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Track 4: Teaching and learning

Session : Distance Education : Why, How and What For ?

By Irčne Butor, 22 July 1998

J. Mark Pullen < > from the George Mason University (USA) talked about Synchronous Distance Education. The Media in Synchronous Delivery are : text, audio, graphics, synchronized files, video, Web browsers and multi-user virtual environment. All are complemented by asynchronous email, web and ftp. The teaching modes are : lectures, seminar, coaching, guided discovery, unguided discovery, email dialogue. Good teachers will mix and match all of these. On the question as to whether Synchronous Distance Education works like a traditional class, J. Mark Pullen answered that it may be (but is not always) conducted as a normal class. It needs to be conducted considering the nature of the subject, the skills of the teachers and the preference of the students.

Cyrille Simard < > introduced L’agence de la Francophonie (founded in 72 in Nigeria) working in French speaking developing countries. It is composed of 51 states and governments. It is concerned with law, democracy and development, economic development and solidarity, culture communication and multimedia, education training. The CIFFAD (International Francophone Consortium of Distance and Open Learning Institutions) is concerned with basic education, French language, technical and vocational training, and solidarity. In 97 it had 15'000 learners. The values to respect in Open Distance Learning are political, economical, sociological, technological and educational. Developing countries in Africa are the poorest in the world. They have both a multicultural and a multi-linguistic context. In Africa the role of the teacher is a traditional role. The establishment begin with capital cities, go on with regional centers and villages. When asked what the difference is between distance and traditional teaching Cyrille Simard replied: " distance learning is at least as efficient as traditional education, the work necessary to prepare material brings added valkue to traditional material as it requires an additional effort in terms of conceptualisation. There are convergent interests".

Sam Lanfranco < > from the Bellanet Secretariat and York University (Canada) presented Evaluation Frameworks for ICT-Based Distance Learning. The objectives of the evaluation framework include aid in design use and evaluation of the ICT component in a learning strategy, broadening evaluation beyond just the analysis of the technology. The strategy takes into account both the learning venue and the electronic venue. ICT is a learning workspace and a social process arena.



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