The evaluation used three methods for collecting data; a structured interview with the speakers and presenters, a questionnaire with participants, and data collection by an experimenter, following a checklist of issues.
The results section of this report is divided into issue sections: technology infrastructure, users viewpoint, speakers experiences, participation and interaction, and presentation.
The main conclusions from this work are as follows -
The technology to deliver distributed interactive educational events is now at a stage of development such that its routine application can be considered.
Delivering educational value, through the use of this technology can be achieved, and offers huge potential for creative use to serve educational purposes. There are however problems in ensuring that educational goals can be achieved.
Technical issues remain to be resolved so that this technology can be deployed regularly and on a routine basis. Currently, to achieve clear educational rather than technical goals requires a major focus on presentation and production standards, and an enormous organisational effort both at the technical and educational levels.
There is a clear need, in order to maximise educational benefit, to maximise the level of interactivity. This must be carefully planned, and executed in a professional manner.
The integration of computing and telecommunications technologies is not sufficient in itself. To achieve educational objectives, there is an a priori requirement to integrate the technology domain with the educational domain. The use of broadcast standards for presentation and production values currently offers the best approach.
There needs to be further work to investigate the organisational requirements of higher education establishments in order to support similar types of events. These events need to be co-ordinated and managed in order to take account of all of the multi-disciplinary aspects. As indicated in earlier reports (1,2), videoconferencing in higher education establishments is currently approached from a number of different organisational sub groups, such as computer services, computer science, audio visual services, distance learning groups and others. There needs to be an advisory team set up to advise on the technical, production, presentation and educational quality aspects of undertaking distributed teaching events.
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