Short Papers Arranged By Theme

Short papers were peer reviewed by a minimum of two peers, with 80% reviewed by three peers from at least two countries.

  • The work skill development framework: work-ready competencies for today and tomorrow

    Sue Bandaranaike
    College of Science & Engineering, James Cook University

    The Work Skill Development [WSD] framework is a learning and teaching model applied in the context of Work Integrated Learning [WIL] to facilitate an understanding of a placement role, resource utilisation, planning and management, lifelong learning, problem solving and critical thinking, and communication in the workplace. It attempts to narrow the gap between the triad partnership of placement students, educators and employers. The primary focus of the WSD is in teaching and learning work skills through reflective practice, and identifying employability pathways. The objective of this paper is (1) to outline the WSD framework and its application and contribution to contemporary teaching and learning in WIL, and (2) to predict future use. The WSD methodology follows a logical extension of the Research Skills Development [RSD] framework (Willison & O’Regan, 2006), to work skills. The paper outlines the many-faceted applications of the WSD model - from employability to career management; from the cognitive focus to the affective (social, emotional, cultural intelligence), and its potential use in the changing workplace of the future.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Adapting the work skill development framework for the professional skills and values required for aspiring professional accountants

    Diane Mayorga 
    School of Accounting, Business School, University of New South Wales

    Over the last decade, considerations about the changing skill set required of accounting graduates have grown due to rapid changes in the work environment, technology and outsourcing of accounting tasks previously
    undertaken by entry-level accounting graduates (e.g., Chaplin 2017; Hancock, Howieson, Kavanagh and Kent 2009; Jackling and De Lange 2009). In addition, employers are placing greater emphasis on soft skills such as communication, collaboration, leadership and interpersonal skills (e.g., Jackling and De Lange 2009; Van Akkeren, Buckby and MacKensie 2013). Recent semi-structured interview data suggests that employers also believe that graduates should be comfortable making decisions under conditions of ambiguity as organisations
    rely on larger volumes of data and analytics for their strategic decision-making. Given these latter expectations, consideration should be given to providing more educational opportunities which cultivate accounting students’ ability to exercise appropriate professional skills and values. This paper describes how key professional skills and values are integrated into the Work Skill Development (WSD) Framework. This modified WSD Framework is called the “Professional Skills Growth” (PSG) Framework. The paper then briefly discusses how the PSG
    Framework is currently being used in an accounting and business management work integrated learning (WIL) program. It concludes by discussing challenges and opportunities in assessing professional skills and values.

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  • The work skill development (WSD) framework, applied to minerals industry employability - a story of practice

    Ernest Baafi, Ray Tolhurst and Kevin Marston
    School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering, University of Wollongong

    The application of the Work Skill Development (WSD) Framework to the issue of minerals industry employability is outlined, including how an enhanced curriculum model is being used to help students develop independence (WSD level 3), self-actuation (WSD level 4) and self-determination (WSD level 5). The model is based primarily not on what the university or students want. Rather, through reverse-field analysis, the model is based on evidence of what minerals industry employers require and what students can do to meet these expectations. Some of the outcomes of this approach are presented, and recommendations for the future are suggested.

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  • Learning-teaching autonomy in accelerating academic literacy development

    Ursula McGowan
    School of Education, The University of Adelaide

    Research in the area of supporting students’ academic literacy development has pointed to the inadequacy of generic approaches delivered as remedial support services, and called instead for the integration of the teaching and learning of academic literacy into discipline content courses. Successful models tended to involve collaboration between discipline and communication specialists. However, collaboration is resource-intensive and therefore unlikely to be sustainable unless mechanisms are in place that provide for progress from initial dependence on the adviser’s expertise towards learner and teacher autonomy. Two frameworks based on Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching (MELT) were designed for achieving this. The first uses the pentagon arrangement of the MELT facets to visualise the conceptual basis for a self-help tool for students to use for Accelerating Academic Literacy Development (AALD). The second, ALTA (Academic Learner and Teacher Autonomy) presents the MELT facets as a continuum of increasing learner-teacher autonomy. The ALTA framework is applied in my research to trace evidence of a STEM discipline lecturer’s autonomy in taking ownership of the collaboratively designed and implemented AALD pedagogy.

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  • Method to their madness: analysing students’ writings against the research development skill (RSD) framework

    Imtiaz Ali Bughio, Fizza Sabir and Faraz Ali Bughio
    School of Education, The University of Adelaide
    Institute of English Language and Literature, University of Sindh, Pakistan

    This paper presents qualitative analysis of essays written by second-year Bachelor of Linguistics students in a public university in Pakistan, based on the Research Skill Development (RSD) Framework (Willison & O’Regan, 2006a). The RSD framework has been used at several universities outside Australia, (e.g., in Canada, Ireland and Holland) to help students at the undergraduate and graduate levels develop research skills (Willison & O’Regan, 2010). Despite the fact that 90% of Government schools in Pakistan use Sindhi and/or Urdu as a medium of instruction in schools and that only ten percent conduct classes in English (Mahboob, (in press)), English is taught as a compulsory subject from grades 1-12, as well as in most undergraduate degree programs. It is also a medium of instruction in the universities in Pakistan. This study focuses on the research skills of students based on the facets of the RSD Framework when the participants were not aware of the framework. The researchers analysed essays written by students as class assignments. Findings revealed that there was some ‘method to their (students’) madness’. That is, the students, despite their unfamiliarity with the RSD framework, were able to demonstrate evaluative and analytical research skills that matched the facets of the RSD framework. Based on the study, we propose that the formal introduction of the RSD framework through online or on-campus workshops can enhance students’ research skills.

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  • Towards a more cogent curriculum for experimental writing: a case study

    Timothy Wong and Esmael Yahya
    School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia
    Research and Learning Unit, Monash University, Malaysia

    There is an increasing need for better curriculum and pedagogical support for teaching creative writing (Swander, Leahy and Cantrell, 2007), and more so, its subgenre, experimental writing. Using the Research Skill Development (RSD; Willison and O’Regan, 2007) framework, the curriculum document for a third-year varsity unit on experimental writing was mapped out to locate the different facets of the writing process. The exploration yielded these findings: (1) a lack of explicitly stated creative skills; and (2) an inclination towards a more serious and academic tone and mood, lacking in experimentation and risk-taking. Changes to the curriculum document hinged on (1) the number of assessment tasks; (2) the kind of assessment tasks; and (3) the rubric descriptors. The changes seemed to impact the classroom, resulting in more student engagement, and to inform another teaching and learning model for experimental writing.

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  • A systematic method for facilitating curriculum renewal and transformation: two case studies

    Lyn Torres, Georgina Willetts, Loretta Garvey, Tomas Zahora, Steven Yates and Anne Young 
    Monash University Library, Monash University
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Swinburne University

    Background: The mapping of curriculum is particularly important for skills-based degrees with both internal and external accreditation. The MELT (Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching) frameworks, which have a theoretical foundation in Bloom’s Taxonomy, are proposed to provide a platform to assist in the process of curriculum mapping.

    Aim: This paper presents two case studies showcasing a systematic process of mapping curriculum in respect to students’ research skill development and professional standards of practice.

    Method: A qualitative design was used to collect and analyse data from two curricula. Data was coded in NVivo and themed according to elements of the MELT frameworks.

    Results: Combined, the case studies detail (1) research skills identified and associated levels of student autonomy, (2) mapping process to assist curricula design, evaluation and renewal, and (3) the alignments between curriculum and professional standards of practice.

    Conclusion: An evidence-based approach to mapping curricula can be achieved through the application of MELT frameworks in conjunction with NVivo qualitative data analysis software.

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  • Using the research skill development framework to construct marking rubrics for law assessments

    Thaatchaayini Kananatu
    Business Law and Taxation Department, Monash University, Malaysia.

    This practice paper aims to document the utility of the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework in constructing (a) assignment marking rubrics for the in-semester assessment of International Trade Law, a core unit under the Master of International Business programme in Monash University Malaysia; and (b) paper marking rubrics for an undergraduate conference titled Genderworks: Dialogue and Action across Our Differences, organised by Monash University Malaysia. This paper is a story of “why” and “how” the RSD was aligned to the learning outcomes as well as the key assessment criteria for law assignments, particularly for units taken by non-law students. In using the RSD for either undergraduate or postgraduate law assignments for non-law students, this practice paper proposes that there is a need to obtain student feedback and reflection on the effectiveness of the RSD for research-based law assignments.

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  • i-Talitali framework: developing a model for engaged learning and teaching in the Pacific

    Narsamma Lingam, Lalita Sharma, Jiokapeci Qaloqiolevu, Waisale Ramoce, Sangita Lal and Rosarine Rafai
    Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture & Pacific Studies, The University of the South Pacific

    Weaving is not only an art that is significant, but it is a figurative term that might have different connotations for Pacific People. In the search to enhance research skills and knowledge relating to Higher Education, academics and students alike are at the juncture of searching for a framework that best represents Pacific Research Skills. The UU204 Pacific Worlds Teaching Team has embarked on a project that illustrates Research Skills Development using a weaving metaphor. This paper proposes the metaphor of weaving a mat to describe the research process from a Pacific world-view that is underpinned by Pacific knowledge, skills and research values. It outlines the various methods and analysis of how a Pacific Research Framework that is appropriate to the pacific context should be constructed and developed. The Pacific students are taken through the basic essence of Pacific Research Framework through the i-Talitali Framework that the Pacific Worlds, i-Talitali Team of the University of the South Pacific has embarked on.

    Drawing on the weaving metaphor, we aim to use a common item in many Pacific cultures which is the mat. To sit on a mat represents preparation for learning. Thus, while our students are seated on a mat, we then take them on a journey from harvesting the raw materials to the finished product. This is the approach that we are proposing towards the Pacific Research Skills Development.

    i-Talitali - an itaukei term for weaving. This is also the name that is given to this UU204 Teaching Staff who will be “team-presenting” this framework.

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  • The work skills development framework applied to business & management studies in Mexico

    E. Patricia Orozco Quijano and Sue Bandaranaike
    Laurentian University, Canada
    College of Science & Engineering, James Cook University

    Student experiences and perceptions of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) represent a powerful source of feedback for educators and employers. A study conducted in the Faculty of Management, Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, explored the differences in perceived levels of autonomy in student work skills at the beginning (pre) and completion (post) of their placement. The research replicated an Australian study using The Work Skill Development Framework model (Bandaranaike & Willison, 2009/2016), translated into Spanish, among a random sample of 48 students in Business and Management studies. Student perceptions were assessed through a set of survey questions that identified Levels of Autonomy for work skills, from highly structured direction and guidance from the supervisor to working within self-determined guidelines. The study is a preliminary investigation using basic descriptive statistics to compare pre and post placement performance of Mexican students. This study is useful to educators and employers in that it highlights the status of WIL in Mexico and focuses on the strengths and weaknesses among a particular group of placement students.


  • Let’s make it real! approaching engaged learning from authentic contexts across disciplines, emerging case studies from Southern Cross University

    Kristin den Exter, Jonathan Purdy, Adele Wessel, Liz Reimer, Pascal Scherer and Michael Whelan
    School of Environmental Science and Management, Southern Cross University
    Centre for Teaching and Learning, Southern Cross University
    School of Arts and Social Sciences, Southern Cross University
    School of Business and Tourism, Southern Cross University
    School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University

    This paper describes the initial development of three models of engaged learning and teaching (MELT) across a range of disciplines and pedagogical approaches at Southern Cross University, arising from a codesign process as part of the Engaged Learning Incubator Project. What links these approaches is that they are all underpinned by experiential learning and learning that is situated in authentic community and industry contexts. There is a continuum of possibilities for student autonomy within these contexts. The integration of community and student engagement, and identifying the explicit skills required, is being explored in some units via the use of models of engaged learning and teaching during curriculum renewal. Existing MELTs have been drawn upon when developing these new models. This presentation will explore the next steps for the Collaboration MELT where Action Learning has begun to emerge as a way to engage students and community partners as co-learners in the collaborative process. While these MELTs are yet to be tested in the classroom, it is timely to explore our initial models with others and increase our co-design capacity for engaging others who may, as part of the ‘Engaged Learning Incubator’ project, want to develop their own MELTs.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Developing a practice-based approach to MELT for higher education in business management

    Kasun Chandrasekara
    Australian Institute of Business

    Perhaps no other discipline has experienced more persistent criticism during the last decade for irrelevance of teaching practices than business and management education. Among the many challenges faced by business educators, this paper highlights the inadequacy of the curriculum and assessment design approaches adopted by educators in developing the expertise and soft skills required by today’s managers and entrepreneurs. By synthesising practice-based theories in management science with MELT frameworks, it presents a new curriculum and assessment design framework so as to better facilitate adult learning in business education. It also shows how some limitations of current MELT frameworks for business education can be successfully overcome by adopting practice-based theories in management science. Finally, it demonstrates the applicability of the proposed framework to four major sub-disciplines in business, and opens up the opportunity for future research to further expand and evaluate its effectiveness in developing expert practitioners in the business discipline.

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  • Achieving constructive alignment using the critical thinking skills pentagon and reflective practice

    Aurore Chow and Jack Bowers
    Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University

    The Australian Command and Staff College (Joint) sets ‘applying critical thinking, research, and analytical skills to solve complex problems’ as one of its five core course objectives. Yet, as for many tertiary courses, there is anecdotal but not objective evidence that the course achieves constructive alignment with that objective. The Critical Thinking Skills (CTS) pentagon is a tool for enhancing critical thinking by “making thinking visible,” giving learners the vocabulary to analyse and reflect on their skills as critical thinkers. In a group-based, problem-based learning (PBL) exercise, this paper applies the CTS pentagon in two ways: Firstly, students engaged in a scaffolded exercise of critical reflection on their execution of group-based critical thinking skills; this exercise took place in the middle and at the conclusion of the exercise. Secondly, researchers helped course designers use the CTS pentagon to modify an existing assessment rubric to strengthen the rubric’s focus on critical thinking skills. This paper provides evidence for the utility of combining the CTS pentagon and student reflective practice to achieve constructive alignment in critical thinking course objectives.

    Short paper

  • Using the critical thinking pentagon to assess facets of learning within management studies at RMIT

    Susan Mate and Keith Toh
    College of Business, RMIT University
    College of Science, Engineering and Health, RMIT University

    In this paper, we will explore how we have adapted and tailored the Critical Thinking Pentagon and the Research Skill Development (RSD) frameworks to assess students’ work. We also provide an overview of our research design to evaluate the outcomes of the changes made in two key subjects in the management curriculum. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how technologies were integrated into two management subjects to provide greater clarity about the way students apply critical thinking skills and how these are assessed by drawing on an adaption of the RSD framework. We conclude that historical and/or cultural constructs of knowledge acquisition affect student experience in management subjects, and how staff evaluated the redesign was considered in internationalised curriculum. Finally, we propose that Willison and O’Regan’s (2006) Research Development framework (RSD) provides an effective pedagogical focus to reframe the way students are assessed and a framework to inform digitally designed assessment tools.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Scaffolding clinical reasoning and cecision making: clinical handover

    Katie Piper
    Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University

    Clinical handover is a dangerous time for patients. Poor communication during handover is widely thought to contribute to poorer patient outcomes. In Australia, tools such as ISBAR have been introduced in an attempt to provide a shared framework and consistent handover format. Despite the introduction of ISBAR, errors are still a prevalent issue. This paper introduces a potential solution. The Research Skills Development (RSD) framework was used as a tool for final year nursing students to apply clinical judgement and critical thinking during handover. Identifying handover as an active process will stimulate the provision of rationales for patient management, and earlier recognition of clinical deterioration.

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  • Evaluating student engagement and learning outcomes through e-Learning in biomedical sciences

    Rebecca Donkin and Elizabeth Askew
    Discipline of Biomedical Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast
    Faculty of Sports, Health, Education and Engineering, Sunshine Coast

    Formative learning activities integrated into curriculum design that include timely and useful feedback are recognised to have a positive effect on learning outcomes. Nonetheless, there is limited evidence that activities involving e-learning also have this positive effect. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of e-learning formative activities in a biomedical science course to assess whether learning is enhanced by using this resource. To address the research question, the MELT framework was adapted to determine whether the research significantly increased knowledge, as measured by improved assessment grades. Results showed a statistically significant increase in mean summative assessment score and final grade for students who completed the formative e-learning module. E-learning resources are an option for all educators but are particularly suitable for those who have reduced face-to-face contact hours and follow the MELT framework to teach the basic sciences.

    Full paper now published: R Donkin, E Askew. ‘An Evaluation of Formative “In-Class” versus “E-Learning” Activities to Benefit Student Learning Outcomes in Biomedical Sciences’ Journal of Biomedical Education (2017). Volume 2017, Article ID 9127978, 7 pages

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  • Research skill development (RSD) - integrated online report for critical thinking skills

    Raissa Mataniari
    School of Education, The University of Adelaide

    This study aims to examine the use of a Research Skill Development (RSD)-integrated online report in an Indonesian context for the teaching of critical thinking skills. Action research was adopted as the methodology, because it enables researchers to apply and evaluate the initiative directly in the targeted populations. The action research was conducted in one class, to provide a rich and detailed understanding of the factors involved. The project was undertaken in a Plant Physiology class in the Biology Education Department at the University of Jambi, Indonesia. Questionnaires and interviews were conducted to analyse the effectiveness of RSD-structured laboratory reports in developing student critical thinking. Student participants were asked to answer a questionnaire after using RSD-integrated online reports at the end of the semester. Additionally, the lab tutors were interviewed about their perspectives on student engagement with the online laboratory reports.

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  • A melting moment in UK higher education?

    Michael Wilmore
    Faculty of Media and Communication, Bournemouth University, UK

    The advent of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and proposed changes to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) provide added incentives to the integration of research and education in UK universities. MELT and RSD frameworks are ideally suited to meet these needs. However, these opportunities will not be realised in practice unless leaders in higher education are able to develop approaches to professional development that not only foster academic interest, but also lead to sustained changes in teaching practice that incorporate these frameworks for research-integrated education. This paper briefly summarises one approach to academic professional development that was inspired by MELT-style approaches to education, and identifies university leadership practice as a new focus for RSD/MELT research.

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  • Research skills development at the University of the South Pacific

    Shaiza Janif
    Research Office, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji

    The University of the South Pacific adopted the Research Skills Development (RSD) framework in 2012 in its efforts to lift the research capacity of the region following its Strategic Total Academic Review (STAR) process. The adaptation was aimed at explicitly teaching critical research skills to university graduates and ultimately lifting the research capacity of the Pacific. The implementation process saw curriculum reform, which included the explicit development and assessment of research skills from the first year of study and flowing through to all subsequent years. Now, six years since the initial implementation, this paper looks at what worked, what didn’t, and what must evolve. The paper outlines the project implementation process, challenges, and associated costs.

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  • Integrating the research skill development (RSD) framework into master’s curriculum at the Royal University of Phnom Penh

    Serey Sok and Vanny Sok
    Research Office, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    The Research Skill Development (RSD) Framework was developed by John Willison in 2006, and it has been widely applied by faculty at the University of South Pacific in Fiji. In late 2016, the Australian Government Department of Education and Training funded Dr. John Willison to introduce this framework to the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP). This paper illustrates awareness and capacity building, integration means, potentials and challenges for applying the RSD at RUPP. In order to build capacity at RUPP, various events, i.e., training sessions, workshops and international exchanges, are arranged to raise awareness and to share experiences and examples of good practice related to the framework. At RUPP, the RSD framework could probably be integrated by starting from master's level; good practice and experience may later help to spread this to bachelor degrees. Interest from the management team at RUPP is promising; however, insufficient internal resources and faculty participation present constraints to the implementation of the framework.

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  • Research based education meets MELT: co-created classrooms for the 21st century

    Beth Loveys, Catherine Snelling and Sophie Karanicolas
    School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide
    Adelaide Dental School, The University of Adelaide

    “Partnership in learning and teaching is a way of staff and students learning and working together to foster engaged student learning and engaging learning and teaching enhancement.” (1) p.15

    This paper focuses on emerging practices in co-creating curriculum at the University of Adelaide. Our three case studies will demonstrate different aspects of the research-teaching nexus: course design, learning and teaching activities, assessment tasks, and learning outcomes (2). These activities have been identified as key to infusing research practices and experiences into student learning (3). The University of Adelaide has made substantial progress in incorporating research-based education (RBE) into the curriculum across all undergraduate programs and thus the Research Skills Development Framework (RSD) has been central to scaffolding undergraduate students’ experience of research. Since 2014, all students have undertaken small group discovery experiences (SGDE) in every year of their program (4). Use of flipped classroom techniques makes space in the curriculum for enquiry-based and self-regulated learning (5). A focus on career readiness has seen increased attention given to the development of generic graduate attributes alongside deep content knowledge and skill acquisition (6). We are seeking to engage more meaningfully with students as partners in their learning, which has led to the emerging practice of co-created curricula. In this paper, we will discuss our experiences in using curriculum co-design across different aspects of RBE using a fusion of Design Based Thinking (7) and the Active Cognitive Engagement (ACE) Pentagon (Fig. 1). Three diverse case studies will be discussed and key common features of these co-creation exercises will be presented.

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  • Stages of concern: a facilitator's reaction to RSD implementation in a community of practice

    This case study examines one faculty-leader’s change in concerns as Willison and O’Regan’s (2007) RSD framework was introduced, via a community of practice, across four colleges at a university in the Midwestern United States. George, Hall and Stiegelbauer’s (2006) Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) was used to measure the faculty-leader’s awareness of the RSD framework; concerns about themselves relative to the RSD framework; concerns about managing tasks related to adoption of the RSD framework; and concerns about the impacts of the RSD framework at the university. George et al.’s (2006) “Stages of Concern Questionnaire” (SoCQ) was used to capture changes in the facilitator’s concern levels over time but, as Kwok (2014) asserts, the measures needed to be contextualized within the facilitator’s experience to make sense of the results. A more holistic model, like that described by McKinney, Sexton and Meyerson (1999), may be needed to provide a more accurate picture of faculty’s willingness to embrace new initiatives such as integrating the RSD and undergraduate research into classrooms.

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  • Optimising problem solving: students adapting the RSD so that it would speak to students

    Siddharth Shah and Dorothy Missingham
    School of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Adelaide

    Undergraduate student tutors working with first year students in a core Mechanical Engineering course have been leading an active, democratic, student-centred learning approach for a number of years. As part of their tutor training (a process which they initiated) tutors were introduced to the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework in 2012. Commenting on the RSD, one tutor stated, “This is what has been missing from our own engineering (education) … we can help our first years better with this understanding”. Approximately 18 months later, tutors revisited the RSD to reflect on adapting its use so that it would speak to students working within constructs of the engineering method. Over a series of intensive workshops, tutors developed the Optimising Problem Solving (OPS) pentagon that, whilst respectful of and consistent with the RSD, has introduced a multi-directional, iterative approach reflective of mechanical engineering. Each year, as some of the student tutors graduate, new members join the group of tutors, and the use of OPS is applied and refined to promote learning amongst the subsequent cohort of first year students. In this session, tutors will discuss the development of OPS, their experience of engaging students in collaborative exercises, and of peer teaching and student leadership of students.

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  • Keep calm and carry a pentagon

    Penny Vervoorst
    Internal auditor, Holmesglen Institute

    This MELT-in-your-mouth paper introduces a variation to the Optimising Problem Solving (OPS) pentagon. Low numeracy skills in adults are widely recognised as a significant concern. Addressing this issue is essential in Vocational Education and Training (VET). The context of this paper is numeracy skills support within the VET sector. Programs which increase numeracy skills of adults, delivered by adequately experienced and qualified practitioners, are needed. The Innovative High Achieving Template Enhancing Maths (Maths Template) was created as a tool for enhancing learning and supporting numeracy skills. Being adaptable to suit diverse environments, it has a broad range of uses. In a user-friendly, uncomplicated practical way, it provides a calm step-by-step approach to skills development. The three key concepts of the Maths Template are familiarity, confidence and competence.

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  • Integrating problem-based learning and research skill development: an example from a master’s teacher leader course

    Tara L. Shepperson
    Educational Leadership, Eastern Kentucky University

    This paper presents an exploratory analysis of a course that integrated Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and the Optimising Problem Solving (OPS) version of the Research Skills Development (RSD) model. Data were drawn from course assignments and end-of-course evaluations of 86 students who participated in four separate sessions from fall 2016 to summer 2017. This leadership master’s course was designed for working teachers who built problem-to-solution projects based on their actual school experiences. Descriptive analyses found that the PBL and OPS frameworks aligned not only conceptually, but in the steps of the problem-to-solution process. Most valuable, however, was the application of the OPS framework in the student evaluations of the course. Findings suggest that PBL and OPS successfully integrated to scaffold authentic learning and provided a means to gauge course outcomes.

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  • Teachers’ and tutors’ perceptions of the optimising problem solving (OPS) framework for solving mathematical problems

    Shinta Sari
    School of Education, The University of Adelaide

    At the point when this study was conducted, the OPS framework had already been implemented for some time by tutors in the University of Adelaide’s Mechanical Engineering program. The framework helps tutors in teaching problem solving and improves students' problem-solving abilities. (Willison et al., 2016, pp. 8-9). This study aims to investigate and critically analyse teachers' and tutors' perceptions regarding the implementation of the Optimising Problem Solving (OPS) framework in mathematical contexts. This research is an ethnography study with a thematic content analysis approach. It found three aspects of the OPS framework to be important in the context of mathematics teaching; concept, structure, and the holistic nature of the framework. Further studies should use actual academic results as outcomes.

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  • Using the optimising problem solving pentagon as a basis for research skills in final year engineering Karu Purush, Tran Minh Hien and Belinda Sta Maria

    Karu Purush, Tran Minh Hien and Belinda Sta Maria
    Research and Learning Department, Library and Learning Commons (LLC), Monash University Malaysia

    This paper describes a collaboration between the library and the Engineering Faculty at Monash University Malaysia, using one of the Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching (MELT) known as the Optimising Problem Solving (OPS) pentagon. The setting where the OPS has been applied is in a Final Year Engineering Project (FYEP) where students are required to complete a research project relevant to the discipline. To complete the research project successfully, students need to acquire research skills. This paper focuses on describing a targeted library program for students undertaking this unit, which contributes essential research and academic skills to enable students to complete their project paper. The program covers thesis formatting using Microsoft Word, management of references and citations using EndNote, literature review writing, writing and structuring the report and giving an oral presentation of the report. All the component skills contributed by the library can be mapped to the six Facets of Research described in the OPS pentagon – a distilled version of the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework. The research skill facets within the OPS pentagon may vary in positioning, which provides fluidity when applied to the context of different research projects. Using the OPS pentagon with students can help with explaining research skills in a way that is more digestible than the grid format of the RSD framework. This paper recommends the use of the OPS pentagon for unpacking the problem solving aspect of research projects undertaken during the final year of engineering studies.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Rising to the surface: re-designing curriculum to accentuate research skills in second year pathology and clinical science

    Manisha Thakkar
    Endeavour College of Natural Health

    This paper acknowledges that research and inquiry-based curriculum must commence with the foundational undergraduate years in order for students to acquire research skills and applied knowledge for professional practice. However, whole-of-program realities entailed beginning with a second-year bioscience subject of complementary and alternative medicine degree programmes at Endeavour College of Natural Health. A Model of Engaged Learning and Teaching (MELT) named the ‘Clinical Management Pentagon’ was integrated into the second year Pathology and Clinical Science 2 & 3 subject to improve students’ research and clinical analysis skills through the curriculum re-design approach. The case study assessment and related study materials were modified to incorporate the Clinical Management Pentagon. Improvement in students’ perceptions of research and clinical analysis skills was achieved after semester-long exposure to the Clinical Management Pentagon. This study demonstrates the need for long-term exposure to the research framework through whole-of-curriculum re-design, in order to accentuate research skills and enable their transfer and applicability upon graduates’ employment.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Rediscovering the added value of research in undergraduate formation: a case-based reflection

    Ana María Yévenes
    Family Science Department, Finis Terrae University, Chile

    The Research Skill Development Framework constitutes the basis of the preparatory courses of the Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science offered by Finis Terrae University (Chile). This pedagogic strategy, established in initial theoretical courses, is aimed at strengthening cognitive skills in students right from the beginning of the Social Science program. This short paper provides hints about the usefulness of incorporating research skills in different areas of undergraduate education that have traditionally lacked a scientific approach.

    Short paper | Video   

  • Research skill development in the MBA capstone project: tools for facilitating student engagement

    Colin A. Sharp
    School of Management and Business, University of South Australia 

    The paper presents the preliminary findings of an ongoing research project which follows up with MBA students on the introduction of the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework. It considers the RSD as a basis for explaining to these students how their studies were enabling them to meet the AQF 9 requirements for a research (capstone) experience in the master's coursework degree. It is based on working papers presented at two professional association meetings pertaining to the use of Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) as a student engagement tool in learning, teaching and evaluation (Sharp, 2016a; 2016b).

    Evidence is presented concerning the efficacy of two tools of engagement: GAS can be used in facilitating evaluation of effectiveness of student engagement in students’ own goal setting and measurement of the learning outcomes (Sharp, 2014) in research skill development (Willison & O’Regan, 2007) for their master's coursework capstone project development. Also, based on these data and anecdotal consultation with MBA students, an adaptation of Willison’s RSD pentagon can be used to facilitate student engagement in strategic thinking.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • The effectiveness of 'bolted on' research training

    Emma Gyuris
    College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University

    This research considers the alignment of the curriculum and assessment design of the subject Research and Communication Skills for the Natural Sciences (SC5055) against the RSD matrix and asks which students benefit most from training in research and communication skills. The impact of SC5055 on students’ achievement and their ability to self-evaluate the development of their skills and understanding is also explored. Potential improvement for the RSD framework is highlighted.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Conceptual catch-22 in RSD for novice learners

    Karey Harrison
    School of Arts & Communication, University of Southern Queensland

    This paper is based on a case study analysing students’ capacity – in terms of Research Skill Development (RSD) facets related to ‘conceptualising’ and ‘finding’ relevant information – in their first assignment for an introductory (first year) social science course. The analysis of their performance exposes a Catch-22 in the Australia & New Zealand Information Literacy (ANZIL) standards, such that ‘conceptualising’ and ‘finding’ require an understanding of concepts in the context of the discipline, an understanding that is not available to novice researchers. An analysis of what is required to effectively conceptualise and find relevant information shows that locating information is a complex task that requires research skills, not just technical search skills. Each assignment submitted for an initial first year social science assessment task was analysed for textual indicators of the approach used by the student to conceptualise key concepts, and the results were tabulated and quantified. This paper will argue that insufficient attention has been given, within RSD and sister frameworks, to the conceptual difficulties associated both with determining what information is required and in finding that information.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Using the RSD framework to address equity gaps in undergraduate research

    Jenny Shanahan
    Director, Undergraduate Research, Bridgewater State University, U.S.A.

    The benefits of participating in undergraduate research (UR) are most pronounced for students from traditionally underserved groups (underrepresented minority, Aboriginal, low-income, and/or first-generation students), yet access to UR in many parts of the world favors economically advantaged students with family legacies of higher education. Scaffolding research throughout required components of the curriculum is key to addressing those equity gaps. A professional development workshop with the goal of broadening access to UR was offered at eight diverse universities and three national conferences in the United States. Participants were introduced to the Research Skill Development (RSD) Framework as a means of developing students’ research skills in fair and transparent ways. They used the model to draft learning outcomes and pedagogical strategies that would apply universally across their programs. Using the RSD Framework impelled the participants to make evident how the process of inquiry and research can be undertaken by all students in their program, thereby breaking down the divide in access to UR.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Investigating refugee secondary student perspectives on models of engaged learning & teaching

    How should schools engage with South Sudanese refugee secondary students and enhance their teaching and learning? A recent doctoral thesis with ethics-approved research investigated South Sudanese refugee secondary students’ learning experiences in Adelaide, South Australia. Whilst the RSD (Research Skills Development) Framework and the subsequent family of models called MELT (Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching) were not applied in the original analysis, the interview data displayed clear signs of the students’ strong affective and cognitive facets of learning (A-F). These different facets have been called “facets of research” in the Research Skill Development framework. The classic MELT model pentagon was used to create a distinctive and new MELT model of engaged learning and teaching to provide learning signposts, insights and understandings for teachers of refugee secondary students. Examination of the students’ perspectives did not reveal a linear progression of the facets, from A to F, but rather a movement back and forth with certain facets being mentioned more frequently by the participants. Such findings can help teachers become more aware of the unique journey of refugee secondary students towards achieving their own learning autonomy.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Multidisciplinary approach to MELT use from grade 5 to Year 12: exploring applications of the RSD pentagon in middle and high school classrooms

    Jason Home
    Coober Pedy Area School

    A 2009 study found that about 40 per cent of school students displayed unproductive behaviours regularly, with over half of these students “compliant but disengaged – they were inattentive or lacked motivation.” A 2014 South Australian study similarly reported “widespread problems with a lack of engagement.” Overcoming student disengagement is complicated. What is taught and the way it is taught are crucial. The Australian Curriculum provides the what, but the teachers are left to their own devices to provide the way in which to teach the curriculum. This author believes that using the facets of the RSD pentagon provides sufficient guidance to develop meaningful and engaging lessons for both the teacher and students, which, by reengaging the passively disengaged students, could translate to a 20% increase in student engagement in lessons.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Reframing the research and work skill development framework facets to support becoming a teacher

    Deborah Heck
    School of Education, University of the Sunshine Coast

    Attrition in the education profession is increasing, and this is putting pressure on teacher education programs to adapt and focus on work-ready graduates. Professional experience placements have a long history in teacher education, and there has often been a focus on assessing the cognitive aspect of professional practice. This emphasis has emerged in response to the requirement for graduates to achieve a set of largely cognitive standards as a measure of their readiness for the profession. The purpose of this paper is to reframe the facets of the Research Skills Development (RSD) and Work Skill Development (WSD) frameworks to integrate and identify the connections between the cognitive and affective domain within the context of teacher education. The facet reframing will draw on the Work Readiness Scale (WRS) currently used to assess health professionals for entry into the workforce. The current framing of language within the RSD, WSD, and WRS lacks the connectedness required to support teacher educators to develop cognitive and affective aspects required for work ready graduates. Hence, a hybrid reframing of the six facets has been developed to support teacher educators to develop programs that evidence a fluid connection between cognitive and affective aspects of becoming a teacher. Further research will explore the breadth of student journeys to becoming a teacher and developing their work readiness from the commencement of their program through to graduation.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Using the work skill development framework to build rigour into WIL programs

    Diane Mayorga, Suzanne Schibeci and Ray Tolhurst
    School of Accounting, Business School, University of New South Wales
    Faculty of Science, University of New South Wales
    School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering, University of Wollongong

    This workshop aims to help participants apply the WSD Framework to WIL programs. The growing importance of "soft" or generic" skills is acknowledged. The workshop is based on developing techniques that identify the work skills that students require for employment and then how to develop learning and assessment activities to enable students to build a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that they have key employability skills valued by employers. To assist workshop participants, examples of practice will be provided.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Envisioning the future of research-based curriculum design using lego serious play

    Chad Habel
    Teaching Innovation Unit, University of South Australia

    All too often, curriculum design operates as in a vacuum: it is the grand achievement of a single teacherly genius, an ivory tower disconnected from all else and as autonomous as academic culture itself. No doubt there are political, institutional, and interpersonal forces at play that help shape this paradigm. In this conception curriculum works as a closed system: isolated, Newtonian, subject to unchangeable laws and amenable to a controlling design methodology from which student learning outcomes are evacuated as predictably as waste (Katz & Kahn 1966). Frameworks such as MELT or the RSD go some way towards addressing this closed design thinking, but if implemented as top-down models they may serve to reinforce the problem.

    Short paper | Video

  • Finding employability skills in the curriculum: are they there?

    Lyn Torres, Barbara Yazbeck, Sebastian Borutta and Sue Bandaranaike
    Monash University Library, Monash University
    College of Science & Engineering, James Cook University

    The pedagogy of employability relates to the teaching and learning of a range of skills, knowledge and qualities that support sustained teaching and career development, a desired outcome of higher education. Employability skills include: “a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy” (Yorke, 2006, p. 8). To monitor the growth and application of work skills in a placement environment, the Work Skill Development (WSD) framework (Bandaranaike & Willison, 2009; 2013) was originally conceived and introduced through Work Integrated Learning Programs (WIL) at James Cook University. Subsequently in 2015, Monash University librarians and learning advisers applied the WSD to guide and make employability skills explicit in the library’s research and learning skill programs in a response to the employability skills agenda.

    Short paper | Slides | Video

  • Transforming teaching practices: a model to conquer evidence based decision making skills

    Manisha Thakkar, Jeanne Young Kirby, Jason Home, David Wilson and Roopa Howard
    Biosciences, Endeavour College of Natural Health
    Biological Sciences, Flinders University
    Coober Pedy Area School
    Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide
    Information Technology Engineering and the Environment Divisional Office, University of South Australia

    Evidence based decision making (EBDM) skills are central to teaching and learning practices, and are considered to be key competencies in the educational system. Various teaching approaches and frameworks have been implemented at different educational institutes to embed EBDM skills in the course curriculum. Research Skill Development (RSD) is one such framework that supports transformation of teaching practices and fosters accessible understanding of EBDM skills and students’ autonomy through Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching (MELT). This workshop will look at different EBDM approaches and identify how shared parameters of MELT can drive students to conquer Evidence Based Decision Making skills.

    Short paper | Slides | Video