Teaching Communities in the School
of Information Technology.
The School of Information Technology has a number of large
intake undergraduate subjects (which are also used in some post-graduate
programs). These are taught by a small number of full time academic staff
supplemented by a large number of sessionally employed staff - many of whom
are students studying later years of the same degree.
Teaching Community structure is a system for continuous improvement
in teaching which has been progressively refined in ongoing action research
by the Centre for LATTES.
This project brings the entire teaching group within a
number of subjects into individual Subject Teaching Communities. All members
attend an introductory workshop dealing with small group teaching situations,
and attend ongoing reflective meetings which have teaching support. Interview
data is continuously collected from tutors. It is an ongoing project, with
no set finish date.
Sessional staff are more and more prevalent in tertiary
teaching. They are seen as a cheaper and more flexible alternative for small
group teaching requirements, and even for lecturing in subjects. There are
a range of associated problems with such use. This project investigates
the most effective and efficient support mechanisms to improve the value
of sessional teaching.
School to university
Students moving from the secondary system to universities
experience a wide range of difficulties: academically, socially, financially,
and emotionally. Both as stand-alone projects, and as part of a long standing
thread of research within other projects, the particular issues experienced
by first year students at the university are continually researched, and
strategies to assist them trialled.
transition to Swinburne.
Swinburne has a very large intake of Indian students to
its IT degrees. Anecdotal accounts suggest that there are a diverse set
of transition problems that hinder their academic progress, and limit enjoyment
of their experience. Systematic data collection and collation will guide
interventions to assist their transition to Swinburne.
attitudes to questionable work practices.
Problems with plagiarism, particularly in subjects involving
programming, have led to an investigation by Monash and Swinburne Universities
of student attitudes to assessment, and the ethics of gaining assistance
in a range of forms. Consolidated data across two universities will help
guide a tightening of assessment practices.
Swinburne first year engineering project
A four year project to develop Teaching Communities in
the first year engineering program, in order to improve the learning situation
for the students. Particular emphasis was placed on promoting Learning Communities
in the student body through changes to teaching and assessment procedures.
At this time the Centre for LATTES was known as CLEaS (Centre for Learning
in Engineering and Science).
The project was supported by a Large Organisational Grant
from CUTSD for the period 1998-99.
Rural and Isolated Students at Swinburne
The transition from school to university is a general area
of research, but the particular problems faced by students from rural or
isolated environments has been a particular worry. Rural students are under
represented in tertiary education, with a decreasing presence.
With funding support from the Equity office a study was
made of first year students attending Swinburne who have come from rural