We asked Angela Carbone, Chief Judge, about the final judging day, her take on the state of the educational publishing industry and her new role at Swinburne University. Here’s what she had to say:
What is your role in the judging process?
I’m the Chief Judge and I work very closely with the panel of judges. The panel is split into assessment teams that review entries submitted in each of the following categories: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary/Vocational. Each team has a lead judge, and I collaborate with the lead judges to make the final decisions.
There is much talk around final judging day. Could you tell us a bit about the process?
Prior to judging day, all the assessors review each
submission, evaluate the entry based on the judging criteria and write a few comments to justify their assessment.
On final judging day, the panel comes together to discuss their assessments, sharing their ratings and rationales. During this moderation period judges can change their assessment. They continue this process until a consensus is reached on the ranking of applications. Eventually, the panel nominates the top 2–3 titles with a ‘commendable’ or ‘highly commendable’ award, and they present their top-ranked entries to the rest of the judges.
As part of the final stage of the judging process, the lead judges share their top 2–3 entries with me and together we decide the winner. During the day, I immerse myself in the table discussions as listening to the judges’ rationales assists me in making a considered decision.
How has judging changed from last year?
We have revised the judging criteria this year based on feedback from last year’s judges. We have made the criteria clearer. The distinct criterion includes: publishing contribution; educational rigour; relevance, cohesion and suitability; flexibility and adaptability; and clarity, design and engagement.
A significant change was to select one winner for each category (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary/Vocational). Last year, there was considerable concern from the judges, including myself, around judging resources fairly. Comparing a primary school resource with a university resource was like comparing apples and oranges! So, this works much better this year and has been well received.
All resources are judged for excellence, innovation and originality. How do you think this year’s entries fared against the judging criteria?
Entries are improving each year. Publishers are more cognisant of the changes occurring in the way students learn and are fully exploiting the affordances of technology.
In the past twelve months, you’ve moved to Swinburne to become the Associate Dean (Learning Innovation) for the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology. Could you tell us a bit more about your role and what responsibilities you have?
As Associate Dean Learning Innovation, I am primarily charged with the responsibility of leading strategic development and overseeing the operational implementation of strategies relating to learning, teaching and scholarship . I hold overall accountability for ensuring the implementation of the university’s Learning and Teaching strategy within my Faculty. Often this includes facilitating leadership of teaching and learning innovation, driving specific agendas and ensuring the quality of courses and programs.
I’m also leading education in the faculty at an operational level. I supervise a number of teams that ensure our courses are of a high quality and are accredited by professional bodies. Among other responsibilities, they also ensure that student resources and learning environments are up-to-date and contemporary, and that students have pathways to change courses.
What are some challenges you think educators face in today’s learning environments?
Educators have to really think about ways to engage students by giving students authentic learning experiences. Learning today doesn’t just happen in the classroom or from a textbook. Students may not be receptive to a passive, didactic teaching delivery. Instead, we need to focus on creating active learning environments which give students engaging and rich experiences. We want students to talk about the issues discussed in our classrooms with their peers outside of the classroom.
Is there anything you’d like to add in the lead up to the 2018 EPAAs?
The publishers are doing a great job. They’re operating in an educational environment that is changing rapidly. Advances in technology, providing online resources in which students can assess their knowledge and skills at the own pace and in their own time are becoming more and more prevalent. Yet, many teachers still see the value in teaching from textbooks.
We’re at an interesting point in time in education, where traditional textbooks are still valuable, but online adaptive delivery is becoming more accessible and intuitive and provides teachers with timely learning analytics at their fingertips. It will be interesting to see what further advances will occur in the next couple of years.
The resources that are being published in both print and digital are fabulous.
The finalists and all the winners have done an exceptional job. Compared to last year – as good, if not even better I would say.
We hope to see you all at the industry event of the year at The Pavilion, Arts Centre on Thursday, 20 September 2018.