Team Profile Page

Project Name: Virtually Hyperconnectedexternal image fbcoverpagevh.png

‍Public Contact Details

Project Manager: Alex Miller, North Coast Institute of TAFE (NC TAFE)
Email: alexandra.miller1@tafensw.edu.au Phone: (02) 6648 2408
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The Team
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Alex Miller
Project Coordinator, North Coast Institute of TAFE
Email: alexandra.miller1@tafensw.edu.au
T: @flairandsquare
Phone:(02)6648 2408
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Els Daglinckx
Facilitator, NC TAFE (Coffs Harbour)
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Deb Kelly
Facilitator, NC TAFE (Taree)
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Sabina Priestley
Facilitator, NC TAFE (Coffs Harbour)

Marie Power
Facilitator, NC TAFE (Taree)
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Meredith Collins
Business partner & social media advisor
W: www.videosocialmarketing.net
E: meredith@videosocialmarketing.net
T: @videosocialcode
P: 1300 543 819
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Sally DeGuigand
Business partner from Virtual Enterprise Australia
W: www.virtualenterprise.com.au
E: sally@virtualenterprise.com.au
T: @VEA02234500
P: (03) 9429 7888
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Kelly Gerard
Business partner from Virtual Enterprise Australia
W: www.virtualenterprise.com.au
E: kellyGerard@virtualenterprise.com.au
T: @VEA02234500
P: (03) 9429 7888

tags
#virtualhype

Jo Kay
W: http://www.jokaydiagrid.com/
E: jokay@jokaydia.com
T: https://twitter.com/jokay| @jokay
Project Profile:
Who are the learners and how will they benefit from this project?
Cert III - Diploma level Business Administration students will:
  • gain valuable, up-to-date insight & knowledge about business administration directly from real business mentors 'live' and just-in-time in the virtual world (and via their 'hyperconnections') - it's hoped that this will put them one step ahead of their competitors in the job market
  • build long term relationships through their collaborations with external VEs & business mentors enabling them to continue to develop their skills long after the project has finished

Where are your learners located?
Coffs Harbour & Taree on the North Coast. But learners from other Virtual Enterprises from around the country have expressed interest in joining us as well to participate in the Trade Fairs.

How will training be delivered?
Students will attend their classes on campus as usual but all training and preparation relevant to the Trade Fairs themselves will hopefully occur 'in world depending on how well the audio and video streaming functions and how soon we get it working properly. We hope to use the audio and live chat to teach students 'in world' during the Trade Fair preparations and the live video (& audio) streaming to enable business mentors to present 'in world' and conduct Q&A sessions.
The social media platforms will provide the forum for informal connections and collaborations to occur - this is where a lot of the just-in-time learning and additional professional development will take place (including for facilitators).

Describe the importance of this project for your target learners and explain how it will meet the strategic objective of the E-learning for Participation and Skills funding to utilise innovative e-learning practices and / or high speed broadband-enabled technologies to deliver e-learning projects and strategies which improve individuals’ access to gain pre-vocational skills, skills in priority employment areas, or to pursue educational pathways to gain higher qualifications?
Our Business Admin students learn through a Virtual Enterprise 'simulated' environment on campus but are somewhat restricted to collaborating amongst their own small cohort of students, occasionally connecting for a brief time with a cohort from another campus when it's time to run a Trade Show. High-speed broadband is enabling us to collaborate with business mentors and other Virtual Enterprise students from around Australia online in the virtual world for the benefits outlined above. Without the high-speed network, use of the virtual world platform is essentially frustrating and not worth pursuing for teaching, learning & assessment purposes.
In terms of pursuing educational pathways to higher quals, the students participating in this project often wish to move on to higher level qualifications after completing their studies at North Coast TAFE. The additional skills (including additional technology skills) & knowledge gained during this project through close contact and collaboration with business mentors and industry experts will be over and above what they would gain during their normal classroom-based experiences, enabling them to much better prepared for (and engaged with) the next level of study.

What are the intended outcomes from your project, and how you will measure them?
Intended outcome
Measurement strategy
Teaching staff with a better understanding of how hyperconnectedness affects student learning (& the confidence to build it into their other online delivery methods if successful)
Pre and post-project surveys gathering information about teachers’ understanding & use of hyperconnectivity in the educational setting.
Student feedback (around what levels and methods of hyperconnectedness work for them) to be gathered throughout the project using a User based Design process.
Business mentors with a desire to continue to connect and collaborate with these and future VE students
Pre-project survey (teachers and mentors) to determine the level and impact of current communications with learners.
Post-project survey to determine if [the above] has changed and if so, to what extent, why, and the value of the various levels of connection.
Students with a broader skills and knowledge base than would normally be attained.
Teacher survey to identify any differences between learning outcomes of past cohorts (normal classroom setting) and those from this project (inc whether job prospects have improved or not).
Post-project student survey to determine the impact of the delivery methods used (inc whether they feel job prospects have improved or not).
A virtual world training environment that is embedded in the North Coast TAFE elearning environment (no longer in trial or pilot mode) resulting in an increased uptake of use by other faculties
Invitation to other faculties to attend Trade Fair (to engage them in use of the virtual world).
The offering of the virtual world as a valid training environment via the NC TAFE eLearning Kit supported by our faculty-based Learning resource Development Officers.
Data collected around current use and interest in virtual world environment and post-project survey data.
An NBN-equivalent connection at North Coast TAFE that is regarded as ‘normal’ and necessary for everyday online delivery.
A comparison of the status of network connections at North Coast TAFE between the Virtually Enterprising and Virtually Hyperconnected projects.
An awareness across North Coast Institute of the Hyperconnected Learning Model and how it impacts on student learning outcomes (and uptake in the adoption of this learning model if proven successful).
Project outcomes (inc information about the Hyperconnected Learning Model) provided to faculties during virtual world presentations.
Professional development offerings in learning methodology (+ inclusion in current eLearning Facilitator course)
Teacher surveys 6-12 months post-project to determine level of uptake (or intention to implement).
What are the needs of the target learner group/s and relevant stakeholders (employers, community, training organisations etc)?

  • We still (and always will) have remote learners enrolled in the aforementioned courses who need this environment in order to be able to perform the ‘live’ tasks required for assessment
  • We have course facilitators who need exposure to industry experts in order to stay current
  • We have students who should be maximising the benefits of having business partners connected to their course in order to improve their employment prospects but can’t because of the reasons outlined above
  • We have a relatively expensive virtual world environment that will not be utilised fully and benefits fully realised unless we dedicate time and resources to it and embed its use
  • We have a changing teaching and learning environment to which TAFE must adapt and we can’t unless we’re able to trial new learning models such as the HyperConnected Learning Model proposed for this project
Describe the learning approach, program and technologies to be used... (Include details about where the training and trials will take place, the number of learners and the qualification, units(s) or skills sets to be delivered.)
OpenSIM virtual world platform: http://opensimulator.org/ hosted by Jokaydiagrid (http://www.jokaydiagrid.com/ ) – this is where the training and assessment will occur and where the students will run the live trade fair.
Social media sites (probably Facebook and Twitter) but could be others depending on what students decide they want to use once the first cohortis enrolled. These sites will help to create the hyperconnectivity between learners, teachers, and industry experts/business partners.
Adobe Connect – this will be used initially for audio across locations when the ‘in world’ live video and audio streaming is being established.

Please list 5 key words (metadata) that people can use to find your project:
virtual world; elearning; opensim; hyperconnected; virtual enterprise; learning model; #virtualhype

Monthly Project Updates
September 2012
Wow! Month #1 and not a lot has happened yet. We don't have our new cohorts of students starting 'til next year so can't start working with them yet. Have contacted the virtual world developer to get the ball rolling with getting our streaming audio & video & Twitter plugin development underway. The virtual world platform we're using is undergoing a major move this month so can't do much (especially with holidays plonked right in the middle of it all).
However, the planning is done and a date set for the team's kick-off meeting in October.
October 2012
Very productive 'kick-off' meeting Oct 25. We are set to go with very enthusiastic teachers and business mentors. But alas, the virtual world platform's unaccessible at the moment due to a major move. We're running 'retraining' sessions for the teaching staff in November. Our ICTU need to work on some proxy settings to give us access again from on campus, then we'll run the sessions and include the business mentors to engage them with the project and get everybody ready for delivery first thing in the new year.
November 2012
Nothing in the project plan's work schedule happened this month. We had some re-engagement activities planned for the teaching staff and business mentors but alas, our special unauthenticated wireless access on campus isn't working and our ICTU is madly trying to get it back up and running for us! Watch this space...
December 2012
This month we tried to get done what we couldn't achieve in November. But ICTU are experiencing some holdups that we have no control over. The virtual world developer though has been working away in the background organising our Twitter feed in the virtual world and our audio plugin so we're ready to go in January. From January there will be a change in project management - Des Osborn (that's me who's been writing the updates up until now) will hand it over to the VERY capable and experienced Alex Miller...next update will be from Alex - there'll be heaps going on by then!
January 2013
This month not many staff were around so it's been all project management, organisation and planning. A bit of re-engagement training, discussion and testing of social media platforms. Team fully engaged and looknig forward to forging ahead with the students. Meeting early Feb to review and lock down social platforms and processes, output data requirements and presentation tools.
Hash Tag = #virtualhype
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/virtuallyhyperconnected
Blog - http://virtuallyhyperconnected.wordpress.com/
Curation of data and media - http://storify.com/flairandsquare/virtually-hyperconnected
February 2013
A month full of preparing for a busy year of teaching. Project meetings early in the month consisted of reviewing project plans, goals, outcomes, outputs (check out our poster) and engaging project team members to be hyper-connected. Preparing for a big Social Media in business event next month to kick off project activities and connect project team with business networks, mentors, students and more. Meredith Collins @videosocialcode coming to talk with students, teachers and other business mentors about the importance of measuring the return on social media investment for business.
March 2013
Gearing up for the big Social Media in business event on Monday March 18th. Collecting some benchmark data for benchmarking and user based design element of project. This month sees us preparing students to connect in different media streams/ social media for learning and project promotion, Virtual Trade fair date set and a mid-term project visit from Rory O'Brien. Social Media in Business event went well, students engaging and developing great relationship with their business mentor in industry, assisting with product development, etc.
April 2013
Set up training sessions for student & teachers during May. Virtual World Trade Fair date set for May 27th. Preparing in-world environment. Writing instructions, developing resources & assessment tasks.

May 2013
Running virtual world training for students, also training for other staff and Virtual Enterprise staff and indursty contacts that are interested in the virtual world envionment or going to participate in the Virtual Trade Fair. Students are busy developing products for the Virtual Trade Fair and working on roles and responsibilities for the day. We've lost a number of teachers (due to cuts/ restructuring) and student to employers, so are left with a small amount of participants unfortunately. On the up side, they are all really enjoying the project. We're collecting data and feedback from students and industry partner in Social Media spaces and will need to start collating it soon.
June 2013
Wrapping up project and collecting media from the Virtual Trade Fair. We had international participants on the day and the students were amazed and amazing!
Project wrap up
Well, it didn't all go according to plan. We had a lot of participants drop out for various reason, like employment, funding cuts saw a reduced number of staff involved. User based design saw us move away from our online spaces and into theirs (e.g. from our Project facebook page into the class private group page). All in all it was a major success story for ther students that remained, they found the project invaluable to their employability skills and social learning skills. A steep learning curve using the technology resulted in some deep learning, critical thinking and great networking using the hyperconnected learning model we developed along the way. Students and their industry contact provided great feedback throughout the entire project. All can be seen on our project blog, Facebook page, or Part1, 2, 3 , 4 or 5 of our Storify! I am still editing video footage of our Social Business Matters event, but that will be made available soon through our Facebook page, so go 'Like' it to stay in the loop!
Project Case Study