december 01, 2000
the most recent dispatch from the field... (more)
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nov 28, 2000
Wilson's Promontory and Healesville Sanctuary... (more)
nov 26, 2000
from Albury campuses to Footscray in Melbourne ... (more)
nov 22, 2000
Three Days in Sydney... (more)
nov 18, 2000
Camping and Fishing on the Kiewa... (more)
nov 16, 2000
Rafting and TAFE-ing in New South Wales... (more)
nov 08, 2000
Wine, Horse Races, Roos on the Ridge and, yes! a bit of work... (more)
With a smooth arrival in Adelaide on Wednesday, I was pleased to exit the plane into a warm, dry, sun, a very familiar feel like an April in Phoenix. Adelaide, with a population of around one million, is a comfortable sized city with a well designed grid of a central city. Sometimes called the "City of Churches", you seem to see an old gothic structure on every other corner, such as the 1838 Holy Trinity Church probably built in the first wave of European settlers. Adelaide is full of classic late 1800s ornate buildings dwarfed by gleaming glass and steel high rises. The orthogonal streets are orderly defined by a central square (Victoria Square) four tree and grassy squares in each quadrant, and a surrounding swath of green parklands.
One of the oddest thing in South Australia is ... time. Straddling a longitudinal time zone mark, they have taken the Solomon-like approach of avoiding splitting the baby in lieu of something more diabolical... the stat is on a half hour difference from neighboring states to the east and west. This means adjusting your clocks 30 minutes upon arrival.
With an afternoon of free time I set off towards the shops and sights of Rundle Mall, a street closed to cars in lieu of pedestrians, and likely the shopping magnet of Adelaide. Along with the street front stores, one finds many long "arcades" of shops extending perpendicular to Rundle, such as the classic adorned Regency Arcade. And one finds some interesting (eye of the beholder?) street art such as the bronze pigs rummaging around the rubbish bins (trash cans for those on the other side of the ocean).
today's photos - all photos o o o o
o o TAFE South Australia
o o Adelaide
After four months of living out of the bag it was time for some decent clothes for my visits, so I found so great Australian brand shirts and slacks at "David Jones", Australia's well known department store. Other gift purchases were made, but the need for secrecy prevent me from saying anything else. Dinner was some yummy Thai food on Hindley Street.
Thursday was the start of 2 days of visits to several sites of the TAFE Institutes of South Australia, a system of institutions very much like our Maricopa Community Colleges. The TAFE SA system is state-wide, covering an area more than 40 times the size of Maricopa County, and serving about 100,000 students in vocational and technical programs. The Adelaide Institute of TAFE is the largest, serving about 25,000 students, and was the site of my morning visit.
The campus is located in the northwest corner of the Adelaide city area, a modern brick structure with glass atriums enclosing multiple buildings. Immediately across the street is a new Visual and Performing Arts center, that will house the arts, dance, and music programs as well as being a top performance center. The architecture is bold, and the construction was not quite done while I was there (there was this Olympic thing that yanked all of the contractors away).
One of the largest numbers in enrollment is within the beauty programs, haircutting, nutrition etc. And some early pioneers here developed learning materials that could be delivered via computers set up right in the salon areas.
In the morning I met with leaders of Learning Systems Resources and Standing Committee (LSRSC) that coordinate activities in the online teaching initiatives and the professional growth in support of that effort. This provided me an overview of the system, where the online delivery of courses is being supported across the entire TAFE SA system, and a chance to compare the similarity of our two systems. We met in high tech conference room that featured and integrated video conference system that is used quite extensively state-wide (a need of serving very remote and distant learning sites).
Next, John C took me on a tour of Centre For Applied Learning Systems (CALS) a "one-stop shop" of multimedia production that includes about 45 staff with skills and facilities for instructional design, graphic design, web development, print design, sound editing, video editing, film and photography studies, etc. This unit produces materials for all of the TAFE SA sites as well as a number of external clients.
A large number of people working here are students completing "trainee-ships" work experiences that are part of their educational program. John demonstrated a sophisticated system for tracking work progress on all project phases via an online database, allowing him a "10,000 ft" view of projects underway. Looking at the large number of CD-ROMS, videos, print materials, and web sites developed here, I have to acknowledge that this is one of the most effective such units I have seen anywhere.
The next stop was for lunch at a fun place, "Schmitty's Garage", a restaurant housed in what was once... a garage! The place is dressed up with all kinds of car paraphernalia and has a few classic cars sitting around. The food was great too!
In The afternoon I paid a visit to the nearby Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE in the lovely area with a name of Tea Tree Gully. To get there, I hopped on a bus in downtown Adelaide and enjoyed a leisurely drive to the country. Shortly though, the bus pulled down a ramp and continues its motion as a tram or rail car, with small wheels splayed out to fit the tracks. This is the "O-Bahn" apparently a unique invention of public transport.
Here at Torrens Valley most of the learning is "flexible" meaning students do work isolated or perhaps guided by an instructor. This includes subject areas such as electronics, fabric design, information technology, etc. And the institute is vying to see how it can transfer this delivery to an online format.
On the next day, Friday, it was my turn to be on stage at the Adelaide Institute of TAFE, for another display of my "Arizona to Australia" presentation. Although the group was small, the interest was high, and carried on into the lunch that followed.
In the afternoon, Carol from the Onkaparinga Institute of TAFE took me on a ride south to her campus. She directs the Education Technology Centre, in which an active group of perhaps 7 young people (mostly students on trainee-ships) work as a team to produce a wide range of learning materials, as CD-ROMs, videos, and now web sites.
The big attraction on the campus tour is the "barn", a large warehouse type building for teaching students about maintaining a fleet of heavy vehicles. Apparently the land is so poor quality (it was sold to the TAFE w/o much thought of how it would be redesigned) that it literally "floats" on unstable ground. Art students have decorated much of the campus with colorful and creative murals.
Inside the "shed" are large floor areas full of engines, tractors, bulldozers, etc that the students get to learn "hands-on". Carol's ETC group has been in production of some 40+ CD-ROMs that cover course material. Students use the multimedia on carts that can be wheeled out into the work area.
After this visit, Carol took me on a sightseeing trip south to Victor Harbor, a quiet beach side resort town. We stopped at several others on the way back towards town, and each beach was more memorable than the one before.
This brought the end of two whirlwind days tour of several of the South Australian TAFE Institutes and left a nice open weekend for more sightseeing around town. Carol provided a grat suggestion to find dinner at the Central Market, a bustling produce, food, and junk market in Chinatown
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