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HERDSA Guides provide useful ideas and information on many aspects of teaching and learning. Written by experts in specific fields, they are short, inexpensive and easy to read. The HERDSA Guides Editor and Editorial Committee review proposals for HERDSA Guides and other occasional publications and supports and advises authors in the writing process. The Guidelines for Authors page provides information for authors of guides and other relevant information pertaining to the publication process. HERDSA seeks authors to propose new Guides to add to the series. If you are interested in writing a HERDSA Guide, please consult the Guidelines for Submitting a Proposal.

Current guides

A list of the most current HERDSA guides for sale are provided below.

Quality Learning and Teaching with Sessional Staff (2015)

Marina Harvey and Vanessa Fredericks

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Sessional Staff provide the majority of the teaching in higher education in Australasia. This HERDSA Guide provides advice and practical strategies to assist institutions to work towards systematising good practice for learning and teaching with sessional staff across all institutional levels. Each chapter targets a specific audience, focusing on the subject convenor, department, manager, faculty, institution, and individual sessional teacher. The Guide which draws on more than ten years of research in Australia, provides evidence-based criteria for good practice and good practice strategies supported by authentic case studies, reflective prompts and checklists. This guide will be of use to the many groups within the institution from human resources to deans of faculties as well as sessional staff themselves.


Designing and using e-assessments 2nd Edition (2014)

Professor Geoffrey Crisp

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This HERDSA Guide highlights some of the key issues surrounding the use of e-assessment and provides examples and practical advice on how teachers might engage students in more interactive online tasks. It presents a realistic view of what is now possible through the use of computers and the Internet in higher education assessment. It specifically discusses the important relationship between learning, teaching and assessment, and presents a number of frameworks for aligning e-learning activities and e-assessment tasks.

The Guide covers e-assessment possibilities ranging from simple computer marked multiple-choice questions, through to elaborate role-plays, interactive simulations and online scenarios. There is no suggestion in the Guide that e-assessment will replace all traditional assessment tasks; it highlights the necessity for teachers to be aware of the new opportunities for enhancing the quality of assessment tasks through the use of computers and the Internet. The Guide also emphasizes that if students are using the Internet or computers as part of the learning environment, they should also use these tools to complete their assessment tasks. Numerous examples of how teachers can prepare engaging questions that will test higher order capabilities in students are provided in the Guide. This second edition updates the e-assessment possibilities reflecting the advances that have been made since the first edition was released in 2009.

Professor Geoff Crisp is the Dean Learning and Teaching at RMIT University. Geoff was an academic teacher and researcher in chemistry until 2002 and then moved into academic development and online education. The winner of a number of teaching awards, Geoff received an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Associate Fellowship in 2006 and National Teaching Fellowship in 2009 both of which focused on e-assessment. Geoff is a HERDSA Fellow and was President of HERDSA from 2009 to 2011.



Work Integrated Learning in the Curriculum

Edited by Sonia Ferns

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Work integrated learning (WIL) connects students with industry, business, government and community with the intention of creating authentic learning experiences that strengthen students’ capacity to develop work-ready skills. WIL has emerged as a key strategy for educational institutions in response to changes in tertiary education and the demand for graduates with work related capabilities. This HERDSA Guide highlights the uniqueness of WIL and the opportunities and challenges it affords. The Guide provides insights into curriculum design, performance-based assessment, academic standards, risk management, institutional leadership, building staff capacity and evaluation strategies for WIL. The Guide offers a range of existing, new and emergent perspectives about WIL in a global context and provides useful information for practitioners and institutional leaders.


Leading Academic Networks (2014)

Shelda Debowski

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Academic networks are essential to the development of higher education. They support disciplines, specialist interest groups and broader fields of knowledge, providing an important mechanism to share knowledge, support community building and encourage scholarship and innovation. A challenge many networks face is ensuring sustainable practices and a strong membership base. Effective leadership is critical to a network’s ongoing success and development, particularly in promoting member engagement.

Leading Academic Networks offers a complete tool kit for network leaders. Drawing on principles of leadership and management and successful network practices it explores a highly strategic approach to leading networks and their executive committees. This practical guide offers insight into the nature and features of academic network structures and design; the role of the network leader; developing the network strategy; managing the network’s activities, including financial and executive committee practices; developing an effective engagement strategy; and handing over to a new leader. Useful reflective tools are provided to assist networks and leaders in assessing their practices and effectiveness.

Leading Academic Networks is an essential and practical guide to new and experienced network leaders. It provides the necessary induction to prepare new leaders for their role and acts as an ongoing resource for existing leaders to assess how they might more effectively enhance their network’s outcomes.


Transnational Teaching and Learning (2014)

Anne Melano, Maureen Bell & Ruth Walker

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Teaching across national boundaries can be an exciting and challenging experience. Transnational Teaching and Learning is a comprehensive guide providing practical advice on the broad range of issues affecting academics engaged in transnational higher education. Distilling the wisdom of several dozen experienced transnational teachers as well as the research literature, this HERDSA Guide provides insights to some of the many questions transnational teachers and course coordinators might have including: How and when should case studies and examples be modified for local students, and when should they be left unchanged? Can courses be different at each location without compromising quality? Is it reasonable for universities to insist that all classroom discussion be conducted in English? How is academic integrity maintained in a transnational context? What is the relationship between culture, language, learning and teaching in transnational higher education? In an appendix, course coordinators are offered tips for designing new programs by listing crucial questions they should address to help avoid the many potential pitfalls before they occur. The Guide also celebrates the rewards of transnational teaching – the enrichment from cross-cultural encounters and the insights that teachers bring back to their pedagogical work with international students in their home universities. Much of the practical advice in the Guide has been gathered from subject and program coordinators, co-teachers, students and staff in transnational programs in locations including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong. While it draws on the Australasian experience, the Guide has wider applicability.


Developing Students’ Critical Thinking in the Higher Education Class (2013)

Iris Vardi

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Critical Thinking is close to the heart of many academics, and reflects the fundamental work of the universities.

Developing theories and concepts that explain different aspects of the world and how it functions, interpreting events in both recent and past history, finding solutions to pressing complex problems, and making sense of new discoveries, all require the attitudes to knowledge development and reasoning that characterise critical thinking.

Using the latest findings from the literature, this Guide provides practical ways to improve your students’ depth of learning by incorporating critical thinking development into the design of the disciplinary units, assessments and class interactions.

Effective Feedback for Student Learning in Higher Education (2012)

Iris Vardi

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Ensuring your students get good quality feedback that they can use is one of the most powerful ways to truly make a difference to their learning and satisfaction. This HERDSA Guide will show you how to plan for and provide feedback to students in a time effective way that helps them improve their learning and performance. Based on the latest research and models of feedback, this Guide is full of practical suggestions, insights and techniques. It begins by examining the role that feedback plays in in the educational environment and then provides an overview and synthesis of the literature, providing practical lists on what improves and impedes student performance and confidence.

The Guide then systematically takes you through the steps of:

  • setting up a programme conducive to making feedback usable;
  • showing you how to give powerful and effective feedback in class and on assessment tasks;
  • ensuring your students are able to give, receive and use feedback; and
  • evaluating your efforts.

Dr Iris Vardi has long held a research interest in assessment and feedback practices that make a difference to students’ learning. She has written several research articles, presented multiple conference papers and workshops, and has worked extensively with lecturers and tutors on feedback and assessment practices.

Using Stories in Teaching (2012)

Frances Miley, Amy Griffin, Barbara Cram, Robert Kennelly, Coralie McCormack, Andrew Read

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Everyone loves a good story. We all recall our favourite stories. Storytelling techniques can provide a powerful aid to enhance student learning. Using Stories in Teaching is a scholarly and practical guide to assist teachers in higher education use or develop storytelling techniques. The authors outline the benefits of storytelling, locating the technique within the broader category of narrative.

The Guide covers practical aspects of using stories in teaching, including where to find stories, how to incorporate storytelling into teaching and which types of stories might be suitable for different teaching purposes. The process of finding, culling, incorporating, using and refining stories is viewed as a cycle with key questions and examples provided for each part of the process. The vast range of story types is outlined with links to appropriate repositories of stories. A range of delivery mechanisms are suggested, with assistance on choosing appropriate mechanisms for different circumstances. Throughout the Guide, references allow practitioners to move beyond the text to explore further this approach to teaching. There is guidance on whether stories should be told by the teacher or the students, how to assess the learning benefits of storytelling techniques and creative approaches to using stories in the classroom. The risks and challenges faced by teachers and students in using stories are covered, with suggestions for dealing with them. The Guide provides advice on ensuring that all voices are heard and respected and how to handle sensitive stories and difficult students. Creating a safe space in the classroom or in a learning management system is important, and this is especially so where personal experiences might form the basis of a story used in teaching.

Throughout the Guide, the authors draw on their own experiences and the experiences of their colleagues to provide real examples of storytelling as it is currently being used in Australian universities across a wide range of disciplines. These quotes provide examples of successes and lessons learnt from failures. Whether you are new to using stories in teaching, would like to develop existing storytelling practices or want to experiment with innovative approaches to a time-honoured technique, this Guide is designed to provide readily accessible ideas and suggestions from authors who have extensive experience in successfully incorporating storytelling techniques across a range of disciplines and learning environments.

Peer Observation Partnerships in Higher Education (2nd edition) (2012)

Maureen Bell

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In this Second Edition of her popular HERDSA Guide to peer observation of teaching Maureen Bell provides a comprehensive and practical guide for three different models of Peer Observation Partnerships: self-directed; guided; and coordinated. This is a practical guide with a scholarly base and is written to support colleagues working together informally for their own professional development; educational developers supporting partnerships and Deans and Heads of Department implementing faculty or departmental programs.

Over the last few years we have seen some criticisms of peer observation as a tool for compliance, too narrowly focused, and reinforcing existing or poor practice. Whether self-directed, guided or coordinated, the hallmark of a Peer Observation Partnership is that it is always developmental. By using the Peer Observation Partnership approach, the outcomes should be beneficial to all partners.

The Guide is structured in nine chapters which explain the background, relevant theoretical frameworks, provide detailed description of key processes and references. This second edition sees new material added across some of the chapters. An additional new chapter provides a framework and process for Deans and Heads of Department/School to implement faculty-based programs that was developed from a successful existing program. This supplements the popular chapter offering detailed guidance for educational developers. Extra appendices, an outline for a two hour preparatory workshop, supplement the existing proformas that have now been adapted and used extensively in universities.

Lecturing For Better Learning
3rd Edition
Robert Cannon & Christopher Knapper

In this Third Edition of his popular HERDSA Guide on Lecturing, Bob Cannon in collaboration with Christopher Knapper from Queen’s University, Canada, notes that although nothing much has changed in our understanding of lecturing since the last edition of Lecturing in 1992, a great deal has changed that affects our work as tertiary teachers. In particular, the growing body of research on student learning forces us to think hard about the way we teach in higher education and in particular how and when to use lectures for maximum learning effectiveness. This revised Guide still focuses on the lecture as the most popular method of large group teaching, but introduces a subtle shift of focus in challenging the reader to ensure that their major goal is always to help students learn more effectively.
Lecturing has been written with two audiences in mind. The primary audience is the beginning, or inexperienced academic teacher looking for straightforward advice and ideas on ways to plan and deliver lectures. The second audience is much larger and embraces all those more experienced academics who may be seeking ideas on lecturing more effectively, or to making the task of lecturing more personally rewarding and less stressful.
The Guide is structured around five chapters: The Effective Lecturer, Lecture Preparation Lecture Presentation, Lecture Evaluation and Moving from Teacher Telling to Student Learning in Lectures; plus a list of recommended readings.

Teaching students who have English as an additional language
A handbook for academic staff in higher education
Katie Dunworth and Carmela Briguglio

This HERDSA Guide provides practical advice and strategies for academic teaching staff who work with students who have English as an additional language (EAL). Its primary focus is on identifying ways in which students can be encouraged to develop their English language skills and knowledge within the context of their disciplinary studies. The Guide includes ways in which students can identify their language development needs, strategies they can use themselves to help progress their English language proficiency, and ideas for staff to promote and facilitate their students’ language growth. The Guide also discusses some of the challenges that EAL students face during their tertiary studies, as identified by students themselves in quotations within the text, and explores the ways in which the learning environment can be made more inviting for those who do not have English as their first language. The ideas within the Guide are intended to be accessible to staff from any academic discipline and require no specialised knowledge. Many of the suggested activities, once implemented, may reduce staff workloads as they will lead to a greater level of clarity for students about the requirements of their courses, higher levels of student autonomy and increased student facility with the language of their discipline.

Academic Writing Retreats: A Facilitators Guide
Barbara Grant
Academic writing retreats are an increasingly popular mode of professional development. Such retreats have the virtue of providing collective opportunities for learning more about how to write productively, stylishly and with enjoyment. At the same time they provide protected time during which participants must actually engage in writing in a sustained way. This mix of activities has shown to be a successful way to reorient academics to their writing work. Academic Writing Retreats: A Facilitators Guide pulls together the ideas and practice developed by the author during her ten years experience of running academic writing retreats. The Guide is structured to take the reader through the process of facilitating a retreat from the planning to the follow-up stages. The reader will find many ready-to-use writing activities and group processes that offer a range of benefits to academic writers at every level.

The Research Matrix: An Approach to Supervision of Higher Degree Research
Robyn Smyth & T. W. Maxwell
This HERDSA Guide takes a new approach to higher degree research supervision by conceptualizing the research task via what we call the Research Matrix. The matrix links methodology, design and practical realities in one view using the research questions as the key ideas. It uses a two dimensional framework, like a spreadsheet. In the early stages the research questions (and sub questions) form the first column(s) and then design and methodological features are added as they develop. In the latter stages, its multi-dimensional nature helps to keep control of the project in terms of time and focus. The matrix allows flexibility but at the same time is designed to keep the project focused. Supervisors can use the matrix as an heuristic device and together with the student create the matrix as a growing document which charts progress and provides reference points for decision-making.

Conducting tutorials, 2nd edition (2009)
Jacqueline Lublin & Kathryn Sutherland

Conducting Tutorials addresses the common experiences of tutors and students in a variety of group learning situations. This second edition of HERDSAs best-selling guide has been redeveloped around the framework of the characteristics of scholarly work, identified by Charles Glassick and colleagues: Clear goals, Adequate Preparation, Appropriate Methods, Effective Presentation, Significant Results, and Reflective Critique. It offers research-informed perspectives and practical advice on, for example, how to approach the first tutorial or how to deal with silence, combined with discussion of the underlying attitudes and expectations of tutors and students which affect their behaviour in groups. The relationship between the way in which a tutorial is structured and the appropriate or inappropriate learning processes which are thereby encouraged is discussed, and possibilities and strategies are given.

Organising Academic Conferences
A. C. Lynn Zelmer
The key to successful conference organisation, with a minimum of stress is preplanning. This booklet has been written to assist in the task of organising a conference, whatever the size of the subject, beginning with committee responsibilities and covers aspects such as promotion, program planning, conference logistics, support services and budget.

Advising PhD Candidates
Peggy Nightingale

Traditional metaphors of master and apprentice include an unequal power relationship where the PhD candidate is supervised rather than advised. In this guide, the author suggests that PhD students are more like our colleagues. The guide has been written with the goal of encouraging those responsible for PhD candidates to consider carefully how to guide and advise people through their candidacy. This guide draws upon and acknowledges the very successful HERDSA Green Guide Supervising Postgraduates by Ingrid Moses. While this new guide focuses on the PhD candidate, it is also useful for supervisors of all post graduate students.

Up the publication road (3rd ed) (2006)
Royce Sadler
This third edition of this popular guide includes Publishing in scholarly journals: How the system works, and How to help the system work for aspiring authors. Other areas addressed in this guide include deciding on a suitable journal, copyright, refereeing procedures, preparing a manuscript, submitting a paper, proof-reading, and how to cope with rejections. (40 pages)

Managing student teams (2006)
Donella Caspersz, Judy Skene and Madeline Wu
Stemming from a research project surveying both staff and students on operational aspects of student teamwork, this guide discusses the challenges facing staff and students in using student teams, before describing strategies that can be used to manage these. The guide discusses the knowledge and skills required by students for managing a successful student team project, provides guidance on the sequence in which strategies may be used, and presents some over-arching principles and guidelines for staff and students in managing student team work. (57 pages)

Introducing students to the culture of enquiry in an Arts degree (2004)
Kate Chanock
This guide is for teachers of first-year subjects in university Arts Degrees. Many of these degrees are designed to introduce students to the idea that knowledge is constructed, and to induct them into the culture of academic enquiry, that is the purposes, methods and discourses that stem from this idea. However, students are not often aware of this induction and need their lecturers to make it more explicit. (63 pages)

Improving teaching and learning in laboratories (1998)
Elizabeth Hazel and Caroline Baillie
This guide is written for both experienced and inexperienced staff who are involved with laboratory classes for science or engineering subjects. The guide can be read in its entirety or specific sections can be reviewed to try to address specific issues. The authors articulate the goals and potential of laboratories and go on to explore issues in the design and teaching of laboratories, including controlled exercises, experimental investigations and projects, the assessment and evaluation of laboratory programs, detecting and discouraging fraudulent practices and introducing change in laboratory programs. (77 pages)

Reciprocal peer coaching: A strategy for training and development in professional disciplines
Richard K Ladyshewsky
This guide provides a clear introduction to reciprocal peer coaching and describes how it relates to other kinds of peer assisted learning. (34 pages)

Student centred teaching: The development and use of conceptual frameworks (1996)
Kym Fraser
The reader is introduced to the technique of concept mapping, a process for visually representing and interrelating the content of a subject in a conceptual framework. This framework can be used as the basis of subsequent decision making and teaching practice. The Guide compares concept maps, flow charts and mind maps, identifies specific steps to consider when constructing a concept map, suggests ways to teach students how to construct a map and lists numerous ways in which concept maps may be used in teaching. (56 pages)

Herdsa has archived some older guides which are still available for purchase. Archived guides can be ordered from the Archived Guides page.

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