AUC 2005

Report on attendance at AUC 2005 – the Apple University Consortium Academic and Developer Conference held at Wrest Point, Hobart, 25 – 28 September <>

The AUC conference is held every two years. It is unusual in that the AUC offers several subsidised registration packages to each of the member universities. I was fortunate enough to have one of the USQ places and to be able to find the balance of expenses from personal resources. Hence my attendance cost the Faculty and USQ nothing except my absence from campus for the period of the conference. The benefits included networking with colleagues from other Australian universities and exposure to current thinking about various technological and pedagogical developments. Conference proceedings should be available on the web site (above) for those are interested in more detail.

Plenary sessions at the conference included 4 presentations from Apple personnel about current and future directions for the company and its products and keynotes by Stuart Lynn <> and Joichi Ito <>. Lynn spoke about the challenges faced by universities in dealing with rapidly changing IT environments for teaching, research and management. His presentation helped to make sense of some of what is happening but had no particularly new insights. Ito spoke with passion about issues related to the Creative Commons, including the capacity of networked interactions in blogs and wikis and the remix culture to influence our lives. He identified four generations of connectivity – ethernet connecting computers, TCP/IP connecting networks, HTML connecting content and Creative commons connecting cultures.

There were 9 stream sessions themed as Academic Adventures, Technology Trails and Developer Discoveries. For all but one of those I stuck with the academic strand.

Sandy Schuck of UTS reported on the outcomes of research on teachers using student generated video in classes. Significant learning was observed for both teachers and students in technology use and in relation to content areas. It may be time to consider how we might ensure that our graduates have the experience necessary to develop skills in working with video in classrooms.

Greg Boddy of Newcastle presented on an environment they had created for use in education courses. They have produced a rich environment simulating aspects of school life including student records, staff discussions and much more. The system has been constructed in a way that allows additional examples to be created by generating content to be placed in the framework. The concept may have value for us as a format for presenting problems in programs that are looking to take a problem based learning approach.

Alistair Campbell from ECU presented work he has been doing on the use of Filemaker as an electronic performance support system for marking. His databases enable markers to work with rubrics and produce all necessary records and outputs including well formatted feedback to students. I constructed similar tools using Filemaker from 2001 but have used different methods in recent semesters. I will take another look at the tools I had been developing to see if I can generalise them in ways that might be useful to others.

Student presenter, Simon Goldrei of Sydney, showed his seminar tool. He used his laptop in the presentation to capture action on his screen, video of himself and audio to a streaming server located in Sydney. The system supports live presentation and archiving for later access. Aspects of the system might be considered for some applications that currently use iPLOD.

Joe Luca of ECU presented a web-based tool for annotating Quicktime content. The tool supports marking up the QT content with links to resources. Its current application is for attaching additional notes and materials to recorded lectures.

The conference provided food for thought and some ideas that might be investigated more closely for possible application in my teaching.