ACDS Fellowship update – July

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In the light of COVID-19, a fundamental question is how the online delivery and other changes to course delivery have impacted the quality of our teaching and learning. How will this be reflected in institutional and national quality indicators? How have the expectations of our students changed? It is a complicated task to draw these data together, and to have the approval to use it to communicate our successes and reflect on the challenges.

Reflecting on the disruption to curriculum content and delivery, we all know that some quality was necessarily sacrificed due to the short time frames – there was no opportunity to consult, no efficient mechanisms to monitor student learning experience and engagement. We believe it is important to think clearly about whether, and to what extent, the quality assurance planning embedded in the CER-STEM framework might have informed the context of rapidly evolving curricula. How mechanisms for formative and summative quality improvement could have been deployed to gather and analyse data for quality improvement. And how might, a developing culture of scholarly teaching practice might have ensured teaching teams were confident that change-decisions were based on evidence communicated through scholarship.

“The COVID-19 response is a masterclass in the components of purposeful learning – and of using that learning to build an effective quality system – before our very eyes.   Let’s make them the foundation of our everyday learning and improvement tools now – and when we’re talking about the COVID-19 days in the past tense.”

Cathy Baldwin, Quality News Bulletin, 28 April 2020.


Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work developing additional resources for the CER-STEM framework, updating our website, developing online workshops and planning for the (now online) ACSME 2020 conference. We are developing a new generic Minimum Risk Ethics template using the national online Ethics Review Manager (ERM) system. As the COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, we are keen to reengage with as many universities as possible, to provide support and resources to integrate the CER-STEM framework into curriculum development as planning commences for semester 2 and 2021.

Online workshops

Due to COVID-19 and the disruptions it has caused, we temporarily paused delivering workshops after successful events at The University of Tasmania in January. Now that the situation is beginning to subside and stabilise, we are resuming workshops for the remainder of 2020, redesigned to be delivered online.

At this stage we have planned upcoming online workshops for the University of Newcastle and the University of Western Australia (dates TBD). If you are interested in the CER-STEM framework, you can register your interest in attending or organising a workshop. We are happy to tailor an online program to your needs. To find out more, visit our website or email us at

ACSME 2020 online

This year the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME 2020) will be hosted online (30 September – 2 October) with the theme: ‘A science education for uncertain times.’ At the conference, Tina Acuña and Jo-Anne Kelder, the inaugural ACDS Teaching & Learning Fellows, will be presenting a plenary talk: Tales from Tasmania – short- and long-term responses to COVID-19 in the context of quality assurance, quality improvement and scholarship. Tina and Jo will also be facilitating an interactive online workshop, focusing on discussion about what we can learn from the COVID-19 and how we can respond to future change by utilising the CER-STEM framework.

Feedback and suggestions

Feedback from the workshops we have delivered so far has been very positive and highlighted many of the roadblocks to embedding scholarship of learning and teaching into course curricula and underscored the value of the CER-STEM framework. If you have any suggestions, or are willing to share your resources, we would love to hear from you. To share your resources via our webpage, give us some feedback, offer a suggestion, or just ask us a question, email us at