Community portrait

Where are we?

Coonara 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 Coonara placed themselves on the continuum at the conclusion of the project.


You can also download both documents from the links below:

Coonara perspectives before commencement of the trial
Coonara persepectives at completion of the trial

ICT in the communityIMGP4137.JPG

Coonara house has done considerable research into the community's ICT needs. They have basic data i.e. level if internet usage etc,which sits around the high 50 % for use internet from home. They are also very active in supporting community initiatives, and are currently trying to get a community domain set up for the greater Upper Fern Tree Gully community through a Federal Government initiative called Organisations can apply for the domain if they can demonstrate broad community support.It includes web pages and unlimited emails for the community. The aim is for community groups to then use it. There is relatively high interest and relatively good use of ICT in the community in general, but a high need for support - especially forsmall groups who use volunteers. Often these groups are keen to be involved but don’t have the capacity.

Community reach and readiness

Community reach
In referring to the perspectives document above, Coonara feels that they have moved up the scale a little bit – not global or virtual yet, but closer to it.
The group (community development course) has had more to do with the community outside the house because of the course itself, so there is a need to separate the content and the technology. The technology has facilitated the reach into the wider community. The project has broadened their perspectives and without the project that would not have happened to the same extent.

Community readiness
If the current group of students is taken as a representation of the community, then the interest is very high - they are totally engaged and are really enthused. The interest is growing dramatically, with high level of awareness. Other tutors are very interested across the board.
Coonara is observing an increased demand in ICT enabled or blended courses. They are getting regular weekly enquiries about the possibility of doing courses online. This is not limited to a particular demographic but cross the whole community and the spectrum of the courses Coonara offers. Most enquiries are people who live locally. Students are interested in learning online in their own time to speed up the learning process.
Accelerated learning for the learners: some are employed and others are looking for a qualification.

Coonara has observed the impact of the current employment situation first hand: eg Diploma of Children’s Services. There is a real shortage and students want their qualification as soon as possible as they are employed in non- qualified roles and employers are putting them under pressure to get their qualification. Coonara thinks that this is a trend likely to be repeated in other skill shortage areas as well.
The students are looking for the blend – not fully online, but they want to accelerate their learning and need greater flexibility. They want to continue the course outside the classroom, often for personal reasons and different life situations - they may have had a baby but don’t want to keep study on hold.