This is taking us far-afield,


This is taking us far-afield, but Paulears’ comments reminded me of some of the early attempts at the University of Washington in the period between 1985 and ’93, under the auspices of IBM. One project involved piping classroom instruction in Seattle to a similar classroom in another part of the state. Communication was two-way, essentially video conferencing. My recollection is that it was fairly efficient as a means of dispensing information, but of dubious value as a means of educating people. The give and take found in the successful learning environment was never achieved in the video classroom.

Most recently I was involved with a continuing education project that consisted of twenty hours of video instruction on Vimeo, at the conclusion of which the distant student could complete an elaborate examination and receive credit for the course. This, of course, lacked interactive participation and, again in my judgement, was of only marginal value to the students, all of whom were certified medical practitioners. It was interesting to hear the instructor’s point of view and watch his clinical practice, but absent a question and answer or discussion session it appears to have been only moderately successful and was eventually withdrawn.

Perhaps you will be able to contribute to ways of perfecting the distant learning experience. Good luck

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