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About: Dr Denise Wood is a Senior Lecturer and researcher in the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages at the University of South Australia (UniSA). Denise’s research focuses on the use of Web 2.0 and 3D virtual worlds to increase social participation, as well as the pedagogical benefits of social media in teaching and learning. She has been the project leader of two Australian Learning and Teaching Council funded projects including a current project which involves the design and development of an open source accessible 3D virtual learning environment. She is also managing a project funded by the South Australian Government, Office for Volunteers, Sustainable Online Community Engagement, which involves students developing Websites for community organisations through a service learning initiative. The project was honoured with the Premier’s Public Sector Award for Building Communities in 2009 in recognition of the professional skills that students gain from the learning experience as well as the benefits to the community groups.

Dr Wood is a UniSA project leader for a Cooperative Research Centre funded by Australian Government focusing on young people, technology and wellbeing, which is led by the Inspire Foundation. This research involves collaboration with Novita Children’s Services, Autism SA and Brain Injury Australia on projects that aim to increase the social participation of young people with disabilities through social networking and virtual worlds technologies. She is also undertaking collaborative research in South Africa with the Gauteng Province Education Department with additional funding support provided by the University of South Australia and the South African Zakah fund. This research aims to explore the use of 3D virtual learning environments to enhance student learning and increase student retention in rural and semi-rural schools.

Dr Wood is Associate Editor of the Higher Education and Research Development Journal and a peer reviewer of several high ranked journal publications. She is a member of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), Standing Advisory Committee on Disability Issues (SACDI) as well as various advisory committees and working groups concerned with increasing social participation through improved access to information and communication technologies. Dr Wood’s work in innovative teaching and learning, and accessibility solutions has been recognised with several awards including an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, an SA Great Award, several University teaching and equity awards and the inaugural 2010 Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell award for Telecommunications and Disability.

Professional role Senior Lecturer and Researcher

Organisation, if you have one University of South Australia

Interests Web 2.0; 3D virtual worlds; social networking; peer review; peer assessment; social inclusion; disability studies; widening the participation agenda; education for all

What topics are on your radar? Widening the participation agenda; social inclusion;, human rights education; alternative assessment; informal learning; UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities; access and equity; work integrated learning; service learning; teaching and research nexus

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