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National Web conference to focus on regional benefits


Sharlene King
28 February 2001

The unique 'distance shrinking' capabilities of the World Wide Web will be a major focus of Australia's leading annual conference for web users and developers, AusWeb01, to be staged for the first time in the NSW north coast city of Coffs Harbour.

Last year's successful hosting by Cairns, another regional centre, highlighted the Web's advantages in breaking down the barriers of distance that divide rural and metropolitan Australia, according to Associate Professor Allan Ellis from Southern Cross University, the AusWeb series' convenor.

"As in previous years, the conference has attracted a lineup of highly regarded international and national speakers, workshops and tutorials across a broad range of technical, e-commerce, educational and business fields," Dr. Ellis said.

AusWeb01 is booked for the Novotel Opal Cove Resort from 20-25 April. Its prestige will be further enhanced by the attendance of high-profile keynote speakers from industry and academia in North America and Australia.

'AusWeb's breadth is its strength,' Dr. Ellis explained. 'The diverse program enables participants to learn a lot in their own specialised area as well as dipping into other areas where some extra knowledge will be of great benefit. There are also some excellent one-off sessions for members of the public who want to connect with the 'top guns' without attending the whole conference."

The major speakers include -

? Walter Stewart, Director of Global Marketing, Research and Education for Silicon Graphics in the USA, who will speak on 'What is Learning when Understanding is Visual?'

? Walter Underwood, Senior Staff Engineer for the Inktomi Enterprise Search Group, founder of Hewlett-Packard's corporate Intranet in 1986, whose address will focus on 'Web and Enterprise Search - the Inktomi perspective'

? Phil Agre, Associate Professor of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, on "How can the Web support Intellectual Life in a Democratic Society?'

? Associate Professor Ron Oliver, School of Communications and Multimedia at Edith Cowan University, WA, Editor of the Australian Journal of Educational Technology and Associate Editor of the Journal of Interactive Learning Research, who will speak on 'The key to successful and effective teaching in a Web-based, online environment'.

"The AusWeb conference sessions aim to give delegates the opportunity to acquire detailed information and knowledge about a specific topic or issue," Prof. Ellis said. "The tutorial format is 'lecture style', where the presenter delivers prepared material to the student as well as taking questions and promoting some discussion. The workshops are more about peer-to-peer dialogue where the facilitator introduces the topic and chairs the discussion adding in new material as appropriate."

Pre-conference tutorial and workshop sessions are on Sunday, April 22 from 9am to 12.30pm. Four half-day sessions are available. Topics at this stage are Supercharge your Web site performance, An Overview of XML and Enterprise portals: Building the virtual workplace/campus. The Half-day workshop topic is Copyright and the Web.

Post-conference sessions, morning and afternoon, on Wednesday, 25 April will feature half-day tutorials on XML for Webmasters, XML for Developers, What's All the Fuss About Metadata? An Introduction to RDF and Institutional Change in the Always-On World. Half-day workshop: Planning staff development for Web-based developers and teaching staff within your organisation. Full day tutorial: Instructional Design for Web-based Learning.

Tutorial presenters include -

? Bebo White, a keynote at AusWeb99, who is a computational physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the high energy physics laboratory at Stanford University

? Neville Monks, CEO of the Brisbane-based company Net@ffect Internet Marketing Solutions; Michael Lean, the Copyright Officer for Queensland University of Technology

? Steve Ball, the XML and Scripting Specialist at Zveno, Australia's only dedicated XML company. Nathan Bailey, most recently involved in the design and implementation of Monash's staff and student portal,

? Rik Hall, the Manager of the Instructional Technology Unit in the Computing Services Department at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton NB, Canada

? Keynote speakers Ron Oliver from Edith Cowan University and UCLA's Phil Agre.