Telematics-Supported Education for Traditional Universities in Europe


Collis, Betty (1999) Telematics-Supported Education for Traditional Universities in Europe. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 12 (2). pp. 36-65. ISSN 0898-5952

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Abstract:Telematics is the combination of information technology and communication technology. Telematics applications to support educational delivery and participation in traditional European universities are rapidly becoming part of the educational setting. Sometimes they are used specifically to increase distance flexibility in participation, but this is not their only value. Telematics applications are also associated with other forms of flexibility, as well as with heightened efficiency and enrichment of the learning process, both for those in full-time traditional attendance and those participating in increasingly variable ways. In this paper, we first give an overview of the pressures for change in traditional universities in Europe and then define the change domain as involving much more than distance. Then, an overview of a variety of ways that telematics applications are being used in traditional universities in Europe will be given, including categories relating to various aspects of the course-participation experience in the individual course (such as aspects relating to lectures, self-study, and project-type group work). This will be followed by examples of new forms of course organization involving one or more institutions and also of new forms of activities in which traditional universities are becoming involved outside of their core business of mainstream course delivery. The impact on a particular institution, the University of Twente in The Netherlands, will be discussed in more detail. Issues demanding serious attention include staff and student engagement and support and technical decisions relating to the infrastructure and interface of the technology needed to make the new flexibilities possible. These are described and illustrated with examples. The difficulties in supporting this evolution in traditional universities with cost-effectiveness analysis are also noted. Finally, a reflection is made on the changing state of the division between traditional universities and universities organized around distance and open delivery. In some ways, this division is rapidly loosing meaningfulness, but certain differences that are more profound than "distance" still remain.
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Copyright:© 1994 Wiley InterScience
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