Alexandra Webb is an Associate Professor at the Medical School in the College of Health and Medicine at the Australian National University. She teaches anatomy and leads Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) at the Medical School. Her research encompasses clinical anatomy and education research.
Associate Professor Webb studied her Bachelor of Science, majoring in anatomy, at the University of Adelaide before undertaking a Masters degree at Macquarie University. She has a PhD in anatomy and imaging from the University of Southampton, UK.
Alexandra has more than 20 years experience teaching anatomy into undergraduate & postgraduate medicine, allied health and science programs in Australia and the United Kingdom where she has contributed to the development and implementation of new curricula and resources. She is an innovative educator and educational researcher who takes measured risks in trialling the effectiveness of novel teaching and learning approaches such as serious games, touchscreen technology, adaptive learning, virtual patients and eBooks.
At ANU she teaches anatomy in the 4-year graduate-entry MChD program and two undergraduate anatomy courses. In 2016 she devised and initiated a new cross-disciplinary anatomy and art course 'The Exquisite Corpse' with Associate Professor Krisztina Valter (Medical School) and Ms Elisa Crossing (School of Art). She is currently the lead for TELT at the Medical School which also involves the creation and delivery of a flexible collaborative program of professional development to build capacity in teaching and learning.
Associate Professor Webb's educational practice has been recognised by Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and multiple peer and student awards including:
- 2016 Australian Awards for University Teaching: Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
- 2016 ANU Vice-Chancellor's: Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
- 2015 ANU College of Science: Award for Teaching Excellence
- ANU Medical School Excellence in Medical Education Awards
- 2016 Award for Excellence in Innovation
- 2015 Best Faculty Teacher Phase 1
Associate Professor Webb has been an elected Council member of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists (ANZACA) since 2013. She currently serves on the Executive Council as Secretary and co-editor of the Newsletter. In 2016, she organised the ANZACA conference 'Artful Anatomy' at the ANU Medical School. She is a member of the Technology Enhanced Learning committee for the international Association for Medical Education in Europe. Alexandra is a member of the local organising committee for the Australian and New Zealand Assocation for Health Professional Educators conference which will be held in Canberra in 2019. She was the invited keynote speaker for the inaugural ANU TELfest in 2018.
Q: What does it mean to you to be an ANU Distinguished Educator?
An opportunity to connect with educators throughout the ANU and beyond to encourage and promote excellence in education at this institution. I also hope to be able to contribute to delivering the Vision for Teaching and Learning at ANU and TEL initiatives.
Q: What motivates and inspires you in your teaching?
I love anatomy! The human body is amazing. Even though we all have one, it is always surprising how little people generally know about the body. It is a privilege to be teaching students who will become our future doctors and scientists. I especially enjoy making complex knowledge approachable to students by presenting them with concepts that they can apply to solve clinical problems. It is great fun to explore new approaches to delivering teaching and learning whether it be using technology such as virtual reality or virtual dissection or easily accessible materials such as plasticine and pipecleaners.
Q: Tell us about an approach you have taken in the classroom of which you've been proud.
I would love to share a recent project we have undertaken at the Medical School. A couple of years ago I devised and implemented the ANU Medical School Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) Framework. It has created a wonderful opportunity to work with colleagues across the multiple campuses of the Medical School. The Framework is designed to stimulate teachers to consider the optimal methods to deliver teaching and learning to their students within their educational or clinical context. It is constructed to accommodate diverse non-technology and technology-based solutions to provide students and educators with variety and choices that best suit the discipline and their preferred learning or teaching approach whilst achieving the curricular learning outcomes. It has been very rewarding to see the outputs of the Framework make a difference to student learning at the Medical School and to share in the development of new skills by our staff.
Q: If the VC asked you how you would change teaching and learning at the ANU, what would you say?
Rapid responses to solving IT issues e.g. lecture theatre audiovisual, software procurement.
Robust support for academics to develop and enhance their educational practice. Last year at the Medical School we appointed a Learning Designer to work with me to implement the ANUMS TELT Framework. This has accelerated and enhanced our educational outputs and at the same time empowered academics, clinicians and professional staff through training and support activities. This has been made possible by the Learning Designer working at our Acton and Hospital campuses, immersed in our educational environments, and interacting with students and staff. People and time make a difference!