Technologies available to deliver
instruction at a distance continue to evolve and become more
"high-tech." In fact, a dilemma facing developers is keeping up with
the ever-changing technology. As one learns a program, a
"new-and-improved" software upgrade or hardware advance is released.
How can the typical instructor manage these
changes? This question focuses attention to some basic considerations that
developers need to keep in mind.
- Development of a course should be viewed as a "work in
progress." It is never
complete; there will be changes in an instructor’s expectations or
desires, content, technology, and other factors impacting the delivery.
- A course does not need to include all the tools available
for that delivery format, even if tools are appropriate. For example, an instructor converting a
traditional, face-to-face class to Web-based delivery might start by using
selected features, such as posting basic course information (the syllabus
and assignment requirements) on-line and using threaded discussions for a
topic or two before placing content on the Web. The learning curve is too
steep and the time required is too great for most instructors to use all
the tools, even if they are available and appropriate for the course.
- There is a trade-off between what can be done or used
and what is necessary for students to learn. Many technological tools are available, but
will they increase students’ learning? At some point, additional
technological inputs may actually reduce educational outputs.
Different tools are
available to enable instruction, but how do you know which ones to use. The
next stop is to look at a course development model
that factors in technology.
Destination 6: 3