Academic professional development for quality experiential placements: using national collaborative approaches for creating online repository tasks

Owen, Susanne M., Stupans, Ieva, Ryan, Greg, McKauge, Leigh M. and Woulfe, Jim (2010). Academic professional development for quality experiential placements: using national collaborative approaches for creating online repository tasks. In: M. Campbell, Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN), Perth, Australia, (360-366). 29 September - 1 October 2010.

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Author Owen, Susanne M.
Stupans, Ieva
Ryan, Greg
McKauge, Leigh M.
Woulfe, Jim
Title of paper Academic professional development for quality experiential placements: using national collaborative approaches for creating online repository tasks
Conference name Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN)
Conference location Perth, Australia
Conference dates 29 September - 1 October 2010
Place of Publication Rockhampton, Qld., Australia
Publisher Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN)
Publication Year 2010
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9780980570618
Editor M. Campbell
Start page 360
End page 366
Total pages 7
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
A commitment to quality teaching and student learning outcomes is an increasing expectation in Australian higher education institutions. In preparing for experiential placements, partnership approaches among discipline–specific academic, practitioner and professional communities are important. A key challenge is the development of academics working within professional preparatory programs and ensuring that they are continuously updated in discipline-specific aspects and also up-skilled in curriculum planning, learning and assessment approaches. Research has highlighted the ineffectiveness of professional development models involving one-off events. Alternatively, collaborative workshop activities focused on practical materials relevant to student learning and conducted over an extended timeframe and within a community of practice can promote long-term change in learning and assessment strategies.


Within an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) funded project, a key aim was to establish national collaborative professional development workshops for academics and interested others focused on devising quality learning and assessment tasks for pharmacy experiential placements and to gauge effectiveness.


During a fifteen-month period, a series of workshops was established within annual professional conferences. Academics and professional/registration board representatives worked together on various topics to develop learning and assessment tasks using an online template. After the workshops, follow-up occurred through assigned group leaders liaising with other group members to finalise the tasks. A quality assurance process was used by the project team prior to publication of tasks.
Evaluation of the collaborative professional learning process was undertaken through written surveys involving 5 point Likert scale survey items and free response questions. Semi-structured interviews were conducted by an external interviewer, with manual collation of results and thematic analysis occurring.

Written survey responses from a total of 34 respondents after two conference workshop sessions indicated positive benefits, with 100% of participants expressing satisfaction about the collaborative workshop process. Additionally 87% intended sharing workshop information with colleagues and 100% intended to disseminate information to other networks. External evaluator interviews also indicated the value of the collaborative learning process involved, with some longer term changes in curriculum planning and impacts on wider networks also evident.


Positive results from national collaborative workshops highlight the effectiveness of cross-institutional and professional and practitioner partnerships for experiential placement curriculum planning. Limited data available at this time indicate that with the provision of continued support and an extended timeframe for further development of the collaborative workshops and website, a community of practice may be nurtured.
Keyword Community of practice
Experiential placement
Professional development
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Pharmacy Publications
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Created: Tue, 22 Mar 2011, 10:01:14 EST by Ms Leigh Mckauge on behalf of School of Pharmacy