Saturday 6 February 2016

CONFERENCE: 2016 WA Teaching and Learning Forum

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the WA Teaching and Learning forum at Curtin. This was the third such forum that I have attended and I always look forward to the opportunity to hear about how I could be improving my teaching practice.

The theme of the conference was around teachers as purveyors of fine learning, which led to a number of humorous analogies about education and food. However, it did have us thinking about what it was we were "delivering". It was heartening to see that the discussion from three years ago had moved on from how to deliver online teaching to how to deliver quality online teaching today. There were also a number of presentations considering how to increase student engagement through online quizzes or class attendance. Results showed that you only need a very small percentage mark attributed to online quizzes to promote attendance in high performing science students, however the number of students who successfully pass units with low (or even no!) attendance means it will be difficult to return lecture attendance to the high levels of yesteryear.

I presented at the forum on my research into the UWA Postgraduate Teaching Internship Scheme. You can find more information on that research here and here. The audience for my presentation included primarily people who were former interns or engaged with the internship in other ways. I received excellent feedback on the work performed, but most people shared my concern about the direction of the university with regard to developing well informed, confident and enthusiastic teachers.