Interpret-ED: National Online
Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association
The grant enabled the development of online professional development (PD) for their members. A national online Auslan (the sign language of the Australian Deaf community) interpreter training and professional development program that delivers training and professional development for signed language interpreters throughout Australia.
This was, and still is, crucial for their members because, as professionals, they must undertake steps to ensure currency of skills and a part of this is PD. As well, many of their members live in regional and remote areas of Australia, making participation in face-to-face PD impossible. Online PD provides a solution for them. Their end result was the completion of six online PD modules, including quizzes, that were accessible across programming platforms. These modules were - and remain - available to their membership for a nominal fee providing not only readily accessible, quality PD, but at a low cost.
What worked well and why?
The creation of online education for their members worked well for a number of reasons. Many of their members are in regional and remote areas of Australia. Aside from this, interpreting is a very seasonally-based income which means that interpreters often sacrifice face-to-face PD opportunities for paid work. Additionally, as a female dominated profession, many have small children. All of these factors combined, creating the medium of online, self-paced PD was convenient for members.
How were obstacles overcome?
There were technical issues in relation to using their website for PD that would be accessible across platforms. This took considerable time for their web designer to resolve. Ultimately, though, the issues were resolved. As it was a new medium for interpreters - many of whom are not particularly techno-savvy - the initial uptake was slow. However, this has improved over time and they are currently working on the development of further modules.