VicTeach events 2015


First Year Experience workshop

Download the workshop slides and the keynote slides.

11 February

Transitioning from School to University

In a couple of weeks there will be a new group of students in our lectures, fresh from high school. For some the transition to university study will be easy, for many it will be a struggle but they will cope, and there are some for whom it is just too tough. This session will give us some insight into the issues facing first-year students today. The programme includes:

  • A look at some of the international research on the ‘First Year Experience’ and its relevance for us at Victoria University of Wellington.
  • A consideration of aspects of the social and personal development of students transitioning from High School and the implications for academic engagement, motivation and success.
  • A review of the research into how NCEA impacts on student learning in the first year of University study.
  • Cameos of what is happening across the University to help address some issues identifies as being a problem in the first year of study.
  • A time for reflection and discussion about how our courses could be shaped to better meet the needs of students in transition.


26 March

VicTeach Annual Navalgaze

21 April

Looking in the Mirror: what is our academic culture and how does this support our students (or not?)

Reflecting a similar initiative in Britain in 1999, the New Zealand government aims to grow the annual value of international students to our country by $5 billion over the next ten years. Victoria University of Wellington Vice Chancellor’s recently announced strategy is aligned with this intention. Building on Raewyn Connell’s southern theory, and other recent research, this workshop looks at the pedagogic and practical implications for Victoria University of Wellington. The implications of the proposed policy directions on teaching (and students’ learning), and mechanisms to respond to these will be explored through group discussions and synthesised in a closing plenary session.

We encourage staff from a range of academic and support services to join us and contribute to the discussion on how to make provision for the needs of international, local, Māori and Pasifika students.

You can read the notes and view the presentation slides from this session.

3 May

Cultivating and Assessing Creativity

According to the Victoria University of Wellington graduate profile, all of our graduates are expected to be prepared with well-developed skills in creative thinking. Likewise, one of the new themes in the University’s Strategic Plan entails 'Cultivating creative capital'. But what is creativity, and what values are inherent in honing it as a skill? If we teach students creative thinking skills, then how do we ensure that these skills are effectively assessed? This VicTeach session invites the exploration of the topic of creativity with particular focus on its cultivation and assessment. Chaired by two seasoned design educators, Tonya Sweet (School of Design) and Kevin Sweet (School of Architecture), this session will introduce strategies for the fostering of creative thinking skills and methods for the evaluation of creative outcomes. Participants should expect to engage in a bit of creative problem solving during this VicTeach session!

10 June

Transition to University II

A follow up session on Transition to University from 11 February.

Many thanks for your contribution to our productive Vic Teach session on First Year Experience (FYE)—to share first-trimester experiences and seek constructive strategies and tactics to improve the FYE. There was lively discussion and a shared understanding of the issues and possible solutions.

For those of you who were not at the original FYE session held at the beginning of this year (11 February) refer to the summary files and notes for that session—you may find this interesting and informative.


7 x 7 format on new technologies for learning and teaching


Learning Space Evolution at Victoria

Questions for discussion

You can provide responses via GoSoapBox before during and after the session. Event access code: 129-016-917.

  1. What are the strengths of the current Victoria University of Wellington learning environments that support your discipline and/or model of learning and teaching?
  2. How could those strengths be sustained in a way that responds to the factors identified in the discussion paper? Are there additional pressures or factors that should also be responded to?
  3. How could the learning and teaching infrastructure at Victoria University of Wellington be changed to significantly improve the educational outcomes for students and staff?
  4. How could the University better support staff and students using the educational facilities?
  5. What types of learning spaces should the University be planning to provide in its redevelopment of the Kirk building complex?
  6. How can the University use new learning spaces to effectively support cross-disciplinary learning and teaching?
  7. In what ways would a large lecture theatre (approximately 500 seats) strengthen the University, providing options for a range of future activities, including those that enhance research as well as education? How would it complement other spaces and benefit from ongoing technological and pedagogical developments?
  8. What impact do you see arising from blended models of delivery at Victoria University of Wellington on your discipline and/or model of learning and teaching?


26 August

Perspectives on working with postgraduate students

This was the first session of what may become a VicTeach strand focusing on the postgraduate experience.

Kate Nickelchock the student advocate described her role at Victoria University of Wellington. The video she showed is intended to introduce students to the advocate's role in a friendly way. Kate explained that she works with post-grads to work on issues such as break downs of the student–supervisor relationship.

Wendy Kelly has recently completed her PhD studying part time while also working as an academic in the School of Psychology clinical programme. Wendy discussed the challenges of studying part time and of being a post-experience PhD student.

Jo Walton from the School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Practice discussed her role working with post-experience nursing students completing Master's. She underlined the importance of developing personal relationships and understanding the context of students' lives and working with them to complete their qualifications while they are also working... and not sweating the small stuff.... like margin sizes!

Stuart Brock the Associate Dean (Postgraduate Research) for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences discussed the importance of placing Victoria graduates with postgraduate degrees in employment. Stuart discussed the University's upcoming goals of increasing student numbers both in research degree programmes and taught Master's. He presented results of a recent graduate destinations survey that indicates that PhD graduates have markedly improved career success.


Copyright and teaching

Download the workshop slides.

17 November

VicFlip 2015: Tools for teaching–flipping, blending, engaging and optimising

An event jointly sponsored by the School of Biological Sciences and VicTeach

Presented by Pierre Rebstock and Claire Phipps, School of Inter-professional Health Studies Auckland University of Technology.

VicFlip Session 1: the seminar

Pierre and Claire teach across several high-enrolment, first-year core courses at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in the School of Interprofessional Health studies catering for health, sport, and applied science students. Servicing over 1800 students per year, knowledge, enquiry and communication, an academic literacy and writing course, is the largest paper at AUT. Pierre, Claire, and their team were recent recipients of the AUT Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2015) for their flipped classroom initiative within this course.

Initially delivered as traditional large-group, extended (90-minute) lecture sessions streamed to multiple campuses at one time, Pierre and Claire 'flipped' this course and now deliver it in a collection of shorter online lecture modules supported by a strong alignment with interactive tutorial activities, which has had positive outcomes for students. This model has helped to guide their students through developing a chosen research topic, finding credible supporting information, thinking critically about the research process while encouraging self-directed learning and ultimately self-reliance.

Pierre and Claire have placed the following principles at the core of the flipped classroom redesign:

  • prioritising student experience
  • listening and acting on feedback
  • proactive innovation
  • constructive alignment
  • regular iterative redesign.

In this seminar, Claire and Pierre are offering their experiences so far, from the initial concept to the current fourth iteration of the course as a flipped classroom.

VicFlip Session2–the interactive workshop

This workshop is an opportunity for participants to have a hands-on experience of the major aspects of a flipped classroom initiative. Doing so will assist in understanding/demystifying the concept, its deployment, and sustainability.

A series of four 20-minute activities will cover the student perception of the flipped classroom, how to capitalise on this knowledge for the creation of digital assets, the importance of face-to-face sessions to expand the basic concepts, and finally the role of assessment strategies to evaluate the effectiveness of the model.

In the spirit of the flipped classroom and its class preparatory activities, workshop attendees will be asked to view a short video and carry out a mysterious (and delicious) task in their own time, prior to attending. Additional details about the task will be sent out after registration (no spoilers).

If you are involved/interested in the following this workshop is for you:

  • Online course delivery or use of digital assets in teaching student engagement, particularly for first-year classes.
  • Teaching classes with high proportions of Māori/Pasifika students and students for whom English is not their first language.
  • Development of collaborative work on courses between Centre for Academic Development, Digital Solutions, and teaching staff.
  • Teaching and assessing critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Delivery of courses asynchronously and/or to multiple campuses.
  • Finding out more about how teaching is done at other institutions.

1 December

What's your blend?

What is blended learning? Is it something that I might want to consider looking at for course design and delivery? What does it offer, and how have other colleagues from a range of disciplines across the University made use of it? What support is available to me if I do want to adopt this approach?

These questions, among others will inform a joint VicTeach and Victoria Business School sponsored event. While the event is being held on the Pipitea Campus, all Victoria teaching and teaching support staff are welcome to attend. The objective of the workshop is to provide participants with an understanding of what blended learning is, an opportunity to hear from colleagues who are using this mode of learning and teaching, and to reflect on what it may have to offer to individual course coordinators and programme directors.

In essence this workshop will provide an opportunity to become familiar with this mode of learning and teaching (to answer the ‘what’ and ‘what if’ questions), and will be a prelude to further workshops and seminars—many of which are already being offered—focused on the specific skills and technologies to make it happen (the ‘how’ questions).