Hot Topics

Hot Topics in HE teaching and learning

WATTLE Hot Topic Groups bring together like minded people to debate and discuss key areas in the teaching and learning field.

Five Hot Topic Groups are now established and details of each group are below.

If you are interested in joining any of the groups, please contact the group leader for details of their next meeting.

Technology That Enhances Learning

Focus of the Group

The focus and direction of our TEL hot topics group is still up for discussion; however it could be a think-tank for ideas; a networking opportunity; an event platform for showcasing innovations in Technology Enhanced Learning; a reference group for strategic decisions in the area or a research group.


Sue Downie +61 2 4221 4732

Sue is a lecturer for the School of Medicine and coordinates two large undergraduate student cohorts in first year Anatomy and Physiology. She has also taught in Biology subjects and has a background in Respiratory research. Technology Enhanced Learning has been of particular interest to her as she has recently re-structured one of the subjects she teaches into a blended online/in-lab format. She has a passion for teaching and is always on the lookout for ideas on engaging students with technology.

Innovative Teaching Pedagogies

Focus of the Group

This group will have its first informal meeting/brainstorming session in early May. We will discuss any alignments within the group in terms of interest and experience in innovative teaching pedagogies with respect to curriculum, teaching practice, learning activities, assessment, online learning, to determine the strengths of the group that we can build on. We hope to then design some collaborations in terms of teaching and educational research, organise a workshop on a particular topic with an external presenter, or plan a symposium session with multiple snap-shot presentations from us in the group.


Theresa Larkin +61 2 4221 5132

Theresa is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Sciences in Graduate Medicine. She started as a Lecturer in 2009 and after completing the ULT course went on to complete a Master of Higher Education with Distinction. She has always implemented innovative pedagogies in her teaching, with a focus on active learning and approaches that enhance deep understanding, specifically in my context of teaching clinical anatomy.

Transforming Assessments in Higher Education

Focus of the Group

Over the last ten years or so, much thought has been given to the use of innovative assessment, and more generally, universities and colleges have focused on enhancing assessment practices. Initiatives, research and developments on assessment have led to a rich collection of established theoretical perspectives and good practice guidance for those seeking to make changes to how assessment is designed for students. The aim of the “Transforming Assessment in Higher Education” Hot Topic Group is to create a UOW network to support those directly involved in in this process of creating and designing innovative assessment and feedback.


Pranit Anand +61 2 4252 8812

Pranit has a special interest in developing relevant, aligned assessment instruments for higher education. He has worked on various curriculum/assessment transformation/review projects and apart from leading this hot topic group is also leading a national SIG on “Enabling Assessments” for enabling and transition programs in Australian higher education.

Employability Skill Development

Focus of the Group

This group will explore the following:

  1. Sharing of good practices and models (by faculties/schools) on developing employability skills.
  2. Development of skills matrix to explore and clarify how a program’s teaching and learning activities and assessments contribute to the development of students’ employability skills.
  3. Gauge students’ understanding of employability skill development and how it is currently being developed.
  4. Build staff capacity to develop curriculum and learning practices that promote student acquisition of employability skills, knowledge and attributes through LTC / Careers Central organised workshops.
  5. Ways to resource LTC staff on six-monthly / yearly projects via grants for addressing some of the above activities.
  6. Approaches to consult with pertinent steering or reference groups at UOW – e.g. University Reference Group on Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Plan that is currently under consideration by VCAG – so that our voices can be heard by key stakeholders.


Venkata Yanamandram +61 2 4221 3754

Venkata is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management, Operations and Marketing, and Director, Assurance of Learning at the Faculty of Business. He is a lead investigator in a ESDF grant on work integrated learning and employability skill development.

Students as Partners

Focus of the Group

Compare UOW policy on ‘Students as Partners’ with what is happening on the ground, brainstorm on a research question, discuss methodology for data collection, analysis of data and dissemination strategies to the wider community, i.e. conference presentation & draft article from outcomes.


Anu Bissoonauth-Bedford +61 2 4221 5985

Anu is senior lecturer in French and discipline leader for the Languages and Linguistics programme. Her main research interests are in the fields of Sociolinguistics and Technology Enhanced Language Learning. She is currently working on developing student engagement and partnership in language learning experiences. She is also investigating language competition and language conflict in New Caledonia, where French comes in contact with local Melanesian languages, Tayo a French-based Creole as well as global English.

Natalie Cutler +61 2 4221 4278

Natalie is a nursing professional with leadership experience across a broad range of clinical, education, management, policy and advocacy roles in Mental Health. After almost a quarter of a century, Natalie is just as excited about her chosen field. She is a lifelong learner, and hopes to inspire the nurses of the future to lead the way in their chosen field. Natalie is currently completing a PhD study exploring the meaning of safety in acute mental health inpatient units.

Last reviewed: 10 November, 2017