Association for Learning Technology Online Newsletter
Issue 12 May 2008   Tuesday, May 6, 2008

ISSN 1748-3603

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Ascilite Awards 2007
by Frank Rennie

A small group from the ALT Research Committee recently undertook the task of judging the entries for the 2007 Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (Ascilite) awards. Given that Ascilite is a society for those involved in tertiary computer-based education and training, including interactive educational multi-media, it is unsurprisng that the submissions reflected the media (web-based and CD multimedia) across a wide range of subject disciplines. Educational initiatives and learning resources as varied as programming concepts, animal behaviour, and online literacy displayed a really encouraging enthusiasm, not simply for the ‘techy tools’ but also for deeply felt attempts to improve the learning quality of the students’ learning experience.
 
The small project award went to Charles Darwin University for introducing practical coding in computer programming concepts using an experiential learning approach to this sometimes difficult learning activity. Large project awards went to the University of Otago for a clever application that combined video clips of animals in the wild with statistical tools that enabled students to create ethograms: a sort of catalogue detailing the different forms of behaviour that are displayed by an animal. In this way the students can learn the values of objectivity and repeatability in the lab before venturing into the more challenging field environment. The Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Wollongong also won a large project award for the design of its online learning environment for medical students. This was an ambitious project that facilitated the tagging of all educational resources, from lecture outlines, to e-readings, clinical specialities, and learning outcomes in order to create an innovative integrated curriculum resource linked to problem-based learning.
 
The final award in the large project section was won by The University of Queensland for a project on the bovine reproductive tract that also won the President’s Award for Excellence. This project makes stunning use of video-clips, images, animations, and accompanying learning activities to introduce veterinary students to bovine reproductive issues, such as artificial insemination, that are very difficult to practice in real life, but are essential knowledge for vets and farmers. This project demonstrated an imaginative approach to the use of educational technology that shows how technology and pedagogy can go hand-in-hand to improve upon ‘traditional’ learning methods. Well done Ascilite for sponsoring and encouraging this level of creative thinking.
 
For more information go to http://www.ascilite.org.au and select ‘awards’ or contact Dr Bob Corderoy at bob@dermcoll.asn.au.

Frank Rennie
Frank.Rennie@lews.uhi.ac.uk

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