EDST8280 – Contemporary Approaches to Professional Practice

2021 – Session 2, Fully online/virtual

Session 2 Learning and Teaching Update

The decision has been made to conduct study online for the remainder of Session 2 for all units WITHOUT mandatory on-campus learning activities. Exams for Session 2 will also be online where possible to do so.

This is due to the extension of the lockdown orders and to provide certainty around arrangements for the remainder of Session 2. We hope to return to campus beyond Session 2 as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Some classes/teaching activities cannot be moved online and must be taught on campus. You should already know if you are in one of these classes/teaching activities and your unit convenor will provide you with more information via iLearn. If you want to confirm, see the list of units with mandatory on-campus classes/teaching activities.

Visit the MQ COVID-19 information page for more detail.

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Associate Professor Kathleen Tait
Contact via Contact via Dialogue on the iLearn site
29 Wally's Walk Room 366
By appointment
Michael Cavanagh
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MSpecEd or GradDipSpecEd or MInc&SpecEd or GradDipInc&SpecEd or MEd or GradCertEd or GradDipEdStud or GradCertEdStud
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit provides a comprehensive outline of careful planning strategies. Key foci include instructional goals and objectives, professional standards and rules of practice required to enable meaningful educational opportunities for diverse students. This unit focuses upon the knowledge and skills of ethical practice and professional accountability which will provide a foundation for subsequent professional practice experiences. This unit includes five days of mandatory professional experience

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Integrate and synthesize theory, knowledge and skills from across the program and apply to professional practice in a work-related context.
  • ULO2: Apply professional judgement in the selection and application of evidence based pedagogical practices to solve complex problems in the education of diverse learners.
  • ULO3: Apply appropriate professional ethical standards in the implementation and documentation of educational programs.
  • ULO4: Effectively communicate complex ideas regarding program planning and implementation
  • ULO5: Critically evaluate and reflect on the process and outcomes of educational programs.

General Assessment Information

Assessment Presentation and Submission Guidelines 

Please follow these guidelines when you submit each assignment: 

  • Allow a left and right-hand margin of at least 2cm in all assignments. 
  • Please type all assignments using 12-point font and 1.5 spacing. 
  • All assessments must be submitted through Turnitin in .doc or .pdf format  
  • It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all assessments are successfully submitted through Turnitin. 
  • Faculty assignment cover sheets are NOT required. 

Draft Submissions & Turnitin Originality Reports 

  • Students may use Turnitin’s Originality Report as a learning tool to improve their academic writing if this option is made available in the unit. 
  • Students are strongly encouraged to upload a draft copy of each assessment to Turnitin at least one week prior to the due date to obtain an Originality Report. 
  • The Originality Report provides students with a similarity index that may indicate if plagiarism has occurred. Students will be able to make amendments to their drafts prior to their final submission on the due date. 
  • Generally, one Originality Report is generated every 24 hours up to the due date. 

Please note: 

  • Students should regularly save a copy of all assignments before submission, 
  • Students are responsible for checking that their submission has been successful and has been submitted by the due date and time. 

Assignment extensions and late penalties 

  • Applications for extensions must be made via AskMQ according to the Special Consideration policy. Extensions can only be granted if they meet the Special Considerations policy and are submitted via This will ensure consistency in the consideration of such requests is maintained.  
  • Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – 10 marks out of 100 credit will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted seven days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline.

  • If a student is still permitted to submit on the basis of unavoidable disruption, an alternative topic may be set.  
  • Students should keep an electronic file of all assessments. Claims regarding "lost" assessments cannot be made if the file cannot be produced. It is also advisable to keep an electronic file of all drafts and the final submission on a USB untouched/unopened after submission. This can be used to demonstrate easily that the assessment has not been amended after the submission date. 

Requesting a re-assessment of an assignment 

If you have evidence that your task has been incorrectly assessed against the grade descriptors you can request a re-mark. To request a re-mark you need to contact the unit convenor within 7 days of the date of return of the assignment and provide a detailed assessment of your script against the task criteria. Evidence from your assignment must be provided to support your judgements.  


  • Please do not request a re-mark for a Failed assessment as they are all double-marked as a part of the moderation process.  
  • The outcome of a re-mark may be a higher/lower or unchanged grade.  
  • Grades are standards referenced and effort is NOT a criterion.  

University policy on grading 

Criteria for awarding grades for assessment tasks 

Assignments will be awarded grades ranging from HD to F according to guidelines set out in the University's Grading Policy. The following descriptive criteria are included for your information. 

Descriptive Criteria for awarding grades in the unit 

In order to meet the unit outcomes and successfully pass this unit, students must make a genuine attempt at all assessment tasks. Where any submitted assessment task is considered to be unsatisfactory in this regard, the highest possible final grade that can be awarded for the unit will be 45. 

Students will be awarded grades ranging from HD to F according to guidelines set out in the policy: 

The following generic grade descriptors provide university-wide standards for awarding final grades. 





(High Distinction) 

Provides consistent evidence of deep and critical understanding in relation to the learning outcomes. There is substantial originality and insight in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem solving approaches; critical evaluation of problems, their solutions and their implications; creativity in application as appropriate to the discipline. 



Provides evidence of integration and evaluation of critical ideas, principles and theories, distinctive insight and ability in applying relevant skills and concepts in relation to learning outcomes. There is demonstration of frequent originality in defining and analysing issues or problems and providing solutions; and the use of means of communication appropriate to the discipline and the audience. 



Provides evidence of learning that goes beyond replication of content knowledge or skills relevant to the learning outcomes. There is demonstration of substantial understanding of fundamental concepts in the field of study and the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts; convincing argumentation with appropriate coherent justification; communication of ideas fluently and clearly in terms of the conventions of the discipline. 



Provides sufficient evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes. There is demonstration of understanding and application of fundamental concepts of the field of study; routine argumentation with acceptable justification; communication of information and ideas adequately in terms of the conventions of the discipline. The learning attainment is considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the specified outcomes 



Does not provide evidence of attainment of learning outcomes. There is missing or partial or superficial or faulty understanding and application of the fundamental concepts in the field of study; missing, undeveloped, inappropriate or confusing argumentation; incomplete, confusing or lacking communication of ideas in ways that give little attention to the conventions of the discipline. 


Note: If you fail a unit with a professional experience component, the fail grade will be on your transcript irrespective of the timing of  the placement. 

Withdrawing from this unit 

If you are considering withdrawing from this unit, please seek academic advice via before doing so as this unit may be a co-requisite or prerequisite for units in the following sessions and may impact on your progression through the degree. 


Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit


Appeals against final unit grades

See the Policies and Procedures section for details on appeals against Unit Grades.

Academic honesty and plagiarism

You must read the Academic Honesty Policy that is linked in the Policies and Procedures section of this guide.  

Important points:

  • Close paraphrasing of another persons’ writing is considered to be plagiarism. You must express ideas using your own words.
  • Claim of ignorance of the University policy on plagiarism is NOT a defence. If you do not understand the Academic Honesty policy, please seek advice from a member of the academic staff.

How will I get feedback for my assignment?

Individual feedback will be provided electronically where you submitted your assignment. 

Assignment rubric

The assignment rubric and performance criteria will be available on the iLearn site in the Assessment section. 

Practicum (Professional Experience) 

Students are ONLY required to complete 5 days professional experience. 

All students enrolling in this unit are required to complete 5 days of professional experience (practicum). This is an accredited requirement of this unit's assessment.

Students can choose to either complete 5 days of supervised professional experience at the on campus MUSEC Special School or they can choose to arrange a placement at an education setting that is inclusive of students with disability (in consultation with the Acting Course Director, Dr Loraine Fordham). Further details about when this may be completed can be found on the unit Ilearn site.

Students residing outside the Sydney Metropolitan area may elect to complete their professional experience at MUSEC School or another Sydney education setting, or they may negotiate another appropriate site closer to home. External professional experience sites must be approved by the Course Director.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Professional Experience/Practicum 0% Yes Ongoing
Assignment 50% No 23.55 05/09/2021
Examination 50% No During Exam period

Professional Experience/Practicum

Assessment Type 1: Work-integrated task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 0 hours
Due: Ongoing
Weighting: 0%
This is a hurdle assessment task (see assessment policy for more information on hurdle assessment tasks)


Supervised professional experience practicum allows for systematic and first-hand observation of teaching competencies.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Critically evaluate and reflect on the process and outcomes of educational programs.


Assessment Type 1: Practice-based task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 45 hours
Due: 23.55 05/09/2021
Weighting: 50%


This assessment will include an assessment activity which asks students apply theories, frameworks and concepts to authentic classroom or school-based scenarios through the completion of a plan setting out the required steps, actions and/or tactics to meet identified goals. Practice based tasks may involve analysis of assessment results, curriculum analysis, case studies, scenario-based development of intervention strategies, addressing specific conceptual and theoretical issues of differentiated instruction and universal design for learning (Approximately 2000 words).


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Integrate and synthesize theory, knowledge and skills from across the program and apply to professional practice in a work-related context.
  • Apply professional judgement in the selection and application of evidence based pedagogical practices to solve complex problems in the education of diverse learners.


Assessment Type 1: Examination
Indicative Time on Task 2: 30 hours
Due: During Exam period
Weighting: 50%


The examination will serve as a summative assessment for the unit and will typically consist of a range of short answer questions addressing conceptual understanding and practical application of unit content. There will be a focus on scenario-based questions.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Integrate and synthesize theory, knowledge and skills from across the program and apply to professional practice in a work-related context.
  • Apply appropriate professional ethical standards in the implementation and documentation of educational programs.
  • Effectively communicate complex ideas regarding program planning and implementation

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Writing Centre for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

Recommended texts 

Westling, D., Carter, E., Da Fonte, A., & Kurth, J., (2021). Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities (6th Edition). Boston: Pearson

Information about the unit iLearn site   

This unit has a full web presence through iLearn.   

Students will need regular access to a computer and the Internet to complete this unit.  

Weekly access to iLearn is compulsory for all students. Important assessment information will be posted here, as will other relevant unit notices and materials, including a reading template and guide to lecture note taking to assist your studies. 

Various activities and materials for discussion and critical reflection are included and external students especially are encouraged to use this web component. Electronic links and suggested references will be included in the Resources section. Please check the iLearn unit regularly.  

Weekly lectures are available on the web through the ECHO360 lecture component.  

PowerPoint slides are available in iLearn in advance of the weekly lecture and/or are available in the Active Learning Tool.  

Access and technical assistance  

Information for students about access to the online component of this unit is available at You will need to enter your student username and password. 

Please do NOT contact the Unit Convenor regarding iLearn technical help.  

No extensions will be given for any technical issues. Allow enough time for your submissions.  

Assistance is available from IT Helpdesk ph: 1800 67 4357, or log a request at OneHelp is the online IT support service for both students and staff. 

This unit requires students to use several ICT and software skills: 

  • Internet access: The iLearn site contains materials for this unit; it is also required for the online submission of all Assessment Tasks, and for the use of Turnitin submission for ALL tasks.   
  • Word processing, visual representations, and document formatting: You are required to use an appropriate form of software to present your assignments.  
  • Uploading of assessment tasks to iLearn

General organisation of the unit

The unit is organised in external mode only, and in a flexible delivery format. 

Delivery is designed such that students may seek as much or as little assistance as required in completing the unit. In flexible delivery units, it is critical that students are organised and disciplined. If you get significantly behind in your topic coverage, it may be impossible to catch up. Please start your study as soon as possible.

This unit has a full web presence through iLearn. Students are expected to access the iLearn site and engage with unit materials regularly during the teaching weeks of the semester.

Support resources

Macquarie University has a range of services for students. If you are struggling with any aspect of academic life or career trajectory and skills, we have great supports within the university. Please refer to the comprehensive list of support services here.

Access and technical assistance

Information for students about access to the online component of this unit is available at You will need to enter your student username and password.

Unit delivery: Teaching and learning activities

  • Study guides provide an overview of topics and guide learning.
  • Readings are designed to prepare students for the seminars as well as broaden their understanding of topics.
  • Online presentations provide information and highlight key concepts.
  • Forums provide students with the opportunity to ask question and discuss issues relevant to the unit. Contributions to the online discussion forum are not compulsory but can be a beneficial way of exchanging ideas and discussing unit content with other students. Although unit convenors typically check the Discussion Forums daily (on weekdays), they will not respond to all posts, as discussion between students may be more appropriate. Forums should be checked every 48 hours for important announcements. 
  • Dialog allows students to communicate privately with the unit staff. Dialog should be checked every 48 hours for important information. 
  • Zoom Meetings allow students to meet online with unit staff to seek clarification or discuss relevant issues. 
  • Assessments allow students to refine and demonstrate achievement of unit learning outcomes. 

Technologies used and required

The unit uses an iLearn web site. You may access the site from:


Zoom Meetings will be used for consultation. You can sign up to use the service for free ( and download clients for computers and mobile devices here:


Unit Schedule

Topics of study that will be covered in this unit include: Codes of practice and accountability of professional practice; Creating inclusive educational environments; General skills for professional practice and Advanced skills for professional practice. A full schedule of lectures, and recommended readings by week can be found on the ilearn site.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central ( Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit Student Policies ( It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

To find other policies relating to Teaching and Learning, visit Policy Central ( and use the search tool.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct:


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit or if you are a Global MBA student contact

School of Education Procedures 

In addition, the following policies and procedures of the School of Education are applicable in this unit. 

Unit Expectations 

  • Students are expected to read recommended topic of study readings.
  • Students are expected to listen to all on line lectures. 

Note: It is not the responsibility of unit staff to contact students who have failed to submit assignments.  If you have any missing items of assessment, it is your responsibility to make contact with the unit convenor. 

Electronic Communication 

It is the student’s responsibility to check all electronic communication on a regular weekly basis.  Communication may occur via: 

  • Official MQ Student Email Address 
  • The Dialogue function on iLearn 
  • Other iLearn communication functions 

External Students 

   Please make effective use of the online component of the unit and access iLearn regularly.

   Keep up to date with listening to the lectures on a weekly basis. 

Professional Experience Unit Placement Expectations 

  • Students must be able to present evidence of completion of the following prior to session census date (or as otherwise advised) in order to receive a placement for Professional Experience: 
  • A Working with Children Check or State/ Territory equivalent. For school placements this must be verified by DoE before your first placement. Complete and email: The practicum students declaration and a copy of relevant ID documents to the department’s probity unit at least two weeks prior to the start date of your professional experience placement. You will also need to present photo ID on your first day of professional experience. 
  • Anaphylaxis training (practical and online training) (school placements only). Please note that Anaphylaxis training is only current for 2 years so students will need to update this, most probably at the start of their final year  
  • Read and acknowledge agreement to abide by the DoE Code of Conduct (school placements only) 
  •  Child Protection Awareness Training (CPAT) (school placements only) (once only) 
  • Mandatory Child Protection Training (school placements only) (annually) 

For more details re school placement requirements see:  

This includes completing the teacher acknowledgement: 

Students are responsible for ensuring that their evidence is current.  Please be aware that you may need to update your training or credential during your program of study.  

  • Feedback from Supervising Teachers is of a general nature. It is incumbent on the student to check the requirements of any bookwork prior to submission. 
  • If a Student is identified being in need of additional support for Professional Practice and/or Bookwork, the Department’s ‘Additional Support’ procedure will be activated and they will not be able to withdraw themselves from this Unit. 
  • The timing of placements can vary. For placements early in the Session, Fail grades may be approved by the University prior to the end of Session for students who do not meet the placement expectations of the Unit. 

  Fitness to practice requirements 

  • Macquarie University operates under a ‘Fitness to Practice’ model as specified in the University's Academic Progression Policy.  For this Unit, this means that, when undertaking a placement, a student is declaring that they are able to demonstrate professional competence, acceptable professional behaviour, freedom from impairment, and compliance with program specific requirements needed for a student to practice properly and safely throughout their Practical, Clinical or Professional program or unit. It is the responsibility of the student to determine whether they are fit to undertake a placement. Therefore, if a student is feeling unfit to undertake a placement, they should not do so. For more information 

Twice Fail Rule for Professional Experience Units 

General Coursework Rule 10(7) stipulates that if a student fails a required unit twice in a professional program listed on Schedule 2, they may be permanently excluded from further enrolment in that program.  

Professional Experience Placement Expectations  

To be eligible to commence the professional experience placement component of this unit,  please note:

  • Students may not be able to commence their placement until all alleged academic honesty breaches have been investigated and concluded.  

In order to meet the Professional Experience placement expectations of this unit, students must: 

  • attain a ‘Satisfactory’ grade for their Professional Experience Practical Work in their Evaluation Report.


Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit

Learning Skills

Learning Skills ( provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Services and Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

Student Enquiries

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at

If you are a Global MBA student contact

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

This is a new unit of study.

5 Rs Framework

The 5Rs Framework, developed by the School of Education at Macquarie University, is embedded throughout your teacher education course. Your use of the 5Rs Framework will help you develop the capabilities that will make your teaching career sustainable and fulfilling. In this unit, you will learn the 5 Rs framework in the following important ways.

Resilient. Students will become aware of a range of students’ strengths and needs, how to consider pupils’ special learning needs and methods for addressing issues of professional practice accountability.

Reflexive. Students will engage with activities that will encourage them to think deeply and to consider how they might adjust and adapt their newly acquired knowledge into their professional practice for future success.

Responsive: Students will be encouraged to think about the complexities of assessing and teaching pupils with a range of special needs and to respond with practical solutions; grounding each student’s understanding of and connection with future pupils.

Ready to learn. Creatively designed supplementary activities will challenge students to exhibit their eagerness to learn and their appetite for knowledge.

Research engaged. Assessment activities will ask students to apply theories, frameworks and concepts to authentic scenarios encouraging a research sensibility of overlapping networks and groups of human relations utilizing newly acquired evidence based professional practice.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
19/07/2021 Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – 10 marks out of 100 credit will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted seven days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline.

Unit information based on version 2021.02 of the Handbook