Teaching Matters

PS2 R1a Mobile Interactive Learning and Engagement (MILE): Reaching more Tasmanians

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Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 30 November 202030 Nov 2020


Mobile Interactive Learning and Engagement (MILE): Reaching more Tasmanians


  • Mark Shelton, University College*
  • Andrea Carr, Executive Team, University College
  • Cherie Hawkins, University College
  • Robin Barnes, University College
  • Jamie Mitchell, University College*


Community connections

Presentation Type

Lightning Presentation


Room 1




Characterised by a focus on accessibility, University College (UC) has a strong commitment to widen participation in Higher Education, with an emphasis on low SES, regional, rural, and remote students. We offer enabling and pathway programs with flexible, shorter course options, and have outreach and engagement initiatives that build connections with communities and industry. One of these initiatives, includes delivering locally relevant, practice-based, educational experiences using a Mobile Interactive Learning and Engagement (MILE) truck. The MILE truck is purposefully designed as an innovative, interactive learning environment, that may be set up in locations around Tasmania. It enables members of different communities to have meaningful interaction with our people, and exposure to educational experiences that may broaden their horizons. Research shows that such activities and experiences, in conjunction with exposure to role models, and the development of educational networks, can positively influence school and work decision-making (Baxter, Tate & Hatt, 2007; Wilks & Wilson, 2012; Fleming & Grace, 2014; Hawkins, 2014; Kilpatrick et al., 2018). This presentation therefore explores how the initiative connects us with communities, exposes Tasmanians to experiences using new technologies, and raises awareness of pathways and options. It discusses how these factors may influence decision-making and perceptions of university. Initial feedback from high school students (n=300) participating in the use of virtual reality, augmented reality, drone technology, robotics, and virtual welding over five consecutive days suggests the MILE truck enables meaningful connections, and increases awareness of the possibilities through engagement in various experiences.


Baxter, A., Tate, J., & Hatt, S. (2007). From policy to practice: Pupils’ responses to widening participation initiatives. Higher Education Quarterly, 61(3), 266–83.

Fleming, M. J., & Grace, D. M. 2017. Beyond aspirations: Addressing the unique barriers faced by rural Australian students contemplating university. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 41(3), 351-63. https://doi.org.10.1080/0309877X.2015.1100718

Hawkins, C. (2014). Young, female and looking to the future: Exploring the aspirations of adolescent girls in regional Tasmania. (PhD Thesis). University of Tasmania.

Kilpatrick, S., Katersky Barnes, R., Heath, J., Lovat, A., Kong, W. C., Flittner, N., & Avitaia, S. (2018). Disruptions and bridges in rural Australia: Higher Education aspiration to expectation of participation. Higher Education Research & Development, 38(3), 550-65. https://doi.org.10.1080/07294360.2018.1556619

Wilks, J. & Wilson, K. (2012). Going on to uni? Access and participation in university for students from backgrounds of disadvantage. Journal of Higher Education Policy & Management, 34(1), 79-90. https://doi.org.10.1080/1360080X.2012.642335

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