ASCILITE 2018 Year in Review

By Professor Dominique Parrish, ASCILITE President

According to TechRepublic, security and wireless bandwidth were the top computer networking subjects of 2018. Facebook honoured Nelson Mandela who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2018 as well as celebrating iconic and inspirational people like Aretha Franklin and Stephen Hawking who passed away. In 2018 our communication channel the TELall Blog received 15 blog posts, contributed by 19 authors from 14 higher education institutions across Australia and abroad. Early in 2018 a call was put out for Community Mentoring Program mentees and mentors, this resulted in 17 mentees and 16 mentors from 30 universities and other organisations being confirmed.

The ASCILITE Executive held their annual face-to-face planning meeting in Brisbane 18 – 20 June. This meeting saw the review and refresh of the ASCILITE Strategic Plan as well as further planning for key member services including the bi-annual member survey. The Spring into Excellence Research School was hosted by Griffith University in 2018 and was held at the Southbank Campus of Griffith University from 17-19 October. This successful event brought together 27 participants from 13 Australian and New Zealand institutions and provided support and guidance to participants in developing and progressing technology enhanced learning research initiatives.

Spring into Excellence Research School participants 17 October 2018

The Technology Enhanced Learning Accreditation Scheme (TELAS) progressed through 2 more phases of development with a National Summit of higher education leaders in teaching and learning, held in Melbourne on May 1. Stakeholder Consultation Workshops were subsequently facilitated from June to November to refine and develop the framework. 111 participants in total, representing 32 institutions in Australia, 7 institutions in New Zealand and one institution in Singapore attended the Phase 3 Stakeholder Consultation workshops.

2018 TELAS Summit held with higher education leaders in teaching and learning

Presentations about the TELAS were delivered at the TEQSA Conference in Melbourne and the ASCILITE Conference in Geelong in November and December of 2018.

Throughout 2018, ASCILITE hosted 8 webinars that were attended by 107 participants. The most well attended webinar was the LA-SIG Webinar titled Learning analytics and learning design: promoting a conversation among equals which was presented by Associate Professor Cathy Gunn and Dr Clare Donald.

In 2018, ASCILITE supported 7 SIGs which included the 5 established SIGs – TEL-edvisors, Transforming Assessment, Learning Analytics, Learning Design and a Mobile Learning SIG as well as the two new Digital Equity and Open Educational Practice SIGs. 

Our journal – the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET) continued to perform well in 2018. There were, as of December 13, 5 AJET issues including 1 special issue on Learning Designs published in 2018.

AJET currently has 5,253 registered readers, compared to 4,355 in 2017 and 3,637 in 2016. As of the beginning of October there had already been close to 220,000 (adjusted to account for unusually high activity that might have been related to indexing) and 100,000 views of full articles for the year. Submissions in 2018 increased by 30%. The rejection rate at screening (prior to sending to review) continues to be 74%. Despite rejecting more papers at screening, the increased number of submissions means that about 180 articles submitted to AJET in 2018 have (or will) undergo full review. This number illustrates the workload strain experienced by AJET reviewers and editors.

Deakin University was the host of yet another successful ASCILITE conference. The organising committee led by Professor Beverley Oliver which included Professor Liz Johnson, Professor Malcolm Campbell, Dr Julie Willems, Ms Siobhan Lenihan and Ms Jodi Morgan are to be thanked for their efforts. The organising committee also thanks earlier contributions to the conference organisation from Ms Marika Thomson and Dr Craig Anderson.

A total of 223 submissions were received for the 2018 conference. 77 double-blind peer reviewed submissions, 44 single-blind peer reviewed submissions and 16 non-reviewed submissions were accepted.

Conference delegates attending Day 1 of the ASCILITE 2018 Conference being held at Deakin University’s Geelong Waterfront Campus

Conference award winners were announced at ASCILITE 2018 and these comprised:

  • Best Concise Paper awarded to Michael Grimley, Timothy Moss, Emma Donaldson from (Torrens University) and Eoghan Hogan (Laureate Education) for “The voices of autism: Using MOOC technologies to meet the needs of vulnerable communities.”
  • Best Full Paper awarded to Logan Balavijendran and Morag Burnie (The University of Melbourne) for “Ready to Study: an online tool to measure learning and align expectations via reflection andpersonalisation.” and
  • Best Poster awarded to Reem Al-Mahmood (La Trobe University), Jenny Corbin (Whitefriars College), Logan Balavijendran (The University of Melbourne) and Caroline Ondracek (La Trobe University) for “Digital identity: Making your mark!’ Developing students’ digital literacies through an adaptive eLearning module”.

ASCILITE Innovation Awards were presented to:

  • Dr Maggie Hartnett and Dr Peter Rawlins (Massey University) for “Professional Inquiry – Researcher Training & Development Course.”
  • Simone Tyrell (Project Lead), Leanne Ngo, Kerrie Bridson, Michael Volkov, Sharon Chua, Ellyse Mitchell (Deakin University) for “Professional Literacy Suite”.
  • Melissa Fanshawe (University of Southern Queensland) for “Fostering a positive maths mindset for learning through technology-based sense of presence.

The inaugural ASCILITE Emerging Scholar Award was presented to Linda Corrin (The University of Melbourne) while the winner of the inaugural ASCILITE Community Fellow Award went to Michael Cowling (CQUniversity).  This year’s Student Bursary Awards went to Samantha Newell (University of Adelaide) for “Researching the Value & Validity of Educational Technology” and Sophie Abel (University of Technology Sydney) for “Automated feedback on Student Writing“.

I want to finish with my own personal honour which was to receive the prestigious ASCILITE Life Member Award.  It was a complete surprise to receive this award which I am sure those who were in attendance will attest to but I want to communicate the great privilege I felt and the reputation I believe I have to live up to being inducted into this group of 14 very accomplished and amazing individuals.

I look forward to another exciting year in 2019. Wishing all a very merry Christmas and a happy 2019.