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The first part of the project consisted largely of a series of live online meetings. It was stated in the Interim Report ( that it was anticipated that the bulk of the activity in the second half of the project would focus on NET*Working 2004 and this was certainly the case.

NET*Working 2004

One of the initial project goals was a combined group presentation from the project team, but it became apparent that several team members were planning projects independent of the National Voice project and a group presentation would have added an unrealistic extra demand. Five project members hosted a live presentation at NET*Working 2004, and at least seven others were active participants in the live sessions. It is a reasonable assumption that participation in this project assisted those who hosted live voice events, and enriched the experience for those who chose to be participants.

Side Sessions

While no whole group events were scheduled in the final months of the project, it was heartening to see a number of side events hosted by project members. Several project members attended these sessions.

1) Janice Calcei

We ran a side session for our LearnScope Project:

When:  20 August 2004
Where:  South West Regional College of TAFE - WA
For whom:  Learnscope WA group - "Wired for Delivery"
Purpose:  To demonstrate voice chat technology using Alado (Talking Communities) ( as a possible way to deliver information literacy to students.

I also used the Voice Cafe at Networking on 3-4 November to train staff on how to use Elluminate for the conference.

I also trialled Alado at a number of staff meetings (and saved vast amounts of money on teleconferencing charges – ed. :))

2) Jenni Harding

Our voice session on Tuesday 9th November was the culmination of a lot of learning for me personally, and of a collaboration between three people – Meredith Giffen, Stephan Ridgway and I – which has been one of the most valuable “incidental” outcomes of being involved in the voice online project.  We’ve also had the opportunity to let other people know about this tool, and to have our work section at Sydney Institute give it a try. We went with the topic “Flexible Learning Centres” To assist with our own project team’s learning we invited other Institutes to showcase their learning centres.

We used a Powerpoint presentation combined with questions to specific people as well as the wider audience.  You would normally only have say 8 slides for a 40 minute interactive session, but the contributions from people, their enthusiasm and work, and excitement at the event, made this difficult for us to do.

I had made up a multiple choice quiz about learning spaces, but couldn’t get this into the Elluminate room in time to duplicate it, due to our local event running 20 minutes behind schedule.  I was also managing the local event with multiple presentations occurring at the same time, and was quite nervous about the voice chat, but the feedback from the virtual and live audience was great.  55 people attended online, and about 45 live, even after asking people to go and see some other demonstration, talk to somebody, even have afternoon tea!

The use of the polling session and more links to the web sites would have improved the event.  After this first experience with the voice chat on such a wide scale, we’d:

  • do a lot more interactive things
  • use the whiteboard more, and invite people to use it.  It was used, but it was more like dipping your toe in the water. 
  • Use the polling feature much more regularly, and
  • Only have a few powerpoint slides, with questions on them – this was the original set up of the presentation.

It was also one of the first sessions most people had attended, so the learning curve was quite steep for all of us. By the last session of the conference, everybody was flying around the whiteboard, the poll, the text chat, hands up – it was amazing to witness the difference!  Thank you to Michael, Stephan and Meredith for all their work and collaboration with this – as stated above, this has been one of the most valuable outcomes of the Voice Online project.

3) Sue Hickton (September)

I travelled to Karratha (approx 1800 km north of Perth), to visit Pilbara TAFE and give a workshop at their Pilbara FLAN (Flexible Learning and Networking) on innovations that can be used in the classroom. The audience consisted of approximately 60 lecturing staff from around the Pilbara, from various industry sectors. The idea was to introduce these staff to the concept of how easy it is to use voice online, particularly given their geographic challenges (covering several thousand square kilometres).  We did a 30 minute time slot in CompuEd, which got everyone particularly excited, since we used dialup as well. Broadband is not easily found in North-West WA for organisations, let alone the students. I had a followup meeting last week with CompuEd and Pilbara TAFE and it looks like voice online has found a home in the Pilbara.

4) Jenny Seaton

Also conducted two very successful introductory workshops for staff attending TAFE Tasmania's Flexible Learning Community of Practice event in October. “Feedback from the participants at this end was overwhelmingly positive”


See project evaluation at Comments below under the headings submitted in the original project application.

 What specific skills or capabilities could participants gain?
  • Technical competence, and an increased level of confidence in the use of tools appropriate to their teaching context

Achieved for many in the project. 13 people reported an increased level of knowledge as a result of the project.

  • Live online presentation skills

Evidenced by presentations at NET*Working 2004 and the several side sessions.

  • An awareness of how web-based voice tools can be used to complement existing delivery

13 people reported that they will continue their exploration into the use of voice tools in 2005

  • Access to an ongoing Community of Practice (CoP) on the topic of implementing voice applications in educational delivery

Achieved via the listserv hosted in Yahoo Groups (312 messages posted during the life of the project)

Participants will meet on a regular basis to:

  • Trial a range of tools

Achieved in first half of the project

  • Assess the value of these tools in their teaching context

See, and

  • Use a range of synchronous and asynchronous tools for ongoing discussion

See interim report and

  • Participants will have the opportunity to form interest groups to research and trial applications and methodologies appropriate to their teaching context

No interest groups were formed as such but 8 participants reported that they employed the skills gained in the project to work with students, and/or fellow staff in professional development contexts.

  • Some of the project activity will be geared towards a joint presentation(s) at NetWorking 2004

Not achieved (see above)

Was this project successful?

I believe so. If we can count the following as measures of success

  • almost daily activity on the listserv throughout the project
  • 5 presentations at NW2004
  • several side sessions
  • of 14 completed survey responses
    • all were happy with the facilitation of the project
    • 93% reported that the project had encouraged them to further explore the use of voice tools
    • 100% reported that the project increased their interest in the subject
    • 93% now feel knowledgeable in the subject
    • 100% agreed that the project had met their expectations

then this was a very successful project. Admittedly, there were 6-10 project participants who did not complete the survey, and I really have no idea what the value of the project was to them.

Nature of Project

Is the model of a paid facilitator and a team of voluntary project members viable? Some comments from respondents:

“I have been in 2 projects like this year and in each the unpaid participants stayed actively willingly involved. So from my perspective if the gains are there then it seems to work.

“Time is always an issue - I would have like to spend more time on the project, been able to participate in more events, have more time to spend on developinmg ways to use voice with students - but then time always seems to be an issue in everything we're doing.”

“It is for the dedicated and those wishing to extend past the boundaries to examine what is on offer for all.”

“Well it's tricky - ideally it would be good if a range of people could be paid for their time (particularly for this type of project which is a bit research-y). This has the possibility to turn into a one-person project, with support from a bunch of other people. The facilitator has an uphill battle to involve people without the incentive of cash. If the funding bodies are interested in collaborative research, they ought to fund it appropriately, however given that you're building a 'network' which isn't going to be widely funded anyway, perhaps it's a difficult, yet suitable model.”

Project home:

Michael Coghlan
Natvoice Facilitator
December 3, 2004 

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