Lecturer and tutor Annie Werner has researched the way university is taught remotely, and her results are set to change the way regional campuses use video conference technology.
The driver behind it all has to come from a regional campus, because we are the ones using the technology.Dr Annie Werner
Dr Werner has received a Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning after being nominated by her University of Wollongong Bega campus students and fellow staff members.
"Ultimately I'm here for the students, so for them to go out of their way to nominate me is really nice. It means I'm having a positive influence on them," she said.
"I think what the university values is the way I actively try to build bridges between regional campuses and Wollongong."
The 41-year-old Law, Humanities and the Arts lecturer is hoping to soon publish her findings, consisting of 12,000 pages of research, which are currently being developed into a training module by the university.
"Ultimately I wanted to improve the experience for regional students and staff," Dr Werner said.
"I wanted to look at how university material is shared via video conferences, and look at what we could do to improve things.
"This is totally the way education is going, so I was determined to make sure they [the university] do it right.
"The driver behind it all has to come from a regional campus, because we are the ones using the technology."
Dr Werner said her research, which included surveying students who use video conferencing software, discovered a range of results.
"An overwhelming positive is that regional staff are very positive in what they do," she said.
"The negative was that people feel they need to be supported."
She said guidelines around video conference learning need to be put in place to protect both students and teachers.
She said due to the highly competitive nature of the faculty awards she was "kind of surprised" to be visiting Wollongong this week to accept one for herself.
"I love a bit of ceremony. It's nice to be acknowledged, and my colleagues from the Arts faculty will also be there. I usually only ever see them on Skype or online," Dr Werner said.
"It's good for one of the regional campus staff members to be acknowledged at the main campus.
"All the tutors here want to do best by their students. Our regional staff are really excellent, and Wollongong know that."
After almost a decade at the Wollongong campus, Dr Werner understands university life on both sides of the divide.
"I actually prefer teaching here in Bega because the classes in Wollongong are so big."