December 5 – 8, with support from the Faculty, I attended ascilite 2010 in Sydney.
ascilite is the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education. I have been a member since before I attended my first ASCILITE conference at Wollongong in 1998 although I have managed to attend only the 1999, 2000, and 2005 conferences since then. Somewhere along the way ASCILITE has evidently adopted the full e e cummings style and become ascilite but that has not diminished the quality of the conference professional and social programs.
The theme of ascilite 2010 was curriculum, technology & transformation for an unknown future – more e e cummings. I presented a paper based on data collected as part of the LTPF project I shared with Karen Noble and Birgit Loch (Lyn Brodie). It was title, “Preparedness for flexible access to learning materials: How ready are university students and staff?”, and was co-authored with Birgit Loch (now at Swinburne), Joseph Mula (Faculty of Business), and Jerry Maroulis. Those who may be interested can find that paper in the online proceedings. Others from USQ at ascilite 2010 included Petrea Redmond, Shirley Reushle, Michael Sankey, and Helen Farley who were there to present papers to which other USQ staff had also contributed.
The keynotes were interesting and relevant: Jan Herrington (Murdoch) on authentic learning and new technologies, Lev Gonick (Case Western Reserve) on building a smart connected city (with hints of what the NBN might offer), Thomas Reeves (Georgia) on design research and blended learning, Ron Oliver (ECU) on designing for learning, and Martin Oliver (UK) on games and simulations.
Other sessions that I attended addressed a variety of topics, including: TPACK in teacher education, student voice in DE, multimodal learning environments at USQ, tinkering and sustainable innovation, social networking via ebooks, teaching in blended reality (regular classroom and Second Life simultaneously, indicators of engagement (academic analytics), social networking among university students, and teaching in virtual worlds.
Although there was no single stunning revelation among the presentations, the cumulative effect was to reinforce ideas about the importance of learning design (especially for authentic activities and assessment), the potential of social networking for learning, and the increased ease with which the necessary connections will be made if and when the NBN rolls out.