Developing a Pedagogical Approach
BY LOUISE MARCHAND, PHD
The objective of this project is to propose benchmarks and guidelines for the development of distance education courses offered via videoconferencing and telematics.
Distance education using new technologies is not only a promising growth market, but is also becoming an area in which numerous experiments and field studies are being carried out on various independent study and instructional television techniques, or combinations thereof.
In 1995, Bates observed that distance education, despite its long history, still met with considerable distrust and resistance from university professors and provincial governments.
As communication systems become more efficient, cheaper and available in more languages, the teaching and distance education fields are now seeing an accelerated pace of technological change and many new innovations. Whether we like it or not, new technologies will play an increasingly important role as teaching support tools in education (Bates, 1998; Harisim, 1995; Rowntree, 1995). This is particularly true of Canadian society, which is one of the most advanced societies in terms of communication media research and development (Wells, 1992).
The number of formulas -or models - for using new technologies in distance education is growing as various recent or older communication and information technologies (CITs) are combined and implemented. Those wishing to adopt a multimedia formula for their teaching often find themselves trying to accomplish this task on their own. Our objective is to provide actual examples of how videoconferencing and the electronic highway are used in teaching.
The primary target group is French-speaking university students both inside and outside Quebec, to meet the demand of learners who do not always have access to post-secondary education in their first language. Post-secondary education in French provided through distance education may be the solution to this problem.
The second target group is adult education instructors. One of the project's objectives is to set up links between adult learners and university professors involved in adult education. Communicating through videoconferencing and instructional television is an excellent way to reach adult educators, who in turn communicate with other adults.
The third target group includes professors, researchers, teachers, distance educators and adult learners who are interested in using videoconferencing and the Internet for distance learning activities.
Overall Project Objective
The Groupe de Recherche sur l'Apprentisage a Vie par les Technologies de ['Information (GRAVITI), which conducts research into lifelong learning using information technologies, wishes to examine specific aspects of pedagogical communication in situations where teaching is done with videoconferencing and electronic support tools.
The principal objective is to study the effectiveness of various electronic and videoconferencing support models being used for teaching and training purposes and put together a proposed teaching manual that could be used in the implementation and delivery of distance education courses using such models. To meet our objective, we need to: conduct a comprehensive Canada-wide survey of distance education and training experiments which have used these technologies; study the learning procedures that were implemented and the performance results obtained; classify these experiments and propose application models.
This research will involve many contacts with Frenchspeaking educators across Canada and is likely to promote the exchange of information and encourage the pooling of research findings, the launching of joint projects and possibly the sharing of resources.
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