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Kirsty Davidson and Judy Goldfinch
Napier University
Maths Department
Sighthill Campus
Edinburgh EH11 4BN
tel: 0131 455 3509
fax: 0131 455 3485


Theme: Evaluating CMC and Online Courses


Over the last few years there has been a very rapid advancement in the development of communication and information technologies. These developments have been both in hardware and supporting infrastructure as well as in software.

The Scottish Universities are fortunate in having broad bandwidth ATM connecting networks which can be used for video conferencing and transferring large amounts of data. The importance of exploiting these Metropolitan Area Networks was recognised by SCHEFC and various projects were funded under the Use of the MANs Initiative. This paper reports on one of these projects called SUMSMAN (Scottish Universities Maths and Statistics over the Metroplitan Area Networks).

The main aim of the SUMSMAN project is to exploit the potential of the MANs to deliver an integrated programme including multimedia courseware and interactive learning experiences. A report will be given of the problems and achievements found in trying to encourage universities around Scotland to integrate multimedia courseware into their teaching. Views from both staff and students involved in using these courseware will be described. A range of evaluation tools are being trialed. These include questionnaires, observation, focus groups and confidence logs. Pre and post tests have been used to attempt to assess the effectiveness of the courseware. Details of these methods, as well as preliminary results and observations will be given.

All Scottish Universities now have studio based video conferencing facilities. As part of the SUMSMAN project, a pilot scheme of video conference lectures has been given which make use of the MANs. Staff and student perceptions of the success of this pilot so far, will be examined.

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