2015 Teaching portfolio

11 September 2015

This teaching portfolio supported my 2015 application for a University of Auckland teaching excellence award on the basis of innovation in teaching.

This portfolio documents and demonstrates my scholarship in teaching, especially with regard to innovation in teaching. My goal in teaching is to have a strong and positive impact on students’ learning. The ongoing achievement of that goal is substantiated in the remainder of this portfolio.

My assertion is supported by my colleagues; for example:

Peter Smith is one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever met, if not the most dedicated. His ideas and innovations have inspired, and will inspire, my teaching practice. He is truly concerned about student learning and high academic standards — Dr Marc Orlitzky.

and through the words of students; for example:

Peter has a genuine love of teaching his students new things. His approach towards them is a challenging and a forthright one, where he tries to evoke lateral thinking, rather than just textbook thinking. Coupled with a passion for the topic and a friendly outlook, Peter was able to motivate and encourage students to get more out of their learning — Mehreen Ahmed.

I actively seek to improve my teaching. This is evident in four main ways: (1) I focus on the learning experiences of students, and the outcomes that arise from those experiences. This is achieved through (2) an orientation towards, and a valuing of, the scholarship of teaching. As a consequence, (3) I continually seek to improve my teaching as evident in the teaching innovations I have developed, adopted, and promoted. This allows me to (4) support and assist colleagues in enhancing their own teaching practice.

All my best innovations came from Peter Smith — Associate Professor Christine Woods

I believe that once you have read this portfolio, you will agree with Professor of Lifelong Learning, Susan Geertshuis (Director of Learning and Teaching at the Graduate School of Management), who said:

Peter takes his teaching very seriously. He thinks deeply about what he is doing, reads the literature and has some firm opinions. He is willing to take risks in an effort to innovate and is more than eager to share his ideas with others2014 peer evaluation of my teaching.

The rest of this portfolio is structured as follows. First, I reflect upon my teaching re innovation, providing evidence of my efforts to improve teaching through innovation. Next, I expand on my purpose in teaching, my teaching goals and philosophy. An overview of my teaching provides a backdrop against with I provide evidence of my effectiveness in teaching, and in the achievement of learning outcomes.

Innovation in teaching

I am never content with the outcomes of my teaching; I always wonder what I might have done better. Each iteration of a course sees me trying to improve on what went before. The purpose of any innovation is to either improve outcomes for students (making teaching more effective) or to make teaching more efficient (whilst at least maintaining student outcomes).

Peter is a deliberate innovator, who always has an eye on the ROI — Associate Professor Don Sheridan.

Yet, I am a cautious innovator. Adopting any innovation with regard to teaching comes with a degree of risk.

It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out nor more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things. — Machiavelli

Before introducing an innovation, I always consider “What if it does not work? How would that failure impact student’s learning and experience?” So, my teaching innovations are a mixture of ‘behind the scenes’ changes (which are relatively safe) and ‘front of stage’ changes which have a higher degree of risk. When introducing an innovation I always have a fall-back plan in case there are problems.

That caution typically sees me implementing a series of incremental innovations over a period of time. For example, in 1997 when I first taught MGMT 302—as I had previously tutored for the previous lecturer—I knew that there were poor levels of student engagement; e.g., they were under prepared when they came to class. I introduced short multiple choice quizzes at the start of each class to encourage them to be prepared. After all, from the “students’ point of view, assessment always defines the actual curriculum” (Ramsden, 1992, p. 187). At first, the weighting for these quizzes was only 5%. Over time, a sizeable test bank was developed, and thorough testing of its quality regarding discrimination and difficulty was undertaken. At first, I did this analysis through a specialist standalone programme called TestGraf (2000). As a result of the usefulness of TestGraf, similar functionality was added to the test-engine in Cecil (until that engine was replaced by Questionmark, which also had similar abilities). The efficacy of such pre-testing resulted in several other staff adopting it in many of their courses; e.g., Drs Erakovic, Callagher, and Woods. As I became more certain of the efficacy of this innovation, I slowly increased the difficulty and weighting of the quizzes to between 40–50 percent of students’ final grades (2007). In this process I became an accomplished ‘quiz writer’; so much so that the test bank was eventually sold to the company that published the textbook used in the course. Initially, the quizzes were completed and marked on paper (2004). Then, as student numbers increased they moved onto Scantron forms and electronic marking (2001). Later, they changed to being done on-line in the computer labs (2003). This made me one on the largest users of Cecil tests in the University. More recently, they have moved back to paper; this time with them marked in-class with portable scanners (2010). In the most recent iteration (2014), the quizzes are scanned and marked using QuickMark on an iPhone with detailed results being emailed to students. This example demonstrates the typical pattern of innovation; small ‘experiments’ that are built upon as circumstances and technology changes.

Innovation refers not only to the implementation of entirely new, say, products and processes, but also the implementation of products and processes that are new to the organisation0. I have undertaken both forms of innovation—some entirely new, some new to the University of Auckland. MGMT 716 is an example of the former, and BUSINESS 304 is an example of the latter, whereas MGMT 300 demonstrates both forms.

MGMT 716: Extending software innovation (aka COMPSCI 704, SOFTENG 711)

This course—taught concurrently to Management, Computer Science and Software Engineering students—used cross-faculty teams of students to undertake the delivery of a series of Technology Roadmapping workshops to client firms. Through Uniservices, each client firm paid $6,000 and committed significant amounts of senior management time to the workshop programme; this made it a high risk/profile programme. Prior to my arrival, the courses were only moderately successful; the students were often little more than observers, and industry mentors did all the ‘heavy lifting’. From my research, I redesigned the programme using theories-of-practice. The new design saw the students being scaffolded through repeated cycles of exposure to the theoretical content, seeing the theory ‘in use’, then applying the theory themselves. This saw students being pre-tested on the content of the course, they a discussion of the content was used to deepen their understanding. Next, students observed a skilled facilitator running a workshop live in the classroom (i.e., senior managers from a client firm were brought into the classroom and were facilitated through a real Technology Roadmapping session). Students then wrote-up their ‘take aways’ from seeing the theory being applied in real life. This was perhaps the most innovative part of the process; rarely in Management, Computer Science or Software Engineering do students get to see an experienced consultant ‘in action’ with a real client. In the third step, students then facilitated the same workshop with their own client. Additionally, students had pre- and post- client meetings with an industry mentor to support their planning. This new model saw the students successfully leading the workshops with their client; their mentors taking a back seat. According the students the cross-disciplinary learning was significant and powerful. This fact is known as the students and clients were subsequently interviewed and then written up and published (for both Computer Science and Engineering conferences). A paper is currently being revised for the Academy of Management Learning and Education that explains the theoretical underpinnings of the design.

BUSINESS 304: Strategic management

I have been teaching this course, formerly known as MGMT 302, since 1997. The design—with a pre-test to ensure that students had the basic conceptual knowledge followed by a Harvard style case discussion—has remained largely unchanged even though it is now also taught by Liliana Erakovic (we now teach alternating semesters). I have successfully employed the same model with MBA students (BUSADMIN 778) and with PGDipBus students (BUSADMIN 768). Nevertheless, as previously described, there have been some on-going innovations in the course. With Liliana Erakovic, our relationship with the publisher resulted in them publishing a case and teaching note in the latest edition of the textbook that we use. Again, theories-of-practice underpin the scaffolding in the course and the novel marking scheme for case discussions. The marking scheme—which focuses on the pattern of performance, rather than each week’s individual performance—allows students to achieve mastery of both the content and how they discuss/present their ideas without their early efforts in the course preventing them from doing well overall.

MGMT 300: Management in Dynamic Contexts

Originally MGMT 301, this course was a classic chalk-and-talk course when I first became involved in 1997. Some successful small scale redesign was done in 1997 and 1998. In 1999, Darl Kolb suggested that we move the course over to using the Mike’s Bikes simulation. The 1999 iteration of the course was co-taught by me, Darl Kolb and Jolene Francoeur, although most of the work around the simulation and the assessment package was done by me. I am very grateful for the mentoring they provided in those early years. After Jolene joined the Leadership Institute, Darl and I taught the course both jointly and independently. As with BUSINESS 304 and MGMT 716, it is an example of a flipped classroom; students do the content acquisition (readings) themselves. Class time is devoted to them using the content in the business simulation. Again, theories-of-practice inform large parts of the course design. For example, the assessments are predicated on lots of practice of assessment tasks with high levels of peer feedback. Thus, students write weekly learning journals and give feedback to each other on their quality. This allows students to assess both their own performance and the performance of their peers. It also exposes them to a variety of ways to think and engage with the content of the course. The learning journals are maintained electronically; initially on a custom blogging site I built and ran (the now defunct TheReflectivePractioner.Org), and more recently on BadDog.ac.nz (which was named after a character in the simulation) using both wiki and blogging software. Currently, the learning journals are hosted on the University’s Confluence Wiki. To further foster learning, students have access to the learning journals and the advice from their peers going back over eight years.

As well as using innovation to foster better learning outcomes for students at a course level, some of the innovations have gone beyond individual courses. I am particularly associated with two broad ‘pan-course’ initiatives in the Business School. First there is case method teaching, and its counterpart, case writing. Coming out of my involvement with BUSINESS 304. I have been active in a range of Business School seminars and workshops around case method teaching and case writing. This saw the creation of the Business Case Centre in the Business School, and the employment of professional case writers. As a consequence, there have been almost annual events devoted to case teaching.

Secondly, I am a leader in the area of Team-based learning (TBL). Having attended a workshop by Larry Michaelson—the progenitor of TBL—I successfully introduced it to the Business School in 2008 for INTBUS 202. Subsequently, I was part of the curriculum development and teaching team for BUSINESS 101 and BUSINESS 102, and TBL was chosen as the method of teaching in those courses. This led to considerable investment in new (and customised) teaching spaces for those courses. Subsequently, the new taught Masters programmes1 of the Graduate School of Management adopted TBL as its teaching strategy for all its courses. As a result, there has been further investment in TBL-appropriate teaching spaces2. Individual colleagues have—based on seeing me teach and use TBL—adopted the method themselves; e.g., Christine Woods, Lisa Callagher, Andrew Eberhard, and Bodo Lang (Marketing).

In terms of other curriculum initiatives, in 2004, I was part of the team that redesigned the MBA programme. This enabled the Business School to grow the programme from 20 EFTS to over 130 EFTS (when I left the programme in 2008). My particular contribution to the design was an innovative structure to allow specialist MBAs once the programme was sufficiently large. This structure was largely adopted into the new Master of Management program.

In this section, I would like to summarise the wide range of innovations—both incremental and one-offs—that I have undertaken, including those that I have not yet mentioned.

  • Team-based Learning: I was the first person to adopt the innovative teaching strategy TBL at the University of Auckland, and the first to use it ‘at scale’ with a class of 120 students. TBL has been adopted by the Business School for both undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses. There is significant research on the efficacy of the method in Business, Medicine, Engineering, Maths, Stats, and other disciplines.
  • Learning at the elbows of experts: This novel method of teaching the socially complex activity of Technology Roadmapping (e.g., in MGMT 716) through live, in-class examples of consulting was systematically researched3, proving that students, staff, and clients found this to be a very effective approach to teaching and learning.
  • Case method teaching: Again I was the first person in the Business School to adopt case method teaching. This robust method of teaching—as widely used at both the Harvard and Ivey Business Schools—is the mainstay of strategy teaching.
  • TurnItIn: I first learnt about TurnItIn at a plagiarism conference in Australia. On my return, I vigorously sought to use it in my courses. When it became available to the Business School (we were the first users), I became the lead user and expert on the product. I was also the first to adopt new facilities from TurnItIn such as the on-line marking of assignments—allowing an entirely paperless process—and peer marking where students could mark and evaluate their peers’ work.
  • AHA: Based on my interest in the issues of plagiarism, together with Lisa Callagher and Lynne Mitchell (Library) we developed the Academic Honesty Assistance module. This online tool was the first in the University to provide education and assessment around the issue of plagiarism and academic honesty. Uniquely, it was integrated into Cecil to provide an audit trail of students’ achievement in the module. Used throughout the BBIM programme, it was rigorously assessed and shown to materially reduce the level of plagiarism in the course. The module was taken over by the Library and it formed the basis of the Library’s initiatives around Refcite.
  • Mock journal submissions: For the masters class MGMT 703, I developed and implement a mock journal submissions process, whereby Masters students would write and submit articles, targeting specific journals, to a mock journal review process. Those Masters students then had to carry out blind peer reviews of the submitted manuscripts in the same way they would if they were actually reviewing for a journal. This process was successful and was subsequently adopted by Dr Woods, for her Masters courses.
  • Synchronous chats: I was the first to use the synchronous chat feature when it was added to Cecil. With classes of around 100 students, synchronous chats were used to simulate a range of decision-making problems in business.
  • Websites: I built a number of specialised websites. These included: Phd.ac.nz, a website designed to support the PhD cohort in the Business School; An MBA social networking site; A social networking site for the Business School’s PhD club (the club is now defunct); TheReflectivePractitioner.org that provided journaling-like facilities for MGMT 301—this grew into Baddog.ac.nz that was at first a wiki and then a blog/journaling site in support for MGMT 301 (now MGMT 300).
  • Confluence: I am the largest user of the University’s Confluence wiki, with over 200 registered users, 100 new learning journals being contributed every week, and over 200 new sets of peer feedback being done every week. Many of the add-on features to the wiki, such as the reporting module, where implemented at my request so I could better support the learning of my students.
  • Peer reviews: I have prompted the peer review of students’ work at several levels—stage I, stage III, and postgraduate. This has been done through a number of platforms including wikis, blogs, and—when faced with 1,700 stage I students—through a custom built Adobe Forms platform (thank you to Andrew Eberhard for providing the technical realisation of my ‘plan’). This morphed into …
  • … Double-blind on-line marking of those 1,700 students by lecturers and tutors.
  • Email dropbox: To cope with the large numbers of assignments, and to provide ‘certified receipts’, together with Andrew Eberhard, we developed an email dropbox using Gmail.
  • Simulations: I have used a variety of simulations in my teaching, some have been ‘bought-in’, such as Mike’s Bikes, whilst others—such as an auction simulation—have been custom built by me. They have been used both with award and non-award programmes (e.g., the ICEHOUSE’s Owner Operator Programme).
  • Integration to Uni-sign (the predecessor of Single Sign On): To make the use of many of the software applications seamless for students, I wrote and developed interfaces to the University’s authentication systems. Therefore students could use the same login for the wikis, blogs, etc., that I utilised in my courses. This made the wikis, blogs, etc., seem more ‘institutionalised’ and so students more readily used them.
  • Canvas: I am one of the Business School’s “Canvas Champions” because of my early exposure and involvement with the selection process for the new LMS (I was one of the ‘sandpit’ evaluators.

Overall, I have the reputation for being an innovative teacher who has a strong desire to help students succeed.

Using a mixture of teaching methods … I felt empowered to actively engage in our learning, both at an individual level and as part of a wider, cooperative learning environment…. I had gained applicable tools for the future, especially regarding decision-making; allowing me to feel prepared for the realities of the corporate world, while also providing me with tangible evidence of my progress throughout the semester. Over the course of my tertiary education, I have had the opportunity to learn from many great lecturers however, Peter Smith stands out for his outstanding commitment to enhancing the learning experience — Elaine Soakai

My purpose in teaching

Why do I choose to teach? Having made the choice to reside in New Zealand, I want to contribute positively to the society in which I now live. This somewhat lofty goal has implications. It means that teaching and learning is about changing people’s behaviour, rather than the superficial or surface acquisition of information; it is embodied through students doing things differently—and better—than they otherwise would have done. Consequently, learning and therefore teaching is not an easy process because people’s beliefs and values necessarily have to be challenged in order to enable new behaviour; inevitably some people will not want to change. In addition, one cannot make people learn; teaching becomes the provision of opportunities from which students can choose to learn. Finally, there is a need for the learning and teaching to be relevant to the student in the wider context of society. My lever for achieving this is to make teaching more than just knowing a subject; it is about broadening the way students think and see the world. In this I am possibly old-fashioned; for me, the primary goal of teaching at university is not about ‘tooling up’ potential managers. Teaching at this level is about facilitating others to have experiences that support them—now and in the future—in making more informed choices about the world in which they live. This view of teaching is entirely consistent with my Teaching Perspective Inventory, which asserts that I have a strong developmental approach to teaching.

In summary, my purpose in teaching leads to the broad aim of providing the opportunities for students to develop their thinking, so that they can make better considered and more informed decisions about the things they choose to do and the things that matter to them.

My teaching goals and philosophy

My aims and objectives in teaching have been formed by three things. Firstly there are those people who, as my teachers, began to shape the way I think about teaching. Secondly, there is the experience of others, often presented through theory4, which has broadened my understanding of how people think and learn, and how they might be successfully taught. Finally, there are my experiences as a teacher of what is impactful, what has little impact, and what does not work. The starting point in thinking about teaching, for me, begins with what it means to learn. After all how can one effectively teach, if one does not understand how people learn? Drawing on the work of Terry Doyle5, I believe that:

Learning is the ability to use knowledge after a significant period of disuse.

and

It is the ability to use the knowledge to solve problems in a context different (if only slightly) from the context in which the information was originally learnt.

Next, is the question that I always ask before I design any class, course, or even a programme: “What is the best use of my time and of the students’ time in the classroom?” Over the years, this had led me to eschew the classic lecture format. Instead of seeing the classroom as a place to deliver ‘content’, my teaching involves an active classroom where students work on meaningful tasks as a way of deepening their understanding. Typically, I do this through: Harvard-style case method teaching, Team-based learning, or through the use of business simulations. The result is what is now called a ‘flipped classroom’.

An overview of my teaching

In the 18 years I have been teaching at The University of Auckland, I have taught general management, strategic management, and related topics in various contexts, including: undergraduate and postgraduate (research and taught), as well as post-experience (MBA, and PGDipBus) programmes, together with the supervision of students doing Honours dissertations and Masters theses, as well as PhD candidates. In terms of the size of classes, these have varied from masters seminars with 8 students through to over 200 first-year students. During that time, I have had the pleasure of team-teaching (being part of a large groups delivering Stage I courses), co-teaching (sharing the teaching with another teacher in the room), and of being solely responsible for courses. The total number of courses is summarised below6.

Year Stage I Stage II Stage III PG Total
1999 1 3 4
2000 1 3 4
2001 2 1 2 5
2002 1 3 4
2003 2 2 2 6
2004 1 4 5
2005 1 1 2
2006 2 2
2008 2 1 1 4
2009 1 2 3
2010 2 1 3
2011 2 2
2012 1 3 4
2013 1 1 1 3
2014 1 1 2 4

As shown, I have a reputation as a dedicated, accomplished, and innovative teacher. As a consequence of those innovations, I have been a frequent presenter at teaching workshops within the department, faculty, and CLeaR/CAD. The latter includes presentations and panel discussions to other faculties; e.g., FHMS. The supervisory material I developed has been used by CLeaR in their supervision skills courses. In addition, I have undertaken curriculum development for the undergraduate BBIM programme, the postgraduate MBA and PGDipBus programmes, and for the design of BUSINESS 101 and 102 (with can have over 2,000 students enrolled in them at any time). I have also had responsibility for mentoring and managing tutors and graduate teaching assistants.

As noted, my understanding of learning and teaching has been deepened from my own research. In addition, I have sought to develop my scholarship of learning and teaching by undertaking many professional development activities through CLeaR/CAD. For example, I am currently completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice.

Evidence of teaching effectiveness

In thinking about my teaching effectiveness and my propensity to innovate, I am acutely aware of the tension between teaching effectiveness and introducing any innovation. There are risks associated with any innovation; it may not work despite ones best efforts. Furthermore, my research into the professions—law, medicine, engineering, higher education, and so on—suggests that innovation in those contexts is specifically problematic; we professionals are well-practiced our current way of doing things, and necessarily less skilled in new approaches. For example, if one is good at classic lecturing, it is very hard to immediately be as proficient when first undertaking, say, case method teaching. It takes time to develop skills any new way of teaching. If being effective as a teacher is hard, then being innovative and effective presents extra challenges. However, the benefits and the pay-offs of innovation in teaching for students can be significant. Therefore, I think the risk is worth it. Yet, I always create flexibility in my courses, and rapport with students so that—when things occasionally do not work out—there is room to gracefully recover without inhibiting either the students’ learning or their chance at performing well in the course.

Am I an effective teacher? The overall answer from students is “Yes”. For example, in the recent iteration of MGMT 300, students agreed (or strongly agreed) that I was an effective teacher:

Student evaluation of instructor

In addition, they were also satisfied with the quality of the course: Student evaluation of course

It would be easy to select some of the comments from students who gave ‘Strongly agreed’ responses, but I think the voice of those who are less satisfied also need to be considered. One of the ‘Neutral’ students said that:

Student evaluation showing frustration

I take comments like that as a sign of success, and a sign that I need to do better.

Overall, a similar pattern of effectiveness can generally be seen. As noted, however, the introduction of innovation is not always smooth, as in the case of INTBUS 202 in 2013. Having taught the course in 2009, I wanted to improve on my previous results of the course. So, I was disappointed, and a little surprised, when the improvements resulted in lower evaluations. Consequently, in 2014 when the course was scheduled to be taught again—this time by a colleague, rather than me—I volunteered to work with him, and, using my materials we jointly delivered the course. This second iteration worked much better as we removed some of the ‘rough edges’. The A+SA score rose to 83 (I was not evaluated as I was not formally delivering the course). Looking back at, say, the previous five years, I am reasonably content with the picture they paint:

When Course SA+A Response rate
2014 BUSINESS 101 80 345514
2014 MGMT 300 92 60109
2014 INTBUS 202 97 3241
2013 MGMT300 97 4273
2013 INTBUS202 65 80100
2013 INTBUS 703 91 1113
2012 INTBUS 761 71 811
2012 INTBUS 703 89 911
2011 BUSINESS 1012 NA NA
2010 COMPSCI 704 100 44
2010 SOFTENG 711 100 67
2009 INTBUS 202 74 98114
2009 MGMT 716 100 811
2009 BUSADMIN 768 100 1333
2008 MGMT 302 80 2529
2008 INTBUS 202 89 4474

However it is not only students that regard my teaching as effective; those with whom I have taught are also of a similar opinion; E.g.:

Peter is strongly commitment to teaching excellence and places an extraordinary amount of effort into searching out new methods of teaching delivery to assist with student learning. This commitment has enabled him to create vibrant and enjoyable learning environments for his students, and has lifted the bar of expectation for his colleagues regarding their commitment to teaching and learning.— Joe Beer.

My passion for teaching has had an impact beyond my own classes and courses:

Peter has taken a pedagogical lead in many activities, discussions and initiatives in our department and others and that has meant he has made a real impact in the teaching and learning of this department. He has a passion for effective, student-centred, stimulating learning and that zeal has galvanised many of us to work at our own teaching development.

Peter is the true reflective educational practitioner to the extent he thinks about and evaluates each learning occasion.

Time after time Peter has volunteered to be in teams to rewrite and create new programmes and instruments of learning. He is always generous in supporting others in their uptake of new teaching techniques and has taken a real leadership role in this — Dr Brigid Carroll.

Innovation in teaching can be invisible to students, so I’m happy that, in most semesters, other staff visit my classes to see how I teach, providing opportunities to talk with them about my innovations.

Some of my ability to successfully innovate comes from my passion for teaching. A recent peer observation of a compulsory first-year course at 8:00 in the morning reported that:

He runs his class like a game show, providing the motivation and energy that the students, at this early hour, largely lack. Peter is a tad flushed at this point, but apparently not stressed, nor faking his enthusiasm. He comes across as genuinely enthusiastic — _Dr_Alistair Kwan (CLeaR).

That enthusiasm is also noted by my students. For example:

[Peter] does not fit the traditional lecturer’s mould; Peter is a teacher who had an amazing amount of passion for our class and is not afraid to show it. This was unsurprisingly reciprocated by the passion that we developed for our paper. I use the word ‘our’ because as students we developed a relationship of shared respect with Peter that often saw us break the traditional student lecturer hierarchy and challenge our teacher’s ideas. If it was not for Peter’s enthusiasm towards teaching I can honestly say I would not be in the position I am today. He has fostered a hidden ability in me for management and strategy and inadvertently driven my aspirations toward a career that utilises all of the knowledge gained while taking his paper — Rochelle Scanlon

Outcomes like these led me to being the recipient of a Faculty Teaching Excellence Award for Collaboration (2015), a Faculty Teaching Excellence Award for Innovation (2004), and a University of Auckland Teaching Excellence Award for curriculum design (2002), and to me chairing the Faculty’s Teaching Excellence Award Committee for three years.

Evidence of achievement of learning outcomes

Two of the strongest sources of evidence of achievement of learning outcomes come from BUSINESS 304 and from MGMT 300. In BUSINESS 304, there are two forms of assessment. The first is a weekly quiz that is used to encourage students to engage with the theoretical concepts of the course. There is no difference in the difficulty of the content; this is known because I have extensively analysed the test bank. However, at the end of the course, over 54% of the students are doing better in the tests in the last three weeks than in the previous ten. That is to say, their average performance has increased. Secondly, student participation in case discussions is assessed every week. In these sessions students apply the theory they have acquired to business situations, and argue for their ‘position’ on the case. Again, there is compelling evidence of students becoming more adept at understanding business and using theory to explain and justify proposed actions: The average mark in the class clearly trends upwards, as shown in the graph.

BUSINESS 304 grade trend

The evidence from MGMT 300 is of a different type. Each week students submit a learning journal7 where they demonstrate the most important thing they have learnt that week. At the end of the course, they write a summative learning journal (using the weekly learning journals as source data) to demonstrate their overall learning and their achievement of the learning objectives. The structure of the course including its assessment package is such that, even though on each delivery different staff mark the summative learning journals, and despite adjustments to the marking guide, the course has one of the highest pass rates, and largest number of A-grades in the department. Because of these high grades, there has been auditing of the grades during the past three years, and this has confirmed their veracity.

Evidence of teaching scholarship

Through all the examples given, I have demonstrated that I listen to student feedback, I reflect on my own teaching, and I make changes as a result. For additional evidence of that reflection, I invite readers to peruse http://petersmith.org/journal, a blog where—since 2002—I have be writing about my teaching both to foster my own learning and to make my teaching efforts more transparent to my students.

I have also provided evidence that I am active in enhancing the quality of teaching, not only in my own department, but also in the Business School as a whole, and across the University.

In doing so, I have given examples of particular courses and types of assignments that exemplify my teaching philosophy (i.e. beliefs and assumptions about student learning).

My scholarship of teaching is also evidenced through my publication and conference presentations, and the 12 published teaching cases (in textbooks).

Callagher, L. J., Mitchell, L. M., & Smith, P. (2004). From vexation to motivation: E-learning to counter plagiarism. Presented at the University of Auckland’s Centre for Professional Development Fourth Annual Teaching and Learning showcase, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Carrie, D., & Smith, P. (2004). Mike’s Bikes: Solo Mike Version. Simulation & Gaming, 35(4), 525–527. doi:10.11771046878104264093

Hosking, J., Smith, P., Krull, A. E., & Jones, N. (2011). Learning at the elbows of experts: Technology roadmapping with Software Engineering students. In B. Thompson & E. Navarro (Eds.), (pp. 139–148). Presented at the 24th IEEE-CS Conference on software engineering education and training, Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Kolb, D. G., Francoeur, J., & Smith, P. (1999). Bringing reality into the classroom: Integrated business simulations on the web. In On the boarder - In time and place. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM.

Krull, A. E., Smith, P., Hosking, J., & Jones, N. (2010). Some rather interesting observations about technological roadmapping. Presented at the New Zealand Computer Society’s 50th Anniversary Conference, Rotorua, New Zealand: New Zealand Computer Society.

Smith, P., & Carrie, D. G. (2004). Mike’s Bikes: Net Mike version. Simulation & Gaming, 34(4), 527–529.

Smith, P. (2001). Business simulations & boardroom battles. In From “yes, but …” to “Yes, and …”: Collaborative models of management teaching. James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Thank you for this opportunity to present my teaching portfolio.


  1. The Master of Management. [return]
  2. There has been approximately $2m spent on Team-based learning facilities in the Business School. [return]
  3. These results were reported at two conferences. [return]
  4. My own research investigates how people ‘get better’ at things, such as business strategy. That research is largely informed through theories-of-practice that I also draw upon in my teaching. E.g., the works of Bourdieu, Wenger, Lave, Vygotsky, Raelin, Schatzki, Turner, etc. [return]
  5. https://www.linkedin.com/pub/terry-doyle/14/584/580 [return]
  6. I did not each in 2007, as I was on leave. [return]
  7. The previous two years of learning journals are available through the University’s wiki, and several years prior to that are available at baddog.ac.nz. These serve as scaffolding for students who have not done learning. [return]