Dr John Willison

Dr John Willison
 Position Senior Lecturer
 Org Unit School of Education
 Email john.willison@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 3219
 Location Floor/Room 8 08 ,  Nexus 10 Tower ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Dr  John Willison
    B.Sc. Dip. Ed., M.Ed.(Sc.Ed.), Ph.D.(Sc.Ed.)

    John is a senior lecturer in the Discipline of Higher Education, School of Education. He coordinates the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (GCHE) for academics from all faculties at the University of Adelaide. This work has lead to rich and varied collaborations on various aspects of curriculum design and assessment, within the university, at the national level and internationally. He is currently using and evaluating interactive learning modules in advance of face to face sessions to flip the classroom for educators enrolled in the GCHE.


  • Research Interests

    John’s principle research interest centres around the ways that academics conceptualise and implement the explicit development of their students’ research skills in content-rich courses. He leads an initiative considering Research Skill Development (RSD) and Assessment in the Curricula of disciplines in all faculties across whole undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.This project focuses on degree-program outcomes of RSD use, and is the second RSD project funded by the OLT.


    The RSD conceptual framework is currently being utilised internationally in Canada, Fiji, Iran, Ireland and the United States of America. The close conceptual connection between the skills associated with research in a discipline, and the skills required and developed in problem solving, critical thinking, clinical reasoning and Work Integrated Learning is a stream of current interest. Year after graduation interviews with graduates from various disciplinary contexts are pointing to the value graduates place on research skills once they are employed.


    The use of the RSD across formal education is also being explored, with a framework for Early Childhood Educators adapted from the RSD currently in development.


    See http://www.rsd.edu.au for details

    John  welcomes other opportunities of collaborating with colleagues.


    Research SupervisionPhD /Ed.D./ M.Phil supervision areas:

    • Student Research Skill Development in:

    Undergraduate and Masters by coursework
    Higher Degree by Research and Early Career Research
    Secondary School
    Early Childhood and Primary School

    • Academic Staff Development

    • Scientific Literacy

    • Hands-on Experiences in high school Science


    M.Ed supervision areas;
    In addition to the areas above, for M.Ed research I am also interested in supervising:
    • University teaching and learning
    • Science Education
    • Curriculum design

  • Research Funding

    1.    OLT Innovation and Development Grant October 2011- October 2013

    Outcomes and uptake of explicit research skill development across degree programs: 'Its got a practical application in my world'.


    2.    ALTC Innovation and Development grant, August 2007 – December 2009

     Making research skill development explicit in coursework.



  • Publications

    Publications since 2007.

    Wu, C., Chanda, E., Willison, J. (in press). Implementation and outcomes of online self and peer assessment on group based honours research projects. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 2013.

    Willison, J. (2012). When Academics integrate research skill development in the curriculum. Higher Education Research and Development, 31: 905-919.

    Bandaranaike, S., Snelling, C., Karanicolas, S. and Willison, J. (2012). Opening Minds and Mouths Wider: Developing a model for student reflective practice within clinical placements. Procedings of the 9th International Conference on Cooperative & Work-Integrated Education, University of Bahcesehir University, Istanbul, Turkey, p1-16. June 20-22, 2012.

    Bandaranaike, S. & Willison J. (2011).Engaging students in work integrated learning : drives and outcomes. Proceedings of the World Conference on Cooperative and Work Integrated Learning. Philadelphia. P 1- 12 .June 14-17 2011.

    Davey, K. R., Cheung, J. C. K., Visvanathan, R. & Willison, J. W. (2010). A unique assessment of stress and stress factors on engineering academics in the research and teaching environment. Proceedings of the 2010 Australian Association of Engineering Education Conference, Sydney, 5–8 December 2010.

    Bandaranaike, S. & Willison, J. (2010). Work Skill Development Framework: an innovative assessment for Work Integrated Learning. In Campbell, M. (Ed.) Work Integrated Learning – Responding to Challenges: Proceedings of the 2010 ACEN National Conference, (pp. 1–19). Perth, September 29 – October 1, 2010.

    Willison, J. (2010). Development of all students’ research skill becomes a Knowledge Society. Journal of the All Ireland Society for Higher Education 2(1).


    Willison, J. (2009). 'Multiple Contexts, Multiple Outcomes, One Conceptual Framework for Research Skill Development in the Undergraduate Curriculum'. Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, 29 (3): 10-14.

    Peirce, E., Ricci, M., Lee, I. & Willison, J. (2009). First year human biology students in the ivory tower. Proceedings from the Uniserve Science conference, 1&2 October, Sydney.

    Willison, J., Pierce, E., Ricci, M. (2009). Towards student autonomy in literature and field research. Proceedings of the Higher Education Research and Development Conference, Darwin July 7-9.

    Willison, J., Schapper, J., and Teo, E. (2009). 'Multiple Methods of Improvement of Research Skills in Business Ethics and Business Law'. Procedings of the QATLHEBEC conference, University of Melbourne, 6 February, 2009.

    Willison, J.W. & O'Regan, K. (2007). Commonly known, commonly not known, totally unknown: A framework for students becoming researchers. Higher Education Research and Development 26 (4) pp 393-410.

    Willison, J. W. (2007). Vision and Choice, ethical characteristics of Academic Development Programs. Journal of University Learning and Teaching Practice 4 (2) pp72-87. Available from http://jutlp.uow.edu.au/

    Willison, J. W. (2007). A research vignette's Impact on the emergence of a metaphorical framework. In P.C. Taylor, & J. Wallace (eds). Qualitative inquiry : New possibilities in science and mathematics education . Springer.


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Entry last updated: Saturday, 11 Aug 2018

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