Developing leaders of change in the teaching of large university chemistry classes
Bedgood, Jr. Danny R., Bridgeman, Adam, Buntine, Mark, Gardiner, Michael, Lim, Kieran, Mocerino, Mauro, Morris, Gayle, Pyke, Simon, Southam, Daniel, Yates, Brian and Zadnik, Marjan 2012, Developing leaders of change in the teaching of large university chemistry classes, Office of Learning and Teaching, Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Sydney, N. S. W..
Final report of the the Active Learning in University Science (ALIUS) project.
This project aims to establish a new direction in first year chemistry teaching – away from didactic teaching methods in large lecture style teaching to more active, student centred learning experiences. Initially six universities have been involved in practice-based innovation: Charles Sturt University (NSW), The University of Sydney (NSW), Curtin University of Technology (WA), The University of Adelaide (SA), Deakin University (Vic), University of Tasmania (Tas).
Three domains have been identified as the architecture upon which sustainable L&T innovation will be built. These domains include Learning and Teaching innovation in project leaders’ and colleagues’ classrooms, development of project leaders as Science Learning Leaders, and creation of a Science Learning Hub to serve as a locus and catalyst for the development of a science teaching community of practice.
Progress against specified outcomes and deliverables
Learning and Teaching Innovation
The purpose of this domain is to improve student learning, engagement, retention and performance in large chemistry classes through increased use of student-centred teaching practice. • The Project is named: ALIUS (Active Learning in University Science) - Leading Change in Australian Science Teaching • All six ALIUS universities have now implemented Teaching Innovation into ALIUS team member classrooms • Chemistry colleagues at three ALIUS universities have now implemented Teaching Innovation into their classrooms • The ALIUS member in physics has implemented Teaching Innovations into his classrooms • Chemistry colleagues at three ALIUS institutions have tried some Teaching Innovations in their classrooms • Non-chemistry colleagues at four ALIUS institutions have tried, or expressed an interest in trying, Teaching Innovations in their classrooms • The POGIL method has proved to be a useful model for Teaching Innovation in the classroom • Many classroom resources have been developed and used at several ALIUS institutions; some of these have been submitted to the ALIUS database for public access. The remainder will continue to submitted • Two seminars about Teaching Innovation have been developed, critiqued, revised, and presented at five ALIUS universities and three non-ALIUS universities • Particular issues associated with implementing Teaching Innovations in Australian classrooms have been identified and possible solutions developed • ALIUS members have worked with Learning and Teaching Centres at their universities to share methods.
Developing Science Learning Leaders
The purpose of this domain is to develop leadership capacity in the project leaders to equip them with skills to lead change first at their institutions, followed by developing leaders and leading change at other local institutions • ALIUS members participated in Leadership Professional Development sessions with Craig McInnis and Colin Mason; both these sessions were found to be valuable and provide context and direction for the members and the ALIUS team • The passion of an ‘early adopter’ was found to be a significant element in each node of the distributed framework • Members developed an awareness of the necessity to build both the ‘sense of urgency’ and the ‘guiding coalition’ at each node • ALIUS found the success of the distributed framework is strongly influenced by the relational aspects of the team.
Create a Science Learning Hub
The online Hub serves as a local and national clearinghouse for development of institutional Learning Leaders and dissemination of L&T innovation. • The ALIUS website is now active and being populated with resources • The sharing resource database structure is finalised and being populated with contributed materials.
In order to bring about change in teaching practice it is necessary to: • demonstrate a convincing benefit to student learning • show that beyond an initial input of effort classroom innovations will not take more time than what is now done • maintain a prominent exposure among colleagues - repeatedly give seminars, workshops, and everyday conversations; talk about teaching innovation; talk about easy tools to use; invite people to your classroom; engage colleagues in regular peer review of classroom practice • have support from people already present in leadership roles to lead change in teaching practice • have a project leader, someone for whom the project is paramount and will push it forward • find a project manager, even with money budgeted • meet face-to-face.
Dissemination • Seminars presented 19 times including over 400 individuals and more than 24 Australian universities • Workshops presented 25 times, over 80 participants at 11 Australian and two New Zealand Universities • Two articles published in Chemistry in Australia, the Australian Chemistry Industry Journal of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute • One refereed paper published in the Journal of Learning Design.
Support for the original work was provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
Field of Research
130309 Learning Sciences 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy 130103 Higher Education
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