Distance Education
George Hatsidimitris and Bernd Zupancic (University of Freiburg) enjoying the scenery from a nearby castle in France.

The implementation of online courses has been traditionally regarded, rightly or wrongly, as both prohibitively expensive and technologically demanding. The award of two university-sponsored fellowships in the area of distance education allowed me to explore ways of dealing with these two hurdles.

Possessing a solid background in web design, it seemed appropriate to commence my foray into online education by attending WebCT classes run by the university’s Educational Technology Centre. However WebCT proved to be ill-suited to delivering mathematically based material such as physics and my search for an alternative landed me a U21 Travelling Fellowship to Freiburg, Germany for two months. Here, in the capital of the Black Forest, it was possible to investigate alternative approaches to content-delivery that were more amenable to the dynamic teaching styles of our academic staff.

On my return to UNSW I commenced an ITET (Innovative Teaching and Educational Technology) Fellowship for 12 months during which time I was able to undertake study in the fields of learning theory, accessibility, video-production and so forth. This blending of teaching theory and educational technology provided the fellowship participants with a skill set and a pedagogical approach that promises to advance the cause of innovative thinking in the realm of distance education at UNSW.

Contact with staff both through seminars and individually has generated a wealth of interest. The School will be providing a number of courses via flexible delivery, initially in General Studies and Postgraduate work, over the coming years.

See also Brave New World ( General Studies Elective offered over the internet)

George Hatsidimitris

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