Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2011

Summary of projects

Poster of Project - Closing the Loop - Strengthening and supporting PAR action plans on the ground

Project title

Closing the Loop - Strengthening and supporting PAR action plans on the ground

Project leaders

  • Professor Barbara de la Harpe
  • Sarah-Jane Terrill
  • Thembi Mason

Project team


  • Barbara de la Harpe
  • Sarah-Jane Terrill
  • Thembi Mason
  • John Benwell
  • Kylie Budge
  • Angela Clarke
  • Sara Eagle
  • Ruth Moeller
  • Felicity Prentice
  • Meredith Seaman
  • Dallas Wingrove


  • Glenn Blair
  • Peter Ellis
  • Liam Fennessy
  • Tina Guglielmino
  • Josephine Lang
  • Victoria Versteege
  • Ron Wakefield
  • Chris Ziguras

Project summary

Closing the Loop, Strengthening and supporting PAR action plans on the ground, was a collaborative project involving the DSC College Office Learning and Teaching team, School Learning and Teaching Deputy Deans/Heads/Directors and program teaching staff. Support and resources were made available for the identification, implementation and write-up of 8 School determined strategic projects (one per School). Projects addressed one or more of the Program Annual Review (PAR) indicators of quality, viability and/or relevance, identified in the previous year’s PAR action plans. Projects were designed to increase the use of educational technologies and blended learning and/or foster the exploration, design and implementation of innovative curriculum designs that were student-centred and encouraged deep learning and active student engagement.

Each School identified and implemented a strategic project as follows:

  • Architecture and Design developed an exemplar online course in their fashion program,
  • Art supported and strengthened WIL in second and third year professional practice courses;
  • Design TAFE improved quality indicators in the Interior Decoration and Design program;
  • Education built capacity for online and flexible delivery in response to industry and student feedback;
  • Fashion and Textiles enhanced online capability for off-shore delivery;
  • Global Studies Social Science and Planning reviewed and developed the efficacy of online resources and online learning and teaching;
  • Media and Communication established a framework for Graded Competency based assessment; while
  • Property Construction and Project Management redeveloped four courses for the masters of property program for delivery locally and in Vietnam.

Active engagement and community cross fertilisation of ideas were fostered by monthly College community of practice meetings, where school project teams presented a single power point slide capturing project progress and inviting feedback and discussion. All projects responded to PAR data and were completed on time and within budget. The projects were rich and diverse, embedded in local contexts and in response to local needs. A case study of curriculum change is available for each project through the DSC Learning and Teaching website http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=rmnomkd0pe56z

Factors that contributed to the success of the project included central co-ordination and support for meetings and project management from the College; strong school leadership; locally embedded learning and teaching support; and the availability of a modest sum of money for schools to implement their projects. The most significant learning from the project is that when the College and Schools work in a coordinated and collaborative way in areas of strategic importance, significant gains that energise and excite result for all involved.


  • Outcome 1 - 8 strategic projects based on PAR quality indicators

8 projects were completed within the allocated timeline and within budget.

There was strong commitment by all project participants evidenced by strong attendance at monthly CoP meetings, strengthened relationships and successful project outcomes. In addition, all participants expressed a strong desire for the project to continue in 2012 and worked collaboratively on a joint LTIF application that was submitted in the 2012 round

School of Architecture & Design

Exemplar online blackboard course developed rich in media and online activities for use in Fashion and across the School as a model/exemplar

School of Art

WIL strengthened and industry engagement enhanced in 8 courses across years 2 and 3 of the BA Fine Art program

School of Design TAFE

Student experience and satisfaction quality indicators improved in Interior decoration and design program, GTS increased by 14% from 58.6% to 72.3% and OSI increased by 29% from 38.5% to 67.3%

School of Education

Staff capacity for online and flexible delivery built, with 7 staff completing an online facilitation course through Gippsland TAFE

School of Fashion & Textiles

Online capability for off-shore delivery in the Associate Degree in Fashion Design and Technology enhanced through the development of Part B course guides and significant online resource creation

School of Global Urban and Social Studies

Online resources and learning and teaching capability mapped across the school and program blackboard shells improved and developed in core areas

School of Media & Communication

Graded Competency based assessment framework/rubric developed and staff training implemented

School of Property Construction and Project Management

Four courses in the Masters of Property renewed, enhancing the quality of teaching practice and graduate outcomes, with explicit alignment between learning outcomes and assessment design and criteria.

  • Outcome 2

8 case studies of curriculum change at RMIT for L&T website.

8 Case studies are available on the website for wide access by staff across the College and University see: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=rmnomkd0pe56z

  • Outcome 3

Coordinated professional development support for staff in schools

A framework of continuous professional learning and improvement was validated that involved ongoing College level facilitation and monitoring, as well as local and embedded support (including support for the use of contemporary pedagogies, blended-learning and reflective practice). The professional learning model supported schools to implement their 2011 PAR identified strategic curriculum design project and in line with the University Strategic Plan (p.12) successfully:

    • fostered independent thought and action
    • nurtured openness and creativity
    • built a sense of belonging and commitment
    • built deeper knowledge, skills and attributes
  • Outcome 4

Increased cross program/cross school collaboration

Cross School collaboration was greatly strengthened by the strong and regular attendance of all project participants at monthly project meetings, which was then further enhanced by a co-ordinated cross school Project Peer Review and Feedback process.

  • Outcome 5

Enhanced capacity and teacher understanding of blended learning and student-centred learning, including metacognitive/reflective thinking practices.

The diversity and richness of project outcomes outlined above and below in the report attest to the depth and breadth of staff growth and learning.

  • Outcome 6

Positive increase in PAR quality indicators based on student feedback.

2012 PAR quality indicators will be evaluated to measure impacts. Where activities focused on individual courses, as in the School of Design, the positive impact was immediately apparent with the Course Experience Survey GTS increasing by 14% and OSI by 29%.

  • Outcome 7

Increased knowledge of how best to provide staff professional development, ‘just in time and just for me’.

A framework of continuous professional learning and improvement, including ongoing College level facilitation and monitoring, as well as local and embedded leadership and support (including support for the use of contemporary pedagogies, blended-learning and reflective practice) has been successfully validated through this project and will continue to be used for all future strategic projects and initiatives.

Download Full Report [PDF, 22.5 MB]