The National UniServe Conference is a three day event held annually
at The University of Sydney in the AVCC week in October. Day 1 enables
discipline groups to meet and share issues of current importance. Days
2 & 3 of the conference provide a platform for presenting and developing
high quality research in tertiary science teaching and learning.
We encourage papers and posters related to other issues and innovations
in science education.
Walker teaches in educational psychology at postgraduate and undergraduate
levels in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University
Designing learning environments that engage science undergraduates:
Principles from motivational theory and research.
Richard has published a number of journal articles and book chapters
on various aspects of learning and motivation. Many of these publications
have been developed from a sociocultural perspective. More recently
he has, with research students, been involved in the development of
a sociocultural approach to motivation. Invited chapters on this approach
to motivation will appear in E. Baker, B McGaw & P. Peterson (Eds-in-Chief)
International Encyclopedia of Education (3rd Ed) and in T. Urdan,
S. Karabenick & F. Pajares (Eds.), Advances in motivation and
achievement: The next decade of research in motivation and achievement
(Vol 16) in 2010.
Although there are many different motivational theories, they can
be categorised into two main approaches: person in context and sociocultural.
Person in context approaches emphasise the individual and cognitive
nature of motivation and consider it to be a transaction between the
person and their environment. Most motivational theories fall into
this category and, taken together, they suggest that student engagement
in learning depends upon perceptions of autonomy, control, challenge
and a sense of relatedness to others. Engagement also depends upon
the extent to which students perceive themselves as efficacious and
value the knowledge and skills they are learning.
Sociocultural approaches emphasise the social nature and origins
of motivation. These approaches consider that motivation has its origins
in collaborative practices, is internalised to become individual motivation,
and is externalised in subsequent individual or collaborative activity.
These emerging approaches suggest that student engagement will be
more effectively motivated in environments in which learning is appropriately
scaffolded, and in which positive interpersonal relations and shared
understanding are emphasised.
Burke da Silva is a lecturer and the first year coordinator in the
School of Biological, Sciences at Flinders University.
Raising the profile of teaching and learning: Scientists leading
One of Karen's main interests in science education is addressing
issues of falling student retention and decreased student engagement.
Karen has been lecturing for 15 years at the undergraduate level in
Canada, England, U.S.A. and Australia giving her an international
perspective on course curricula, design and pedagogical approaches.
She has played major roles in coordinating teaching and learning activities
and her educational research interests include innovation and change
in higher education and science education reforms. In 2007 Karen was
a recipient of two national teaching awards; a Carrick Citation for
Outstanding Contributions to student learning for leadership in the
development of an interactive model of teaching focused on engagement
and retention in large science based classes, and the UniServe Pearson
Education Award for the same project. Karen was the Project Leader
of the ALTC funded project 'Raising the Profile of Teaching and Learning
- Scientists Leading Scientists', is the Biology representative for
ASELL (Advancing Science by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory),
and is a member of an ALTC grant looking into student transition to
It has long been assumed that expertise, or profound knowledge in
subject area, is sufficient for effective teaching at the university
level. However, lack of student engagement and failure of students
to reach set standards have been found to be associated with an inability
of academic staff to teach or to construct appropriate assessment
components. With this in mind, students are likely to be given less
than adequate instruction, reducing their motivation to engage with
subject content. This can result in a higher probability of discontinuation
in their chosen course of study. Ultimately, student engagement, success
and retention can be affected by motivating non-engaged, uninformed
academics and the ALTC project 'Raising the profile of teaching and
learning: Scientists leading scientists' has focused on ways to do