Welcome to my Fellowship. This website is an attempt to collect together, in one place, all of the disparate aspects and contradictions of a Fellowship which I am working on alone, with the help of many people.

The Fellowship has given me a self-directed space in my life, dedicated to thinking. It has held the every-day chaos created by other peoples at bay while I follow a line of thought or struggle with a concept or understanding. It has also given me the opportunity to capture and embed this thinking in learning and teaching resources, research papers, videos, a blog and now this webpage so that they can be discussed, pondered over, and made fit-for-purpose by others.

This Fellowship is part of many conversations; discipline based education research, proto-theories and curriculum design theories, expectations of and assumptions about student learning, discipline based communication, discipline based attitudes and skills, communication between teacher and student…  The conversations took place in seminars, workshops and conference presentations, coffee shops and corridors, around family dinner tables, at art/architecture exhibitions, during tutorials and after work drinks, face-to-face and via e-mail . Each conversation added a richness and depth to my thinking and hopefully set others onto their own path of discovery. The conversation continues and you are now also part of this story.

1. OLT National Teaching Fellowship

The purpose of an OLT National Teaching Fellowship is to promote excellence in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education by enabling the chosen Fellow to “undertake a short program of activities… addressing an identified learning and teaching issue within their institution or discipline, with the goal of enhancing disciplinary or inter-disciplinary teaching and learning within their institution , and beyond” (http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/2013_Fellowships_Info_2.pdf)

This Fellowship aims to

  • Take an in-depth look at some basic skills and abilities students need to be able to succeed in first year university physics and create a learning and teaching strategy to address these issues.
  • Devise a program of activities that will aid in the dissemination of the learning and teaching strategy developed as part of this Fellowship.
  • Stimulate national discussion in the higher education sector about the basic skills and abilities students need to succeed in first year university, the learning and teaching strategies that can enable them to do so, and as a result of this discussion, bring about strategic change in learning and teaching in first year university physics. (http://www.olt.gov.au/system/files/2013_Fellowships_Info_2.pdf)

2. What Is The Work It Out (WIO) Teaching Strategy?

The Work It Out (WIO) Teaching Strategy enables teachers to structure learning activities that will focus students learning on gaps in their knowledge and understanding. The focus in this Fellowship is on underlying skills students need to succeed in first year university physics. As the WIO teaching strategy is not specific to physics it could be generalised and used in other areas of Learning & Teaching.

The WIO teaching strategy consisted of a series of student activities developed around the skill or ability the teacher wants the students to focus on.

1. Edge of ability /zone of proximal development (ZPD) activity where the students work in groups of four. Part of the activity will be to give a presentation to the rest of the class before the end of the tutorial. The students are not allowed to fully complete the initial aspects of this activity before moving on to the next stage.

2. Expert video and video-watching worksheet which the students complete on their own.

3. Analysis of the video undertaken as a class effort.

4. Focus activity to help the students practice what they have learned and in this activity they work in pairs.

5. Finishing the initial ZPD activity with students working in their original groups.

6. Group presentations.

The underlying pedagogy of this teaching strategy is explained in a paper soon to be submitted for publication.