Recap of the 2023 HERDSA conference
The 2023 Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) annual conference was held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from Tuesday 4 July to Friday 7 July. We spoke to Dr Lauren Hansen, Senior Lecturer Teaching Capability & Innovation within Deakin Learning Futures (DLF) about her top three takeaways from the conference.
There was a strong focus on equity and inclusion throughout the conference. A special highlight for me was a presentation from Deborah Munro, QUT on what influences unpaid carers considering higher education. While there is some research on how unpaid carers, largely women, navigate higher education, we know little about those that choose not to, or who unable, to enrol in higher education. Deborah raised some great questions – why don’t we have free occasional childcare on campus? Why aren’t they included in official equity groups and afforded special consideration? Why don’t they get reduced fee or free higher education given their $78 billion contribution to the economy? Given that many in the audience were themselves unpaid carers, it was an emotional session. And there was a collective celebration when we learned that Deborah, an unpaid carer herself, had submitted her PhD thesis the night before. It really encapsulates what the teaching and learning community is about.
We were yet to see an influx of showcase presentations on generative AI, as I am sure the research is being done as we speak. The showcases on COVID pivots have also largely run its course. We are starting to see an emerging focus on what it takes to deliver the work that we do, whether that be through partnership and collaboration, critical or peer reflection or communities of practice. Several presentations focused on how we develop our identity in the T&L space, given that many of us come from other disciplines. The impact of our T&L professional identity on student learning seems to be a topic to watch.
Deakin showed up and showed out with 14 presentations and roundtables across the virtual and onsite conference, six posters and of course, a rousing keynote address on the final day by Dr Mollie Dollinger, who challenged us to take a more integrated approach to evaluating the student experience. Here are some of the main topics that were covered by Deakin staff at the conference:
- Professional learning – support to use learning analytics, peer reflection, HE Fellowships, the experiences of third space academics, work/life balance for PhD candidates.
- Assessment – student perspectives, online proctored exams, authentic assessment, simulations and assessment for inclusion.
- How we work – the sustainability of innovation, using frameworks to examine curriculum change such as critical realism and feminist approaches, the challenges of AI and using LinkedIn and authentic learning to support employability.
Two of the Deakin roundtables, typically for 10 people, were standing room only or BYO seat. Sharing our work in this way allows us to learn from others and form important connections across the sector that allow us to design, deliver, enable and lead premium learning experiences for our students.
Understanding the student experience in the 2020s: the need for an integrated approach Dr Mollie Dollinger
Long-term impact of HEA Fellowship: a narrative study
Associate Professor Barbie Panther and Dr Lauren Hansen
Professional learning needs for everyday learning analytics
Associate Professor Linda Corrin
How do students with disabilities experience exams? Towards assessment for inclusion
Dr Joanna Tai
Online proctored exams: rhetoric vs reality
Associate Professor Kelli Nicola-Richmond
All aboard: Implementation of authentic assessment across a faculty
Dr Tiffany Gunning
Redefining work-life balance: PhD Candidature in Australia during the pandemic
Ms Citra Amelia
Measuring exercise and sports science graduate outcomes with LinkedIn
Dr Lauren Hansen
The development of a feminist approach to the practice to the scholarship of teaching and learning
Dr Tricia Ong
Challenging assumptions: Experiences of working in the ‘third space’
Dr Puvaneswari P Arumugam
What makes for an authentic assessment in first-year higher education?
Dr Tim Chambers
Artificial intelligence and the challenge for institutions
Dr Rebecca Awdry
Tools for evoking and provoking peer reflection
Dr Lauren Hansen and Ms Danni McCarthy
Sustainability of teaching and learning innovations in higher education
Professor Margaret Bearman, Associate Professor Linda Corrin, Associate Professor Darci Taylor and Dr Matthew Thomas
Scaffolding First Nations perspectives in the curriculum
Ms Karla Wells-Duerr
The impact of implementing a virtual simulated learning environment on students’ cognitive and affective skills in optometry education
Dr Amanda K Edgar
Unlocking the Power of Assessment: Discovering Student Perspectives and Transforming Practice
Dr Amanda K Edgar
Virtual simulated international optometry clinical placements enabling expansion of the classroom
Dr Amanda K Edgar
Critical realism as a framework for analysing curriculum change in higher education
Dr Robyn Yucel
Building peer-supported teaching practice from the ground up
Dr Tim Chambers
Pursuit of increased employability through authentic learnings
Ms Rachel Sinanan