New Partnerships and Networks

Advancing science education into the future

The fellowship offered a unique opportunity to work with partner academics and universities to adopt IOL approaches to learning. The fellowship sought to support the delivery of real and demonstrable change on the ground and provide the tools necessary for sustained curriculum change.

Creating New Partnerships – AFFAs

Academics from 7 universities in NSW, QLD, WA, SA and Tasmania successfully applied to be a part of the fellowship through the ALTC Fellowship Funded Activities – the AFFAs! These participants developed, trialed and evaluated inquiry-oriented activities.

The fellowship provided support to individuals through face to face contact, convening regular telephone hook-ups involving the AFFAs, connecting the AFFAs to recent and relevant information.

Below is a snapshot of the participants and their activities.

The University of Queensland

Dr Margaret Wegener, Dr Tim McIntyre

The IOL Activity

Developing an open ended experiment based around thermal regulation for first year biology. With a large cohort from diverse backgrounds, this project creatively engages students to take charge of their own experiment. Remote Monitoring will also allow students the flexibility to decide when and how they interact. Read University of Queensland Update August 2012

Final Report

‘The benefits of such an approach are many and varied. Students work together as a group, develop their understanding of scientific processes and use decision making to optimise the design of the experiment.’

– Dr Margaret Wegener

The University of Queensland

‘Evaluation of the experiences of those involved in IO laboratory classes will provide substantial evidence of the efficacy of this curricula design, supporting and promoting its broader uptake.’

Dr Kirsten Zimbardi, Dr Kay Colthorpe

The IOL Activity

This project seeks to gain an insight into the attitudes and opinions of participants that have been engaged in inquiry-oriented classes. Through this investigation it will be possible to develop a framework to guide the development of sustainable inquiry-oriented laboratory experiences.

Final Report

Charles Sturt University

Dr Danielle Ryan, Dr Dan Bedgood, Dr Paul Prenzler, Dr Julia Howitt, A/Prof Samson Agboola, Dr Greg Doran, Dr Celia Barril

The IOL Activity

The development of one or more inquiry laboratory experiences for Analytical Chemistry students is the focus of this proposal. In focusing on students using instrumentation to identify and solve common problems, a deeper understanding of functions and processes can be experienced by students. Read Charles Sturt University August 2012 Update

Final Report

‘We will lead students to build hands on skills in problem solving, analytical thinking, and a deeper fundamental understanding of instrument functions and processes.’

Murdoch University

‘Adopting inquiry oriented learning would probably have been little more than a corridor discussion if not for the driving force of this Fellowship.’

– Dr Christine Creagh

Dr Chris Creagh

The IOL Activity

Focussing on developing inquiry-oriented learning activities for students at different stages of learning – in first year, bridging units and studying externally this project offers an improved student experience leading to greater motivation and engagement.Read Murdoch University June 2012 Update

Final Report

University of Tasmania

Dr Regina Magierowski, Ashley Edwards

The IOL Activity

This project seeks to substantially re-develop 2 practical classes and associated assessment tasks in first year Biology of Animals. The priority of this proposal is to allow students to engage in a more positive and relevant learning environment and in so doing making first year less overwhelming. Read University of Tasmania June 2012 update.

Final Report

‘The grant gave me the time to develop two practicals, to learn about inquiry-oriented learning and to develop a process for developing new teaching material.  Most importantly I received useful feedback on the work and established contacts across the country.’

– Dr Regina Magierowski

University of New England

‘We would like to introduce IOL activities that address what students say – that we need to concentrate on their specific areas of interest to a greater extent.’

Associate Professor Julie Roberts

The IOL Activity

Based on student feedback this project will develop inquiry-oriented activities in Introductory Physiology for both on and off campus students. In looking at activities that address the cardiovascular system, specific areas of interest identified by students will be covered to a greater extent. UNE August 2012 AFFA Summary

Final Report

Flinders University

Dr Susan Pyke

The IOL Activity

Creating a bank of inquiry-oriented resources for large first year classes in Chemistry is the focus of this project. This proposal particularly seeks to investigate areas where students lack confidence and adopt initiatives that allow students to take control and gain enthusiasm in their learning. Read AFFA Summary July 2012 Flinders University S Pyke

Final Report

‘Being part of the AFFA Initiative has provided several valuable opportunities. ’

– Dr Susan Pyke

Flinders University

‘The student will acquire prior knowledge through literature, synthesise the information and then design their own experiment incorporating innovation and techniques.’

– Dr Maria Parappilly

Dr Maria Parappilly, Dr Boris Blankleider, A/Prof Jamie Quinton

The IOL Activity

This project seeks to develop computer based modules by way of background material for laboratory experiments in introductory Physics. Developing Mathematica models will require students to explore and actively participate in physical phenomena, enhancing their experience. Read July 2012 Flinders University Update

Final Report

University of Adelaide

Dr Natalie Williamson, A/Prof Gregory Metha, Dr David Huang, a/Prof Simon Pyke, Dr John Willison

The IOL Activity

Developing POGIL style activities for introductory organic chemistry will allow students to experience significantly revised or even rewritten course content. Students with limited Chemistry knowledge will have the maximum opportunity to learn and engage. Read University of Adelaide June 2012 update.

Final Report

‘Being part of the AFFA initiative has been extremely helpful.  It has been good to feel part of a team, with the other inquiry-learning projects also on board, and to be able to interact with like-minded colleagues at other institutions.’

-Dr Natalie Williamson

Networks

SaMnet

Complementary to the work of the Fellowship is the work of SaMnet. SaMnet represents a collaboration of discipline networks, universities and academics addressing national issues in the teaching of university science and mathematics.

Led by the Executive team of Manju Sharma (USyd), Will Rifkin (USyd) and Stephanie Beames (UTS) SaMnet focusses on developing leaders who can foster best practices and promote broad cultural change in teaching and learning. SaMnet provides expertise and a coherent voice on policy affecting university science curricula.

SaMnet was funded by a two-year grant from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council / Office for Learning and Teaching an Australian Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.