I joined UOW in October 2013. Since then, I completely redesigned an existing subject — EESC103 —, and designed a brand new 100-level subject — EESC105 — offered for the first time in Autumn 2016. Both EESC103 and EESC105 (see below) now fully encompass the four different themes of the UOW Curriculum Transformation Project (CTP), offer a real First Year Experience (FYE), meet the requirements of the English Language Proficiency Policy (ELP) and meet UOW's Digital Learning Thresholds (DLT). EESC103 is used by UOW's Learning and Teaching Unit as a showcase for best practice in designing assessment at career development workshops where I am regularly invited to talk about the subject.

I currently coordinate and teach EESC105 (Introductory Geospatial Analysis). I have also developed small parts of, and co-teach, a 300-level subject: EESC323 (Fluvial Geomorphology and Sedimentology).

 

EESC103: Earth's Dynamic Surface

This subject examines the processes that occur within, and the interactions and feedbacks that occur between the various components – or spheres – of the Earth system. There is a focus on Earth’s landforms as the product of tectonics, climate, and erosion; topics also include: the composition and behaviour of the atmosphere; global weather and climatic patterns; the character of the oceans and their interaction with the landmasses; and the role of humans in shaping the Earth system. Laboratory classes focus on developing and applying statistical data analysis, and field surveying and mapping skills to a variety of geographical contexts.

 
 

In 2015, EESC103 was overhauled and the following short videos describe the reasons and processes for change. The videos also provide information on the structure of this subject and on how assessment and feedback are used to enhance learning.

 

Designing assessment: Reasons for directions of change.

 
 

Designing Assessment: Constructive alignment.

 
 

Designing assessment: Engaging in feedback.

 

EESC105: Introductory Geospatial Analysis

This subject was developed and first offered in Autumn 2016. EESC105 provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geospatial analysis, and aims to equip students with core skills that will enable solving simple geospatial problems. The subject is comprised of two parts. Part one, follows a classical lecture/practical format where students learn the foundations of geospatial analysis. Part two follows a problem-based approach enabling students to apply the core geo-analytical skills to solving a simple real-world practical problem by working in groups and using industry standard tools and technologies.

Assessment tasks are designed around the concept of authentic-assessment as defined by Ashford-Rowe et al. (2013, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, v.39, p.205-222): students replicate existing case studies using the same tools and real data.

 
 

Both EESC103 and EESC105 were formally evaluated by UOW in 2015 and 2016. As shown below, the two subjects received average scores that were both well above the Faculty average. In the case of EESC103, the transformed subject also scored considerably higher than before the transformation suggesting that the holistic approach to scaffolding skills and content has resulted in a substantially improved subject. Improved learning in EESC103 is also evident in student results. While Pass and Credit grades dominated EESC103 weighted average marks prior to the refresh, since 2014 the number of Distinction and Credit grades have increased substantially while High Distinctions and Fails remaining commensurate to pre-2014 levels. The latter indicates that while it is still a relatively difficult subject, the subject provides the necessary environment for most students to do well.