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ADEnet Project Phase 2: A proposal

Background and context

The purpose of this proposal is to expand the ADEnet Project into a second phase. It arises from discussions at the meeting of NCODE on 12 October 1993, which resulted in an invitation to the ADEnet Project coordinator to submit a proposal for two new sites, Brisbane and Canberra.

The ADEnet Project (Australian Distance Education network) was awarded $91,000 from Reserve Fund 1991. As a national project, it aimed to provide external students with local telephone call access to AARNet, for computer mediated communications to their universities, at costs considerably lower than the alternative, Telecom's Austpac service (Atkinson, 1992). After overcoming a considerable number of technical difficulties, the ADEnet Project now provides university distance education students with local call dialup access for the following telephone districts or "sites" (Atkinson, 1993a, 1993b):

Problems addressed

ADEnet Project Phase 2 addresses the problem that a number of capital cities do not have an ADEnet facility. The ADEnet project is concerned with replacing Austpac access, which is slow, expensive, and less amenable to developing user friendly software, with local call dialup and AARNet carriage of trunk traffic, where this is economically and technically feasible. This approach is especially important in relation to the increasing amounts of library services traffic, which demands longer connect times and larger data volumes than is typical with email. ADEnet is now functioning very satisfactorily at the sites established under the initial NPRF grant and extension to other capital city sites can be undertaken readily. The two largest gaps in terms of numbers of prospective users are Brisbane and Canberra.

Objectives and activities

The objectives for ADEnet Phase 2 are to extend ADEnet coverage to Brisbane and Canberra, using the technical knowledge and installation routines developed by the Project for the Sydney and Melbourne sites (Atkinson, 1992, 1993b). The proposed manager for Phase 2 is the ADEnet coordinator: Griffith University has expressed interest in hosting the Brisbane site, and University of Canberra has expressed interest in hosting the Canberra site. Contact persons for negotiations are available and have been briefed in both cases. As is the case with existing sites, assets purchased for the proposed Phase 2 will be recorded on the Assets Register of the site's host university, and management of the terminal server and modems will be vested in an appropriate unit of the host university.

Intended outcomes

The intended outcomes are two new ADEnet sites, as listed in the budget. The proposed new sites and all existing sites offer the option of integration into future arrangements which may develop under plans arising from the proposed OLINET tender, subject to the provision that any university not in the same telephone district and wishing to have its host computers listed as permitted rlogin/telnet destinations from the any of the available terminal servers will be given that service. The host universities for the new ADEnet sites will obtain listing at any other site if desired.

Budget and timetable

  1. The proposed timetable for is 1 December 93 to end February 1994. The main activities are finalise site agreements, purchase equipment, install, test and disseminate advice to the universities using ADEnet facilities.
  2. Cost estimates are based conservatively on those given by Atkinson (1993b): large site, $2,500 per modem, and medium site $3,000. In cases for which site costs are more favourable than estimated, any surplus will be invested in additional capacity. Site capacity requirements (number of modems and phone lines) are estimated from previous surveys undertaken by the ADEnet Project, and knowledge of demand gained from current sites. An interim installation of 4 modems (small site basis) could be made in Brisbane for $12,000.
  3. The provision is for staffing relief at the External Studies Unit, Murdoch University, and for technical staff to provide an installation service. The first phase of the ADEnet Project proceeded too slowly owing to inadequate provision for staffing.

Dissemination and evaluation

An established dissemination avenue is available through the emailing list for ADEnet contacts, and via files available by anonymous ftp from cleo.murdoch.edu.au, directory /pub/Res-and-Dev (filenames for the major reports are given below). As the universities using ADEnet sites undertake dissemination to their own distance education and open learning students, evaluations by means of student questionnaires distributed electronically should be undertaken through these universities. Data on modem utilisation and rlogin/telnet destinations is available from the Sydney site and similar data from other sites is expected to be available in the future.

Atkinson, R. (1993). Managing network access for open learning. In A. Ellis and B. Hansen (eds), Access Through Open Learning Occasional Papers, Volume 3, 1-14. Lismore, NSW: UNE-NR (Southern Cross University). http://www.roger-atkinson.id.au/pubs/confs/atkinson-acc-ol93.html

Atkinson, R. (1993b). ADEnet: A national project to achieve low cost access to computing resources for distance students. Supplementary Report June 1993 by WADEC to DEET on a National Priority (Reserve) Fund Project. Perth: WADEC and Murdoch University External Studies Unit. http://www.roger-atkinson.id.au/pubs/projects/adenet-nprf-supp-rept93.html

Atkinson, R. (1992). ADEnet: A national project to achieve low cost access to computing resources for distance students. Report to the DEET on a 1991 National Priority (Reserve) Fund Project by the Western Australian Distance Education Consortium. Perth: WADEC and Murdoch University External Studies Unit. http://www.roger-atkinson.id.au/pubs/projects/adenet-nprf-rept92.html

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Original created 6 Nov 93. HTML last revised: 12 May 99.
Author: Roger Atkinson [atkinson@cleo.murdoch.edu.au]
This URL: http://www.roger-atkinson.id.au/pubs/projects/adenet-nprf-ph2-proposal.html
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