Engaging Coursework Masters Students in Research: An event for Victoria hosted by Monash University

October 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Are your Coursework Masters students alienated by substantial research requirements of the program because they do not yet have the skills and knowledge required?
Do they think that research belongs on another planet?
Are you facing problems with enabling Masters students to engage rigorously with research experiences?

Then register for Engaging Coursework Masters Students in Research (Victoria), Wednesday 26 November, where we will use the research Skill Development framework (RSD) as the conceptual launchpad for discussions and for developing resources that fit your context.

Register via this link:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7YXJXV9

The program for the day is:
Session 1 (9.00-10.00 am): Research skills relevant for Masters students
Session 2 (10.00-10.45 am): Participants’ experiences, current structures, examples
Session 3 (11.15-12.00 am): Planning an overview of your Masters program with RSD
Session 4 (12.00-1.00 pm): Planning individual courses with RSD
Session 5 (2.00-3.15 pm): Giving Masters students the vibe for engaging in research
Session 6 (3.15-4.00 pm): Planning the continuance of the Victorian cluster

See the flyer for the event Flyer_RSD_Masters_Victoria_cluster-final

The RSD website has plenty of discipline-specific applications www.rsd.edu.au

Webinars on RSD for Masters by Coursework

October 15, 2014 Leave a comment

In Australia, many universities have recently included major research components or capstones in coursework Masters programs. For many disciplines, this is a very different approach compared to previous Masters coursework structures, and not always a welcome one because they are imposed by the Australian Qualifications framework (AQF) at Level 9. This level specifies that masters programs enable students to ‘plan and execute a substantial research based project, capstone experience and/or piece of scholarship’.

A ‘substantial research’ component would be more advantageous if students are prepared by masters courses in the semesters that build up to the project, capstone or scholarship. This webinar series will consider how regular (content-rich) courses may be informed by the Research Skill Development (www.rsd.edu.au) framework, so that students may develop research mindedness that complements technical research skills enabled by research methods courses.

Together research mindedness and technical research competency combine to enable students to develop the skills associated with research in the discipline, or interdisciplinary context, in ways that fit into the existing learning and assessment regime, whether face-to-face, online or blended modes, intensive or semesterised.

Webinars on RSD for Masters by Coursework

1-2pm EDT https://fop-connect.adelaide.edu.au/rsd-project/
Friday 24 October: Introducing Masters students to the six facets of the RSD.

Friday 31 October: Research mindedness vs technical research skills
Friday 7 November: Research projects/capstones/scholarship
Friday 21 November: Emerging Issues

The use of a headset provides better voice quality.

If you have any questions in advance, please contact me on john.willison@adelaide.edu.au


UWisconsin-Stout RSD Community of Practice

October 6, 2014 Leave a comment

The University of Wisconsin-Stout Community of Practice has been evolving and developing throughout 2014. The blog for their CoP provides some amazing insights into early implementation issues at an institution, from changes in specific courses to dynamic conversations that map skills across degree programs. See a number of their posts at


Why not support their developing community and comment on their work?

Categories: News and Events

Eight diverse presentations on ‘Putting the RSD to Work': 5 min videos + powerpoints

October 6, 2014 Leave a comment

The Putting the RSD* to Work Symposium on 24 September 2014 threw out a big challenge to presenters: represent in 5 minutes and ten slides the way that they have been using the RSD over the years. This threw up a smorgasbord for the audience of 8 presentations that were crisp succinct and extremely varied: from first year University to PhD studies.

All presentation powerpoints and four of the videos are available at:


The topics are:
Framing Assessment and Feedback with the RSD
Scaffolding research skill development and assessment across the honours year
From Little Things to Big Things Grow: Using small groups and the RSD to grow big ideas
Masters student engagement with the research requirements of AQF Level 9
Approaches to Mapping Research Skills with the RSD
Making the RSD framework ‘speak engineering': A problem solving framework generated by student-tutors
RSD and the PhD
Using the RSD to harmonise pre- and face-to-face segments of the flipped class

We would love to hear about any way and context that you may have used the RSD- or hope to use it.

Also, if you went to the symposium, you might indicate the extent that the day helped you to do more with the RSD.

* Research Skill development framework www.rsd.edu.au

Putting the RSD to Work: details of the working issues for the symposium (Adelaide 24 September)

September 13, 2014 2 comments

RSDwheelOnly a few days to go!

The symposium will feature 8 key issues in higher education where experienced users have put the RSD to work for the benefit of student learning. If you have registered for the symposium, the details below will help you to nominate two sessions of interest. If you are interested in registering for the symposium, held the day before the Higher Education Research Group of Adelaide (HERGA) conference, go to http://www.herga.com.au/herga-14.html.
The Research Skill Development (RSD) website is www.rsd.edu.au

Using the RSD to harmonise pre- and face-to-face segments of the flipped class (Sophie Karanicolas)
Find out how simple it is to successfully flip your classroom and create student centred learning cycles beyond the classroom walls. In a first year human biology class, we have successfully put the Research Skills Development framework to work as we design our flipped classes against each facet of the RSD rubric. We have translated theory into practice by explicitly scaffolding the students’ learning and developing levels of autonomy as they actively engage in the application of key concepts throughout each stage of their learning. The RSD provides a dynamic framework that allows the integration of the flipped class into all aspects of learning and assessment.

Scaffolding research skill development and assessment across the honours year (Said Al-Sarawi)
In 2009 the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Adelaide, piloted the use of the RSD to scaffold research skill development and assessment across the honours year. This was sufficiently successful for the school to further develop this use from 2010 to the present time. In addition, another school that had been using RSD in First Year saw our approach to honours, and adapted this to the health science context, demonstrating useful transferability between disciplines. This session will provide you with an understanding of how these schools achieved scaffolding with the RSD across an entire year of projects and give you time to apply the ideas to your context.

Approaches to Mapping Research Skills with the RSD (Lyn Torres and Linda Kalejs)
In this session we will share different approaches to mapping research skills using the RSD framework that have been developed by Monash University Library Staff. Examples will include a semester-long course from the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture, the Diploma of Tertiary Studies pathway program and the Bachelor of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University. You will have time to think through mapping the facets and degrees of autonomy of the RSD onto units or degree-programs of your own.

RSD and the PhD (Michelle Picard and Lalitha Velautham)
In this session we discuss the RSD and its application as a tool to support research students and their supervisors. We demonstrate our use in Research Proposals and in evaluating the readiness of the research thesis for submission. We also discuss the strengths and challenges of applying our ‘Assessment Matrixes’ more directly to PhD thesis examination. The session includes practical assessment exercises.

From Little Things Big Things Grow: Using small groups and the RSD to grow big ideas. (Susan Hazel and Hayley McGrice)
In this presentation we will share our experiences with use of the RSD framework in small group teaching to facilitate active learning. Students work in Team-Based Learning environments during University of Adelaide’s Small Group Discovery Experience (SGDE), as a platform for teaching research skills. With these teaching methods, students learn not only to remember facts, but also how to apply them in order to solve complex or higher order problems. You will have opportunity to apply these ideas to your own teaching and learning context.

Making the RSD framework ‘speak engineering’: A problem solving framework generated by student-tutors  (Mei Chiin Cheong and Harry Lucas)
What happens when you give engineering tutors, who are themselves students, a table with words? They pull it apart and ‘re-engineer’ it to be less wordy and more visual. Tutors of a first year Mechanical Engineering Communication course reconfiguring the RSD framework to work, think and speak engineering, developing a sister framework called the Optimising Problem Solving (OPS) pentagon. Visually capturing core elements of the problem solving processes, the OPS framework emphasised communication as a process integral to problem solving, and empowered both tutors and first year students. In this session, you will have the opportunity to consider and adapt the OPS to your context.

Framing Assessment and Feedback with the RSD (Cathy Snelling)

The perennial challenge for educators is to effectively design assessment tasks and provide meaningful and authentic feedback for their students. The RSD has a successful tool in meeting these ‘twin challenges’ and this session will showcase the wide variety of ways that it has been put to work in diverse range of educational settings. By using the RSD scaffolded framework as a template, exemplars of performance are made explicit for students. This allows them insight into how they will be assessed and just as importantly provides the educator with an effective feedback tool.

Masters student engagement with the research requirements of AQF Level 9 (John Willison)
Many universities have restructured Masters programs to provide a substantial research capstone, with a supporting research methods unit, to satisfy the AQF9 research requirement. This working issue session looks at the use of the RSD to reframe content-rich courses in the earlier semesters of Masters, in order to develop student research mindedness and so enable more sophisticated engagement in research capstones. This session will provide you with an understanding of how a scaffolded structure like this can be framed by the RSD, and provide time for application to your Masters degree.

We hope to see you there on Wednesday 24th. If you are able to make it, please post questions or comments on RSD use on this blog beforehand and during the day. We will look at some emerging issues during the afternoon. If you are not able to make it, feel free to comment or pose questions for RSD users too.

If you prefer twitter #RSDwork will come alive with conversation on the 24th, if not before.

Putting the RSD to Work: A Symposium before the HERGA conference, Adelaide Wednesday September 24th, 2014

August 28, 2014 1 comment


Its ten years since the first version of the Research Skill Development framework (www.rsd.edu.au) was developed by Kerry O’Regan and myself.

In that time quite a few people have used it in many different contexts and universities. For example, see different disciplinary uses on the website http://www.adelaide.edu.au/rsd/examples/

We are taking the opportunity before the Higher Education Research Group of Adelaide (HERGA) conference to run a symposium for those who know a little about the RSD but are interested in working with experienced users and exploring how it could be used in their context.

Putting the RSD to Work

Wednesday September 24th, 2014

Putting the RSD to Work symposium provides you with the opportunity to learn about how educators have used the Research Skill Development framework to inform the learning of research skills in university curricula. Specific RSD Working Issues that will be addressed in the Symposium will be chosen from the following:

• Assessment and feedback
• Discovery learning in small groups
• Student ownership of learning
• Flipped Classroom design
• Student Problem Solving
• Masters course design for AQF9
• Institution-level implementations
• Optimising Problem Solving Skills
• PhD learning and supervision
• Introducing the RSD to students

The symposium will provide you with time to plan and develop ideas and resources based on the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework, with guidance from experienced users.

University of Adelaide, North Terrace Campus.

8.30 Registrations and coffee/tea
9.00 Introduction and purpose of the symposium
9.30 Pecha-Kucha Session 1. Four RSD Working Issues: 5 minute presentations, 5 minute Q&A.
10.15 Working Issue Session 1. Attend one of the Working Issues portrayed in Pecha Kucha Session 1.
11.15 Break
11.30 Pecha Kucha Session 2. Four more brief presentations on Working Issues.
12.30 Emerging Issues from the morning
12.45 Lunch
1.30 Working Issue Session 2.
2.30 Whole Group Interactive session based on emerging issues.
3.30 Wine and align. Ideas, possibilities and new thinking in small groups.
4.30 Report back from each group and where to from here?
5.00 Finish. Depart for drinks/ dinner.

Register for the Symposium as part of the HERGA conference

Download the flyer for the Symposium RSD_to_Work_Flyer_HERGA 2014_used


Visit the RSD site at http://www.rsd.edu.au to be better informed about the RSD framework in advance.

You will be sent a Survey Monkey link after you register. This is to provide information that will be used to make the Symposium work for you.

If you have queries about Putting the RSD to Work Symposium, please contact me- John Willison

john.willison@adelaide.edu.au (08) 83133219

Hope to see you there!

Optimising Problem Solving (OPS): a re-engineered version of the RSD

August 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Tutors of a First Year Mechanical Engineering Communications course at the University of Adelaide have ‘re-engineered’ the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework with language and configuration that fits the ways that engineers work, think and speak.

The tutors are themselves students in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Years and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

Their framework is called Optimising Problem Solving, or OPS for short. It has several brilliant features, which the RSD current representation does not have:

1. Simple
2. Visually captures core elements of Problem Solving Processes
3. Great for direct use with students in the classroom
4. Shows how communication is an integral part of the problem solving process, not just end-on in products like reports.

You can see the full sized downloadable OPS (version 2) at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/rsd/framework/frameworks/


The tutors are looking forward to using this with First Year students in the week beginning 4 August 2014. Some of them will probably write some guest blogs on Reskidev in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, have a look at OPS and maybe comment on:

1) How effectively does OPS capture problem solving, from your perspective?
2) Under the OPS title is a byline beginning ‘when in doubt…’ that shows that the OPS process is not linear or even cyclic, but there is some direction that can be given to students. What do you think of the guidance provided by the byline?

The RSD website is www.rsd.edu.au

OPS also helps me to see how similar the skills underlying problem solving and researching really are. Great if you comment on OPS, so that the tutors get feedback on this work-in-progress


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