When Dr Kay Ayre* was a special education researcher at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) she would carry a portable hard drive to regularly back up her files of data.
“Doing this was quite unsettling,” she said, “because there was always the risk of the drive being lost, left somewhere or left at home when needed at work or vice versa. Plus, it was easy to forget to back up regularly and that could be problematic.”
Fortunately, she attended an information session at USQ in which QCIF’s USQ-based eResearch Analyst Dr Francis Gacenga introduced academic staff to QRIScloud, QCIF’s cloud computing service, and Nextcloud, an application designed to facilitate access, sharing and collaboration across data sets.
Francis helped Dr Ayre set up a Nextcloud desktop application on her computer and transfer her files across. Dr Ayre then used Nextcloud (with QRIScloud as the backend) to store all her files — research, data collection, teaching content and the like.
“I can work on my documents from anywhere and the file is synchronised between my work and home computer so I am always working on the latest version. I can store files safely and securely (Australian-based) with ready access to them,” said Dr Ayre.
With QRIScloud and Nextcloud, Dr Ayre was not only able to abandon her portable hard drive, she also no longer needed to back up files to a portable device, as QRIScloud synchs and replicates copies of data on and off-site.
Any issues with QRIScloud or Nextcloud, albeit it “very few”, Dr Ayre simply contacted Francis or the QRIScloud Help Desk. The support, she said, was “very timely, friendly and reassuring.”
She added: “The email alerts to notify me of updates and interruptions to the QRIScloud service have been most helpful and help to allay any concerns and worries if the system may not be responding as it should.”
As USQ is a QCIF member, QRIScloud and Nextcloud** are free to use for researchers like Dr Ayre.
The files Dr Ayre needed to store and access are for the research project she is the co-investigator of: A pilot training program for educators working with children with complex social emotional concerns, such as those who have experienced trauma, and supporting the positive behaviour of these students.
Dr Ayre and the project’s principal investigator, USQ psychology researcher Dr Govind Krishnamoorthy, conceptualised the project after running a series of related workshops for teachers.
“The consistently high attendance rates and teacher feedback indicated that understanding the impact of trauma on learning and behaviour and how to best support children affected by trauma, was a critical area of need in teachers’ professional learning. This consolidated the value and purpose of our message for teachers in schools,” said Dr Ayre.
“It was clear to us that it appeared common place that teachers and educators are not aware of the traumatic events that may have impacted a child in their school or classroom. Educators typically receive little formal training or continuing education about the impact of trauma on students and ways they can help traumatised children achieve better educational outcomes.”
Dr Ayre and Dr Krishnamoorthy partnered with a Northern Territory school on the project (which has been ongoing since early 2017) after the school’s staff approached Dr Ayre following her presentation at a conference in 2016.
Eleven of the NT school staff (teachers and administrators) have been active participants in the training and data collection phase of the project.
Data collection is in the final stages and it is hoped in the coming year, the research project’s results will be disseminated through publication and presentation at relevant conferences.
* In September 2019, Dr Kay Ayre took up a position as lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.
** There are several interfaces available for accessing data through Nextcloud:
- QRIScloud’s Nextcloud Web server: A Web-based interface to a user’s data storage, with the ability to configure connections to a wide range of storage repositories.
- Nextcloud desktop application: A client application interface, which can be easily downloaded and installed, that enables folder synchronisation between data and a local computer.
- Nextcloud mobile application: A mobile client, available through various app’ stores, for smart phones.