1. Approach to Teaching

This is the state of my teaching portfolio after 30 years as an educator, 14.5 years as a high school science and computing teacher and more recently 16 years as an information technology lecturer. It reveals my commitment to the practice of teaching and complemts my research portfolio. My goals and vision are focused upon using and developing my talents, towards improvement of the teaching and learning environment.

1.1 Philosophy

A philosophy of teaching is always in a state of flux, with static and dynamic pieces at work. I have always believed in the notion of bringing out the autonomous learner inside each student, coupled with a “diversity is strength” approach, in regard to teaching practices, since my high school days. You can’t be all things to all people, but I believe that good teachers do try to be like a chameleon changing roles -instructor, mentor, coach, counsellor, advisor, evaluator, colleague and co-worker. The curriculum and learning theories are changing and adapting to new modalities all the time, like the current waves in e-learning, so my teaching practice needs to change in tempo.

I see the teacher as a partner in learning and I like to enjoy my teaching experiences so that any enthusiasm that I may display, may inspire and motivate my students, as well as other teachers in a team teaching situation. Team teaching is not only valuable in sharing and refining each partner’s teaching skills, but also can benefit their time management. Team teaching is not far from co-learning, where I like to blur the boundaries between teacher and learner and strive to push the learner into taking more control of the learning environment, particularly at postgraduate level. That is why I am interested in what is now recognised as radical pedagogy, rooted firmly in the work of Plato and the social constructivist theories of Vyogotsky.

A big change in my teaching philosophy was the Charles Sturt University’s Tertiary teaching colloquium, in 1993, where the “Visionary” educator - Prof. Bob Meyenn introduced the group to the notion of teaching as public property as a way to communicate and share our professional practice to the wider community.

Ever since I rolled an Apple IIe computer into a high school science lab in 1979, I have always seen an important part for technology to support the learning process. Today the Internet and Information and Communications Technology (ICT ) dominate the educational technology landscape and I am immersed deeply into its development and application in teaching and learning practices. The Teaching Perspectives Inventory TPI at http://www.teachingperspectives.com helped me to identify and articulate my Philosophy of Teaching statement. I completed the TPI in 2001 and again prior to a recent academic performance review to see if I have changed. If anything the results show that my dominant trait as a nurturer of students has increased, while social reforming of my students has decreased. It also showed, in my experience, that the Academic Performance Management/Professional Development Schema (that has spread faster than bird flu through Australian and New Zealand universities) being linked to the strategic plan is questionable. I will need to investigate further, as I can see the performance and professional development benefits of the annual event at other planning levels.

2. Teaching goals and strategies

2.1 How learning occurs and the actions I take to facilitate the process

The information technology curriculum is volatile as new technologies need to be plugged-in quite regularly. What I taught last year may no longer be relevant, so I adopt a student-centred approach to facilitate the learning process and encourage students to learn in the local context of their own experiences or workplace. Using a telelearning environment such as CSU Forms, ZOPE and MOO servers as a scaffold for learning, I then use a combination or research topics and practicals projects, individual or in teams, that enables real-life learning to take place within the subject.

The use of project-based and problem-based learning (PBL) in my teaching helps students to master concepts and promote understanding of theory and practice surrounding the topics at hand. Feedback from past students indicates that approach has benefits to lifelong learning and contributes to students’ achievements in their university program, as well as in the workplace.

2.2. Teaching Activities

• How do you choose or emphasize course content? By making access easy via tools like CSU Forums, enCore, ZOPE and MOODlE learning environments and now through CSU Interact.
• How do you teach so that students master the knowledge, skills and new perspectives indicated in your course aims and intended learning outcomes? By linking and weaving the objectives through lecture, tutorial, practical and assessment activities as well as by regular communication and feedback.
• How do you evaluate student progress? Assignments, project work and examinations
• What are your classroom approaches? Each class is a meeting or workshop with an agenda. I am faciliatator and hinge my approach under socially constructed knowledge, attitudes and skills.
• How have you used innovative practices in your teaching, and why? All the time. If I stay interested and motivated then it will rub off on students. In 2007 I introduced use of a wiki for negotiated application design. Why? The result was a big improvement in the quality of their work in assignments.
• In which ways have you tried to improve instruction? Through use of multiple learning environments, new Web technologies - students learn best with the media of their time. I introduced tools like blogs and wikis incrementally to reduce the imapct of change since 2005.
• What approaches worked or failed to work and why? Not so much failure as evaluation by students and my own reeflection have lead to fine-tuning or reaching a common ground where all are satisfied.
• How did you learn from this experience? The Web applications for e-learning are getting better all the time as evidenced by the use of MOODLE and Sakai in universities. I learn a lot about the technologies as well as the learning theories that respond: active learning, social constructivism, cooperative learning ... and so on.

2.2.1 Teaching Resources

How do you decide which course materials, learning resources or technologies to use?

I decide which course materials, learning resources or technologies to use based on a variety of factors: from adult learning theories to subject objectives and appropriate assessment techniques eg ITC213 has no exam but ITC505 does. ZOPE enCore MOO and CSU Forum are the main learning technologies used.

What are some examples of materials, resources or technologies that you have designed and/or employed?


Materials and resource developed

Student content managment space on ZOPE: ITC213; ITC382; ITC594; ITC411; and many others.

Learning technologies developed

Individually: K9 Campus and Theme park; Scupper's Island RPG

Collaboratively: ISPG Z world; LC_MOO; Rochester Castle MMORPG; ISPG MOODLE

2.2.2 Assessment of student learning

What range of assessment methods do you use and why?

The full range as guide by the underlying learning theories and the expected student outcomes as provided to all stakeholders. Assignments which cater for different learning styles and cultures are now important as e-learning is part of the globalisation era of the 21st century eg step-by-step, 'big' picture', group work etc; project-based and problem-based learning scenarios are useful in IT subjects and work well as students work over cultural, spatial and temporal boundaries and zones.

Portfolio assessment is use as an assessable learning record or OLR. Blogs and Wikis now from a valuable assessment tool for e-learning environments. The blog can form a usweful interface to all assessment tasks as well as being bioth a formative and a summative assessemt task in its own right.

Some subjects have exams, some don't as the assessment tool needs to be properly aligned and suitble marking schemas determined and revised regularly. Exams take many forms: open book, closed book, take-home, short quizzes, online and even open season where students get to take as many goes as possible until closing time. Then the system records the highest mark attained.

How have you changed your approach over the years?

I still have my first subject outline for DTA4024 Introductory Information Systems still pinned to my office noticeboard. The assignment questions were all based on questions from the textbook, as the Web is still a few years off. Alongside is my first examination paper (18 pages as students answered all questions on the exam paper) for DTA1304 Introction to Information Technology. The exam was closed book, 3 hours long from 9:30am on 18th June 1992 and included 10 minutes reading time.

The exam papers for the ITMasters subject are all online via the Web for 2 hours with 30 multiple choice questions (30 marks) and 5 long question worth 14 marks each. Student use a Prometric site which automatically marks the multi-choice questions and with some neat XML and programming by Jason Howarth, I recieve all long answer to mark manually as a ZIP file.


Integration was the big word in 2007. My participation in the CSU Interact trial showed how all these disparate tools could be integrated duirng 2008 onwards into a one-stop learning portal. That means all the learning artifacts and objects in my other sites could be linked as resouces to the subject. I use more coaching techniques and encourage self-direction and independent learning through problem-based learning in student project work for assessment.

How do you know that your assessment methods are effective?

By student evalulation though the CSU online subject evaluation system - new this year, as well as monitoring and control procedures during marking and grading events. Here is the form I used that is based on an expanded version of the Harvard 1-minute survey:

Subject Evaluation for ITC382
Please answer each question in this survey. In your answer, please consider content/topics presented and the technologies and teaching strategies used. Results will be collated and sent via e-mail to Ken. You will receive confirmation of the submission via a Web page and you will receive a CC copy of the form.
Class member: please enter your e-mail address:
1. List what you consider to be the 3 strengths of ITC382:
2. List what you consider to be the 3 weaknesses of ITC382:
3. List what aspects of ITC382 that you found to be most difficult.
4. List what improvements could be made to ITC382:
5. Further comments to add?
Thank you
Please submit before or at the completion of the examination period.

For submission to collection agent (KenE):

To reset or cancel the form:

How do you give feedback to your students on their assessment results?
Sample evidence appears in my Appendix.

2.2.3 Teaching Responsibilities

Summary of subject co-ordination for 2007: ITC106, ITC594, ITC565, ITC213, ITC382 as well as fractional lecture/ tutorial or assignment/exam marking load in ITC211, ITC301, ITC357, ITC557
Subject revisions and the rationale for change: ITC594/565/382 this needed an updated study guide as the textbook was geeting old and no suitable replacement found, so I wrote my own notes on Web 2.0 applications, new case studies and a topic on systems integration.
Types of teaching load here provide issues such as class sizes, modes, assignment bottlenecks, and a need not to mix up so many stes of subject aims and objectives.
Providing information

2.3 Supervising and Advising Students

Postgraduate responsibilities, ITC570
Undergraduate responsibilities:nil this year
Appendix provides a list of supervisory activities.

2.4 Activities Engaged in to Improve Teaching and Learning

Professional development encompasses all the steps that I have taken to improve my effectiveness. I seek to improve my teaching and students’ learning following directly from my philosophy and teaching strategy statements. I also have a school and faculty role to improve learning and teaching quality through organising and facilitating learning and teaching workshops and seminars.
• Efforts to improve the learning environment
• Fixing problematic issues:

2.5 Seeking feedback from students about these issues

I run my own online survey asking students to please consider content/topics presented and the technologies and teaching strategies used. Results are collated and sent via e-mail to me. The student also receives confirmation of the submission via a Web page and a CC copy via e-mail.

Five questions asked include:
1. List what you consider to be the 3 strengths of ITCxxx:
2. List what you consider to be the 3 weaknesses of ITCxxx:
3. List what aspects of ITCxxx that you found to be most difficult.
4. List what improvements could be made to ITCxxx:
5. Further comments to add?

3. Committee Service (Teaching and Learning issues)

A variety of activities do not take place in classrooms but do provide important support for teaching. Some of these school, faculty and University-wide activities which contribute to strengthening teaching are described. I am currently team leader for the School of Computing & Mathematics Learning & Teaching team as well as a member of the Faculty of Business Learning & Teaching Committee.

4. Publications and professional contributions

Other activities taking place outside the classroom context include publications (such as curriculum materials or workbooks and conference papers that relate to teaching or student learning) are listed in my curriculum vitae document.
Normally, during a formal review process, much of the above documentation is collected by the Head of School.

5. Providing Evidence of Student Learning

See the section in my Academic Performance Management and Professional Development Manual (APMPDM) which includes a section on student and peer teaching evaluations, and other indicators of teaching.

6. Teaching Reflections

Several years ago I undertook Team Management Systems (TMS) (http://www.tms.com.au/welcome.html) assessment at a special workshop for the Centre for Information Studies within the School of Information studies and conducted by Prof. Kath Bowmer. My TMS score indicated a strong presence as an “explorer” and an “assessor developer. The pattern below reveals the major role preference distribution of CEOs and managing directors (n=139):

Source: Team Management Systems Online at http://www.tms.com.au/tms12-1k.html

Provide a table of contents for the documentation which you have selected to support your accomplishments. Most of the narrative for the Dossier should appear in the body - this section is for documentation supporting your description of accomplishments.

Appendix I: Teaching Goals, Strategies and Evaluation Methods

• curricular and course content approaches - evidence of how you arrived at determining course content and knowledge base required in relation to other courses in the program or discipline
• course materials, special notes, handouts, problem sets, laboratory books, computer manuals, portfolios of student work, etc. relevant to your teaching methods
• procedures used to assess or evaluate student learning, and evidence of learning described. Arrangements made to accommodate needs of special students
• teaching developments undertaken (course design, curricular changes to include gender issues, student diversity, subject matter, methods of presentation, methods chosen or developed to enhance student learning, evaluation procedures, specially designed assignments, teaching methods geared to developing critical skills, as well as developments involving teaching resources such as films, computer materials and other learning technologies, and where possible, evidence of the effectiveness and impact of the teaching developments you have undertaken
• research activities related to teaching and student (includes action, or classroom, research)

Appendix II: Teaching Activities

• The actual teaching methods used vary: collaborative inquiry, problem-based learning, case studies, lecture, small group discussion, problem-solving, project-based, student presentations or other critical thinking pedagogies.
• titles and numbers of courses taught, including graduate, undergraduate, and reading courses. Make this very brief - focus on courses that you have developed or substantially revised. This is often the place where extraneous material creeps in, resulting in a dossier that is unwieldy.
• number of students in each course. Describe your workload including, where appropriate, the number of teaching assistants assigned to assist you in the course and the nature of their involvement
• details of other teaching activities such as seminars, advising students, supervision of a teaching or research practicum, athletic coaching, field placement supervision, and coaching or studio teaching in the performing arts
• exemplify teaching practices such as, the design of an unusual course or assignment, ways that course aims were adapted to meet needs of students, ways that faculty member is accessible to student
• coordination of multi-section, sequenced, or interrelated courses
• teaching involvement outside your unit

Appendix III: Supervising and Advising Students

Documentation of supervision activity includes names of those supervised and the nature and extent of the supervisory activity. It is also useful to indicate the outcome of the supervision (e.g. the thesis title and acceptance date, the citation information of a student publication, or the date and venue of a public performance). Remember to detail you supervision ‘load’ within the context of the average departmental load.
• Ph.D. thesis supervision (indicate whether supervisor or committee member)
• Masters’ thesis supervision (as above)
• Honours thesis supervision (as above)
• supervision of graduate and undergraduate independent study or directed readings
• advisement on program of study, courses, or career and professional advice undertaking of formal or informal student mentoring
• supervision which has contributed to publications, exhibitions, performances and conference presentations by students

Appendix IV: Activities Engaged in to Improve Teaching and Learning

• steps taken to assess and respond to general problems arising in a course, which may necessitate redesign or refocus of course content and/or teaching methods
• results of student ratings or questionnaires designed by you to solicit assessments of your teaching effectiveness
• description of efforts made to improve the classroom climate or your teaching methods. You may wish to consider items such as steps taken to ensure free and open participation and the comfort of all learners regardless of gender, ethnic origin, class, age, sexual orientation or ability
• seminars, Instructional Skills Workshops, and conferences on teaching and learning approaches and techniques (internal and external) attended

Appendix V: Committee Service (teaching and learning issues)

It may be useful to include details such as names of committees, dates, and the nature of your contribution here.
• all activities concerned with teaching that you have undertaken as a member of a faculty, department, or cross-disciplinary committee, subcommittee, ad hoc committee, or task force. If relevant, consider membership in the Senate, Board of Governors, library committees, teaching and scholarship committees, Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund, Advisory Boards (such as the Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth), Presidential or Vice-presidential committees on teaching, learning technologies, Teaching awards committees (faculty awards, university awards, special awards e.g. TA teaching) and other committees working on academic policy, curriculum, review, planning and implementation as they pertain to the teaching activity.
Teaching Assistant professional training, orientation, or development
• attendance at professional training, orientation, or development sessions for faculty, such as orientation sessions for new faculty, and sessions that introduce or raise consciousness about teaching techniques or learning technologies
• involvement in the Mentoring Program or the Teaching Support Group of the Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth, or similar departmental or faculty-based mentoring or teaching support programs. This may include providing consultation or review to instructors in other units in improving teaching effectiveness
• involvement in establishing, adjudicating, or administering awards or honours recognizing and celebrating student achievement
• observing others teaching as part of formal or informal evaluation and feedback regarding teaching effectiveness
• serving on accreditation committees, curriculum planning/review committees, task forces, program revision committees
• organization of retreats and strategic planning sessions (as they relate to teaching)
• development of department teaching resources such as computer instruction projects, a teaching materials resource centre, a reference map collection, a visiting scholar program
• use of your teaching materials by instructors in other departments, faculties, colleges or universities
• development of widely-used student ratings of instruction or other assessment instruments

Appendix VI: Publications and Professional Contributions

It is helpful to include information about the nature of your audience and your contribution.
• workshops and seminars about teaching that you designed and instructed (section V deals with those that you attended for professional development reasons)
• curriculum materials - details of published and unpublished curriculum materials, textbooks, workbooks, case studies, class notes, lab manuals, and other classroom materials which you have developed
• research and professional contributions related to teaching - books (including chapters in books, edited books, and special issues of journals); articles (indicate whether refereed, solicited, or non-refereed); papers in conference proceedings (indicate whether refereed or non-refereed); bibliographies; newsletters; unpublished conference papers
• funding related to teaching - internal and external teaching development grants, fellowships, including Teaching and Learning Enhancement funds

Appendix VII: Assessing and Reflecting Upon Teaching

• departmental teaching evaluations (initiated by the unit)
• peer evaluations or reviews based on visits to your classroom and/or scrutiny of your course materials. Note: before peer observations are undertaken, your department should be clear about the teaching aims and student learning outcomes that apply to your undergraduate or graduate program.
• teaching awards received by you including departmental, faculty, and University of BC awards, and external awards (professional association, national and international teaching awards). Nominations for awards also indicate your reputation as a teacher
• unsolicited and solicited letters from students (initiated by the unit)
• student-initiated feedback

Appendix VIII: Providing Evidence of Student Learning

• objective indicators of student progress, where available (proficiency tests, students’ standings on nation-wide tests, etc.)
• feedback from supervisors or employers of graduates (particularly valuable in professional programs like the health sciences and applied sciences)

Several publications were consulted during the preparation of this teaching portfolio, so acknowledgement is made to their contributions to the field:

O’Neil, Carol and Wright, Alan (1992). Recording Teaching Accomplishments: A Dalhousie Guide to the Teaching Dossier. Dalhousie University Office of Instructional Development and Technology, Halifax.
Ross, Dorene et al (1995). Guidelines for Portfolio Preparation: implications from an analysis of teaching portfolios at the University of Florida. Innovative Higher Education 20 (1), 45-62.
Seldin, Peter and Associates (1993) . Successful Use of Teaching Portfolios. Anker Publishing, Bolton, MA.
Shore, Bruce M., et al (revised 1986, reprinted 1991). The CAUT Guide to The Teaching Dossier. Its Preparation and Use. Canadian Association of University Teachers, Ottawa, Ontario.
Teaching Documentation Guide, (1993). Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning, York University, Toronto.
Teaching Dossier: A Guide, (1996). University Teaching Services, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.
Urbach, Floyd, (1992). Developing a Teaching Portfolio. College Teaching 40 (2), 71-74.
Weeks, Patricia (1998). The Teaching Portfolio: a professional development tool. International Journal of Academic Development, 3(1), 70-74.