I am a Lecturer in Higher Education Learning Design, committed to developing sustainable curricula that enhance student learning of key scientific concepts and skills through a range of innovative strategies, including utilising learning technologies in a blended learning environment. I collaborate with academics in the Faculty of Science to design, develop and implement engaging curricula and authentic assessment that enhance student development of the graduate attributes and promote collaborative learning.
I have lead First Year Experience and UTS Learning and Teaching grants that support and develop student learning in undergraduate Science subjects. The outcomes of these projects include improved student engagement and confidence in academic and professional communication. These were achieved through a number of strategies including the design, development and implementation of interactive online tutorials and aligned workshop learning activities to develop key scientific skills. I support first year student transition and success through projects embedding Transition Pedagogy in curriculum design and classroom practice.
I also have several years experience teaching undergraduate biology, ecology, plant ecology and biodiversity conservation, which inform my approaches to learning design in higher education.
My research interests include plant-pollinator interactions, pollination ecology of the Australian flora and pollination networks, as well as student learning in science higher education.
2018 UTS Learning and Teaching Citiation for Empowering science students with writing skills that improve academic integrity and develop scientific written communication practices. Awarded to Maurizio Labbate, Yvonne Davila and Neela Griffiths.
2017 Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) conference - Best Concise Paper award for paper titled "Improving the undergraduate Science experience through an evidence-based framework for design, implementation and evaluation of flipped learning", by Yvonne Davila, Elaine Huber, Jorge Reyna and Peter Meier. Toowoomba, December 2017.
2016 UTS learning.futures Teaching and Learning Award for an Outstanding contribution to developing and supporting academic and professional communication skills in first year Science through an embedded, student-centred, flipped learning approach. Awared to Yvonne Davila and Neela Griffiths.
2016 Australian Awards for University Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, for Supporting student transition and success through engaging academic and professional staff in curriculum innovation and collaborative communities. Awarded to the UTS First Year Experience Team.
2016 EdMedia World Conference on Educational Media and Technology - Outstanding Paper Award for paper titled "Enhancing the Flipped Classroom Experience with the Aid of Inclusive Design", by Jorge Reyna, Yvonne C. Davila, and Peter Meier. Vancouver, Canada, June 2016.
2014 UTS Learning and Teaching Team Award for Widening Participation for a Systematic, institution wide first year experience strategy that has improved student transition and success and engaged academic and professional staff in collaborative communities. Awarded to The UTS First Year Experience team.
My educational research interests include:
- academic and professional communication skills in Science
- first year transition to university
- learning and teaching in higher education, with a focus on Science
- approaches to learning in undergraduate Science
- blended learning
My scientific research interests include:
- plant and pollination ecology
- plant reproductive ecology of Australian flora
- pollination networks in arid zone Australia
- pollen limitation and pollinator diversity
I deliver lectures in the following subjects:
- Biodiversity Conservation - 3rd year environmental science
I have co-authored, designed and built online flipped lectures for the following subjects:
- Principles of Scientific Practice – 1st year core Science
The blended learning content (pre-class activities, workshop activities, online tutorials) that I have co-authored and created is delivered in:
- Research Methods – 1st year core Advanced Science
- Biocomplexity – 1st year core Life Sciences
- General Microbiology – 2nd year Life Sciences
- Biotechnology – 2nd year Life Sciences
- Investigation of Human Remains – 2nd year Forensic Science
- Advanced Communication Skills for Science – Masters
Knight, S, Leigh, A, Davila, Y, Martin, L & Krix, D 2019, 'Calibrating Assessment Literacy Through Benchmarking Tasks', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 44, no. 8, pp. 1121-1132.View/Download from: Publisher's site
In calibration tasks students assess exemplar texts using criteria against which their own work will be assessed. Typically these tasks are used in the context of training for peer assessment. Little research has been conducted on the benefits of calibration tasks, such as benchmarking, as learning opportunities in their own right. This paper examines a dataset from a long-running benchmarking task ( 500 students per semester, for four semesters). We investigate the relationship of benchmarking performance to other student outcomes, including ability to self-assess accurately. We show that students who complete the benchmarking perform better, that there is a relationship between benchmarking performance and self-assessment performance, and that students appreciate the support for learning that benchmarking tasks provide. We discuss implications for teaching and learning flagging the potential of calibration tasks as an under-explored tool.
Quinnell, R, May, E, Davila, YC & Peat, M 2018, 'Profiling our Students’ Learning Orchestrations to Evaluate the Biology Curriculum', International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 21-39.
We have identified the major shifts in individual student study orchestrations over the first semester of a university biology course. We offer evidence that our curriculum, designed and taught by generalist biologists, has engaged generalist degree students. Professional degree students have not engaged with this course to the same level and many were demonstrably dissonant. At the end of semester, dissonant students, from both generalist and professional degrees, demonstrated little engagement with the curriculum, which is consistent with previous reports of the high degree of disengagement of first year students. The challenge to improve the engagement of students in professional degrees and to address the tendency towards dissonance and disengagement by our first year students is discussed and improvements in engagement are likely to be aided by
systems that allow students to assess for themselves their approaches to study and conceptions of discipline development over the course of their degree.
Davila, YC 2016, 'Book Review “Student-generated Digital Media in Science Education: Learning, Explaining and Communicating Content"', HERDSA NEWS, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 26-26.
Popic, TJ, Davila, YC & Wardle, GM 2016, 'Cheater or mutualist? Novel florivory interaction between nectar-rich Crotalaria cunninghamii and small mammals', Austral Ecology, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 390-398.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Animals visit flowers to access resources and by moving pollen to conspecific individuals act as pollinators. While biotic pollinators can increase the seed set of plants, other flower visitors can reduce seed set directly by damaging vital reproductive organs and indirectly by affecting the way the plant interacts with subsequent flower visitors. It is, therefore, vital to understand the varied effects of all visitors and not only pollinators on plant fitness, including those visitors that are temporally or spatially rare. We document the first known case of flower visitation by small mammals to Crotalaria cunninghamii (Fabaceae), a plant species morphologically suited to bird pollination. During a rain-driven resource pulse in the Simpson Desert in 2011, the rodents Mus musculus (Muridae) and Pseudomys hermannsburgensis (Muridae) visited flowers to remove nectar by puncturing the calyx. We investigated the effects of this novel interaction on the reproductive output of C.cunninghamii. Compared with another recent resource pulse in 2007, plants flowering during mammal visitation had five times as many inflorescences per plant, 90% more flowers per inflorescence, and two to three times more nectar per flower, but this nectar was 30% less sugar rich. Concurrently, rodent plagues were up to three times larger during this rain-driven resource pulse than during a previous pulse in 2007. Up to 75% of flowers had evidence of small mammal florivory, but this was not necessarily destructive, as up to 90% of fruit had the remains of florivory. Through a series of exclusion experiments, we found that small mammal florivory did not directly reduce seed set. We conclude that rain-driven resource pulses led to a unique combination of events that facilitated the novel florivory interaction. Our findings emphasize the dynamic nature of biotic interactions and the importance of testing the role of all visitors to pollination services.
Popic, TJ, Davila, YC & Wardle, GM 2013, 'Evaluation of Common Methods for Sampling Invertebrate Pollinator Assemblages: Net Sampling Out-Perform Pan Traps', PLOS ONE, vol. 8, no. 6.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Popic, TJ, Wardle, GM & Davila, YC 2013, 'Flower-visitor networks only partially predict the function of pollen transport by bees', AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 76-86.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Davila, YC, Elle, E, Vamosi, JC, Hermanutz, L, Kerr, JT, Lortie, CJ, Westwood, AR, Woodcock, TS & Worley, AC 2012, 'Ecosystem services of pollinator diversity: a review of the relationship with pollen limitation of plant reproduction', BOTANY, vol. 90, no. 7, pp. 535-543.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Davila, YC & Wardle, GM 2008, 'Variation in native pollinators in the absence of honeybees: implications for reproductive success of an Australian generalist-pollinated herb Trachymene incisa (Apiaceae)', BOTANICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, vol. 156, no. 3, pp. 479-490.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Davila, YC & Wardle, GM 2007, 'Bee boys and fly girls: Do pollinators prefer male or female umbels in protandrous parsnip, Trachymene incisa (Apiaceae)?', AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, vol. 32, no. 7, pp. 798-807.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Davila, Y, Murray, B & Greenville, A 2019, 'Harnessing the power of open-source software for research-integrated learning and assessment', Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney, pp. 25-25.
Davila, Y, Griffiths, N & Labbate, M 2019, 'Writing in a 'popular science' style: A paradigm shift', Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, The University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney, pp. 26-26.
Davila, YC & Griffiths, N 2017, 'Removing the cloak of invisibility: Developing scientific writing practices for commencing science students', Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Monash University, pp. 32-32.
Griffiths, N & Davila, YC 2017, 'Doing Science Write: technology‐enhanced learning of discipline specific scientific writing practices', 9th Conference of the European Association for Teaching Academic Writing, Royal Holloway, University of London, pp. 88-88.
A key practice in science is the use of the scientific literature to communicate research findings and inform further research. To help commencing university Science students attain the level of writing proficiency expected and understand the discipline‐specific academic discourses required, it is recommended that explicit teaching of writing skills be introduced early in the curriculum (Coil et al 2010), and embedded and scaffolded (Amos and McGowan 2012). To address this our project aimed to introduce first year students to the conventions of scientific writing, develop their scientific report writing practices and build their confidence in writing. We achieved this by taking a technology‐enhanced student‐centred approach, intentionally designing and integrating targeted online interactive tutorials and face‐to‐face workshops into a first year, first semester Science subject. Using this blended learning approach enables inclusivity, accessibility and flexibility thus supporting our increasingly diverse student cohort (Devlin et al 2012). A pre and post semester paired‐comparison showed that students’ confidence in their scientific report writing increased after completing the online tutorials and workshops. Their academic performance in the
assessment task also improved compared to previous cohorts in the subject. Students commented that the well‐targeted, in‐depth analysis provided on how to write a scientific report helped them to understand the
importance of good scientific writing, and how to write according to university and scientific standards. Based on our success in embedding discipline specific, contextualised writing practices resources, we
recommend that this approach be used to demystify scientific writing in the first year curriculum.
Amos, K.J. and McGowan, U. (2012) Integrating academic reading and writing skills development with core content in science and engineering. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, Special
Davila, YC, Huber, E, Reyna Zeballos, J & Meier, P 2017, 'Improving the undergraduate Science experience through anevidence-based framework for design, implementation andevaluation of flipped learning', Me, Us, IT! Proceedings ASCILITE2017: 34th International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education, Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, ASCILITE, Toowoomba, Queensland, pp. 57-62.
Flipped Learning (FL) is a student-centred pedagogical approach where new content is introduced prior to class which permits more time during class for active learning. Despite the growing body of evidence of the effectiveness of FL, many educators are reluctant to adopt this approach to teaching or are unsure of how to implement FL in their classes. Many students are uncertain of how to adapt their approaches to learning to a FL curriculum. In response to these challenges and calls for a robust framework to guide the design and implementation of FL, we developed the Flipped Teacher and Flipped Learner (FTFL) Framework based on the pedagogical literature. This paper reports on the use of our FTFL framework in the redesign of a large first year science subject from a traditional delivery to a FL delivery. We evaluated the efficacy of the redesign using a mixed methods approach with data on students' interactions with FL activities, and student and educator experiences. Findings from two iterations of the redesign indicate successful implementation of FL through high student engagement with online and class materials, and positive feedback from students and academics. Using the FTFL framework to guide the design and integration of FL, with an emphasis on clear communication, is key to our successful FL intervention and support of student learning.
Davila, YC & Griffiths, N 2016, 'Read to succeed: Developing Academic and Professional STEM Communication Practices', Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, The University of Queensland, pp. 60-61.
Davila, YC & Griffiths, N 2016, 'Supporting student transition: embedding reading practices into the firstyear Science curriculum', http://unistars.org/papers/STARS2016.pdf, STARS 2016 (Students Transitions Achievement Retention & Success), Perth, Australia.
Although being able to critically read and comprehend scientific texts is
fundamental, many students find reading the primary literature overwhelming and may lose self-confidence as a result. Our aim was to build first year science students’ confidence in reading relevant and reliable sources of information and develop their critical reading practices through a First Year Experience Project focusing on supporting student transition. To achieve this, we utilised a flipped classroom approach to design and embed interactive online modules and a faceto-face workshop in a first year Science subject. Student participation and completion of the learning activities was evaluated with students commenting very positively on the usability, accessibility, usefulness and relevance of the reading practices resources. Based on the success of this initiative, we recommend that discipline specific, contextualised resources which develop effective reading practices should be integrated into the first year curriculum.
Davila, YC, Reyna Zeballos, J, Huber, E & Meier, P 2016, 'Enhancing engagement in flipped learning across undergraduate Science using the Flipped Teacher and Flipped Learner Framework', Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, The University of Queensland, pp. 40-41.
Reyna Zeballos, JL, Davila, YC & Meier, PC 2016, 'Enhancing the Flipped Classroom Experience with the Aid of Inclusive Design', Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Vancouver, pp. 1789-1801.
Flipped classrooms are increasingly used in tertiary institutions to engage students in active learning tasks and foster independent learning skills. The use of technology such as digital video, screencasts and interactive presentations is impacting the design of flipped classrooms. This creates an opportunity to apply the principles of Inclusive Design in the planning, development and deployment of resources used to flip the classroom. The aim of this paper is to discuss the integration of Inclusive Design into Flipped Classroom interventions to cater for a wider range of learners. For this purpose, we reviewed the pedagogical foundations of Flipped Classrooms, the advantages and disadvantages of its implementation, and discuss Inclusive Design enablers.
Davila, YC, Griffiths, N & Leigh, A 2016, 'A blended learning approach to supporting student learning of scientific writing skills with an embedded Academic Integrity Module', Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Fremantle.
Reyna Zeballos, JL, Davila, YC & Huber, E 2015, 'The Flipped Teacher and the Flipped Learner Framework', Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, Perth, Australia.
We propose an 11 step framework to support educators and students to teach and learn with the Flipped Classroom (FC) model. Based on principles of blended and student-centred learning, organisational appearance, universal design and evaluation, the framework acts as a conduit between theory and good practice. Elements of the framework include: (1) planning stage, why and what to flip; (2) storyboard and lesson plan; (3) timing for activities; (4) online, (pre or post classroom) activities; (5) classroom work; (6) organisation of content; (7) visual design; (8) usability and accessibility; (9) building, testing and deployment; (10) communication of the benefits of the flipped model to students; and (11) evaluation and improvement. This paper will present the evidence behind each of these elements in a practical way to guide teachers and students through a flipped model of teaching and learning.
Reyna, JL, Davila, Y & Huber, E 2015, 'Designing your Flipped Classroom: an evidence-based framework to guide the flipped teacher and the flipped learner', ISSOTL, The 12th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Melbourne.
Braun, M, Schulte, J & Davila, YC 2015, 'Reciprocal Peer Teaching for Problem-Solving Teams in a Senior-Year Science Course', Proceedings of the Australian Conference for Science and Mathematics Education, Australian Conference for Science and Mathematics Education 2015, The University of Sydney, Institute for Innovation in Science & Mathematics Education, Perth, Australia, pp. 13-14.
Davila, YC, Griffiths, N & Leigh, A 2015, 'AIM for change: Supporting first year learning of best practice in scientific writing with a flipped, embedded academic integrity module', ISSOTL, The 12th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Melbourne, pp. 227-228.
Scientific writing is a fundamental professional skill but remains a daunting task for the trainee scientist. Understanding, synthesising and integrating research are essential scientific writing skills; however, appropriate use of the literature continues to be problematic with many
students accidentally plagiarising because they lack paraphrasing and citation skills . Materials to support students in developing these skills tend to be decontextualised, generic, and even ignored if they simply inform students about what plagiarism is without providing opportunities for hands-on training . Furthermore, appropriate use of literature varies within professional disciplines, causing potential confusion if learned outside a given course of study. As writing scientific reports accounts for a substantial proportion of most undergraduate science assessments, discipline specific academic literacy resources must be embedded early in the science curriculum. Such resources enhance
student learning, build confidence and support the development of competent, employable science graduates. Integrating discipline-specific resources requires disciplinary experts to re-evaluate curriculum
design and teaching practice. At our university, this re-evaluation is encouraged through both institutionally driven and grassroots level initiatives. For example, the university promotes the embedding of First Year curriculum principles  into subject design for a scaffolded transition to university learning and has implemented the First Year Experience project, in which small interdisciplinary teams embark on curriculum change and share their findings at faculty-developed Communities of Practice. These initiatives supported our project on embedding an interactive online Academic Integrity Module (AIM) on academic literacy and professional skills in scientific writing in a first year core subject. By blending out-of-classroom exercises (flipped learning approach) with workshops incorpora...
Davila, YC, Griffiths, N & Leigh, A 2015, 'Supporting first year learning of scientific writing skills with a flipped embedded academic integrity module', Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Curtin University, pp. 21-22.
Quinnell, R, May, EL, Peat, M & Davila, YC 2014, 'Approaches to study and conceptions of biology: Differential outcomes for generalist and vocational degree students', Proceedings of The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education 2014, University of Sydney, Sydney, pp. 76-77.
Davila, YC, Beames, SY & Meier, P 2013, 'Tutor training to improve first year student transition experience: Focus on graduate attributes', Proceedings of the Australian Conference of Science and Mathematical Education (2013), Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education 2013, University of Sydney, Australian National University, Canberra, pp. 21-21.