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Associate Professor Jo McKenzie


Jo has been Director of IML since the end of 2008. She commenced at UTS as a research assistant and casual academic and now has more than 20 years experience in learning and teaching and academic development in higher education.

In her current role, Jo has overall responsibility for all aspects of the IML, including curriculum, learning and teaching, academic language and learning and the Academic Programs Office which manages curriculum accreditation and curriculum data. She collaborates with Associate Deans on providing support for university strategic projects and faculty curriculum renewal and learning and teaching priorities.  She also works collaboratively on university-wide initiatives: with Information Technology Division on information technologies for learning and curriculum systems; with Human Resources Unit, on academic leadership capability and academic career paths; with the University Graduate School on research supervision and early career academics; and with the Equity and Diversity Unit on the First Year Experience program and related initiatives. Jo is on a number of UTS committees and is an active contributor to university policy development and working groups.

She has been a leader of two ALTC grants, on dissemination of innovations and peer-review of teaching and learning in blended learning environments, and a partner and team member on six further grants, focused on leadership for course coordinators, leadership for subject coordinators leading sessional staff teams, leadership of research education coordinators, benchmarking leadership for sessional staff, using threshold concepts and variation theory to improve curriculum, and curriculum-led learning space design. She is currently involved in an OLT grant on valuing student voices in the future of learning in higher education.

Her research interests include academic and professional practice, change in university teaching and phenomenography and variation theory.


Jo is a member of CADAD (Committee for Australasian Directors of Academic Development) and one of the founding members of the steering committee of the fIRST consortium, a national consortium for Improving Research Supervision and Training. She is also a UTS representative on ACODE (Australasian Council on Open, Distance and e-Learning).

From 2007-2011 she was a coordinator of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction Special Interest Group 9: Phenomenography and Variation Theory. She is a member of EARLI, SRHE, HERDSA and ASCILITE.

She has been a regular assessor of OLT citations and has assessed applications in other OLT program areas.

Director, Institute for Interactive Media and Learning
BSc (Hons) (Syd), BA (Hons) (Macquarie), GradDipEd (KCAE), PhD (UTS)
+61 2 9514 2198

Research Interests

Jo's research interests include academic and professional practice, change in university teaching and phenomenography and variation theory.

She has been a leader or partner in a number of OLT grants on academic leadership, curriculum, peer review and dissemination of innovations in higher education.

Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching and Learning: Student Learning and Teaching Approaches

Academic leadership for course and subject coordinators

Jo also facilitates academic professional practice and development workshops and events at UTS, including academic and curriculum planning and review events and retreats in collaboration with faculties or course teams. She has also been a consultant facilitator or presenter at academic professional development events in other universities.


Parker, N.J. & McKenzie, J. 2015, 'CHAPTER 6: Institutions' in Harvey, M. & Fredericks, V. (eds), Quality Learning and Teaching with Sessional Staff, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Milperra, NSW, pp. 39-48.
Åkerlind, G., McKenzie, J. & Lupton, M. 2014, 'The potential of combining phenomenography, variation theory and threshold concepts to inform curriculum design in higher education' in Huisman, J. & Tight, M. (eds), Theory and Method in Higher Education Research II (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Volume 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 227-247.
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This chapter describes an innovative method of curriculum design that is based on combining phenomenographic research, and the associated variation theory of learning, with the notion of disciplinary threshold concepts to focus specialised design attention on the most significant and difficult parts of the curriculum. The method involves three primary stages: (i) identification of disciplinary concepts worthy of intensive curriculum design attention, using the criteria for threshold concepts; (ii) action research into variation in students' understandings/misunderstandings of those concepts, using phenomenography as the research approach; (iii) design of learning activities to address the poorer understandings identified in the second stage, using variation theory as a guiding framework. The curriculum design method is inherently theory and evidence based. It was developed and trialed during a two-year project funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, using physics and law disciplines as case studies. Disciplinary teachers' perceptions of the impact of the method on their teaching and understanding of student learning were profound. Attempts to measure the impact on student learning were less conclusive; teachers often unintentionally deviated from the design when putting it into practice for the first time. Suggestions for improved implementation of the method are discussed.


Griffiths, N., Egea, K.H. & McKenzie, J. 2016, 'All shapes and sizes: Engaging academics in reframing practice', HERDSA, Fremantle.
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McKenzie, J. & Egea, K.H. 2015, 'Sustaining an institutional first year experience strategy: a distributed leadership approach', STARS Handbook and Proceedings, Students,Transitions, Achievement, Retention & Success (STARS), Jason Thomas Events Pty Ltd, Melbourne, pp. 1-10.
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Sustainable first year experience (FYE) strategies require systematic approaches that engage academic and professional staff across the institution in improving the student experience. This paper describes a distributed leadership approach to implementing a FYE strategy aimed at improving student success and retention. The approach involves coordination at central and faculty levels, along with university-wide and faculty learning communities for academic and professional staff, first year grants and resource development. The paper outlines the range of activities and analyses them in terms of criteria for distributed leadership, including involvement of people, supportive processes, professional development and availability of resources, combined with the values of trust, a culture of respect, recognising a variety of change inputs and collaborative relationships (Jones et al., 2012). Evidence from coordinator reflections based on these criteria and values is used to illustrate the aspects of the strategy that are working well, and those that need attention.
McKenzie, J., Pizzica, J., Gosper, M., Malfroy, J. & Ashford-Rowe, K. 2014, 'Socio-economic status and students' experiences of technologies: Is there a digital divide?', Rhetoric and Reality: Critical perspectives on educational technology. Proceedings ascilite Dunedin 2014, ASCILITE2014, Dunedin, pp. 688-692.
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With the widening participation agenda in Australia, more students from low socio-economic backgrounds are being encouraged to undertake university degrees, and will be expected to use digital technologies and demonstrate digital literacies. This paper used data from a 2013 survey of students across three universities, to examine whether there were socio-economic differences in students' access to and use of technologies. There were few differences in access to equipment. There were also no differences in the most common uses of technologies, such as accessing course materials from the LMS, and few differences between students from low, medium and high socioeconomic status suburbs. However students who received government support benefits less frequently used technologies that related to disciplinary skills or to creating rather than receiving content. There may be a subtle digital divide, where financially disadvantaged students are engaging less with technologies that will most benefit their future employment.
Gosper, M., McKenzie, J., Pizzica, J., Malfroy, J. & Ashford-Rowe, K. 2014, 'Student use of technologies for learning – what has changed since 2010?', Rhetoric and Reality: Critical perspectives on educational technology. Proceedings ascilite Dunedin 2014, ASCILITE2014, Dunedin, pp. 290-301.
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This paper reports on a large longitudinal survey of students and their use of technologies in two Australian universities. The SEET survey is unique in Australia because it includes not just current use, but students' expectations about their future use of technology. The survey was originally run in 2010 and then repeated, with slight modifications to reflect changes in technologies, in 2013. This paper compares the results from 2013 with the 2010 results. Whilst some changes reflect the wider access to freely available open resources and new technologies such as Smartphones and iPads, other results are remarkably consistent with the 2010 results. Overall students are increasingly satisfied with their use of technologies and despite the increase in uptake of freely available technologies, it is evident that the LMS and its inbuilt tools and functions remain a key platform for learning and teaching at universities.
Harvey, M., Luzia, K., Brown, N., McCormack, C., McKenzie, J.A. & Parker, N.J. 2012, 'Connecting quality learning and teaching with sessional staff standards: the BLASST project', Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education, Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education, 35th HERDSA Annual International Conference, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Incorporated (HERDSA), Hobart, Australia, pp. 1-1.
Abstract of short conference presentation Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education
Egea, K. & McKenzie, J.A. 2012, 'Developing a systematic institutional FYE approach from top down to grassroots up', 15th International First Year in Higher Education Conference | New Horizons, 15th International First Year in Higher Education Conference, QUT Events, Brisbane, Queensland, pp. 1-5.
This paper describes the approach used at UTS to systematically integrate and embed third generation Transition Pedagogy in curriculum and co-curriculum practices for student success and retention in their first year of study at UTS. The strategy focused to support students from low socio-economic backgrounds, with the view that support for these students is support for all students. The strategy includes a framework for student success at UTS, appointment of a first year coordinator, building a first year experience network of academic and professional staff engaged in first year teaching, and a number of small first year grants for subject coordinators. Success of this approach is captured in the framework, and demonstrated through integrating the growing network with the successful outcomes of the grants based on transition pedagogy.
Boud, D.J., Solomon, N., Ryland, K., McKenzie, J.A., Brew, A.E., Malfroy, J., Kiley, M. & Dowling, R. 2012, 'Understanding the emerging role of research education coordinators', Quality in Postgraduate Research: Narratives of Transition: Perspectives of Research Leaders, Educators and Postgraduates, The Centre for Higher Education, Learning and Teaching. The Australian National University. Canberra, Adelaide.
Conference proceedings
Wilson, A., Akerlind, G., Francis, P., Kirkup, L., McKenzie, J.A., Pearce, D. & Sharma, M. 2010, 'Measurement uncertainty as a threshold concept in Physics', Proceedings of the 16th UniServe Science Annual Conference, 2010, Uniserve Science Annual Conference, Uniserve Science, Sydney, pp. 98-103.
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We report on the initial findings of a study aimed at developing ways to address threshold concepts in the design of undergraduate curricula, involving academics in two disciplines (physics and law) from four Australian universities The present paper compares two different processes by which physics academics identified and characterised a candidate threshold concept, measurement uncertainty, using student interviews and their own experiences as teachers.
Parker, N.J. & McKenzie, J.A. 2010, 'Reshaping academic practice with our peers: Experiences of peer review in blended learning environments', Research and Development in Higher Education: Reshaping Higher Education, 33rd HERDSA Annual Conference, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Inc, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-1.
Academic practices have been inevitably reshaped as university teaching has moved towards the use of blended learning environments (BLE). Peer review of teaching (PR) is also becoming more widespread, with peer observation and teaching, or course portfolios being widely used by teachers. Peer review presents particular opportunities and challenges in online and BLEs as they reposition teachers and students in time and place because of both the nature and recording of the interactions taking place. This session showcases some outcomes of a PR project, (ALTC funded), that developed and trialled a framework for peer review in BLEs based on: the promotions criteria; literature review on electronic or BLE, the qualities of scholarly work and the peer observation. Teams across five Australian universities developed, trialled, evaluated and refined a common framework, protocols and resources. A co-productive action research approach was taken with participating academics engaging in reciprocal PR of aspects of their teaching. Case studies of the reviews, institutional case studies and online materials were developed to support formative improvement and `reshaping of academic practice, as well as to enable the use of PR for recognition and reward. Engaging in a process of reflection, formative review and action planning of teaching practice with trusted peers was found to be highly effective and rewarding. A thorough briefing procedure, which included teachers reflecting on the framework criteria before the review was invaluable. The benefit of this type of review in BLE, and adaptation of the resources and materials for different contexts will be discussed as well as implications for university policies and processes.
Anderson, T.K., Parker, N.J. & McKenzie, J.A. 2009, 'Assessing Online Collaboratories: A Peer Review of Teaching and Learning', Assessment in Different Dimensions: A conference on teaching and learning in tertiary education (ATN Assessment Conference, RMIT University), ATN Assessment Conference, Learning & Teaching Unit, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 7-16.
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This paper presents action research informed by Peer Reviews of innovative assessment in a `fully blended undergraduate Communications subject. The assessments, the teachers intentions for student learning and the process and outcomes of two rounds of review will be discussed. Assessment is the crux of a subject for students and teachers, and the paper will show how `conversations about teaching as part of a Peer Review process can enhance assessment. The assessment that was the focus of the review involves collaboratories in which students use wikis to build on collaborative knowledge production about emerging technologies. Peer Reviews focused on the strategies used to encourage greater student-directed and managed participation in the construction of the wikis and associated student-moderated online discussions. The first round identified ways that the assessment criteria could be more specific and distinct in relation to the subjects themes and practices. The second round specifically focused on the assignments that flowed from the collaboratories. One motivation for this teacher to engage in the project was the need to make the assessment more sustainable.
Mckenzie, J., Pelliccione, L. & Parker, N. 2009, 'What makes blended learning effective? An interactive session of peer review', ASCILITE 2009 - The Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, pp. 1225-1228.
This session will engage participants in a supported process of Peer Review (PR) in blended learning environments. An introduction to PR and short overview of a current PR project (McKenzie et al 2008) will contextualise the activities. Participants will form pairs and use a 'briefing template' to ask each other questions in relation to a subject/unit or staff activity run in blended learning mode. Each pair will to log on to their subject/unit/activity site to work through part of a peer review framework. A debrief and look at project resources and website will conclude the session. This session is intended for all academics who have been teaching, or running staff development workshops, in blended learning environments. Delegates who have recently taught a subject, unit or workshop should bring along their laptops to engage in this 'hands on' review of learning and teaching in blended learning environments. © 2009 Jo McKenzie, Lina Pelliccione and Nicola Parker.
Lee, A. & McKenzie, J.A. 2008, 'Evaluating Doctoral Supervision: Qualitative Steps and Emerging Issues', Quality in Postgraduate Research: Research Education in the New Global Environment, Quality in Postgraduate Research: Research Education in the New Global Environment, CEDAM, ANU, Adelaide, pp. 61-73.
McKenzie, J.A., Pelliccione, L. & Parker, N.J. 2008, 'Developing peer review of teaching in blended learning environments: Frameworks and challenges', Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology? Proceedings ascilite Melbourne 2008, Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 622-627.
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The growth of blended learning environments in higher education has emphasised the need for better ways of describing and recognising good teaching that promotes student learning in these environments. Although the affordances of e-learning technologies have long been discussed, there has been little emphasis on developing systematic processes for recognition of good teaching in blended learning environments and developmental feedback for academics. This paper reports on work in progress on a two year ALTC project in which teams across the ATN universities are developing a scholarly framework and a sustainable process for peer reviews through a co-productive, action research approach.
McKenzie, J.A. 2007, 'Relations between dissonance and change in ways of experiencing university teaching', Developing potentials for learning: 12th Biennial conference for research on learning and instruction. Programme and abstracts, European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction, Budapest, Hungary.
Short abstract printed in conference program. Extended abstract published online
McKenzie, J.A. 2007, 'Variation in patterns of teacher development and change: Connections with the development of scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching', Enhancing Higher Education: Proceedings of the 30th annual HERDSA conference [CD-ROM], Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Annual Conference, HERDSA, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 389-397.
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Scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching are associated with student-focused conceptions of teaching, both explicitly by some writers, and implicitly in their focus on engaging with students and investigating relations between teaching and student learning. This paper focuses on the extent to which development and change in conceptions of teaching relate to the development of the attributes of scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching. The paper is based on a longitudinal study of 27 university teachers. Four patterns describing development or change in teachers conceptions of teaching over time are described, varying from remaining teacher focused with teaching-focused ways of experiencing change in teaching to becoming or remaining student-focused with a student learning and teacher-understanding focused way of experiencing change in teaching. In the two patterns in which teachers remained teacher focused, there was little evidence of the attributes of scholarly teaching. Teachers reflected on and changed their content or strategies and developed selective knowledge of teaching but did not reflect on or investigate the relations between their teaching and students learning. By contrast, in the two patterns in which teachers became or remained student focused in their teaching situations, teachers described many of the features of scholarly teaching: pedagogic content knowledge, investigating and reflecting on connections between teaching and their students learning, learning from students and seeking to communicate with peers, either informally or through publication. The paper concludes that a focus on learning from students might be not just a feature of scholarly teaching but critical for its development.
McKenzie, J.A. 2006, 'Variation in ways of experiencing the dissemination of teaching and learning innovations and ways of experiencing teaching: Similarities, differences and implications for improving learning', Improving student learning through teaching, Improving student learning through teaching: 14th international symposium on improving student learning, Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Bath, UK, pp. 100-110.
McKenzie, J.A. & Alexander, S.A. 2006, 'Variation in ways of experiencing dissemination: Implications for the adoption and adaption of teaching and learning innovation projects', Critical visions: Thinking, learning and researching in higher education - Proceedings of the 2006 annual conference of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Inc (HERDSA), Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Annual Conference, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Inc., Perth, Australia, pp. 222-228.
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Madadnia, J. & Mckenzie, J. 2006, 'Online-techniques to improve student learning in engineering design subject (student perception)', 7th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training, ITHET, pp. 662-663.
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The course management system, "Blackboard" (UTSonline), was used to provide an interactive team design environment in the Engineering Design subject. This paper presents student perceptions of the effectiveness of the UTSonline in enhancing student learning and skill development. UTSonline was evaluated by the students on its contribution to student team learning, skill development and analysis, integration and application of ideas in major design projects. Engineering Design was designed to encourage students to focus on the Concurrent Engineering, and to co-create as suggested by the learning organization theories [Senge 1990, Senge et al 1998]. This paper concludes that it is possible to further improve quality learning and design products using UTSonline environment, but such quality outcomes relate to the overall learning deign employed by the educators and not to the use of an online approach by itself. © 2006 IEEE.
Madadnia, J. & Mckenzie, J. 2006, 'Design of an internet-based (i.e. UTSonline) engineering design subject', 7th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training, ITHET, pp. 660-661.
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This paper examines the design and development of an internet based Engineering Design Subject at Faculty of Engineering, University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The course management system, "Blackboard" (UTSonline), was used to provide an interactive team design environment in the Engineering Design subject. Concurrent Engineering, and student-focused-approaches are incorporated in the subject content, teaching methods, and student assessment techniques to develop the graduate attributes expected of innovative design engineers. Combined Face-to-face (f2f) and the Blackboard (UTSonline) facilities are used to provide interactive learning environments for students to demonstrate the quality of their learning and skill development in a major-design project, through team working, need analysis, information gathering, design specification, application of design ideas, concept development, concept-evaluation, and concept selections. The developed Engineering Design subject is also proposed as a bench mark product for design-students who select as a major project to design a modern Engineering Design Subject. The paper discusses ways in which we have examined the effectiveness of our design subject by interviewing students, industry, and teaching staff, analysing their design reports, reflective portfolios and feedback surveys. © 2006 IEEE.
Madadnia, J., Marks, G. & Mckenzie, J. 2006, 'The role of the UTSonline as a platform for teaching engineering design subject', 7th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training, ITHET, pp. 664-665.
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Online education in design is receiving increasing attention from community, industry, educators and students alike. Authors have explored the full potential of the UTSonline environment in enhancing students' learning and skill development in the Engineering Design subject. The UTSonline (or Blackboard) is a learning management Software and provides a range of tools to assemble and manage e-Learning resources. Authors who are actively involved on online-education have reflected on their own experience of using UTSonline in teaching design subjects. The paper presents the analysis and conclusion that E-learning is effective as a complementary and supportive for f2f teaching. This paper mainly argues that the virtual environment in UTSonline extends the existing e-learning potentials, strategies and processes. © 2006 IEEE.
Brown, D.A., Sivabalan, P., Booth, P.J. & McKenzie, J.A. 2002, 'An action research approach to improving student learning outcomes using constructed alignment: Some evidence and implications for teaching cost accounting', Proceedings of the AAANZ Annual Conference, Poster Session at the AAANZ Annual Conference, Perth.
McKenzie, J.A. 2002, 'Variation and relevance structures for university teachers learning: bringing about change in ways of experiencing teaching', Research and development in higher education, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Annual Conference, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Inc, Perth, Australia, pp. 434-441.
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Brown, D.A., Sivabalan, P., Booth, P.J. & McKenzie, J.A. 2002, 'An action research approach to improving student learning outcomes using constructive alignment: Some evidence and implications for teaching cost accounting', School of Accounting Seminar Series, School of Accounting Seminar Series, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus.

Journal articles

Jones, S., Harvey, M., Hamilton, J., Bevacqua, J., Egea, K. & McKenzie, J. 2017, 'Demonstrating the impact of a distributed leadership approach in higher education', Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 197-211.
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© 2017 Association for Tertiary Education Management and the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Education Leadership and Management. Higher education is under pressure to advance from a singular focus on assessment of outputs (measurements) to encompass the impact (influence) of initiatives across all aspects of academic endeavour (research, learning and teaching, and leadership). This paper focuses on the implications of this shift for leadership in higher education. Demonstrating the impact of leadership in higher education requires taking a step beyond measuring the skills, behaviours, and achievements of individual leaders to demonstrating how universities can evaluate the impact of actions taken to build leadership capacity across the institution. The authors extend the outcome of empirical research into how a distributed leadership approach can be enabled and evaluated in Australian higher education–to analyse the effectiveness of these processes for both measuring output and assessing the impact and influence of practice.
Crosby, A.L. & McKenzie, J. 2016, 'Listening to student voices through scenario design: Aligning learning.futures', Sensoria: A Journal of Mind, Brain, and Culture, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 5-11.
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This paper explores the preferred learning futures of students at the University of Technology Sydney and the alignments of students' preferred futures with policy changes. The aim of the paper is to describe a different approach to listening to students' voices and illuminate some possible ways in which the student voice can influence the implementation of higher education learning policies, with the aim of ultimately improving student learning experiences into the future. Students' preferred futures were explored through a methodology of rapidly formulated collaborative scenario design, then coded thematically using open coding. Broad themes related to the changing context, learning environments, and independent learning, with students seeing ideal learning in higher education being a combination of personal, social and connected experiences. In order to offer a student perspective that is of use to policymakers, we discuss these preferred futures in relation to the University of Technology Sydney's 'learning.futures' approach, which focuses on changing the way that learning happens in the university.
Boud, D., Brew, A., Dowling, R., Kiley, M., McKenzie, J., Malfroy, J., Ryland, K. & Solomon, N. 2014, 'The coordination role in research education: Emerging understandings and dilemmas for leadership', Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 440-454.
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Changes in expectations of research education worldwide have seen the rise of new demands beyond supervision and have highlighted the need for academic leadership in research education at a local level. Based on an interview study of those who have taken up local leadership roles in four Australian universities, this paper maps and analyses different dimensions of the emerging leadership role of research education coordination. It argues that while there is increasing clarity of what is required, there are considerable tensions in the nature of the coordination role and how coordination is to be executed. In particular, what leadership roles are appropriate and how can they be positioned effectively within universities? The paper draws on the Integrated Competing Values Framework to focus on the activities of coordination and on ideas of distributed leadership to discuss the leadership that characterises coordination. It is argued that without acknowledgement of the influences that coordinators need to exert and the positioning and support needed to achieve this, the contemporary agenda for research education will not be realised. © 2014 © 2014 Association for Tertiary Education Management and the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Education Leadership and Management.
Russell, C., Malfroy, J., Gosper, M. & McKenzie, J. 2014, 'Using research to inform learning technology practice and policy: a qualitative analysis of student perspectives.', Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 1-15.
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Gosper, M., Malfroy, J. & McKenzie, J.A. 2013, 'Students' experiences and expectations of technologies: An Australian study designed to inform planning and development decisions.', Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (Online), vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 268-282.
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Reports on an analysis of a questionnaire based survey of over 10,000 students' uses of current technologies and develops a framework for institutional responses to changing technology use.
Luzia, K., Harvey, M., Parker, N.J., McCormack, C., Brown, N. & McKenzie, J.A. 2013, 'Benchmarking with the BLASST Sessional Staff Standards Framework', Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 1-15.
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Benchmarking as a type of knowledge-sharing around good practice within and between institutions is increasingly common in the higher education sector. More recently, benchmarking as a process that can contribute to quality enhancement has been deployed across numerous institutions with a view to systematising frameworks to assure and enhance the quality of higher education. However, to date, sessional staff who are the majority of teachers in higher education, have been mostly excluded from or invisible in this process, both within individual institutions and across the sector. In this paper, we present four case studies of benchmarking across four Australian universities that piloted the sessional staff standards framework in order to enhance and support quality learning and teaching by sessional staff. We discuss some of the strengths and limitations of this approach to supporting sessional staff and show how the benchmarking process facilitates active engagement for and particularly by sessional staff in enhancing quality teaching and learning.
Fowler, C.M., Dunston, R., Lee, A., Rossiter, C. & McKenzie, J.A. 2012, 'Reciprocal learning in partnership practice: an exploratory study of a home visiting program for mothers with depression', Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 99-112.
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This paper reports on a small exploratory study that investigates the place and role of reciprocal learning within a partnership-based home visiting program for mothers experiencing depression. The study is one important example of an increased focus on reciprocal learning within practice that has significant implications for the development of professional education and, more generally, for workplace learning and ongoing professional development. The study addresses two major gaps in the research literature: a lack of detailed accounts of how partnership based approaches are taken up and developed in Australian health care; and a lack of attention to learning as a focus and outcome of artnership- based practice. Using information from in-depth interviews with nurses and mothers we describe and analyse the experience of participants, their learning and knowledge development, the techniques used to facilitate learning, and the development of a relationship between mother and nurse, and mother and child.
Lee, A. & McKenzie, J.A. 2011, 'Evaluating Doctoral Supervision: Tensions In Eliciting Students' Perspectives', Innovations In Education And Teaching International, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 69-78.
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In the context of intensifying accountability requirements for academic work, there are increasing pressures on individual supervisors, departments and universities to evaluate the quality of doctoral supervision. Existing evaluation tools are focused at departmental rather than individual level and are mostly quantitative in nature. Evaluation for supervisors is usually limited to reflective self-assessment and peer critique from fellow supervising academics. It has been notoriously difficult to elicit sustained feedback from doctoral students regarding their experiences of working with an individual supervisor, for ethical and practical reasons. This paper conceptualises the tensions involved in eliciting student perspectives on supervision and explores one possible way forward. It provides a case study of the development and trialing of a research-informed online survey instrument that draws on qualitative methods to elicit sustained reflective commentary from doctoral students, in an anonymous format, about their experiences of supervision. The paper describes the development of the survey, named the RSFS, illustrates the outcomes of the trials, and raises a number of critical issues for further exploration and debate.
Docherty, P.T., Tse, H.P., Forman, S.R. & McKenzie, J.A. 2010, 'Extending the principles of intensive writing to large macroeconomics classes', Journal of Economic Education, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 370-382.
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The authors report on the design and implementation of a pilot program to extend the principles of intensive writing outlined by W. Lee Hansen (1998), Murray S. Simpson and Shireen E. Carroll (1999) and David Carless (2006) to large macroeconomics classes. The key aspect of this program was its collaborative nature, with staff from two specialist units joining forces with two economics instructors to provide students with significant resources and direction in a short program of writing, embedded within an intermediate macroeconomics subject at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). The objective was to test potential strategies and to identify points of improvement for a more intensive program of writing development at the next stage of implementation. The authors review the literature on student writing and associated assessment issues, outline the central design features of the UTS program, and take a closer look at the centerpiece of a strategy for overcoming writing problems: a series of writing workshops targeted at two related assignments within the intermediate macroeconomics course.
Freeman, M. & McKenzie, J.A. 2009, 'SPARK, a confidential web-based template for self and peer assessment of student teamwork: Benefits of evaluating across different subjects', British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 551-569.
Students often enjoy learning in teams and developing teamwork skills, but criticise team assessment as unfair if there is equal reward for unequal contributions. This paper describes the design, implementation and evaluation in four subjects of the Self and Peer Assessment Resource Kit (SPARK), a web-based template which aims to improve learning from team assessment tasks and make the assessment fairer for students. Students benefit because the web-based template improves confidentiality and the potential for accurate assessment of relative contributions. Academics benefit through the potential for improving student learning from teamwork tasks, and saving time by automating the process of calculating self and peer adjustments of assessment grades, especially attractive for large enrolments. Benefits accrue to the institution and wider academic community because the template suits a range of group assessment situations. Based on experiences gained over five years of developing, evaluating and implementing SPARK, this paper aims to illustrate the potential benefits of the template to potential users and more critically, to use what was learned from implementing the template across a range of subjects to alert others to key issues for evaluating and disseminating educational technology innovations.
Madadnia, J., Koosha, H. & McKenzie, J.A. 2001, 'Development of learnee-focused, sustainable-engineering subject', Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 179-193.
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McKenzie, J., Sheely, S. & Trigwell, K. 1998, 'Drawing on experience: An holistic approach to student evaluation of courses', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 153-164.
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Many traditional methods of course evaluation are fragmentary, seeking feedback on particular dimensions of teaching or courses. This paper reports on a trial of an innovative holistic approach, which allows students to express more global feelings about their course experience. Students from years 2-6 in an architecture degree course were asked, as part of an evaluation of their course, to pictorially represent their impression of the preceding year. Students illustrated their experiences in a number of ways including, self-portraits, cartoons, metaphorical images, and diagrammatic representations (flow charts, etc.). The variety of content of the drawings and the validity and comprehensibility of this approach to evaluation is addressed in this paper. It is suggested that drawings by students or staff can be a valuable source of information for course evaluation. Not just in terms of what has happened but how people feel about what has happened. They appear to generate information which is not usually obtained from written comments and which could readily be discussed by staff in the process of improving their courses and teaching. © 1998 Car fax Publishing Ltd.


Buzwell, S., Bates, G., McKenzie, J., Alexander, S., Williams, J., Farrugia, M. & Crosby, A.L. Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching 2016, Valuing student voices when exploring, creating and planning for the future of Australian higher education, Australia.
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Harvey, M., Luzia, K., McCormack, C., Brown, N., McKenzie, J. & Parker, N.J. Office for Learning and Teaching Department of Education 2014, The BLASST report: Benchmarking leadership and advancement of standards for sessional teaaching, pp. 1-58, Sydney NSW 2001.
Final Report for ALTC/OLT project
Boud, D., Brew, A., Dowling, R., Kiley, M., Malfroy, J., McKenzie, J.A., Solomon, N. & Ryland, K. Office for Learning and Teaching 2014, Building local leadership for research education.
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Sherringham, S. Office for Learning and Teaching, Department of Education 2014, 'Scaffold': A Protocol for Developing Curriculum-Led Human-Centred Next Generation Learning Environments in Higher Education, pp. 1-63.
Akerlind, G., McKenzie, J.A. & Lupton, M. Australian Learning and Teaching Council 2011, A threshold concepts focus to curriculum design: supporting student learning through application of variation theory, pp. 1-136, Australia.
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The report describes the development and testing of a research-informed curriculum model aimed at improving students' learning of threshold concepts. The project used phenomenographic action research and the variation theory of learning to develop and trial the model with collaboration from three institutional partners.
McKenzie, J.A. & Parker, N.J. Australian Learning and Teaching Council 2011, Peer review in online and blended learning environments, pp. 1-75.
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This is the report of a project which used an action research approach to develop and test a scholarly framework for peer review in online and blended learning environments in higher education. The report includes a literature review, methodology, framework description, description of trialing and analysis of themes from interviews with trial participants. It draws conclusions about possible approaches to using peer review for promotion.
Lefoe, G., Parrish, D., Malfroy, J., McKenzie, J.A. & Ryan, Y. Australian Learning and Teaching Council 2011, Subject coordinators: leading professional development for sessional staff, pp. 1-64, Sydney.
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This reports on a national action-learning based leadership development initiative for subject coordinators, with institutional case studies and development of an adapted framework for leadership development, based on the Integrated Competing Values Framework (ICVF).
Trivett, N., Lines, R., Brown, N., Warr, K., Flello, J., McKenzie, J. & Kandlbinder, P. Australian Learning and Teaching Council 2011, Embedding and Sustaining Leadership Development for Curriculum Leaders through Tailored Support during Curriculum Review and Renewal, pp. 1-77.
ALTC funded project final report
McKenzie, J.A., Alexander, S.A., Harper, C. & Anderson, S. UTS 2005, Dissemination, adoption and adaptation of project innovations in higher education, pp. 1-202, Australia.
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Report commissioned by the AUTC for the Carrick Institute. Peer reviewed by a steering committee of senior academics in higher education learning and teaching. Findings built into the design of Carrick grant schemes.