Flexible Learning EXperience Program of Research (FLEX PoR)

FLEX PoR Current Projects

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School of Humanities and Communication Arts
Attitudes and perceptions of WSU staff and students to artificial intelligence (H15601)

The results of an AI survey will provide the university with a comprehensive picture of what all staff and students know about AI, and how they perceive AI as affecting them. (Principal investigator: Raymond Archee)

School of Social Sciences
Learning with the WSU-stride online art therapy student clinic: clinical placements as flexible learning experiences (H15228)

The project builds on a partnership with Stride, a progressive community-based mental health organization which assists carers for people living with major and persistent mental health issues; it emphasizes art therapy at WSU as recovery-oriented with arts-informed pedagogies that demonstrate art therapy as a practice of social justice. (Principal investigator: Sheridan Linnell)

Co-designing dynamic responses to generative AI: Timely scaffolding of an authentic assessment (H15789)

The research will focus on two primary concerns with the implementation of new approaches to generative AI. The research: 1. investigates the role of authentic assessment in the development of approaches to the appropriate incorporation of generative AI tools across the existing subject assessments. 2. investigates the role of a co-design approach in supporting rapid and efficacious adoption of TEL in response to the dynamic impact of generative AI tools. (Principal investigator: Cameron McAuliffe)

School of Computing, Data and Mathematical Sciences
Cross-faculty study exploring project-based learning (H15279)

This research will inform significant curriculum redesign and provide evidence for decisions to strengthen delivery of PBL programs. The study will also contribute to existing knowledge in the teaching and learning community with a focus on flexible project-based learning and identify best practice approaches to implement in curriculum across faculties. (Principal investigator: Marina Belkina)

Uses of Generative AI Tools for Assessments (H15810)

The use of Chat GPT or similar tool will help students learn how to use generative AI tools by studying position descriptions and job applications. Students will also learn that Generative AI tools cannot answer anything asked. Students will learn about the limitations and opportunities provided by Chat GPT or a similar tools. This study will fill in the gaps and will allow researchers to build a draft framework that can be used to guide academics and students when utilising and implementing Generative AI Tools such as ChatGPT for assessments and learning. (Principal Investigator: Ana Hol)

School of Science
Evaluating the student experience of Minecraft Education Edition as a teaching and learning resource in cell biology and physiology (H15429)

With the advent of COVID-19 and its associated restrictions, there has been a rapid rise in the use of digital resources to enhance the student learning experience and thus aid in student retention. In this work we seek to evaluate the student perceptions of using Minecraft Education Edition in medical science higher education. This will lead to improved practice as it will specify how students use such a digital activity and highlight any areas which could be improved for future practice. We foresee this work being useful not only for refining the use of Minecraft Education Edition at Western Sydney University, but to provide an accessible learning activity to medical science education globally. (Principal investigator: Ben Perry)

Design, implementation and evaluation of an authentic final exam for Biochemistry students
The covid pandemic has caused a rethink of how learning and assessment is constructed in all disciplines. In the STEM fields, many subjects relied on traditional, invigilated exams where recall-based questions predominated. In Biochemistry education there is a need to devise alternative assessments that can help mitigate commonly cited issues of validity, robustness and integrity when deployed to remote learning students. This study aims to evaluate an alternative assessment that is constructively aligned into authentic learning experiences during the semester. Authentic learning can help drive student engagement by allowing them to see and experience the types of work they may be doing in their future profession and is aligned to TEQSA Element 4. The consequence of improving student engagement is that there is a greater sense of connectedness to the discipline, school and institution (TEQSA Good Practice item 8) (Principal investigator: Chris Jones).
Designing flexible human anatomy and physiology practical classes in a post-pandemic environment (H15547)

The student voice will be used to design and deliver a first-year anatomy and physiology practical program that incorporates the student wants and needs to maximise engagement and performance while maintaining flexible study options that students have become accustomed to during and since the pandemic. These flexible study options must also ensure students can meet subject learning outcomes and appropriate levels of pre-requisite knowledge needed for anatomy and physiology subjects at second and third year levels. (Principal investigator: Hayley Green)

School of Nursing and Midwifery
How did online learning affect mature-aged students in Clinical Pharmacology (NATS2008) at Western Sydney University during Covid-19? (H15284)

What is proposed is a pilot study examining how online learning affected my mature-aged students’ retention, engagement and outcomes in Clinical Pharmacology, and whether there is anything on the statistical level that provides a comparison of pre- and during Covid-19 student outcomes. (Principal investigator: Valentina Naumovski)

Improving students’ preparation for OSCE using SimCapture for Skills (H15420)

What is the impact of self-recording and self-reflection learning activities using SimCapture for Skills on nursing students' learning experiences and clinical skills mastery, and does it aid their preparation for the OSCE? We hypothesized that the use of SimCapture for Skills for self-recording and self-reflection will help mitigate the interruptions in students' learning experiences during the semester and clinical placement, leading to improved overall performance in the OSCE. (Principal investigator: Masoud Golkani)

‘Virtual hangouts’: An evaluation and exploration of an online social support strategy. (H15068)

The aim of the project is to explore student experiences of online social support sessions and its effectiveness on the student learning experience during new models of blended online learning. Additionally, to explore the effectiveness of the virtual hangout sessions in supporting first-year student transition into university by integrating literacy support, introduction to university services and subject coordinator assignment support sessions. The research question that will guide the study is “how can online platforms be utilized to provide social and transition support to improve students’ learning experiences and progression through their undergraduate program?” (Principal investigator: Cris Algoso)

Utilising a co-design framework in the development of case studies to circumvent the use of artificial intelligence in assessment (H15670)

Staff collaborate with students utilising their knowledge of AI to codesign assessment case studies that circumvent the use of artificial intelligence during assessment completion and report on the development process. (Principal investigator: Jacqueline Rojo)

Educator perspectives on flexible and ethical approaches to teaching, learning and assessment for nursing students in the era of generative AI. (H15803)

Our research question is: What are the perspectives of educators (national and international) on flexible and ethical teaching, learning and assessment approaches for nursing students in the era of generative AI? (Principle Investigator Lucie Ramjan)

The College
Work Integrated Learning for Online Students (H15191)

The research aims to explore the distinctive needs of online students with respect to their participation in e-WIL activities, via an online questionnaire distributed to students enrolled in Undergraduate Certificates courses at The College between 2020-2022. From internal data, it is known that UG Cert students are highly career driven and have used these courses as a vehicle to transition careers, or to secure promotion in their existing industries. They come to our entirely online courses with prior professional experience, and are predominantly mature aged students aged over 25 years, located across Australia. (Principal investigator: Jack Isherwood)

FLEX PoR Research Outputs

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The College

Belkina, Marina, Fletcher, Ben, & Kelly, Ben (2023). Cross-faculty staff-students partnership exploring project-based learning. Poster presentation, STARS Conference 2023. https://unistars.org/papers/STARS2023/P17.pdf