Past Projects 1

Over the past decade I have sought to find ways to turn this aspiration of mine into student learning experience in my classes through my teaching and curriculum development.

Physics is probably one of the areas where the dust of traditional teaching takes somewhat more effort to clear than in most other disciplines.

Jurgen Schulte

The Dashboard: Informed Teaching

Jurgen Schulte, Rob Worthington, Susan Gibson,
Kathie Egea, Simon Buckingham Shum, Michael Rothery


UTS Course Dashboard

This project has finally taken off after a few years of simmering and maturing in the slow cooker. The Dashboard project is a collaboration with UTS Business Intelligence – Data Warehouse, the Institute for Interactive Media and Learning adn the Connected Intelligence Centre. The Dashboard is  designed to bring student centered real-time whole course (subject) information at the fingertip of every course (subject) coordinator across the institution. Well informed teachers present well designed lectures. The Dashboard provides real-time and historic information on class specific demographics such as enrollment pattern, student performance, enrollment pathways and with the next upgrade UAC and UTSOnline engagement patterns. The project commenced in November 2015, entered beta-testing in September 2016. We  deployed the tool university-wide to some 900 course (subject) coordinators in early 2017.
The Dashboard tool has now entered its second stage of development where it is been fully integrated into the unversity’s LMS which allows us to draw in more data on student and course activities. The LMS integrated Dashboard has entered trial phase in late 2017 and, in 2018, is being piloted for performance and UX.

Learning Analytics for Individualized Student Support Actions


All the while I was creating these fantastic truly authentic learning environments that turned out to be so much fun for everyone involved, the just-in-time individualized student support became a permanent companion and integral part in all my courses (Progress Analytics 0.1). The net of just-in-time data collection spread ever wider and deeper and the ‘automation’ of just-in-time student feedback and supportive advise pushed me into the wonderful realm of Learning Analytics. The Learning Analytics I am interested in lives at the coalface front of direct student learning support rather than the bird’s eye institutional view. Although, what I’d really like to do is to create an easy accessible, seamless link between the two (Future Projects).

Schulte J (2014)
Authentic learning experiences large first year laboratory program. There is CHOICE.
UTS First Year Experience Forum 2014.

Schulte J (2015)
Gamification of learning within a problem solving context – Individualised learning, adaptive testing, confidence and proficiency self-ratings
UTS First Year Experience Forum 23 September 2015.

Pardo A, Schulte J
Scaling Instructor-driven Personal Support Actions (Workshop)
ALASI 2015: Australian Learning Analytics Summer Institute
. 26 – 27 Nov 2015, Sydney.

Schulte J 2016
Experiences with an Adaptive Learning Product – A Learning Analytics Perspective
The NSW Learning Analytics Working Group Meetup. 3 February 2016, Sydney.

Over the past decade I have sought to find ways to turn this aspiration of mine into student learning experience in my classes through my teaching and curriculum development. Physics is probably one of the areas where the dust of traditional teaching takes somewhat more effort to clear than in most other areas of education.

Feeding back to feed-forward: Using targeted language interventions to support student learning in first year physics

Encourage by what I saw what a just-in-time, individualized student support can achieve in supporting teaching and learning of physics concepts in general, a more feed-forward approach was taken as well as more focus was given to our large first year laboratory program which caters in my course around 700 students each year.

Again, the laboratory program was supported by the learning analytics system that now has evolved to a more sophisticated multi-parameter individual student support (Progress Analytics alpha) with the ability of a much more fine-grained personalization.At the same time I turned the (frankly quite boring) ‘pedagogically state of the art inquiry based’ laboratory program into an authentic learning environment. In short, I chuck out the inquiry base experiments which sole pedagogical focus was to ‘discover’ and ‘verify’ physics concept through a quasi student-lead approach.

I canvased industry for an application area that I can replicate in my laboratory program in a most authentic way. I came across CHOICE, a consumer advocate organization here in Australia. CHOICE tests consumer goods for performance, safety and convenience and together with their testing engineers we replicated their professional in first year laboratory. Now, students take on the role a professional consumer goods testing engineer challenged with the task to differentiate physical aspects of a variety of seemingly identical consumer goods. And, of course, learn on the way physics concept, data acquisition management, time management and professional report writing.

Creating this kind of authentic learning environment became such a fun and most enjoyable undertaking that I sought to extend this approach to one of my senior (sophomore) courses where theory is basically all that is being taught there.

Schulte J, Griffiths N (2014).
Creating an authentic learning experience. Putting the professional into practice-based learning.
Learning2014 Festival 21 July 2014 and UTS 2014 Teaching and Learning Forum 13 November 2014.

Schulte J, Griffiths N (2014).
Putting the professional into practice-based learning.
ACSME 2014, The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education; pp 162-167.

Schulte J, Hohl M (2014).
What if we had a CHOICE? Creating an authentic workplace experience in a large first year subject.
UTS Teaching and Learning Forum, 14 Nov 2014.

Focused Learning Support in Physics
– just-in-time –
– individualized, language focused student learning support –

One aspect that emerged from the previous project was with the variety of student preparedness in our course and language backgrounds (30-40 different languages in one class), there appeared to be a need for a more individualized student support. This project took off under the First Year Experience initiative which is part of the UTS Widening Participation Strategy.

A ‘semi-learning analytics’ approach was taken here where student course activity data were filtered as they became available and case categories established for a coarse interpretation of student progress and performance as well as lecture participation (clickers). An electronic mailing system was developed (Progress Analytics beta) to provide data-interpretation informed personalized emails to guide students to appropriate learning support resources and strategies to improve or excel even further.Although this project was motivated by the recognition that low SES and NESB students would probably benefit most from individualize support actions, we found that in fact all students benefited from the just-in-time individualized learning support irrespective their background or course preparedness.

This project was extended in 2014 to also include the large size laboratory program we are running in first year.

Schulte J (2013).
A smooth, well engaging flow of a lecture makes it worthwhile to attend, and learn on the way – Clickers.
First Year Experience Forum Showcase, 23 September 2013.

Schulte J (2013).
Language Focused Learning Support in Physics – (Just-in-time, individualised, language focused student learning support)
The language barrier: a challenge in teaching and studying physics.
UTS Teaching and Learning Forum, 13 Nov 2013.

Schulte J, Griffiths N (2013).
The language barrier: using concept inventories to teach science to first- year university students.
ACSME 2013, Proceedings of The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education; pp 193-198.

In 2008, after a period of collaboration and consultation with colleagues across multiple universities, an opportunity arose through an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) supported multi-center cross-disciplinary 2+1 year project to address challenges that non-English speaking background students (NESB) were facing in the first year science courses. I was fortunate to lead one of the teams of this multi-center project at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). At the time, the NESB cohort in one of my course comprised 67%. For these students the disciplinary language of physics is perceived as a third foreign language, adding another dimension of difficulty to the already challenging concepts in physics. Based on the research conducted during the ALTC project, the project team developed learning interventions which showed quite positive impact on students’ overall learning experience and performance. This project culminated to in a book that summarised our experience and successful interventions.

This work exposed other aspects of learning and students’ transition experiences in my courses which should not be seen or addressed in isolation but require a ‘whole system’ approach. In particular, student engagement in the large lecture theaters (an issue for all students not only NESB), individual feedback and connecting with the lecturer, and students’ experience and level of learning in the large size laboratory programs.

Zhang F, Lidbury B, Schulte J, Bridgman A, Yates, B Rodger J (2008).
A cross-disciplinary approach to language support for first year students in the science disciplines (ALTC Project 2008).

Zhang F, Lidbury B, Schulte J, Bridgeman A, Yates B, Rodger J (2008).
Language difficulties in First Year Science,
UniServe Conference Proceedings, 159-164, 2008. UniServe, Sydney.

Schulte J. (2011)
The Benefits of Teaching Students the Language of Physics
Sustainable Language Support Practises in Science Education, p. 160-194, eds. Zhang et al.. IGI Global.

Zhang F., Lidbury B., Schulte J., Bridgeman A., Yates B., Rodger J. (2010).
Integrating language learning practices in first year science disciplines.
International Journal of Learning, Vol. 17, Issue 4, 481-502. ISSN 1447-9494

Zhang F, Lidbury B, Schulte J, Bridgman A, Yates, B Rodger J (2011).
Sustainable Language Support Practises in Science Education
Editors: Felicia Zhang, Brett Lidbury, Alice Richardson , Jurgen Schulte, Adam Bridgeman, Brian Yates, John Rodger, Karen M Mate, Alice Richardson.
IGI Global. ISBN 978-1-61350-062-0.

Sakaguchi M, Schulte J (2012).
Reading and Writing in the Subject Areas: Embedding Academic and Disciplinary Language and Literacies Support via Online Materials.
UTS Teaching and Learning Forum, 14 Nov 2012.

Schulte J (2012).
Embedding in-discipline language support for first year students in the sciences – The Benefits of Teaching Non-Science Students the Language of Science
A multi-center cross-disciplinary research project (UCanberra, UTAS, UNSW, USYD, UTS, UNewcastle).
UTS Teaching and Learning Forum, 14