Needs Analysis for Electronically Mediated
Research indicates that successful media-enhanced
and distance learning programs result when organizations implement
a total program including process integration. The implementation
and installation of the technology is not enough. People and
support services who are directly associated with the technology
must be trained to integrate technology into the education process.
This phase pinpoints the needs and concerns of those individuals
who are involved in supporting and teaching the programs via
the new technology being installed.
The needs analysis and planning for faculty
and staff support is designed to prepare the critical people
with the information and techniques they will need to enhance
the teaching of courses. Faculty, administrators, staff and support
services personnel need to be involved to enhance the overall
understanding and commitment to implement the program successfully.
As new distance learning instructors are added, they should also
be formally trained.
The electronic campus is wired so that
video, audio, and data is available in all classrooms, offices,
and dormitories. The electronic campus can also connect branch
campuses, unofficial student housing and faculty residences.
The key to this connectivity is an individualized system designed
for the campus which provides the necessary highway to enable
the institution to provide all the services that students, faculty
and administrators require. Added services include voice mail,
electronic mail, campus security systems (video surveillance,
fire alarm and protection, campus emergency phone systems), local
and wide area networks (LANs and WANs), computer or phone registration,
video teleconferencing, audio conferencing, computer conferencing,
distance learning, library database and resource access.
Electronic Dormitories: Many institutions are experiencing space problems,
but the funding to build new classroom buildings is not available.
When wiring is expanded to the dormitory, each student room becomes
a learning center. Live or taped lectures can be delivered to
the dormitory. It makes sense to install satellite receive dishes
so that the dormitories can receive traditional cable programming
as well as a variety of programming either produced or adapted
to college curricula. Educational programming in the areas of
foreign languages, business administration, medicine, journalism,
music, drama, and much more is available through satellite technologies.
A charge back system to the students for cable programming will
pay for the expense of wiring each dorm room to support personal
computers and access to campus library resources, personal telephone,
and cable television. The cable distribution system can be used
to transmit announcements, pre-recorded lectures, guest speakers
and live sports events campus wide.
When the dormitory is used as a learning
unit, students purchase their own computers, provide their own
televisions and pay for their telephone line use. These are expenses
that are no longer borne by the institution in the form of rapidly
expanding computer labs or new classrooms, or learning centers
in the library. Students can access the library database electronic
card file and access a growing number of interconnected libraries
throughout the world for abstracts and full text. This not only
cuts down on the clerical help in the library, but opens up worlds
of information to the student that the on-campus library can't
afford to support.
Through computer conferencing programs,
students and instructors can interact through messages and assignments.
A choice of software services that best fits the curricular demands
of the institution can be selected. A student tool kit provides
facilities for word processing, database manipulation, spreadsheets,
telecommunications, interactive library services and distance
learning programs. Voice mail for students and faculty provides
another communication mode.
Electronic Classrooms: The electronic classroom is a technology and
service package that allows educational institutions to expand
the boundaries of classrooms far beyond the traditional bricks
and mortar which have encompassed them in the past. They allow
educators to access and utilize a wide variety of available electronic
resources to strengthen the impact of the curriculum being taught.
The resources can range from a video tape located at the school's
library to a live multi-point connection to broadcast an expert
lecturer to various distant campuses.
The successful integration of video, audio,
and computer transmission techniques, coupled with educational
applications, form the backbone of the electronic classroom.
During the design phase of an electronic classroom, many factors
should be taken into account: specific classroom application(s);
the make-up of the class; size of the classroom; transmission
requirements; level of the curriculum; video, audio and computer
applications; information expansion; budget and vendor financing;
and future needs - upgrades and enhancements.
Educational Video Access: Educational video access is designed to give
educators the ability to access remotely stored multimedia material
(VCR, CD-ROM, etc.) and display it in a fashion to complement
the lecture. This allows for a myriad of information sources
to be at the educator's or the student's fingertips. It also
includes the ability to connect to resources through audio and
computer conferencing abilities.
Computer Access to Resources: As campus libraries move to computer based electronic
card catalogs, students and faculty can access the catalog from
offices, dormitories, or their homes. This provides 24 hour a
day access. As the use of CD-ROM technologies increase in libraries,
these systems can also be accessed through campus computer networks
or by a computer and modem from remote sites anywhere in the
world. Students need access to library electronic card files
and full text in order to do research and write papers.
Connection to Remote Campuses: This system is designed to allow the educator
to connect to a remote campus to deliver video for the purpose
of teaching and interacting or to receive video for the purpose
of learning and interacting. It also encompasses audio and computer
Computer Conferencing: Computer conferencing allows faculty and students
to conduct components or entire courses asynchronously. With
a computer and modem hookups, some schools have discovered that
they can reach students who never would enroll in a traditional
class because of unusual working hours, extensive travel schedules,
disabilities, or other obstacles. Entire degree programs including
masters and doctoral programs are being offered. Several institutions
have national and international student bodies, and some colleges
with local computer conferencing classes have realized that they
have a new market of students available to them. One college
in Los Angeles is applying for funding to their local environmental
office as a means of not only providing education, but as a significant
way to reduce auto traffic and reduce emissions. Institutions
that are pressed for space can provide new classes to students
in their dormitory rooms or in their homes or offices without
building a new building or maintaining a parking lot.
Conferencing and telecommunication programs
have been developed and several have been in use long enough
to have track records of dependability. IBM and Macintosh platforms
are supported. The software takes care of log on, uploading and
downloading files, log-off and filing. For campuses that are
already interconnected with wide band transmission lines, desktop
video conferencing is a reality. Videoconferencing groupware
products provide a motion picture of the participants and access
to documents on which they can work. Prices range from $2500
to $5000 per computer station now, but prices will drop soon.
As the telephone companies provide wide
band lines and video dial tone, institutions using computer conferencing
now will be in the forefront of the move to multimedia. Instead
of text, students will have a full array of learning resources
available to them that will include video, audio, text, videoconferencing,
video messages, collaborative group work and a multitude of resources
that haven't been created yet. Courseware will be developed for
multimedia and a true electronic university will be launched
that will meet the needs of the American work force as it competes
in a global marketplace. Just as the idea of just-in-time training
has become a reality in the workplace, educators to will be able
to provide education when it is needed, and where it is needed
at the convenience of the instructor and the student.
For programs to continue to succeed, improve and grow, student
and faculty response to the technology must be analyzed. Measuring
satisfaction, outcomes, retention, and overall indications of
student learning is imperative. Faculty satisfaction and support
are critical to the support of the program. The visibility of
the organization, internally and externally, as well as the industry
of distance learning is contingent upon the continued reporting
of the success and outcomes of the program. Recommendations for
continued evaluation include: faculty end-of-course surveys on
the new technology; student end-of-course evaluation surveys
on the new technology; evaluation of new courses and instructors;
systematically planned expansion to targeted geographic areas
and information services; inter-institution cooperation; and
annual meetings to conduct an evaluation and to provide recommendations
for continued improvement and workshops for instructors to achieve
standards of excellence.
from "The Distance
Learning Technology Resource Guide," by Carla Lane