2022 Successful Teaching and Learning Grants


We received a total of 30 applications for the 2022 ACDS Teaching and Learning Grants Scheme. This is an outstanding outcome that indicates a strong demand for this funding.  Despite the impact and challenges caused by the Pandemic on staff workloads it is inspiring to see the enthusiasm and deep thinking that informs teaching and learning in Australian university science.

The Panel was impressed by the quality of applications and the variety of projects put forward. They had a hard job to decide on their outcomes.

Seven projects will be funded in 2022 to a total of $80,000. Congratulations to the recipients and thank you to all applicants for your commitment to improving science and mathematics education.

The projects funded for 2022 are:

1.     Communication in the STEM workforce: are science graduates taught the communications skills they need for their career?

Michael Wheeler, Jen Martin, Linden Ashcroft, Graham Phillips, Catriona Nguyen-Robertson, David Rogers, Carolin Südkamp-Baldoni, Bethany Howard (University of Melbourne)

This project aims to answer the following questions by surveying recent graduates to find out:

  • What communication skills are currently being used in the STEM workforce?
  • How important are these communication skills to employability and career progression?
  • To what extent does a tertiary science education equip graduates with these skills?

The outcome of this project will include a guideline document for good practice and supporting teaching resources that will complement the ACDS Teaching and Learning Centre Science TLOs.

2.     Improving student confidence for hands-on science skills post pandemic – How do you pipette online?

Karina Riggs, Beth Loveys, Amanda Able, Michelle Coulson, Sara Krivickas, Andrew MacKinnon, The University of Adelaide and Christine Devine and Dana Burfeind, Queensland University of Technology

The aims of this project are to improve the development of practical skills by learning from our responses to the disruption caused by COVID-19. Resources that were developed to replace practicals can now be used to supplement them through blended approaches, improving learning. The project will:

  • Identify key core competencies with regard to scientific skills across science courses; biology, chemistry, physics and Agriculture (which encompasses chemistry & biology) from a student and academic perspective
  • Determine appropriate learning resources to supplement hands on skills for the key scientific skills.

The outcome of this project will include a how-to-guide on developing supporting resources (or teaching aids) for academic staff in sciences which appeal to minority groups. The guide will outline the key scientific skills across all Science disciplines determined from survey and the best way to present this kind of skill (type or resource) for different learning styles/abilities. The guide will be applicable to tertiary science programs nationally.

3.     Future proofing career-readiness of science graduates

Amanda Able, Beth Loveys, Karina Riggs, Sara Krivickas, Andrew MacKinnon, Michelle Coulson, Olivier Fahy, Adrian Hunter, James Botten (The University of Adelaide)

This project will use a distributed leadership model to achieve the ultimate goal of improving national graduate employability for Science (and related disciplines). This will involve surveying both academics and employers to determine effective work-integrated learning practices. More specifically, the project aims to:

  • develop confidence and capability of academics in helping their students to develop future-proofed career readiness
  • encourage co-creation of Science curricula with industry partners (employers), graduates and students so as to more clearly exemplify the career choices/pathways available to our cohorts
  • provide national best practice guidelines for the development of Science graduate employability skills.

The outcome of this project will include best practice guidelines.

4.     Establishing online examination guidelines: A comparison of online and paper-based examination structure and performance

Sara Kyne (Monash University), Siobhán Wills (University of NSW), Reyne Pullen (University of Sydney)

This project aims to take advantage of the flux in teaching and assessment practices through COVID-19 by conducting a nation-wide evaluation of first year undergraduate final examinations at multiple institutes in chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics. Analysis will determine what question types were widely used online and why academics selected these. Our project will make recommendations for best practice for creating online examinations, including question design that considers both technological aspects and pedagogical aspects through Bloom’s taxonomy.

The outcomes of this project will include a formal Australian report: recommendations and resources for best practice in the design and delivery of online STEM examinations.

5.     Cultivating teamwork skills to prepare Science graduates for the workplace

Betty Exintaras, Nilushi Karunaratne (Monash University) and Lynette Fernandes (University of Western Australia)

This project aims to validate a newly developed tool to measure baseline teamwork in students and in turn develop resources to aid Science educators to intentionally cultivate teamwork skills in science students to improve their ability to secure employment on graduation and thrive beyond.

The outcomes of this project will include guidelines for including effective teamwork skills in Science education.  A secondary aim of this project will be to develop student-centered resources to aid students to lead their own skills development.

6.     Improving Assessment Literacy Skills In Undergraduate Students Post Pandemic

Angelina Fong, Jennifer Fox, Sarah Frankland, Piers Howe, Ger Post, Joseph Rathner, Mel Saligari, Benjamin Siveges, Heather Verkade and Amber Willems-Jones (University of Melbourne)

This project focuses on Teaching delivery and assessment post pandemic – specifically how to improve each student’s assessment literacy and the efficacy of an Assessment Literacy Module (ALM). The ALM is a novel, online tool designed to teach students how to make effective evaluative judgements. Specifically, the ALM is designed to teach students how to apply marking criteria to authentic examples.

The project will:

  1. provide a comprehensive review of the existing literature and research into assessment literacy and evaluative judgement.
  2. rigorously evaluate to what degree the Assessment Literacy Module to improve assessment literacy among undergraduate students.
  3. report on comprehensive surveys that will evaluate how both students and staff perceive the Assessment Literacy Module, specifically in relation to whether they perceive them to be effective and worthwhile.

7.     Diversity in Numbers – evaluating a novel integrated approach to development of undergraduate quantitative skills ability, confidence, and application

Sarah Etherington, Natalie Warburton, Garth Maker, Shu Hui Koh, Rebecca Bennett (Murdoch University)

This project will address the question “Will numeracy skills modules, tailored to unit content and scaffolded through an undergraduate degree, improve student confidence and/or mastery of core quantitative skills and concepts?”   

The project will support evaluation of four Diversity in Numbers (DiN) modules that have been designed to promote numeracy learning and engagement, particularly for under-represented groups. The outcomes will have potential implications for the design of Australian undergraduate science curricula by:

  • Supporting the pursuit of increased participation and diversity of historically underrepresented minorities in Australian science degrees.
  • Development of instruments that will generate, in the medium term, quantitative and qualitative data regarding quantitative skills-associated student capability, confidence, and anxiety, and an evidence base for the development of undergraduate numeracy skill interventions.

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