Join us on August 27 when Louise Sutherland presents “Representations in Science: insights using epistemic forms”.

Visual and graphical representations such as graphs, tables, photographs, diagrams, models and equations are intrinsic and integral part of scientific practices. These types of representation are also an inherent part of how science is taught at schools and universities. As such, there is a growing body of research examining the role and effectiveness of the use of representations on students’ learning. Using the conceptual framework of epistemic forms this seminar will suggest a way of categorising existing research. It will discuss how this categorisation can be used to enhance our understanding of the role of representations in science teaching and will offer possible directions for future research.

  • When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (come along at 10.45am for a coffee and chat)
  • Where: Education Building (A35), Room 230

MIT has released a report with recommendations and interesting reflections on the future of education there (blended learning, game-based, modularised, with learning communities, etc). While our context is clearly very different, I think this is worth paying attention to: (note: the pdf has almost 200 pages of appendix; the actual recommendations and discussion are under 30 pages)


Join us on August 13 when Dr Karen Scott presents “Using mobile devices for learning in the hospital setting: Student, physician and patient perspectives”.


In the past five years there has been a phenomenal growth in mobile health and the use of mobile health applications (apps) by health practitioners, patients and families. At the same time, there is growing interest in the use of mobile devices for learning, communication and time management in clinical settings: mobile devices have been found to improve learning and confidence by linking web-based information with the immediacy of clinical experiences. However, junior physicians and medical students often receive mixed signals about their use of mobile devices, with some senior physicians giving directives to use mobile devices and others prohibiting use. Many are concerned about the effect of mobile device use on ethics, patient privacy and data security. Our pilot research examined physicians’ and medical students’ use of mobile devices in clinical settings, as well as their attitudes about others’ use and the attitudes of patients and carers.


Are you an undergraduate student interested in nanotechnology, material science, chemistry, chemical engineering, or physics schools? Associate STL researcher Polly Lai is looking for students to participate a learning activity forming part of a research project to gain an understanding of learning outcomes in undergraduate studies in nanotechnology, material science, chemistry, chemical engineering, o physics programs.


Congratulations to Associate Professor Rafael Calvo who has been awarded an ARC Future Fellowship. Minister for Education, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, announced $115 million for the Fellowships on July 23rd, under the Australian Research Council's (ARC) Future Fellowships scheme which promotes research in areas of critical national importance by supporting outstanding mid-career researchers to conduct their research in Australia.

Rafael will use his Fellowship to bring together experts from multiple disciplines to develop new technologies to improve health, performance and quality of life for all Australians, working closely with the Charles Perkins Centre and the Brain and Mind Research Institute in his research on positive computing and health.

If you would like to see Rafael speak, he presents Positive Computing: Technologies for psychological wellbeing and human potential on Friday the 8th of August. The talk will take place at 4pm in room 424 of the Education Building, Camperdown, University of Sydney.

The full list of 2014 Future Fellowships is available on the Australian Research Council website.

RC.jpg On Friday the 8th of August at 4pm Associate Professor Rafael Calvo presents Positive Computing: Technologies for psychological wellbeing and human potential. The talk will take place in room 424 of the Education Building, Camperdown, University of Sydney.

Digital technologies have made their way into all the aspects of our lives that, according to psychology, influence our wellbeing -- everything from social relationships and curiosity to engagement and learning. By bringing together research and methodologies well-established in psychology, education, neuroscience and human-computer interaction, we can begin to cultivate a new field dedicated to the design and development of technology that supports wellbeing and human potential. More specifically, in this seminar I will present an introduction to our Human-Computer interaction work aiming to support psychological wellbeing. The suggested HCI framework builds on psychology, education, design and other disciplines addressing intrapersonal factors of wellbeing such as motivation, engagement, reflective thought and mindfulness, interpersonal factors such as empathy, and extrapersonal such as altruism.


Join us on July 9 for seminar by Dr Nick Kelly titled “Supporting Pre-Service and Early Career Teachers in Australia: Design for a Learning Network”.

Nick.jpgThis talk presents a number of perspectives upon a growing learning network of pre-service and early career teachers in Australia. The learning network has arisen through collaboration between a number of Australian universities, with the aim of facilitating support in the transition between pre-service education and the first years of service.

Nick Kelly is a Research Fellow with the Australian Digital Futures Institute (ADFI) at the University of Southern Queensland whose research addresses areas of teacher education, higher education and modelling the cognition of creativity.He is the author of numerous scholarly works and a researcher on national and international grants (


Last month we held the first session of the CoCo Research Students Doctoral Colloquia for 2014. This initiative started as the need for a venue for doctoral students to present and receive feedback for their work in an academic environment (more information about past Colloquia sessions can be found in this post). Over the course of two and half hours, five students and an audience composed by academics and post-grad students discussed preliminary findings and key issues of their research projects.

The Doctoral Colloquia 2014 featured compelling presentations on topics that included a range of learning settings such as Higher Education, Adult and School Education and a variety of topics involving design for learning, conceptions of ICT, learning technologies and the effects of ICT in informal settings.

After each colloquia, Dewa Wardak and myself (the co-convenors) will provide a summary of the sessions. The dates for the upcoming sessions are:
Tuesday 5th of August
Tuesday 21st of October
We now include a brief summary of the presentations and the links to the presenters’ pages for further information.


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Join us on May 21 for a CoCo seminar by Associate Professor Michael Anderson and Dr David Cameron titled Mashup: drama, playfulness and networked cultures.

This seminar will provide a critical guide to the new forms of playful exploration, co-creativity, and improvised performance made possible by digital networked media. The presentation will draw on some of the themes explored in the forthcoming book of the same name (Bloomsbury, 2015).


ACSME_banner.jpgRegistrations have opened for the twentieth Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME) in Sydney from September 29 to October 1st. This year's theme is Student Engagement: From the classroom to the workplace.

The facilitation of student engagement and motivation in their learning and self development requires a carefully crafted curriculum: one that allows student ownership and active participation in their journey through formal education and beyond. How can educators design and implement classroom activities (physical, online or blended) and assessments to facilitate and reward student engagement and encourage ownership of learning and graduate attributes? From school outreach and transition to the hybrid classroom and the workplace, ACSME will build on the shared experience and expertise of the conference participants to guide and mentor attendees towards the development of strategies to ensure success, enduring understanding and a love of science and mathematics in our students.


A year ago, a team of designers met in the CoCo Design Studio to discuss ideas about a game to teach 7 to 12 year olds ecologically sustainable habits. From that design meeting, a game has been developed. Researchers at CoCo have followed the design of the game from the early ideas to a fully functioning environmental 'app' called Habitat the Game.

Having played a part in the creation of the game, we are excited to see that the game will be launched by The Wildlife Conservation Society and the Rainforest Alliance on Tuesday the 13th of May.


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Congratulations to STL researchers and collaborators who recently published the boook The Architecture of Productive Learning Networks .The book co-edited by Peter Goodyear and Lucila Carvalho presents an insightful perspective on design and networked learning.

A comprehensive review about the book from Professor Terry Anderson is now available following this link .

To order a copy of the book you can go here


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 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


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



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

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."



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.

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Find out more about our network and research at the STL website (offsite).

About the Blog

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