Welcome to the June edition of eNews!
We are at the half- year stage! A busy time for staff and students as we prepare for the half – year assessments for students and evaluations of teaching for teaching staff. Constructive feedback is what we expect from students to assist us with more effective learning design and implementation. In this edition, Mr Khoo Boon How shares his experience in an engineering class about his innovative initiative in engaging students in a dialogue about constructive feedback and the unexpected outcome. Giving and receiving constructive feedback is an area of special concern for students, lecturers and tutors. We also report on the Glocalization of Learning Marathon, the PASS Program feedback open forum and include an information link to the Australian Government Endeavour Awards.
Constructive Feedback Project: Phase 2
As noted in a previous edition of eNews, the Constructive Feedback project began in School of Information Technology and moved to Science and Engineering between November 2014 and May 2015. We are happy to report that one lecturer has bravely forged ahead and created a precedent in openly engaging in dialogue with his students on constructive feedback. Hosting a forum with learners on the subject of giving constructive feedback and linking that with the ever problematic feedback that is received by lecturers at the end of semester student evaluation of teaching, is no easy task. Mr Khoo Boon How braved that frontier twice in 2015 and he has kindly agreed to share his experience from his most recent constructive feedback session in May.
Teaching students about constructive feedback in MON 2801
Students’ comments from SSLC and SETU often place the unit lecturer in doubt. For example, when a student comments “the assignment is too difficult”, the unit lecturer would not have any idea which topic in the unit requires enhancement.
MON 2801 Leadership and Innovation had a highly interactive open discussion lecture on 13 May 2015 on constructive feedback; it included the unit lecturer (Mr. Khoo Boon How), guest speaker (Dr. Fay Patel) and about 100 students from across the different Schools. In this lecture, Mr Khoo Boon How encouraged students to explore the purpose of feedback, to understand the impact of feedback and to reflect on the ways in which to give and receive constructive feedback. The discussion also included information on giving constructive feedback in a descriptive manner which helps to identify areas of improvement easily and to avoid misinterpretation.
A short review of student feedback at the end of this session identified the main challenge that students faced in this unit to learn the “soft skill” concepts and at the same time to switch over to other classes in which they had to focus on the technical skills required as an outcome of learning.
Report on the Glocalization of Learning Marathon
Speakers and participants who attended the Glocalization of Learning Marathon raised significant research-led education issues and created a space for dialogue on a multidisciplinary level. The open forum covered a wide range of education development matters and we have noted these below with tentative dates for future sessions:
- Enhanced learning design and implementation
- Blended Learning policy and practice
- Student feedback – SETU & alternate forms of feedback: Establishing a culture of constructive feedback (end of July 2015 open forum)
- Glocalization of the Curriculum: Engaging the local and global in the Monash University multi-campus environment (August 2015 open forum)
We look forward to welcoming you to future open forums so that we may learn together how best to inspire other learners!
Learning Skills (LS) advisers are available to students for academic and study skills advice throughout SWOT vacation and the examination period. Students are urged to seek assistance and/or advice as soon as they identify the need to, so as to get personal attention in a timely manner. Learning Skills has conducted a total of 20 unit integrated sessions with Business, Engineering, Psychology, Pharmacy, PASS and the MBA as of this month. In addition, LS had individual consultation sessions with about 175 students stretching across all Schools this semester. Other LS services provided this semester include lunchtime workshops on key areas of writing and academic English. Students are now more aware of the services provided by the unit and are approaching the Learning Skills office for academic assistance more frequently compared to previous semesters.
PASS program is now in the final week of Semester 1, 2015. The Program supported eight units from four Schools (Science, Business, Engineering and Information Technology). We thank all PASS Leaders, Unit Coordinators, Schools and student participants for their great effort and participation.
PASS - Call for Expressions of Interest for Semester 2, 2015
Schools are encouraged to submit Expressions of Interest to implement PASS in Semester 2, 2015. Please send your Expression of Interest via email to Fadhliyansah Saipul (PASS Program Coordinator) by 22 June 2015.
PASS Program Review 1 June, 2015
The Semester 1, 2015 PASS Program review was held on 1 June and we were pleased to welcome eleven PASS Student Leaders and two lecturers in the end of semester review and feedback session.The open forum gathered information on the strengths and weaknesses of the program and participants provided constructive feedback for improvement.
Overall, PASS was regarded as an important peer assisted student mentoring program that surpassed the expectations of learners and the Student Leaders who facilitated discussions among their peers. Student Leaders listed confidence, interpersonal communication and critical reflection as important attributes that they learned in the PASS program. In their view, learners came to the PASS sessions because it made a difference for them, helped them to understand challenging concepts and to prepare for assessments with renewed confidence. The identified weaknesses included availability of students and PASS leaders and the negative, remedial perception that students and lecturers may hold of the program which limits the program’s potential for success. Another major weakness was the inadequate shared responsibility for information dissemination, publicity and promotion of the program among all stakeholders. We look forward to enhancing the program in the next semester.
Enhancing Publications and Professional Portfolios
Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships
The Australian government offers Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships “that support citizens around the world to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and for Australians to do the same overseas”.
More information can be found at this link here: https://internationaleducation.gov.au/Endeavour%20program/Scholarships-and-Fellowships/Pages/default.aspx
A list of Learning and Teaching Conferences and publication opportunities is provided for your information and use, as relevant to your individual needs. Please contact us if you have additional information that you wish to share with our campus community. Discipline specific conferences can be accessed via http://conferencealerts.com/.
Recommended Learning and Teaching Resources
The list of recommended learning and teaching resources is provided for your information and use, as relevant to your individual need. Please contact us if you have additional resources that you wish to share with our campus community.
This month we recommend the following books.
Hay,I. (Ed.). (2011). Inspiring Academics Learning with the World’s Great University Teachers. Open University Press.
Biggs,J. & Tang, C. (Eds.). (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university. 4th Ed. Open University Press