deafConnectEd champions the learning success of students who are Deaf or hard of hearing in Victorian tertiary education. We partner with educators, student support staff, students and families to provide advice, training, research, and interpreting services.

Some recent successes include:

Our partnership with the VET Development Centre to deliver Deafness Awareness Training

A core goal of deafConnectEd is raising awareness about learners who are Deaf or hard of hearing in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. We have traditionally done this through on site Deafness Awareness Training, but since 2017, we have also delivered sessions through the VET Development Centre, enabling us to reaching hundreds of participants in a single session. Feedback on these sessions has been incredibly positive. In May 2021, 99% of respondents rating the session as good or excellent.

Educational Signbank 2015-2021
Following a successful pilot project in 2015 with automotive signs, deafConnectEd has continued to receive grants from the Victorian Government to research additional entries to Signbank, focusing on disciplines that are of high demand for deaf students in the VET sector.

This has included language relating to hospitality, language, literacy and grammar, workplace health and safety, the NDIS and community services. The language relating to student health and wellbeing is a current area of research.

Information vidoes about Signbank have also been produced.

These opportunities benefit deaf students who are studying in VET, interpreters who work in these disciplines, as well as people interested in the Educational Signbank topics.  The project continues to involve deaf subject matter experts as well as interpreters, and aims to develop a library of subject-specific signs for the Signbank website. A definition in Auslan is also created for each concept.

It is important to note that the project will not create new signs, but aims to collect what is already in use by deaf people students and deaf professionals.

Existing Educational Signbank content can be found here.

Accredited Training Pathways for Deaf Migrants
deafConnectEd were successful in an application to the Victorian Government for funding to support recent migrants to Australia who are Deaf. We are delivering a course in 2018 which will include components of Auslan and English literacy. This will support Deaf migrants in accessing services and opportunities for vocational training and further education.

We are very excited about this project and looking forward to working with partners Vicdeaf and with Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities Inc (ADEC) to develop and deliver this program in 2018.

The project will also deliver a series of Deafness awareness workshops for Migrant Resource Centres in Melbourne. The workshops will assist these organisations in their work with migrants who are Deaf or hard of hearing and raise awareness of services and resources that are available for Deaf and hard of hearing people.

We are grateful to the Victorian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet (Capacity Building and Participation Program) for the funding that has made these innovative activities possible.

Past Projects

‘What Standards?’ Website translation standards and guidelines project (2012)
deafConnectEd was delighted to be awarded a grant from the Australian Consumer Communications Action Network (ACCAN) to develop national standards and guidelines to provide a benchmark for practitioners of English to Auslan translations which are being placed on websites across Australia.ACCAN

The funds were awarded to us as leaders of a consortium including Macquarie University, Deaf Society of NSW, Vicdeaf, Deaf Services Queensland, Deaf Australia and ASLIA National. The project will prepare a literature review, conduct focus groups across the country of both current translators and consumers. Focus groups will be held in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

For more information:

Review of Auslan Training in Victoria (2012)
Conducted in partnership with Grant Thornton Australia, the project report highlights the lower take up of Auslan courses in recent years, and that the limited number of training providers offering the course means it is not best suited to delivery through the Victorian Training Guarantee. A summary of the report, including recommendations, and the literature and practice review which informed it, can be downloaded here:

Strengthening outcomes and post school transition pathways for deaf students (2012)
The Victorian Deaf Education Institute commissioned the Centre to undertake a study to examine the outcomes achieved, and pathways chosen by deaf students upon leaving school; the factors that influence those choices; and the interventions required to improve outcomes.

Connecting the Dots (2007)
This National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) funded project evaluated pathways for deaf and hard of hearing students from secondary education into tertiary education and/or employment, providing a snapshot of the barriers faced. This report can be downloaded from the NCVER website.

Auslan Projects (2005)
Funded by Skills Victoria, the research project examined aspects of accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing students to the TAFE sector including:

  • employment models for Auslan interpreters in TAFE, which resulted in the establishment of the Central Auslan Booking Service (CABS)
  • trial delivery of Auslan online via videoconferencing technology
  • new and emerging technologies in Australia and overseas that showed potential as a means to support deaf students in classroom settings

Deaf Australia Online I (1999) and II (2001)
Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA), this project examined the barriers faced by deaf and hard of hearing people in accessing commonplace technologies. The second phase conducted trials of a number of online technologies; investigated awareness raising and skill development for the use of these technologies and engaged in the use of online services by the deaf community.