Dear subscriber,

News from the ACDS Teaching and Learning Centre

Our newsletter is expanding so for this issue, we've split it into three sections, plus SaMnet.

Leadership, ideas and tools: Unlocking the code to digital literacy, the facts on student retention, collaborative writing for STEM learning and teaching and new resources for STEM teacher training.

WIL in Science: communicate to engage in WIL, presentation from the mid-year WIL in Science joint Webinar: Creating sustainable WIL programs with WIL in Science with ACEN 

Coming up...: WIL in Science National Forum Dec 8th, BEAN17ASCILITE 2017 and the wrap-up from ACSME 2017.

Towards the end of this newsletter you will find the SaMnet: news and ideas from the SaMnet leadership network


Liz Johnson


Leadership, ideas and tools:

Unlocking the code to digital literacy

Unlocking the code to digital literacy

Associate Professor Jo Coldwell-Nielson is an OLT Fellow working on the challenging concept of digital literacy. Jo works in the Department of Information Technology at Deakin University. She is looking for your contribution to a national framework to support digital literacy development.  Jo writes... How do you perceive your digital literacy capacity and preparedness to teach in a technology enhanced …

Read more.

The facts on student retention

The facts on student retention

Student retention is a hot topic for universities and faculties, particularly since the Australian Government has made retention a priority for all Australian Universities with government funding partially dependent on attrition rates from 2018. Retention is measured by the proportion of students who come back for the next year of study in their course. Attrition is the inverse of retention. …

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National Collaborative Writing Group Initiative 2018

National Collaborative Writing Group Initiative 2018

An exciting SoTL opportunity awaits you in 2018! What is it & why should I participate? The national collaborative writing group initiative is an exciting networking opportunity for Science/Biomedical Science SoTL practitioners to come together to share their passion for science education. The idea to establish a group at the national level was borne from the successes of the eight …

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New resources for STEM teacher training

New resources for STEM teacher training

The Department of Education has promoted a range of new resources and approaches from the five 'Enhancing the Training of Mathematics and Science Teachers projects'. This work provides a diverse platform for future improvements to support both the preparation of school teachers of maths and science, and also professional development for teachers. The final reports of the five ETMST projects …

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WIL in Science:

Communicate to engage in WIL

Communicate to engage in WIL

  Our research has revealed that science students are interested in work-integrated learning (WIL), but we need to communicate more if we want them to actively engage. Here are three recommendations from staff who design and deliver WIL in science on how we can communicate better.   We interviewed staff who design, deliver and lead WIL in science to find …

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Webinar: Creating sustainable WIL programs with WIL in Science

Webinar: Creating sustainable WIL programs with WIL in Science

  Liz Johnson and Jo Elliott presented insights from recent research on student engagement from the Successful WIL in Science project and discussed experiences in creating effective WIL leadership, in a recent webinar.   Click to view the 'Creating Sustainable WIL programs with WIL in Science' webinar recording and slides.   The webinar was presented in collaboration with ACEN on …

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Coming up...

WIL in Science National Forum

WIL in Science National Forum

The ACDS 2017 WIL in Science National Forum will be held at the ParkRoyal Hotel at Melbourne Airport on Friday 8th December 2017. This ACDS event ‘Building Successful WIL Partnerships in Science’ incorporates perspectives of students, industry and faculty teams. Join us to hear about recent research on student engagement in WIL and for the launch of the WIL in …

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BEAN17, the annual Biosciences Education Forum

BEAN17, the annual Biosciences Education Forum

The Biosciences Education Australia Network (BEAN) is holding its annual meeting in Canberra on Dec 11-12 at the Shine Dome. By popular demand, we’ll have another the forum dinner at the Monster Kitchen and Bar, which is now rated as one of the top places to eat in Australia! Registration is now open on Eventbrite: - and we have …

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The ASCILITE 2017 conference conference will be held at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba from 4 – 6 December 2017. The 2017 ASCILITE conference offers a unique opportunity for practitioners and researchers from diverse contexts and fields to come together to critically discuss, imaginatively explore and passionately debate all things educational technology and educational practice.

Read more.

Professor Jordan Nash opens ACSME 2017

ACSME 2017 it's a wrap!

ACSME 2017 was opened by the Monash Dean of Science, Professor Jordan Nash, who reminded the 190 participants from 43 institutions and organisations that we have the most inspiring subject matter to work with: 'teaching how the world works'. The key note speaker Karen Burke da Silva then presented her own learning inspirations and career experiences that now shape how …

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SaMnet News and Ideas

This Month’s Question

Have you published any education-focused publications this year? We would love to promote your work to the ACDS Teaching and Learning and SaMnet community.

If you have published any papers in 2017 focused on your teaching and learning practices, please let us know so that we can disseminate it amongst the wider community! Send through your papers to

As an example, Helen Georgiou (Wollongong) and Manjula Sharma (USYD), along with undergraduate student Amanda Ling, have published a paper on a peer review of teaching program implemented at the University of Sydney. The paper details findings on the efficacy of the program, as well as elucidating more details on lesser-researched areas of peer-review programs.

Congratulations to Maria Parappilly (Flinders) for being one of the recipients of the 2017 D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning, an international award recognising post-secondary educators for innovative approaches that promote student-centred teaching and learning.

Congratulations to Gwen Lawrie (UQ), who was awarded the Medal of the RACI Division of Chemical Education at the RACI Congress in July this year.

Congratulations also to those who received 2017 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning as part of the 2017 Australian Awards for University Teaching.

SaMnet scholars and science educators received a number of citations; this includes Louise Pemberton (CSU), Kira Westaway (Macquarie), Rosanne Quinnell (USYD), Stephen Woodcock (UTS), the Chemistry First Year Experience Team (Wollongong), the Environmental and Geospatial Sciences Program Team (UniSA), Sally Plush (UniSA), Daniel Southam (Curtin), Christian Moro (Bond), the Agricultural Sciences Teaching Team (La Trobe), Deborah Jackson (La Trobe), Russell Anderson (Monash) and Julia Choate (Monash).

The full list of Citations is available here, and if you know of others who have been recognised for their contributions to student learning in science, please let us know.

Upcoming Events and Activities

Australian Institute of Physics - AIP Summer Meeting 2017

University of New South Wales, Sydney, 3-8 December 2017

As part of this summer meeting, there will be a 2-day Physics Education stream chaired by Elizabeth Angstmann (UNSW) and Manjula Sharma (USYD).

Abstract submissions have been extended until 20 October.

ACDS – WIL in Science National Forum 2017

ParkRoyal Hotel, Melbourne, 8 December 2017

This ACDS event ‘Building Successful WIL Partnerships in Science’ incorporates perspectives of students, industry and faculty teams. Join us to hear about recent research on student engagement in WIL and for the launch of the WIL in Science Industry Toolkit.

Places are limited; please click here to register your spot.

BEAN 2017 – Biosciences Education Australia Network Forum

Shine Dome, Canberra, 11-12 December 2017

This year’s theme will be “Back to the Future: Rethinking Curriculum”; employing a more interactive format of keynote talks and interactive sessions to learn new tools and methods. The forum dinner will be held at the Monster Kitchen and Bar. Any questions should be directed to Stephanie Beames at

Registrations are now open; please click here to register.

ICCE 2018 – The International Conference on Chemistry Education

University of Sydney, Sydney, 10-14 July 2018

The biannual IUPAC conference, International Conference on Chemistry Education (ICCE18) is coming to Sydney next year. ICCE 2018 will be a forum where Australian and International chemistry educators can build connections between research and practice to provide richer student learning experiences.

Abstract submissions and early bird registrations are now open; please click here for details.

ICPE-SAIP-WITS 2018 – International Conference on Physics Education

Johannesburg, South Africa, 1-5 October 2018

The main theme of the conference is: "Physics Education for Development: a focus on context".

Information regarding abstract submission, registration and venue details will be available shortly; please click here for details.


ACSME 2017 was a resounding success! We hope you made new connections, regrouped with old friends and took the most out of ACSME 2016 in Melbourne.

Highlights of ACSME 2017 included resounding keynote presentations from the recipient of the 2016 Award for Australian University Teacher of the Year Karen Burke da Silva (Flinders) and 2016 Award for Teaching Excellence Recipient Paul Francis (ANU); as well as an invigorating student panel on the Wednesday which Christopher Thompson (Monash) succinctly summed up as us needing to have “more meaningful conversations with students”.

Do you have any highlights of ACSME 2017 that you wish to share with the SaMnet community? Let us know at

Three more editions of IJISME have been published this year, including the Special Edition on “The Future STEAM Classroom – What Will We Find There?”. They include articles on:

-       Can QR codes and smartphones improve field-based science education;

-       Engaging students through virtual reality technology;

-       The effects of grade and gender on mathematics performance in non-routine problems; as well as many other areas of science and mathematics education.

Please check out these editions here.


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Different Views of Intelligence

Steve Bartlett and Diana Burton in Introduction to Education Studies

Popular theory has suggested multiple types of intelligence, including emotional intelligence. But where is the evidence that these multiple intelligences exist? This article delves into the general theories of intelligence, noting the lack of empirical evidence for intelligence. The SoTL scholar should differentiate between popular theory and academic evidence. Does this deficiency apply to theories about learning styles and cycles as well?

Provoking Potentials: Student Self-Evaluated and Socially-Mediated Testing

Linda C. Hodges in the book Teaching Undergraduate Science: A Guide to Overcoming Obstacles to Student Learning

How can we utilise social interaction in student assessment? The authors outline one strategy for this, drawing on underlying theories that support the ‘community of practice’ and ‘zone of proximal development’. What impact does this have on student learning, as opposed to student engagement? The authors highlight contributions to student engagement, but little data is evidence on the impact on student learning.

Leadership Insights

Leadership around the Clock: Balancing Caregiving and Chairing

Nadine Hartig, Kenna Colley and Melissa Grim in The Department Chair: A Resource for Academic Administrators

What strategies do you use to achieve a more favourable work-life balance? Do they need to change when you are in a leadership position? This article outlines a number of different mechanisms; which can be applied to more informal, distributed leadership roles. The question remains, however: are these strategies effective? What SoTL research has been conducted in this space?


How to Have More Time

Rena Seltzer in The Coach’s Guide for Women Professors Who Want a Successful Career and a Well-Balanced Life

If you say “yes” to something, what are you saying “no” to? The author issues a “No’s” challenge: find 10 things to say “no” to each week. In doing this, can you find the time to develop your own work? What are you saying “yes” to instead? An important tip is how to say “no” in a positive manner using language and tone. Another tip the author points out is that by conveying that your time is full, you may increase your clout.


ISSOTL directories for journals and international conferences

For those looking for international higher education links, check out the ISSOTL directories for teaching and learning journals and conferences (hosted at Keenesaw State University).

National Innovation Case Studies Collection

The National Innovation Case Study Collection is now live. This publically available resource showcases over 100 examples of innovative practices in support of student and graduate success across the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) network. SaMnet Scholar Jessica Vanderlelie, announced the public site here.

RACI – National Chemistry Quiz Evaluation Project

The RACI is looking for people with an interest in chemistry education for a project evaluating the national chemistry quiz. Contact information is included at the website.

Chronicle of Higher Education – Online Education Newsletter

The Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) is now publishing a weekly newsletter about teaching and learning. The CHE is the leading ‘newspaper’ for the US higher education sector.  A number of their articles have been referred to in our newsletter. While some of you have already subscribed, we highly encourage those who haven’t to subscribe to this newsletter for tools and tips on teaching and learning.

For high-end research on teaching science, see the monthly ‘education’ section in the journal, Science (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science). The section’s editor, Pamela Hines, visited Australia some years ago, discussing in a forum at UNSW her efforts at establishing this section and outlining the criteria for being published in this section.