Table of Contents
EOOnline is an equal opportunity online workshop. It was developed by a consortium of four NSW universities (University of Wollongong, University Technology Sydney, University of Newcastle and Charles Sturt University). The project was initiated and led by Robyn Weekes from the EED Unit at UOW. Each university contributed financially to the project. Additional sponsorship funding was gained from Office of the Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment (ODEOPE). The consultant, Equity Fundamentals, was engaged to write the text in conjunction with EEO practitioners from the consortium. The author was Ruth Jost, who has 12 years experience with Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) in policy development, training and grievance management. Sarah Lambert led a team from CEDIR, which was responsible for the instructional and technical design.
The impetus to develop the program was:
- To provide comprehensive understanding on discrimination and harassment issues across campus;
- To deliver this information in a format that would be interesting for staff;
- To address the poor response to scheduled training sessions;
- To encourage staff participation with a flexible delivery mode;
- To utilise the established IT infrastructure which exists in universities;
- The consortium was formed as a cost efficiency for a group with the same needs; and,
- To address a gap in the market.
EOOnline aims to assist in the creation of a positive environment in which all students and staff are treated fairly and equitably by providing:
- self paced, equal opportunity training for a broad range of university staff ;
- theoretical knowledge and a practical understanding of how to apply equal opportunity principles in work and study environments;
- real life case studies, examples and interactive learning techniques for self assessment.
Participant Learning Objectives
By working through the EO Online modules, staff will:
- learn how to deal with and prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace
- understand legal rights and their responsibilities to achieve a discrimination and harassment free campus
- increase their awareness of equity policies, issues and strategies at this university
- have a reference for dealing with grievances.
- Designed for academic and general staff.
- Two modules with site map access to particular topics;
- Module 1-What everyone needs to know
- Module 2-For managers and supervisors
- Interactive learning techniques, self paced, self assessment;
- Based on user testing, approximately 2-3 hours to complete both modules;
- Linked to internal policy documents and external agencies etc;
- Monitoring software included to measure
- The number of users
- The number of users from each external site
- Non completion of a module;
- Mechanism for user feedback to the EEO/Equity Unit through email posting; and
- Users can voluntarily demonstrate completion of each module by providing their email address.
- The development period was 12 months from initiation to completion;
- Academic input was provided into instructional design through CEDIR;
- Significant testing was conducted at each university site in February 2002 and user comments were fed back into the design;
- Tested for Bobby compliance.
Bobby WorldWide is a tool for Web page authors. It helps them identify changes to their pages so users with disability can more easily use their web pages;
- Screen reader version for sight impaired under development;
- Update function incorporated;
- EOOnline was presented as a program under development, at the national biennial conference of Equal Opportunity Practitioners in Higher Education, Australasia, (EOPHEA) in November 2001. EOOnline has since proven popular within the sector with numerous universities outside the consortium purchasing the program.
- Internet with central browser at UOW
- No installation or data storage risks
- Password protected
- Unlimited use within institutions
- Easy navigation, site maps
- PC or Mac- Base machines needed to run program
- IBM PC, MS Windows 95, Pentium 166, 24MB RAM, 800 X 600 16-bit colour monitor
- Power Macintosh, MacOS8.1, 24MB RA<, 800 X600-bit colour monitor
- Minimum software needed to run program Netscape communicator 4, will support Internet Explorer 5.
The benefit to all staff and students of an environment where staff understand and are able to respond appropriately to equal opportunity issues is obvious. A comprehensive education program, such as EOOnline, provides evidence of a pro-active strategy to reduce discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
There are also positive business outcomes of a work environment, which is discrimination and harassment free, such as open communication, confidence in management, lower absenteeism, reduced industrial issues, reduced workers compensation and turnover.
Employers are legally responsible for the unlawful actions of their employees.
Federal and state anti-discrimination legislation places the responsibility on employers to have processes in place to educate staff on their responsibilities in this area. Vicarious liability is reduced if an organisation can demonstrate it has taken all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring, (eg comprehensive education program). Liability can become minimal if in addition to an education program, it can be demonstrated that processes are in place to address discrimination complaints and in a particular instance, these processes have been followed.
EOOnline was a single agenda item for the EED Committee meeting in November 2001. It was on the Committee's agenda again on 30 July 2002. A demonstration of EOOnline and implementation recommendations were referred by the EED Committee, to a meeting of Deans and Senior Executive for endorsement. The following recommendations were endorsed on 7 August 2002.
- All existing staff will be strongly encouraged to work through module 1 of EOOnline.
- Target groups for EOOnline should be staff in a managerial or supervisory role, Committee members involved in recruitment and promotion processes and personnel staff. All members of this group were particularly encouraged to complete both modules 1 and 2 of EOOnline.
- Managers and supervisors and Personnel should be asked to complete the program by January 2003.
- Committee members trained over 3 years ago should be invited to update with EOOnline by the end of January 2003 or prior to their next committee whichever is the latter.
- New staff will be required to complete the appropriate modules of EOOnline within 6 months of the commencement of their employment.
- A series of lunchtime rollout demonstrations be provided for all staff.
- Demonstrations should be provided at faculty/divisional meetings with both academic and general staff in attendance;
- Deans/Directors should be asked to introduce & support the rollout of EOOnline to their work unit;
- EOOnline should be showcased to local employers.
Implementation problems are recognised for some staff in Facilities Management Division and proposals to address these issues should be discussed with the Director, Facilities Management Division.
These recommendations have been incorporated into the following implementation plan.
|15 August 2002||UOW Staff|
|21 August 2002||New Staff|
|Mid August 2002||UOW Staff|
|15 August 2002||Target Groups|
|September to November 2002||Individual faculties and divisions as an agenda item at their regular meetings|
|September 2002||Buildings and Grounds Division|
|July 2003||EED Committee/Senior Executive|
|August 2003||Sample group of UOW staff|