Concurrent Session 6.1

Innovating digital pedagogies:  Strategic deployment and embedding of an online digital third-party tutoring service at a regional university.

Sarah Irvine, Anbarasu Thangavelu, Debi Howarth, Kate Derrington, Cristy Bartlett, Tyler Cawthray, Akshay Sahay, Anita Frederiks & Wendy Hargreaves

Online learning has been a focal point in Higher Education, especially with the onset of COVID-19.  While the global pandemic amplified the need for digital transformation and innovation of program delivery (Anderson, 2020), a number of universities already offered blended learning environments.  Online delivery is not limited to discipline content, but also includes support services.  Embedded academic skills development plays an important role in the retention and success of students studying in an online environment (Stone, 2019).  This support can include digital third-party tutoring services that provide on-demand 24/7 academic literacy and numeracy support to students. Traditionally, digital third-party tutoring services are an adjunct service in the expanding online learning environment and one which students access outside of the learning management system.  However, the impact of third-party tutoring services may be limited, depending on an institution’s approach in deploying the service for their students.  At the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), the provision of third-party tutoring services as online learning support was available through the USQ Library website.  In 2020, Learning Advisors, in collaboration with faculty academic staff, used different tailored approaches to embed the service within subjects to enhance student success outcomes.  An impact study of this strategic approach was undertaken to evaluate deployment and student’s perceptions of the embedded activities in the online learning environment.   This paper discusses both the results of the impact study and explores the transformative approach to building students’ academic literacy and numeracy skills.

Reference List

Anderson, V. (2020). A digital pedagogy pivot: Re-thinking higher education practice from a HRD perspective. Human Resource Development International, 23(4), 452-467.

Stone, C. (2019). Online learning in Australian higher education: Opportunities, challenges and transformations. Student Success, 10(2), 1-11.




Sarah Irvine is an experienced learning advisor and language educator, currently at the University of Southern Queensland. Sarah is passionate about both academic language and learning as well as digital literacy and learning in higher education and is an active member of the AALL Digital Literacy Working Group.

Dr Anbarasu Thangavelu is an Academic and Learning Advisor at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. He is a member of AALL and the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education. His specialisation and research interests are in student learning and development, learning and teaching, and student success.

Debi Howarth is an experienced higher education academic and manager. As a USQ member of the Regional Universities Network, Academic Student Success Advising Project, she works in aligning learning advising within coursework. Debi co-authored Griffith University’s Academic Skills Model with Nicholas Charlton and co-presented at AALL 2019 on feedback literacy.

Kate Derrington is a Learning Advisor and Academic at the University of Southern Queensland. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) with 25 years’ experience and works with health students and staff supporting student learning and development. Her research interests include transition pedagogy, student success and retention, and online learning.

Cristy Bartlett is a Lecturer and Learning Advisor at the University of Southern Queensland where she works with staff and students to support student learning and development. Her research interests include individual differences, factors that influence student well-being, retention, and success in higher education, and transitioning to university.

Dr Tyler Cawthray is a Learning Advisor and Academic at the University of Southern Queensland and member of AALL and HERDSA. He works in student learning and development support.   His research interests also include learning and teaching, student success, and academic integrity. He co-presented at AALL 2019 on feedback literacy.

Akshay Sahay is an Academic with 7 years of tertiary education experience and has a background in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He is passionate about educational technology and continually explores integration of technology and services into mainstream teaching areas. He also has experience as a Learning Advisor (Maths Skills).

Anita Frederiks has over 10 years’ experience as an Academic and Learning Advisors (Maths Skills) at the University of Southern Queensland.  Anita is passionate about supporting students with their academic numeracy and mathematics skills in higher education.

Dr Wendy Hargreaves joined the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in September 2020 as a Learning Advisor and Academic. She has worked previously as a research assistant and as a music educator in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Wendy recently coordinated the production of USQ’s Open Educational Resource handbook “Academic Success”.

* Institutional affiliation for all authors is: University of Southern Queensland.

An online module on academic integrity in open-book exams 

Guido Ernst & Lucija Medojevic

With the rapid move to online teaching, learning and assessment, issues arise about how such a move may impact students’ ability to adhere to the rules of academic integrity, especially in the context of formats unfamiliar to most students, like online open-book exams. After moving all end-of-semester assessments online in Semester 1, 2020, concerns were raised around students’ inability to distinguish between resources they were allowed to use during an exam and the use of materials which would breach academic integrity. Common types of misconduct fell into four broad categories:

  • Collusion with other students in preparing responses and “cheat sheets”
  • Sharing of full assessments or individual questions on common social media platforms or other sites like Chegg
  • Soliciting others to provide answers
  • Copying lecture notes or other learning materials word for word and submitting, without attribution, as answers to assessment questions.

In response to the growing need to teach students about academic integrity online, the Academic Skills team at UoM developed an educative response for students: a tailored, self-directed learning module that tackles the nuances of academic integrity issues in an online assessment context. In this module, students learn to recognise behaviours that uphold academic integrity in online open-book exams. Additionally, Academic Skills worked with Student Partners to tailor a range of strategies that students can apply in preparation for open-book exams. The module has been downloaded and imported into more than 190 subjects. The presentation will outline the aims of the module, how it was developed and discuss how the student learning experience can be enhanced through self-directed, embedded online modules.


Dr Lucija Medojevic:

Lucija is a linguist and educational designer with 10 years of university lecturing experience. She is passionate about all things to do with education and language. Her research interest includes digital pedagogy, educational technology and interculturalism; and how they can intersect to enhance learning for university students.

Guido Ernst:

Guido has been teaching academic literacy at the University of Melbourne for 15 years and is passionate about supporting students to reach their full academic potential. He has a particular interest in developing students’ skills in academic writing, critical thinking and integrating sources. Before that, he was a lecturer in the faculty of Arts.

“The First Cut is the Deepest”: Does allowing assignment resubmission improve outcomes for commencing students?

Miriam Sullivan & Benjamin Sacks

Students who are new to university often lack the cultural capital to understand the implicit expectations in academia (Hamilton, 2020). The first assignment in the degree is therefore a critical retention point for students (Walker-Gibbs et al., 2019). Students who fail often choose not to engage with their tutors’ feedback (Forsythe & Johnson, 2016) and do not seek support from the university (Ajjawi et al., 2019).

We introduced a resubmission opportunity for the first assignment in the Bachelor of Commerce. Unlike similar interventions, our Strive program focuses on improving students’ feedback literacy. Students are invited to opt-in to the program, where they learn about psychological barriers to accepting feedback, managing emotional states, and cultural differences (based on Stone & Heen, 2015; Forsythe & Johnson, 2016). They then write an action plan and discuss their tutors’ feedback with a learning advisor, before resubmitting their assignment for a passing grade.

A pilot of twelve students in 2020 demonstrated that, compared to a random matched cohort of students failing the same assignment, students who did Strive had a better semester GPA (66.3 vs 55.6) and failed fewer units (0.36 vs 1.2). In 2021, the program grew to 26 students (23% of those eligible) due to greater visibility, a more flexible approach toward eligibility, and an improved timeframe.

We evaluate Strive’s efficacy across its first three semesters, reflecting on opportunities and challenges going forward. The program’s encouraging results and the positive feedback from participants make it an attractive model for ALL practitioners to consider.


Ajjawi, R., Boud, D., Zacharias, N., Dracup, M., & Bennett, S. (2019). How do students adapt in response to academic failure?. Student Success10(3), 84.

Forsythe, A. & Johnson, S. (2017). Thanks, but no-thanks for the feedback. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 42 (6): 850-859.

Hamilton, J. (2020). Learning support literacy. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 14(2), 69-76.

Stone, D. & Heen, S. (2015). Thanks for the feedback: the science and art of receiving feedback well (even when it is off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and frankly, you’re not in the mood). Penguin.

Walker-Gibbs, B., Ajjawi, R., Rowe, E., Skourdoumbis, A., Thomas, M.K.E., O’Shea, S., Bennett, S., Fox, B. & Fox, B. (2019). Success and failure in higher education on uneven playing fields. National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.


Miriam Sullivan is a Lecturer in Academic Communication Development in Curtin University’s Faculty of Business and Law. Her research focuses on evaluation of teaching methods and university outreach.

Benjamin Sacks is a Lecturer in Academic Communication Development in Curtin University’s Faculty of Business and Law. Within the ALL field, his research focuses on how students create and maintain online communities, as well as how staff can develop programs that can improve retention and success among commencing students.

Concurrent Session 6.2

Dissertation writers’ identity construction through citations in discussion sections

Beibei Ren

Different sections in a dissertation serve different rhetorical functions. Identity, in a similar vein, is heterogeneously constructed in a single piece of writing (e.g., Ivanič & Camps, 2001). Discussion usually is a section where writers assume their positionality with relevance to the upshots of their own research (Paltridge & Starfield, 2007) by integrating their research with the broader picture of extant theories and practices. One way to achieve this rhetorical effect is through citing previous works. Research has extensively examined citation practices in various types of academic writing; how writers project their identity via the use of citations has yet been explored. This paper looks into this issue by investigating how dissertation writers from applied linguistics and sociology take their stance toward the sources they cited. The framework was adopted from Coffin (2009), which was further categorized into acknowledge, distance, endorse, and contest. Results show that overall more citations were used in the applied linguistics data than in sociology. More specifically, though acknowledge is the stance writers mostly claim toward prior works, in applied linguistics dissertation discussions, writers exhibited a pattern that is more dialogically interactive with those sources they cited, and thus construct them as active members of the discourse community. Pedagogical implications were considered in the study.


Xiaodi Pan is a Ph.D. candidate in Nanjing University and a language lecturer at Beijing University of Technology. Her major interest is in second language writing and language testing.

The Impact of Environmental Sensitivity on Post-secondary learning: Implications for Institutions and Practice

Kaaryn Cater

People vary in the way in which they perceive, process and react to environmental factors, and some are more sensitive than others. There are a number of educational advantages associated with high sensitivity, including deep cognitive functioning, creativity, working memory, attention, and excelling in the arts. High sensitivity can also lead to some challenges associated with low sensory thresholds. In this PhD mixed methods study (N=365), participants completed the Perceived Success in Study Survey and the Highly Sensitive Person Scale (HSPS-12, Pluess et al., 2020). The results found that high sensitivity is positively associated with several significant success-promoting attitudes and strategies. This study included a response field to register interest in participation in further research. Those who responded, and who rated as highly sensitive on the HSPS-12, were invited to take part in a semi-structured interview. Thirteen interviews were conducted, and reflexive inductive thematic analysis was employed to analyse the data, and a descriptive approach was employed to present data reflective of participant experience.  The results of this study found that highly sensitive students prioritise work-life balance; employ a range of useful metacognitive study and self-care strategies; and are bothered by aspects of physical learning environments. These studies highlight the need for post-secondary institutions to provide education about environmental sensitivity; to understand the impact of the physical learning environments; to allow flexibility in teaching delivery; and to explore options to support students who may struggle with aspects of the physical learning environment.


Kaaryn is in the final stages of her PhD at USC, Australia, and is a Learning Advisor at WhitireiaWeltec, New Zealand. Her sensitivity research has been published and she has presented extensively in New Zealand, Canada, UK and Italy. She is a researcher on the website, University of London.

Happy Together: fostering HDR community and productivity with extended online writing events

Juliet Lum & Susan Mowbray

In recent times engaging online with students, including doctoral candidates, has become de rigueur. Online interactions provide flexible and diverse opportunities to promote students’ sense of connection and reduce feelings of isolation, both of which are key factors in enhancing candidature experience and student wellbeing. For those working with higher degree researchers (HDRs), working online to maintain students’ engagement arguably poses particular challenges given the predominantly autonomous (rather than coursework) nature of the PhD in Australian universities. Considerations for HDR developers include determining the most effective format to run an extended online writing event, for example, a retreat or drop-in/write when you like, the optimal length and number of attendees, to use real-time interaction or pre-recorded ondemand sessions, what time to host the event given the increasing number of HDRs located in different time-zones and/or working F/T and studying out of business hours.

In this session we discuss two extended online writing events we have implemented with HDRs (during the Covid 19 lockdown). We explore what worked, what didn’t, and share how such events can facilitate a social learning environment and promote HDRs’ sense of engagement and community while reducing anxiety and isolation (both geographical and personal/psychological).


Dr Juliet Lum is the Graduate Research Development Manager at Macquarie University. Juliet has over fifteen years’ experience as a PhD educator with research and teaching expertise in doctoral communication.

Dr Susan Mowbray is the Academic Literacy Advisor for the Graduate Research School at Western Sydney University. Susan develops and implements programs to support higher degree research candidates.


Concurrent Session 6.3

Peer academic support and mentoring training package

Jillian Schedneck

Many universities have shifted to peer-led models of academic support and mentoring. While most training packages for these peer support staff often address the ‘what’ of academic literacies, they do not typically address ‘how’ to deliver motivating sessions that attend to student well-being. To address this, ANU Academic Skills has developed a training package that covers the ‘what’ of providing feedback by instructing on the basic universality of academic writing conventions, as well as the ‘how’. To train new peer tutors and mentors in successful ways to express feedback, our training builds on the work of Mackiewicz and Thompson (2018), who identify three strategies: direct instruction, cognitive scaffolding, and motivational scaffolding. These strategies form the basis of our training on ‘how’ to express feedback. Within our training package, we instruct on what these strategies are, how they work together, and when to draw on each of them to build rapport, help students come to their own conclusions, and grasp key academic literacies. Through role play, we practice these strategies and consider how they can employed to meet various student needs. Ultimately, this package helpfully narrows tutors and mentors’ options to these three strategies, aiding these peers support staff to prioritise the various needs of individual students and consider their well-being alongside their attainment of academic literacies. This presentation will provide an overview of the training package, how it can be adapted to suit other peer mentoring roles, and feedback from our 2021 Writing Coaches.


Mackiewicz, J., & Thompson, I. (2018). Talk about writing: The tutoring strategies of experienced writing center tutors. New York: Routledge.


Dr Jillian Schedneck is a Learning Adviser at ANU Academic Skills. She holds a PhD in Gender Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing. Jillian has run the Writing Centre at Adelaide University, and is continually interested in how best to train new peer and AALL staff to provide meaningful one-to-one consults to students.

Deliberate acts of kindness

Catherine Irving

The pedagogy of kindness has been a focus of educational philosophy and practice for many years, employed by educators to motivate and stimulate students. Within this pedagogical context, the value of positively-framed feedback is generally accepted. However, when the events of 2020 disrupted a typically high-contact course for two large cohorts of first year international Masters students, new to Australia and the University, whether the philosophy of kindness would be sufficient to maintain student engagement was questioned.

The paper examines the impact of the pedagogy of kindness on student engagement, and, specifically, the significance of positively-framed feedback, using a case study of a first-year Master of Engineering/Computer Science course for international students at the University of Adelaide. The first semester cohort had three weeks in-person learning, with the second semester cohort being wholly online. Analysis was undertaken of student surveys, student-lecturer communications and student results to evaluate the effectiveness of the pedagogy of kindness that underpinned the course. The case study revealed that these students were initially anxious and isolated, because a  course designed to be high contact/high group work/relying on in-person interactions in extended workshops went online. The emotional, psychological and financial impacts of the pandemic were also particularly severe for these students. The paper shows how a purposeful implementation of a pedagogy of kindness was instrumental in supporting positive learning outcomes. Feedback provided within this framework was found to be a key strategy to achieve engagement. The pedagogy of kindness is a firm foundation for supporting student learning.


Catherine Irving is a lecturer in Engineering Communication within the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Adelaide. She is part of a small team supporting students with academic language and learning, and received a Faculty Teaching Award for her work with the students in the case study.

Supporting university students’ mental wellbeing: what can academic language and learning practitioners do?                

Nicole Crawford & Amelia Dowe

University students’ mental wellbeing is increasingly “on the radar” of universities in Australia and internationally. In this climate, a National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) study investigated university students’ perspectives of mental wellbeing and their insights into proactive approaches that they found supportive during their university studies (Crawford, 2021). In particular, the research focused on mature-aged students in, and from, regional and remote areas in Australia. The study followed a mixed-methods design. The research findings highlight the myriad and complex ways that students’ mental wellbeing is impacted by the many interactions between their multiple roles – at home, work, in their community and at university – and in larger contexts, in which factors, such as the culture of an institution, may impinge on or support and enhance students’ mental wellbeing. Inclusive practices in teaching, learning and support were found to offer ways of catering for the needs and strengths of mature-aged students in regional and remote Australia and of proactively supporting and enhancing their mental wellbeing. The research findings and guidelines will be shared in the presentation. Taking a holistic view of supporting student mental wellbeing, we will consider the important roles of teaching and support staff and engage with the report guidelines from the perspective of academic language and learning skills advisors. In particular, we will show how a learning skills advisor uses the guidelines for ongoing review and redesign of an online, non-credit bearing unit on academic skills and literacies.


Nicole Crawford is a Senior Research Fellow at the NCSEHE and a 2019/20 NCSEHE Equity Fellow. She was a Lecturer in Pre-degree Programs at the University of Tasmania for a decade. She is interested in equity and inclusion in higher education; enabling education; and student and staff mental wellbeing.

Amelia Dowe is a Student Learning Adviser at the University of Tasmania. She has a background in Community Arts and Applied Linguistics, and a particular interest in equitable and inclusive online learning.


Concurrent Session 7.1

Redrafting what enables enabling students

Jane Habner

Due to traditionally high attrition rates, there is significant interest in developing effective strategies to increase the retention and success of enabling program students in order to maximise university access and participation. However, there is also the competing concern that the diverse learners articulating from enabling programs are equipped with the academic capabilities needed to succeed in their undergraduate studies. While it has been established that feedback is one powerful influence on student achievement (Hattie 2009), there are numerous challenges in ensuring students read, understand and are then able to apply feedback (Gibbs, 2010). This has led to a focus on developing students’ feedback literacy (Carless & Boud, 2018). This paper reports on the implementation of a new assessment model within an enabling program at an Australian University, based on the drafting and redrafting of the same scaffolded assessment task. This model places the focus on students’ ability to explore and apply tutor feedback, as well as providing them both peer and self assessment opportunities. This shift has seen a measurable increase in both student retention and their self-reported feelings of academic confidence and self-efficacy. The introduction of this model is one step towards developing independent learners equipped to succeed in their transition to undergraduate studies.


Carless, D., & Boud, D. (2018). The development of student feedback literacy: enabling uptake of feedback. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(8), 1315-1325.

Gibbs, G. (2010). Does assessment in open learning support students? Open learning, 25(2), 163-166.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge.

Challenging deficit discourses of student learning

Rachel Barber

Widening participation has seen an increase in students from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds accessing higher education, especially those from low socio-economic status backgrounds and regional and remote areas, often studying part-time and online. While governmental and institutional policies purport the provision of academic support for ‘under-prepared’ students, deficiency narratives around student learning and writing persist in the academy. In the last 30 years, academic language and learning (ALL) advisors have worked to diversify practices and integrate the teaching of ALL into disciplinary curricula to contextualise writing development. A qualitative study conducted in 2018 (Barber, 2020), investigated how a whole of institution approach to diversifying ALL services at an Australian regional university has impacted the practices of learning advisors, and asked discipline-based academic staff about their perceptions of the changing role of learning advisors. The study found that while many gains have been made to embed the teaching of academic literacies into mainstream curricula, some rigid traditions persist in the cultural-discursive dimension of practice that perpetuate deficit understandings of student learning and limit the scope of ALL work.  This presentation picks up and extends this theme, arguing for a disruption of these deficit discourses through a critical awareness of the language used to talk about ALL work. It is a call to action for ALL practitioners to leverage existing collaborative relationships and lead the development of a shared language for student learning and ALL practice that is inclusive, gives agency and voice to typically ‘othered’ students, and progresses the widening participation agenda.



Barber, R. (2020). The Impact of the diversification of ALL services on the practices of learning advisors. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 14(2), 77-94.

Briguglio, C. (2014). Working in the third space: promoting interdisciplinary collaboration to embed English language development into the disciplines: Final report.

Briguglio, C., & Watson, S. (2014). Embedding English language across the curriculum in higher education: A continuum of development support. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 37(1), 67–74.

Department of Education and Training. (2015). Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015.

Department of Education, Skills and Employment. (2020, June 19). Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).

Evans, S., Henderson, A., & Ashton-Hay, S. (2019). Defining the dynamic role of Australian academic skills advisors. Higher Education Research & Development, 38(6), 1121-1137.

Gale, T. (2009). Towards a Southern Theory of Higher Education. [Paper presentation]. 12th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference, Townsville, Australia.

Lea, M. R., & Street, B. V. (1998). Student writing in higher education: An academic literacies approach. Studies in higher education, 23(2), 157-172.

Lea, M. (2017). Academic Literacies in theory and practice. In B. Street & S. May (Eds.), Literacies and language education (3rd ed., pp. 147-158). Springer.

Lillis, T., Harrington, K., Lea, M., & Mitchell, S. (2016). Working with academic literacies: Case studies towards transformative practice. The WAC Clearinghouse/Parlor Press.

McWilliams, R., & Allan, Q. (2014). Embedding academic literacy skills: Towards a best practice model. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 11(3), 1-20.

Percy, A. (2014).  Re-integrating academic development and academic language and learning: a call to reason. Higher Education Research & Development, 33(6), 1194-1207.

Wingate, U. (2006). Doing away with ‘study skills’. Teaching in higher education, 11(4), 457-469.

Wingate, U. (2014). Approaches to acculturating novice writers into academic literacy. In Occupying niches: interculturality, cross-culturality and aculturality in academic research (pp. 103-118). Springer.

Wingate, U. (2017). Transforming higher education language and literacy policies. The contribution of ELF. In J. Jenkins, W. Baker, & M. Dewey (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of English as a Lingua Franca (pp. 427-438). Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Wingate, U. (2019). Achieving transformation through collaboration: the role of academic literacies. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education ISSN, 667(15).


Rachel (BA(Hons), CELTA, IDLTM, MEd, PhD Candidate) is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Access Education at Central Queensland University, Cairns, with over 16 years’ experience in higher education spanning English language teaching, widening participation outreach in schools, academic language and learning advising, and teaching enabling and pathways programs.


Concurrent Session 7.3

Encountering ART: Illuminating the invisible student and language and learning adviser experience

Terrie Fraser, Caroline Wright-Neville, Vittoria Grossi & Tao Bak

The role and professional identity of an LLA is often misunderstood within the university, especially within faculties and by academics. This leads to a sense of frustration as LLAs are expected to ‘bolt on’ (Wingate 2006) or ‘fix’ a student’s paper (Gurney and Grossi, 2019). All too often the LLA works in a ‘third space’ (Bhabha 1990, 1994; Benzie 2015), where their work is silenced and invisible.  This paper reports on a multimodal project which sought to visualize the quandaries behind this silent and invisible LLA identity and profession. At the core and heart of this project is our response to Rowena Harpers’ provocations in her 2018 Keynote address: Learning Advising: Forces shaping our work, and the opportunities they offer. Harper challenged us with questions about the stories we tell our LLA selves. This project takes up the baton. The aim was to make visible the constraints and possibilities under which LLAs work, so that those outside the profession might come to a deeper understanding of how the LLA can collaborate and develop academic skills alongside the curriculum and with the academic.  A further aim was to offer the LLAs an opportunity to voice their very individual experiences and quandaries in response to these pressures and to prevailing neoliberal discourse (Bottrell and Manathunga 2019).

Drawing on participatory art practices, (Bishop 2012; Johanson and Glow 2018) the LLA team developed personal artworks and textural reflections over a two year period. This paper and visual artefact is a record and unique expression of the ways LLAs face the issues of invisibility in their practice and how an art project bought the group together in meaningful and affirming ways.

The panel consists of three LLAs presenting the project from different perspectives. Firstly, an overview of the two year project will be covered, identifying how the ‘hidden and silenced’ dilemmas were made visible by the act of creating and materializing our quandaries through art. Secondly, an individual LLA will speak about their encounter with new ways of knowing and learning by sharing the artwork and the value of the experience. Thirdly, we would invite interactive discussion around this art practice-led approach, asking if others thought it applicable and of value in their own settings. Prompts to stimulate this discussion would engage individual reflection, small group discussion (breakout rooms) and a large final group conclusion.  To initiate discussion, the audience would be asked to respond to prompts such as a list of reflective questions and a range of images that can spark discussion, thus encountering new and diverse ways of Knowing and learning.



Bhabha H (1990) ‘The third space: Interview with Homi Bhabha’, in Rutherford, J (ed), Identity: Community, culture, difference (pp. 207-221). Lawrence and Wishart, London, UK.


Bhabha H (1994) The location of culture. Routledge, New York, NY.

Benzie H (2015) ‘Third space strategists: International students negotiating the transition from pathway program to postgraduate coursework degree’, The International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives, 14 (3), 17-31.


Bishop C (2012) Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, Verso, New York.

Bottrell D and Manathunga C (eds) (2019) Resisting Neoliberalism in Higher Education Volume 1: Seeing through the Cracks, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland.

Harper R (2018) Learning Advising: forces shaping our work, and the opportunities they offer, Keynote address, ATLAANZ Conference, December 2018. University of Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand, Pipitea Campus: Retrieved 17th January, 2021:

JohansonK & Glow H (2018) ‘Reinstating the artist’s voice: Artists’ perspectives on participatory projects,’ Journal of Sociology, 1-15, SAGE, DOI:10.1177/1440783318798922

Gurney L and Grossi V (2019) ‘Performing support in higher education: negotiating conflicting agendas in academic language and learning advisory work,’ Higher Education Research and Development, DOI: 10.11080/07294360.2019.1609916


Manathunga C and Bottrell D (eds) (2019) Resisting Neoliberalism in Higher Education Volume 2: Prising open the Cracks, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland.


Wingate U (2006) Doing away with ‘study skills’, Teaching in higher education, 11(4), 457-469


 Terrie Fraser is a Language and Learning Adviser at Deakin University. Terrie has a background in the creative arts, specialising in painting. Her main academic research interests are art practice and writing in the creative arts, identity in academic writing, artistic research genres and developing community via artistic means.

Caroline Wright-Neville is a language and learning adviser at Deakin University. Caroline’s work involves supporting the academic skills of students across a broad range of faculties and courses. Caroline is currently working on projects that include embedding English language development skills into courses and the development of online academic skills support programs for undergraduate first year and Master’s by Coursework students.

Vittoria Grossi is Team Leader of the Academic and Peer Support Services (Division of Student Life, Deakin University). She is interested in teaching and learning of academic English as a global language and exploring the challenges that are encountered along the way.


Concurrent Session 8.1

When Multi-modal Learning Matters to Students from Low Socioeconomic Status Backgrounds: A Quantitative Analysis of Embedded Academic Literacy Skill “Modes of Learning” on Students’ Grades

Danielle Clarkson & Brijesh Kumar

Despite the plethora of research about the embedded literacy approach to supporting a broadening higher education demographic, there is still a need for quantitative evidence to support its efficacy for first-year students from low socio-economic status (LSES) backgrounds or students from regional and remote areas. One of Australia’s largest regional universities with the highest percentage of students from LSES backgrounds within the Australian higher education sector (Department of Education, Skills and Employment, 2019) has undertaken a study to examine its tailored Embedded Academic Literacy Skills Unit (EALSU) program in one of the core nursing units. The EALSU provided tailored academic literacy resources for each assessment task within the unit. Each key resource was offered via four different modes: (1) non-recorded Zoom lectures, (2) PowerPoints, (3) recorded lectures without students and (4) campus lectures. The study investigated whether such a tailored, multi-modal approach can demonstrate statistically significant improvements to grades for both regional students and students from LSES backgrounds. Usership records of 547 online and 136 campus students were collected during Term 1, 2019 to investigate whether the mode of delivery or other factors impacted students’ grades. Initial findings show a statistically significant relationship between EALSU usage and student grades across all SES status groups. The correlation between the different components of EALSU and student grades indicate 30% of the variability in GPA could be explained by EALSU. This project aims to highlight how students from LSES backgrounds and regional areas are supported through this multi-modal design.


Danielle Clarkson is a lecturer in the School of Access Education at CQUniversity. She works within the Academic Learning Centre providing academic literacy support services for undergraduate students. She also lectures into the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies course. Her research interests are in enabling education and digital transformation.

Brijesh Kumar is a lecturer in the School of Access Education at CQUniversity. He is an Academic Learning Adviser providing Academic Communication and Sciences support for undergraduate students and lectures into the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies course. His research interests are in biochemistry and enabling education.

Maximizing sustainability and flexibility in a universitywide academic literacy assessment and support plan

Steve Johnson, Ann Lefroy, Ilan Zagoria, Rajeni Rajan & Rajesh Krishnamuti

This paper reports on an innovative academic literacy support plan for students entering university through diverse pathways and with different backgrounds. The key elements of the plan are literacy assessments in first year ‘gateway’ units (large core units required for progression), linked to a ‘tiered learning support’ model, which aims to provide the most appropriate support for students according to their needs. Although largely drawing on the MASUS approach (Jones and Bonano 2007), the plan makes innovative use of online tools and resources for greater efficiency and targeted support. Literacy assessments are developed through collaboration with unit coordinators and consist of discipline-based readings and questions, which students respond to through a short written submission. Marking is facilitated by the use of customized templates imported into each unit LMS site, containing online rubrics with appropriate discipline-related academic literacy criteria.  The use of a Moodle plug-in enables exporting of ratings for each criterion and the creation of ‘cohort profiles’ that inform follow-up support. Following the tiered learning support model, all students receive their own rating against each criterion, as well as links to frontline resources, including peer learning support, writing workshops, and other online resources. Students identified as benefitting from additional support receive links to criterion-specific resources, as well as personalized invitations to customized workshops (also promoted to all students) and individual consultations. Finally, the use of online tools and resources enables data collection and analysis for the purposes of refining academic admissions models and future curriculum development and assessment design.


Concurrent Session 8.2

Adapting English conversation groups to a multimodal format: The importance of providing extra-curricular language practice in the COVID-19 era

Benjamin Kooyman & Vivien Silvey

In 2020, universities shifted much of their delivery online in response to Covid-19 lockdowns and social distancing, necessitating significant transformations in instruction and operations. This extended to digital transformations of extra-curricular programs such as English conversation groups. Typically, in-person conversation groups rely on student interaction and the ability to foster a friendly environment where it is safe to make mistakes. When it comes to moving conversation groups online, this poses a particular challenge.

This paper reports on our response to the challenge of transitioning our Let’s Speak English groups – an ANU offering where NESB students practice their conversational English through discussion, games, and social interaction – to multiple formats in 2020 and 2021. We argue that despite the challenges involved in this transition, these online conversation groups have nevertheless been successful in providing much-needed opportunities for English language development and social activity for students isolated offshore. Just as importantly, the ability to offer both online and in-person sessions for on-campus students in 2021 has been welcomed by students and facilitators alike.

This paper shares insights and observations from the group facilitators and attendees, highlighting their attitudes towards the program’s delivery across both online and in-person modes and how key transitional challenges have been addressed. Additionally, we share lessons learned and showcase activities from both online and in-person contexts. We discuss the students’ responses to these activities and warmly invite the audience to share their own experiences in adapting extra-curricular English language activities in this COVID-19 era.


Dr Benjamin Kooyman has worked in the field of academic language and learning advice for over a decade. He currently works at the Australian National University and was previously employed at the University of South Australia and the Australian College of Physical Education.

Dr Vivien Silvey is a Learning Adviser at The Australian National University (ANU). She coordinates embedded academic literacies teaching across ANU, at all levels, from first year undergraduate through to final year PhD students. She is passionate about providing discipline embedded support that students find practical and meaningful.

Development and Implementation of a Multimodal Academic Skills Orientation Model for First Year University Students

Kung-Keat-Teoh, Ruby Sims & Lauren Butterworth

The introduction of various entry pathways, internationalisation, communication technologies, new delivery modes, and mid-year intakes have resulted in many changes to the landscape of Australian universities.  These changes have impacted transition activities, one of which is the preparation of first year students with the necessary academic literacy skills.  Traditionally, such activities have been delivered through seminars during o’ week (one week before the start of each semester) as part of broader orientation activities.  However, a close re-examination of how existing transition programs and delivery of academic skills in orientation activities continue to fit the needs of a contemporary university cohort is necessary. The literature on orientation and transition to university emphasises the importance for first year students to develop self-confidence in areas of academic, social and institutional literacy (Briggs et al., 2009). Studies also show that many students feel overwhelmed and alone during o’ week (Clark & Hall, 2010).  In addition, it has been suggested that transitioning students are generally more focused on needs other than academic literacies during o’ week (Hughes & Smail, 2015) and for many, transition to university is an experience which is not constrained to the o’ week period (Palmer et al., 2018).  Irrespective of these findings, many universities’ academic orientation programs have changed very little.  This presentation outlines the reasons for the redevelopment of existing academic literacy programs for transitioning university students and development of a new multimodal approach to orientation delivery. It will also reflect and share lessons learned throughout the process, proposing potential improvements.


Briggs, A., Clark, J., & Hall, I. (2009). Bridging the Gap: project report on student transition. Newcastle University, UK.
(accessed 21 March 2011).

Clark, J., & Hall, I. (2010). Exploring Transition: The experiences of students at Newcastle University in their first year. Newcastle University, UK.

Hughes, G., & Smail, O. (2015). Which aspects of university life are most and least helpful in the transition to HE? A qualitative snapshot of student perceptions. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 39(4), 466-480.

Palmer, L., Levett-Jones, T., & Smith, R. (2018). First year students’ perceptions of academic literacies preparedness and embedded diagnostic assessment. Student Success, 9(2), 49.


Dr Kung-Keat Teoh is a senior student learning academic advisor in Flinders University’s Student Learning Support Service. He has coordinated the university’s academic orientation program since 2015. He has previously worked in e-learning, ecommerce, human computer interaction and augmented reality and published papers in areas of e-portfolio and development of multimedia resources.

Dr Ruby Sims is an Associate Learning Advisor (Teaching Specialist) in Flinders University’s Student Learning Support Service.

Dr Lauren Butterworth is an Associate Learning Advisor (Teaching Specialist) in Flinders University’s Student Learning Support Service. She has previously taught in English and Creative Writing, and worked in publishing, editing, and new media production.

Dr Ruby Sims is an Associate Learning Advisor (Teaching Specialist) in Flinders University’s Student Learning Support Service.

Concurrent Session 8.3

Student Success and Retention: What’s Academic Skills Got to Do with It?

Sally Ashton-Hay & Naomi Doncaster

As the importance of student success and retention in higher education increases, the need for academic support is also crucial to assist the growing diversity of students. This study assessed whether the attendance of students for an Academic Skills consultation made any difference in terms of performance, success, GPA and attrition. Over 13,000 student consultations with Academic Skills in 2017, 2018 and 2019 were matched in the University Management Information System to allow derivation of metrics. The findings indicate that students who attended Academic Skills performed better than those who did not attend Academic Skills and the difference is greater for those who attended more consultations. Student GPA was also higher and more students completed their degree as a result. A recommendation is made for universities to strategically position and resource academic language and learning support services in order to enhance the student experience.


Dr Sally Ashton-Hay

Learning Experience Team

Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Students)

Southern Cross University

Ms Naomi Doncaster

Manager (former), Performance, Quality and Review

Southern Cross University