Monday, July 19, 2010

Ako Aotearoa tertiary research in progress colloquium - day 2 afternoon

After lunch, the Carl Weiman(University of British Columbia) model of science education was then presented by Dr. Ben Kennedy from University of Canterbury. Carl Weiman measured science learning and attitudes and focused on science education reform. Project involves 6 classes, year 1 - year 3 from two universities. Four phases to the project. First phase of observation and measurement of lectures /teaching styles plus measure student engagement by attention through observation, just begun. Learning goals, concept tests etc to be developed followed by implementation and eventual evaluation to see if interventions are effective. Canadian Resources to refine and align goals & assessments (pre/post diagnostic) to allow for local limitations need to be undertaken.

Tatou tatou: success for all - improving Maori students success in health professional degree level programmes was presented by Dr. Elana Curtis with Dr. Mark Barrow & Dr. Arini from University of Auckland. This project builds on from 18 month qualitative study funded by TLRI on factors which assisted Maori students learning in university settings. Critical incident technique is used to study 40 students' narratives on how non-lecture based activities/settings help or hinder Maori student success. These include tutorials/seminars/workshops, labs, small group clinical teacihng, case studies/PBL, work based placement/internships. Critical incident (trigger, action, outcome) used - can you describe a time when teaching/learning practices helped (or hindered) your success in x? Emerging issues include the importance of MAPAS (Maori and Pacific Admission Scheme) support; MAPAs specific study space/resources; hints of experiences of stigma & racism hinders sucess; efficacy of 'Maori health week'; whakawhanuangatanga; Tuakana/teina - peer support.

Last session of the symposium on 'learning enviroments & student engagement with learning in tertiary settings from Dr. Nick Zepke & Dr. Linda Leach. A summary of a project studying student engagement with nine case studies undertaken at 2 universities, 4 ITPs, one Wananga, one PTE and one community organisation. Presentation also on why multiple case study chosen, key findings and major implications. Key findings include significant differences between institutions; engaging students is complex; teachers and teaching have important impact on student engagement; intrinsic motivation, particularly perceptions of competence, agency and relatedness, very important; and non-institutional influences only impact moderately. Key implications are the importance of teachers and teaching which requires development of teachers and reward good teaching. Teacher development should focus on developinb positive working relationships with learners; enhance student self belief; create challenging, enriching and extending educational experiences for students; and ensure institutional cultures are welcoming to students from diverse backgrounds.

Dr. Peter Coolbear then closed the symposium with a summary/wrap-up and reflection. The National Project fund - 2.1 million so far, needs to be a change fund. The correct type of research seem to be funded so how do we now build on what has be completed? Work is exciting, has a diverse portfolio, robust work (multiple methods, strong sampling, nature of evidence, Kaupapa Maori & Pacific frameworks) and with strong capability building elements. Emerging themes of colloquium include identity (learners, participants in a bicultural society, participants in a discipline, participants in a trade or profession - so identity as professional tertiary teachers? - perhaps accreditation ? Alison Holmes doing a lit review of professional teaching plus Ako Stocktake about to be launched); Building communites (ideas, practice, tertiary education researchers); meaninful, critical relationships; building coherent, accessible knowledge bases to inform practice; learner voice. Most important, how do we get research in front of decision makers?, dissemination is an important next step - peer reviewed publications are not enough, good practice guides / workshops etc. to try to influence at the organisation, system & policy level.

Overall the symposium was a great opportunity for me to connect with the NZ tertiary research landscape and to meet with other researchers, pondering similar challenges and working towards providing for research based information which will better learning opportunities for students/learners in NZ. I will be doing a report to the CED on the various projects, so that the team is informed about ongoing and completed work completed within the NZ context. Look forward to next year when many of the interesting projects will be reporting on their findings plus also what the next crop of projects will be working on.