Australasian Journal of Educational Technology

Published by Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education
Online ISSN: 1449-5554
Print ISSN: 1449-3098
Publications
span>The Web Interactive Study Environment or WISE was developed from 1998-2000 at UWS Hawkesbury to address the issues that have arisen in moving online teaching from the innovative to the mainstream. The principles underlying WISE are drawn from a number of educational disciplines including distance education, tertiary education and academic development. Its objective is to influence not only academic practice within the institution but also the ongoing dialogue concerning flexible and online learning. Ownership of the process is dispersed throughout the organisation. The WISE team is involved in a wide ranging consultative process which includes virtually every sector of the university community. The result is a constantly evolving environment reliant as much on communication, negotiation and consensus as on hardware and software.</p
 
This paper describes the fruitful interaction between educational research on constructivism and the development and use of a multimedia computer program. The software uses interactive digital video clips to present sixteen real world demonstrations to Physics students. It is designed to be used by pairs of students to elicit their pre-instructional conceptions of Force and Motion and encourage discussion about these views. A predict-observe-explain (POE) strategy is used to structure the learners' engagement with the video clips. The choice and sequence of the video clips, as well as the multiple choice options available to students in the prediction phase of each task was informed by misconception research in physics education. All multiple choice selections and written responses made by users are recorded automatically in a text file on the computer hard drive.
 
The result of the project described in this paper is an innovative use of Quicktime Virtual Reality (QTVR) for display and manipulation of veterinary radiographs and ultrasound images, within a database developed for use in the Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging unit of the Master of Veterinary Studies at Murdoch University. One of the aims of this project was to find an alternative for the bulky sets of radiographs used by external students for their case-based coursework and assessment activities. The QTVR solution provides a means by which students can move and zoom within images, resize images and compare images side-byside. QTVR also allows important areas of images to be highlighted by hotspots, allowing annotation of images, which is helpful for assisting external students. Some of the priorities of this project were to maintain the detail and the depth of the hard copy radiographs in the QTVR images, to simulate the problem-solving process used in reading radiographs, and to improve the learning outcomes by highlighting and annotating important areas of images. It was hoped that this solution wouM provide a more cost-effective and convenient method of delivery of large numbera' of images to external students. In the subsequent cost-benefit analysis, it was found that the innovation described here offera' many economic advantages to the School of Veterinary Clinical Science.
 
Science teaching in the new millennium will need to suit the students" needs' and understanding, and employers" expectations. Choosing to learn will help form the learning opportunities presented. This paper looks' at the way the delivery of teaching and learning materials for large first year biology units' of study has changed over a period of time during which there have been reductions in staff resources and increases in student numbers'. The strategies currently used to manage student learning and improve the learning experience will be detailed. These include a mix of on-campus and online opportunities such as the management of laboratory classes in a peer-mode model and the recent re-purposing of existing on-line resources to provide a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE offers' a safe, student-centred learning environment with access to synchronous and asynchronous communications, as well as access to learning and assessment materials'. Reasons for the development of the VLE will be discussed along with some thoughts' about the management of campus-based teaching in the experimental sciences in the future.
 
span>This paper reports on a large scale study carried out in four settings that investigates the potential of the web as a medium of language instruction, both to complement face to face teaching and as a stand alone course. Data was collected by questionnaires and observational procedures to ascertain student perceptions of the usefulness of web based learning, their views on its advantages and disadvantages, their personal comfort and enjoyment when working with the web, their preferred mode of delivery, their evaluation of the quality of resources used, and their learning strategies and study preference. Results showed that students were on the whole positively inclined to working with the web and found it useful, with the majority preferring to use the web as an add on to face to face teaching. Reported advantages fell into the broad categories of time flexibility, reinforced learning, privacy and wealth of information; disadvantages into distraction, absence of teacher and personal interaction and lack of speaking practice. Significant differences for age and gender were found relating to clarity of objectives, number of hours worked, mode of delivery, perception of comfort and appreciation of graphics. Very few significant findings relating to strategy strength emerged.</p
 
The use of authentic activities within online learning environments has been shown to have many benefits for learners in online units and courses. There has been renewed interest in the role of student activities within course units, as constructivist philosophy and advances in technology impact on educational design and practice. Courses based on these principles have been used successfully across a wide variety of discipline areas. In spite of the growing evidence of the success of authentic learning environments, they are not without their problems. In this paper we discuss patterns of engagement that have emerged from our own research on authentic learning tasks, in particular, the initial reluctance to willingly immerse in learning scenarios that some students experience, and the need for the suspension of disbelief before engaging in the task. The paper proposes ten characteristics of authentic activities, based on educational theory and research, which has been used as criteria for the selection of existing online units or courses for in-depth investigation. The paper includes a short review of the literature, a description of the research and some preliminary findings and identification of issues related to the necessity for students to willingly suspend disbelief in order to fully engage in learning scenarios based on authentic tasks.
 
div class="page" title="Page 1"> The aim of this paper is to delineate a coherent framework for the authoring of re-purposable learning objects. The approach is orthogonal to the considerable work into learning object metadata and packaging conducted by bodies such as IMS, ADL and the IEEE. The 'learning objects' and standardisation work has been driven largely by adding packaging and metadata to pre-constructed learning artefacts. This work is very valuable. The argument of this paper, however, is that these developments must be supplemented by significant changes in the creation of learning objects. The principal aim of this paper is to delineate authoring principles for reuse and repurposing. The principles are based on a synthesis of ideas from pedagogy and software engineering. These principles are outlined and illustrated from a case study in the area of learning to program in Java. </div
 
A national study in Australia in the late 1990s explored barriers to the adoption and reuse of computer-facilitated learning (CFL) in Australian universities. These barriers will be summarized. One of these barriers is that it is hard to find information on courseware that is educationally sound; usually such courseware is expensive to produce and so reuse is especially desirable. However, even when information and access to electronic courseware exists, reuse may still not occur. Two cases will be described to illustrate the complexity of reuse. These cases are: 1) a collection of 169 plastic surgery websites; and 2) an international consortium of veterinary microbiology resources based on a well-evaluated case study design. Some strategies for improving reuse are suggested.
 
This paper reports on a distance education project where a threaded discussion board was used for interaction amongst students and teachers. The experiences from the first year of the project shows that such a forum can be an important complement to other evaluative resources in order to monitor student's expectations and experiences. Furthermore, it is argued that discursive evaluations can serve the purpose of establishing a learning community with shared norms and forms of communication and collaboration. Vital properties of the discussion board are that it is continuos, online, public, asynchronous and auto-structuring.
 
Mobile learning (m-learning) has moved beyond the realms of fantasy to become a viable platform for contextual learning that bridges formal and informal learning environments. This paper overviews how mobile Web 2.0 has been instrumental in facilitating pedagogical change and informing an institution's new e-learning strategy that focuses upon social constructivist pedagogies. The project developed an intentional community of practice model for supporting new technology integration, pedagogical development, and institutional change. Beginning with a small selection of early adopter trials, the results of the research are now informing a wider integration of wireless mobile computing. [This article was originally published in "ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology," v18, n3, p221-231, Nov 2010.] Article also republished in JALN Cochrane, T. (2011). Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: Mobile web 2.0 informing a new institutional elearning strategy. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN) Special Issue: The Transformational Impact of Learning Technology, 15(4), 221–231. doi: doi:10.1080/09687769.2010.529110
 
Percentage of students reporting an 'Average' or higher competence with online tools
Working with others in discussion forums
Today’s literature is filled with new paradigms for learning, specifically in relation to the increasing adoption of computer-mediated techniques for interactive learning. In many cases, learning may now be enhanced through the experience of a shared online environment for critical discussion, knowledge building and the establishment of supportive social communities. Research data obtained from social science students at Southern Cross University over two semesters reveals students’ perceptions of the importance of online discussion whether these are assessable or not. This paper presents some findings and explores the impact of the emergence of a student-centred social learning environment.
 
The use of information technology in higher education has increased significantly over the years. There is a paucity of controlled research which examines differences in electronic learning (EL) and face to face (F2F) learning. This study examined student (n = 1401) performance (final grade) in nine units offered in both F2F and EL mode over the course of two years. The effect of age and gender was also considered. Students, on average, did better in the EL mode although at the individual unit level there were minimal if any significant differences. Age and gender did not appear to moderate performance in any way except for those students under 33 who did better, on average, in the EL mode. The implications for teaching and learning in virtual mediums are discussed.
 
The use of activity theory is considered in the evaluation of a web based academic writing course in a New Zealand university. Activity theory is an aspect of sociocultural theory and provides a model for the understanding of goal directed social activity. Like other recent developments in applied linguistics, research and evaluation in second language writing has been influenced by sociocultural theory, because it emphasises the social, rather than the individual, context of writing. The primary purpose in carrying out this study was to illuminate the use of activity theory as a formative evaluation technique for the improvement of large academic writing courses supported through the web conferencing features of a course management system, Web Crossing. Data were in the form of international student responses to prompts made in online diaries on a weekly basis throughout the course. An activity theory orientation guided the design of the prompts and the analysis of the data. Activity analysis allowed the researchers to appreciate the tensions and difficulties for students in managing the group processes that the web mediated instruction afforded or constrained. The study also suggests that the set of guiding questions derived from Jonassen and Rohrer-Murphy (1999) may be useful for future evaluations and research. This article has been published in the journal: Australasian Journal of Educational Technology.
 
blockquote>This case study documents how a group of 14 academically at risk Primary 5 students (11 year olds) were engaged in academic related tasks in an after school program mediated by a 3-D Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE) . Although there was no significant difference in the students' academic performance, they were found to be more engaged in the learning tasks and had acquired a range of information and communication technology (ICT) skills. At the start of the program students attended irregularly, but this improved gradually over the weeks, and other Primary 5 students were attracted to enrol in the program. The planned schedule of the after school program and the 3-D MUVE provided the structures and online learning environment to engage these students. This paper reports on the after school program from the perspectives of the students and teachers, emphasising its context, that is, the school setting. The main finding suggests that the role of ICT has to go beyond the role of a mediating tool. It has to entice these students to be first interested in the virtual learning environment and subsequently in the content embedded within this environment. Thus ICT becomes a means to an end as well as an end by itself, in this process of engaging students. This finding has design implications especially for the use of ICT to engage academically at risk students. </p
 
Factors influencing academics' development of e-learning environments  
Rapid advances in educational and information communications technology (ICT)have encouraged some educators to move beyond traditional face to face and distance education correspondence modes toward a rich, technology mediated e-learning environment. Ready access to multimedia at the desktop has provided the opportunity for educators to develop flexible, engaging and interactive learning resources incorporating multimedia and hypermedia. However, despite this opportunity, the adoption and integration of educational technologies by academics across the tertiary sector has typically been slow. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative study that investigated factors influencing the manner in which academics adopt and integrate educational technology and ICT. The research was conducted at a regional Australian university, the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), and focused on the development of e-learning environments. These e-learning environments include a range of multimodal learning objects and multiple representations of content that seek to cater for different learning styles and modal preferences, increase interaction, improve learning outcomes, provide a more inclusive and equitable curriculum and more closely mirror the on campus learning experience. This focus of this paper is primarily on the barriers or inhibitors academics reported in the study, including institutional barriers, individual inhibitors and pedagogical concerns. Strategies for addressing these obstacles are presented and implications and recommendations for educational institutions are discussed.
 
span>In recent years Australian universities have increased their focus on flexible delivery and online learning. Successful development of online teaching materials requires both knowledge of pedagogy as it applies to multimedia technologies as well as knowledge of the capabilities of current software and hardware. While academics are familiar with the skills and approaches required to operate in traditional environments they are often not equipped to meet the new demands of web authoring and online course design. Consequently, the potential of the online learning environment to improve the quality of the learning experience often remains unrealised. To address this issue Griffith University, as part of its focus on flexible learning, has established campus based production centres. The centre offers academics the services of multimedia development teams. An educational designer is allocated to work collaboratively with the academic to assist with the design of the online materials and the integration of the online resources into courses. This paper explores the expectations, experiences and perceptions taken from the perspective of ten lecturers within Griffith University, as they engage with the educational designer to develop online learning materials. Motivated by the authors' belief that the development of online learning materials is an endeavour aimed at improving the quality of teaching and learning, this paper seeks to raise some of the issues and concerns which educational designers, as staff developers, need to consider in order to guide interactions with academic staff toward a more fruitful end.</p
 
Measurement of the variables of the hypothesised model 
The Extended Technology Acceptance Model (TAME)  
Results of the multiple group modeling 
Standardised coefficients of the hypothesised TAME The parameter estimates of the hypothesised model were free from offending values. All path coefficients of the casual structure were statistically significant at .005 levels, and were of practical importance, since the smallest value of the standardised path coefficient was 0.31. The data indicated that computer self efficacy was relatively more  
summarises the results of structural equation modeling of TAME. The confirmatory modeling yielded consistency of the hypothesised causal relationships with the data (relative Chi-square = 3.7; RMSEA = .06; CFI = .95; TLI = .94). All these fit indices satisfied their critical cutscores; the results, therefore, indicated a fitting TAME.  
The first aim of the present study is to validate an extended technology acceptance model (TAME) on the data derived from the faculty members of a university in an ongoing, computer mediated work setting. The study extended the original TAM model by including an intrinsic motivation component--computer self efficacy. In so doing, the study assessed the direct and indirect effects of computer self efficacy on the use of the technology, via the perceived usefulness and intention to use the technology voluntarily. The second purpose of the study is to evaluate gender and age invariants of the causal structure of TAME. This cross-validation procedure determined whether gender and age group moderated the causal structure of the model, and thus the generality of TAME. The data were collected from a self reported questionnaire administered to 731 faculty members of a public university in Malaysia. The results of structural equation modeling supported the adequacy of TAME. Although the TAME's causal structure was applicable to both male and female staff, age group appeared to moderate the structural relationships among the constructs of interest. (Contains 3 figures and 2 tables.)
 
blockquote>Educators are often torn between impositions of the institution in which they work and the imperatives of their individual courses or units and the impact this tension might have on student satisfaction with the learning experience. It is common to hear that students must graduate with multiple generic attributes or skills, yet these skills may not be within the gamut normally required in a specific undergraduate unit. This paper reports on an attempt to integrate both University sanctioned or top down generic skills and an instructor's organic or bottom up desirable skills in a multimedia unit at an Australian university, and the impact this has on student satisfaction. Specifically both asynchronous and synchronous tools were used to facilitate online community characteristics, in turn usable to foster the generic skills of collaboration, communication and problem solving. Results reveal synergies between the possibly divergent and potentially opposed goals of the university and the classroom. This paper demonstrates the ways that the conscious promotion of an online community to simultaneously assist achieving both the unit learning outcomes and prescribed generic skills, caused no evident conflict for student participants. </p
 
Average allocation of staff time for staff and unit development (Weeks 2-18)
span>For academics to successfully make the transition to online teachers or learning facilitators, they must do more than develop new technical skills. Online development and delivery requires new pedagogical approaches, challenging previous practices with regards to assessment, group interaction and student/teacher dialogue. Furthermore, it necessitates attention to issues concerning academic work practices. Online delivery challenges traditional notions of academics working in isolation and instead brings together teams of people each with unique skills, into a course design and development team. This paper describes the early phases of a systems change approach being implemented in the School of Social and Workplace Development at Southern Cross University. An ongoing collaborative action learning model is described as a vehicle for staff development and change management. This consisted of twice weekly team meetings and training sessions. These sessions represented a balance of outside expertise and experiences being brought into the group, and reflective and "idea sharing" sessions amongst the development team itself. A mixture of technological, pedagogical and managerial issues were covered and discussions were fully documented throughout the process. Information on changing staff attitudes was collected via a series of semi-structured interviews recorded at various stages over the course of unit development and early delivery stages, as well as staff completing weekly "reflection sheets" on their experiences. Enthusiasm, collaboration and a sense of ownership are identified as major factors driving the change process. Major barriers included difficulties of dividing time between varied commitments, the importance of timeliness of training components and the need to develop policy and guidelines "on the run". Further data collection such as time commitments from staff and skill requirements at each phase of development were used to develop guidelines and recommendations for further rounds of development and for budgetary planning.</p
 
Current research in Computerised Adaptive Testing (CAT) focus on applications, in small and large scale, that address self-assessment, training, employment, teacher professional development for schools, industry, military, assessment of non-cognitive skills etc. Moreover, dynamic item generation tools and automated scoring of complex constructed- response examinations reaches operational status. Therefore, it is important to extend CAT's functionality to include more variables in its student model that define the examinee as an individual beyond the mastery level, for improved performance and more efficient test delivery. This paper is aiming to look at different variables that can prompt adaptation and then discusses their potential use to a hypothetical student model for CAT. The objective of this effort is to provide researchers, designers, and developers of CAT a perspective to exploit research outcomes from the area of personalised hypermedia applications.
 
This paper takes the form of a dialogue between the evaluator and the course team chair of a very large web-based course presented by the Technology Faculty of the UK Open University. An extensive evaluation has been conducted following the first pilot presentation of the course, and the two authors discuss the findings as they relate to students' satisfaction with the course. Seven key issues are raised: skills versus academic content, students' previous computing experience, interaction through computer conferencing, online group work, online tutoring, students' lack of time, and revising a course in the light of evaluations. Finally, the results of this course are compared to three other web courses.
 
This article examines whether the ubiquitous presence of technology in schools negatively affects democratic learning by promoting instrumental rationality and, hence, reifying social reality. The author suggests that structural critiques of educational technology ignore the considerable impact of human agency on shaping related learning outcomes. By combining Dewey's constructivism with Internet technology, the article suggests student agency and participatory democratic learning are actually encouraged. Rather than condemning educational technology as necessarily socially reproductive, then, the author concludes that democratic educators should appropriate classroom technologies and utilise them in ways to promote the critical consciousness of students.
 
Project methodology 
Adapted formal peer review process model for resource contributions 
The ALTC Exchange (formerly the Carrick Exchange), is a national repository and networking service for Australian higher education. The Exchange was designed to provide access to a repository of shared learning and teaching resources, work spaces for team members engaged in collaborative projects, and communication and networking services. The Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) established the Exchange for those who teach, manage and lead learning and teaching in higher education. As part of the research conducted to inform the development of the Exchange, models for peer review of educational resources were evaluated. For this, a design based research approach was adopted. Findings from the literature and feedback from key practitioners and leaders within the sector are discussed in this paper. Finally, key recommendations for implementation are identified.
 
A brief profile of participants
blockquote>For some 20 years the literature has been highlighting a range of benefits to be gained from integrating information and communication technology (ICT) in the teaching of visual arts. However, little research has depicted the 'state of play' regarding visual arts teachers' approaches to technology within the Australian context. This paper reports on a study of 14 visual arts teachers from a rural area of Australia and reveals broad diversity in individual teachers' social, artistic and educational values, attitudes and beliefs about ICT, leading to widely diverse approaches to both their personal and professional use of technology. The paper explores a number of key issues, including: whether teachers perceive dissonance between ICT and visual arts; whether teachers believe it is important to integrate ICT in their teaching; the role ICT is currently playing in classrooms; the issues teachers are experiencing and how teachers approach their own ICT learning. It is argued that effective ICT professional development for teachers must take account of teachers' values, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions not only regarding ICT, but in relation to teachers' own approaches to their personal and professional learning. </p
 
In this increasingly convergent and digital world, young people are reportedly using new media with high engagement outside school, yet disengaged in those schools where technology access is low or restricted. Such an apparent disconnection is magnified when predictions of their futures are tied to requisites including technological expertise, adaptability to change, innovative capacities and complex problem-solving abilities. Such future-oriented capacities challenge traditional views that basic literate and numerate proficiency is sufficient for academic success. They also raise questions about the sufficiency of digital engagement for developing higher-order critical and creative skills. Collectively, these future-oriented capacities heighten educational imperatives for improving the quality of young people's learning outcomes in this rapidly changing online world. This article addresses these issues. It draws on diverse literature sources and an Australian research study (2003–2008) into secondary students' curricular digital literacies (Appendix A) to present conceptual advances in understandings about how to recognise, talk about and value signs of quality learning in student-created multimodal products. Finally, the article offers an assessment framework with potential for assisting students and teachers to access core concepts and mobilise those essential capacities for enhancing performance when using and creating knowledge online. Yes Yes
 
The Assessment Snapshots digital resource is a current project to support academic learning about assessment by diffusing knowledge and understanding of locally contextualised good practice in assessment at the University of Western Sydney. An initial collection of Snapshots was made available to academic staff on the university web site in early 2006. This paper describes how the resource has been utilised by teachers and explains the uses that academic developers have made of the resource in supporting teachers to extend their learning about assessment. The paper reflects on the extent to which the pilot project has been successful in disseminating effective assessment practice and promoting reflection and discussion about assessment issues. It proposes future directions for more effectively integrating and contextualising resources for professional learning with teachers' everyday teaching practice
 
Assessment is one of the key elements of the teaching and learning process. It provides teachers with a means of evaluating the quality of their instruction. Students also use it to drive and direct their learning. Online teaching and learning will continue to become more important to Australian universities in order for them to remain competitive and economically viable. In the online environment, assessment is no less critical than in traditional face to face environments. However, assessment risks being overlooked or at least marginalised in the rush to place course content online. This paper provides a snapshot of the prevalence and characteristics of online assessment in Australian universities during 2004. It highlights useful information regarding the use of online assessment in the university sector and illustrates that overall this crucial area is not being given the attention or resources it requires.
 
Asynchronous online discussion is used in a variety of ways, both in online learning environments and in traditional teaching environments where, increasingly frequently, a blended approach is adopted. However the anticipated benefits of this tool in improving student learning outcomes are still being debated. One of the many factors affecting the outcomes of asynchronous online discussion is that of assessment. This study investigated the influence of assessment of discussion postings on the achievement of discussion outcomes as perceived by instructors. The findings indicate that the incorporation of assessment results in higher levels of discussion outcomes than if no assessment were used. The use of a subsequent assessment based on the online discussion was also examined, but the results were inconclusive.
 
Flexible Learning Toolbox series 
This paper describes The Flexible Learning Toolboxes Project , a component of the Australian Flexible Learning Framework for the National Vocational Education and Training System 2000-2004 (AFL Framework). The AFL Framework is designed to support the accelerated take-up of flexible learning modes and position Australian VET as a world leader in applying new technologies to vocational education products and services. A Toolbox is a set of learning resources designed for web based delivwww.ascilite.orgs customisation and reuse in the National Training Framework, which forms the basis of qualifications and accreditation in the Australian VET sector. The paper describes aspects of the Project and discusses the innovative design approaches that are being used to create quality online learning resources. Examples of several Toolboxes are provided to demonstrate the forms of online learning settings that have been developed for the Australian VET sector.
 
Research indicates that when interactive whiteboards are used well they can increase student engagement and learning (Glover, Miller, Averis & Door, 2007; Schuck & Kearney, 2007, 2008). This means it is important to educate future teachers in how to use interactive whiteboards and how to incorporate them successfully into their teaching. Current research indicates that a teachers pedagogy or how they teach has a major influence on the quality of student learning outcomes. Thus how teachers use ICT has a great effect on student outcomes. A range of pedagogical models concerned with the concept of authentic pedagogies are commonly used within Australian classrooms. Training designed for pre-service teachers dealing with the pedagogical application of interactive whiteboards is designed to guide and assess the implementation according to these pre-existing and widespread pedagogical models. This paper examines examples of how IWBs can be used in teacher education as well as how to integrate their use across courses that pre-service teachers undertake.
 
blockquote>Learning management systems (LMS) serve as the primary online technology for student learning in many universities. Although they are only one 'solution', they are often regarded as all encompassing. How university teachers reconcile their beliefs about such technologies with their pedagogical beliefs remains a relatively unexplored area. This study draws on three cases from various disciplines to uncover faculty beliefs about the roles, affordances and limitations of these technologies and how each teacher adapted these to their learning designs within an LMS environment. The overall aim is to reveal the relationship between teacher beliefs and learning designs for web technologies such as LMS. This research contributes to the conceptual understandings that underpin faculty teacher development for technology integration. It provides insightful accounts of the kinds of teacher beliefs that underlie effective learning designs for quite large classes. The resultant stories themselves hold great potential to promote reflection and discourse on the use of technologies in university teaching. </p
 
'Blogging' - a contraction of the term 'web logging' - is perhaps best described as a form of micro-publishing. Easy to use, from any Internet connection point, blogging has become firmly established as a web based communications tool. The blogging phenomenon has evolved from its early origin as a medium for the publication of simple, online personal diaries, to the latest disruptive technology, the 'killer app' that has the capacity to engage people in collaborative activity, knowledge sharing, reflection and debate (Hiler, 2003). Many blogs have large and dedicated readerships, and blog clusters have formed linking fellow bloggers in accordance with their common interests. This paper explores the potential of blogs as learning spaces for students in the higher education sector. It refers to the nascent literature on the subject, explores methods for using blogs for educational purposes in university courses (eg. Harvard Law School), and records the experience of the Brisbane Graduate School of Business at Queensland University of Technology, with its 'MBA blog'. The paper concludes that blogging has the potential to be a transformational technology for teaching and learning.
 
blockquote>Quantitative and qualitative research of a case study course confirmed that the course achieved a highly interactive learning experience, associated with more effective student support and high student retention. Computer conferencing achieved high participation from the beginning and evidence of dialogue and argumentation within online tutor groups. This was achieved not by active tutor moderation but by a sequence of structured tasks. Compendium mind mapping software has been used to represent the design of this sequence of tasks and this has refined interpretation of the research findings. The positive outcomes identified relate not purely to computer conferencing but to an integration of individual and group tasks feeding forward into a well-designed assignment. The usability of case study data relates to the ability of practitioners to compare their own context with that of the case. The visual representation of the design of the task sequence is providing a better bridge from the research to the practice context than the use of general description of findings alone. This is particularly important in an area which has generated a range of sometimes conflicting findings, with weak links to the challenges of course design. </p
 
Clusters of ICT experienced and novice students, and gender distribution in the clusters 
Full text of this article is available at http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet26/vuojarvi.html This study reports how university students domesticate their personal laptops at the beginning of studies on a wireless campus. The aim was to examine how students integrate the laptop into their personal education experience, what sort of processes were experienced to render the laptop useful and meaningful, and how gender and IT proficiency influenced this process. Qualitative interview data with twenty students (identified and selected by quantitative survey) was analysed using the grounded theory approach during which a multi-aspect domestication process was identified. Results highlight the importance of a structured way of organising laptop initiatives in universities. It is important that students have the kind of support available that best suits their needs. Pedagogically, successful domestication enables students to integrate the computer into their learning experience. However, we argue that successful domestication allows the artefact to become more than just a tool for learning, but also an integral part of an individual's existing media environment. In effect, comfort of use and IT capability is regarded as only one way of expressing successful domestication. This article adds to the growing number of studies using domestication as an analytical and theoretical framework and considers the phenomenon in an under-researched area.
 
Can we apply the best of Web 2.0 principles to an educational context? More specifically can we use this as a means of shifting teaching practice to a culture of sharing learning ideas and designs? This paper describes a new social networking site, Cloudworks, which aims to provide a mechanism for sharing, discussing and finding learning and teaching ideas and designs. We describe the development of the site and the key associated concepts, 'clouds' and 'cloudscapes'. We provide a summary of recent activities and plans for the future. We conclude by describing the underpinning theoretical perspectives we have drawn on in the development of the site and in particular the notion of 'social objects' in social networking and a framework for 'sociality' for transforming user practice online.
 
This paper explores the process of collaboratively creating a networked learning community of practising teachers to support information and communication technology (ICT) professional development. The paper reports on one aspect of a continuing ARC funded Linkage project that is concerned with models of teacher ICT professional development that result in multiliterate classroom outcomes. The industry partner for the project is the Suncoast Cyberschools, a group of regional schools for whom being a ‘networked learning community’ is fundamental to their purpose. Data reported in this paper were gathered using archived posts to a threaded discussion forum and analysed qualitatively for evidence of community development, and quantitatively through a process of categorising posts to reflect levels of discussion (Järvelä & Häkkinen, 2002). The research provides a number of indicators that support a claim for the existence of community and some practical stages that are essential to the formation of an online learning community. The findings of this research inform both ICT professional development for practising teachers and the functioning of online learning communities.
 
blockquote>Given the current diversity of communication tools at an educator's disposal, what role (if any) does the discussion forum play in the development of a strong sense of community among students? This study sought to investigate the relationship between discussion forum interaction and perceived student sense of community. The results of the study demonstrate that while mere quantity of discussion forum postings is not an indicator of community development, a significant relationship is observed when contributions are codified into the various discussion interaction types (learner - learner; learner - content; system). An implication emerging from these findings is the ability for the institution to implement evaluative measures to gauge levels of student sense of community in a just in time environment. As discussion interactions are automatically captured and reported, the data provides an indication of the degree of community developing among the student population at a specific snapshot in time. As multiple snapshots provide an ongoing indicator of community development, practitioners have the capacity to develop intervention activities designed to promote further peer to peer discussion and therefore, facilitate the development of a strong sense of community. </p
 
TALBI Portal Interface http://www.gu.edu.au/school/mgt/talbi/talbimain.html
Frequencies and percentages of items in the Professional Readiness Scale
TALBI as a strategic learning architecture
Employment potential
In response to continuing pressures for change and reform in the higher education sector, this paper outlines and develops a 'smart community' model for developing the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in university teaching and learning. It presents the 'smart community' as a viable metaphor and model for articulating and managing integrated training, education, consultancy and research initiatives for staff and students alike, and details its application at a specific faculty and regional setting. The concept of a smart community is to develop innovative partnerships among community institutions and organisations, governments, local business and a range of private sector interests, to take full advantage of the digital economy. A smart community is considered to be one that has developed the means and methods to extract economic, social and cultural benefits from electronic networks. This paper identifies how one university has managed to pilot innovative services and applications to create new value and transform the 'rhythms' of its local, host community through the use of ICTs. Yes Yes
 
Jenny's title slide (Year 8, 2004)
Jenny's selection of design features in her headings, Year 8, 2004
Jenny's Year 10 slide set (2006)
Jenny's choice of visual signifiers of negative stance on topic (Year 8, 2004)
blockquote>Classroom teachers routinely make judgments on the quality of their students' work based on their recognition of how effectively the student has assembled key features of the genre or the medium. Yet how readily can teachers talk about the features of student-created multimodal texts in ways that can improve learning and performance? This article aims to address this issue by describing an approach developed by the authors for analysing and comparing the salient features of two multimodal texts created by the same secondary school student, one while in Year 8 (thirteen years) and one in Year 10 (fifteen years). Firstly, the criteria of design, content and cohesion are introduced as framing for the analysis. Next, these criteria are applied to the title slide, the slide headings and the knowledge representation in each multimodal text. The choice of the criteria and the product elements to which they are applied are central to our approach which aims to be practical and to provide sufficient coverage of key elements for descriptive and comparative purposes, especially the key multimodal features of the products. This approach has potential for wider application when two multimodal products are to be described and compared. </p
 
A comparison of means (with Standard Deviations) for confident and unconfident teachers for the two dimensions of
Information and communication technology (ICT) curriculum integration is the apparent goal of an extensive array of educational initiatives in all Australian states and territories. However, ICT curriculum integration is neither value neutral nor universally understood. The literature indicates the complexity of rationales and terminology that underwrite various initiatives; various dimensions and stages of integration; inherent methodological difficulties; obstacles to integration; and significant issues relating to teacher professional development and ICT competencies (Jamieson-Proctor, Watson, & Finger, 2003). This paper investigates the overarching question: Are ICT integration initiatives making a significant impact on teaching and learning in Queensland state schools? It reports the results from a teacher survey that measures the quantity and quality of student use of ICT. Results from 929 teachers across all year levels and from 38 Queensland state schools indicate that female teachers (73% of the full time teachers in Queensland state schools in 2005) are significantly less confident than their male counterparts in using ICT with students for teaching and learning, and there is evidence of significant resistance to using ICT to align curriculum with new times and new technologies. This result supports the hypothesis that current initiatives with ICT are having uneven and less than the desired results system wide. These results require further urgent investigation in order to address the factors that currently constrain the use of ICT for teaching and learning.
 
This study reports on students' and lecturers' perceptions of using wikis as a platform for conducting assessed group projects in two postgraduate Master's level university courses. The results highlight the fact that student attitudes to group work, in general, are mixed, and that the use of wikis per se is not enough to improve these attitudes. On the positive side, students found wikis useful for arranging information and sharing knowledge, while instructors thought wikis made managing and marking group work easier and more effective. Other issues related to using wikis as a collaborative learning tool in higher education are also considered.
 
Number of sections of the practice report started or completed by each Wiki subgroup  
Mean ratings for the self efficacy questionnaire, the subscales of the statistics anxiety rating scale, and performance on the research report test for the pre-test and post-test assessments in the Wiki and Individual groups (standard deviations are in parentheses).
A wiki was used as part of a blended learning approach to promote collaborative learning among students in a first-year university statistics class. One group of students analysed a data set and communicated the results by jointly writing a practice report using a wiki. A second group analysed the same data but communicated the results in a practice report that they wrote individually. Both groups were taught the same material. The report was used for practice as a way to support student learning and was not submitted for assessment. Both approaches improved report writing knowledge and did not differ in the mark obtained on an individually written research report subsequently submitted for assessment. The wiki approach produced higher engagement with other students, cognitive engagement, and class attendance than the individual approach. Qualitative feedback suggested some drawbacks to using a wiki. Overall participation was also low with only 2 of the 22 wiki subgroups completing all components of the practice report. The present findings suggest that student engagement, but not performance on assessment, may be enhanced when a wiki is used to support learning in higher education. Yes Yes
 
Respondents' usage of mobile phone, smartphone*, PDA and MP3 player
Fifty-seven alumni of a global Masters programme participated in research into their use of mobile devices. Drawing on questionnaire and interview data, the paper examines how far the devices were embedded in the personal and professional lives of these alumni, most of whom were aged 35–54. All had experience of online and distance education, and most worked in education or training. The study revealed some innovative uses of mobile devices, a selection of which is reported in this paper. The paper links the findings to wider debates about the changing relationship between learners and educational institutions, and the role of mobile devices in enabling individuals to engage in learning conversations. Data are provided on which devices were used by the alumni and for what purposes, and the paper explores the implications of these findings for educators.
 
This paper reports on a study conducted in 2006 with more than 2,000 incoming first-year Australian university students. Students were asked about their access to, use of and preferences for an array of established and emerging technologies and technology based tools. The results show that many first year students are highly tech-savvy. However, when one moves beyond entrenched technologies and tools (e.g. computers, mobile phones, email), the patterns of access and use of a range of other technologies show considerable variation. The findings are discussed in light of Prensky's (2001a) notions of the 'Digital Natives' and the implications for using technology to support teaching and learning in higher education. Yes Yes
 
Whilst prior research has identified children as avid users of new technologies, insufficient studies have explored their patterns of use. This paper investigates how New Zealand pre-teens use technology out of school and identifies a typology of technology use. Two hundred and twenty four children between 10 and 12 years of age completed a comprehensive questionnaire about their use of technology. Results indicated that children of this age were immersed in technology related activities. A principal components factor analysis revealed a typology with five distinct factors underlying pre-teen digital behavior. Two factors showed some differentiation by gender but differences were not evident for socio-economic factors.
 
Over the last three decades new technologies have emerged which have the capacity to considerably streamline the research and publication process and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of research. This paper argues that to achieve high quality research training in the context of today’s government and industry priorities, there must be a renewed focus on the organisational and technological skills that are appropriate to research. It reports on a survey of both researchers-in-training (higher research degree students) and early career researchers across a number of Australian institutions. The study revealed moderate levels of confidence in these areas but also found strong evidence that researchers see these aspects of research as very important and that they require greater knowledge, skills and support. The paper recommends inclusion of these organisational and technological aspects of research in research training programs and that higher education institutions take seriously the importance of such skills and do not assume that beginning researchers are already adequately trained in these skills.
 
Summary of strengths and difficulties in using research methods
This paper reports on issues in carrying out research into online discussion. The context is a study of a distance learning module within an MBA program. The module required students to tackle problems based on real life scenarios within small online groups. Students were studying part time and shared similar professional backgrounds. The research looked at students' overall evaluation of the module, ways in which group work was conducted, and the contribution of the tutor. The approach taken was an interpretive case study using questionnaire survey, text analysis and interviews. The main findings from the study are reported, but the focus is on the strengths of, and difficulties in, using the research methods. Triangulation of methods provides the researcher with a greater degree of confidence in reporting findings, although subjective interpretation is still needed.
 
Mobile computing devices are increasingly finding a place in universities, putting the pressure on teacher education to consider how best to incorporate the use of these technologies. At the same time there is pressure from the requirement for teacher education students to develop skills and experience in using digital technologies to support their teaching in schools. In response to these pressures the School of Education at Edith Cowan University has involved students in two exploratory projects over the past two years concerned with the use of laptop computers. This paper reports on the implementation and results of these projects. While generally the outcomes were positive it is not clear that this is the preferred solution when considering the range of digital device options available.
 
blockquote>Professional development for teachers in information and communication technology (ICT) is currently a major priority for school systems in Australia and internationally. The metacognitive and reflective approach to professional development described in this paper is a response to the limitations of directive approaches to ICT learning within a context of rapid technological change. It proposes a capability based approach which strives to develop lifelong computer learning strategies. An important characteristic of the metacognitive approach is that, rather than specific objectives or outcomes being 'imposed' on learners, participants are encouraged to identify, articulate and pursue personally relevant goals, including those related to skills, attitudes, confidence, values and understandings, integration and school leadership. This paper reports on a research project which investigated the applicability of such an approach to teacher professional development. The approach was found to have significant outcomes in terms of computer skill development, and in influencing teachers' approaches to their own and their students' learning. </p
 
Theoretical model ('FIT' model) for the evolution and ensuing consequences of ICT use at the school 
Individual teacher adaptation strategies for using ICT with their classes 
This paper presents a case study of a primary school which was seen as using ICT effectively to support teaching and learning. Research was carried out over two years (2003-2005) and included observation of lessons, document analysis, interviews, and questionnaires with staff at the school. It was found that 'fitting ICT in', rather than 'effective use of ICT', provided a more accurate description of the complex decisions and actions that were made regarding ICT use in the school. Using a grounded theory framework the paper describes the causal conditions; the contextual conditions; the intervening conditions and the consequences for staff and pupils associated with 'fitting ICT in'. The study argues for an approach to research which seeks to develop collaboration and understanding between researchers and practitioners.
 
Top-cited authors
Kathleen Gray
  • University of Melbourne
Kerri Krause
  • La Trobe University
Mark J. W. Lee
  • Charles Sturt University
Catherine Elizabeth McLoughlin
  • Australian Catholic University
Chin-Chung Tsai
  • National Taiwan Normal University