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More than Face (to face) Value


Ian Ball,
Head of School of Community Education & Social Work Education
Ian Fairweather,
Course Director, Post Graduate Diploma in Community Education

Northern College of Education,
Dundee Campus,
Gardyne Road,

tel: 01382 464000
fax: 01382 464900

Evaluating CMC and Online Courses


Our evaluation of using computer conferencing to enable students to work collaboratively with their tutors and peers indicates that these electronic learning environments appear to enhance the students learning experience beyond conventional face to face contact of learning in classrooms.

In fact our analysis of the dialogue taking place on these conferences suggests that computer conferencing generated more important statements, considered interaction and linked ideas than many of the equivalent face to face sessions. This form of dialogue continues the conversation beyond the constraints of normal face to face delivery methods.

Indications are that deep learning is encouraged and promoted by encouraging critical evaluation and understanding through electronic learning.

Apart from these advantages, the evaluation of these telematics based learning experiences seem to indicate that they are more effective than traditional distance learning experiences. Our research into this suggests that students who work through the course using computer conferencing achieve better results and lower drop out rates than those using more traditional methods of support.

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Last modified: 1 December 1999 (formatting).
Original text 21 May 1998.