Coonara's wiki project progress so far:

Healesville wiki training Group

We have had two training sessions, for tutors. One with the majority of providers sending 2 representatives each and another with the Healesville cohort. Tutors were very excited about their ability to create and use a wiki during the session and and came up with some interesting ideas about how to use one with students. It certainly gave them a feeling of empowerment, particularly with those who had previously expressed reluctance in using technology. Even the most reluctant tutor has approached me on several occasions to outline her ideas and to let me know that the students have received the news that they will be using wikis with great excitement and anticipation.

One Coonara project with Cert 2 and 3 Community Work students has gone from strength to strength. One of the students is qute proficient and has her own free website and has taken the design and setting up of the wiki very seriously. In a session with her tutor and myself, we came up with the idea of making this wiki as user-friendly as possible and have used icons and simplified instructions. Take a look at what is happening so far! The tutor has become very excited and is brim full of ideas for uploading assessments, has set up a Google calendar and much more. This is certainly taking off! Comments she has put on the support wiki site:

"It's been exciting working on the wiki for my community work students at Coonara. I've been lucky enough to attract the expertise of one of my students who is a moderator of her own site to help with the design. She has helped incredibly with a students perspective and contributed a lot to the design features which make it a lot easier for the first time user. We have created a larger than normal navigation bar for easy reading and also attached pictures to help those of our students with lower literacy skills. We have a couple of students who have mild to advanced disabilities that include brain injuries and we will be asking them for feedback. We want the site to be accessable to all and hope the simplicity will attract rather than deter the students with low level computer skills. The wiki was easy for me to set up and it was reasonably easy for my assistant/student Karen to navigate around although she did hit some glitches (she thought is was a bit tricky finding where to sign in)and we will use her feedback in class and address the issues. The original colours were red and green but she thought this was a bit loud so changed the scheme to a softer purple and orange. She also suggested not too many links on the navigation bar as this can confuse students with low level computer skills. As she suggested baby steps first and see how everyone goes!"

One of the Healesville tutors has contributed her ideas onto the support wiki. She has dressmaking design students. "What a fantastic educational tool this can be. I am going to use the Wiki as a way for my students to share the information they have found researching fabric types and their properties so that they all have as much reference material as possible. I am hoping they will really take ownership of the Wiki and put some of their design ideas on there as well. As they are Year 10 - Year 12 students and seem to all be tech savvy I am hoping for input from the majority of them."

Getting other tutors to feed back onto the support wiki has been a bit problematic but hopefully another email might prompt them to add something. This is a manageable project and most tutors seem to be more accepting of new technology this year than at the same time last year when I first introduced the idea of a wiki to them. I am very excited about the possibilities and look forward to hearing about other achievements as we progress through the project.
Lynne Gibb

10th September

All 7 ACE providers in the region have now had their training. Upper Yarra was the last and we had an enjoyable afternoon with 4 trainers who caught on very quickly and came up with some great ideas. We are gradually getting more feedback from participants onto the wiki but no photographs as yet. Will wait for a bit and send out another reminder. I don't want to appear too pushy as I know everyone is frantically busy. Coonara's wikis are progressing pretty well - especially the cert2and3commwork wiki and the moment-in-time. Lots of enthusiasm.

Karen, the student who has been getting heavily involved in learning the wiki code and teaching the teachers was awarded a special Adult Learner's week award last Friday for her enthusiasm and support of other students and tutors in learning about wikis. What a wonderful award and very richly deserved! She has put together the moment-in-time wiki herself and made a digital story to put on it. We are lucky to have her with us! She makes us look good!

The Donvale people and also MDLC are going great guns as are the Healesville people. This is defintiely going to be a very successful project with some good outcomes for students. I will soon start to work out the questionnaire to send out to tutors and see what comes back - what an exciting project!
Lynne Gibb