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Archive for September, 2009

I presented at the ERGA 2009 conference on feedback and flexible learning  at Adelaide University on the 24th September. My presentation focused on the adaptation of our ALTC funded peer review instrument for use by students to facilitate reflective thinking through formative feedback and assessment.

ERGA is a cross-disciplinary community of educators promoting high quality University learning through evidence-based, practical approaches to teaching. The research group  is currently comprised of members representing several universities. At the University of Adelaide, members are from the five Faculties of the University of Adelaide and the divisions of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and VP (Academic and Research).

Further information about the ERGA Conference 2009: Feedback and Flexible Learning held 24 – 25  September: Lower Napier Building, University of Adelaide is available from: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/erga/

I also presented a formal peer reviewed paper on this topic at the ATN Assessment Conference held at RMIT, Melbourne on the 19th and 20th November. The theme of the conference was “Assessment in Different Dimensions”: http://emedia.rmit.edu.au/atnassessment09/

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I was an invited speaker at Professor Angela Brew’s National Summit, Undergraduate Research in Australia: First Australian Summit on the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (ALTC Senior Fellow), 5th-6th November, 2009, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia. My presentation was titled “Research informed Media Practice”.

A few weeks earlier I had presented on the topic “Strengthening the link between research and practice in the first-year media arts curriculum” at Professor Angela Brew’s Australian Learning and Teaching Council National Teaching Fellowship Roundtable at Macquarie University on the 23rd September.

This was one of a series of Regional Roundtables to be held as part of Professor Angela Brew’s ALTC National Teaching Fellowship and it formed part of Macquarie University’s Learning and Teaching Week.

Speakers  included Fellowship team members, and academics and students with experience of undergraduate research. The event included a Learning Café to facilitate discussion and sharing of participants’ own experiences, ideas and resources, as well as artifacts and protocols being produced as part of the National Teaching Fellowship.

I also convened the South Australian regional roundtable held in Adelaide on the 10th November and co-presented with Dr Sheila Scutter on the topic of integrating research and teaching in the undergraduate curriculum within the disciplinary fields of Health Sciences and Communications.

I will post a link to my presentations once  they are available via Professor Brew’s website.

Further information about Professor Brew’s ALTC Fellowship is available from: http://www.mq.edu.au/ltc/altc/ug_research/

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On the 31st August I attended a meeting at the Australian Communications Consumer Advocacy Network (ACCAN) Sydney office to discuss ACCAN’s Draft Strategy Consultation paper, which will become the ACCAN strategic plan over the next five years.

ACCAN is the peak body that represents all consumers on communications issues including telecommunications, broadband and emerging new services. ACCAN provides a strong unified voice to industry and government as consumers work towards availability, accessibility and affordability of communications services for all Australians.

ACCAN’s goals and activities include:

  1. Improved accessibility, affordability and availability of communications services to all consumers;
  2. Better informed consumers with access to Australian information and communications technology resources;
  3. A strong, co-ordinated voice which uses our diversity as a point of strength for communications consumers, nationally and internationally;
  4. Effective advocacy for consumers to Government, regulators and the industry in the development of policy, legislation and industry practices;
  5. Inclusive consultation with stakeholders to identify areas and priorities for industry and/or regulatory responses;
  6. Robust research to support evidence based policy development and consumer education programs;
  7. Meaningful participation in regulatory and co-regulatory activities including industry codes, standards and guidelines
  8. Outreach, campaigns and activities that involve consumers in the communications arena
  9. Enhanced capacity for consumer representatives through information seminars, training and international engagement
  10. Openness, transparency and inclusion of all parties interested in representing consumers on communications issues

Members of the Disability Consultation Group who attended the Sydney consultation meeting included:

Sue Salthouse – Women With Disabilities Australia – Chairperson/Board Member

Andrew Stewart – Deafness Forum

Andrew Wiltshire – Deaf Australia

Denise Wood – University of South Australia

Frank Nowlan – Blind Citizens Australia

Jan Ashford – Communication Aid Users Society

Leah Hobson – Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Rob Garrett – Novita Children’s Services

Barry Dingle (by teleconference)

Further information about ACCAN is available from the website: http://www.accan.org.au/

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I was invited to present at the AARNeT hosted Virtual Worlds Workshop at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales on the 17th September.

There were 23 attendees at the workshop including representatives from AARNet, AIT Sydney, Audio Visual Services  (UTS), Australian National University, Charles Sturt University, Cisco, Electroboard, Flinders University,  NSW Department of Education and Training (x3), Scientific Acoustics, UoW/Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre, Sony Australia Ltd, University of South Australia, University of Southern Queensland, University of Wollongong  (x2) and Wenona School.

The speakers at the event included Mandy Salomon (Swinburne/SSCRC), Danny Stefanovic & Wes Ward (ExitReality), Farzad Safaei (UoW/SSCRC), Scott Grant (Monash), Denise Wood (UNISA) and our coordinator and speaker Lindy McKeown (USQ).  Brett and Jason (AARNet) did any excellent job with audio/video support.

The talks are available online at
http://mirror.aarnet.edu.au/pub/aarnet/AARNet_workshops_2009/

My presentations are available from:
http://prezi.com/1shaozw87x-q/
http://prezi.com/yvzqc_qwn8eu/

AARnet hosted Virtual Worlds Workshop, University of Wollongong

More photos from the day can be seen at:
http://picasaweb.google.com.au/aarnet.pics/AARNetTrainingWorkshopUOW_Sept2009#

AARNet did a superb job in supporting 3 virtual worlds at the event including SecondLife (SL, Meerkat viewers), ExitReality, iSee platforms.   It was a truly international tour with local and remote audio and video management on the fly.

The feedback from attendees was very positive noting speakers being pressed for time with a suggestion it should be a whole day!  All feedback rated at 4-5 (agree/strongly agree) with all positive statements on the general workshop, content and presenters.  Further discussions with NSW Sept of Education identified research opportunities and further ways for AARNet to engage with NSW DET, SSCRC, Nortel and others on an NBN testbed infrastructure that could support one or more virtual worlds.

According to James Sankar who organised the day “The main message is that a lot is happening in virtual worlds to support teaching, learning and collaboration, the main barrier to its use lies in effective IT service support to provide zero or low cost access and networking for performance with storage options for backup.  There are a range of platforms available at high and low cost to deploy, operate, customise, maintain.  Ideally a platform that can support multiple virtual world platforms with the ability to transfer the avatar, buildings and inventories is the way to go.  CAPEX and software development is only part of the answer, marketing, engagement with real users is also key to successful use of the technology”.

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In my August segment on Radio 5RPH I spoke about the experiential learning our Web design students are undertaking in which they are creating accessible websites for organisations and volunteer groups. I spoke in particular about one of my courses (Accessible Interactive Media) in which the students are creating accessible sites for disability and health related groups in Second Life. Their clients include The Health Support Coalition, Alliance Library (Healthinfo Island) and Virtual Helping Hands. I conduct a virtual tutorial class with the students each week in Second Life during which time we review the progress they are making on their projects and discuss any challenges they have experienced in working with groups in virtual worlds.

I also discussed the work our students are doing with the SA Government Office for Volunteers in a program founded by a colleague, Phil Marriott, called Sustainable Online Engagement.

You can listen to the radio program from this url: http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/3dvle/media/rph_ll2_290809.mp3

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The Independent Weekly ran a story in its ‘Specturm’ section about our research into accessibility solutions in 3D virtual environments for people with disabilities, with a particular focus on the technologies under development to increase the participation of students with disabilities within 3D virtual learning environments.

The article is viewable online at http://www.indaily.com.au/?iid=28172 (page 18 of 42).

This article was followed-up with an interview by Peter Godfrey from Radio Adelaide on the Breakfast Show, 19th august.

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I was invited to present on the topic ‘Webs, Wikis, Blogs and Avatars’ at the Australian Tertiary Education Management Regional Conference at a breakfast session on the 12th August 2009.

You can view my presentation online at: http://prezi.com/1shaozw87x-q/

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