Community portrait

Where are we at?

SEAL was asked to plot themselves on a perspectives continuum that sought to plot their e-learning journey and give us two moments in time - before and after the project. Below is a visual representation of the perspectives document. This shows where they placed themselves on the continuum at the conclusion of the project.

ICT in the community

Access to Broadband is still an issue for the community. SEAL uses ADSL. Download is OK but upload speeds are an issue as they use the online platform more and more.
There are a range of socio economic factors that impact on student access to technology. The enthusiasm is there but sometimes the resources are lacking.
SEAL is surveying existing students, as up to now all the information they have gathered is anecdotal. They are starting to gather data around ICT usage through more formal survey methodologies, to get a clearer picture.

Community reach and readiness

The team at SEAL feel that it is going to be dependent a lot on the resources that students have at home - computer system, broadband and dial up. That is the limiting factor. SEAL has a drop in IT room if they don’t have access at home. Their feeling is that e-learning needs to be out in the community a little b it longer- to gain more acceptance and less fear. SEAL does not focus too much on the e side of things.
They have a significant group of people at the lower end of the social spectrum - combinations of blended delivery enabling students to get the best mix to suit them. Many students don’t even have Office on their computers at home. The community is possibly ready but many do not have sufficient computer access yet.
E-learning is therefore new to SEAL and fo the community they serve. Up to quite recently they did not integrate e-learning into the courses. Classroom based computer classes were all tutor facilitated. This project is all about catering for students who are working part time who can get to some classes but can't get to all. It is also for those who miss a class - a catch up mechanism. From a student point of view just to have access to the information in Moodle has been a great boon. Students can come but continue to work - so it has worked.
Tutor skills have also increased. Currently every use of ICT is clever. There is a need to adapt as they go.
The initial target group for this project was a CALD group. Engaging them proved very difficult. They are now working on other strategies to engage them, such as of one day tasters.
There is no doubt that blended learning extends the reach to smaller communities in the region. It will reduce travel time and provide greater access to a wide range of courses..