AADES presents up to four awards at its biennial conference recognising the achievements of members of the Australasian distance education community. 

Nomination and selection processes are distributed to member schools in the year of the biennial conference.

AADES Gold Medal

This is AADES’s most distinguished award, presented bi-annually to a distance educator whose contribution to school level distance education is assessed as most outstanding throughout Australasia.

 Guidelines for Selection


  • Only quite outstanding contributions to distance education in the school sector throughout Australasia will be considered.
  • The contribution need not necessarily involve a particular contribution to AADES but will be consistent with AADES’s vision and goals.
  • The award may be given to anyone working in distance education schools or support organisations for distance education schools in Australasia.

 A nominee must have been working in distance education (school or sector) for a minimum of three years.  No more than two years may have elapsed since the nominee has worked in distance education.

2017 Recipients

Cheryl Eden - Open Access College

Cheryl Eden is the ultimate professional distance education teacher, leader, mentor and community member.

Cheryl started her distance education teaching career with the birth of Open Access College in 1991 at the Port Augusta School of the Air (SOTA) campus. In these formative years Cheryl was a key player in the shift from HF Radio lessons to on-line. Centra symposium was the first of many technology changes that Cheryl has supported, facilitated and led in her 26 years at the College. The internet connections at the time were slow, and Cheryl tells stories of waiting minutes for a word or a comment to be heard. Plenty of think time.

One of the highlights Cheryl orchestrated in her teaching time at SOTA was a live connection with Andy Thomas the astronaut on the Mir Space Station during a Centra lesson. Andy just happened to be an uncle of one of the students in her class.

As an early adaptor of technology and leader of learning technologies she has been instrumental in ensuring the smooth and successful transition from print to online resources in Moodle. She modelled her own work as a working example for others to critique and learn from, led from the front and mentored from the side enabling all teachers to be active owners of the resources developed.

Cheryl has been and continues to be a mentor and guide for all teachers and especially those new to the College and new to teaching. It wouldn’t matter who you talked with, Cheryl’s reputation is for being one of the best, hardworking teachers around. Her experience and knowledge are abundant. The best thing about her knowledge is that she is always willing to share it. I am so lucky to have had such a great teacher to learn from.

Cheryl is an exemplary, passionate and innovative teacher and leader who has dedicated the past 26 years of her career to students learning via distance and online. She will be sorely missed by her colleagues and the many students and families she works with when she retires at the end of 2017.

Cheryl Eden with Susan Close, SA Minister for Education and Child Development

Teresa Anderson - Capricornia School of Distance Education

Teresa is currently Acting Head of Campus at Capricornia School of Distance Education, alongside this Teresa also plays an integral leadership role across QLD DE schools.

Teresa’s work aligns very succinctly to the AADES Goal for Teacher Practice - providing professional learning relevant to all distance education teachers by her ongoing work in

•    Giving distance education teachers a voice

•    Leading and facilitating opportunities for networking and sharing practice and

•    Communication and partnerships - communication between schools, initiatives, sharing successes, and resources, promote events, webinar presentations

Teresa has many outstanding strings to this bow including:

- Leading the AADES QLD PLC for QLD DE schools

- Establishing moderation and networking throughout QLD SDE’s

- Communication and Partnerships across QLD SDE’s

- Leading and Mentoring teachers and leaders across QLD SDE’s

- Mentoring leaders from other across QLD SDE’s

Teresa's enthusiasm and energy is infectious and inspires others to achieve their very best. She is always striving for new innovative ways to engage the Queensland SDE schools' communities to move forward and be at the cutting edge of education.

In the words of one of her colleagues “Teresa is one of a kind. She strives for excellence in all that she does and she promotes that amongst the other schools. She goes above and beyond, not just for her school but has a genuine interest in improvement for all SDE’s. - she is an extremely deserving nominee and now recipient of this award”.

Teresa Anderson with Susan Close, SA Minister for Education and Child Development

The Presidential Citation for Outstanding Service to AADES


 This award is to be given to those who in the opinion of the President, and their colleagues, have made an outstanding recent contribution to AADES.


Guidelines for Selection


  • Only quite outstanding contributions to the Australasian Association of Distance Education Schools Inc. (AADES) will be considered.
  • Where in the opinion of the Australasian President and/or selection panel no nominee meets the selection guidelines in any given year no Presidential Citation will be awarded in that year.
  • The award may be given to an individual who has been a member of AADES for a minimum of three years and contributed significantly to AADES at a State level and/or at a National level.
  • To be considered for a Presidential Citation the nominee must have made a significant contribution to furthering the goal of AADES and/or advancing AADES’s organisational development.

 No more than two years may have elapsed since the nominee has been a member of AADES.  The citation must be endorsed by the Australasian President to be presented.

AADES Australasian Distance Education Project Award


 This award is presented annually to a school, chapter or support organisation which has been judged to have developed a project or program that has been outstanding in providing improved educational opportunities for distance education students at a school level.


 Guidelines for Selection


  • A school or support organisation needs to be members of AADES and must have completed a project that has provided improved educational opportunities for distance education students at a school level.
  • Identifiable improved student outcomes will be considered as a high criterion in the selection process for the award
  • The project must be either ongoing or, no more than two years have elapsed since the project concluded.

 This award is only awarded to a school, chapter or support organisation.  Individuals are not eligible for nomination.

2017 Recipient

Capricornia School of Distance Education in QLD for its Alternate Learning Space Program

Capricornia School of Distance Education is located in Rockhampton with a secondary site in Emerald. Together, the campuses cater for students from E-Kindy to Year 12. The school caters to a wide variety of students, including geographically isolated, medical, travelling, home based and within the past three years, alternative learning students. The vision of the school ‘be different; make a difference’ is encapsulated by the differentiation and teaching approaches adopted by staff to ensure that each student is catered for, aiming for success for each and every individual. Of the current senior secondary cohort, alternative learning students make up 52% of the enrolments.

The goal for all staff at Capricornia School of Distance Education, inclusive of the Alternative Learning Space, is to overcome these challenges and assist students in making positive choices to become contributing members of society in the future. Capricornia School of Distance Education is the epitome of excellence in distance education, leading the way in alternative learning opportunities. 

The current model is designed to cater for youth between fifteen and eighteen years of age who are in the process of disengaging from school or have disengaged entirely. The effective and innovative concept heavily involves community partnerships brokered by the school as part of a sustainable and integrated model.

Currently there are 138 students enrolled within the program over multiple locations. Over the course of the year, twenty students have been departed from the program. Of these twenty, 70% departed to go onto further education either in mainstream school or another educational institution or have fulltime work/apprenticeship. As such, the program this year currently has a success rate of 96.21%.

AADES Teaching Excellence Award


This award recognises an exemplary classroom practitioner who displays outstanding school based leadership.


 Guidelines for Selection


  • Only quite outstanding distance education teachers in distance education schools throughout Australasia will be considered.
  • A nominee must have been working in distance education (school sector) as a practicing teacher, for a minimum of three years and must have been a class teacher in the year of nomination.
  • A nominee must have demonstrated leadership in a specific area demonstrating leadership of peers such as curriculum development, effective teaching and learning practices and/or leadership of colleagues.

 The nomination must be co-verified by a group of peers and the nominee’s supervisor.

2017 Recipient

Jan Bolton - Te Kura - The Correspondence School New Zealand

Jan’s current role at Te Kura is overall pedagogical leadership of the Performing and Visual Arts and her specialist teaching areas are Music, Music technology, Arts online learning

Two projects provided as evidence to Jan’s outstanding innovation and approach to teaching and learning are 

Keep Moving’: An innovative project undertaken in 2013

Collaborate to Create: A collaborative project undertaken in 2016

In leading by example, Jan has pioneered the way for others to work in authentic learning contexts and ensure agency is in the hands of the learners. By teachers having high expectations, mentoring and facilitating, young people can have fun and learn deeply, picking up necessary qualifications along the way.

A quote from the CE of Te Kura Mike Hollings describe Jan’s work as a teacher and leader of learning as exemplary. “Every school in New Zealand, and in fact around the world, is grappling with the challenge of connecting with students, engaging them in learning, making it authentic and relevant.

Jan is an outstanding teacher and leader of learning, who has given agency to learners to truly help them realise their potentials and to gain qualifications by doing so.”

Jan Bolton with Susan Close, SA Minister for Education and Child Development