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A message from the Curtin Student Guild

The Curtin Student Guild is offering a great new opportunity for professional staff and academics to tap into student voices and opinions! Faculty Student Advisory Councils (FSACs) have been established by the Guild to bring together relevant societies to discuss topics such as University and teaching & learning issues on a regular basis.

If you would like to present to, or have a discussion with, these councils, all you have to do is contact the relevant Guild faculty representative for more information and event details:


The Faculty of Health Sciences’ Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Awards

The 2017 Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award guidelines are now available. Teaching awards can be valuable career development tools, particularly for staff with a teaching focus. Reflecting on your teaching practice as you write the nomination can help clarify your approach and relevant theories of learning. Not only that, teaching awards can assist with career progression and are considered evidence for promotion. If you have any questions about the process and applying—as well as support with your nomination—contact Helen Flavell. You can find more information and access the guidelines here.

University Teaching (MOOC on Coursera) to be launched on 29 May 2017 (item from HERDSA News)

University Teaching is an introductory course on teaching and learning in tertiary education, designed by staff at the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at the University of Hong Kong.

This online course collects input from instructors, guest speakers, teaching award winners, students, and experts in the fields and provides you with research evidence in relation to effective university teaching and practical instructional design strategies.

  • After completing the learning tasks in this course, you will be able to:
    Discuss the teaching and learning context in higher education and reflect on the potential challenges and opportunities you might encounter.
  • Explain key teaching and learning concepts and relevant evidence in relation to effective university teaching.
  • Analyse the relationships between various aspects of teaching and student learning.
  • Identify a range of instructional strategies to support effective student learning.
  • Apply key concepts to the structuring of course outlines and lesson plans in order to create learning experiences to support successful student learning.The course trailer is here.
    The course outline is here.

More information can be found here.

Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Special Issue Call for Submissions

Topic: Frontier perspectives and insights into higher education student success
Guest editors: Professor Hamish Coates and Dr Kelly Matthews

‘Student success’ is the topic for this HERD Special Issue. This is a fundamental yet contested topic of relevance internationally that starts with the question: How can higher education help students succeed? As an umbrella topic, student success offers the promise of drawing together important yet often disparate threads across higher education research and practice such as student engagement, learning outcomes, admissions policies, transition, student experience, graduate employment, socioeconomic health.

While student success seeks to give primacy to students and their success, how universities foster such successes are inextricably entangled in the broader global ecosystem in which higher education unfolds. The concept of ‘student success’ has been given life in recent large-scale research work globally, and particularly in Asia, Australia, the United States and Europe. Smaller scale, highly contextualised ‘lived experience’ research from both developed and developing countries add to the body of knowledge. Such research has explored:

  • the intersection between the changing place of the university in society and the political and economic framing of student success;
    • fundamental normative assumptions about ‘success’ and ‘who are our students’ in higher education;
    • the academic and broader experiences that are correlated with student success (and failure);
    • the impact of new technologies and information as an influence on the framing and engagement of student success; and
    • patterns and prospects for student and graduate outcomes.

This HERD Special Issue creates space for ‘student success’ to be viewed through multiple lenses, including but not limited to:

  • the current political international landscape juxtaposing nationalistic and global ideologies;
    • the weight of neoliberal economic agendas shaping public perceptions, and internal operations, of higher education institutions;
    • the equity and social justice view of higher education advancing a more inclusive and tolerant citizenry; and
    • the emotional and cognitive domains of learning as a core function of higher education.

Contributions are invited that encompass practical, conceptual, and theoretical concerns; range from pure scholarship to more applied insights; and draw on a plurality of methodological approaches. The goal of the Special Issue is to refine debate on new understandings of ‘student success’, and new epistemologies and sources of evidence for investigating and conceptualising it. Contributions will address tensions and the increasingly challenging task of ‘helping students succeed’ given changing student cohorts and expectations, new forms of education, diversifying institutions, and socio-political pressures reshaping higher education.

Submission Deadline: 1 August 2017
Instructions for authors are here.
Submit to Special Issue here.
Questions and requests for further information can be submitted here.

The first Schollaboration session

The first Schollaboration session was presented by Joel Howell and Associate Professor Lynne Roberts to a small but engaged group of staff from across the University. Learning analytics are a growing area in higher education, and Curtin is already collecting a range of big data on students with plans to roll-out student dashboards (sometimes referred to as ‘performance dashboards’) in 2018.

The interactive discussion that ensued highlighted a range of questions related to learning analytics including: unintended outcomes such as increased student stress as dashboards enable performance comparison, and the potential for unconscious bias as information about students’ achievement is readily available to staff. One of the key concerns raised in the learning analytics’ literature is an absence of student and academic with a tendency for ICT specialists to dominate the policy and practice direction. Information on the next Schollaboration session will be forthcoming!