Join us on April 30 for a CoCo seminar by Associate Professor Richard Walker titled “Learning through after school activities and homework” .

To what extent do after school programs and homework activities lead to beneficial learning experiences in school and to enhanced achievement outcomes?

This seminar will base some answers to this question on research reviewed in the recently published book by Horsley and Walker (2013) Reforming Homework: Practices, Learning and Policy. Answering the question involves considering sociocultural and other research concerning after-school programs developed for ethnically and socioeconomically diverse students. It also involves a synthesis of research findings concerning homework and achievement. The seminar will offer a sociocultural framework for thinking about after-school and homework activities and will suggest ways in which after school learning experiences can be improved for all students.

Dr Richard Walker is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney. He teaches educational psychology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and has been awarded several Excellence in Teaching Awards for his teaching in this field.


Join us on April 23 for a CoCo Seminar by Dr. Frances Di Lauro titled Writing with Wikipedia in Multi-Campus and Multicultural Contexts.

The 2012 TurnItIn White Paper reported that a large percentage of similarity matches do not necessarily result from cheating, or poor citation practices. In some cases the cause can be an excessive reliance on the sources word choices. It is crucial that educators teach new knowledge literacy to their students and to engage them in knowledge creation and transmission that is ethical and respectful. Writing for Wikipedia is an Open Educational Practice that offers students opportunities for educators to cultivate ethical research and writing practices, while their students engage in participatory writing on a global writing environment. Students engage in writing partnerships with diverse sets of communities beyond the academy, including underrepresented groups, and in helping to produce information, broaden their awareness and knowledge of other disciplines and epistemologies.

Dr. Di Lauro has been teaching writing and rhetoric in blended modes since 2007 and joined the Writing Hub to assist students with academic writing through courses and workshops. In 2011 she represents the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on the University’s eLearning Committee and is developing formative and summative assessment tasks for use in new high tech, collaborative learning spaces. She recently convened a symposium on the use of Wikimedia projects in higher education, and is currently developing the first Australian Wikipedia Education Program.

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The CoCo Seminar Series provides a venue for national and international experts to share and disseminate their current work on topics related to the sciences and technologies of learning; fostering the formation of a scholarly community of academics, postgraduate students and people interested on learning technologies and education. The seminars are hosted by the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition CoCo Centre and run most Wednesdays during term time from 11:00 to 12:00 in Room 230 at the Education Building, Sydney University.

The seminars are often streamed online using Adobe Connect. Seminars can be attended live by accessing a virtual room at this location http://webconf.ucc.usyd.edu.au/seminar-room2/. Please note the seminars are in UTC+10:00

Since 2012 the seminars have been recorded (at discretion of the presenter) and currently we have an archive of over 30 seminars. You can find our digital archive here.New files will be updated regularly, so be sure to check back often.

Upcoming seminars:
April 23:: Frances di Lauro, TBA
April 30:: Associate Professor Richard Walker “Learning through after school activities and homework”
May 14:: Dr. Paul Ginns, Fang-Tzu (Agnes) Hu and Michael Tang, Getting the point: Embodying cognitive load

For further information on the Seminar Series, or if you would like to subscribe to our Seminar announcements, please contact Sadhbh Warren

Photo above by Lauren Tucker


The "Research Methods and Practices in the Sciences and Technologies of Learning" is a monthly workshop, which is organized in independent thematic sessions, with a focus on ‘hands on’ activities and roundtable discussions. The workshops are normally held on the first Wednesday of each month. Sessions invite researchers to reflect on issues related to methods and practices in the various phases of knowledge production: from planning and conducting data collection, to strategies to organize, analyse and visualize data; from ways of engaging in research collaboration, to sharing research outputs, writing, publishing and other forms of research dissemination in academia.

On the 2nd of April, Roberto Martinez-Maldonado will talk about the methods he used in his PhD research on the topic of designing support tools for teachers and analysing small group face-to-face collaboration; and he will introduce some qualitative and quantitative techniques used in Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) and Human Computer Interaction (HCI).

Upcoming workshops this year will include:
• Discourse Analysis :: May 7
• Academic Writing :: June 4
• Online Ethnography :: September 3

When: 11.00am - 12.00pm
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 236 (CoCo Lab)
Places are limited, to RSVP please email lucila.carvalho@sydney.edu.au


Join us on March 26 for a CoCo Seminar by Prof. Michael Jacobson titled Glimpses of Future Learning for Today’s Australian Students”

In this talk, I provide an overview of three years of classroom-based research in two different ARC funded projects in which students used custom developed 3D virtual worlds and 2D models to learn difficult scientific knowledge about biological and climate systems as well as scientific inquiry skills. We not only found statistically significant learning gains related to inquiry skills and content knowledge but also students who were quite motivated and engaged. Further, teachers we worked with were enthusiastic about the new approaches to teaching we developed and positive about the learning experiences of their students. The key lessons of this research have, I believe, implications beyond specific science content in the Australian Curriculum, such potential applications to realise broader Australian and international educational goals related to learning of advanced 21st century knowledge, practices, and skills.

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45 for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

This seminar will be available live online at http://webconf.ucc.usyd.edu.au/seminar-room2/



Join us on March 19 for a CoCo Seminar by Professor Peter Reimann titled “Data big and small: Limitations of data-driven approaches to informing learning theory.”

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45 for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

This seminar will be available live online at http://webconf.ucc.usyd.edu.au/seminar-room2/

Professor Riemann’s research activities involve the analysis of individual and group problem solving/learning processes and possible support by means of ICT, and analysis of the use of mobile IT in informal learning settings.
Professor Riemann currently spends his time journeying between the USYD Faculty of Education as senior researcher in the CoCo Research Centre, and Europe as Chief Scientific Coordinator of Next-Tell, educational technology research project funded by the European Commission.
He has also worked as reviewer for the IT R&D programs of the European Commission, is founder of a German-based elearning consulting company and was a founding co-director the CoCo research centre.

An interesting discussion of what was learned about learning in MOOCs, from data gathered in the first year of edX offering. Some remarks that I found worthwhile:
"The data, both quantitative and qualitative, surprised me with their variability across students and courses."
"This will be unsatisfying to people who want to answer the question, "Do MOOCs work?" Our research demonstrates that we have to get specific: "Work for what?""
"Everything predicts MOOC performance, because doing anything in this space separates you from the thousands of people who are doing relatively little — thus doing anything predicts doing anything else."

See http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2014/01/27/Inside-the-First-Year-Data-from-MITx-and-HarvardX.aspx


Congratulations to all the STL members who will be presenting the results of their research at this year's Networked Learning Conference:

  • Carvalho, L. & Goodyear, P. (2014). Analysing the structuring of knowledge in learning networks. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, Edited by: Bayne S, Jones C, de Laat M, Ryberg T & Sinclair C.
  • Goodyear, P., Carvalho, L. & Dohn, N. (2014). Design for networked learning: framing relations between participants' activities and the physical setting. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, Edited by: Bayne S, Jones C, de Laat M, Ryberg T &
    Sinclair C.
  • Pinto, A. (2014). Design and functioning of a productive learning network. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, Edited by: Bayne S, Jones C, de Laat M, Ryberg T & Sinclair C.
  • Yeoman, P & Carvalho, L. (2014). Material entanglement in a primary school learning network. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, Edited by: Bayne S, Jones C, de Laat M, Ryberg T & Sinclair C.

A nice write-up by Prof Laurillard of ideas that she presented here in more length at the ITL/USAP workshop last year: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/opinion/five-myths-about-moocs/2010480.article


Congratulations to Dorian Peters, for recently publishing INTERFACE DESIGN FOR LEARNING - Design Strategies for Learning Experiences. The book brings together a range of strategies, heuristics and best practices to help interface designers create engaging and effective environments for learning. For more information about Interface Design for Learning go to http://designerelearning.blogspot.com.au/p/book.html
To order a copy of the book go to: Amazon

The OECD Education Today blog has a new article by deputy director Andreas Schleicher entitled "What teachers know and how that compares with college graduates around the world".

Given some of the wilder comments about Australian teachers' maths and literacy skills, Schleicher's article, and the graph, give food for thought.


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The year is starting to come to an end and so does our weekly CoCo Seminar series 2013 and our CoCo Students Doctoral Colloquia. We would like to say thank you to presenters, convenors, and everyone who joined us, either face to face or online. We will restart our events in semester 1 2014 (early March). In the meantime here is a visualization that contains all the titles of CoCo seminars and CoCo Students Doctoral Colloquia during 2013. Guess what the most common word is!

To know more about our CoCo seminars or review our Past Seminar Archive please visit the following pages:



The STL network would like to offer our congratulations to the following students on their graduation:

Karen Margaret Scott
Thesis: Change in university teachers’ elearning beliefs and practices

Mary-Helen Ward
Thesis: Living in Liminal Space: The PhD as accidental pedagogy

Thomas Finlay Whiston Kerr

Pamela Raquel Branas
Alison Margaret Marshall
Erin Catherine Redfern
Christina Wilkinson
Zhe Hong
Kanae Miyajima
Harry Thandiza Mwanza
Judith Oa Nukuitu


Last Thursday the 6th annual Research Fest was held, hosted by the Sciences and Technologies of Learning Research network. Highlights of the event included a thought provoking keynote from Bob Kummerfeld, 9 interactive sessions that touched on a variety of topics such as positive computing, learning analytics, virtual worlds, architectures of productive learning networks, and over 40 engaging poster presentations from UNSW, UTS, Macquarie University, The Garvan Institute, Avondale College of Higher Education, and Sydney University.



Congratulations to Peter Reimann (CoCo Research Centre, University of Sydney, Australia) and Elena Barbera (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain) who have a new book coming out on the role of time in higher education. This book examines the role of time in teaching and learning across different areas including institutional, pedagogical, management and technological perspectives. It’s called ‘Assessment and Evaluation of Time Factors in Online Teaching and Learning’. You can order a copy here

The newly established Sydney Medicine and Health eLearning Network aims to support teaching, research and collaborations in technology-enhanced learning and teaching in health.

As a precursor of this new initiative an eLearning Showcase will take place on Friday, 29 November. This Showcase will highlight teaching and research initiatives in elearning from across Sydney Medical School, Sydney Nursing School, the Faculties of Dentistry, Health Sciences and Pharmacy, and all others working in the area of health.

Register to attend or share your research work at http://goo.gl/2nCXgs (regsitration for paper submissions closes on Friday 8th of November)


Join us on October 30 for a CoCo seminar by Manjula Sharma titled “The changing face of education: challenges and opportunities for educators”

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45 for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

Associate Professor Manjula Sharma is the director of the University of Sydney Institute for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IISME), heads the Sydney University Physics Education Research group and leads the Science and Mathematics network of Australian University Educators (SaMnet). Dr Sharma has written more than 80 articles for peer-reviewed journals, as well as book chapters in science and mathematics education, and has received repeated funding. Her work is recognised internationally through research partnerships and service on editorial boards and conference committees.She has been awarded the Australian Institute for Physics Education Medal in 2012, ALTC Team Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2008 and Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006.
 She is currently an OLT National Teaching Fellow.


The Research Fest is our annual event inviting the community of researchers and practitioners in the sciences and technologies of learning to come together to exchange ideas, showcase work, form new collaborations, and catch up on recent innovations in learning and knowledge technology research.

It is a free event, open to all researchers and practitioners in the field of sciences and technologies of learning. If you'd like to take part (either presenting your research, or just attending), please register here

When: Thursday, 7. November 2013, from 10am to 4pm
Where: IT and PNR Buildings of the University of Sydney
Need more information? Please email Agnieszka Bachfischer at agnieszka.bachfischer@sydney.edu.au

Comments from Adelaide Uni's Associate Dean Teaching in Engineering/IT after discussions at GaTech at http://katrinafalkner.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/thinking-about-moocs/

From Gergia Tech's own computing education expert (and MOOC skeptic) Mark Guzdial discussing issues not just with CS subjects at http://computinged.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/lessons-learned-from-freshmen-oriented-moocs-at-georgia-tech/


NYT gives lots of publicity to flipped classrooms, with teacher-generated videos (not MOOC material) especially in highschools. Reports of considerable improvement in outcomes. See http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/turning-education-upside-down/?_r=1
(Hat tip: marginal revolution blog)


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Research by the University's "Learning technology and the learning sciences" network.