Innovative approaches to stimulate student engagement and support learning

In this Connections Seminar, recipients of UNSW 2023 Teaching Awards, Dr Thomas Duncan (Medicine and Health) and Associate Professor Junming Ho (Science), will share their innovative approaches to enhancing learning and engagement in undergraduate courses using 3D Atlases and Supercomputers respectively. The presenters will explain how they identified challenges and adapted the learning tools to make learning accessible for students, enhancing student engagement along the way. Read more about each talk below. 

3D Atlas Applications to Support Student Learning in Introductory Anatomy 

In recent years, anatomy education has encountered significant challenges in fostering engagement and supporting student learning amid transition from in-person delivery to an online-only environment, and then to the current hybrid model in the post-pandemic era. Dr Tom Duncan will present his approach to addressing these challenges across varied learning environments through the integration of 3D anatomy atlases, and the transformative role this technology has had in supporting student learning in his Introductory Anatomy course. This presentation will explore Tom's student-led approach to ongoing adaptation and integration of 3D atlases in anatomy, and their potential to bridge the gap between 2D and 3D anatomical understanding, enrich the learning experience, and support students in preparation for their future careers as medical professionals. 

Using Supercomputers to Enhance Student Engagement in Computational Chemistry 

Computational chemistry is an exciting field that uses computer simulations to predict the properties of molecules and outcomes of chemical reactions. However, it is often perceived by students to be a hard subject as it involves mathematics, physics, computer scripting in addition to chemistry. In this talk, A/Prof. Junming Ho will introduce how computational chemistry has been integrated into the chemistry curriculum at UNSW, and some of the strategies developed to promote students’ interest and understanding of this subject. Junming will share how UNSW’s supercomputer facility (Katana) is utilised to enable students to conduct and visualize realistic computer simulations from home or anywhere with WIFI access.  


About the Speakers

Dr Tom Duncan headshot

Dr Tom Duncan is an Education Focused senior lecturer in anatomy for the School of Biomedical Sciences. He leads anatomy teaching across School and Faculty of Medicine and Health courses, including as co-convener for a Phase 1 Medicine course, and he is the chair of the Student Liaison Committee for the Department of Anatomy. Tom is a recipient of honours including a UNSW Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence 2023, and a Faculty of Medicine and Health Commendation for Educational Excellence 2022. 


Associate Professor Junming Ho headshot

Associate Professor Junming Ho obtained his PhD from the ANU and has held research appointments at Yale and A*STAR. He is currently a research and teaching Associate Professor and leads the Mechanism and Modelling group in the School of Chemistry. He teaches a range of chemistry courses including first-year general chemistry to third-year physical and medicinal chemistry. He is the recipient of the 2022 Royal Australian Chemical Institute Physical Chemistry Lectureship and 2023 UNSW Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. 


This event is a part of the Connections series, consisting of seminars that provide you with the opportunity to learn from your colleagues to inform your own teaching practice.