News from the Teaching and Learning Centre

October 2020

Dear subscriber,

A few important items in this newsletter:

• ACSME 2020 was an amazing experience, with the online format opening a new world of possibilities for making future conferences even better.

• How do we use the learnings from emergency online teaching to improve educational design? View Liz Johnson’s keynote presentation at ACSME2020.

• The ACDS Repository for online science and mathematics teaching and assessment project is open for submissions. Do you have a resource to share?

• How could we best use NPILF funds to improve WIL in science courses. Read the joint ACDS and ACEN statement on what the literature tells us.

• Interested in Indigenous science? Join a new community of practice on this topic.

• An invitation to join the IJISME reviewer team. Is this something for you?

 As usual, we welcome your contributions of articles, and pointers to conferences and publications that may be of interest to the readership.

 Best regards

Cristina Varsavsky

ACSME 2020 online opened a new world of possibilities

ACSME 2020 was a celebration of ingenuity, creativity and commitment to high quality education, and showed that the science education community in Australia is stronger than ever. Over 260 academics, professional staff and students from around the country and beyond connected virtually to share good practice and challenges, particularly those arising from the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

This virtual experience made us identify a new world of possibilities for making future conferences even better. As expressed by one of the participants, it was an amazing experience, with all the benefits of a conference but without the travel stress. The lower cost made it more accessible. The flexibility to pre-watch presentations and join online discussions was highly valued. The chat function made the plenary sessions and discussions much livelier and engaging. The social activities were a good replacement for the traditional face-to-face networking and conference dinner.

Dates for your diary: Our plan is to meet face-to-face in Perth for ACSME2021 from September 21 to October 1, assuming that the COVID-19 pandemic will be over by then.

IJISME Special Issue: ACSME 2020: All ACSME2020 presenters are invited to make a submission to this issue on the work presented at this conference. Submissions of 250-word abstracts are due on Friday 11 December 2020. Abstract review outcomes and invitations to submit manuscripts will be sent to authors by the end of December 2020 and manuscripts will be due 21 February 2021. You can email Ana Lopes if you have any questions.

The best of both worlds: Integrating online and face-to-face learning

Higher education has been severely disrupted by the current pandemic, and the effect of this disruption will be felt for many years to come. The rapid shift to emergency remote teaching tested and challenged our assumptions, and provided a great opportunity for gathering insight into online teaching and learning.

Making the best of the online and face-to-face worlds was the topic of the keynote address by Professor Liz Johnson, DVCE (Education) at Deakin University, at this year’s ACSME conference.

There is much to be learned from the live, although unplanned, educational experience we all went through this year. We should capitalise on these learnings and embed them in good practice. Liz urged us to reflect on what each of the modes can and can’t do well in our own contexts, and be guided by these insights when engaging in educational design.

Find out more about Liz’s inspiring talk, including a full video of her presentation and slides with references here.

Do you have a resource to share?

A new ACDS project aims to create a repository of curated remote teaching and assessment resources developed across Faculties of Science.

Have you developed a resource to support learning undergraduate science or mathematics online? Is this something you could share with other science educators? The type of resources we are looking for include but are not limited to: lab activities and worksheets, lecture material, assessment tools, interactive learning modules, etc.

Sharing resources is good not only for the benefit of the community of science educators. Having a resource published in the ACDS repository is evidence that your teaching has an impact beyond the students in your classroom and is of national significance.

Do you have a resource to share? Submit it here for review.

How to best use NPILF funds to improve WIL in generalist Science degrees?

The Australian Government’s Job-ready Graduates package highlights the importance of STEM for the future of Australia. The package provides $900 million to support the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund (NPILF); it also redefines the role of universities in society by adding ‘(iv) the engagement with industry and the local community to enable graduates to thrive in the workforce;’ as a distinctive purpose of universities.

The NPILF is designed to support the creation of ‘job-ready’ graduates through university-industry engagement, and the current proposal is that universities will be block funded from the NPILF program. There will be many proposals around how universities can use the NPILF to support their engagement with industry. How do we decide which plan is most likely to benefit Science students and graduates? How should universities spend the money so it builds on and adds value to work that is already done? What information do we have to help us craft the best possible ‘job-ready’ development programs for Science students?

To enrich the national discussion on these topics and assist universities in their decision-making around NPILF expenditure, the ACDS and the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) commissioned a literature review on university-industry partnerships and Science Work Integrated Learning (WIL).

Download the joint discussion paper from ACEN  and ACDS here.

Indigenous science community of practice

The Indigenous Science session at ACSME2020 generated a deep and lengthy discussion, suggesting it is time for a national community of practice in this area. It is also timely given that the ACDS will soon launch a website with Indigenous science resources collated under the leadership of Angela Ziebell.  If you are interested in being part of this community of practice, let her know here.


Call for joining the IJISME Reviewer Team

Manjula Sharma, IJISME Editor-in-Chief, invites you to join the International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IJISME) Reviewer team. The journal is for scholarly papers that focus on the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in educational settings ranging from primary school to university education. A double-blind review process is used, and IJISME is included in the SCOPUS, EBSCO and ProQuest databases.

The journal has a valued team of Reviewers with a range of expertise and areas of interest. If you would like to contribute your time and expertise to providing blind peer reviews for IJISME, please complete this form.