Having been awarded the National Educator of the Year Award 2015 by the Public Relations Institute of Australia, I continue to pursue innovation in teaching. In 2016, I led the newly established MOOC Steering Committee for the University of Newcastle and project managed the first NewcastleX MOOC development, NHI101x, which has been recently announced as a finalist in the top ten global Edx MOOCS.

I championed the expansion of Work Integrated Learning at University of Newcastle and continue to research in this area.

My teaching philosophy centres on the view that teaching is not about delivering content but is the act of designing experiences that encourage and enable student learning (Lattuca, 2006). My teaching has always focused on providing opportunities for students to construct contextual meaning rather than focusing on students being passive receivers of information that I impart to them – a constructivist approach to learning (Anderson, Krathwohl, Airasian, Cruikshank, Mayer & Pintrich, 2001).

I am student-centred in my teaching and apply elements of problem-based learning (Schwartz, Mennin & Webb, 2001, p. 2). I aim to address the need for students to develop problem solving abilities that are underpinned by a solid foundation of communication and public relations theory, and a context that reflects both current professional practice and scope for enhancement to that practice.

I stress to my students the importance of learning to work with other people and design learning experiences that reflect the structures found in professional practice. This includes group work and collaborative learning experiences. This supports the constructivist approach in which knowledge is constructed through discussion and consensus and hence is built by the participants rather than transferred or acquired (Demetrious, 2004).

I am committed to designing assessment tasks that require more than recalling or recognising factual information. I am guided especially by Boud (e.g. 1995, 2001, 2009) in that assessment is a central feature of teaching and the curriculum as it powerfully frames how students learn and what students achieve. I believe I am preparing students for their initial career steps but also fostering a love of lifelong learning.

Courses teaching or taught within the Bachelor of Communication at University of Newcastle:

  • Introduction to Public Relations
  • Introduction to communication theory
  • Audience Studies
  • PR Campaigns
  • PR Strategy
  • Advanced PR Studies
  • Professional Placement
  • Honours research methods


Anderson, L., Krathwohl, D., Airasian, P., Cruikshank, K., Mayer, R., & Pintrich, P.

(2001). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, (Abridged Edition). New York:Longman.

Boud, D. (1995). Assessment and learning: complimentary or contradictory. In P. Knight (ed.) Assessment for learning in higher education. (pp. 35-48). Kogan Page: London.

Boud, D. (2009). Assessment 2020: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education. ALTC.

Demetrious, K. (2004). Finding voices: Authentic learning online in the field of public communication and citizenship. Prism, 2(1).

James, M. (2007/8). Driving learning through blogging: Students’ perceptions of a reading journal blog assessment task. PRism 5(1&2).

Lattuca, L. (2006). The constructivist pedagogy we’re looking for. Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, 60, 354-358.

Ramsden, P. (1992). Learning to Teach in Higher Education. Psychology Press, London.

Rosenberry, J. & Vicker, L. (2006). Capstone Courses in Mass Communication Programs. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 61(3), 267-283.

Schwartz, P., Mennin, S. & Webb, G. (Eds) (2001) Problem-based Learning: Case Studies, Experience and Practice (London: Kogan Page).

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