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Dr Nicola Parker

Lecturer, Institute for Interactive Media and Learning

BA (Auckland), Grad Cert HETL (UTS), MA (UTS), PhD (UTS)

Associate, Australian Library and Information Association
Member, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA)

Email: Nicola.Parker@uts.edu.au
Phone: +61 2 9514 1665
Fax:
Room: CB01.27.49 (map)
Mailing address:

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Biography

In her current role at IML Nicola supports all aspects of teaching and learning at UTS, in face to face, blended or online learning environments. Working particularly within the Faculty of Law, she provides teaching and learning support to the faculty team, teaching teams and individual academics, and advises academics engaged in the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching and Learning. Nicola is a part of the IML ePortfolio team and a key contact for the peer review of teaching and learning. She also has a keen interest in supporting Casual Academics teaching at UTS.

Nicola's research interests focus on student experiences of information and learning, including the affective dimensions of assessment and program level assessment with ePortfolios. She has contributed to learning and teaching research initiatives within IML including the ALTC project (Embedding Peer Review of Learning and Teaching in Online and Blended Learning Environments 2008 – 2010), the UTS ePortfolio project, and was a member of the ALTC Leadership Excellence project team (Building Leadership with Sessional Staff).

Professional

Accredited member of ALIA

Teaching areas

  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching and Learning - advisor for Faculty of Law
  • Learning and Teaching Induction Workshops - for new Academics and Casual Academics
  • Workshop and conference programs - for Casual Academics
  • Active Learning and Teaching in Tutorials - workshop for Casual Academics
  • IML Technology Showcase - short sessions for new staff.

Research

Research interests

  • Students' experiences of learning;
  • Masters coursework students experiences
  • Information processes and learning
  • Affect, learning and assessment
  • ePortfolios and Reflection
  • Casual Academic's development.

Publications

Book Chapters

Riley, S., Li, G. & Parker, N.J. 2011, 'Student Diversity: Widening Participation by Engaging Culturally Diverse Non-Law Students in Law' in Kift, S; Sanson, M; Cowley, J; Watson, P (eds), Excellence and Innovation in Legal Education, LexisNexis, Sydney, Australia, pp. 337-362.
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NA

Parker, N.J. & Berryman, J.M. 2007, 'The Role of Affect in Judging "What is enough?"' in Diane Nahl & Dania Bilal (eds), Information and Emotion: The Emergent Affective Paradigm in Information Behaviour, Information Today, Medford, New Jersey US., pp. 85-95.
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The concept of enough is central to productivity and success in an information-saturated world. In the face of information abundance, the continuous question of "What is enough?" moves beyond a series of quantitative judgments to complex negotiations, which are fluid, highly contextually and personally embedded, and intertwined with affect. This chapter reports on an Investigation that explored enough in information seeking-a concept described by Kuhlthau (2004) as fundamental but under-researched. The role of affect in this Important judgment is highlighted. Empirical findings from the interpretive study indicate that practised information seekers experience enougn in five qualitatively different ways, and show a picture of enough. as generative and exploratory. The findings extend our understanding of the concept beyond Its status as a barrier associated with difficulties, gaps, and stopping, and reveal the importance of affect in information interactions. The research is a useful step toward clarifying a key concept for information seeking in context and exploring the role of affect.

Journal Articles

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.

Virdun, C., Gray, J.E., Sherwood, J., Power, T.J., Phillips, A.B., Parker, N.J. & Jackson, D.E. 2013, 'Working together to make Indigenous health care curricula everybody's business: a graduate attribute teaching innovation report', Contemporary Nurse, vol. 46, no. Special Issue, pp. 97-104.
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Previously there has been commitment to the idea that Indigenous curricula should be taught by Indigenous academic staff, whereas now there is increasing recognition of the need for all academic staff to have confidence in enabling Indigenous cultural competency for nursing and other health professional students. In this way, Indigenous content can be threaded throughout a curriculum and raised in many teaching and learning situations, rather than being siloed into particular subjects and with particular staff. There are many sensitivities around this change, with potential implications for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and staff, and for the quality of teaching and learning experiences. This papers reports on a collaborative process that was used to reconceptualise how Indigenous health care curricula would be positioned throughout a program and who would or could work with students in this area. Effective leadership, establishing a truly collaborative environment, acknowledging fears and perceived inadequacies, and creating safe spaces for sharing and learning were crucial in effecting this change.

Housego, S.C. & Parker, N.J. 2009, 'Positioning ePortfolios in an integrated curriculum', Education & Training, vol. 51, no. 5/6, pp. 408-421.
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Purpose - This paper discusses the potential and the challenges of successful integration of ePortfolios and graduate attributes into the curriculum. Design/methodology/approach - An argument is presented about the positioning of ePortfolios, and their links to graduate attributes, that draws upon the experiences of working with teachers to design, implement and support effective teaching practices to inform the challenges and opportunities that ePortfolios present for institutions, teachers and business curricula. Findings - The potential of ePortfolios for supporting student learning must be balanced against the difficulties of embedding the necessary curriculum changes. Institutions expecting to see take-up of ePortfolios by their teachers will need different strategies than those that accompanied the introduction of Learning Management Systems. Research limitations/implications Ô++ Based on experiences in an Australian context and a small-scale trial. The limited availability of studies of student learning and the longitudinal use of ePortfolios in the social networking Web 2.0 context. The practicality of implementing the approach suggested when resources are constrained. Practical implications Ô++ A range of potential uses of ePortfolios is considered with a particular focus on seeing their use from the whole-of-program viewpoint, with discussion of the limitations for curriculum if decisions about ePortfolio use are left entirely to teachers to decide. Originality/value Ô++ The papersÔ++ value is in its argument about the potential for linking ePortfolios to an integrated curriculum by addressing a common problem with the process of embedding of graduate attributes, and in suggesting a role for changed assessment practices to make this possible.

Conference Papers

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, 35th HERDSA Annual International Conference, Hobart, Australia, July 2012 in Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education, ed Brown, N ; Jones, S, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Incorporated (HERDSA), http://conference.herdsa.org.au/2012/, pp. 1-1.
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Abstract of short conference presentation Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education

Parker, N.J. 2012, 'Connecting Postgraduate Coursework StudentsÔ++ Experiences of Research Learning with Success', Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education, 35th HERDSA Annual International Conference, Hobart, Australia, July 2012 in Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education, ed Brown, N ; Jones, S, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Incorporated (HERDSA), http://conference.herdsa.org.au/2012/program_full.html, pp. 1-1.
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Discusses two longitudinal case studies of highly achieving postgraduatesÔ++ experiences of learning through their own research and enquiry processes in an information and knowledge management subject. This learning involved an interplay and Ô++balancingÔ++ of personal research processes and boundary decision making throughout

Parker, N.J. & Waite, K. 2010, 'ATN Assessment Conference 2010 - Assessment: Sustainability, Diversity and Innovation', UTS, Sydney, November 2010.
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The Annual Assessment Conference for the Australian Technology Network of universities Included International Keynote Speaker, non-refereed and refereed papers, and conference proceedings - ISBN 978-0-646-54662-9 Electronic location: www.iml.uts.edu.au/atnassessment Nicola Parker and Katrina Waite were co-convenors. Proceedings

Parker, N.J. & McKenzie, J.A. 2010, 'Reshaping academic practice with our peers: Experiences of peer review in blended learning environments', 33rd HERDSA Annual Conference, Melbourne, Australia, July 2010 in Research and Development in Higher Education: Reshaping Higher Education, ed M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Inc, PO Box 27, MILPERRA NSW 2214, Australia, pp. 1-1.
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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', ATN Assessment Conference, Melbourne, Australia, November 2009 in Assessment in Different Dimensions: A conference on teaching and learning in tertiary education (ATN Assessment Conference, RMIT University), ed Milton,J., Hall, C., Lang, J., Allan, G. and Nomikoudis, M., 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 subject+s 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.A., Pelliccione, L. & Parker, N.J. 2008, 'Developing peer review of teaching in blended learning environments: Frameworks and challenges', Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, Melbourne, Australia, November 2008 in Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology? Proceedings ascilite Melbourne 2008, ed Atkinson, R. and McBeath., C., 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.

Parker, N.J. 2004, 'Assignment information processes: what's 'enough' for high achievement', ISIC 2004: the 5th Information in Context Conference, Dublin Ireland, March 2004 in ISIC 2004: the 5th Information in Context Conference, ed Wilson, T; Rodriguez, J;Macevicuite, E;Hepworth, M, Prof Tom Wilson, Uni of Sheffield, internet, pp. 1-2.
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Summary of a research note delivered at the conference

Reports

McKenzie, J.A., Parker, N.J. 2011, 'Peer review in online and blended learning environments', Australian Learning and Teaching Council, 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.

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