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May 2017

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This seminar will present the work of a study in which the relationships between epistemic stance and culture were examined. Epistemic stance is a personal theory one holds in relation to knowledge and knowing. The framing of the study and methodology were informed by critical realist ideas. This added to the richness of this quantitative exploration of potentially formative cultural communities and experiences for academics. Over 500 PhD students and academic staff from four universities across eight disciplines participated. The cultural variables explored in relation to epistemic stance were: gender, age, discipline, institution, status, ethnicity, religion, and parent socioeconomic status. Findings indicate that we need to look beyond current discipline to understand groupings within academia. It will be good to discuss the possible implications for how we approach multidisciplinary work, which is at the core of the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation.


Rachel W

Assessment is central to all forms of education and there is now a wealth of research examining the impact of assessment on learning. In the last two decades research has highlighted how assessment can work to drive learning; but also the negative consequences of some forms of assessment.

So, in this era of rapid innovation and technological development why has assessment been so slow to change?
Why do assessment systems remain such a polarising aspect of education systems? And, how can our understanding of child development and learning science improve students’ and teachers’ experience with assessments?
In this talk I will consider research evidence and developments in assessment models to make an analysis of the current aspirations, trends, challenges and areas in need of caution in assessment. I will provide a brief review of:
- the assessment challenges facing Australia
- key shifts in the history of assessment and how these relate to our developing understanding of learning
- some innovative assessment approaches from around the globe
- assessment approaches with potential to empower learning in students and educators
I argue for the need to take student-centred approaches to assessment; integrating our understanding of cognitive progressions and recent insights into emotional development to optimise learning.

Rachel Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Research Methodology, Educational Assessment & Evaluation. As such she has broad interests across educational evidence, policy and practice. She has a particular interest in early childhood education and she has recently published a book on Emotional Development, co-authored with her father. She also has an particular interest in trends in educational participation and standards. - See more at:

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Intelligent Virtual Agents for education, training and health

This talk will provide an overview of the types and uses of Intelligent virtual agents. Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) have been a growing area of research within the field of Artificial Intelligence in the past 20 years. An IVA is a piece of software, generally considered to be autonomous in some way, that imitates the behaviour of a human or animal and is embodied within a virtual environment. A primary aim in the field of virtual agents is the creation of believable characters that are useful in their situated paradigm (e.g. games, narratives, education,assistive computing, etc.). There is a significant body of work in the area of believable characters which may be known as pedagogical agents, embodied conversational agents, artificial companions, talking heads, empathic or listening agents depending on their function, level of sophistication or the particular research focus such as emotion and appraisal systems or language technology. The talk will provide an overview of the field, including my research concerning IVAs and memory, emotions and collaborative learning for applications such as debriefing and reminiscing, border security officer training, scientific inquiry and science education, real estate assistance, museum guidance, and adherence to treatment advice.

Deborah Richards is a Professor in the Department of Computing at Macquarie University. Following 20 years in the ICT industry during which she completed a BBus (Comp and MIS) and MAppSc (InfoStudies), she completed a PhD in artificial intelligence on the reuse of knowledge at the University of New South Wales and joined academia in 1999. While she continues to work on solutions to assist decision-making and knowledge acquisition, for the past decade, her focus has been on intelligent systems, agent technologies and virtual worlds to support human learning and well-being.

Event details
When: Wednesday 24 May, 11:30 am - 1pm
Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
Brown Bag: Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch

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When elite sports professionals train, everything from their breakfast to the millimetres and milliseconds of their training routine, and the technologies that support them, are fussed over by experts: no expense spared for optimum performance! In the research world this is completely different. The way we do things is more likely to be based on personal habits, intuitively formed, rather than a rational and research-refined process. All the while, researchers face an increasingly competitive professional landscape that demands much more in less time. So, might academics have something to learn from Olympic sports coaching?

In this workshop, the presenter will share some practical ideas and technological tools that can be flexibly applied to help researchers work with knowledge more effectively. For example, research tells us that humans remember surprisingly little of what they read. Given how important reading is to academic research, the presenter will suggest technology-enhanced strategies for long-term understanding and remembering of important details. He will also discuss ways researchers can help themselves make deep and relevant connections that support their research. Workshop participants will be shown how to use free Spaced Repetition Software to help absorb their readings more deeply, as well as make connections and gain insights. The presentations will conclude with a demonstration of epistemic games (AKA: knowledge games) that can help structure the way participants think about issues in their research and possible alignments with the literature.


Following this link for further details, and for registration.

About the Blog

Research by the University's Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI).