Research Funding

Digital Inclusion and Indigenous Australians, Prof. Lester-Irabinna Rigney, A/Prof Katrina Falkner, Dr Peter Radoll and Dr Mike Wilmore. Telstra Foundation Research Contract, $75,000 (2013).

The rationale and significance of the proposed project intends to determine and define digital inclusion and its implications for Indigenous Australians. A review of literature and relevant case studies will be investigated in terms of the dimensions namely digital Access, Capacity, Cyber-safety, Engagement of Users, Empowerment and Opportunity. The discussion paper, therefore, will provide insights into digital exclusion and strategies for inclusion.

E-Learning: Integrating technology to maximise student learning and minimise additional teacher workload. N. Falkner, C. Willis, M. Docherty, Simon, E. Sitnikova, C. Pigrim, J. Amarego, Australian Council of Deans of ICT Learning and Teaching Academy Learning and Teaching Grant Competitive Grant Scheme ($15,000), (2012-2013)

Review of Model Driven Software Engineering Practice: Development of Curriculum. K. Falkner, DSTO Research Project Contract ($70,000) (2010)

The development of complex software systems for Defence applications is undergoing a step change in the approach and methodology used, with the trend moving toward the use of Model Based Systems Engineering and Model Driven Development. There is a need for defence organisations to understand the issues and benefits that arise out of the use of such approaches, and how to leverage the techniques to best effect. Further, in order to work with the complex, component-based systems required in Defence, there is a need for current Computer Science graduates to develop skills in modern software architecture techniques, including Model Driven Architecture and Model Driven Development. This project endeavours to address both these aims by initiating research into innovative and best-practice course delivery and assessment mechanisms for an honours-level course suited to the areas of model driven architecture and model driven development. In order to provide an authentic learning environment, this project will involve the development of real-world case studies that can be used in the teaching and assessment of these techniques. A deeper understanding of the relevant software practices will be a direct spin-off of this work, with a particular emphasis on distributed realtime systems in the maritime environment.

Early Intervention Strategies for At Risk Students in ECMS, Dr Katrina Falkner, Lachlan Coleman, University Implementation Grant for Learning and Teaching Enhancements ($12,000) (2010).

This project targets the area of attrition, and in particular, the development of early intervention strategies for struggling students. This project aims to develop resources to assist students in identifying problems that may impact upon their academic performance, and in identifying strategies to overcome these problems prior to their development as significant obstacles. These resources will provide students and academic staff with the tools and guidance necessary to help them identify problems, the need to seek assistance, and appropriate avenues for seeking assistance within the University system.

Sustained Sessional Teacher Support,  K. Falkner, T. Rainsford, C. Kestell, J. Denier, University Learning and Teaching Performance Fund Grant ($50,000) (2009-2010)

Sessional teachers play a crucial role within the University system, acting as the main point of contact with the University for many first year students, and providing the majority of one-on-one learning opportunities. However, sessional teachers are often untrained and underprepared for their role. The requirements of these teachers are complex, in that they must quickly transition from student expectations to those of a teacher. They must provide appropriate support for our diverse classes, encompassing international and domestic students, high school leavers and adult learners, who are each dealing with their own transition concerns. Within this environment, sessional teachers must offer both generic approaches to academic study as well as discipline- and course-specific support. This project proposes the development of a sustained sessional teacher support programme that provides exposure to relevant pedagogical approaches, and opportunities for community reflection on the nature of pedagogy within a discipline-specific context.

A Problem Solving Curriculum in Computing, B. Alexander, K. Falkner, H. el-Gindy, F. Brown, Z. Michalewicz, Google Research Grant ($46,500) (2007-2008)

University graduates with good problem-solving skills are a rare and highly-prized resource. This scarcity limits innovation and the creation of wealth world wide. Part of this shortfall is natural – innovation, by itself, creates new niches and challenges and new demand for problem solvers. However, it can be argues that part of this scarcity is artificial – people have an innate desire to solve problems but, for the most part, our education systems do little to hone an develop problem-solving skills. This deficiency is perhaps most acute in Universities where it is generally assumed that students are already accomplished at weaving new information into their problem-solving repertoire. This proposal works toward two broad objectives: to create a curriculum to develop student’s problem solving skills at all levels of University study and distribute this curriculum widely. The specific aim of the proposal is to develop, test, and distribute the first two courses in this curriculum to lay the foundation for the remainder. The curriculum has an emphasis on computing because computing problems pervade almost all modern endeavours.

Evaluating effectiveness, defining standards and sharing effective methods of assessment across disciplines, E. Palmer, K. Falkner, J. McEntee, B. Alexander, S. Al-Sarawi, M. Coulson, J. Botten, L. Rogers, University of Adelaide Learning and Teaching Grant ($32,000) (2007)

The purpose of this project is to promote quality learning, and create a positive learning environment, by collating, evaluating and disseminating examples of ‘best practice’ with regard to aligning course content, assessments and learning objectives. The project is designed to help teachers maximise the potential assessment has to extend student’s knowledge, skills and attitudes such that they meet the standards expressed by the University’s Graduate Attributes. The project foregrounds the way in which well-thought out and carefully evaluated assessments can help prepare students for life long learning.

Establishing links between High School Mathematics and Different University Pathways, K. Falkner (Industry Partner), Premier’s Industry Awards for Teachers of Science and Mathematics (in-kind contribution) (2007)

The aims of the project include providing an understanding of how Mathematics and Science impact upon Computer Science and studying applications of Mathematics and Science in Computer Science. Some of the application areas that are available include Computer Science Education, Computer Vision, Optimisation and Evolutionary Algorithms, and High Performance Computing. As such, the project may adopt an education focus, or it may adopt an applications focus, where the participant explores a practical application of their field within Computer Science.

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