More than $212,000 has been allocated to The University of Western Australia and partner institutions for a project that will explore ways of harnessing emerging technologies to help create more cohesive university communities.
The Australian Learning and Teaching Council Leadership Excellence grant for UWA (the lead institution) and Edith Cowan and Murdoch Universities will enable university staff who work ‘outside the classroom' to play a more significant and ongoing role in student engagement.
The ALTC Viral Leadership Project will encourage professional staff to develop their leadership in student engagement through use of emerging technologies. Staff from the three universities can participate in the ALTC Emergent Technologies course led by Assistant Professor Mark Pegrum or join the ALTC Viral Network supported by the other project team members, Drs Lisa Cluett and Judy Skene.
Project leader Dr Cluett said the team adopted the ‘viral' metaphor to explore how staff learn, apply and spread knowledge of emerging technologies. The metaphor is a good one because it highlights the organic, infectious and fast nature of a virus.
"No-one else in education is using the term ‘viral' for anything apart from marketing and certainly not to refer to how people learn something and then ‘infect' others," Dr Cluett said.
"This project puts a positive spin on the term. We hope the ALTC Viral Project will incubate and spread the ‘virus' of using emerging technologies to engage students. These staff members will infect, cross-infect and re-infect other colleagues as the network grows.
"Emerging technologies include social networking sites, photo and video-sharing sites, online communication tools and virtual worlds, to name a few. We hope the project will create ways of engaging students with professional and general staff - such as staff in student services, the library and residential colleges.