LearnTeachNews - Ed. 6, 2010

31 May 2010

In this edition...

  • Moodling to a new LMS
  • Rehearsing for HERDSA
  • Australian Learning and Teaching (ALTC) Grants
  • Articles to inspire your teaching
  • Survey news
  • CTLC Workshops
  • First Year in Higher Education Conference
  • Embedding the Development and Assessment of Generic Skills in the Business Curriculum
  • 2010 Conferences
  • Join our Running Group

Moodling to a new LMS

After a careful process of evaluation, La Trobe has decided to adopt Moodle as the University's next Learning Management System (LMS).  Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) is open source software, meaning the source code is freely available under the GNU General Public Licence. It is used by a growing number of universities in Australia and around the world and will become the University's LMS for all subjects from first semester 2011.

The University chose Moodle over Blackboard Learn 9 because it offers greater flexibility at lower cost and with no vendor lock-in. The University will contract NetSpot P/L, an experienced provider of Moodle services, to ensure a rapid and well-supported deployment, while retaining the option to become self-sufficient in Moodle services at any time. Moodle will provide the University with a modern, open and capable online teaching and learning platform that will support developments from the University's Design for Learning Project.  Staff and students will gain a LMS which is more open to Web 2.0 developments, is supported by an active, world-wide user community and is easy to use.  

Staff can expect to gain access to the new LMS for experimentation, personal testing, formal training and other support later in the year. However, the current LMS will continue to be used for teaching up to and including the Summer Semester.

The project team will make every effort to avoid disruption to students and staff, minimise the amount of work required of staff migrating to the new LMS and coordinate LMS developments with the academic calendar. NetSpot, who have recently supported successful migrations from Blackboard CE to Moodle at the University of Canberra and the ANU, will help to minimise the impact of content migration on staff.
Further information is available from the LMS website. You will be able to monitor the progress of this major project and engage in discussions on the move to Moodle.

Rehearsing for HERDSA

Going to HERDSA? Want formative feedback on your presentation? Want to see who else from La Trobe is going?

All staff presenting at the HERDSA conference July 6 - 9 are warmly invited to attend a rehearsal session. If you think you would like to have a run through of your presentation and you'd like some formative feedback (including questions from the floor) please join us at the CTLC (HU2, Rm 102) at 2pm on Friday 25th June.

To find out more or to RSVP and reserve your place in the program please email Dr Jeanette Fyffe, j.fyffe@latrobe.edu.au.

Australian Learning and Teaching (ALTC) Grants

ALTC Leadership grants for round 2 are open. The grant submissions must reach CTLC for endorsement and internal processing by 25 June. Please note all university submissions must have DVC (E) endorsement. Further information and guidelines are available from the ALTC website or from Judith Lyons CTLC, phone 3528 or Judith.Lyons@latrobe.edu.au

Articles to inspire your teaching

A couple of interesting articles came our way recently - online goal setting and how to get out of marking assessments!

  • Online goal setting raises university grades, says U of T study
    Online goal setting helps struggling university students raise their grades and stay in school, according to new psychology research from the University of Toronto and St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center. See article at the U of T website.
  • Getting Out of Grading
    Cathy Davidson has decided that the best way to change grading is to take herself out of it. Davidson, a Duke University English professor, announced on her blog last week that she was going to give students the power to earn A's or some other grade based on a simple formula in which she wouldn't play much of a role.

Survey News

AV technologies and support

The 5 Year AV Plan Working Group (a subcommittee of the Learning Spaces and Technologies Committee) is conducting a straw poll on AV technologies and AV support for teaching and learning at La Trobe. The working group is interested in your experiences and views on this matter, and/or those of teaching staff in your area.

Please feel free to circulate the URL below to other teaching staff who may not have received this message.  The straw poll is about a page long and should take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

The straw poll is anonymous, however if you have a particular interest in AV support, there is also an opportunity to remain "in the loop" on the outcomes by leaving your contact details at the end of the survey.

Renaming the Masters (honours) programs

The Programs Committee and the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Committee are seeking your advice on a matter of degree nomenclature and would appreciate your input.

There is an emerging Coursework Master Degree type that is designed to provide a pathway into PhD studies. It is not purely coursework and includes a research training component. Typically, these degrees include a thesis and are designed to allow students to clearly demonstrate equivalence to comparable Bachelor Honours degrees for entry to the PhD program. In the past many such degrees have been entitled Master of <Specialisation/Discipline area> (Honours).  However under the forthcoming Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), the qualification category Master (Honours) will no longer exist.

Faculties who are proposing these types of Coursework Master degrees are seeking an award title that distinguishes a straight coursework Master degree from a Master degree that is intended to prepare students for PhD studies (and yet is not a Research Master degree).

The Programs Committee and the CTLC believe that we should aim for a common nomenclature across the University to recognise this distinction and which is also meaningful and attractive to students. At the same time, we need to align to the nomenclature in the AQF and avoid possible confusion with the Research Masters in the degree title.

To provide your feedback, please complete the one question survey.

Increasing Response Rates for Australian Graduate Survey

Currently, the response rate of the Australian Graduate Survey is below 20% and needs to be increased above 50% for the results to be included in the Good Universities Guide.

The Management Information Unit (MIU) commenced the survey in April. Students who completed a course during the period July to December 2009 have been sent two hard copies, a postcard and an email. There was also a note in the Alumni e-news.

MIU will be sending another email and SMS and after that phone calls will begin in late June.

If you are in touch with students from this period either through alumni or if they are current students (Hons etc), please encourage them to complete the survey.

CTLC Workshops

All workshops scheduled are displayed on the CTLC website.

Effective teaching for Higher Learning (Three-Day Workshop)

This 15-hour short workshop (three-day workshop) provides La Trobe academic staff with practical, research-based strategies and techniques to make teaching, assessing, and giving feedback both more effective in promoting higher learning for students and more efficient and rewarding for staff.

  • 7-9 June 2010 (Bendigo)

LMS Training

A series of short workshops have been developed to provide staff with the necessary skills to effectively use the Learning Management System (LMS). workshops are scheduled in Bundoora for the following:

  • LMS - Respondus (7 July)
  • LMS Turnitin & Assignments (12 July)

SoLT Network

Please note that the June meeting has been cancelled. The next meeting will be held on 10 August 2010.

Casual Tutors Academic Professional Development Program

This session seeks to provide continuing academic professional development opportunities for casual staff that are unable to attend the universities three day program, (including all rural and remote campuses). It provides the basics of learning and teaching to enhance student learning.

  • Bendigo (7 June)

Embedding the Development and Assessment of Generic Skills in the Business Curriculum

A workshop based on the outcomes of an ALTC funded project ("Embedding the Development and Assessment of Generic Skills in the Business Curriculum") is being presented at La Trobe University 9.15am-12.30pm on Wednesday 16 June 2010.

The workshop is 'hands-on' and deals the issue of developing, embedding and assessing selected generic skills in business curricula. A key aspect of the workshop will be a guide for using a resources website which has been developed as part of this project.

The workshop is free and places are limited. Go here for further information and registration details.

2010 Conferences

A number of teaching and learning conferences are scheduled in 2010. See also our conference webpage with a large list of Australian and International conferences scheduled in 2010.

Join our Running Group

A few staff have started a running/walking group, starting from the Sports Centre each Wednesday at 12.30pm. We are a growing group (now up to 14, with 6-8 making it each week) of varying fitness levels aiming to compete in the Run Melbourne 5km or 10km fun run on 18 July.

Anyone interested in joining, please email Natalie Kellerman or Jason Brown so we don't leave without you!