ALTC GPRs & eResources

The completed Good Practice Reports provide a summary of Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) and Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) funded projects which are sorted according to 12 different topic areas such as Learning and Teaching Across Cultures or Technology-Enhanced Learning and Teaching. They highlight the outcomes and deliverables of the reviewed projects as well as providing a review of relevant literature before stating conclusions and recommendations derived from the overall analysis. These reports can be accessed here through the OLT website:
- Assessment of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students (2011) Professor John Rice 
- Assuring graduate outcomes (2011) Professor Beverley Oliver 
- Blended learning (2011)  Professor Helen Partridge
- Clinical practice (2011)  Professor Robyn Nash
- Curriculum renewal (2011) Dr Bhuva Narayan and Professor Sylvia Edwards 
- English language proficiency (2014) Sophie Arkoudis and Lachlan Doughney
- Innovative Indigenous teaching and learning (2013) Professor Nereda White, Dr Jack Frawley, Ms Dang Thi Kim Anh
- Learning and teaching across cultures (2011) Associate Professor Betty Leask
- Revitalising the academic workforce (2012) Dr Deborah Southwell
- Student transition into higher education (2011) Professor Trevor Gale, Dr Stephen Parker
- Technology-enhanced learning and teaching (2011) Professor Mike Keppell, Associate Professor Gordon Suddaby, Ms Natasha Hard
- Work integrated learning (2011) Professor Janice Orrell

Part of NATA's focus was on building awareness of these reports and the potential value they offer the sector. Issues of dissemination within the sector are not new with considerable work already done in exploring this challenge (Gannaway, Hinton, Berry & Moore, 2011; McKenzie, Alexander, Harper & Anderson, 2005; Southwell, Gannaway, Orrell, Chalmers & Abraham, 2005). In attempting to overcome these challenges and share the value of the reports with the sector, several approaches were adopted by NATA. This included presenting at conferences, hosting webinars and developing a series of eResources in consultation with GPR authors. These eResources provide a synthesis of the key elements of the reports and present them in the short and more engaging format of video. Authors have adopted varying degrees of involvement in the development of the presentations and audio recording necessary for the production of the eResources to help ensure the author's voice remains true.

Completed GPR eResources below:

Technology-enhanced learning and teaching

Professor Mike Keppell, Mr Gordon Suddaby & Ms Natasha Hard

Technology-enhanced learning and teaching (click here to download report)

Report overview
This GPR examines and provides a synthesis of best practice across 25 completed ALTC projects (including three fellowships) and 8 ongoing projects (including one fellowship) in the area of technology-enhanced learning and teaching. Our approach to developing the report involved a meta-analysis of the 33 projects in determining ten outcomes that represent best practice for technology-enhanced learning and teaching. Projects that traversed multiple outcomes were considered exemplary projects.

The report is designed to be accessible to the educator, using the ten key outcomes as a basis for the literature review and as key topic areas around which relevant projects were clustered. A list of evidence-based recommendations was also developed which provides guidelines that academic practitioners, institutions and sponsors might consider when implementing strategies on both a macro and a micro scale within the university and higher education sector.

Key outcomes for best practice in TEL detailed in the report:
1.      A focus on learning design allows academics to model and share good practice in learning and teaching
2.      Authentic learning provides a means of engaging students through all aspects of curricula, subjects, activities and assessment
3.      Successful academic development focuses on engaging academics over sustained periods of time through action learning cycles and the provision of leadership development opportunities
4.      Engaging teaching approaches are key to student learning
5.      Technology-enhanced assessment provides flexible approaches for academics to provide feedback to students
6.      Integrating technology-enhanced learning and teaching strategies across curriculum, subjects, activities and assessment results in major benefits to the discipline
7.      Knowledge and resource sharing are central to a vibrant community of practice
8.      Academics require sophisticated online teaching strategies to effectively teach in technology-enhanced higher education environments
9.      Academics need a knowledge of multi-literacies to teach effectively in contemporary technology-enhanced higher education
10.   Exemplar projects focused on multiple outcomes across curricula integration, sustainable initiatives, academic development and community engagement.

Student transition in higher education

Professor Trevor Gale & Dr Stephen Parker

Student transition in higher education (click here to download report)

Report overview
The report assembles, analyses and assesses the findings of 19 completed and five in-progress ALTC projects and fellowships, selected by the ALTC as examples of good institutional practice in facilitating student transition in higher education. In addition, the ALTC brief called for a systematic review of the national and international literature on student transitions, drawing largely on but not limited to research conducted in Australia, the USA and the UK. Three broad literatures were identified in this review: (1) accounts of programs designed to assist students, particularly in the first year of HE; (2) quantitative and qualitative analyses of HE students; and (3) theoretically informed conceptualisations of transitions, including but importantly extending beyond formal education contexts. Emerging from this analysis of ALTC projects and of the international literature are three broad conceptions of student transition: as induction (T1), development (T2), and becoming (T3). These categories are not explicitly named in the literature. Rather they represent our analysis of existing research and program description.

The following recommendations for further development or work in the field of student transition into HE are informed by the review of the national and international research literature (including work completed as part of the ALTC projects and fellowships). The recommendations largely mirror the review‘s conclusions regarding this literature.
  1. Declare how transition is defined: Future projects/programs in the field of student transition into HE should explicitly identify how transition is defined within the project/program.
  2. Draw on related fields and bodies of knowledge: Future projects/programs in the field of student transitions into HE should draw on the extensive research literature from related fields, particularly in relation to youth and life transitions and education and social theory.
  3. Foreground students’ lived reality: Future projects/programs in the field of student transition into HE should be cognisant of students’ lived reality not just institutional and/or systemic interests.
  4. Broaden the scope of investigation: Future projects/programs in the field of student transition into HE should add to the corpus of investigations on the full range of ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ transitions.

Work integrated learning

Professor Janice Orrell

Work integrated learning (click here to download report)

Report overview 
The Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) commissioned this report to identify good practices in work-integrated learning (WIL) in Australia through a systematic review of 28 funded studies’ final reports, including WIL and discipline scoping studies, fellowships and projects.

WIL is delineated in this report as the intentional integration of theory and practice knowledge, and a WIL program provides the means to enable this integration and may, or may not, include a placement in a workplace, or a community or civic arena. The review has two further delimitations. Firstly, some WIL projects funded by the ALTC are not reviewed by the author because the final reports are not due at the time the report is commissioned. Secondly, the project summaries do not necessarily include all issues and recommendations in each report. The above view of WIL and an awareness that other concurrent ALTC reviews, for example ‘Assuring Graduate Outcomes’, by Professor Beverly Oliver, will consider some of these same reports from a different interest base guided the analyses and reporting. The literature review fully addresses the definition of what is WIL and what constitutes a WIL program. 

A vital part of the review process involved identifying gaps and silences in the project profiles:
  • The WIL needs of students with particular backgrounds, including students who are indigenous, students with disabilities, students from low SES backgrounds, international students and students who are the first in their family to attend university. While a few reports mentioned this issue in passing, it was not given strategic consideration; it was absent from projects or plans designed to make changes, although the WIL report (GI7-632) raised the need for this;
  • The perspectives of professional accrediting organisations who frequently regulate the amount of WIL included in curricula;
  • Group placements (multi-disciplinary and otherwise);
  • Implementing mutual benefit systems and ways to integrate the diverse needs and interests of host organisations in WIL program designs; and
  • High-level, institutional governance issues to support and manage large-scale WIL implementation plans.

Innovative Indigenous teaching and learning

Professor Nereda White, Dr Jack Frawley & Ms Dang Thi Kim Anh

Innovative Indigenous teaching and learning (click here to download report)

Report overview
Indigenous participation in higher education, both in teaching and in learning, is generally very low. Numerous programs and initiatives have been implemented to facilitate Indigenous student recruitment, participation, retention and completion in higher education in Australia and elsewhere. This review was established to report on good practices in innovative Indigenous learning and teaching in higher education, focusing on ‘what works’ in Indigenous higher education. The review consists of three major sections. First, it provides a summative evaluation of the good practices and key outcomes for teaching and learning from completed ALTC projects and fellowships (as at February 2013) relating to the topic of Innovative Indigenous learning and teaching in higher education. Second, it presents a review of relevant Australian and international scholarly research and publications on the topic. Drawing on the observations from the review of ALTC projects and relevant literature, the final section, Recommendations, identifies areas in which further work or development is needed.

The key outcomes of the projects and fellowships reviewed can be summarised as follows: 
  1. Identifying and addressing different distinct and specific areas in Australian Indigenous education that need attention
  2. Strengthening capacity of Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders involved both directly and indirectly in Indigenous education
  3. Forging and advocating new paradigms of Indigenous learning and teaching
  4. Creating multiple networks for promoting new understanding of Indigenous education and Indigenous knowledge and for supporting all involved in the process
  5. Developing practical learning and teaching resources either ready for use or adaptable for different contexts
  6. Developing theoretical and philosophical tools/frameworks relevant to indigenous education
  7. Providing exemplars of good Indigenous learning and teaching practices
  8. Drawing attention to the need for concerted effort by different sectors and agencies involved in Indigenous education
  9. Promoting and recognising the importance of Indigenous knowledge practice
  10. Acting as a blueprint for further work/research to be done in the field, in terms of epistemology and methodology.
The above key outcomes are expanded upon in the full report and are not hierarchical or listed in any particular order of importance. They represent summarised findings and highlight observations distilled during the analysis of project and fellowship reports.

Curriculum renewal

Dr Bhuva Narayan & Professor Sylvia Edwards

Curriculum renewal (click here to download report)

Report overview 
This report serves as an overview of the work funded by the ALTC in the area of curriculum renewal in higher education, making recommendations for future work in the area. At the time of writing the report, the ALTC has funded 40 completed projects and seven fellowships in this area. These are from various discipline areas such as biology, physics, chemistry, maths, histology, pharmacology, studio arts, music, teacher education, construction, computer science, ICT, new media, engineering, health, occupational therapy, philosophy, sociology, social work, psychology, and veterinary science. The outcomes of each are summarised in this report, along with a comprehensive literature review of published national and international research and practice in the areas of curriculum renewal in higher education (up to 2011). The major theme that emerges from all these projects is the need for a change of culture and curricular processes, not just at the organisational level, but also at the fundamental level of the educators themselves, who deal with students every day, and are closest to the needs, aspirations, learning, and growth of the students. There is also a need for standardisation of both graduate attributes and assessment practices in line with real-world and industry needs. 

The projects, fellowships and literature included in this report suggest some much-needed changes for higher education in Australia. They are as follows:
  1. Creating clear and accessible career pathways for students during their higher education journey.
  2. Clearly articulating threshold graduate attributes or outcomes.
  3. Aligning education pathways to meet national and international industry needs.
  4. Emphasising the interdisciplinary, intercultural, and global nature of modern knowledge.
  5. Empowering graduates for real-world work and life environments.
  6. Equipping and developing staff to use and incorporate technology tools within the curriculum in a creative manner.
  7. Recognising the emerging needs and different learning styles of our increasingly diverse and international student cohort.

All of the above can be achieved through a continuous cycle of curricular renewal. It is also suggested that organisational principles such as quality assessment and total quality management can be useful if applied to determine which aspects of the curriculum need an overhaul. Nevertheless, top-down efforts are not helpful unless they are accompanied by bottom-up and system-wide cultural change.


1 comment:

  1. All of these tips are great, that’s very interesting. I’m so tempted to try that myself, but you would think if it were effective, more people would do it.
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