Distance education in transition: adapting pedagogical models and approaches for adult learners in the digital world.
In: The times they are a-changin': Researching transitions in lifelong learning, 22-24 June 2007, University of Stirling.
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There is considerable potential for teaching and learning in Higher Education - particularly that undertaken at a distance - to be enhanced through the use of digital technologies. Information and communication technologies (ICT) can improve access to information and resources and provide new opportunities for communication between students and teachers. This is particularly important for students of the UK Open University (UKOU) who undertake their studies independently, at the time and place that best suits their circumstances. Being geographically dispersed, students seldom have access to an academic library in which they can consult specialist texts and journals, and their opportunities for personal contact with their teachers and fellow students are limited. Internet technologies enable pedagogic models and approaches to be adopted for dispersed independent learners that were previously difficult or impossible to put into practice. However, the potential benefits are unlikely to be realised unless fundamental issues are addressed at an institutional level in relation to teaching practices in DE and the underlying assumptions and educational models.
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