Research Granted

Research granted

Friday, June 24, 2016
Avondale only private provider to get big grant for student engagement study

Avondale is the only private higher education provider to receive one of this year’s most competitive government grants, which it will use to improve student engagement.

Only 11 innovation and development grants were announced by the Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching, with Avondale College of Higher Education securing $202,000 for its project.

Owning the Rubric: Student Engagement in Rubric Design, Use and Moderation aims to create greater engagement with academic content and to improve overall learning by making marking rubrics more accessible. The idea for the project came from noticing how students reacted to feedback—many students paid little attention to detailed comments and looked only for their grades.

“Our frustrations helped us realise there was a lot more research to do in the area of student interaction, and we wanted to be part of it,” says Dr Peter Kilgour, Director of the Christian Education Research Centre at Avondale and a member of the project team.

Professor Anthony Williams, Vice-President (Academic and Research), believes the project will reveal previously unseen opportunities to engage students in authentic learning. “We want to give students ownership of their assessments and, ultimately, their entire learning experience.”

The project will be completed over two years in partnership with staff members from Charles Sturt University and the University of Technology Sydney.

Avondale’s record of receiving grants from the Office of Learning and Teaching is good—more than 60 per cent of its applications result in grants. The college of higher education received a seed grant of $40,000 in 2015 and a $29,800 extension grant, in a first for a project lead by Avondale, earlier this year. The rubric project is the first from Avondale to receive a innovation and development grant.

“It demonstrates that we are considered a leader in learning and teaching and innovation,” says President Professor Ray Roennfeldt, “and it means that our students will be the first to benefit from the innovations developed by this grant.”

The Office for Learning and Teaching is part of the Department of Education and Training. It promotes and supports change in higher education institutions for the enhancement of learning and teaching.

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Sara Bolst

Sara is Assistant Public Relations Officer at Avondale College of Higher Education and editor of Reflections, the biannual magazine for alumni of Avondale.