The use of videoconferencing: An evaluation of a partnership model in an Australian University

Christine Ure, Damian Blake and Bonnie Yim
Deakin University

Marjory Ebbeck
University of South Australia

This paper reports on the Victorian Government Regional Partnership Facilitation Funded (RPFF) project entitled Bachelor of Early Childhood Education – Deakin at Your Doorstep (BECE-DAYD). The DAYD delivery model uses state of the art videoconferencing, teaching spaces and trained tutorial staff in selected regional TAFE (Training and Further Education) partner institutions in Victoria, Australia. The project builds on the expertise and infrastructure developed, and leverages existing partnership arrangements. The overarching aim of this project is to evaluate whether this new mode of delivery can be replicated with future cohorts of students. A mixed methods approach (Creswell and Plano Clark 2011; Tashakkori and Teddlie 2010) is adopted to achieve the research aim. The evaluation involves the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data in the forms of a survey and a range of interviews with students, teaching and support staff, and other stakeholders involved. The findings from this research will provide relevant information and recommendations for early childhood education, early childhood teacher education providers (university and TAFE) and policy-makers. The knowledge gained about the impact of the BECE-DAYD initiatives on students’ learning outcomes and experiences may be of benefit to the government in informing their continuing role in overseeing and shaping the field of early childhood education. The project findings will also be invaluable to those conducting teacher education courses, as they will be able to prepare teachers better for their profession and the issues associated with their work and professional development. In addition, it is possible that the findings from this research will highlight the need for the provision of professional learning opportunities in the 21st century.