Issue 5
Monday, 01 July 2019
Charles Darwin University
Dr Kevin Larkin will discuss effective university teaching practice during the interactive lecture
Dr Kevin Larkin will discuss effective university teaching practice during the interactive lecture

Top educator to deliver guest lecture

The current Australian University Teacher of the Year will deliver a guest lecture at CDU on 26 August, titled “Getting the Pedagogy Right – Online, Blend, Face-to-Face”.

Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education at Griffith University, Dr Kevin Larkin will discuss his philosophy about effective university teaching practice during the interactive lecture.

Dr Larkin is a member of research teams investigating STEM education in early years education, mathematics education in primary and middle school contexts and pre-service teacher mathematics education.

He has been published widely in national and international publications in the areas of mathematics education, digital technologies, early years STEM and higher education.

Dr Larkin said he believed there were four key pillars to pedagogy.

“Authentic relationships, innovative curriculum, reflective evaluation and scholarly teaching are key factors in being a great teacher at university level,” Dr Larkin said.

“Imparting knowledge isn’t about personality or command of the content. It’s about these four pillars and how they work with online, blended and face-to-face delivery models,” he said.

Dr Larkin will discuss his thoughts on Transaction Distance Theory, its key elements of structure, dialogue and student autonomy, and how these can be used to support student learning.

“Utilising this theory, a teacher can emphasise particular elements to deliver the most effective learning experience,” he said.

“For instance, in the first semester a teacher might use a very detailed structure with less emphasis on dialogue and anticipated lower levels of student autonomy to enable students to focus on prerequisite concepts.

“But in years three or four of a degree, the emphasis might be more about student autonomy and dialogue and less about structure, as the teacher wants students to take the lead more and have greater flexibility in applying the now fully understood concepts,” Dr Larkin said.

While largely agnostic on which is the most effective delivery method, Dr Larkin will seek to unpack important aspects of blended learning, where students experience a combination of online and face-to-face learning.

“Like most students, I’ve had both good and not-so-good learning experiences across all three delivery methods. I think this shows that it’s not so much the platform, but rather how the teacher uses the platform that is the key factor in determining the quality of the learning experience,” he said.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Education Strategy, Professor Robert Fitzgerald said Dr Larkin’s lecture would be a reminder that great education emerged from a teacher’s "signature" pedagogy.

“This idea is based on the work of Professor Lee Shulman from the Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. Shulman argued that the most effective teachers actively build three core dimensions of their professional work – their capacity, to think, to perform, and to act, with integrity,” he said.

“Kevin’s education and research work embody these ideas. He is a highly experienced school and university educator who is an engaging speaker. Kevin is known internationally as an expert on digital technologies and mathematics education. He is a most worthy recipient of Australian University Teacher of Year Award,” Professor Fitzgerald said.

The lecture will be held at 12 noon, 26 August at the Mal Nairn Auditorium. For more information visit W: