Way back (or so it seems) in December 2015 I attended ascilite2015, the yearly conference for the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education. It was an opportunity to reconnect with old acquaintances, to update on the current research being carried out in the sector, to discuss and share my own and in others’ particular areas of expertise and to make new connections along the way. Held at Perth’s Curtin University it was a full on affair that engaged, inspired and invigourated. The long journey there also encouraged me to tack on a couple of extra days to relax and enjoy the sights before travelling home, which I’m glad I did. Perth and neighbouring Freemantle were great places to explore.
The journey was also significant in that it was my first time presenting on a paper that had been accepted for publication in a conference proceedings. The concise paper, Occupational Medicine Simulation Project (see Publications at the right), was based on the reflective commentary written for my final project for the MA Education in Virtual Worlds. Using the simulation research project developed in collaboration with the University of Otago, it investigates both the elements essential to the creation of an authentic context for learning in a virtual environment and those virtual aspects that might provide a supportive learning environment for distance learners. For a brief look the slideshow used to highlight the salient points during the presentation is available on SlideShare.
What I found particularly gratifying about the presentation is that for me personally it was one of the best I have ever delivered. All the preparation aside I believe having been engaged in so many conversations leading up to my time to present really focused my thoughts and had me totally in the subject, rather than worrying about how it was going to go. Food for thought down the track. A lesson learnt also in terms of titling a paper that resulted in less of an audience than I would have preferred; have the title explain the educational focus rather than just the project name. I’m sure ‘Creating Authentic Contexts for Learning in a Virtual Environment’ would have swelled the numbers more.