The Teaching and Leadership Community of Practice – who’s it for and what’s it about?

Leaders and aspiring leaders of learning and teaching at Macquarie come together in monthly ‘Community of Practice’ (CoP) meetings to share ideas, find solutions to common and not so common teaching issues, and shape how we lead learning and teaching collectively and collaboratively across the university.

This community of practice (known affectionately as the T&L CoP) was established in 2020 and has grown to over 150 members of teaching-focused staff including those in the teaching and leadership job family, professional staff in teaching support, teaching and research academics and sessional staff. If you’re interested, join here.

Hot topics and shared solutions: supporting learning and teaching

Here’s some highlights that demonstrate the work and impact of this group:

When ChatGPT and other AI tools burst into the scene at the start of 2023, T&L CoP members were there to support each other in navigating the minefield of the impact of AI on learning and assessment. The sharing of experiences and ideas supported staff to re-think assessment in the AI world. It’s an ongoing journey that we’ll be continuing to explore this year as staff continue to share their approaches and results. Here’s a round-up of AI literacy resources.

We explored the concept of a distributed approach to leadership, which recognises the contribution and strengths of teaching staff at all levels of an institution even without a formal leadership role. The discussions are summarised in this Teche post.

Coloured hands holding cogs

Members Phill Chappell and Melissa Read (Linguistics) shared how they redesigned learning activities to maximise student engagement and encourage deeper learning – the ideas were then shared more broadly in this Teche post.

The complexities of managing a large teaching team are many – Jo Paparo (Psychology) provided sound advice based on her experience of managing 15 tutors, 30 markers and over 1400 students in her unit.

It’s commonly believed that learning is enhanced when information is provided to suit an individual’s preferred learning style. Alissa Beath (Psychology) presented evidence that busted this myth and provided practical tips that are proven to positively impact learning. Read more: What psychology can tell us about teaching in higher education and The psychology of learners and learning.

We regularly call on the experts to keep us up to date with the latest – Kane Murdoch (MQ Manager of Complaints, Appeals & Misconduct) led discussions on detecting unauthorised generative AI writing and other assessment challenges. Kane advocates having ‘courageous conversations’ with students to achieve better outcomes in student misconduct matters and help students to learn from their mistakes.

Contributions from members on feedback they had received from students made for a memorable meeting with examples of student feedback that was useful for teaching as well as feedback that was unclear, surprising or funny. We then looked at the other side of the coin – providing effective feedback for student learning. The ideas are summarised in this feedback tweak and the module on Effective Feedback.

human brain as a plant

T&L CoP members predominate in the group of teachers opening up their classrooms each session to allow colleagues to observe their class and reflect on teaching. You too can open up your classroom to share your teaching practice – and passion – for teaching. OR book to observe a live class.

Members bring questions and raise issues during meetings and then contribute solutions and tips. Other topics recently addressed included authentic online assessment, forensic linguistics, educational innovations, professional development for teaching, using AI as your time saving teaching tool, and more case studies of AI in assessment – just to name a few. This is why you too should be part of these conversations!

Future topics in our sights

  • Gamification in teaching
  • Sharing more ideas for using AI in learning and teaching
  • Building local communities of practice
  • Dealing with difficult classroom situations
  • Teaching development

If you’re in a teaching-focused role, or just interested in supporting and leading teaching, then why not join us?

Be part of this community to support good practice in learning and teaching across Macquarie. We meet monthly via Zoom.

Image credits:
Banner: Photo by phive on Shutterstock
AI ‘hands’: Image generated with MidJourney AI tool by Olga Kozar
Cogs with hands: Photo by Lightspring on Shutterstock
Dialogue bubbles: Vector by SergeyBitos on Shutterstock.
Shocked faces: Created by pathdoc on Shutterstock
Chalk brain: Photo by Lightspring on Unsplash
Fluid shapes: Photo by Sanjatosic on Shutterstock
Plant: Image generated with MidJourney by Olga Kozar.
Open: Image by pressfoto on Freepik

Posted by L&T Development

The Learning and Teaching Staff Development team works with staff across the University to ensure they are supported to facilitate quality learning for students. This includes offering professional development, contributing to curriculum and assessment design, recognising and rewarding good practice, supporting peer review of teaching, and leading scholarly reflection. Email with questions or requests.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *