Friday, 27 September 2013

The NATA Update! September 2013


NATA key activities continue to progress and are explored in greater detail below. We would like to announce that the April Progress Report was approved by OLT and the second installment of project funding has been received by the University of Southern Queensland as the Host Institution. In addition to this, we have now also submitted the subsequent Progress Report due October 1, to OLT for approval. Our attention will now turn to developing the Final Project Report due on January 15, 2014.

Today we also received the news that our ascilite symposium proposal titled "Understanding network leadership in Australasian Tertiary Associations: communication a key element of success" has been accepted. The ascilite conference, 'electric dreams' will be held between the 1-4 of December 2013 at Macquarie University, Sydney. Click here to register.

On Friday the 9th of August we also had a NATA evaluation conversation with Project Evaluator, Tom Prebble which really looked at the change in project phase from process to product focus. More details about that evaluation discussion can be viewed here.

Progress has also been made on the project team's draft article based on the Technology-enhanced learning and teaching report, OLT Good Practice Reports more generally and both the problematic nature of disseminating findings as well as the need for effective dissemination of the GPRs to help improve practice in the sector through the sharing of experiences. The article titled "Building best practice in technology-enhanced learning environments", is now being formatted for submission to Research in Learning Technology, The Journal of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT).


As mentioned, we have just submitted our most recent Progress Report to OLT due 1 October 2013. This report details the recent developments of the NATA project as well as highlighting our progress with respect to building engagement through our Blog and Twitter channels (@NATAonthenet). As you can see from the graph below, the visits to the NATA blog have greatly increased in 2013 and we hope to continue to grow these figures in the coming months.

A presentation proposal for the Lily Conference in February 2014 titled "Sharing learning and teaching experiences: An Australian perspective on evidence-based practice" was recently submitted. The presentation proposal abstract reads: Effectively disseminating the outcomes and experiences of funded learning and teaching projects is a challenge in any learning context. The development and dissemination of 11 Good Practice reports commissioned by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) and the Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) between 2004 and 2011 illustrate this issue. The reports, written by topic experts collated funded learning and teaching projects, providing findings and recommendations back to the sector. Whilst offering great potential to influence practice through the evidence-based findings, dissemination issues highlighted the problematic nature of sharing learning experiences in a dispersed educational environment.

Engaging with other OLT supported Networks (National, Discipline, Promoting Excellence)

Following the change in project phase to one of delivery or product orientation, we felt that it might be valuable to again be in touch with the other OLT supported networks (National Networks, Discipline Networks & PENs) in a way that demonstrated what NATA was doing which may pose potential value or interest to them as other Higher Education Networks. Consequently, we did this through developing a relevant blog post on the NATA blog (available here) which highlighted what we saw as having potential value to the other networks. This was then disseminated to network coordinators via an explanatory email including a link to the post online. This saw three responses from the contacted networks, with the WAND agreeing to discuss it at their next meeting, the Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows Network exchanging project details and links on each-others websites and finally with Q-PEN inviting us to participate in their Leading and Managing Networks session at their Q-PEN September Forum held on the 25th of the month. Gordon represented NATA in this discussion which saw many similar issues raised by both networks.

Good Practice Report eResources

We have been working with Kim Edgar (Netspot) to develop a dissemination strategy for the GPR eResources over the last 4-6 weeks. We have now drafted a strategy which begins with a launch event (Webinar) to be held on October 15th at 12pm AEDT, running for one hour. All members of the Australasian Tertiary Sector will be invited to participate in the Webiar to be hosted by Netspot. GPR authors will be key speakers at the launch and the first GPR eResource will be showcased. There will be a staggered release of the other GPR eReources in the months following. Please contact Natasha Hard ( to register your interest now, however, further instructions will be made available on the NATA blog shortly.

The ALTC Good Practice Reports can be accessed here.


The final focus group was conducted this Friday, the 9th of August, concluding the data collection phase of the NATA research. Analysis on the data collected from the Focus Groups and Interviews has no begun with a particular lens to informing the HERDSA Guide on Leading Academic Networks through the development of some practically-based principles. More information about the NATA research can be found here.

NATA Partner Projects

NATA is providing small-scale grants to member associations to pursue a project which is aligned both with their institutional or association objectives and the key objectives of NATA. So far we have approved three partner projects and are in discussions with the two other associations to finalise their project proposals. For more information about the specific projects being developed by the partner associations click here.

NATA Project Event

NATA Project Event, 6th November, University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Invitation to attend is open to all those interested in the Australasian Tertiary Sector. This includes members of NATA partner associations (ascilite, ACODE, CADAD, ODLAA, HERDSA) and those who have been involved in the development of the ALTC/OLT Good Practice Reports. The day will begin at 11am with a presentation of the NATA research into Network Leadership, dissemination of the Good Practice Reports, Partner Association Projects and general lessons learned. Lunch will then be provided for those in attendance before an afternoon session which will focus on network sustainability and possible forms of future collaboration, concluding at 4pm.

Those interested in attending are asked to please be in contact with the NATA project manager, Natasha Hard ( for more information and to register your attendance at the event (for catering and organisational purposes).

Keep up to date with information about the partner event here.

Upcoming key dates:

  • Tuesday 1st Otober, 2013 - Next NATA Partner Project Meeting
  • 6 November, 2013 - NATA Project Event

Thursday, 26 September 2013

‘Current Learning and Teaching with Technology Issues – have your say’

Online learning: MOOCS offer a myriad of new opportunities

NATA recently published a short post regarding MOOCs which was developed by James Sankar from AARNet and aimed to engage the sector in discussion on this current issue (available here). Building on from this initial post we are now asking for your feedback and thoughts on the following question regarding the issue of quality.

Question 2: 

How can you ensure quality in the design and delivery of a MOOC and how do you measure this?

Place a comment below and let us know what your thoughts or experiences are on this issue.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

ACODE Learning Technologies Leadership Institute: 2013

Directed by Associate Professor Gordon Suddaby

August 18th - 22nd, Twin Towns Resort, Coolangatta 

  • The Office of Learning and Teaching
  • Desire 2 Learn
  • AARNet

The ACODE Learning Technologies Leadership Institute 2013, was run at twin Towns resort in Coolangatta between August 18th and 22nd and was the 4th iteration of the Institute which was initiated in 2007. The Institute focused on the personal and professional development of faculty-based academic and professional tertiary education staff in, or aspiring to be in, leadership roles. The Institute programme involved intensive, four day, live-in, leadership training intended for staff in higher education with responsibilities for managing or supporting the use of learning technologies.  The programme covered the exploration, evaluation and implementation of new and innovative approaches to the use of technology in learning and teaching in tertiary education.  It included intensive interaction and group work designed to assist participants to exercise leadership in their current and future roles.  The Institute was delivered and supported by an invited faculty who are themselves leading academics in the field of technology enhanced learning and teaching.

The Institute programme was built around a ‘Making the Case Scenario’, which is both relevant and realistic.  The participants worked in team and their work was informed by a series of presentations by the faculty members.  These presentations are integral to the Institute programme.  The Faculty also had a wider overall role that is critical to the Institute’s success.  They were the guides and mentors to the groups, each faculty member fulfilling the role of a critical friend for a group, reflecting and challenging their group’s ideas and plans, helping their group become a cohesive and collaborative unit, providing support through the group formation process, and supporting the development of the Case.  The topics covered by the faculty included a full range of factors impacting on Learning Technologies Leadership.  The faculty members and the title of their presentations are listed below:

  • Perspective on future directions in IT management, Peter Nikoletatos (CIO at the Australian National University)
  • Leading and managing change, Professor Shirley Alexander, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Teaching, Learning and Equity), University of Technology, Sydney 
  • Capacity building, Professor Belinda Tynan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning and Teaching at The Open University of UK 
  • Building Quality eEnvironments, Professor Geoff Scott Professor (Emeritus Professor, University of Western Sydney)
  • Engaging students, Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) University of Adelaide 
  • Establishing strategic priorities, Professor Tom Prebble, Emeritus Professor, Massey University 
  • Digital futures and the ‘new normal, Professor Mike Keppell Executive Director, Australian Digital Futures Institute (ADFI)
  • Quality Management, Evaluating and implementing innovations’ Associate Professor Michael Sankey, Director, Learning Environments and Media at the University of Southern Queensland) and Maree Gosper, Associate Professor, Manager Academic Development, Macquarie University

All the presentations were extremely relevant, focused and of high quality.  In addition, James Sankar and Ian Smissen representing the sponsors AARNet and Desire2Learn both delivered presentations reflective of leadership in their specific areas. The Institute was opened by Suzi Hewlett, Manager: The Office of Learning and Teaching

The presentations are available through the following url posted by a USP participant with the permission of the presenters (currently the Institute wiki is password protected).

The ‘Making the Case Scenario’, as earlier noted, was relevant and realistic.  The seriousness and the hard work put in by each group was reflected in the quality of the actual group presentations and the supporting executive summaries. 

It was clear from the group’s feedback session on the last morning that the Institute had been successful.  This is reinforced by comments from the groups including;
  • Got an enormous amount out of the days;
  • Heaps to take back to the Institution;
  • Very rewarding experience which simulated real life experience;
  • Entire experience has been wonderful;
  • Great process;
  • Enjoyed all the speakers;
  • Great rewarding experience;
  • Very real world experience, great programme;
  • Will take many skills back on how to solve problems and present cases.

Further information about the Institute may be found on the ACODE website and for information specifically about the Institute see:

The 5th ACODE Learning Technologies Leadership Institute is scheduled for August, 2015

Blog post by Gordon Suddaby, Institute Director.

Friday, 20 September 2013

More details about the NATA Project Event - Don't forget to register!

The NATA Project Event will be held on the 6th of November at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. All members of partner associations, those involved in the development of the ALTC/OLT Good Practice Reports and interested members of the Australasian Tertiary Sector are invited to attend the event.

The day will begin at 11am with a presentation of the NATA research into Network Leadership, Dissemination of the Good Practice Reports, Partner Association Projects and general lessons learned. Lunch will then be provided before an afternoon session focused on network sustainability and possible forms of future collaboration which will conclude at 4pm.

If you are interested in attending please be in contact with Natasha Hard ( for more information or to register your attendance at the event (for catering and organisational purposes).

The Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows (ALTF) network - Understanding the impact of Fellowships

The Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows (ALTF) network supports quality learning and teaching in higher education. With some 62 fellowships from across 24 institutions now having been undertaken since 2006, the network supports this group of leading educators to undertake strategic, high profile activities in areas of importance to the sector.

In May this year the network released a brief 4 page guide to the network titled "Take advantage of the passion and expertise of the Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows" which provides an overview of the network as well as detailing some key findings on the positive impacts of the Fellowships.

For more information on the network please visit the website or contact:

Professor Dawn Bennett (ALTF Convenor):
Dr Diane Costello (ALTF Project Manager):

Friday, 13 September 2013

Networking - What could NATA potentially offer your higher education network?

We would like to explore ways in which NATA and NATA related activities might be able to work with and support different OLT funded networks. We have reviewed our current activities and foci and distilled the following key points which we feel might be of interest and potential value to other such networks.

NATA research into network leadership

We have now finished the data collection as phase of the NATA Research into network leadership within established Australasian tertiary education associations and have begun analysing the data. This research explores three different 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?

Whilst these questions are focused on leadership within Australasian Tertiary Education Associations, the first two questions offer potential insights into successful leadership strategies, communication strategies and the effective use of technology in networks which may be applicable to other higher education networks, regardless of their specific focus. The findings and relevant publications from the research will be highlighted on the NATA blog as they are developed.

The research will also inform the content of a HERDSA Green Guide being developed as part of the NATA project. This will be a practical guide about leading academic networks and will include such topics as:
  • The role of the network leader
  • Leading strategically
  • The political landscape
  • Communicating with your stakeholders
  • Assessing your leadership effectiveness; and
  • Finishing your term as network leader.

NATA Partner Projects

The NATA has approved and supported ascilite, ODLAA, HERDSA and ACODE to develop their own small-scale projects which support not only the needs of their own associations, but are also aligned with the NATA Key Objectives as well as offering value back to other NATA partners. The projects cover a range of topics, however, promise to deliver:
  • Design and development of communication architecture for ODLAA as a contemporary and future proofed and forward looking/gazing professional organization. The results of which will be extrapolated to include the development of an architecture that would be attractive to related professional organizations and reported in the briefing document/report.
  • A Guide that promotes best practice in the engagement of members of professional associations and networks.  The Guide will outline design principles and engagement strategies for the use of web based resources (including social media) to support and advance community engagement in professional associations and networks (ascilite).
  • Description and documentation of the process to engage networks in a contemporary issue of general concern including a simple how-to document and template for generating a briefing document.  Development of case study on Media Management (ACODE).
  • HERDSA Green Guide on leading academic networks (as discussed above).
Thus, we feel that many of these outcomes and resources developed will have applicability to other higher education networks and we will encourage you to engage with them as they come to fruition - at the end of 2013 and into early 2014.

OLT/ALTC Good Practice Report eResources

As part of the NATA we are promoting the 11 OLT/ALTC Good Practice Reports. Our dissemination strategy includes the development of short eResource videos (voice over slides) which highlight these reports and the potential value they afford the sector. We have now completed some and hope to launch them in the upcoming months. Once these resources have been published we would encourage those of you who are interested to promote them through your own communication channels, especially those of most relevance to your networks.

Lastly, if you have any questions, feedback or would like to utilise the NATA blog to disseminate your network's activities please be in touch ( or