Case study: First year speech pathology

Student profile:
Students enrolled:

Allied Health
SPHY101 Introduction to Speech Pathology Practice
Bachelor of Speech Pathology, 1st year
Dr Leigha Dark, Lecturer in Speech Pathology
Approximately 80% directly from high school, predominantly female
200 (approx)

This case study Dr Leigha Dark explains how blended learning was used to introduce a ‘Flipped Classroom’ into a first year speech pathology unit. Strategies were used to embed the presence of industry professionals, outline the scope of the speech pathology profession and support student’s transition into university studies.


  • Flipped classroom approach
  • Embedding videos of industry professionals for case-based learning
  • Positive student feedback
  • Active learning approach
  • Supporting the first year’s transition to university (transition pedagogy)

In this clip Dr Leigha Dark, discusses the development of a blended unit for first year students.

ACU Case study: First year speech pathology (SPHY101)
Many thanks to the Faculty of Law and Business for the use of their Pop-up Studio equipment to record this interview.

Length: 8 mins.

Unit design

This unit introduces students to the profession and practice of speech pathology through a range of learning activities, including exposure to clinicians in the field and guest lecturers from a range of practice settings.





Asynchronous online

1 hour per week

Online self-directed learning to be completed prior to lecture (containing videos, readings, reflections and quizzes*).

*note these quizzes form part of the assessable content for the unit.


1 hour per week

Face-to face in a classroom, with each participating campus connecting via video conference. Each campus has a lecturer attending, though only one lecturer presents the week’s topic. The other attending lecturers assist facilitation discussion.


2 hours per week



1 day

Professional observational placement


Assessment task


Weighting (%)


Professional practice evaluation hurdle



  • Allied Health Orientation Modules (18 training tasks and 18 quizzes).
  • Professional Practice Supervisor Evaluation

The purpose of these modules and quizzes is to demonstrate your knowledge of fundamental National Safety and Quality Healthcare Service Standards

The purpose of this professional practice placement is to observe a Speech Pathologist in a clinical setting.

Online Quizzes (9 quizzes)




On a weekly basis, students are set a short quiz based on the topic presented (embedded in Flipped Classroom content).

Professional Portfolio –  Task 1 - Oral presentation


3 mins


Oral Presentation

Professional Portfolio – Task 2 – Observation plan and reflection


2500 words


The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate introductory skills in planning an interaction observation and developing an observation template that you can use functionally in a clinical setting. In addition, students reflect on their communication, cultural perspectives and own learning preferences.

Scroll through these examples to see some highlights from the unit.

Educational approaches

Here are some of the approaches integrated into the unit:

Transition pedagogy is about being aware of the needs of students who are new to tertiary learning (first year students) and creating curriculum that is supportive of their needs.

Students in first year come with a wide array of skills and experiences and part of the role of educators is to assist students to make connections between their previous experiences, their current learning and their future profession. In SPHY101 curriculum decisions have been informed by best practice criteria in the areas of: Transition, Diversity, Design, Engagement, Assessment and Evaluation/Monitoring, and embedded in both online and face to face learning environments. The goal of the academic team is to set students up for success early in their university experience so as to experience smooth transition in, through and out of their tertiary study and into their profession of choice.

An example of the strategies employed in SPHY101 is as follows:




  • Scaffolded introduction to multiple modes of learning; Regular communication using face to face and online modes; Low stakes formative activities for engagement with LEO unit;  ‘Creating a Classroom Community’ using Transparent Pedagogy


  • Offering flexible learning options; Individualised face to face support with technology access
  • Multimodal delivery of information i.e. videos, text, podcasts, models / diagrams


  • Weekly learning materials aligned with discipline specific range of practice areas
  • Consistent and explicit approach to structure of online and face to face learning materials and graded presentation of fundamental concepts


  • Encouraging students to personally reflect on past experiences and link to new knowledge and skills;
  • LEO materials written in conversational style
  • Use of Transparent Pedagogies to facilitate active learning
  • Early professional practice observation experience to see first hand what their chosen profession looks like


  • Blended learning (Flipped Classrooms) linked with existing assessment tasks i.e. completion of summative online quizzes
  • Authentic assessment modelling the types of thinking required of students throughout their degree and beyond
  • Multiple modes of assessment (written, spoken, technology navigation)


  • Student evaluation of learning and teaching (SELT) surveys; LEO forums; Tutorial reflection activities; Student representatives (year level reps); Scheduled individual meetings with students; Year Advisor acts as conduit to supports
  • SPHY101 will facilitate transition into 2nd semester 1st year screening clinic in which students will participate in screening of communication skills in preparation for professional practice placement

A flipped classrooms approach was used to deliver online content in this unit. Student had access to preparatory content to work through before they attended weekly lectures and tutorials. They complete the online learning component as preparation for their face to face classes so that they are familiar with important concepts and can explore and consolidate these in a more applied way within class time.

Student participate in a community based professional practice placement where they have the opportunity to observe a Speech Pathologist working.

Transparent pedagogy is a strategy where teachers deliberately model and openly discuss their own pedagogical choices.

In SPHY101 transparent pedagogies were consciously integrated into the weekly face to face tutorial classes to foster the sense of a classroom community, encourage students to form connections with their peers to communicate their ideas and developing knowledge, and to assist students with important fundamental study skills such as critical reading, analysis and reflection.

Example: you set a quiz. Applying transparent pedagogy you would communicate to student why you set the quiz, and know yourself what theory/evidence supports the choice.

Reflection: How do you explicitly communicate your teacher decision-making to your students? Are there ways you do this online?

Examples of tutorial slides from Week 1, Week 4 and Week 12 of the SPHY101 unit offer a sense of how Transparent Pedagogies have been integrated into this unit and focus outcomes.


This is a list of some of the major tools used in this unit.





In both the online environment and face-to-face videos were integrated to provide examples industry professionals performing their roles.

See the eLearning 101 webinar, Embedding Kaltura and YouTube videos in your units

See LEO Kaltura guide

LEO lesson template

The LEO lesson template was used to package activities into a sequence for the preparation modules. Containing videos, readings, reflections and quizzes.

See LEO guide for Lesson activities


Quizzes were embedded at the end of each preparation module for students to check their understanding.

See the eLearning101 webinars, Quizzes in LEO part 1 and 2

See LEO Quiz guide

Video conference and ECHO 360

Face to face lecture are given in a classroom, with video conferencing software and technology used to connect each participating campus. Each video conference is recorded using ECHO 360 and posted on the unit website for students to review.

See the LEO ECHO360 guide


These are examples of the kinds of support the academic staff building this unit drew on.

  • Academics staff attended a professional development workshop on ‘Flipped Classrooms’
  • Academic staff used their faculty’s communities of practice to shape and refine the unit
  • The unit was part of a group of units that were targeted in the FHS Blended and Flipped learning project.

Lessons learned

  • Know what it is you want to change / improve / achieve and match your strategies to that goal
  • Start small and be comfortable making incremental changes to a unit rather than an ‘an overhaul’
  • Use the language of pedagogy explicitly with students so they are aware of the purposes and rationales behind particular aspects of unit design
  • Own that fact that everyone is always learning and a unit will never ever be perfect.

Student feedback

  • "I enjoyed the Flipped Classroom activities as they were very informative and interesting. I liked the seminars and like how there is a clinical component to the course. Tutorials were always interesting with discussion."
  • "The flipped classroom was by far the most helpful aspect of 101 and I found it very beneficial. I liked that teachers from different campuses were able to teach us also."
  • "During the lectures we (N.Syd, Melb, Bris) were asked to answer specific questions and I felt that that was engaging. The flipped classrooms were also a hit."
  • The flipped classrooms were helpful; it allowed me to stay on top of my work each week and the information given was useful."
  • "It started from the very basics and went all the way through to where they apply down the line in our careers- we could see where these concepts would be relevant. I loved that it was a unit channelled towards teaching us HOW to be speech pathologists and why it is vital to direct our learning to build on our professional conduct and clinical reasoning."

Next time

The academic would like to focus on the following for future iterations of the unit:

  • Exploring using wikis
  • A greater focus on student-led interaction
  • Experimenting with the LEO chat function for online synchronous chat with the view to learn more about the preferences of 1st year students in terms of engaging with their peers and academic staff

Further reading

Flipped classroom

The following may be useful if you would like to understand the flipped classroom model more.

  • 7 things you should know about the flipped classroom (EDUCAUSE 2012)
  • The page Flipping the classroom (Brame, 2016) provides a comprehensive look at the flipped classroom, including its theoretical basis, evidence for its effectiveness and its key elements.
  • The video The Flipped classroom model (MADDrawProductions 2012) provides and simple but useful description of a flipped classroom.
  • This report, Good practice report: Blended learning (Partridge et al 2011) provides a summative evaluation of the good practices and key outcomes for teaching and learning from completed ALTC projects and fellowships relating to blended learning. It includes a literature review of the good practices and key outcomes for teaching and learning from national and international research and identifies areas in which further work or development are appropriate.

Transition pedgagogies

The following may be useful if you would like to understand transitional pedagogies more.

  • The checklists on this transition pedagogy page (ALTC Kift Senior Fellowship 2009) may provide useful tips to help you to support students in the transition to higher education.
  • The Transition Pedagogy Handbook (Nelson, Creagh, Kift, 2014), is a handbook designed for academic staff responsible for first year students and first year curriculum.


ALTC Kift Senior Fellowship, 2009. Transition pedagogies. Viewed 12 July 2016, <>.

Brame, C. 2016. Flipping the Classroom, Vanderbilt University, viewed 12 July 2016 <>.

EDUCAUSE, 2012, 7 things you should know about the flipped classroom, viewed 23 June 2016 <>.

Kift, S 2009, Articulating a transition pedagogy to scaffold and to enhance the first year student learning experience in Australian higher education, Queensland University of Technology, viewed 12 July 2016, <>.

MADDrawProductions 2012. The Flipped Classroom Model [video]. 27 May, viewed 12 July 2016 <>.

Nelson, K  Creagh, T and Kift, S 2014. Transition pedagogy handbook. 2nd edition. viewed 12 July 2016, <>.

Partidge, H, Ponting, D, McCay, M 2011, Good practice report: Blended learning, Australian learning and teaching council, viewed 12 July 2016, <>.