Tuesday, 11 December 2012

NATA Research Ethics Approved

Just letting everyone know that the ethics application submitted to USQ titled 'An investigation into network leadership within established Australasian tertiary education associations' has been accepted by the Human Research Ethics Committee.

The Research Aims:

To develop expand understandings in order to:
  • Improve the effectiveness of communication and engagement with NATA members at large
  • Enable and support network leaders of collaborative partners to encourage collaboration and increase membership engagement
  • Review the utilisation of technologies to support best practice in network engagement
  • Foster, encourage and support further network-based collaborative initiatives

Research Questions:
  1. What network leadership strategies support good practice in leading networks to foster engagement of members in established Australasian Tertiary Education Associations? 
  2. What communication strategies, technologies, and approaches support good practice to foster engagement of members in established Australasian Tertiary Education Associations? 
  3. What common ground exists between organisations that could provide a basis for collaboration into the future?

Intended Outcomes:
  1. Improved understanding of network leadership and network leadership strategies
  2. Improved understandings of the types and efficacy of existing communication strategies that are currently in use within HE networks
  3. Improved understanding of cross-partner synergies and rationale for continued collaboration
  4. Enhanced collaboration and communication within and between participating associations

Friday, 30 November 2012

Exploring the Challenges of Network Leadership in Australasian Tertiary Associations

2012 nov ascilite_nata_symposium from Mike Keppell

Mike and Gordon recently presented a symposium at the ascilite Conference in Wellington, New Zealand. The symposium titled 'Exploring the Challenges of Network Leadership in Australasian Tertiary Associations' attracted a small but engaged audience who provided some critical feedback on the project.

It was interesting to note the lack of awareness and understanding regarding the Good Practice Reports, validating the Network's upcoming activities in promoting their value and use in 2013. If you would like to access the ALTC Good Practice Reports, these are available on the OLT Website. Questions about the value of surveying members of partner associations was also raised, however, the idea of using a small number of targeted questions was seen as an effective way forward. Additionally,  it was suggested that at the end of the funded NATA project a council of partner association representatives be established.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

NATA Ethics Proposal Submitted

Just letting everyone know that the ethics proposal for the research component of the NATA has been submitted to USQ (Friday 2nd November) and will be considered at the next ethics committee meeting on Tuesday the 27th of November.

The research questions were modified to reflect the group's ideas put forward at the October meeting.

Research Questions:

  1. What network leadership strategies support good practice in leading networks to foster engagement of members in established Australasian Tertiary Education Associations?  
  2. What communication strategies, technologies, and approaches support good practice to foster engagement of members in established Australasian Tertiary Education Associations?  
  3. What common ground exists between organisations that could provide a basis for collaboration into the future?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Networking and clarifying direction: a platform for action

On behlaf of the NATA project team I would like to thank all of those partners who came along to the NATA meeting in Sydney earlier this month. It was highly beneficial for not only the project, but also the sustainability of the Network to have everyone get together, share ideas and engage in shaping the direction of the Network. I would also like to say a special thanks to Karen Halley for her fantastic work in organising the logistics of the two days.

Please be in touch if you have any questions or would like a copy of the minutes and have not already received them. If you were at the meeting you are likely to have also received the reworked outcomes matrix. As indicated in the email, we would greatly appreciate your feedback on that document by the 9th of November.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

NATA Parter Meeting - Tuesday 16th & Wednesday 17th of October

Next Tuesday and Wednesday we will be hosting the second face-to-face partner meeting in Sydney and we look forward to using this as a chance to strengthen network connections, introduce new people to the network and really focus on the network's activities over the coming period.

For those attending please access your dropbox folders to find the most up to date versions of the meeting materials. If you have any travel questions please be in contact with Karen Halley 02 62015176 or  myself for more general queries (nhard@csu.edu.au).

Please note, Mike Keppell has started his new role as the Director of the Digital Futures Institute at the University of Southern Queensland now and can be contacted at mike.keppell@usq.edu.au.

PLANE - Pathways for Learning, Anywhere anytime - a Network for Educators

What is PLANE? . . . . and what can it do for you?

PLANE is an acronym for Pathways for Learning, Anywhere, anytime – a Network for Educators. PLANE is an innovative and fun educator community, networking space and virtual world that provides accredited professional online learning, courses and quests, multi-media resources, ICT skills development, an e-portfolio, collaborative tools, game-based-learning peer coaching and other professional learning opportunities. PLANE is online and accessible anywhere anytime. PLANE is managed by a consortium consisting of the NSW Department of Education and Communities, the Catholic Education Commission NSW, the Association of Independent Schools NSW and the Council of Deans of Education NSW together with industry partners Adobe and Microsoft.

Our Mission:  To utilise cutting edge technology and best practice methodology to ubiquitously empower all educators to learn, create, collaborate, innovate, and transform their teaching practices to, in turn, inspire and enable their own 21st Century students.

For more information on the network or their upcoming national launch on 19-20 Oct at the Seymour Centre in Sydney please visit their website www.plane.edu.au

Monday, 24 September 2012

Keep up with SANTPEN at their new website

The OLT supported Promoting Excellence Network for South Australia and the Northern Territory (SANTPEN) now have a website at http://santpen.weebly.com/ where you can access resources, contacts and other relevant information.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Call for Participation for THETA 2013

Reminder - The Call for Participation is open for THETA 2013, 7-10 April in Hobart.

Submissions in the form of a 500-1200 word abstract are due 22 October 2012. If your abstract is accepted you will have the option of submitting a full paper for peer review.  Submitting a full paper is not required.  Please read the guidelines carefully and then make your submission at: https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=theta13

Who should participate?

Anyone with an interest in promoting the intelligent use of information technology in higher education, including:
IT practitioners and managers
Librarians and knowledge managers
Teaching and learning technology practitioners and managers
Developers of information technologies and services for higher education
Teaching academics, academic developers and educational designers.

Theme and topics

The conference theme is The Edge of the World. Tell us about the new territory you are exploring at the edges of technology in higher education.

THETA 2013 will include a diverse number of presentations, from the traditional to the more unique, creating a dynamic program encouraging engagement and interaction. Submission types include:
Flipped sessions
Point/counterpoint debates
Lightning rounds
Communities of practice
The Lounge


For more information about the conference see the THETA website http://theta.edu.au/ or for enquiries, please contact theta@caudit.edu.au or phone Conference Logistics on +61 2 6281 6624.

Q-PEN Network Forum

The Queensland Promoting Excellence Network (Q-PEN) is holding their next network forum on Friday October 12, 2012.  This full day event will be hosted by the University of Queensland in Brisbane for Q-PEN members. 

For more information please contact: g.tkacz@griffith.edu.au

Monday, 10 September 2012

Evaluation Meeting with Tom - Some key considerations

September 5, 2012.

Mike and I met with Tom to discuss key ideas, assumptions and suggestions about the project that Tom had shared with us. Some of the key points from this discussion can be seen below:
  • It is important to be cognisant of what ‘sustainability’ (long-term) means, looks like and whether it is favourable?
  • The refined process of evaluation involved a two-level model whereby level 1 related to the Key Objectives and level 2, a Whole-of-Project Evaluation. The level 1 evaluation would involve reflections or partner organisations in response to a set of questions to be refined at the October meeting as part of the evaluation discussions. 
  • It is important not to focus too heavily on evaluation and lose sight of the project’s activities and objectives

We are happy to note that Tom will be joining us at the upcoming October Meeting (16th & 17th).

Monday, 27 August 2012

Kirsty Wier talks with us about using the Ako Aotearoa Impact Evaluation Framework

Mike and I met with Kirsty, Research Manager for Ako Aotearo, last Wednesday to discuss her experiences using their Impact Evaluation Framework. Kirsty had just come from spending several days at OLT in Sydney where she was working with Tilly and others to refine and develop the framework for the Australian Higher Education context.

Since our meeting with Tilly earlier in the week, this meeting provided a great chance to better understand how the Framework is currently used in practice and what are some key things to consider if we do choose to adopt it or elements of it in our evaluation process.

Some key characteristics/outcomes of the use of the Framework:
  • Provides legitimacy for project teams to actively influence others
  • Keeps the project focus on the learner
  • Provides opportunities for structured reflections (impact journal)
  • Enables funding body to see where intervention is needed or would be of value
  • Data collected can inform future funding models and requirements through developing better understandings of what constitutes a quality project
  • Expands the scope of relationships between funding agency and project teams
  • Using the framework is time consuming and it can be difficult where the project has had little impact which has not been directly related to the quality of the project

An important part of our discussion centred on answering the following questions about the impact on learning and teaching outlined in the Evaluation Framework. This was due to the Network’s distance or large degree of separation from the experience of learners and consequently, about our concern in addressing such questions.

Kirsty explained that whilst there may be quite a distance between project activities and the learning experience in many projects, such at NATA, it is important to attempt to answer this question to the best of the project's ability. For, in addressing this question it forces the project to really clarify how it fits within the learning and teaching sphere where the learner experience as being critical. This could be done through mapping the different steps by which the project's activities hope to influence the learner experience or if feasible, reflecting with teachers about changes in their teaching or reviewing student surveys for example. However, Kirsty did make it clear that it is important to keep true to the project and not lose sight of the nature and objectives of the project itself. 

In reflecting upon this question we felt that whilst quite abstracted from the learner experience, we could map how we felt the project aims to influence change in learning and teaching . Moreover, we felt we could ask association members in the research survey how they felt their involvement in professional associations may have influenced their teaching. How what we are doing seeks to impact learner outcomes could also be a key question for the executive focus groups and leader interviews. Going through these processes would also help us keep the learner in mind whilst keeping true to our project.

Ako Aotearoa currently uses the framework to assess projects as they progress 6 months, one year and two years post completion. However, they are now looking at trying to embed this framework in upcoming projects so that it helps project teams identify what impact would look like and develop strategies to achieve that at earlier stages in the project life-cycle. Thus, by adopting such an approach ourselves, we may be able to provide real experiences and feedback that aids in the design of such an approach.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Follow us on twitter...

We now have a twitter account where we seek to share key trends and ideas relevant to the Tertiary education today and into the future @NATAonthenet

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Opportunities for Network Members to help with new Impact Evaluation Process being piloted by OLT

Yesterday, Mike and I had a productive meeting with Tilly Hinton from OLT to discuss OLT’s new pilot of the Ako Aotearoa Impact Evaluation Framework. Tilly has been seconded to refine and implement the pilot of the Impact Evaluation approach developed by Ako Aotearoa in the Australian context. Initially, all grants projects which have been completed for 6 months, 1 year or 2 years by October this year, will be invited to participate in the program. Whilst this includes 63 projects, funding for the pilot is limited so only as many as can be resourced will actually be involved.

Participating projects will be sent a pre-filled version of the framework for additional comment and detail two weeks prior to a discussion between project members, Tilly (or alternative OLT representative) as well as a discipline expert drawn from the Networking Projects. These conversations will run for 1 to 2 hours and be done predominantly in person, although other approaches will be trialled to meet the needs of diverse project teams. The first round of conversations will occur between November and December 2012, with the second half conducted in the January to March period in 2013.

This approach aims to build relationships between the OLT (funding body) and the project teams, provide a guide to the impact of the provision of funding and help facilitate cross-project benchmarking. Whilst this tends to support the idea of a ‘one best recipe’ approach to developing grants, the importance of funding more experimental and diverse projects was also recognised as being of high value.

As part of Tilly’s secondment, she is also conducting a range of workshops related to the Good Practice Reports from November 2012 to March 2013. This offers us a great opportunity to draw upon Tilly’s experience in hosting these workshops when designing our own dissemination webinars. In addition, it provides an opportunity to cross-promote the workshops with a captive audience.

Whilst NATA will not be directly involved in the pilot, Tilly has very generously agreed to attend our Face-to-Face meeting in October to engage in discussions of evaluation and how we may adapt the framework in our evaluation and reflective practices.

As mentioned above, Tilly is looking for Network members to participate in the 1-2hr conversations and it would be greatly appreciated if you may be in contact with her tilly.hinton@innovation.gov.au if you are interested in being involved, indicating your areas of expertise and interest.

Kind Regards, Natasha