What’s the alternative? Widening participation by making VLE-based distance learning available to those without internet access
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What’s the alternative? Widening participation by making VLE-based distance learning available to those without internet access

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My presentation at the 2009 Cambridge International Open and Distance Learning Conference parallel session 3.

My presentation at the 2009 Cambridge International Open and Distance Learning Conference parallel session 3.

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  • 1. What’s the alternative? Widening participation by making VLE-based distance learning available to those without internet access Centre for Open Learning of Mathematics, Science, Computing and Technology (COLMSCT) Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). Val Hancock COLMSCT Associate Teaching Fellow [email_address]
  • 2. The OU Associate Lecturer (AL) Student Student in prison
  • 3. Action Research
    • Research
    • Student interviews
    • Prison education staff interviews
    • Prison Tutors forum
    • Action
    • Prison Tutor Support wiki
    • Trial
    • Tutor pack
    • Alternative materials
    • Research
    • Statistics
    • Tutor questionnaires
    • Student questionnaires
  • 4. Student interviews (formal) We’ve got an intranet with Moodle. Can we load the course website on it? Can my brother access the forum and tell me what’s being discussed so that I can reply? I print things off at home and bring it in for the students I wanted to do a Computing degree but I have to do Sociology instead because you don’t need internet access for that I didn’t know you could submit assignments by email, I thought you needed to go to the website Not having internet access slows you down. You have to get a book from the library which they might have to get in for you. Prison education staff interviews (informal)
  • 5. Prison Tutors Forum There was an e-activity at the begining of the course which required students to engage in online discussions on their rain gauge experiment, I got around this one by anonomising examples of the messages post to the TGF and printing it off for my student to use for his assignment Just wonder what colleagues do in this situation?I hopefully can and will see the students F2F but what about all the online stuff? When it comes to changing TMAs, accepting paper instead of eTMAs and so on, how much authority does the AL and/or the course team have? At what point do these alterations need permission from elsewhere in the university? I think it is too much to expect either the prison Education Officer or myself to provide hard copies of everything they need Are you allowed to take CDs or USB sticks into the secure unit? This is often a problem in prisons and so in the past I've had to resort to printing off things that would be easier to transfer digitally (assignments, CMAs etc). If you can create a CD-R with all the course website material on it makes life much easier. I'm not clear on who provides the student with TMA questions when they are only available online (I sent a hardcopy of TMA01 just in case)
  • 6. Alternative approaches Course Component
    • Alternative approach
    Course news
    • Alert prison education staff by email, phone or post
    Web references
    • Offline versions of web pages emailed or on CD
    • Printed pages
    Internet searches
    • Mediated search by OU library, tutor or prison staff
    • Alternative sources e.g. books, DVD encyclopedias
    Videos & podcasts
    • Offline versions emailed or on CD
    • Transcripts emailed or on CD
    Collaborative tools
    • Offline tutor group (or dummy) forum/wiki/blog
    • Offline responses
    Download assignment
    • Email as attachment
    • Print and post
    Computer Marked Assignments
    • Post paper OCR form
    Assignment submission
    • Email to electronic submission system
    • Paper submission
    Course website
    • Download to prison intranet running generic Moodle
  • 7. Homing pigeon
    • http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/homing-pigeon-faster-internet-africa/story?id=8550501
  • 8. Tutor Pack
    • Getting started
    • TMA00
    • M150 course website
    • General support
    • Useful forums
    • Useful sites
    General Advice
    • TMA01
      • Question 1 (i) (b)
      • Question 1 (i) (f)
    • TMA02
      • Question 2 (v)
      • Question 3 (i)
      • Question 3 (iii)
    Specific Advice
  • 9. Statistics
    • 9 students registered
    • 2 withdrew before the course started
    • 1 did not complete the course
    • 6 passed the course
  • 10. EDO Framework
    • Categorise activities requiring internet access
      • E ssential
        • students will fail the course if the activity cannot be carried out
      • D esirable
        • students can pass the course if the activity cannot be carried out but their overall grade is likely to be affected
      • O ptional
        • many students outside prison will not engage with the activity
  • 11. Discussion
    • What are your experiences of problems due to lack of internet access?
    • How did you overcome these problems?
    • What do we mean by ‘accessibility’?
    • Is the EDO framework useful?
    • Is this a learning design issue?
  • 12. Further information
    • Alternative approaches to online activities for prisoners and others without access to the Internet (COLMSCT project): http://www.open.ac.uk/colmsct/activities/details/detail.php?itemId=474c44f736651&themeId=48a9748015077
    • An Objective Evaluation of Online Forum Usage Amongst Prison Tutors in a Distance Learning Environment (EISTA 2009 conference paper):
    • http://www.iiis.org/CDs2008/CD2009SCI/EISTA2009/Abstract.asp?myurl=E362EX.pdf
    • Val Hancock: vyh3@tutor.open.ac.uk
  • 13.