Learning, Teaching and Student Services (LTSS)

Forum on Learning and Teaching

The University hosts an annual forum on learning and teaching, where it showcases innovation in learning and teaching, and provides keynote addresses from internationally renowned figures in higher education.

Recent keynote speakers include Phil Gardner from Michigan State University, who spoke on entrepreneurial mindedness and nurturing talent, and Michael Sankey formerly from the University of Southern Queensland, who spoke about technology-enhanced learning.


Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2018

Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2018

Keynote Speaker: Dr Kemi Jona, Northeastern University, Boston, MA USA

Dr Kemi Jona

Dr. Kemi Jona, a computer scientist, educator, and university administrator, is the Founding Director of the Lowell Institute School and the Associate Dean for Digital Innovation and Enterprise Learning. His portfolio includes the design and development of new highly-scalable digital experiential learning platforms and enterprise partnerships to support seamless, lifelong learning pathways for all learners.

Previously, Dr. Jona was a Research Professor at Northwestern University, where he led research and development projects advancing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and developed new learning technologies, such as tools for online science and remote labs, computational thinking, and new game-based approaches to engage youth in STEM and STEAM (STEM+arts/design). He was the founding Director of the Northwestern University Office of STEM Education Partnerships that connects the university to the K-12 community to advance STEM education.

Dr. Jona is a member of the steering committee of the National Alliance for Broader Impacts, a nationwide organization that advances the field of STEM outreach and public engagement with science. He is an advisor and consultant to industry, nonprofits, school districts, and federal, state, and local agencies on strategic process and learning-related issues, curriculum redesign, teacher professional development, and STEM education and outreach.

Dr. Jona frequently speaks at industry and education conferences, having given over 50 talks. He is the author or co-author of over 100 articles, book chapters, conference presentations, whitepapers, and reports on the topics of learning technologies, STEM education, and online and blended learning. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Northwestern University.

More information about Dr. Jona can be found on his website: www.kemijona.com

Abstract: The future of assessment in flexible, lifelong learning settings

With the growing recognition that our work and lives are going to be transformed as a result of smart machines and technology, understanding the kinds of learning opportunities needed to support the dynamic evolution of professional practices is more urgent than ever.  The emergence of digital badge micro-credentials, certificates and nano-degrees from MOOC providers, all point toward the kinds of more flexible, lifelong learning paradigms that may augment or, in some cases, replace more traditional modes of education.  The introduction of more flexible modes of learning with the accelerating changes in the skills required for success in life and in the workplace implies new opportunities to think about and implement the assessment and validation of learning and skill performance.

In this talk, I argue that we must reconceptualize assessment in a highly flexible learning environment, one that is by definition situated outside formal or traditional education environments.  In authentic, experiential learning settings, learning can no longer be separated from the application of knowledge in practice.  Thus, the artificial separation between assessment and learning so common in traditional formal education settings, loses its meaning.  Instead, assessment becomes intrinsic to learning and practice.  To illustrate these ideas, I will share examples of several flexible, experiential learning contexts currently being implemented at Northeastern University that deeply integrate assessment with practice and describe the new technologies being used to support them.


Thursday 30th August, 2018
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Theatre, Laucala Campus, USP


Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2017

Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2017

Keynote Speaker: Dr Wayne Mackintosh

Wayne Mackintosh

Dr. Wayne Mackintosh has over 27 years experience in open distance and online learning. He has a proven international track record in free software and Open Educational Resources (OER). He is well versed in the theory, research and practice of open distance and e-learning with international leadership experience in a variety of roles in the tertiary education sector.

Abstract: The OERu: From Vision to Reality

The OERu is succeeding in shifting the question from how to achieve a fiscally sustainable OER initiative to how will education in your institutions remain sustainable without OER? With the launch of the OERu 1st year of study, the network is demonstrating that the OERu is a low cost, low risk, but high impact innovation.

The OERu envisions a world where all learners can have more affordable options to higher education. The Open Educational Resource universitas (OERu) is an international collaboration of universities, colleges and polytechnics spanning five regions of the world which provides free learning opportunities using courses based solely on Open Educational Resources (OER) with pathways to obtain university-level qualifications. The OERu offers a philanthropic alternative to the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) startups.

This year, the OERu is launching a free 1st year of study leading to two exit qualifications. The Certificate of Higher Education Business (OERu), University of the Highlands and Islands and The Certificate of General Studies, Thompson Rivers University. The presentation will highlight how open design and open education practices are implemented by OERu to assemble open online courses available for remix and reuse across multiple delivery platforms and demonstrate how student mobility for credit transfer and course articulation has been resolved within the OERu network. I will share insights into the open business model developed through regional consultations demonstrating how access to education can be achieved for under-served populations, without comprising the fiscal sustainability of the publicly funded tertiary sector.

With USP being a founding partner of the OERu network, the presentation will explore opportunities for the University to widen access to educational opportunity in the region, further building on its leadership role in open and distance learning.


Thursday 31st August, 2017
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Theatre, Laucala Campus, USP

Student Presentations – "As a student, talk about your experiences in using OER?"

Staff Presentations – "How do you draw upon OER to enhance the student learning experience?"


Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2016

Keynote Speaker: Associate Professor Michael Sankey

Michael Sankey

Associate Professor Michael Sankey is the Director, Learning Environments and Media at the University Southern Queensland.

He specialises in elearning pedagogies, learning technologies, multimodal design, visual and multiliteracies.

He has worked in Higher Education for some 26 years and is particularly interested in how constructively aligned and aesthetically enhanced learning environments can better transmit concepts to students, particularly those from diverse backgrounds.

In recent years his research has focused on how students interact with technologies online, particularly in relation to accessing learning resources. His other passion area is photography, particularly the democratisation of the photographic medium, largely facilitated by the advent of digital imaging.

In addition to his role at USQ, Michael is the Director of the ACODE Learning Technologies Leadership Institute. This is a major initiative of ACODE that is run bi-yearly for those aspiring to become leaders in the area of technology enhanced learning.

Abstract: No man is an island in technology enhanced learning, even if you live on an island

There is a famous line by the poet John Donne (circa 1624) in his work ‘Devotions upon Emergent Occasions’ that reads:

'No man is an Island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.'

In this case the ‘continent’ represents how we are all (in the higher education sector) coming to grips with the rapid advances in technology enhanced learning (TEL), and how we can sometimes feel we are doing things all alone, where in actual fact we are part of a much broader learning community of practice. So you might physically live on an island, but you are part of a much greater learning community that are very happy to work with you to find solutions to your particular needs.

This presentation will look at some interesting, low barrier, technology enhanced pedagogies that have been seen to enhance student learning at a range of institutions. Some of these are common to the institutions learning management system (LMS), while others can easily be integrated into the greater virtual learning environment (VLE). Importantly, it will do this in the context of an institution providing a consistent approach for their students in how they experience the courses associated with an institutions VLE.

This presentation will also suggest that if we can nail down many of the fundamentals around providing TEL, then an institution has a much greater chance of being able to hammer home some of the innovation they would ultimately like to see in place. Not surprisingly, this approach calls on a number of recognized quality instruments that can be aligned with the potential plans and directions of the institution. We will investigate some of these tools and look to develop, together, a way forward, consistent with the support the greater learning community can provide.


Date: Thursday 1st September, 2016
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Theatre, Laucala Campus, USP



Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2015

Keynote Speaker: Associate Dr. Phil Gardner

Dr. Phil Gardner

Philip D. Gardner is Director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. Dr. Gardner has been with MSU for 28 years after receiving degrees from Whitman College (BA in Chemistry) and Michigan State University (Ph.D. in Resource & Development Economics/Public Policy).

His major areas of research include the transition from college to work, early socialization and career progression in the workplace, workforce readiness, and other areas related to college student studies. MSU’s nationally recognized annual college labor market study is done under his direction each fall.

He served as senior editor of the Journal of Cooperative Education and Internships. In the spring of 2009 he served as a Fulbright specialist to New Zealand on work-integrated learning.

Dr. Gardner currently serves as the Executive Director of the Career Network at MSU.

Abstract: Nurturing talent requires new thinking including graduates seeing themselves as potential employers and not employees. Modern employers are innovative and entrepreneurial.

Entrepreneurial mindedness has taken the university campus by storm with new curriculum, new space for creativity labs, and incubators for new businesses. Someone who can bring a sense of the entrepreneurial process into their organization has become a high priority for many organizations. Sarasvathy stressed that entrepreneurs need to: know who they are, what they know and whom they know; or in other words, entrepreneurs know their values, traits, abilities, and preferences, gain mastery of a discipline and the system (he refers to knowledge systems) they are engaged, and connect to a social network(s) that can advance their enterprise. Tim Brown of Silicon Valley’s IDEO parlayed the T professional metaphor which was coined in the early 1990s into a movement that captures similar constructs: mastery, self-awareness, and boundary spanning abilities. Both challenge undergraduate education by replacing should and ought questions (What should I major in? What courses ought I take?) With questions of can – what can I do? What can I create or What problem do I want to tackle? But faculty may not be ready for a creative classroom. For example, “teachers dislike students who exhibit curiosity and creative thinking even though teachers acknowledge creativity as an important educational goal (Muller, et.al.). Despite confounding evidence, universities need to ask themselves:

  • What combinations of teaching, space and technology can provide learning that embraces innovation and entrepreneurism?
  • What types of co-curricular engagement can be provided that allows students to test and experiment with their learning in multiple contexts, allow them to experiment with ideas, and challenge them to innovate?
  • How can capstone experiences be designed where a student can demonstrate mastery of their discipline through projects pursued with peers from other disciplines?
  • What expectations need to be embedded in partnerships with companies and organizations who need entrepreneurial focused talent?
  • How do universities provide professional enrichment for graduates to assist them further developing their T capabilities?


Date: Wednesday 9th September, 2015
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Theatre, Laucala Campus, USP

Case Studies


Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2014

Keynote Speaker: M. S. Vijay Kumar Ed. D


Dr. Vijay Kumar provides leadership for sustainable technology-enabled educational innovation at MIT. In his prior roles at MIT as Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, Assistant Provost and Director of Academic Computing, as well at other institutions, Vijay has been responsible for strategy development and leading units engaged in the effective integration of information technology and media services in education.

Vijay was the Principal Investigator of O.K.I (Open Knowledge Initiative), an MIT-led collaborative project to develop an open architecture for enterprise educational applications. Vijay is a member of the Advisory Committee of MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW). He is the Executive officer for MIT’s Council on Educational Technology. He was a member of the steering committee for I-Campus, the MIT-Microsoft Alliance initiative for educational technology.

Vijay’s research, as well as his engagements as advisor/consultant are directed toward strategy, planning and implementing technological innovations for education. Vijay was recently awarded an Honorary Professorship by Tianjin Open University, October 2013.


  • Ed.D. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1986; Dissertation: “Introducing Technological Innovations for Education in a Developing Country - Implications for Planning.”
  • M.S. Industrial Management, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, India, 1978; Dissertation: “Systemic Planning for Higher Education Administration”
  • B.Tech. Chemical Engineering, IIT, Madras, India, 1975.
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, IIT, Madras, India, 2011.

Abstract: Opening up New Insights for Educational Innovation and Opportunity

New affordances of technology and the open movement are ushering in an educational ecology characterized not only by an abundance of resources but also greater agency to learners and communities. Meanwhile, learning science research has also been contributing to an increased understanding of how people learn and what it means to learn within specific disciplines. New modalities are pointing to the need for inquiry into the development of quality and reach of online learning experiences as well as future research on learning effectiveness in general. Traditional assumptions about the development and delivery of educational resources and practice are being challenged, while hitherto immutable structural relationships in the value chain of education are being disrupted.

This presentation will build on the aspirations and implications of initiatives at MIT and elsewhere to discuss opportunities and readiness for educational innovation and transformation.


Date: Wednesday 10th September, 2014
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Theatre, Laucala Campus, USP


Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2013

Keynote Speaker: Dave Cormier


Dave Cormier is an engaging speaker and an international leader in e-Learning, open source software and open education.

Some years ago, in a skype conversation with his friend and colleague, Professor George Siemens of the University of Athabasca, he coined the term MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). Together, Siemens and Cormier were the first to offer any form of MOOC.

Their approach to MOOCs is very much grounded in pedagogy and learner-centredness, making him ideal to provoke and lead the discussion on transformative pedagogies and USP’s quest for excellence.

Mr. Cormier is a faculty member at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada. He is also President of Edactive Technologies which specializes in using content management systems and virtual worlds to make friendly and efficient places for people to work, collaborate and build knowledge communities.

Proposed Outcomes of the Forum:

  1. Increased knowledge of USP staff and students of new and transformative pedagogies that enhance student learning outcomes;
  2. Increased knowledge of USP staff and students of the effectiveness of new technologies in improving student learning outcomes;
  3. Provide a forum in which USP staff and students can present their research in learning and teaching to their peers.


Date: Thursday 3rd October 2013 and Friday 4th October 2013
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Theatre, Laucala Campus, USP

Day One (3rd October, 2013)

Day Two (4th October, 2013)


Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2012


Date: Monday 10 September 2011
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Theatre, Laucala Campus, USP

Theme: Learning & Teaching Spaces

Chair: Director, Properties & Facilities

Theme: Learning Technologies

(a) Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Current Practices

Chair: Associate Dean Learning & Teaching, Faculty of Arts, Law & Education – Dr Bruce Yeates

(b) Innovations and Initiatives

Chair: Associate Dean Learning & Teaching, Faculty of Arts, Law & Education – Dr Bruce Yeates

(c) Services

Chair: Associate Dean Learning & Teaching, Faculty of Arts, Law & Education – Dr Bruce Yeates

  • 1.10pm – 1.40pm: Lunch

(d) Emerging Issues

Chair: Acting Dean, Faculty of Business & Economics – Dr Kesaia Seniloli

  • 3.20pm 3.30pm: Afternoon Tea

Theme: Symposium on mLearning

Chair: Associate Dean Learning & Teaching, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment – Associate Prof Bibhya Sharma

Theme: Research in Learning & Teaching

Chair: Director of Research – Associate Prof Jito Vanualailai

  • 5.10pm – 5.30pm: Concluding Remarks - Professor Sally Kift andVice-Chancellor & President: Professor Rajesh Chandra
  • 5.30pm – 7.00pm: Author's Cocktail (Hosted by the Library)


Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2011


Date: Thursday 22nd September & Friday 23rd September 2011
Venue: Australia Pacific Lecture Theatre (formerly known as AusAid Lecture Theatre) (092-003)

Day One (September 22, 2011)

Day Two (September 23, 2011)

  • 9.00am: Dr. David Rohindra, Senior Lecturer, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, FSTE, “Engaging students in Assessment through the use of rubrics and curriculum mapping: A case study in Chemistry.”
  • 9.25am: Dr. Bruce Yeates, Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching, FAL, “What do we mean by Professionalism?: Application of the ‘Professionalism Rubric’ to the Social Work Program”
  • 9.45am: Ms. Alanieta Lesuma-Fatiaki, Instructional Designer, and Mr. Javed Yusuf, Education Technologist, CFDL – “Taking the Communities of Practice (CoP) to MOODLE.”
  • 10.05am: Mr. Nilesh Bilimoria, Assistant Lecturer, School of Law, FAL, “Harmonizing worldly education with values education”.
  • 10.30 10.50am: Morning Tea
  • 10.50am: Dr. Ittay Weiss, Lecturer, School of Computing, Information & Mathematical Sciences, FSTE, “Oversimplification – creating meaningless mathematics.”
  • 11.15am: Ms. Pamela Bidwell, Lecturer, School of Education, FAL, “Students Outside the Box: Non Traditional Students at USP: Benefits and Challenges.”
  • 11.40am 12.40pm: SYMPOSIUM: M-learning at USP: A pedagogical tool for the future
    Moderator: Dr. Bibhya Sharma, Associate Dean Learning and Teaching, FSTE
    • Presenters: Mr. Varunesh Rao (CFDL), Mr. Kritesh Bali (FSTE), Mr. Dinesh Kumar (FSTE), Mr. Vijay Prasad (CFS) and Mr. Rajneel Totaram (CFDL)

  • 12.40 1.40pm: Lunch
  • 1.40pm: Mr. Jeremy Dorovolomo, Lecturer, School of Education, FAL, “Quality of instruction can contribute to positive student retention rates.”
  • 2.00pm: Ms. Niseta Buatava and Ms. Siniva Laupepa, Student Learning Support Tutors, FAL, “Scaffolding Alliances @FAL-Student Learning Support: Mentor-Mentee Success Stories”
  • 2.20pm: Ms. Toni Fisher, Lecturer, Division of Land Management, FSTE, “GIS for Learning and Teaching.”
  • 2.45pm: Dr. Nicole Anae, Senior Lecturer, School of Language, Arts and Media, FAL, “The play’s the thing…..: Teaching Dramatic Literature”.
  • 3.10 3.30pm: Afternoon Tea
  • 3.30pm: Professor Peter Larmour, School of Management and Public Administration, FBE, “Postgraduate teaching on Corruption and Anti Corruption.”

Concluding Remarks

  • 3.55 – 4.30pm: Concluding Remarks: Professor Peter McPhee, Deputy Vice-Chancellor LTSS: Professor Susan Kelly, Vice-Chancellor & President: Professor Rajesh Chandra


Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning & Teaching 2010


Date: Monday 8th November & Tuesday 9th November 2010
Venue: Australia Pacific Lecture Theatre (formerly known as AusAid Lecture Theatre) (092-003)

Day One

Day Two

Closing Remarks