Newsletter - June 2004Welcome to the mid-year edition of the ascilite newsletter. One aspect of the society's activities that has increased in profile in 2004 is the ascilite Awards For Exemplary Use Of Electronic Technologies In Teaching And Learning In Tertiary Education. Involvement by a panel of reviewers from around Australia and from overseas will reaffirm the significance of the awards both nationally and internationally.
The lead article is by an ascilite award winner for 2003, HOTcopy and provides some follow-up information about the resource. Also included in this edition are links to the current call for entries. In the What's interesting elsewhere section we link to the other ascilite award winner from 2003 and showcase the latest developments of the ANTA Flexible Learning Toolbox project.
The ascilite newsletter is produced three times a year and we welcome suggestions for themes and lead articles from our readers. Please send these to any of the editors.
Editor for this edition: Gerry Lefoe
Editorial team: Cathy Gunn, Gerry Lefoe, Meg O'Reilly, Linda Pannan.
Web Editor: NetSpot
HOTcopy - A Virtual Newsroom
What's interesting on the ascilite website?
What's interesting elsewhere?
HOTcopy - A Virtual NewsroomSimulating authentic workplace pressures in real time
Stephen Segrave, Lecturer, Education Design
Deakin University Geelong
HOTcopy establishes an emotionally intelligent 'learning relationship' with students, inviting engagement in challenging roles in journalism and authentic, professional knowledge building rather than abstract content learning.
About the product
HOTcopy is for use by those participating in journalism education, training and development at different levels. It is a published suite of six scenarios on CD, each simulating in real time 20-40 minutes of journalism experience [Allen and Unwin, version AU.1.0.0, Sept. 2003]. While the first five scenarios invite participation as a journalist, the sixth involves the role of Chief Sub editor. Each scenario is in one of three broad levels of challenge. The structure of the HOTcopy application includes:
- Introduction (motivational welcome)
- Scenario selection (plus a web link to scenario variations online)
- Guided tour (optional)
- Begin scenario
- Final revision time
- End scenario
- File work (to desktop)
- Reflective questions
- Pub scene (optional, recommended debriefing)
- Quit program or return to scenario selection menu
Students must experience their chosen scenarios and respond under time pressures to collect relevant and up-to-the-minute information, write a story for the newspaper and file it for review or assessment. The scenarios are built on six major themes, approximately sixty syllabus elements and genuine workplace factors that influence the level of challenge. Each may be used for purposes such as formal assessment, exam practice, revision, tutorial discussion, and internship preparation.
Consistent with 'situated' professional practice, students' work assignments are set and emerge via documents and events, while interventions from scenario characters add new challenges. While dealing with professional issues, students craft stories to workplace deadlines, but as yet, the output file of work is not involved in automated assignment submission. At present the HOTcopy CD provides the re usable media objects and some web connectivity for varying the scenarios. While these scenarios are in print journalism (newspaper), the project hopes to include scenarios in television, radio and Internet journalism.
About the identified needs
Addressing the needs and stresses of the Journalism profession, teaching staff aimed to give students confidence in dealing with workplace challenges that are ethical, legal, commercial, managerial and personal. They also challenged the traditional approach to learning the profession by subtly reducing the power of the teacher through experiential learning in this virtual workplace, where the teacher's influences are 'modulated' as light guidance for the learner.
The HOTcopy project is an effective realisation of a design task addressing a program wide, journalism curriculum in an integrated and emotionally engaging manner. The intended learners include pre service students and mid career journalists in under graduate and post graduate university programs. HOTcopy is a response to: (a) requests from students for motivating and meaningful learning to prepare for a career; (b) requests from the profession for university education to integrate the challenging subjects of ethics and law in professional practice; and (c) requests from employers for rigorously 'workplace-relevant' learning experiences.
About the university policy environment
During 2001-2003 the HOTcopy project was strategically driven by Deakin University's Teaching and Learning Plans, as a centre piece of the 'Enhancing e-learning in Journalism' project. This online initiative involving a Learning Management System, was made possible by competitively won internal funding. Such projects were required to have a high degree of educational innovation in 'changes to curriculum', 'pedagogy', 'media/technology mix', 'assessment', and 'technology' conceived at the 'program level'.
About the planning approach
Early in the project the Journalism teaching team undertook half day retreats to revise the curriculum. This was made possible by input from unit evaluations, course evaluations, university wide student satisfaction surveys, anecdotal reviewing of teaching experiences and feedback from the Victorian Journalism Education Association. The professional capabilities of graduating students were most clearly prioritised during consultations between the teaching team and the education design and development team. Contemporary theories and university policies on learning and teaching, new technologies, but more particularly enthusiastic teaching academics and education professionals from central services, were drawn into alignment to create HOTcopy, which was viewed as only one element in a comprehensively conceived e-learning environment involving both physical and e-learning dimensions.
Scripting HOTcopy scenarios was a team effort between journalism academic staff, the education designer, education developer, interactive media producer and the video producer.
Stakeholder critique, testing and evaluations
Extensive evaluations have been conducted during the development and implementation of HOTcopy. Formal evaluation by 83 students reported its value for 'engaging attention', 'prompting action' and 'experiencing pressures' of the profession. Most felt the pressure in HOTcopy was 'more serious, urgent and more real than anything experienced in class'. Teacher and designer feedback as well as external critique from industry stakeholders were used for improvement to the final product. One external reviewer commented:
'HOTcopy is wonderful fun. From the newsroom tour and the press releases to the reflective questions and the advice from the panel of journalists, it provides a fast paced version of a busy newsroom. It is also well constructed, providing any journalism student with a huge challenge in facing several options under pressure - and having to think carefully about them.'
About the success
HOTcopy has drawn the attention of several Australian and overseas universities now using it in teaching Journalism and Professional Writing, and it has won major awards:
- the Australasian award for Best Software Project demonstrating 'exemplary use of electronic technologies in teaching and learning in tertiary education'. Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite) 2003.
- the national award for Innovation in Learning from the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD), 2002.
- the award for Excellence in Teaching from the Deakin University Vice-Chancellor's Awards, 2002.
About its continuing influences
The project's success for Journalism and its influence on conceptions of quality teaching across other professions in Deakin University, is due to deeply felt individual and team commitment by a broad range of professional and academic staff. A well of 'generosity of spirit' and expertise during the project forged professional alignments resulting in productive synergies for innovating. The project continues to achieve a range of impacts on the conceptions and practices of teaching and learning in the University: a Higher Education Equity Program funded project on disability access, and in another internal competitively won project, the HOTcopy design team aims to extend simulations to four other professions. Accessibility enhancements will not only assist in meeting strategic priorities and legal obligations, the project will further demonstrate the inherent benefitsof creating resources with embedded accessibility features. As a 'local' development HOTcopy should prove to be a valuable pilot for more extensive use of simulations.
The model underpinning HOTcopy is a congruent response to design advice in contemporary literature about achieving authentic learner engagement in meaningful learning tasks. HOTcopy achieves this through sometimes subtle interactivity. Students' perceptions 'in' action 'cognitively construct' their individual experiences of what are deceptively simple, goal based scenarios.
We look forward to further evaluations and research helping us to understand how to filter reality more wisely for education purposes.
Allen && Unwin:
What's interesting on the ascilite website?The ascilite awards are changing
The awards this year will centre on the impact the nominated entries have had on Improving Teaching and Learning using ICT. There will be no categorisation into small projects, web based projects etc, as has been the practice in the past. Rather all entries will be judged on their merits in terms of the above over-arching goal and the following criteria:
- Appropriateness for the target audience
- Appropriateness and effectiveness of the Learning Design
- Significance/impact on teaching practice and/or learning outcomes
- Creativity and Innovation
- Evidence of effectiveness (Evaluation)
- Overall quality
Awards are made each year at the annual Conference. The ascilite Award for Outstanding Achievement in ICT development, application or implementation is made to those entries considered by the judging panel to be exemplary in terms of any, or all of the judging criteria. The ascilite President's Award for Excellence is presented, on occasion, to the one entry recognised by the judging panel as representing an advance in learning technology design, application or implementation of international significance.
In past years there has also been an award for 'Best Student Project'. We will again consider student entries for the 2004 awards, however the local panel only will be involved in judging them.
The Closing date for entries will August 30th 2004.
The entry forms are available through the Awards links on the ascilite home page. To enter, read the information provided on the Awards page and simply download the application form using the links provided and return to the address given.
The awards are open to any current financial ascilite members. If you are not currently a member of ascilite and wish to submit an entry, please contact the ascilite Members' Secretariat (email@example.com) to arrange membership.
What's interesting elsewhere?Another ascilite award winner in 2003 was the ANTA Flexible Learning Toolbox Project http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox/newsandevents/news2003.htm
Trials are currently underway to investigate how enterprises are using Toolboxes within their organisation. The trials are exploring implementation and delivery issues, such as:
- technical and organisational support
- levels of satisfaction
- trainer and learner needs
- access and equity issues
- success factors.
Latest developments include "suites of learning objects" for VET users (http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox/index.htm).
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