Monday, 30 July 2012

New Delicious Account

I would like to take this chance to alert our partners and those with an interest in our project and networking to our new Delicious account. It can be found under NATA Resources on the left-hand toolbar. We have developed this resource to bookmark relevant resources including articles and presentations as well as links to partner networks and other networks in relation to Higher Education. We hope that you might find this resource useful and welcome you to forward on any link that you feel would help develop this resource further.

Friday, 13 July 2012

HERDSA Discussion with PENS and OLT

On Wednesday the 4th of July, representatives from the NSW/ACT PEN, SA/NT PEN, VIC/TAS PEN, Q-PEN, WAND, NATA (NNI) and OLT got together at the HERDSA Conference in the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart to discuss the development of the networks.

Key themes that emerged from the discussion included:

General Progress/Findings
  • There were big differences in stages of network development
  • In some cases there had been difficulty in managing and collaborating across members/institutions where distinct differences in levels of institutional maturity existed
  • The sharing or experiences and collaboration offered through the networks was valuable
  • The networks provided a “safe place to go” for staff to share issues
  • It was important to remember that all network members were equal despite institutional size or power
  • Extension grants offered ‘easier’ options for funding
  • Smaller grants and awards were often seen as less intimidating for staff.
  • Evaluation of network initiatives, such as developing surveys to review workshops and inform subsequent design and practices, were seen as important
  • Evaluation of the networks themselves, especially considering the varied stages of development between networks was widely accepted as being complicated and requiring further attention
  • Applicability of the AKO AOTEAROA Impact Evaluation Framework to the networks and addressing the issues of evaluation was raised
  • Linking the ‘network leadership’ (NATA) resources being developed to some of these evaluation criterion was seen as offering potential benefit.

Sustainability and Future
  • The degree of perceived network longevity and sustainability beyond the course of funding varied considerably between networks
  • A clear link was made between evaluation and the future viability of networks, especially in relation to funding. Positive evaluation could lead to 1. The transfer of funding from other projects to the continued funding of the networks OR 2. By linking student experience and learning outcomes with the network activities to a sufficient degree through evaluation, there could be a case to lobby the government for additional funding to support the networks.

Connecting the PENS and NATA (NNI)
  • The need to share links to each others websites/digital presences was raised
  • The possibility of drawing upon the varied experiences of the PENS to inform the ‘network leadership’ resources being developed by NATA was noted. Then the subsequent dissemination of the developed resources to the PENs could assist in furthering their network development.
  • Need to explore new email list opportunities due to the upcoming closure of the EDNA.

National Forum (May 2013)
  • A possible National Forum in May 2013 was suggested to bring together PENS and other networks, discuss evaluation options and the future as well as to disseminate ‘network leadership’ resources developed by NATA.

Actions Arising:
  1. Explore new email list options
  2. Venues for citations – PENS to assist in recommending venues for the upcoming citations in September / October
  3. PENS and NATA to share links to websites and digital resources developed
  4. Further exploration of the Impact Evaluation Framework
  5. Explore ideas and practice of the Australian Council of Deans of Science

HERDSA - Some take aways...

The following are some personal 'take aways' from the HERDSA conference in Hobart:
  • Attendance at the HERDSA AGM and subsequent discussions with Shelda saw the idea of developing guidelines or role-specific guides for new members to the executive emerge. This would include guidelines in relation to expectations and responsibilities etc. for treasurers, presidents and other members of the executive which would help ensure a smooth transition into the relevant roles for new members.
  • Jarrod Green, a student and invited speaker, provided an-insider perspective on the student experience, what motivated him and provided him with rich learning opportunities. Jarrod emphasised the importance of the teacher's passion for teaching and the material they were imparting in student engagement and learning. Additionally, he promoted the role of the student in the learning process and questioned the continued use of the term 'lecturer' which implies a one directional flow of information, rather than promoting independent student learning, conversation and the questioning of ideas and assumptions. Jarrod graduated from the University of Tasmania (2011) with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science combined degree with First Class honours in Chemistry and a University Medal. 
  • Dr Kathy Takayama, a keynote speaker, highlighted the importance of recognising and understanding disciplinary differences in learning, teaching and expectations. This focus also continued in the exploration of the applicability of interdisciplinary approaches in the provocations.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Evaluator - Tom Prebble

Today we met with Tom Prebble, who has agreed to come on board as the formal evaluator for the project. This was a great opportunity to welcome Tom on board and updated him about the members involved as well as the project progress and schedule of upcoming activities. Tom has kindly agreed to attend the next face to face meeting in October (16th & 17th) and has access to all working documents through dropbox. Some of the key ideas to come from the meeting included:

  1. The need to ensure a clarity of understanding amongst all members of the value, direction and objectives of the NATA with specific relevance to them and their association.
  2. Recognising the need to ensure progress and successes of the network are clearly articulated to member associations.
  3. Need to maintain a level of activity and expectation of involvement that is realistic if the network is to be sustainable beyond the initial 2-year funded period.
  4. Adopting an evaluation methodology that is firstly based upon a our own operational understanding of the AKO AOTEAROA Impact Evaluation Framework. This would then provide a means for our own critical evaluation of progress that would be subsequently, reviewed by the formal evaluator.

Tom Prebble - Short Bio

PhD (Alberta), MA (Hons) (Auckland), Dip Tchg (Auckland Coll. of Ed.), Fellow, NZ Ed. Admin. Soc.

Dr. Prebble is an education consultant and Emeritus Professor of Massey University. He spent much of his earlier career at Massey serving most recently as Professor of Higher Education and formerly as Principal (Extramural and International), Director of Extramural Studies, and Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Educational Administration.

Tom has undertaken a range of consultancies, both national and international, in programme evaluation, distance education, e-learning and international education. He has also undertaken a number of recent research studies on the impact of academic development and support services on student learning outcomes.