Friday, August 27, 2010

CPIT research week - Outputs 2010

The annual CPIT research week ran this week with each school which had research capacity presenting a range of reports on various research activities the staff. Posters, produced for various conferences, were also displayed and the library featured their information retrieval / support systems supporting research activities for staff and students.

This is the third year CPIT has run the research week. In previous years, it has provided me, in my role as staff developer supporting research activities at CPIT, a good opportunity to gain an overview of the diverse research taking place. Many of research projects undertaken explore pedagogical aspects rather than pure subject focuses. In all, over 40 presentations of which about a third have a teaching/learning focus. Most schools have at least one or more project related to enhancing student learning, so lots of good work undertaken, of note are the presentations from the school of computing, all of which have a student focus.

On Tuesday, the week was launched by our new CE, Kay Giles. The School of Humanities started things off with three presentations. First up, Gerry Duignan with his work towards his Masters on ‘ cross cultural perspectives in adult education’ based interviews/ focus groups with Saudi teachers who have been doing short adult education courses at CPIT. Then Phillip McFedries presented on his proposed project, to produce a collection of stories of refugees’ experiences. The resulting collection will be disseminated via hard or soft copy which is to be decided by the students. Then I did a summary of the ‘perspectives of first year apprentices’ project, with good questions at the end.

On Wednesday, the invited guest speaker was Dr. Tim Lindley, who provided a very informative and interesting hour on the Food and Crop project on carbohydrates and how the research is now used in a fully online weight lose programme called Aspire. A good example of how research can have wide ranging applications and the ways in which fundamental research can be commercialised.

Thursday, I attended the presentations by the Schools of Computing, Broadcasting and Nursing. Unable to get to the School of Art and Design due to another meeting. School of Computing presented a four projects of relevance to my work. Rob Oliver presented work he has been doing with Dave Kennedy, using tablet computers. I have blogged previously on Dave and Daphne’s work using class presenter. Rob has now been working on a PC based variant of class presenter, ubiquitous presenter, freeware from the University of California) which needed some tweaking but now running via Firefox and used with database and programming classes. In summary, it allows students to submit answers to questions and for the whole class to see various submissions. The learning conversations which flow from the answers provide for great learning opportunities.

Then Malcolm Weick presented on how to teach classes of mixed abilities and why it is important to also support the ‘top’ students as well as the ‘struggling students’. Institutional support more prevalent for ‘struggling’ students but students who begin a course with prior knowledge and skills also at risk of not completing due to initial boredom and lack of engagement. Some good ideas Flip and I will be able to use on how to motivate more able students.
Chris McCartney presented 4 student ‘research projects’ where by students work with a tutor to produce a conference presentation based on student’s project work. Lastly, Armit Sarkar and Ranran (Monica) Bian did a energetic presentation on their ‘virtual vending machine’ using a unit testing framework with programming students.

Thursday evening, there was 9 presentations from the School of Nursing, which included items from the ‘social work’ team. Of note were Isabel Jamieson’s Phd project on Gen Y and what they think about nursing, Jane Maidment on ‘using craft as a vehicle for social cohesiveness’ , Chris Taua on ‘ people with intellectual disability as active participants in nursing research’ and Ada Campbell’s Diploma in Tertiary Teaching project ‘ searching for the threads of cultural safety in the Bachelor of Nursing programme’.

Chris Taua’s project is of interest as obtaining ethics for her project will be a challenge. Of note, her intention to use the approach taken by the Donald Beasley Institute which uses clear and simple language in their reports to ensure the reports are accessible to the intellectually disabled community.

On Friday, only managed to get to the afternoon sessions as I shifted offices in the morning. So attended a couple of sessions from the midwifery section and then 8 presentations from the School of Business and Recreation. In midwifery, Rae Daellenbach and Mary Kensington presented on the experiences of midwifery students of the blended learning programme now offered jointly by CPIT and Otago Polytechnic with students from all parts of the South Island.

In the school of business, presentations of relevance to me were from David Irwin on ‘exploring the roles of identity change and change agency within organisations moving towards sustainability’ - based on precepts of 'sense making'; Jo Straker on ‘meaning making: whose meaning’ (trying to define whose outdoors and which outdoors) and Adam Hollingworth and Teresa Schwellnus’ project on ‘ influence of numeracy ability on success rates in business qualifications’ using NZ numeracy progressions. as a base for diagnostic tests for students on entry to see if students who have high levels suceed better and to offer students who may struggle appropriate assistance before they start to have difficulties.

In all, a rich variety of research being produced at CPIT and it is always great to attend presentations and to shares the presenters enthusiasm and knowledge for their work.