Model Program - Interaction Through A
Mix of Media
This is a model program that is based on
a mix of media - computer conferencing, video conferencing, video
tape, audio conferencing, and access to learning resources through
the computer. This mix of media is available now. With it all
learning styles can be reached. It also includes a component
which enables students to become self-directed learners
and reduce their sense of isolation.
Over the last several years, some states
passed legislation which required an interactive component in
distance learning programs. This seems to imply that distance
education can only be interactive and thus effective using two-way
video and two-way audio systems. However, interaction can be
attained through other audio technologies and computer conferencing.
Costs have fallen for videoconferencing systems, but some institutions
can not afford multiple videoconferencing rooms during the start-up
phase of a distance learning program. However they can install
as many rooms as their budget will allow and augment and enhance
videoconferencing classes with other audio and computer conferencing
technologies. Established distance learning programs which need
to increase the number of classes offered can also use this model.
By adding one new set of videoconferencing rooms and using audio
and computer conferencing, they can effectively double or triple
the number of classes offered.
Interaction can be accomplished through
other technologies. This is a listing of the off-the-shelf technologies
available to us now.
Video technologies include broadcast video,
cablecast video, satellite video (analog and digital), videoconferencing
(two-way video/audio - compressed technologies), one-way closed
circuit video (usually confined to a campus), cassettes, video
disk, CD-ROM, videotex, and multimedia.
Audio technologies include telephone, audio
conferencing, audio cassettes, voice mail, radio, records, CDs,
CD-ROM, and multimedia.
Computer technologies include E-mail, computer
conferencing, bulletin boards, multimedia, CD-ROM, video disk,
videoconferencing, local and national library database and resource
There is already overlap in some technologies
and we are continuing the trend toward digital fusion where many
technologies are becoming digital, and ultimately will be accessed
through the computer. The telephone companies are promising access
to major bandwidth in a few short years which will support individual
learning stations in the home, office, and the campus as well
as desktop videoconferencing.
As we move toward this full use of digital
technology and all of the resources that will be available to
us, it will be beneficial to begin using other technologies that
will enable us to fully utilize multimedia technologies when
they are available. Because most faculty do not have extensive
media training, they will not be able to utilize multimedia technologies
in the future if they have not become accustomed to using them
from "The Distance
Learning Technology Resource Guide," by Carla Lane