November 5 Morning Session
Dr Simon Bedford, Assessment and Feedback, Learning, Teaching and Curriculum, University of Wollongong and Peter Czech, Senior Policy and Project Manager, Office of the Dean, Learning and Teaching RMIT
External Referencing of Standards (EROS) project. A collaboration between RMIT, Queensland University of Technology, University of Wollongong and Curtin University.
This presentation will discuss a collaborative project about external referencing of programs involving five universities.
The Higher Education Standards outline requirements around external referencing of programs that
must be routinely undertaken by universities. The methodologies, evaluative framework, templates and documentation to be used remains for universities to determine. This has been the driver behind this External Referencing of Standards (EROS) Project that will advance co-operative external referencing, institutional self-evaluation and quality improvement between the RMIT, Queensland University of Technology, Wollongong University and Curtin University.
Professor Josua Pienaar, Deputy Dean (Learning and Teaching), School of Engineering and Technology, Higher Education Division, CQUniversity
Assessing the needs and preparedness of students through targeted assessment and support
Within a changing university environment, which is becoming increasingly open in terms of participation, there is a need to identify and support students entering university without the assumed prior knowledge.
Widening participation has enabled more students, including those who once would have been excluded, to attend university. The Higher Education Standards Framework recognises the need to both assess the preparedness of individuals and provide timely academic support. Often students enter degree programs unaware of gaps in their assumed knowledge. The problem is that students, due to an inability to self-assess and self-regulate, often do not know they need support until after they have failed summative assessment, which is too late. The challenge is then to make these students aware of their gaps and provide timely effective support. CQUniversity Australia has conducted trials on the use of Video Enhanced Multiple Choice Questions as a means of enabling students to self-assess, identify and overcome their knowledge gaps prior to and during a unit of study. This paper will demonstrate the approach taken and the findings of the trial.
Associate Professor Theda Thomas, School of Arts, Faculty of Arts and Education, Australian Catholic University
Thinking of standards from first year – an Office for Learning and Teaching funded project.
This presentation will discuss an Office for Learning and Teaching funded project that analysed the TLOs for geography, history, sociology and politics and draft Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs)for English in order to determine what students at first year need to know and do in order to set them on the path to meeting these outcomes by the time they graduate.
When we discuss standards in higher education we normally refer to standards that we want our graduates to achieve. In order to reach these standards, however, we need to ensure that we start thinking of them from first year. TLOs were developed for a variety of subjects under the ALTC learning standards project in 2010-2011. Since then a number of discipline areas have developed TLOs for their disciplines. This presentation will discuss why it is important to engage lecturers and curriculum developers with thinking about these TLOs from first year and will demonstrate the methods used in an OLT project “Renewing First Year Curricula for Social Sciences and Humanities in the context of discipline threshold standards”. The project investigated the needs of students coming into first year, the threshold concepts and skills that they need to master, the barriers to them learning these concepts and skills and the ways in which we as lecturers can foster students’ understanding of the concepts and skills. Five major workshops involving 137 participants from 30 universities were used to gain insight into these issues and engage first year lecturers and curriculum designers with the TLOs. The project website can be found at www.firstyearlearningthresholds.edu.au
Associate Professor Joy Wallace, Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching), Faculty of Arts, Charles Sturt University
Threshold concepts and threshold learning outcomes: defining standards for English in Australia
English in Australia has lagged behind other Humanities disciplines in defining graduate standards. Whereas History, Geography, Sociology and Politics have all established Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs), either during or subsequent to the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Discipline Standards Project, English as yet has no agreed set of standards for students graduating with a major in the discipline. A recent confluence of activity, however, has galvanised the process of establishing standards. The new peak body for tertiary English, Australian University Heads of English (AUHE) decided as a founding project to progress the establishment of TLOs for English. This coincided productively with the work of an Office for Learning and Teaching funded project on teaching First Year Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (ASSH) disciplines in the context of TLOs. In order to provide draft TLOs for the OLT project team to work with, a workshop funded by the project was run in Sydney, in May 2014, with members of AUHE, to produce draft TLOs. These draft TLOs were then debated and refined at the June 2014 OLT project workshop on First Year. This close integration of the drafting of TLOs with consideration of how to set first year students on the path to meeting them in their final year has brought into productive relationship some distinct bodies of literature: not only on standards, but also on signature pedagogies and on Threshold Learning Concepts, with the associated work on barriers to student learning in their discipline. This conceptual richness brings a distinctiveness to further work on establishing the TLOs for English. The intention is to complete the English TLOs project in 2016 as a Special Studies Program of the project leader, Joy Wallace of Charles Sturt University.
Emeritus Professor Robin King, University of Technology Sydney, the Australian Council of Engineering Deans
Raising engineering education standards through accreditation and international benchmarking
This presentation outlines how the internationally benchmarked national accreditation system, and participation in the AHELO feasibility project have contributed to raising the standards of engineering degrees.
As a defined occupational area, national standards for formative engineering programs are set by the external membership body, Engineers Australia (EA). The EA accreditation program function has focussed on evaluating programs against defined graduate competencies since 2000. The Australian Council of Engineering Deans and the engineering education community, through the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, are also constructive partners in developing and implementing these standards. The EA competencies are also benchmarked against the internationally agreed graduate attribute specifications set by members of the International Engineering Alliance that oversees the Washington Accord and other standards-based agreements. In addition, several Australian engineering schools participated in the OECD supported AHELO (Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes) feasibility study that concluded in 2012. This paper outlines how the internationally benchmarked national accreditation system, and participation in the AHELO feasibility project have contributed to raising the standards of engineering degrees.
Dr Peter Pocock, Course Director Senior Lecturer, School of Theology, St Mark’s Theological Centre, Charles Sturt University
After standards: TLOs, the AQF and the application of standards in theology
This presentation will discuss the theological sector's adoption of Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs), the new Australian Qualifications Framework and changing policy in this 'After Standards' environment.
In 2010 the Council of Deans of Theology (CDTh), in conjunction with the Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools (ANZATS) developed Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs) for a Bachelor of Theology. Since the creation of these TLOs the Australian higher education sector has seen extensive change with the introduction of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), the new Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), and continuing rapid movement in government policy. The theological sector, as a sub-set of the higher education sector, has had to adapt rapidly while, as Brawley et al suggest, addressing the ". . .importance of building capacity within the. . .discipline both to engage policy makers, . . . and to take an active role in the defining and implementing [of] national standards. . ."
Professor Zlatko Skrbis, Vice-Provost (Graduate Education) Monash University, Secretary, Australian Council for Graduate Research
Research training and the new higher education standards framework
This presentation will consist of two parts. The first part will reflect on the resources available for Deans of Graduate Research to ensure minimum standards and regulatory requirements are met, and to promote best practice. A central depository for such guidelines is the Australian Council of Graduate Research (ACGR) website. The ACGR’s mission is to promote excellence in research training and scholarship and to promote high standards for all higher degree by research programs nationally. The second part will examine the impact of the revised Threshold Standards as they relate to research training, academic and research integrity, corporate governance, academic governance and learning outcomes. Attendees are welcome to raise issues with Professor Skrbis at the end of the session.
Professor Pauline Ross, Professor of Biology and Education Strategy, Western Sydney University, National Teaching Fellow, the Office for Learning and Teaching
The changing nature of the academic role in science
Universities are incubators of discoveries and creators of new knowledge through research; in the global education marketplace, research forms universities reputations.
Education being lowly ranked and largely ignored in universities is not new; for decades universities have undervalued academics focused on education. Educational change is now the near horizon for universities. Academic roles which have remained remarkably resilient are differentiating and the value of an educational academic role, not solely focussed on disciplinary research, is gaining credibility. This research will report on perspectives of academic roles from both senior leaders and coal face academics in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), as part of a National Teaching Fellowship funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching.