[LINK] Exchange website's days are numbered

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Wed Nov 24 09:43:18 AEDT 2010

Exchange website's days are numbered
Bernard Lane
The Australian
November 24, 2010 12:00AM

A VIRTUAL community supposed to spread the gospel of better teaching and 
learning is to be wound down and warehoused.

Last week, the 3162 members of the exchange website hosted by the 
Australian Learning and Teaching Council were told by email that the 
idea had not lived up to its promise.

Over the past six months, only 660 members had accessed the site, which 
was set up in 2006 to help with task of "disseminating and embedding 
change and development in learning and teaching".

Council chief executive Carol Nicoll said: "It's just not worth our 
while continuing to invest in maintaining the exchange when there is not 
a large number of people using it."

The exchange was to serve as a kind of bulletin board, blog site and 
meeting space for those with an interest in teaching and learning projects.

Some 95 projects funded by the council had used the exchange, but only 
12 had worked up extensive sites.

"Part of it is the way that academics operate. They enjoy and prefer 
face-to-face opportunities and they don't have a lot of time," Dr Nicoll 

For those academics inclined to mix it online, there are plenty of 
newer, universally available social web tools, such as Google Docs.

Sydney University's Simon Barrie, director of the Institute for Teaching 
and Learning, said: "There are now well-established networks of 
discipline and topic experts in teaching in higher education in 
Australia, thanks in part to the work of the ALTC, and these experts are 
now frequently contacted directly for the sort of advice and discussion 
the exchange might originally have been intended to support."

Dr Nicoll said the exchange would stay open for current projects but be 
wound down and its material transferred to a resource library.

"We've commissioned a lot of work and we're concerned that reports sit 
on shelves or on our website," he said.

Apart from a new search engine for the home website, the council will 
commission a series of "synthesis" reports, offering a summary, 
evaluation and links to useful material.



Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
email:	 brd at iimetro.com.au
website: www.drbrd.com

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