Communities of Practice

The University of Adelaide Communities of Practice for Learning and Teaching (CoP) provide an avenue for passionate staff and current students to come together and explore new and innovative ways to enhance the learning and teaching experience at the University of Adelaide.   

Meeting monthly (face-to-face and virtually) these groups discuss topics of strategic relevance to the institution, develop teaching resources, outline best practice and deepen their knowledge and expertise. 

The work of the CoPs is shared at the annual Communities of Practice Symposium (2021 Forum to be scheduled) and then put into practice in various ways across the University.  Led by Community of Practice Facilitators these groups are voluntary and have representatives from all areas of the University.

Membership is open to all University of Adelaide staff.  For more information on how to become involved please contact the Facilitators connected to each Community or contact the Teaching Excellence team.

  • Active Learning and Assessment

    About the community

    Formally known as Flipped Classroom Active learning and assessment brings together academics, e-learning advisors, early career teachers and researchers from every faculty across the university.

    Community goals

    • Capacity building for teacher professional development
    • Explore innovative approaches to learning and teaching - with the needs of students at the centre of learning
    • Facilitate cross-faculty dissemination of flipped classroom innovations.
    • Provide a forum for vibrant FC peer discussions and review of learning materials
    • Foster scholarly activity
    • Enable a cultural change of student-driven, active learning strategies across the university.

    Member experience Student's view

    Meeting format

    • Monthly meetings with structured Agenda
    • Allows time for ‘fellowship’ informal discussion and networking
    • Participate in active and engaging scholarly activities
    • Special focus ‘bring a friend sessions’
    • Social Meetings – relationship building
    Join and connect with current members

    Current members list for Active Learning and Assessment

    To join, please contact our co-facilitators: Hayley McGrice, Trisha Franceschilli or Viythia Katharesan.



    About the community

    Formed in March 2019 the Adelaide Development Program for Educators and Professionals (ADEPT) aims to extend learning from the ADEPT modules by:

    • Creating a community for those new to the University or new to teaching
    • Offering a forum to further discuss how to translate research-based and inclusive teaching practices into learning environments.
    • Establishing a discussion space for those developing their teaching portfolio
    • Providing a support network for those wanting to pilot innovative teaching practices

    Community goals

    Activities undertaken in the CoP include:

    • Engaging in peer review to appraise teaching philosophies
    • Gathering prior-knowledge to inform the learning experience via Padlet and Mentimeter

    Examples of presentations we have enjoyed:

    • Presentations on the trialling of new teaching and learning approaches
    • “Connecting communities of practice: Insights from the eLearning community of practice, and how they can be applied to help online Canvas course creation”
    • “How to engage ‘Students as Partners’: What does research suggest is best-practice?”
    • What is the Higher Education Academy, and what do fellowships offer?
    • Peer review and support – open problem-solving sessions around curriculum planning
    • Professional statement writing workshop (guest presenter Linda Westphalen, School of Education). Conducted to support the development of a teaching philosophy
    • “Facilitating discussion and engaging students – barriers and opportunities”
    • "How to have a good first day of class” – Chronicle of Higher Education; strategies and discussion for implementation.

    Meeting format

    Meetings are held monthly and all are welcome!  More information about the 2021 meeting scheduled will be available soon.

    Join and connect with current members

    Current members list for ADEPT

    To join, please contact our facilitator Samantha Newell.

  • Discovery Learning

    About the community

    The Discovery Learning CoP is a collegial community of scholars who explore different forms of discovery learning for research and best practice.

    Our CoP was formed in 2015 with a focus on teaching large classes. In 2016 we shifted focus to the design and implementation of Small Group Discovery Learning (SGDE) across all class sizes. To broaden our educational application, in 2018 we became known simply as the Discovery Learning CoP. Our members represent all of the Faculties of the University and include academic staff, education specialists, learning advisors and students

    Community goals

    •     To be an inclusive and supportive forum for sharing experiences of discovery learning at the University of Adelaide
    •     To focus on gathering and evaluating evidence for our practices and promote scholarship of teaching focused on discovery learning
    •     To provide leadership on the development of resources for students and teachers using different forms of discovery learning
    •     To encourage innovation and creativity in implementing experiences for students that communicate the excitement of discovery

    Meeting format

    We meet around eight times a year, in a variety of physical locations but also via virtual platforms. We try to get away from our desks and into the outdoors whenever possible, where we can better open our minds and engage in some stimulating and engaging discussion.  We often have guest speakers or presentations from members of our CoP. We encourage students to get involved with our CoP whenever possible, hearing their voice is so important to the success of Discovery Learning.

    We have a half-day retreat at the beautiful Waite campus to spend consolidated time on discovery learning initiatives and ideas.

    To receive the remote meeting details (zoom links) please contact us.  You are also most welcome to pop in, at one of the meetings listed below!

    Meeting Date Day Time Location
    Meeting 1 19 February 2021 Friday 12 - 1.30pm Barr Smith South - Room 2052
    Meeting 2 09 April 2021 Friday 12 - 1.30pm Ingkarni Wardli – B17
    Meeting 3 07 May 2021 Friday 12 -1.30pm Nexus10 - UB40 (lower ground)
    Meeting 4 18 June 2021 Friday 11am - 3pm Waite Campus - Room TBC
    Meeting 5 10 August 2021 Tuesday 12 - 1.30pm Schulz Building - Room 307
    Meeting 6 21 September 2021 Tuesday 12 - 1.30pm Barr Smith South - Room 2052
    Meeting 7 02 November 2021 Tuesday 12 - 1.30pm Barr Smith South - Room 2052
    Meeting 8 07 December 2021 Tuesday 12 - 1.30pm Nexus10 - UB35 (lower ground)
    Historical highlights
    • CoP members presented on Discovery Learning related projects at the Connecting Higher Education Conference, UCL, London
    • CoP members participated in a mentor induction workshop for Discovery Learning
    • Members were invited to attend or view Discovery Learning project outcomes in other disciplines
    • CoP contributed to a Canvas site for showcasing Discovery Learning examples and guidelines
    • CoP members peer reviewed a draft Discovery Learning University survey
    • Members were subsidised to attend the iMELT conference in Adelaide in December 2017
    • Members are regular presenters at the Festival of Learning Teaching
    • The whole CoP membership applied for a COVID19 Emergency Teaching Responses Award
    • Members contribute to the delivery of professional development modules to staff
      Join and connect with current members

      To join, please contact our co-facilitators: Beth Loveys or Natalia Zarina.

      Current members list for Discovery Learning


      Resources on teaching philosophy that matches up with Discovery Learning:

    1. Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching

      About the community

      A community of staff and students to explore inclusive learning and teaching practices.

      • Design and implementation of an inclusive teaching framework offering tools and exemplars for inclusive course structure, delivery, assessment, feedback and review
      • Significantly increase the awareness of diverse student groups and of existing theory, tools and approaches for inclusive learning and teaching.

      Meeting format

      Monthly meetings where we work on tangible objectives the community sets, directly reporting to the PVC(SL).

      More information about the 2021 meeting schedule will be available soon.

      Join and connect with current members

      Current members list for Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching

      To join, please contact our co-facilitators: Laura Grenfell or Claudia Szabo.


      Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching - Comic

    2. eLearning

      About the community

      A community for academic and professional staff interested in the development of digital learning resources, the transition of courses from face-to-face to online delivery, MOOCs, and/or evaluation of the impact of e-learning strategies on student learning.

      Technology is increasingly being used to facilitate active learning and collaboration, to better engage and support students via richer learning experiences and to accommodate the needs and expectations of students from different cultural backgrounds, with different learning styles, across different study contexts.

      Community goals

      The e-Learning CoP provides opportunities to:

      • engage in capacity building through professional development in e-learning.
      • support networking and collaboration between academic and professional staff across The University of Adelaide faculties and divisions.
      • engage university staff and students in scholarly activity, such as research and dissemination.
      • facilitate the sharing of best practices and examples in e-learning across the University.
      • provide a forum for constructive peer review and evaluation of e-learning.
      • provide opportunities for student participation and feedback in e-learning design learn from leaders in the field.

      Meeting format

      • Monthly one hour meetings - on alternate Tuesday and Friday's - with structured Agenda
      • Meetings in 2021 will be held via Teams. Please contact us to be added to the meeting request and receive the Teams meeting link.
      • Includes formal presentations or structured discussion on topics of interest.
      • Allows time for ‘fellowship’ informal discussion and networking
      • Participate in active and engaging scholarly activities
      • Social Meetings – relationship building
      Meeting Date Day Time
      Welcome 19 February 2021 Friday 11.00am
      Meeting 1 23 March 2021 Tuesday 11.00 am
      Meeting 2 30 April 2021 Friday 11.00 am
      Meeting 3 25 May 2021 Tuesday 11.00 am
      Meeting 4 11 June 2021 Friday 11.00 am
      Meeting 5 27 July 2021 Tuesday 11.00 am
      Meeting 6 27 August 2021 Friday 11.00 am
      Meeting 7 28 September 2021 Tuesday 11.00 am
      Meeting 8 29 October 2021 Friday 11.00 am
      Meeting 9 23 November 2021 Tuesday 11.00 am
      Meeting 10 17 December 2021 Friday 11.00 am

      Join and connect with current members

      Member List - eLearning CoP 2021

      To join, please contact our co-facilitators Jessica Viven-Wilksch or Rebecca Vivian.

    3. Employability

      About the community

      Employability is the combination of knowledge, skills, behaviours and personal qualities that enables a graduate to be successful in their chosen career. It can be embedded in the student experience within the curriculum and can be developed through co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities.

      We are a community of academic and professional staff supporting student learning for employability.  We consider different approaches to employability development such as career development learning (CDL) and experiential learning including work integrated learning (WIL).


      To date the has focused on work-based learning sharing best practice amongst attendees and at the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) conference. We also produced a number of resources including:

      • a high-level framework for designing or reviewing work-based learning courses
      • an internships handbook for students that can be adapted by any faculty/discipline and online video modules to prepare students for internships
      • a high level Risk Management outline of do’s and don’ts

      Community goals

      Our broad aim is to support excellent teaching and learning practices that facilitate students to develop the knowledge, skills, contacts, confidence and networks they need to be ready for their future. With this as our guiding principal, we also aim to:

      • Enable the sharing of innovative practices and pedagogies
      • Collaborate on projects that encourage and support academics to embed employability in their courses and programs
      • Engage University staff and students in research and dissemination
      • Develop shared expertise in learning and teaching
      • Contribute to the professional development of staff
      • Provide professional development opportunities for staff on WIL
      • Encourage more students to co-create with us
      • Contribute to the development of a project across faculties that would enable students to work together on an industry-driven project that is multi-disciplinary (grand challenge)

      Meeting format

      • Monthly meetings with agenda
      • Structured discussion of topics of interest
      • Informal discussion and networking
      • Bring your own lunch

      Topics for discussion

      • Experiential learning including work-integrated learning
      • Applied learning
      • Career development learning
      • Industry and community engagement
      • Internships and placements
      • Volunteering
      • Employability skills and capabilities
      • Building student and graduate professional networks
      Join and connect with current members

      To join, please contact our co-facilitators: Sharon Scott or Melissa Connor.

      Current membership list

    4. HDR Supervision

      This new Community of Practice is due to be launched in 2021. 

      Expressions of interest are now invited!

      Please contact our facilitator Natalie Edwards.

    5. Learning Analytics

      About the community

      A community for staff to explore the potential for learning analytics to improve student learning.

      Community goals

      • Assessment of student academic performance and the assessment of a course through the use of learning analytics.
      • Objectively improve course delivery and strengthen student engagement promoting a better understanding of teaching best practices.

      Meeting format

      Monthly meetings where we work on tangible objectives the community sets, directly reporting to the PVC(SL).

      Join and connect with current members

      Current members list for Learning Analytics

      To join, please contact our co-facilitators: David Wilson or Karina Riggs.  For more information, please visit the learning analytics webpage.


      Learning Analytics CoP Visual Information Guide

    6. Simulation Learning

      This new Community of Practice is due to be launched in 2021. 

      Expressions of interest now invited!

      For more information or to join, please contact our co-facilitators: Adam Montagu or Michelle McArthur.

    7. Student Wellbeing

      About the community

      Recent events have propelled educator and student wellbeing further into the spotlight and we believe there is a unique opportunity to engage the teaching and learning community at the University of Adelaide (students and staff) in a dialogue about shifting wellbeing theory proactively and responsively into teaching and learning practice.

      We are very fortunate as an institution to already have a team dedicated to promoting wellbeing (Student Life – Wellbeing Hub), who have produced excellent resources to support students, as well as leading academic researchers in well-being in education. However, theory in the space continues to remain abstract for many and our current student-facing resources reside outside of teaching and learning ‘classroom practice’.  We also recognise the importance of supporting the community wellbeing of those who teach (i.e. we need to maintain our own wellbeing as teachers to support others).

      We often separate the assessment of student learning from the very outcomes that could be the most predictive of student success: the confidence and perseverance to want to stay in school, to want to take on an internship, to stay the path of graduation. What if the connection of learning to student development in well-being wasn’t just the purview of student affairs? What if how learning helps students feel about themselves and others is what matters most?

      p.15 ( Finley, A 2016, ‘Well-Being: An Essential Outcome for Higher Education’, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 14–19.)

      Community Goals

      • Build an active community focused on student and staff well-being practices within the learning and teaching space, with an aim for students to make up at least half of the community
      • Co-create resources, examples, and case studies of wellbeing in teaching practice
      • Act as a point of reference for future Wellbeing Strategy implementation.
      • Activate wellbeing as a key focus area that accords with the Pillar Plan
      • Consider the student experience more broadly: to include academic outcomes, but also key skills in character and capacity building for life beyond the university

      Meeting format

      • Monthly Face-to-Face gatherings in student facing spaces
      • Fortnightly Podcasts
      • Live online community-led conversations throughout the year
      • Online asynchronous discussion and resource sharing through MyUni

      Next meeting - all welcome. Come for the entire meeting, or just stay as long as you can!

      Wednesday 17 March, 2021 12pm - 2pm Ira Raymond Room, Barr Smith Library, North Terrace Campus
      SWLT Podcast

      Our first SWLT podcast is now up online.  To access the podcast for the first time you will need to join the Community's MyUni page

      In our first episode we talk about what the Student Wellbeing Community of Practice is all about and the CoP co-facilitators share their story with you about what makes them passionate about this space. 

      Visit the new SWLT Community Podcast page to listen - and share your story in the discussion. 

      We'd also love to hear from you about the people or topics you think should be on the Podcast.

      Also, if you would like to share your skills in podcasting (or develop them!) and want to help in the development of the community podcast, we'd love for you to get involved! Just flick us an email or give us a call :-) 

      Join and connect with current members

      To join, please contact our co-facilitators: Linda Westphalen,  Colleen Ortega or Jacquilene Faliszewski

    8. Student Leadership Programs

      About the community

      Launched in 2020 the Student Leadership CoP works closely with the Peer Mentor Coordinators Steering Committee (PMC).  The PMC includes coordinators from faculty, school, and division-based programs that seek to improve the student experience by fostering peer connections through student mentor, ambassador, or tutor roles.  Coordinators of these programs meet regularly to share ideas and resources, and to plan shared professional development opportunities for the student leaders within their programs. 

      We are currently forming a student advisory group made up of student leaders from each of our programs, which will allow us to work with students on improving each of our programs and the reach of peer support more generally throughout the student population.

      Meeting format

      First meeting of 2021:     Tuesday 16 February 9.30-11.00am in the Cog – Wills Meeting Room 704

      Join and connect with current members

      Student Leadership CoP - Membership List 2021

      For more information or to join, please contact our Facilitator: Chelsea Avard.

    9. Virtual Reality

      About the community

      A community of academics and professional staff exploring the role of virtual and augmented reality in teaching and learning.

      Community goals

      • To provide a platform for sharing our experience of working with VR and AR
      • To find opportunities to collaborate
      • To develop shared expertise in the use of VR and AR for learning and teaching

      Join and connect with current members

      Current members list for Virtual Reality

      To join, please contact our facilitator Ed Palmer.