Background and Links


Recommendations for eLearning Strategy

Background and Links

Polytechnic campuses are typically connected to the internet with a 10 or 20Mbps asymmetric service which means that while download bandwidths are of the order of 20Mbps upload bandwidth is only 1Mbps. This service is then shared across several hundred computers across most campsues.

Up until about 2005 when the majority of internet access was to download information and resources this model worked well. Since then with the advent of the participative web (web 2.0) there is a greater demand for increased upload bandwidth as students move to more collaborative tasks, become more involved in creating learning resources, make more use of online folios, galleries and storage, and access campus-based resources from home. In addition the increased availability of quality rich media open education resources has dramatically increased the demand on downloads.

For example it can take 6 minutes to play a 2 minute Youtube video that demonstrate a skill or it can take several attempts to upload evidence to an online folio for assessment, or a video conference with a mentor continually pauses. In many cases these tasks can fail completely. This has led to increased teacher and student frustration over the last few years to the point where either those services are not used or users go home to access them through private broadband.

In addition a number of measures have been put in place to limit student internet access in an attempt to mitigate against poor access to corporate applications and services. These include weekly internet quotas, shaping to restrict bandwidth, blocking some internet services and closing internet access at different times of the day.

The end result is that internet access on campuses has become inadequate for contemporary learning, teaching and assessment - particularly given the current models of predominantly campus-based learning. Classes in the creative arts often have inadequate internet access on campus restricting the options for students to engage in digital interactive media.

During 2010/11 some new courses have been developed that are intended to be accessed from home. These courses are making use of the high proportion of students that now have home broadband access. Those students that do not have home broadband can still access these courses on campus although they often experience a lower quality service. In this way these courses can incorporate much richer learning and teaching resources and processes such as high quality video, scenario-based simulations, immersive 3D learning environments and reliable access to e-portfolios.

The gradual implementation of and connection to the National Broadband Network (NBN) to Tasmanian homes over the next few years will increase the attractiveness of designing online and blended (online plus face-to-face) courses for home access. Even before students have home access to high speed broadband through the NBN the high rate of uptake of ADSL/ADSL2 and wireless broadband at home in Tasmania makes designing for home access a viable proposition provided students who do not have such access are supported in other ways.

Access to some internet services for learning and training through firewalls has also become an issue. The technological and policy solutions currently in place to ensure the security and reliability of the education network for corporate use do not allow access to some online applications. This has resulted in these applications or services being accessed from home, through mobile 3G, or via stand-alone applications and servers installed on USB memory sticks.

Java updates affect some online applications. While external online applications often require recent versions of Java some corporate applications must have older versions. The result is that Java versions are inconsistent across the Polytechnic and external online applications have errors or won't run. For example staff can't use the Mahara e-portfolio system or respond to external invitations to professional learning using Elluminate on staff computers. Staff go home to access these applications.

The current Polytechnic Strategic Plan calls for "capitalising on the learning opportunities, efficiencies, and innovation that information and communication technology and the roll out of the National Broadband Network enables." In doing so we need to ensure that we focus on our mission, values and objectives while questioning long-held assumptions about educational provision. Ubiquitous high-speed broadband to homes, businesses, industry and community organisations is likely to bring new possibilities that require innovative responses that continually adapt to changing user expectations and new digital technologies and services. Some of these potential changes are listed in the links below.

#au20: National Digital Economy Strategy
**Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy**

Leveraging the National Broadband Network to drive Australia's Digital Productivity.

2011-2013 NBN agenda related to education
  • Telecomuting, remote work and study, tele-health, tele-education
  • Participation in global marketplace
  • Quality education services in regional areas
  • Smart mamagement of natural and built environment
  • Access to experts and teachers outside local area
  • More intensive and immersive online interactions
  • Open Courseware and cloud technology
  • Engage non-users of internet in regional and remote areas
  • Getting Australian business online
  • Promoting online social community
  • NBN empowered services and technology
  • NBN enabled innovative online and interactive education and skills
  • Online access to individuals at home and in the workplace
  • Connect teachers with learners to address skills shortages
  • Improve learning, teaching and professional development
  • Facilitate workplace training and assessment
NBN Co’s role is to realise the Australian Government’s vision for the development of a next generation NBN.
The NBN will provide the infrastructure that will allow wholesale and retail service providers to deliver advanced digital services to the nation. on YouTube

As a wholesale company, the role of NBN Tasmania is to design, build, operate and maintain the national broadband network in Tasmania. We plan to provide coverage for as many homes, schools, hospitals and businesses as possible, using optical fibre and next generation fixed wireless and satellite.

Maps available.

NICTA (National ICT Australia) is Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Centre of Excellence. We are an independent company in the business of research, commercialisation and research training. With over 700 people, NICTA is the largest organisation in Australia dedicated to ICT research.
Broadband Commision, UNESCO
Using Broadband to achieve the Millenium Development Goals by 2015.
Tasmanian NBN in Education Group

Following a UTas research project into NBN in education a group formed to explore the possible uses for high speed broadband in education and related e-learning agenda.
The Challenges of creating connectivity for Tasmanian education: The NBN in Education Project. UTas

Perspectives on NBN and Map of Tas Education Networks

nbn-perspectives-small.JPG Map_of_Tas_education_networks_small.jpg
Broadband for Society Summit, CSIRO Nov 2010

Presentations are available for download on a wide range of topics realted to high speed broadband including the NBN.

The following presentation was made by members of the Tasmanian NBN in Education Group.

Impact of the Digital Economy and the National Broadband Network on Skills, IBSA, January 2011

Innovation & Business Skills Australia (IBSA) has released a summary of the investigative research on the likely impact of the digital economy and the National Broadband Network (NBN) on future skill requirements.
Connecting Communities: The impact of broadband on communities in the UK and its implications for Australia. Huawei, 2011

'The full value of broadband includes outcomes around an educated citizenship, an informed democracy, cultural understanding, community and inclusion, social capital, resilience and trust.'
UK Broadband Stakeholders Group

**NBN and eLearning** (October 2011)

To illustrate the possibilities, I’m going to use an example: joining a new organisation and comparing how things might work now with how they might work in the future. We are going to follow John on this journey...


Recommendations for eLearning Strategy