Perspectives on Distance Education: Teacher Education through Open and Distance Learning

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Contents

  1. Technological Enhancement
  2. Learning and Teaching in Distance Education - Otto Peters
  3. Transforming and empowering higher education through Open and Distance Learning in India
  4. Conducting Distance Education Effectively

Technological Enhancement

As studied by Vianney , the guiding axis of the social representations constructed by the students associates Distance Education with the ideas of something easy, comfortable, with flexible hours, opportunity, time- and money-saving, knowledge, among others. As meant by the author, these concepts represent DE in its utilitarian aspects.

As follows:. The reason why I chose [DE] was because it was easy, it made my life easier, because I have a little daughter and because it fit me well, it really worked. As I had quit my previous face-to-face course and, in order to go on with it, that was what I bumped into. I did some research to check if the course was good, and I saw it was Physics.

A priori it would be the opportunity, easy to do and I took into consideration the Higher Education Institution which provided the course. Because so far distance teaching was seen as makeshift and therefor did not have the credibility required within the educational system. Social and economic challenges are also mentioned as they interfere with the choice of the courses. According to the students:.

Learning and Teaching in Distance Education - Otto Peters

The expectancy of being able not only of taking a college training but also, to take a college training of good quality, in addition to the fact that it was free of charge. Public, free of charge and with quality Teacher Education. And also, the fact that there was a lack of professionals in this field. This is true because my first contract with the government was for a vacancy in Physics Physics.

We may deduce, from the words above, that the scenario where DE courses are chosen by students and their expectancies are in line with the search for a university degree as a facilitator for the continuation of studies, incompatible with the structure of the face-to-face courses and their living conditions, due to the need of transition to work, as well as the search for being a real citizen as a result of the public education, of quality and free of charge.

Mota, Chaves Filho and Cassiano , p. In this context, DE becomes the opportunity to engage in a global world, and it also involves subjective, individual and verbalized aspects such as dreams and wishes to be accomplished, factors that should not be overlooked:. I had a wide range in front of me, actually, involving the course, involving the way I see things, the way I think. Then, this has helped me a great deal Teacher Education. SInce I graduated in science, in , I dreamed of taking another degree in exact science area.

Initially, I wanted chemestry, mathematics and, my third option would be physics. And that was the opportunity I had, to take physics. But as I never liked reading, I decided to take Physics. I am now Reading much more than the Teacher Education students! Choosing to take another degree, the expectancies and difficulties along the process make way for thinking over the specific characteristics of DE and the skill required in another cultural pattern.

About his, Peters , p. In distance education, however, things are quite different. The typical and prevailing ways of teaching and learning are not speaking and listening in face-to-face situations, but to present the printed educational materials and utilize them in order to acquire knowledge. Speaking and listening are replaced with writing and reading, another cultural pattern which, however, is relatively new and for sure it is comparatively difficult. I had imagined that it would be the same as in the face-to-face classes, to learn well.

And I see now that it is even harder, much harder, oh boy! Teacher Education. My expectancies were exceeded.

Transforming and empowering higher education through Open and Distance Learning in India

I thought it would be a poor training, that tasks would not be demanded so fiercely. There is a hope that when you graduate, you can be a good reader. The presence of inter-discourse what has been said by others, at other times, and which is present in the individual discourse is remarkable. For us, there are views that are wrong about the structure and demands of distance course. One of them is to think that because it is easy and simple to access then commitment to the studies is loose.

The effort and difficulties are conditions inherent to any situation of new learning, regardless of the type of education involved.

Conducting Distance Education Effectively

Well, then, about what I expected in terms of knowledge, it has exceeded. But I think it is difficult, the person has to work hard, they must have a strong wish to do it, otherwise they would have already quit Teacher Education. When I was admitted, I needed a diploma, as I said, I thought it would be easy to study, a more practical manner. Today I still need the diploma, but now it is entirely different from what I had imagined.

Like, in my case, you ask a question and it takes long to get the answers back or the answers simply never come. When they do come, you have already handed in your assignment Teacher Education. According to Belloni , p. In this context, there appears the pedagogical mediation conducted by distance tutors or professors through the Virtual Learning Environment VLE , which requires assiduity, commitment and ability to use it, so that students will not be hostages of the time gap that occurs while they wait answers to their doubts.

Saraiva , p.

In relation to the methodology experienced by the students we interviewed and to the resources made available for distance learning, they said:. I use them all. As it is a distance training, you have to use them all! You have to read the texts, watch the web events , you have to be always present in the forum and in contact with tutors if you need help to clarify some doubt. Moreover, in the beginning, when I was admitted to the course, as I came from a face-to-face course to DE, then, I felt the difference, because you must have discipline to access the website and always get the updates.

I was used to going to school. Otherwise, there no way of following the course. I think that now I got the pace, it is working just fine Physics.

For me, it opened new horizons. I think it is good, but I think face-to-face [education] is better, because you have contact with the professor right there, you go to school every day, it is quite different when you do face-to-face and when you do distance [education]. It is a methodology that depends on you. Because the professor is there, he or she did what they had to. I think then that I have to do my own methodology, a strategy of how I am going to use [the materials], what I am going to do about it, get it? How I am going to achieve that knowledge.

You have to be very autonomous. You have to take the initiative because what they could do they have already Teacher Education. At UEM, distance courses count on printed books, web conferences and VLE, the Moodle platform, which display the video classes and allows the contact with tutors and professors by means of forums and personal messages. Trimer presents the three-element basis — book, class, and practice — as the support that props higher-education, which is also utilized in DE, with some adaptations. For the author, the practice and the class were moved into the virtual learning environment with the necessary changes, and the textbook, key for the cultural development of the human being throughout history, has been affected by financial, technological and copyright issues.

In the testimonies of all students participating in this research, the importance of the printed book for learning is emphasized, as well as they acknowledge the lack of funds to ensure this material will be delivered timely, as set forth by the Open University of Brazil program:. The printed learning material is paramount. You have to have it on your hands, the text that must be read, it is much easier. I like to have it with me so I can take notes and solve [exercises] instead of just reading on the computer.

For me, that is not good.