What is significance for distance education? “ the best way of deciding about the potential usefulness of any new technology is … reflecting on the generic principles that support adults' learning and then figure out how and where the technology fits." What does the technology enhance? What does it render obsolete? What does it become when pushed to an extreme? (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 7 cited by Liz Burge (2001) in Moore, M. G. and G. Kearsley Distance Education: A Systems View
in DE the primary or sole means of communication is through technology
DE tradition of independent study (which is consistent with constructivism)
effective use of technology requires special institutional organization
So what (potentially) do Web 2.0 technologies enhance, or take away, or produce when pushed to an extreme?
Enhances learner autonomy and constructivist learning: “ Learners personally imbue experiences with meaning Learning activities should enable learners to access their experiences, knowledge, and beliefs Learning is a social activity that is enhanced by shared inquiry Reflection and meta-cognition are essential aspects of constructing knowledge ...” (Lambert, et al., 1995, pp. 17-18.)
implications for course designers: designers have to: conceptualize learning experiences that students can personalize design activities for knowledge sharing among students, as a major source of content and pedagogy assignments -- reports of personal or collaborative research to be reported in text but also video and virtual reality experiences
Implications for instructors/tutors “ .. links ideas across assignments…… summarizes or weaves disparate student comments” “ meta-comments that summarize the state of the discussion, identifying its unifying themes and points of disagreement” “ instructors … foster student reflection and self-awareness, push student explorations ” “ humanizing and personalizing the setting”
Implications for learners : Enhanced independent learning skills: sifting, sorting and evaluating; multi-tasking, synthesizing Enhancing communities of inquiry What was made obsolete and needs to be retrieved ? Audio and video conferencing High production value audio and video What does it produce or become when pushed to an extreme ? “ monkeys with typewriters” why are there no advertisements in novels?
Web 2.0 does not make course design and instruction obsolete but enhances their importance What adult students tell us : Course Content is more important than interaction Interaction with an instructor is more important than with other learners
The perennial and intractable problem: Organizational Change “ Effective use of technology and specialist human resources in delivering materials and services to a distributed learner population requires special institutional organization” The basis of our problems: need for changing policy to match changing technology
The normal mode of learning is face to face teaching on the campus of a formally recognised institution.
Resources should be allocated on the basis of :
the number of projected enrollments;
a percentage increase or decrease on the previous year’s allocations
Resources should be planned, allocated and controlled centrally.
Learning takes place in many different ways in many different contexts
Resources are to be used to distribute teaching to where the learners are; using technology for this purpose changes type of capital (fewer buildings, more technology) balance of capital and labor (fewer full time content specialists)
Resources should be allocated according to performance agreements that specify: outcomes that are pertinent to the broad aims and priorities of government and/or other stakeholders the means by which to measure whether these outcomes have been achieved.
The users of resources should:
be involved in the planning and allocation of resources;
have the authority to manage and re-allocate resources.
Human resources should be tied to staff establishments based predominantly on
permanent positions, vertical divisions and hierarchical relationships.
Funds should be allocated for line items in a budget that remains fixed for specified periods, usually twelve months.
Effective use of resources should be measured according to the extent that one or more of the following projections have been met:
class or student contact hours
presentations for examination
Staff establishments should:
accommodate flexible teams that cut across vertical divisions
allow for redeployment of personnel to reflect changing needs
involve delegation of authority to the level at which work is performed.
Funds should be allocated to reflect:
the work of identified programs and individual project teams
the considerable front-end investments required in technology based learning
amortisation of costs and returns over the lifetimes of programs that are usually more than 12 months.
Effective use of resources should be measured according to the extent that the terms of performance agreements have been met.
This will involve: emphasis on outcomes rather than input and throughput
performance criteria tied to stated objectives which concentrate on the broader aims of government and corporate clients.
New Models of Distance Education Organization virtual systems - drawing on resources of a college or nationally or internationally on a program-by-program basis Flexible resource management by a core small management unit with responsibility for: selecting and planning programs recruiting and managing resources managing course design training and monitoring instructors monitoring student progress “ virtual organizing can result in a living organization that is inter-organizational in scope and that contains customer (student) communities, resource coalitions, and professional communities of practice. Sustained innovation and growth are made possible by virtual organizing.” Venkatraman and Henderson cited by Woudstra and Adria (2003)
A national virtual system: PROFORMACAO Management team Design team curriculum Production & distribution team Platform State coordinators State monitoring and training teams Study center Study center Study center Study center tutors tutors tutors tutors S T U D E N T S Funder National advisory ctee UNIVERSITY 1 UNIVERSITY 2 UNIVERSITY 3 Etc Training college 1 Training college 2 Training college 3 Etc Municipal teacher 1 Municipal teacher 2 Etc Tv company 1, 2, etc Publisher 1,2, etc Software 1,2 etc http://www.mec.gov.br/seed/proform/acontece.shtm
CONCLUSIONS Web 2.0 has potential to enhance distance education by: enhancing learner-centered, constructivist pedagogy Further individualizing instruction Providing new environments through virtual reality HOWEVER New bottles do not significantly change the product -- technology alone can not determine the quality of what will be taught and learned in future more significant are changes in policy that permit changes in how regions, countries and individual organizations deploy their resources to allow the pedagogy that can most effectively use the technology
Thank you and enjoy the conference! http:www.ajde.com [email_address]