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History of CAL-laborate and CAL-laborate International

CAL-laborate was initially conceived in 1995 during the northern winter by Bengt Kjöllerström (Sweden), Dick Bacon (UK) and Ian Johnston (Australia). These three physicists were discussing ongoing collaborations between physics teachers and whilst at Bengt's house, either in the sauna or rolling around in the snow after the sauna, they came up with the bright idea of CAL-laborate. From Ian's diary "… the sight of three portly physicists cavorting naked in the open air would have terrified the neighbours, if there had been neighbours". The idea of bringing together equivalent organisations in Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom, each organisation being in some way funded from national sources and having responsibilities for encouraging the use of new technologies in undergraduate education, was a powerful driver for the collaborations that followed.

The first issue of CAL-laborate was published in October 1997 and until 2000 the issues concentrated on the physical sciences. In June 2000 the first issue concentrating on the Life Sciences was produced. So from 1997 - 2006, CAL-laborate was a non-refereed journal that disseminated, in an international context, experiences and opinions about the use of Information Technology in university science teaching. Its primary aim has been to foster linkages between academics all over the world, by the sharing of ideas, thoughts and experiences. There have been two publications each year: one for the life sciences in the first half of the year and one for the physical sciences and geosciences in the second half.

During the period 1997 to 2006 there have been 110 articles published and whilst most of them have come from Australia (35%) and the UK (38%), articles were also sourced from Sweden, the United States of America, Finland and China. Helping source the articles are colleagues around the world, were (among others): Dick Bacon, Phil Barker, Dave Wonnacott, Lee Sprouts, Trish Walker, Simone Richardson, Pam Bishop, Mike Sanders, Tina Overton, in the UK; Johannes Hylander and Stacey Sorensen in Sweden; and Anne Fernandez, Kaye Placing and Danielle Merrett at UniServe Science in Australia.

It is interesting to note the changes that have occurred within our three organisations during this period. UniServe Science was funded nationally for only its first three years (1995-1998), and by the University of Sydney ever since. It has kept its original name although its focus has changed during this time. The Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI) centres in the UK, once concerned with computers in teaching were remodelled in 2000 as a number of subject centres known as Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN) and recently these have been incorporated into the Higher Education Academy UK. In Sweden the Council for Renewal of Undergraduate Education reappeared in 1999 as the Council for Renewal of Higher Education and this was disbanded in January 2006.

In 2008, an Editorial Committee was established and CAL-laborate became CAL-laborate International, a refereed journal. Instead of having separate issues from the Life and Physical Sciences, each issue of CAL-laborate International will cover all the sciences.

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