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Evaluation of the Suitability of Distributed Interactive Videoconferencing for use in Higher Education

4 Conclusions and future requirements

4.11 Concluding remarks

It is necessary to be more flexible when involved in a distributed interactive event such as this; sessions get delayed, technical problems arise and the demand on the organisational team is much increased. Speakers need to be adequately prepared and aware of ways in which to deal with changing circumstances, and participants need to be kept informed of changes in the event, such as delays to sessions.

This type of Summer School has the potential to be an effective medium for delivering educational material; it brings together speakers and audiences that otherwise wouldn't be able to participate in a similar event at the same time. In order to support university teaching, distributed learning has to be carefully planned, it is necessary to look at the value added to the process (e.g. having lecturers that students wouldn't otherwise have access to), and to consider how services could be used to augment educational content.

At the end of ABC '96 sites were asked for their opinion on the value that this type of event had to education. The Ottawa feedback considered ABC as 'information exchange', rather than educational. Aveiro thought that it was a good result in terms of educational content. Participants at Berlin were sceptical about the distributed lecture approach before the event, but afterwards changed their opinion and now consider that it "offers new and increased possibilities" to providing education.

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