Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education


ascilite2014 Conference Retrospective

The 31st ascilite Conference, ‘Rhetoric and Reality’ was hosted in Dunedin last week by the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, and invited contributions which took a critical perspective on educational technology. We are really interested to find out about your experience at the conference. If you haven’t yet done so, could you please be sure to fill out our conference survey.  Your feedback will be used to guide next year’s conference.

How did it go? Around 370 delegates attended the conference, presenting 176 full and concise papers, posters, sharing practice sessions and workshops. All papers are available online via the conference website or directly here

Workshop, sharing practice and poster abstracts are available via links on the conference website:  The sharing practice sessions were a new addition to ascilite this year and from early feedback, this innovation was very well received.

The conference got off to a great start on Sunday 23rd November with 6 six excellent workshop sessions at Otago Polytechnic, followed by the Welcome Reception at the historic Sargood Centre and a short welcome from the Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull.

Our keynote speakers Sara de Freitas, Niki Davis, and Carmel McNaught and our invited speakers, Shane Dawson and Wayne Mackintosh all provided thought provoking and challenging talks to frame the theme of the conference. Recordings, including slides of the three keynotes and two invited talks are available here.

We will provide a permanent archive link to all conference materials and these talks when the conference website moves across to in the New Year.

We had many strong contenders for the conference paper and poster awards and the programme committee had some difficult choices to make!

  • The award for Best Full Paper went to Swee-Kin Loke for "How do virtual world experiences bring about learning? A critical review of theories."
  • The award for Best Concise Paper went to Inger Mewburn, Katharina Freund and Emily Rutherford for "Badge trouble: piloting open badges at the Australian National University."
  • The delegates' choice award for Best Poster went to two posters: Carina Bossu and Wendy Fountain for "Supporting the adoption of Open Educational Practices through capacity-building" and Peter Bright, Bill Lord, Helen Forbes, Florin Oprescu, Nigel Barr, Terri Downer, Nicole (Nikki) Phillips, Lauren McTier, Vilma Simbag, Kristel Alla for "Expert in my Pocket: Creating First Person POV Videos To Enhance Mobile Learning"
  • Mark Nichols was the winner of the Google cardboard challenge with his entry "An application to identify hazards in workplaces."

The steampunk Conference Dinner was a standout success enjoyed and embraced by all. From the steam theme, to the gold statues, roving magician, city organist and synchronised table service everyone had a fantastic time. The dinner also featured Dunedin's very own King Leo and his smoky blues who had delegates dancing even before the main course. If you want to hear more from King Leo go here and to see some of the wonderful conference dinner costumes go here.

A huge thank-you to everyone who made the conference possible, especially to the delegates who travelled from afar (and in some cases enduring rough weather and disrupted flights) to join us in Dunedin. We've received lots of great feedback and in particular very positive comments on the quality of the programme. This of course is a reflection on you – our ascilite community.

Finally, a heartfelt vote of thanks to our conference organiser, Sally Boult at Events4You.  We could not have run the conference without her.

After a full-on four days we’re delighted now to hand the baton to Torsten Reiners and his team at Curtin for the 32nd ascilite conference and we wish them all the best!

Best wishes,
Jenny, Bronwyn and the 31st ascilite Conference Organising Committee

2014 ascilite Awards & Commendations

Life Member Award

At ascilite2014, Gregor Kennedy was honored as an ascilite Life Member.  Gregor has been a member of ascilite since 1998 and over the years he has made many contributions to ascilite including in his role as a Lead Editor of ascilite's journal; the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET).  Gregor has consistently championed ascilite as a key body in terms of research and practice in the pedagogical use of learning technologies in tertiary education.

Gregor is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Educational Innovation) at the University of Melbourne and a Professor in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education.  He is also well regarded as an international leader in educational technology research and development, particularly in the context of higher education.

With all his achievements and contributions to ascilite and the tertiary education sector it is our pleasure to bestow the highly esteemed honorary Life Member award on Gregor in recognition of his "sustained and admirable service to the society".

The complete list of ascilite's Life Members is available on our website here.

Innovation & Excellence Award

Although there were no Innovation & Excellence Award winners this year, there were three noteworthy projects that received well deserved commendations for excellence in their endeavours.

  • University of Queensland's ITALI Flipped Classroom Initiative led by Anthea Leggett, Dominic McGrath, Joshua Darrah, Trish Andrews, Safia Khan, Tania Ryan and Andrei Baltakmens.
  • Macquarie University's Faculty Partnership Program led by Helen Carter, Elaine Huber, Fiona Nicolson, Lucy Arthur and Maria D’Addiego-Kettle.
  • University of Auckland's Faculty of Medical and Health Science E-Portfolio Project led by John P Egan, Aran Sisley, Lynne Bye, Michelle Honey, Dianne Marshall, Adam Blake, Jill Yielder, Fiona Moir, Roger Booth and Mark Barrow.

Visit the ascilite website here for a complete list of past Innovation & Excellence Award winners.

Final Reminder: ascilite2014 Conference Evaluation Survey

ascilite and the conference conveners are keen to hear from you about your experience at the conference so if you haven’t already done so, please be sure to fill out our conference survey.  Your feedback will be used to guide next year’s conference.


Next Transforming Assessment Webinar

Learning Analytics to Understand Student Learning Strategies & Outcomes: a Study Involving Scientific Simulations

10 December 2014

This session will be presented by Assoc. Prof. Barney Dalgarno, Charles Sturt University, Australia.

This seminar reports on a study in which initial conclusions about the relative merits of two online learning designs were thrown into question once student learning strategies, visible through learning analytic techniques, were analysed. The study compared learning outcomes from exploration and manipulation of computer-based scientific simulations with the outcomes from the presentation of simulation output. A key implication of the study is that in order to understand the learning resources and support our students need when undertaking online learning activities we need a deeper understanding of the strategies they adopt.

As well as describing the learning resources, experimental results and findings from this study, the seminar will discuss the broader question of how we can scrutinise student learning strategies in these kinds of online tasks. Various alternative approaches to analysing student online learning log file data will also be discussed along with the potential for the use of such methods to underpin the provision of dynamic support for students based on an automated characterisation of their learning strategies.

For further info and to RSVP please go here.

Call for Participation: International Mobile Learning Festival 2015

Mobile Learning, MOOCs and 21st Century Learning, Hong Kong, 22 – 23 May 2015

The International Mobile Learning Festival IMLF2015 will be held in Hong Kong SAR China. The IMLF2015 is an exceptional venue for sharing information on contemporary approaches to education from around the World. The festival will feature evidence-based developments surrounding mobile learning, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and pedagogies and models for 21st century learning.

Tertiary and secondary school teachers, education policy makers, researchers, research students and developers are encouraged to attend and engage with colleagues at the Festival. Your participation will contribute to the unique discussion and exploration of the most important developments in mobile learning to date.

The Festival speakers, panel members and presenters will provide their unique understanding of human learning and highlight practical solutions to questions of student engagement in learning, as well as enhancement of human agency through the embedding of digital technologies in learning and teaching activities.

The PC members are pleased to announce the first IMFL2015 keynote speaker Prof Mark Pegrum from the University of Western Australia, the author of Mobile Learning: Languages, literacies and culture.

Paper Submissions

Submitted papers will be subject to a double-blind review process. All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings. Selected papers will be published in the special issue of a SSCI-ranked journal and the Encyclopedia of Mobile Learning: Theories and Applications book. Papers from the previous conference in 2014 were pubished in the Educational Media International.

Selected papers will also be published in the Special Issue of the Interactive Learning Environments journal (2013 Impact Factor 0.750)

Important Dates

Abstract/Paper Submission: January 15 2015
Acceptance Notification: February 5 2015
Registration Deadline: February 15 2015
Main conference: May 22 to 23 2015
Workshops: May 21 2015

Further Information

Website IMLF2015

ADFI Celebrating Research Seminar:

Connecting and Collaborating: Leading Educational Networks in Australasian Tertiary Education

Presented by Professor Mike Keppell, Executive Director, ADFI and NATA Co-Leader along with Mr Gordon Suddaby, NATA Co-Leader and Ms Natasha Hard, NATA Project Manager with Guest Presenter, Shelda Debowski, who will discuss her HERDSA Guide “Leading Academic Networks”.

Date: Friday 12 December 2014
Time: 10am – 12noon AEST QLD
Location: Blackboard Collaborate

Details and a link to the session will be sent out several days prior to session to all those who have registered interest.

Please RSVP by Tuesday 9 December 2014 by emailing Natasha Hard and if you are USQ staff, register via USQ Professional Development.

OLT funded ‘Creativity Skills MOOC for Australian coursework Masters students’ project

The OLT funded Creativity Skills MOOC seed project uses MOOC technologies for teaching and assessing AQF level 9 required creativity skills for Australian coursework Masters students.

The project team has collaborated with academic, industry and education experts to develop the MOOC. It includes modularised content, assessment tasks and rubrics that allow students to develop and demonstrate achievement of the AQF coursework Masters creativity skills. The project team are developing guidelines for Masters coursework program directors to assist them to use the Creativity Skills MOOC in their programs, either as a stand alone MOOC or by customising the materials and embedding them in their discipline context.

In semester two the project team piloted the MOOC and over the summer will finalise changes based on student and program director feedback.

The project team is comprised of Adjunct Associate Professor Kym Fraser (Victoria University), Adjunct Professor Yoni Ryan (Queensland University of Technology), Associate Professor Denise Wood (Central Queensland University), Professor Donna Lee Brien (Central Queensland University) and Mr Brett McLennan (O

If you are interested in seeing the MOOC with a vew to advocating it’s use in level 9 programs, please email Kym Fraser.

ALT Articles of Interest

From clickers to BYOD: trialling ‘Polleverywhere’ Electronic Voting System at the University of Surrey

Since 2006, academics at the University of Surrey have been using a ‘clicker’ based Electronic Voting System (EVS) to engage students and promote interaction in their classrooms. Although the system has served the University well its reliance on proprietary hardware has limited wider adoption. An issue for students was the need to book clickers out from library services and carry additional electronic devices around (not to mention the prospect of incurring a fine if they lost them).

For staff, getting the USB ‘dongles’ (receivers) to pick up the signal from the clickers at the beginning of the lecture was a concern. The time and resources required to manage and distribute clickers and dongles were a further consideration, as were long-term maintenance costs for the institution.  Read more

SAM self-help anxiety app offers real support for students

A self-help anxiety app developed by UWE (The University of the West of England) is helping students to better manage their anxiety and provide 24/7 mobile support at any time or place.

The application called SAM provides a platform of therapeutic and immersive activities that students can access and use. Already in the top 100 health and fitness charts across 43 countries, this app is proving to be invaluable. Read more

Institutional Members