UniServe Science News Volume 18 October 2001


CAL-laborate: UniServe Science's international collaborative journal


CAL-laborate started as a collaborative venture between the Council for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education, Sweden (now Council for the Renewal of Higher Education), the CTI for Physics at the University of Surrey and UniServe Science at The University of Sydney. Each country found articles from their academics and the collaborative newsletter was published either as a local print run or just in electronic format or both. The first issue of CAL-laborate for the Physical Sciences (originally for Physics and Chemistry, but now including Geosciences, Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics) was produced in October 1997 with an annual newsletter ever since (produced in October each year). From1998 UniServe Science has hosted a web version of the newsletter and it is available both online and in pdf, Since 2000 CAL-laborate for the Life Sciences (Psychology, Biology and Biochemistry) has been produced. The major players are now the UK Learning and Teaching Support Networks (LTSNs) in the relevant disciplines and one contact in the Council for Renewal of Higher Education in Sweden.

Recently the following policy statement was drafted by the collaborating organisations.

CAL-laborate: policy statement

CAL-laborate is an annual publication which disseminates, in an international context, experiences and opinions about the use of Information Technology in university science teaching. It exists in order to promote communication between different national communities, and to promote international collaboration at the level of facilitation and reflection. It is primarily a means of documenting work done in the field, in the belief that the different communities of teachers are similar in many respects and can benefit from one another's experiences, and also in the belief that members of any one community might more willingly take notice of something that comes from outside. There are two publications each year: one for the life sciences in the first half of the year and one for the physical sciences and geosciences in the second half.

1. Aims

Its primary aim is to foster linkages between academics all over the world, by the sharing of ideas thoughts and experiences. It is not a newsletter, in the sense that it exists to relay items of news which might be of interest to its specific group of readers. Instead it is a non-refereed journal for the publication of full-length articles. It is directed specifically to practising tertiary level science teachers, and not to students directly - though it is hoped that what it contains may bring benefits to students through their teachers.

2. Objectives

The success of this publication will lie in its ability to reach an extensive audience of readers and to attract a wide spectrum of people willing to contribute. Hence the proximate objectives are to hold, and if possible to increase, the numbers of authors who are willing to write for us; and to extend the distribution lists. It would also be a valuable outcome if the number of participating countries could be increased beyond the current three.

3. Participation

In each of the three participating countries there is an organization which sponsors the publication. In the UK this organization is the LTSN network, in Sweden the Council for Renewal of Higher Education, and in Australia UniServe Science. In each of these there is a member of the organization who is responsible for policy decisions. For the life sciences issues they are Ed Wood, Ingemar Ingemarsson and Mary Peat respectively; and for the physical sciences issues, Dick Bacon, Ingemar Ingemarsson and Ian Johnston. In each country there is also a local editor, whose job it is to source articles and to handle whatever promotion is appropriate. For the life sciences issues they are Trish Walker, Stacey Sorensen and Anne Fernandez respectively; and for the physical sciences issues, Simone Richardson, Stacey Sorensen and Anne Fernandez. UniServe Science, in Australia, assumes senior editorial control and is responsible for producing the final copy, in electronic form. Decisions about whether it will be printed locally or simply be available on the Internet are left to the representatives of the individual countries.

4. Future concerns

One important question is whether or not articles in these publications should be refereed. To date the agreed decision has been in the negative. It is believed that to do so would change the nature of this publication and make it less like an open-forum (which is believed to be its strength). But this question should be reviewed from time to time. Secondly, it may be that the various participating organizations or their CAL-laborate representatives may change from time to time. To ensure the greatest support for the continuing existence of the publication, it is recommended that each country should ensure that there is something on paper which can be handed on to the next people becoming involved.

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UniServe Science News Volume 18 October 2001

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