Masterly RSD Symposium- photo and event highlights

The Masterly RSD Symposium was attended Wednesday 23 September 2015 by an enthusiastic 100 participants and presenters.

The day was kicked off by Trevor-Tirritpa Ritchie, a Kaurna man from the University of South Australia, who gave us a rousing welcome to Country in three languages; Kaurna, English and digeridoo.

Trevor-Tirritpa Ritchie welcoming us to Kaurna Country
Trevor-Tirritpa Ritchie welcoming us to Kaurna Country

Sabine Schurer and Nayana Parange; Colin Sharp and Stephanie Eglington-Warner; and Robyn Davidson; the SA core who organised and ran the symposium, welcoming people and setting up.

South Australian Masterly RSD core group
South Australian Masterly RSD core group

We had an interactive session early on to enable the audience, who had diverse experiences of the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework, to engage in an activity normally given to undergraduate and masters students in order for them to derive the facets of the RSD in their own words. This activity required people to consider the similarities and differences between Aboriginal Peoples’ traditional living skills and contemporary research skills.

Symposium participants tossing over similarities and differences,
Symposium participants tossing over similarities and differences

Representatives from NSW/ACT (Assessment and RSD), Vic/TAs (Collaborative Conversations with the RSD), Queensland (Work Skill Development and RSD) and the whole SA core Masterly RSD group each presented 5 minute ‘Pecha Kuchas’ to entice the audience to attend their breakout session. The audience then chose one of these sessions to attend:

Breakout rooms saw lots of discussion...
Breakout rooms saw lots of discussion…
... and hard work.
… and hard work.

Following Lunch,  Professor Derrick Armstrong kicked us off with an overview of his impressions, as a DVC (Research) new to the University of the South Pacific (USP), of the University’s implementation of the RSD over the past 4 years. Then Heena Lal provided us with an institution wide look at this RSD role-out at USP since 2011.

DVC(R) Professor Derrick Armstrong and the Manager of USP's RSD initiative, Heena Lal
DVC(R) Professor Derrick Armstrong and the Manager of USP’s RSD initiative, Heena Lal

Then we had a wonderful tag-team, with Sotiana Mele, a Masters student,  and Rev. Dr. Keith Morrison, a Masters course coordinator, both of the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, presenting on Culturally appropriate use of the RSD in the USP context.

Rev. Dr. Keith Morrison and Sotiana Mele
Rev. Dr. Keith Morrison and Sotiana Mele

After the fantastic USP presentations, the audience was required to form groups of six, where each person was assigned one of the RSD facets, and had to join up with the five other facets. Groups formed then raced outside into the glorious Spring afternoon sun.

Groups of six formed, with each person representing one of the RSD facets.
Groups of six formed, with each person representing one of the RSD facets.

Each group had to consider which of the six facets was the most important one in Apollo 13’s Carbon dioxide problem and solution. They then were forced back inside the theatre to vote:

flash left

Teams voting on which facet was most important to Apollo 13. A total of 2 Fs, an A and 2 Es.

Each team then presented their case as to why the facet they chose was most important. This team analysis and argument is a great way to ‘re-animate’ facets of the RSD with students who have encountered them in earlier studies, but may have forgotten them.

Pausing only for a quick launch of the RSD Masters website, which houses the emerging work of each state and territory’s clusters…

Masters RSD site
Masters RSD site

… Professor Phil Levy, PCV (Student Learning) made some closing remarks and presented Coconuts, symbolically representing valuable contributions from USP, to all the Presenters resident in Australia.

Prof Derrick Armstrong passes coconuts to Prof Phil Levy
Prof Derrick Armstrong passes coconuts to Prof Phil Levy
Thankyou coconuts to the presenters from Australia. L to R Barbara Yazbeck (Monash), Deborah Murdoch (CSU), Michelle Harrison (USyd), Nayana Parange , Stephanie Eglington-Warner, Sabine Schuhrer , Colin Sharp and Robyn Davidson
Thankyou coconuts to the presenters from Australia. L to R Barbara Yazbeck (Monash), Deborah Murdoch (CSU), Michelle Harrison (USyd), Stephanie Eglington-Warner (Uof Ad), Robyn Davidson (UofAd), Nayana Parange (UniSA), Sabine Schuhrer (UofAd) , Colin Sharp (UniSA), Lyn Torres (Monash) and Sue Bandaranaike (JCU).

If you attended the Symposium- what was the highlight for you? Please leave your thoughts in the ‘Leave a comment’ field at the top of this page.

Thanks to all of you who made the event such an amazing day!




Author: johnwillison

Senior Leturer, Discipline of Higher Education, School of Education, University of Adelaide.

12 thoughts on “Masterly RSD Symposium- photo and event highlights”

  1. The symposium was my first in this important area of L&T in post graduate courses. The obvious passion of participants for the work being done was infectious. I have had my eyes opened to the wonderful world of the RSD framework and its ‘sisters’.
    Apart from the wonderful presentations and workshops I had teh great pleasure of making some valuable professional connections. Thanks John for encouraging this aspect of the day. Adealide is a beautiful city and the university of Adelaide sports some spectacular old architecture. A magical space for learning and teaching. Though I wonder more and more as I progress in my years if we shouldn’t coin a new term for teaching. “Tearning” perhaps. A mixture of learning and teaching.
    All in all a wonderful day. Many thanks to John and the organising team. Congratulations!

  2. Hi Stephen

    that is fantastic to hear. Its really the best type of event to learn about the RSD, because people bring it to life, so that it is not an ossified skeleton but a living, flexible spine (using Nayana’s words).

  3. I really enjoyed the Symposium John and gained a lot from it. I plan to use your NASA space problem with my class to introduce them to the RSD. Also, it was particularly good to chat to others in the breakout session about what they have been doing.

    1. The Apollo 13 stimulus is gripping isn’t it. I used it with very mixed audiences and they tend to not worry if its ‘out of discipline’ because it was ‘real life’! I loved it when each person ‘owned’ or ‘became’ a facet- what did you think about this side of it?

      1. Yes, we did take ownership of our facets. Even if we may have thought another was more important, we argued for our own – maybe we just like to win! Some of us also came up with arguments to help the other facets if they were not arguing their point. It was all very entertaining.

  4. My highlight was the collaborative nature of the symposium, and of course, the hands on activities which were so much fun. I got some super tips which I could try out in the online space. Becoming a facet was interesting too, as it was really hard to be more partial to one facet as compared to the others.

  5. I took it as a good sign that the participants in our workshop didn’t want to leave for lunch they chose to keep talking to fellow learners – and some of those that did leave came back into the room to continue the conversations started at the workshop!
    Creating the catalyst for such enthusiastic conversations is the greatest compliment.

    I love Stephen’s comment on ‘tearning’ – I think it has potential, both in highlighting that learning and teaching are part of the same process (learners are teachers are learners), and for the connection to the homophone ‘turning’ – to change direction, which is what you do as you learn.

  6. I not only valued the symposium presentations, but enjoyed both the workshops and the associated ongoing informal discussions – finding them insightful and inspiring. I’ve certainly come away with a better appreciation for what ‘can’ be achieved, and renewed motivation to ‘make it so’.

    It is difficult to pick any one highlight, the day was so full of opportunity – the collaborative nature of the event, its structure and facilitation certainly promoted new connections and generation of new ideas. In a nutshell – I believe I’ve experienced a ‘dimensional’ shift in thinking as a result of the day.

  7. Hi Ron -‘dimensional shift’ sounds like the order required for higher education, and all formal education to be more effective than currently. I think the RSD framework text is like an ossified skeletal version of the living spine that educators can craft when bringing the underlying ideas to life. I guess thats why the workshops and informal discussions help so much- you get to see what people do with the RSD.

  8. I really enjoyed the engaging nature of the Symposium and can’t pinpoint one specific highlight. I felt privileged to experience the “Welcome to Country” and enjoyed both the Apollo 13 and Burke and Wills activities. These hands-on activities, in particular, extended my understanding of the RSD Framework and have left me feeling more confident in my ability to implement activities relating to the RSD in a library session. The practical examples demonstrated in the presentations were also helpful and I’m starting to feel as though I really get it! Dinner with a great bunch of people was an enjoyable way to top off a great Symposium. Thanks to John and all of the organisers 🙂

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