TAFE project to flex bandwidth muscle across Australia

Firing gigabytes across NT, NSW and Tasmania

A project is underway in Tasmania to develop a future business model for the supply and use of high capacity bandwidth within the vocational education and training system.

Funded by the national training system's e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework, is known as the Pump Video project and its already firing gigabytes across the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Tasmania.

The New England Institute's online project manager at TAFE NSW, Sam Meredith, describes Pump Video as a multimedia collaborative experiment that utilises a high capacity backbone network to engage students and teachers from across Australia.

Meredith said three TAFE organisations across three states are already using this network to jointly produce multimedia packages.

"The transfer of high quality video and audio files requires a lot of data to be sent back and forth. Without a high capacity network this interaction would require lengthy transfers and burden existing infrastructure," he said.

"With high bandwidth we can meet with other contributors in real time, an online face-to-face, independent of where we are in Australia.

"We can also work together on the productions, with one working on video and the other audio, both making changes. We have had 16 live streaming video and audio feeds at once which is very impressive."

TAFE Tasmania manager for learning technology, Peter Higgs, has used the project to gain an insight into how students collaborate online.

"The wow factor for this type of technology only keeps the students interested for so long," he said.

"After that has passed we had to set tasks to moderate the pace of their exploration, and maintain a long term interest."

The use of advanced information and communication technology has prompted Pump Video participants to re-evaluate how collaborative learning opportunities value add to the teaching and learning process.

"Working on Pump Video has produced a very interesting learning curve," Higgs said.

"We expected to learn a lot about implementing advanced computer systems and multimedia development, which did happen, but we also learnt about how to use these tools to enable our students the best possible learning experience whilst communicating and collaborating across three states."

For more information about the pilot visit: http://pumpvideo.wikispaces.com/

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework) is the national training system's e-learning strategy, collaboratively funded by the Australian Government and all states and territories at $15 million annually.

Since 2000, the Framework has provided the vocational education and training (VET) system with e-learning skills, professional development, resources and support networks to strengthen the skills base of Australia.

The Access to Bandwidth Project is one of 14 Framework projects.

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