Optimising the Use of Distance Learning Materials in Higher Education in Australia

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Date
1999-03
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
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PCF1 // Orange Agricultural College (OAC) was established in 1973 under the guidance of the New South Wales Department of Agriculture to offer courses specifically related to farming and the rural industry. On January 1st, 1994 the College was established as an Academic College of the University of Sydney. // In 1998 approximately 1400 students were enrolled at OAC with 300 studying on campus and the remainder by distance education. Early in OAC’s history it was realised that if the College was to achieve its ambition to provide a centre of excellence in rural business management it must make its courses available nationally through distance learning. A specialist Educational Services Unit was established to provide instructional design, editing, desk-top publishing and student support services. In 1997 the Educational Services Unit occupied a new, purpose-built site complete with state-of-the-art ‘on demand’ printing and audio-visual facilities. // Although small in relation to most other providers of distance education in Australia, OAC has developed a reputation for innovativeness and progressive thinking in both teaching and learning. One of the initiatives OAC pioneered, as far back as 1984, was the use of its distance education materials with on-campus classes. Gradually, since 1984, more staff have adopted this practice and requested their on-campus students to purchase the appropriate distance education materials for their studies. Staff have been encouraged to adopt such practices through workshops and seminars. In 1997/98 26% of academic staff were using distance education materials/methods with at least one of their on-campus classes. //

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Australia
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Pacific
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