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Latest publications

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.


Australian Tertiary Learning and Teaching Scholarship and Research 2007–2012 – Research Report, December 2012

Donna M Velliaris, Edward Palmer, Michelle Picard, Cally Guerin, Simon D Smith, Ian Green, Julia Miller

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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

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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

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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.

Higher Education Research and Development Anthology

Peter Kandlbinder & Tai Peseta

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University teachers studying teaching and learning are usually expected to
read the literature to help them understand the key concepts in the field.
The HERD Anthology provides an excellent introduction to the conceptual
development of the higher education teaching and learning. A chapter is
devoted to each of the 5 main concepts discussed in Graduate Certificates
in Higher Education Teaching and Learning in Australasia and the UK.
1. Reflective practice
2. Constructive alignment
3. Approaches to learning
4. Assessment for learning
5. Scholarship of teaching
Each chapter has a brief introduction to the main tenets of the concept
and how it has evolved over time. This is followed by a re-print of the
three high impact Higher Education Research & Development articles focused
on the concept. The selected articles are followed by suggestions for
further reading designed to provide a guide to university teachers wishing
to pursue their own research in these areas.

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