Association for Learning Technology Online Newsletter
Issue 15 January 2009   Friday, January 30, 2009

ISSN 1748-3603

Cover Page »
Feature article
Building a better future – planning and designing innovative, intelligent educational buildings
Conference reviews
Perspectives on learning design – a report on the 3rd International LAMS and Learning Design Conference
FOTE – Future of Technology in Education 2008
Technology reviews
The eBeam – interactive whiteboard and capture system
eXe – e-learning XML editor
Project updates
Developing open content – the POCKET perspective
Web 2.0-style resource discovery comes to libraries – the TILE Project
ALT research news – transformed for 21st century learning
Technology and learning – a trade association perspective
Commentary launched: Education 2.0? Designing the web for teaching and learning
The Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite) update
ALT news
ALT Journal (ALT-J)
Chief Executive's report
Subscribe / Remove
Privacy policy

ALT Website

ALT-N online
Past Issues
Issue 14 October 2008
November 4, 2008
Issue 13 July 2008
July 21, 2008
Issue 12 May 2008
May 6, 2008
Issue 11 January 2008
January 25, 2008
Issue 10 October 2007
October 19, 2007

More Issues »
The Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite) update
by Mike Keppell and Dominique Parrish

ascilite 2008 conference
ascilite held its 25th Annual Conference at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia from November 30 – December 3, 2008. The theme for the conference was Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology? Questions that were addressed at the conference included:

  • What is the best way to lead for unknown technology futures?
  • What does the emergence of web 2.0 really mean for educational institutions?
  • Who does and should own educational technology?
  • How can students, educators, researchers and institutions act with integrity online?
  • What does it mean to be an online scholar?
  • What is the Generation Y phenomenon, and is it that significant?
  • What are the changing relationships between people, the virtual and the physical, and objects?
  • What is the relationship between technology and the internationalisation and globalisation of education?
  • What counts as innovation?
The keynote speakers
The keynote speakers were:
Dr Michelle Selinger, Director of Education Internet Business Solutions Group Public Sector Team for Asia-Pacific Cisco. Her keynote address ‘Through the looking glass’ is available at:

Associate Professor Piet Kommers, Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, University of Twente. His keynote ‘Mobile and virtual presence in the learning community’ is available at:

Associate Professor Gary Poole, Director of the Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth and the Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, University of British Columbia. Gary’s presentation ‘A place to call a learning home’ is available at:

Paper, presentations and highlights
There were a record number of submissions for the conference and a record number of reviewers for the refereed proceedings. In total there were 9 workshops, 76 full papers and 59 concise papers, 2 symposia and 27 poster presentations, with a total of 443 authors represented. Full paper proceedings can be accessed at: There was also a record number of delegates with over 400 attendees at the conference.

The conference, hosted by the Institute of Teaching and Learning, Deakin University, was convened by Professor Alan Farley, Faculty of Business and Law, Deakin University and Dr. Dale Holt, Interim Director, Institute of Teaching and Learning, Deakin University with an excellent organising committee supporting the conference.

Full details about the 2008 conference are available at:

New Executive
A number of veteran executive members retired at the 2008 AGM held at the conference. Retiring members included: Cathy Gunn (President), Gerry Lefoe (Vice-president), Bob Corderoy, Barney Dalgarno, Joe Luca, Gregor Kennedy and Diane Salter. It is important to emphasise the commitment of executive members who are volunteers and provide input for the benefit of the association. In particular Cathy Gunn provided nine years of service. The strength of the association can be seen by the commitment of these people over the years.

New executive members and roles for 2009 include: Mike Keppell (President), Caroline Steel (Vice-President), Anne Abraham (Treasurer), and Executive Committee Members: Ben Kehrwald, Iain Doherty, John O’Donoghue, Catherine Mcloughlin, Oriel Kelly, Allan Christie and Phillippa Gerbic. The ascilite secretariat is Dominique Parrish.

ascilite 2009 conference
ascilite 2009 will be held in Auckland City, Aotearoa New Zealand from December 6-9, 2009. The theme for the conference is 'Same Places, Different Spaces' and will focus on:

  • The BlendedSpace: Where the learner moves between independent and dependent spaces for his/her learning. What makes for effective blended learning? Why, How, When and Where?
  • The SocialSpace: What Web 2.0 technologies are the tutors and students using and for what? How well do they work? How do you know and what can be done to improve and increase their use? What is the nature of the social space?
  • The MobileSpace: How are mobile devices being incorporated into the learning environment and what use is being made of their functionality? What do the students think? What do they do?
  • The WorkSpace: What are industries, trades, businesses and professionals doing with e-learning technologies for further education and training? What works and why? Where does their future lie in the world of e-learning?

For more information about the conference and to register go to:

ascilite Institutional Membership Scheme
ascilite introduced an institutional membership scheme in 2008. This scheme was designed to reduce costs to institutions that currently pay for a number of individual subscriptions to the society. The institutional membership scheme options that are offered include:

  • Annual membership within Australia
  • Annual membership outside of Australia
  • 3 year membership within Australia
  • 3 year membership outside of Australia

ascilite member survey
In 2008, ascilite conducted a comprehensive member survey, which explored members’ expectations and perceptions in relation to the benefits of belonging to the Society, and identified areas in which members felt that the society could improve. Members greatly appreciated having an opportunity to give feedback and the survey will be conducted every two years to ensure strategic planning for the society is aligned with members’ expectations.

Survey respondent demographic
There was quite strong representation from ex-members (27%) responding to the survey. Most respondents had been members for over 3 years (53%), were at a mid- to mature-career stage (80%), and had participated in the conference and used the website or journal.

Benefits of ascilite membership
The main motivators for members to join asciliteincluded:

  • the conference,
  • the opportunities provided for members to learn about and participate in contemporary research occurring in the area,
  • the professional development activities,
  • an interest in computers in learning in tertiary education, and
  • the prospect for community engagement with like-minded people and similar interests.

Other motivations included the reputation of the society, recommendations from colleagues to join ascilite, the networking opportunities that membership avails, the affordability of the conference and ascilitemembership, the opportunities for members to present, publish, discuss, read, and learn about new ideas through the journal and conference papers.

Survey respondents reported that the major benefits of ascilite membership were the conference, networking with people, and the journal. Other perceived benefits included research opportunities, the dissemination information through the conference, journal, listserv, website, and newsletters, current trends, professional development, and the ascilite community.

Areas where ascilite can improve
In identifying any expectations of ascilite that were unmet survey respondents raised concerns in regard to the conference and the provision of membership services. Specifically respondents reported that:

  • Conferences: often focused too much on technology, could be made available as an online event, and the presentations could be more critical and pedagogically focused;
  • More membership services could be offered such as local or regional events, opportunities for sharing information and topics of interest across institutions, and professional development activities.

There was also the suggestion that more and better networking opportunities could be availed to members. 44% of survey respondents indicated that they did not have any unmet expectations.

Asked how ascilite could improve, survey respondents suggested that:

  • the conference could enable greater opportunities for networking, should enable virtual link-ups, could be, more extensively advertised and promoted and there could be more communication about the event;
  • membership processes and systems and the administration and management of ascilitecould be improved. Specifically it was suggested that the reminder emails for membership renewal were not always reliable, that the online renewal system was not always easy to use, the digest of emails could be difficult, and there was a need for greater presence, transparency and diversity of the executive; and
  • there could be more activities offered outside of conference - locally, regionally and, virtually.

It was also suggested that webinars could be offered during and outside of the annual conference, that there could be greater use of web 2.0 tools on the website in guest blogs, and through community and research connections, and that special interest groups should be established.

ascilite services and activities
Asked what special interest groups members might be interested in, survey respondents predominantly advocated groups that focused on:

  • pedagogy or were pedagogical related;
  • virtual environments, online role-play, games or simulations;
  • mobile technologies, emerging technologies, educational technologies and learning designs; and
  • evaluation and assessment.

To a lesser extent, respondents also suggested special interest groups that were focused on Web 2.0 and social software, learning and or communication; learning environments, learning spaces; the teacher or academic, professional development, or were discipline-based.

Finally the survey asked members what services or activities they would like to see offered between annual conferences. Most requested:

  • online seminars, webinars and activities;
  • the opportunity to engage in special interest groups, workshops, colloquiums or forums with podcast versions also offered, and
  • regional events, opportunities for networking, discussion and collaborations.

There were also suggestions for hosting visiting scholars and guest speakers, professional development activities, more informal linking of practitioners across different universities, promoting collaboration and sharing of events, expertise, and exchange with other associations (e.g. ALT, HERDSA).

Future initiatives
In response to the survey findings ascilite are endeavouring to establish a number of new initiatives and services for members. In late 2008 ascilite piloted and evaluated a series of online seminars with the Teaching, Learning and Technology (TLT) group. The ascilite strategic and operational plans were also reviewed and updated to reflect the findings and recommendations from the member survey.

Planning and organisation for ascilite initiatives and activities to be conducted in 2009 began at the 2008 conference. The focus of activities and initiatives will be:

  • Online seminars and webinars;
  • Local and regional events;
  • Communities of practice (COP) – strengthening, initiating and enabling infrastructure, particularly on the website, for COP to be established throughout the ascilite community; and
  • Special interest groups (SIG) – the facilitation and management of SIG particularly through the campus representatives forum.

Most significant however will be the major ascilite website upgrade that will occur in the first half of 2009. This new look website will strive to provide members with access to resources such as Web 2.0 and social networking technologies and tools.

Professor Mike Keppell
President, ascilite
c/o ascilite
PO Box 44

Ms Dominique Parrish
ascilite secretariat
PO Box 44

Printer Friendly Version »

There are no letters available.

Created with Newsweaver