04. Pan-Commonwealth Forum 4 (PCF4), 2006

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  • Publication
    First Experiences in Collaborative Online Learning: A Case Study
    ( 2006-10) Karunanayaka, Shironica
    PCF4 // Using online methods for learning is rapidly growing among higher education institutions all over the world, especially in Open and Distance Learning contexts. The Master of Arts in Teacher Education (International) Program of the Open University of Sri Lanka integrated collaborative online learning in the course, “The Teacher Educator as an Educational Technologist”. Using a web-based Learner Management System, an interactive learning environment was created, to enhance collaborative learning among students. This study investigated the successes and impacts of the initiative, and challenges faced by students who were novices to online learning. The online learning environment supported students to interact with the subject matter content, with each other and with the teacher. As a result of this experience, students were gaining confidence in self-regulated and reflective learning, while developing a social bonding among them. Although they faced certain challenges such as coping with the technology and changing from conventional approaches, a sense of achievement was claimed once the activities are completed. This paper elaborates on the roles of teachers and learners in a collaborative online learning environment, and also stresses the necessity for design of interactive learning grounded in pedagogy, in order to ensure a successful learning experience for learners. // Paper ID 206
  • Publication
    An African Experience in Providing a Digital Library Service: the African Virtual University Example
    ( 2006-10) Ngimwa, Pauline
    PCF4 // This paper will share the African Virtual University’s experience in making digital learning resources easily accessible to its partner institutions across Africa in the most cost-effective way. The first lesson we have learnt is that there is currently inadequate bandwidth to support access to these digital resources. This is supported by a number of studies that have been carried out in the course of the last three years. The studies further show the negative impact these low bandwidth levels have had on the overall access, utilization and usefulness of the digital resources to the learner and faculty in African universities. In addition this has directly impacted on the level of basic information literacy in a modern electronic environment which most of the Africa students for the first time when they join tertiary education. // A discussion about how the AVU is investing in alternative creative solutions in response to these access problems will be presented. This includes a project to expand bandwidth through VSAT deployment in the partner institutions at an affordable cost by aggregating demand. In addition to this, the paper will discuss how local servers are being used to store and make available digital content that would otherwise require huge bandwidth if they were to be made available online, thus making it possible to easily access targeted sets of resources in ways that are both pedagogically effective and cost-effective. // Paper ID 196
  • Publication
    From the Pomeroon to Portland: The Challenges of Training Teachers by Distance in Contrasting Contexts in the English -Speaking Caribbean
    ( 2006-10) Jennings, Zellynne
    PCF4 // This paper draws on experiences in training primary and secondary school teachers in two contrasting contexts in the English-speaking Caribbean. Its focus is on two programmes (i) the B. Ed in secondary education in Jamaica – a specially funded project to train some 3,000 teachers from upgraded high schools by distance and on-line over a 10 year period and (ii) a new initial teacher training programme delivered by the Cyril Potter College of Education in Guyana which uses a print based distance delivery mode .Drawing on a recent evaluation of the latter, the paper compares the challenges of training teachers in the vast remote underdeveloped areas of Guyana with those faced by teachers in Jamaica who are exposed to more sophisticated technology and physical and human resources. The main questions that this paper addresses centre around the extent to which these programmes have met the objectives of distance education, especially those pertaining to flexibility, expansion of educational opportunities and provision for quality education. // Paper ID 195
  • Publication
    Ensuring Education for All: Non-schooling, Early Drop Out and High Absenteeism in Sri Lanka
    ( 2006-10) Gunawardena, Chandra
    PCF4 // The paper presents the findings of a study on the incidence of non-school going in households and the factors leading to non-schooling or early school leaving. // There were more children in school than out of school with little gender difference. More than forty % of the out of school children had dropped out early. More girls than boys had never been to school and more boys than girls were dropouts. More out of school children were in 10-14 age group. The percentage of out of school children was higher among Tamil children. Almost 10 % had been absent through the two weeks of the survey and 44.5% had been absent for more than 5 of the 10 school days. // The major factors of non-schooling, dropout and high absenteeism were (1) socio-economic (poverty, indifference of parents, unstable family environments), (2) school related (refusal to admit poor children, or those without birth certificates, lack of facilities for children with disabilities, harsh punishments) and (3) personal (chronic ill-health, disability, and learning difficulties). The findings indicated that multi-pronged strategies are necessary to ensure to all children the right to education. // Paper ID 194
  • Publication
    Hard Digital Realities: Teaching with Technology in the Pacific Islands
    ( 2006-10) Evans, Jennifer
    PCF4 // In the South Pacific, where small island populations are scattered over vast areas of the world’s largest ocean, communications of all kinds remain problematic even in the 21st century. The University of the South Pacific operates and owns its own satellite network, USPNet, which attempts to provide Internet, phone and data links, video and audio conferencing, and video broadcasting to students and staff in its 12 member countries. Even with this capacity, teaching with technology is no easy fix to the many challenges of delivering quality distance education in such a context. // This paper focuses on the particular challenge of teaching Computer Science at a distance. Teaching technology with technology appears to be an obvious answer to dealing with a rapidly changing subject area requiring hands-on student experience. When the Internet became available in USP’s many small campuses its interactive potential looked set to solve many previous difficulties. The hard reality is that getting the technology to work effectively is only one part of the puzzle, and that many other factors, including pedagogy, communication, management, and administration, need to be addressed and coordinated to achieve success. // Paper ID 192