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Posts Tagged ‘adfi staff’

Getting to know ADFI – Adrian Stagg

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The subject of this week’s “Getting to know ADFI” blog is Adrian Stagg. When I approached Adrian with a request to set aside some time to answer my standard series of interview questions, he cleverly responded that binary answers only (yes or no) would hardly impinge on his workload.

Adrian Stagg

Adrian Stagg

1. What is your background?

Adrian started his career in public libraries. He spent twelve years in the Toowoomba Library and came to USQ on a contract as a Library Officer. He then became a Faculty Librarian for the Business Faculty before moving to the Digital Futures Institute last year.

With a bit of prompting I was able to extract some further details about Adrian’s educational background. “In amongst that”, he says “I completed a Bachelor of Arts (Library Information and Science) and a Master of Applied Science (Library and Information Management) externally through Charles Sturt University.”

Adrian completed his studies whilst working and simultaneously raising a family, which, he says, has enabled him to “empathise with a large portion of the student cohort here at USQ”.

2. What is your role at ADFI?

Adrian is a Learning Technologist at the Digital Futures Institute and he can’t resist, after answering this question, a witty remark about the fact that his answer to this question only required “two words”.

3. What projects are you most excited about?

Adrian is most excited about e-book readers because he is “interested in digital publishing”. He explains that this is an exciting development because it is simultaneously “widening participation in the higher education sector and building digital technology skills with people who would not normally have this opportunity”.

As an aside, Adrian also insists that iTunes U, for want of a better word, is “very cool!”

4. If you could be any superhero, who would it be?

“This is the problem—when one reads comic books, it opens up far too many possibilities”.

I have to warn you that, despite being a self-proclaimed geek who grew up on the likes of Star Wars and Batman, even I had never heard of the comic book heroes that Adrian produced in response to this question.

After negotiating the breadth of scope available for this response (“Do I have to limit myself to one?”), Adrian settles on Cable, the former leader of X-Force. I know what many of you are thinking, and I guarantee that it is the same thing that I am also thinking, but fortunately Adrian does clarify his answer, although I am none the wiser as to whom this Cable actually is.

“Why would I want to be him?” Adrian asks (as if that’s the first question that came to mind). He would like to be Cable because “he’s a time traveller who knows what is going to hypothetically occur, but has to have the strength and intellect not to always intervene.  He needs to see the big picture at all times and realises that, sometimes, good things come out of bad experiences.  In the most recent issues, he’s also been struggling with being a father for the first time – he knows that he might not be the best person for the job, but does everything with his child in mind.  I can relate to, and respect that.”

5. In what ways do you think Universities will be different in ten years’ time?

“The main thing will be how we actually regard knowledge and the impact of research. At the moment we have traditional methods such as electronic publishing, which doesn’t fit with the way information is currently generated.”

I should have known when I asked Adrian this question, as a member of the Digital Futures Institute, that he would have the capacity of foresight that seems to elude me. Perhaps he is more like Cable then he gives himself credit for.

Adrian also says that academic publishing, in particular, needs to take drastic steps to move business models forward and that most of this change “is going to be driven by student demand; and there’s a lesson for the entire higher education sector there, not just publishing.”  Finally, Adrian suggests that we will have to do more around building students’ digital information and literacy skills in a society that is suffering from information overload.

Dr Amy Antonio, Research Associate

Getting to know ADFI – Sue Smith

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Sue Smith

Sue Smith

1.     What is your background?

The diversity of responses you get in answer to this question never ceases to amaze me. There are people who immediately respond with an expose of their professional achievements and there are those who are inclined to a reply of a more personal nature, which usually encompasses a discussion of the places they have lived and their family arrangements. Sue Smith, officially the newest member of the Digital Futures Institute (even newer than me), took account of both her professional and private achievements in response to this question.

“I spent sixteen years working for a bank, twelve months doing temp assignments in Canada, two years admin support in Bundaberg and nine years looking the kids.”

She has since spent two years as a cashier at the University of Southern Queensland and four months at the Digital Futures Institute.

2.     What is your role at ADFI?

Sue is the administration officer for the Digital Future Institute. Although Sue has been at USQ for a couple of years, she is thrilled to have joined the team. Sue jokes that her current role “entails a lot of stuff!”

Sue is responsible for a myriad of duties including making domestic travel arrangements for staff, supporting the development of project proposals and grants (of which we are all very grateful as the NBN deadline looms in the air), stationary and furnishings, to name a few. Sue wasn’t exaggerating when she said that she was in charge of “a lot of things!”

3.     What projects are you most excited about?

After considerable deliberation Sue declares that she is most excited about MONOCEROS (and not just because of the groovy name). This project, which involves the implementation of Virtual Worlds into schools, has, Sue notes, “great potential for children to develop their understanding and knowledge to a higher degree,” which is very close to her heart with two children of her own.

4.     If you could be any superhero, who would it be?

“Wonder Woman, just because she’s sensational!”

After giving it a bit more thought, Sue declares that “I don’t even know what she does” but insists that she needs to be Wonder Woman in order to coordinate her time between work, children and social commitments. As far as I can tell, Sue is doing just fine, even without the barely-there outfit and bright red boots that are synonymous with the comic book hero.

5.     In what ways do you think Universities will be different in ten years’ time?

Sue believes that in the future universities will be “more accessible and affordable because they will lead into the digital age. People will access knowledge from afar and universities will not have to spend money on facilities.”

I wonder if this response is any reflection on Sue’s finance background.

Dr Amy Antonio (Research Associate)

 

Getting to know ADFI – Dr Shirley Reushle

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
Shirley Reushle

Dr Shirley Reushle

The day before conducting my weekly interview on a member of the ADFI team, I forewarned Shirley Reushle (mission leader for digital communities) that she was the subject of this week’s blog post. “Schedule some time for the interview tomorrow morning”, she said. Despite my best intentions, I forgot and at 10:00am this morning I was steering Shirley into her office. “It will only take seven minutes tops”, I assured her…

1.     What is your background?

Shirley commenced her career as a primary school teacher after completing a Diploma in Teaching at USQ. After nine years she took a year off to travel overseas, during which time she met John, who is now her husband. Shirley took a six year career break but fortunately, she returned to USQ in 1992 as an instructional designer. She then assumed a lecturing position in flexible learning in the faculty of education, followed by a senior lecturing position in the online pedagogies division. Shirley was a principle advisor of learning and teaching in the division of ICT services before she was poached by ADFI as the manager of enhanced learning projects.

Perhaps it is Shirley’s modesty or else her urgency to get the interview over and done with and me out of her office, but Shirley neglected to mention both her Masters and Doctorate in Education, which she completed at USQ between 1992 and 2005. Lucky for Shirley, I have done my homework and am more than happy to brag about her academic achievements.

2.     What is your role at ADFI?

Shirley is currently the mission leader for digital communities.

3.     What projects are you most excited about?

“Retirement!” she laughs. “Well, john’s retirement at least.”

On the home-front, Shirley is busy planning her husband’s retirement but on the work-front, Shirley is excited about collaboration in digital communities. She is also looking forward to using frameworks and technologies to enable global collaboration.

Perhaps I should have been more specific when I asked Shirley what projects she was excited about. I was really looking for an answer that highlighted the specific projects she is working on at ADFI. Shirley is involved in The Follow the Sun conference that will be held in March 2012 and the Pegasus project.

4.     If you could be any superhero, who would it be?

Without a moment’s hesitation Shirley declares that she would be Superwoman. “She is someone that women aspire to be as they juggle family, work, and personal life. We are all trying to be Superwoman. I think I try to be Super-mum, which is sometimes a difficult job, especially when you welcome new members into the family…like girlfriends”, Shirley jokes. “My friends tell me, you’re not Superwoman, Shirl.”  “No, but I wish I was!”

5.     In what ways do you think Universities will be different in ten years’ time?

“Let’s just say that my hope is that flexibility will have been truly embraced. But, having worked in universities for twenty years, seeing ideas cycling and recycling through, knowing how slowly things move in universities, I’m not sure that’s what we will have achieved in ten years’ time.”

Shirley then refers me to the following quote by Carl Raschke, which she believes epitomises the rate of change in the higher education sector.  Despite significant cultural, social, economic, and political revolutions, higher education…

“does not look or function  much differently from the way it did in the 1920s.”

(Carl Raschke)

Shirley concludes by saying that “I’d like to see more action—the mantra of Nike… Just do it!”

Dr Amy Antonio, Mission Achiever

Getting to know ADFI – Mr Neil Martin

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Neil Martin, Learning Technologist (Co-Pilot)

When the task of profiling the members of the ADFI team was assigned to me, I initially intended to interview each of the mission leaders sequentially. Unfortunately, I am down to the wire and the mission leaders for digital communities and openness are MIA. Serves me right for leaving things to the last minute!

In my frantic search for a replacement subject for this week’s interview (no one seems to be available today), I approached Neil Martin with trepidation. “Isn’t there anyone else?” he asked me. I assured him that no one had time to spare, to which he promptly informed me that he had precisely twelve minutes to offer. I was going to have to get through my routine questionnaire in a hurry!

1. What is your background?

“Well, I’m English.” Not exactly the answer I had in mind, but probably as good a place as any to start given Neil’s previous working experience in the UK. Neil worked for the teaching and learning department at the University of Bedfordshire, where he contributed to research in computer-assisted assessment and Web accessibility standards. He then worked for University College London (UCL), first as a web officer and then as web manager. In 2010, Neil migrated with his family to Australia. His wife joined the USQ team as part of the psychology department and Neil joined ADFI shortly thereafter.

2. What is your role at ADFI?

Neil is a learning technologist co-pilot. The blank look on my face obviously betrays what I am secretly thinking—what on earth is a learning technologist? Fortunately, Neil expands: “I seek out new information technologies and look at how we can repurpose existing technologies to assist teaching and learning at USQ.”

3. What projects are you most excited about?

“iTunes U”, is Neil’s enthusiastic response. “I worked on the iTunes U project at UCL (who were, incidentally, one of the first European universities to implement iTunes U) and you can see its impact in terms of how the university sees itself in the digital age, with learners extending well beyond the campus itself.”

4. If you could be any superhero, who would it be?

After agreeing to the parameters of this question (Neil and I reached a mutual agreement that it had to be a comic book superhero) Neil replies, “Batman! He gets things done through stealth”, is Neil’s justification for his choice of superhero. Neil observes that Batman is a “man of principle, who gets his own way. I’d like to get my own way”, Neil laments, “But I never do though!” Sounds familiar?

5. In what ways do you think universities will be different in ten years’ time?

“Formal learning in lecture theatres will no longer be central to the learning experience.” Neil also predicts an increase in mobile learning and personalised learning, which depends on whether emerging technologies, such as the semantic web, take off.

Dr Amy Antonio, Mission Achiever

Getting to know ADFI – Dr Helen Farley

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Dr Helen Farley

Dr Helen Farley

It seems fitting that as the newest member of the ADFI team, I have been assigned to the task of profiling my fellow colleagues.

As I walked towards Dr. Helen Farley’s office with my notebook in hand, I suppressed a smile while thinking about the rebuke that would surely follow: “We are a Digital Futures Institute and that notepad and pen is so very analogue.”

Helen is right, of course, but until I become a more adept user of my iPad, I will have to conduct my interviews with my trusty pen and paper (I still write faster than I type).

I began my interview by taking a not-so-happy snap of Helen to accompany her profile, despite her best efforts to coerce me into using her Second Life avatar as her profile pic. My first hard-headed interview had begun. I asked Helen the following five questions, which I will use to profile a different member of the ADFI team each week.

1. What is your background?

“It’s a long story”, she tells me and boy, was she right!

After commencing an architecture degree at UQ, Helen transferred to Vet Science. Unfortunately, no one told Helen that it was a precondition of the job that (when necessary) animals had to be put down and so, she traded a career in animal termination for dog washing. Helen’s interest in music led to a part-time career writing entertainment-related articles for street magazines, which sparked her interest in journalism. For some additional “fun”, Helen undertook studies in religion at UQ as well. Clearly favouring the latter, Helen dropped journalism and transferred into a Master of Arts in studies in religion. She went on to complete a PhD in the history of tarot and a Masters of Education in ICT, through Macquarie University.

2. What is your role at ADFI?

Helen is the mission leader for mobility. “I have the funnest job at ADFI”, she brags, as she tells me about her research in virtual worlds and the use of interesting technologies for teaching and learning from iPads to eBook Readers, phones and gaming consoles for education.

3. What projects are you most excited about?

Portable Moodle and the eBook Reader project (PLEIADES), which, Helen explains, “gives an online experience to incarcerated students without access to the Internet.”

4. If you could be any superhero, who would it be?

Okay, I realise this question is not really relevant to the goals and achievements of ADFI, but it will surely generate some interesting responses. Helen’s answer, “Storm, from X-Men”, suggests I was right. I wait expectantly for her justification… “I would like to be able to control the weather and she has good hair.”

Enough said really!

5. In what ways do you think Universities will be different in ten years’ time?

“Learning flexibility”, Helen says. “Learning in a variety of locations, including in the field and at work. Learning will be contextual and relevant. We will be teaching students how to cope with change, how to be excellent communicators and training students for jobs that don’t yet exist.”

Helen Farley has been the worthy subject of my first ever blog post. Tune in for next week’s ADFI profile­.

Dr Amy Antonio, Mission Achiever