting the pedagogies best suited to each discipline. The IUBMB New Horizons in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education Conference  New Horizons in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education Conference, hosted by the Weizmann Institute of Science, will take place 6-8 September 2017 in Rehovot, before the FEBS 2017 Congress organized by the Israel Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ISBMB) in Jerusalem, 10-14 September 2017. Send us links to your favourite, and most useful, international conferences so we can publish them to our community.

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

IUBMB New Horizons in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education Conference, 6-8 September 

HERDSA Annual conference, Sydney, 27-30 June

STARS conference, Adelaide, 2-5 July

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

ACSME, Monash University, 27– 29 September

National WIL Forum 2017 in Melbourne, 1 December

Cheers, Liz

Prof Liz Johnson, Director ACDS TL Centre  


SaMnet News and Ideas

This Month’s Question:

In the last six years, there have been a number of programs funded through government grants to improve student engagement in maths and science at schools and universities and enhance teacher quality in maths and science, such as AMSPP and ETMST.

SaMnet scholars have made significant contributions to these programs, delivering highlights and impact across Australian maths and science education.

Please share with us a highlight of the programs that you have heard of, whether or not you have been personally involved in the programs. We highly encourage SaMnet scholars to mention programs other than the ones mentioned above.

Showing the SaMnet community these highlights will help to encourage future programs and participants, developing future leaders and fostering cultural changes in science and mathematics education across schools and universities by wider distribution of best practices. Please let us know via


Upcoming Events and Activities


International Convention Centre, Sydney, 27-30 June 2017

The 40th annual conference of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia is focused on the theme of “Curriculum Transformation”.

Registrations are open; click here to register.

STARS 2017

Stamford Grand Adelaide, Adelaide, 2-5 July 2017

This conference provides the opportunity to disseminate and discuss current research, good practice, emerging initiatives and leading edge ideas that are aimed at enhancing students’ tertiary learning experiences. Early bird registrations are now open; click here to register.

ACDS 2017 Teaching and Learning Conference

Monash University, Melbourne, 17-18 July 2017

Save the date for the ACDS 2017 Teaching and Learning Conference, to be held at Monash University in Melbourne later this year. 

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”.

Early bird registrations are now available; click here to register

Celebration of Women in Australian Mathematical Sciences

University of South Australia, Adelaide, 24-26 September 2017

The Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group is organising this research conference to showcase the research of women in the mathematical sciences in Australia. Expressions of Interest are open; click here to submit your EOI.

Australian Conference for Science and Mathematics Education 2017

Monash University, Melbourne, 27-29 September 2017

The theme for this year’s ACSME is “Science and Mathematics teaching and learning for the 21st century”. Early bird registrations are now open; please click here to register.


Submissions and early bird registrations are now open for ACSME 2017. Submissions now include poster and oral bites, which are small presentations designed to pitch your poster or disseminate early studies/innovations, generate interest or find new collaborators for your project.

Make sure to get your registrations and submissions in; the ACSME organising committee is hard at work; watch this space for more announcements closer to ACSME 2017.

 How important is secondary science and maths education on student success at university?

What role can data investigations play in teaching secondary students statistics?

How can you develop common visual literacy skills in chemistry students?

When do students participate and view pre-lecture online learning modules in physics?



Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Listen to and Acknowledge Participants – Essential Abilities of Effective Presenters

Kendall Zoller and Claudette Landry in The Choreography of Presenting: The 7 Essential Abilities of Effective Presenters

What are the skills of effective presenters? The authors argue that effective listening, including pausing, paraphrasing, probing and inquiry are skills required for presenting; drawing upon general insights from neuroscience, with little support from the data. Does this mean that we cannot use these insights from a teaching perspective? Does it have to be SoTL to be credible in education?


Peer Evaluation of Class Participation

Michael O’Hare for the Berkeley Center for Teaching & Learning Website

How can you evaluate student participation in the flipped classroom? The author presents a mechanism to evaluate a student’s contribution to the learning of others by using the students themselves to assess their peers. SoTL publications have focused on students evaluating the written work of peers, but not on their actual interactions. How would you evaluate the effectiveness of peer review of student learning interactions with their peers?


Leadership Insights

Three Common Demands from Students in Large Classes and What to do about Them

Linda C. Hodges in the National Teaching and Learning Forum

How do you view student feedback in your courses? Do you see it as advice from the students, or should you be viewing it as evidence of the student’s coping with the course? The author builds on the latter premise, incorporating three common feedback themes into effective active learning outcomes, reinforced with studies. When encouraging colleagues to take up principles of good practices in SoTL, do you utilise reference-heavy articles or take a light approach to SoTL like the author here?

How to Cultivate Faculty Leaders

Audrey Williams June in The Chronicle of Higher Education

The author illustrates a US perspective on the development of faculty leaders; advice to ignore tasks that did not contribute to tenure (primarily administrative) impacted the development of leaders across institutions which required strong institutional governance skills. Without the same institutional pressures, how does the Australian experience differ from the US?  What governance development opportunities are available, either at your institution or externally? 



Six quick and impactful changes you can do today on your Blackboard site

Danny Liu (USYD) has outlined some quick and easy tips for making sure your learning management system is useful for new students to your courses. 

Implementing Communities of Practice in Higher Education: The Australian Chemistry Discipline Network

How did the Chemistry Discipline Network form and develop over time? Madeleine Schultz (QUT) and Glennys O’Brien (UOW) have outlined this process in a book chapter for Implementing Communities of Practice in Higher Education. 

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.

SaMnet Leaders, Will Rifkin and Manjula Sharma


Newsletter compiled by Emma Yench and Gabriel Nguyen.