Providing computing for distance learners: a strategy for home use.

Jones, Ann; Kirkup, Gill; Kirkwood, Adrian and Mason, Robin (1992). Providing computing for distance learners: a strategy for home use. Computers & Education, 18(1-3) pp. 183–193.



Major changes are occurring in British higher education which will continue over the next decade. These include widening access to higher education, e.g. among mature adults and people from other European countries; developing distance and open learning for use in parallel with face-to-face teaching and the expansion of CAL to support various forms of pedagogy. These trends may conflict. Expanding the pedagogic uses of information technology, e.g. unless designed very carefully, may create new barriers to access for some potential students. Educational policy makers, course designers and teachers must address such potential conflicts. This paper draws on recent experience at the Open University (OU) of expanding the use of home-based computers for distance education students. In 1988 the OU implemented a policy in which students on specified courses were required to provide extensive access to personal computers in order to study their course material. By 1990 over 13,500 students were doing this. The experience of these students has been monitored and evaluated and lessons from it indicate some of the major issues such a strategy would involve for any institution considering similar developments.

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