Tag Archives: graduate attributes

Learning & teaching for sustainability– naturally

Guest Post: Dr Jude Westrup, Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, RMIT University.

Click the image to view The Learning and Teaching for Sustainability toolkit [PDF, 812 KB, 27 pages]

Click the image to view The Learning and Teaching for Sustainability toolkit [PDF, 812 KB, 27 pages]

Following Margaret Blackburn’s post in early 2013, I responded in a comment that it was ‘…great to see sustainability and environmental responsibility made explicit in our graduate attributes…’ What this means is that whatever the program of study, graduates of RMIT University will have engaged in processes to develop their abilities to recognise environmental and social impacts and to provide leadership on sustainable approaches to complex problems. The page on the graduate attribute Environmentally aware and responsible (#3 of 6) gives some suggestions of how this might look in a program. Appropriate to their level of study, students will:
•                Recognise the interrelationship between environmental, social and economic sustainability
•                Appraise and critique context-appropriate sustainability measures
•                Take responsibility for critical decision-making in ensuring sustainable outcomes
•                Appropriately apply their environmental and sustainability literacy in a highly diverse range of contexts.
For interested teachers and academics (especially those involved in course and program reviews, amendments or developments) the Learning and Teaching for Sustainability (LTfS) project can help you map this attribute and there are many excellent curriculum development and refreshment resources already available on the LTfS website  and includes the recently produced LTfS Toolkit for curriculum development, consisting of templates and workshop activity sheets.
Sustainability is undergoing a renaissance within the international and national tertiary sector as it relates to professional, industry and community priorities. Several LTfS components of RMIT’s Sustainability Action Plan are being reinvigorated while others are being developed for the first time. Through the Office of the Dean – Learning & Teaching (Academic Portfolio) a university-wide, year-long LTfS project is flourishing, with curriculum development, professional development (PD) and LTfS opportunities for staff being the main foci.
In terms of PD, staff will be able to access resources for LTfS curriculum development and evaluation via the LTfS website, a Google Site for informal (within RMIT) sharing of ideas, the Sustainability Subject Guide (RMIT Library) and other resources collated within RMIT’s Learning Repository.

Gallery of RMIT Graphs

LTfS sits within a broader suite of sustainability projects at RMIT.

RMIT Vietnam already has sustainability resources, such as an Environmental Policy in place.

We have contributed to the International Sustainability Literacy Index (currently in development), the United Nations Higher Education for Sustainable Development portal and the National Education for Sustainability (Office of Learning & Teaching) website. RMIT is a key contributor to these sites and initiatives.The national Education for Sustainability Tertiary Forum was held at LaTrobe University in February which linked staff at Universities in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. Detailed outcomes and actions are available on the Education for Sustainability website.

We have ongoing national participation with groups such as ACTS (Australasian Campuses Toward Sustainability) and AAEE (Australian Association for Environmental Education). Both of these groups have conferences in Hobart in November which staff are encouraged to explore, attend and contribute to.
A range of RMIT resources exist for teachers, lecturers and academic developers.

A range of RMIT resources exist for teachers, lecturers and academic developers. Click on the image to see more.

All Colleges in Melbourne and the Sustainability Group in Vietnam are involved in linking LTfS curriculum development with the Global Learning by Design (2014-2016) major project and other strategic Program and Course development and delivery initiatives (such as the AQF Program and Course Guide alignments and Undergraduate and Postgraduate Program reviews). A workshop, Introduction to Learning & Teaching for Sustainability will be available to all staff from Semester 2 in the DevelopMe PD program and online, modular resources are under development. Social media, digital learning and blog communications channels are also being explored and developed.During the RMIT Learning & Teaching Expo in September 2014 students, alumni and staff from across RMIT will present an interactive Q&A style LTfS colloquium. This session will explore key issues in sustainability of relevance to staff and students across our campuses.

The creation of a dedicated RMIT Teaching Award (P9: Graduate Learning Outcomes), for curriculum developments or initiatives that enhance one of RMIT’s graduate attributes, will further raise the profile of LTfS and enhance learning and teaching practices across RMIT.

To close on the topic of awards, the 2014 Green Gown Awards Australasia is now open and the deadline for all submissions is 4pm Tuesday 5 August 2014. A team in Landscape Architecture were finalists last year with their project looking at green roof projects.
Are there teams out there ready to have a shot at the 2014 awards?
Share your thoughts and questions about sustainability on campus in the comments section!
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RMIT Learning & Teaching Expo 2013

Guest post: Penny Mercer, Project Advisor, Learning and Teaching Unit, RMIT University.

Click to open the RMIT Learning & Teaching Expo 2013 page.

The Learning and Teaching Expo is an opportunity to showcase the excellent work of our dedicated teaching staff. It is a time for all of us to reflect on how we might enhance the student experience, reimagine our teaching and network with colleagues.

This year’s Expo takes the theme of “Inspiring teaching, inspiring learning.” Come along and hear what your colleagues have done to improve student learning outcomes, bring along your own experiences, or questions for discussion time. The Expo eLearning journey will allow all staff to identify a point of interest from which further learning opportunities can be explored.

Come along and hear from our invited keynote speakers about what is happening in the tertiary education sector, hear what your colleagues have done to improve student learning outcomes and bring along your own experiences or questions for discussion time.

Day 1: Tuesday 3 September – 12pm to 4.30pm, with lunch from 1pm to 2pm
Day 2: Wednesday 4 September – 9am to 1pm, with lunch from 1pm to 2pm
Venue: Design Hub, City campus.

Click here (or on the image above) to see the 2013 program and register now to attend (RMIT login required).

We look forward to seeing you there!

Grounding graduate attributes

Posted by: Margaret Blackburn, Senior Advisor, Strategic Learning and Teaching Initiatives, Office of the Dean, Learning and Teaching, Academic Portfolio, RMIT University.

A commercial aeroplane with landing gear deployed.

(cc) MorgueFile.com

As publisher and presidential advisor C. D. Jackson said, ‘Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings’. The notion of graduate attributes is a pretty abstract one, so the challenge is to provide some landing gear and make them mean something to students and teachers. Otherwise, the risk is that they’ll stay in orbit somewhere in the educational stratosphere and make little impact on the ground.

At RMIT, we have a set of six graduate attributes. They are skills or qualities that we expect all of our graduates, whatever their specific program, will have had the chance to acquire to a suitable level. We want them to be work ready, to be active and lifelong learners and so on. But what does this mean for the curriculum and for how it is delivered, learned and assessed?

Before we go further, let’s agree that there’s confusion over the range of terms used to describe these qualities. Aren’t we talking about learning outcomes here?  Well, yes, but we are now being more precise with outcomes at different levels. At the course level, we have outcomes that are assessed to and gained by successful completion of a course. But outcomes also exist at the program level (what we used to call ‘program capabilities’) and above and informing these are RMIT’s graduate attributes.

View above clouds from an aeroplane window.

(cc) MorgueFile.com

As a tertiary environment at RMIT, we also use the TAFE sector’s labels of competencies, elements, performance criteria and employability skills.

In the new program guide matrix developed to meet AQF requirements, program capabilities are now referred to as program learning outcomes. The matrix enables teachers to align program learning outcomes with the overarching graduate attributes and in the other direction, down to the courses of the program. Work is currently underway to complete this.

TEQSA now requires institutions to demonstrate that all of their graduate attributes, including English language competency, have been attained. Why this new focus on outcomes? The tertiary context has changed radically in recent years. There can be a haphazard quality to the bundle of skills, knowledge and attributes students graduate with. Degrees from different institutions vary in terms of minimum standards as well as content. The kaleidoscope of higher participation rates, funding pressures, more varied models and modes of learning, have all led to a new focus on outcomes and how to measure them.[1] Research also points to a need to re-examine the role of graduate attributes when it comes to standards.

To breathe life into graduate attributes in curricula, in teaching and learning and in assessment, the key is context. To use the word ‘generic’ to describe graduate attributes suggests that we can ‘unplug’ graduate attributes entirely from a specific discipline or teaching area.  But Anna Jones’ research[2] indicates that they are not ‘generic’ or ‘super skills’ that exist beyond disciplinary contexts or professional and vocational fields. Graduate attributes don’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, they start with the content and culture of particular disciplines or fields. A key question is: what is the essence of this discipline? Jones found that the ways that graduate attributes are taught and learned depend on the conceptual frameworks, language, assessment practices, technologies and even physical settings that form the heart of particular disciplines, professions and vocations. As de-contextualised statements, they don’t work. This makes sense to the classroom teacher or lecturer who ideally is also a practitioner or has a deep knowledge of their industry counterparts.

Although the terminology is the same for different disciplines and fields, for example ‘work ready’, graduate attributes have different meanings and are weighted differently in every field or profession. For example, a ‘work ready’ engineering graduate will prioritise in-depth technical competence in at least one engineering discipline. In media and communications, work readiness is primarily about creative practice and critical reflection. ‘Innovative’ in fashion and design disciplines may spotlight imaginative and creative endeavours whereas in business disciplines, innovation is about designing new rules and processes that improve traditional business models. In a business degree, ‘cultural and social awareness’ should include an understanding of how enterprise and business activities affect groups and individuals. In social sciences, however, to understand social justice issues in professional settings may be an essential aspect of this attribute.

Where do you start to bring graduate attributes down to earth?  One approach is, as per the King of Hearts, ‘begin at the beginning’. Consider what gives your discipline or field its identity, its own distinguishing stamp. What are the essential skills or qualities that you want your graduates to have? For example, in economics, one central skill is to be able to apply economic tools to problems. Another might be to analyse macroeconomic data to make predictions. A third might be to be able to develop further economics expertise by being an independent and active learner. But does your economics degree, as you’ve sketched it out, prepare students for the cultural and social implications of their profession? If you use the graduate attributes as a screen while listing those essential skills and qualities, you may find that elements you thought peripheral have a place in ensuring that every RMIT program has the best chance to develop a well-rounded graduate.

As you make your list then, use the graduate attributes as a reference point to help you frame the skills and knowledge of your discipline or profession. Then you are ready to express the skills and qualities it contains in a set of five or six broad program learning outcomes that take into account AQF levels.

How do those program learning outcomes shape the curriculum at course level? They are the starting point for drafting detailed course level learning outcomes that spell out in detail what students will learn and be assessed on in each course. Course learning outcomes must fit with both program learning outcomes and the overarching graduate attributes. Mapping all three across the entire program is helpful. The point is that graduate attributes don’t mean much on their own. They’ll gain their real meaning and impact from the detailed context provided by the learning outcomes at both program and course level.

(cc) MorgueFile.com

(cc) MorgueFile.com

Finally, and critically, structure your students’ learning activities to help them actively engage with the course learning outcomes. Ask yourself: how will this activity, exercise, problem, online discussion exercise, help my students get to grips with a specific learning outcome? And how will the elements of my assessment program enable students to show that they have met the learning outcomes at a particular level? By taking a holistic approach to all three elements, learning outcomes, learning activities and assessment, you’ll ensure that those elusive graduate attributes come back to earth.

Share your comments on graduate attributes in the comments below!

References:

[1] Royce Sadler, (2012) Assessing and assuring graduate attributes, keynote address to AAGLO Conference, July 19.

[2] Anna Jones, (2012) There is nothing generic about graduate attributes: unpacking the scope of context, Journal of Further Education, DOI:10.1080/0309877X.2011.645466

What is inclusive teaching, and why is it important?

Guest Post by Dr Kylie Murphy, Academic Development Group, College of Science Engineering and Health.

Students browse bookshelves at Carlton Library

Copyright © RMIT University. Photographer: Margund Sallowsky

Access and equity are hot topics in Australian higher education lately. The university sector is under pressure to massify. Rather than reinforcing the social class structure, Australian universities are now tasked with the challenge of helping students to transgress social class boundaries and break generations-old cycles of economic disadvantage. Indeed, there are significant financial incentives for universities around attracting and retaining students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. University teaching staff should be in no doubt about the importance of supporting more first-in-family students to come to higher education and ‘stay the course’.

What should we do?

But how are university teachers supposed to help students who lack the sociocultural capital of more ‘traditional’ university students to persist with their studies and succeed? Students from low socioeconomic backgrounds not only lack the financial resources of their middle and upper class peers. Many also:

  • have less time and space in which to study
  • lack the academic literacies taught more readily in selective-school classrooms
  • lack the language skills often modelled from birth by tertiary educated parents and
  • lack the understanding, support, and advice of university-experienced friends and family members.

If success in higher education is to be more accessible to socioeconomically disadvantaged students, perhaps we need to make it easier for all students to get a degree than in the past?

Are more lenient standards the answer?

Lowering academic standards or reducing the expected capabilities of graduates is, of course, not the answer.

Two students studying at Brunswick Library

Copyright © RMIT University. Photographer: Margund Sallowsky

Australia’s economic health (to say nothing of other social benefits) needs more people who are as knowledgeable and skilful as graduates have long been, not an increased number of graduates who are less capable than before. Undergraduate degree students each bring tens of thousands of dollars to the university they are enrolled at. To attract increased and more diverse student enrolments and then simply lower the bar for students to step over is, if nothing else, completely unethical. The answer, instead, lies in transforming universities into places of truly inclusive teaching.

How can inclusive teaching help?

If inclusive teaching doesn’t mean lowering academic standards, what does it mean? Broadly, it means teaching in such a way that maximises the capacity of all students to reach meaningful standards of success. In other words, it means teaching so that all students in the course can meet the learning objectives. It’s not surprising, then, that there are many ways to conceptualise inclusive teaching. But while writers in this field may revel in exploring the complexities of inclusive education as an abstraction, a stack of slightly differing definitions and conceptual deconstructions are of little help to academics who just want to know how to teach their next class more inclusively or how to re-design an assessment piece for greater inclusivity.

What makes teaching inclusive?

Inclusive teaching manifests as many specific practices, adapted and contextualised as appropriate to the area of study and learning objectives in question. Instead of itemising possible inclusive practices, here, I offer three criteria that stand out to me as ready litmus tests for determining whether or not any particular thing that we do as a teacher or lecturer is ‘inclusive’. When selecting content for a course, when devising, explaining, and providing feedback on learning and assessment activities, and when otherwise communicating with our students, these three questions are critical considerations:

1        Will this content, range of activities, communication style, feedback, etcetera allow all of my students to feel respected and valued — or might some students feel overlooked and unengaged?

2        Will it help all of my students to maintain or develop enough confidence in themselves, in my approachability, and in the relevance and flexibility of the curriculum so that they will persist when challenges arise — or might students with more than their fair share of obstacles become disheartened and give up? and

3        Will it help all of my students to move step-by-step from the knowledge and skills they each have, now, to the knowledge and skills that I want them ultimately to attain — or does it fail to clearly communicate the steps required?

An attitude more than a checklist

I see inclusive teaching as an attitude as much as a checklist of actions. To me, it’s an ongoing process of aspiring to answer ‘yes’ to the above three questions regarding every aspect of our teaching and assessment practice, even though the implicit ideals are not always achievable. In my own teaching, I try to satisfy the above three criteria — aiming to help all of my students to feel respected and valued, to feel confident enough to keep trying despite setbacks, and to achieve the learning objectives in an appropriately scaffolded way — but I sometimes run short on the necessary resources, including time and know-how. And I know my efforts don’t always work for every one of my students. There are some factors that affect student learning and success that teachers simply cannot change.

Something to be proud of

Student Services Office, Bundoora Campus

Copyright © RMIT University. Photographer: Margund Sallowsky

Inclusive teaching is not easy and it’s no panacea. However, our many teaching staff at RMIT who do continually try to enable all of our students to feel respected, to feel confident enough to persist despite difficulties, and to ultimately achieve the intended learning outcomes — even though they don’t always achieve these objectives with every student — are important agents of social change and incredibly valuable assets to the University. For those vulnerable students whom our inclusive teaching efforts have helped, and do help, the positive impact of our efforts, especially combined with the efforts of other inclusive teachers and student support staff, is potentially enormous.

Learn more

Read what Australian low socioeconomic status students say about inclusive teachers, and what inclusive Australian academics say about low socioeconomic status students, at www.lowses.edu.au. This website contains well-researched practical advice for university teachers and policy makers. And stay tuned for RMIT’s launch of its own professional development and support opportunities arising from the University’s Inclusive Teaching and Assessment Practices project.

Get Onboard

The transformation of higher education institutions from places of exclusivity and pre-existing privilege to places of inclusivity and life-changing opportunity is well underway in Australia. Australian universities now serve students of varying levels of socioeconomic advantage, including students from under-privileged backgrounds who we know, with good teaching, perform as well as or better than their wealthier peers. But, still, students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds remain proportionally underrepresented in Australian university enrolments.

The challenge lies, of course, not only in attracting more high-potential socioeconomically disadvantaged students to our universities, but also in ensuring that we capitalise on their potential, maintain their confidence and motivation, and appropriately scaffold their pathways to success once they arrive with us. This two-pronged challenge is being addressed on a global scale, including in the UK and the US as well as in Australia. Whether it’s social justice or economic pressure that drives you to teach as inclusively as you can, the imperative is strong — and it’s not going away.

Share your thoughts on inclusive teaching strategies in our comments section!

RMIT Learning & Teaching Expo Preview

Guest Post by Diana Cousens, Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching Unit, RMIT.

Opens a link to the program for RMIT's Learning & Teaching Expo 2012

Click on the nautilus shell see the full program!

Transforming the Learning Experience is the theme of RMIT’s Learning and Teaching Expo this year. Held over four mornings from 27 August to Thursday 30 August 2012, the Expo will host speakers and offer seminars and workshops of national relevance to the higher education and also VET sectors.

Each morning is dedicated to a particular specialisation in learning and teaching and includes speakers and practitioners from RMIT, other universities and important members of organisations such as TEQSA and OLT (formerly ALTC). With the theme of Transforming the Learning Experience it is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how we might enhance the student experience and re-imagine our teaching using a range of innovations including our new learning spaces and RMIT’s global presence.

Come along and hear from our invited keynote speakers about what is happening in the tertiary education sector, hear what your colleagues have done to improve student learning outcomes and bring along your own experiences or questions for discussion time.

The Expo runs from 9.00 to 1.00 with lunch from 1.00 to 2.00.

You could also win an iPad! You’ll be in the running for an iPad just by filling out a short feedback sheet.

Register to attend at: http://www.rmit.edu.au/teaching/expo(RMIT login required).

Date: Monday, 27 August – Thursday 30 August

Venue: Storey Hall and Bundoora campuses.

On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday the Expo will be held in the City Campus at Storey Hall and on Wednesday it will be held at the Bundoora Campus.

Day 1: New rules of the game
Monday 27 August
Storey Hall, City campus
Keynote 1: TEQSA and the new regulatory environment
Ms Lucy Schulz
Executive Director, Regulation and Review Group, TEQSA

Keynote 2: AQF, TEQSA and ASQA – Simple acronyms with far reaching consequences
Professor Geoff Crisp
Dean, Learning and Teaching, RMIT

Day 2: Teaching for all
Tuesday 28 August
Storey Hall, City campus
Keynote: Inclusive teaching in Australian higher education: Findings from a national study
Professor Marcia Devlin
Open University Australia

Day 3: Access all areas
Wednesday 29 August
Building 224, Bundoora campus
Keynote: An Education ‘In’ Facebook
Professor Matthew Allen
Head of Department, Internet Studies, Curtin University

Day 4: Engaging globally
Thursday 30 August
Storey Hall, City campus
Parallel Sessions with Vietnam – Saigon South & Hanoi
David DeBrot
Landon Carnie
Chi Le Phuong
Kieran Tierney
Minh Nguyen Duc
RMIT Vietnam

We look forward to seeing you there!

Room computer is now active…

Posted by: Megan McPherson, L&T Group, Design and Social Context College, RMIT.

A new smartboard awaits input at RMIT

(© Megan McPherson)

After reading Spiros’ post from a couple of weeks ago, and sitting in on some professional development sessions in the Swanston Academic Building SAB practice room and in the Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) space in Applied Science, I thought I would have a look for what else is available for Audio-Visual (AV) training at RMIT.

Self serve…
There is a set of RMIT training videos that are step-by-step guides in getting different equipment up and running. As a first step, the videos are informative and simple to follow:

Where to get help…
As new learning and teaching spaces come online, RMIT has set up a classification system depending on the AV equipment and the collaborative functionality of the space. This is where your friendly AV services support person comes in handy to make sense of the AV technology. Some of the AV enabled teaching spaces have been customized to work in a particular room and some have just been updated. So it is a good idea to make an appointment with AV services to get the rundown of any differences and to get comfortable with the room you are teaching in before the new semester starts.

Taking it further with collaborative tools…
Both the SAB practice room and the TEAL space in Applied Science have different capabilities that enable different types of collaborations. In the SAB practice room we tried out the software tools that enable collaboration, sharing and archiving work within groups and the class.

A blue screen points students to the web login for their group

Colour-coded screens point students to their appropriate working groups
   (© Megan McPherson)

In the scenes shown above, each of the collaborative groups had a screen with a particular colour and students linked into the system through a web address. I particularly liked that each of the screens had whiteboards next to them; if the technology fails, there is always a whiteboard and a smartphone photograph to document the activity for further collaboration.

For a list of the teaching spaces with new AV equipment, check out this AV teaching spaces with new technology list. To find out more about the classifications see the pdf- RMIT Design Standards- Section 11- Audio Visual.

Additional technical support…
If you want more support and training to take advantage of the audio visual capabilities of  any of the AV enabled teaching spaces contact Audio Visual Services and check out the videos above.

For urgent AV assistance, please call the audiovisual support line on tel. 9925 3316 during IT Service Desk hours of operation.

For general AV enquiries, please contact the IT Service Desk.

Share your thoughts and impressions of the new spaces or anything related to AV and collaboration in the comments!

Running repairs

Posted by: Jon Hurford, L&T Group, Design and Social Context College, RMIT.

Image: RMIT’s Graduate of the Year, Dean Benstead and his air-powered motorcycle at the 2011 Sydney Motorcycle and Scooter Show. Courtesy of RMIT News.

With less than a month of teaching remaining in the semester, now might be a good time to conduct some running repairs to your course. In this post I’ll put forward that reflection, in a couple of forms, is the first step to these repairs. With some form of summative assessment probably on the horizon, you might also encourage your students to take part in a similar exercise.

It’s only natural that by this time of the semester you’ve probably had a guest-speaker cancel, a room-booking gone awry or a dip in student attendance. Some of your students may have had health problems; you yourself may have had to take leave.

Remind students of your office hours or contact details and publish a quick review of what’s been covered. These reassurances (the breadcrumbs back to successful completion) will  go a long way to relieve the anxiety of those who are feeling like they have lost touch with your course. Look at this post from earlier in the year on the teaching tomtom to jog your thoughts on assessment, reflection and the student perspective.

A course survey might also be looming, so it’s important that your reflective course-correction isn’t seen by students as anything that smacks of a lack of confidence or simply as pre-polling; survey fatigue can be a drag, both for students and on your scores. So what else can you do, and importantly, how can you get your students participating in this work?

First you probably need to cover the basics by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Have you covered the learning outcomes and made them clear to students?
  • Has the course content and assessment allowed exploration and demonstration of the learning outcomes?
  • Are there program capabilities targeted in your course that could provide the industry or disciplinary context to what’s being studied? Do students understand the bigger picture of what this course is trying to achieve?

A quick review might reveal a learning outcome, a tricky skill or concept, or a program capability that you realise has been skimmed over (or that you simply haven’t treated in the depth that you would have liked). It’s not too late to fill in those gaps!

And if that checklist seems complete you might be ready to look at the really big picture:

It will be up to you to determine what level (and therefore which schema) you think is most valuable to share with your students. A first year course in TAFE differs from a capstone course in a Masters; the latter probably lends itself more to the six graduate attributes. For first year students it probably wouldn’t hurt to quickly traverse the path from an assessment item that has already been completed, through to a program capability. This way you’re showing students the throughline, or the path, of their current and future studies.

Similarly, wouldn’t it be valuable for students who may have been at RMIT for just three months to be picturing themselves as graduates of their program? This is the expectancy-value theory of motivation as used by Biggs and Tang (2007) in practice: “…a commonsense theory of why students do or do not want to learn…which says that if anyone is to engage in an activity, he or she needs both to value the outcome and to expect success in achieving it.”

Whichever level you choose to look at, it’s important to get a sense of whether the students also feel these aspects of the course have been covered, in short, to validate your own perceptions. Work out the best way to get this feedback in a quick and genuine way. It might be as simple as issuing sticky notes and having students write down what they feel has been covered and what they’re still unsure of. For more ideas on different feedback approaches see the following RMIT tip-sheets:

Providing feedback to students
Motivating students and stimulating interest

Once you’ve got this feedback you need to set up a space to get the students working on it. If you’re not already using a blog or the tools on Blackboard, this could be your opportunity to start.

Using whichever schema you feel is appropriate (the criteria for the final assessment, learning outcomes, program capabilities, graduate attributes) set up a space for your students to do the work and determine what work needs doing. It could be as simple as a topic set up on Blackboard where students can discuss their understanding of the criteria for the final assessment.

You could even create a handle or a hashtag on Twitter for your course. This will create a chronologically-organised microblog that could form a quick course review linking to longer articles on the web. Or it could simply point students back to great conversations that you’ve observed, or participated in, on the discussion board.

Hashtags like #flipclass, #blackboard and #teqsa, are all shortcuts into posts, communities and current articles that have been recently mentioned on the teaching tomtom. But if you’re not willing to take that step, Blackboard announcements could be used to achieve a similar outcome.

So my tip is to make use of the thinking that has been embedded into your course and your institution; make use of the schema at hand, whether it’s at course, program or graduate attribute level.

At the risk of labouring the metaphor, in this home-stretch of first semester, what tips can you share with others about finishing the semester with confidence?

References

Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for Quality Learning in University. 3rd ed. Berkshire: Open University Press.

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