Winners of the ASCILITE Award: From left: Lesley
Instone (CDU), Helen Rysavy (CDU) Penny Wurm (TS–CRC) and
Kate Parr (Bushfire CRC/CSIRO)
UNIVERSITY students and Charles Darwin
University’s Teaching and Learning experts joined forces with
research partners in the Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research
Centre (CRC), Bushfire CRC and CSIRO to develop a world-beating
online educational resource, drawing on the latest fire
They have won a national award for "exemplary
use of electronic technologies in teaching and learning in higher
The 'Fire Ecology & Management in Northern Australia'
teaching and learning material has won a prize in the coveted 2005
National ASCILITE Award for Educational Design & Technology in
Tertiary Education, announced in Brisbane in early December.
The collaboration has produced an online teaching resource on
fire ecology and management for use as part of several graduate
programs, with all the material tailored for the North’s
"This network of collaborators ensured the quality of the
materials produced," CDU Educational Designer, Dr Lesley Instone
"It gives graduate students 'real world' problems and resources.
They can tackle challenges faced annually in the Top End, and
listen to interviews with fire fighters, researchers, land owners
and other professionals actually working in the field today," said
However, the fire unit has a whole-of-northern-Australia focus,
bringing together case studies, research and references that bridge
the Kimberley, Top End and northern Queensland.
“Fire management in the north is a culturally,
ecologically and politically complex issue. Our graduates have to
understand far more complex political issues than those down
south,” said co-project leader Dr Penny Wurm, from the
TS–CRC. The unit will form part of a Bachelor degree in
Science or Environmental Science.
“These graduates work in situations where an understanding
of the impact of fire on landscapes and the complex policy issues
involved is crucial,” Penny explained.
“They need to work cooperatively with managers of adjacent
lands and appreciate that different groups can have diverse fire
management objectives,” she said.
While the new unit is fully integrated it can also be used as a
set of resources. For example, a lecturer may just want some north
Australian case studies, or to concentrate on fire
science—the unit is set up so they can select the materials
The entry was sent to an international panel of eight judges
from USA, UK, Australia, NZ and the Netherlands, who judged it an
outstanding entry among the finalists. The entry won for its
appropriateness to target audience, its appropriate and effective
learning design, creativity, significant impact on teaching
practice, and its overall quality.