Students and staff in a number of units have been using the Microteaching rooms in Building 5 for many years for recording presentations and interviews. In 2004/5 the rooms were upgraded using funds from the DEST Infrastructure Grant for the National Institute of Language Learning (NILL) with better quality video and audio recording equipment, SmartBoard electronic whiteboards and video projectors.
School of Education and Community Studies students recording presentations and interviews for assessable work are the most frequent users of the rooms. School of Languages and International Education staff and students also book the rooms for presentation work in regular tutorials, although it is unclear whether they use the video and sound recording capabilities and other specialist facilities in the rooms. The SmartBoards in these rooms are used also in the Information Technology and Education unit to familiarise prospective teachers with the sort of equipment they will have available to them in classrooms when they graduate.
Student bookings are managed through the use of booking sheets in the anteroom outside the Microteaching rooms. The rooms are also included in the University timetable system as Divisional rooms, and can be booked through Syllabus+.
Recently the rooms were block-booked through Syllabus+ for the ACT Department of Education and Training to conduct interviews with prospective teachers. Students who had booked the rooms for video recording using the booking sheets were unable to use the spaces and emergency arrangements had to be made elsewhere in the Division to accommodate their requirements. Also some tutorials are booked into these rooms on a regular basis, but the facilities are not used during the tutorial much if at all. While the rooms are occupied by tutorials, students wanting to use them for their assessments can’t get in, increasing the pressure on the use of the rooms (towards the due date for assignments it is often impossible for some students to make a booking in the rooms at all).
With the increasing pressure on the use of the specialist facilities of the rooms, bookings for the rooms should be removed from Syllabus+ and only used for the specialised purposes for which they were designed.