User perception of mixed mode teaching and learning in postgraduate educational administration

Year: 1994

Author: Schiller, John

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper describes initial staff and student perception of a mixed mode approach to postgraduate teaching and learning in educational administration. Through this approach, positive features of face-to- face interaction were combined with the techniques and strategies of distance education, including use of newer communications technologies, to facilitate effective interaction-at-a-distance. In addition to occasional face-to-face sessions, printed self- instructional packages (containing content information, student activities, readings and school-based assignments) were used in conjunction with teleconferences, which allowed synchronous interaction-at-a-distance in "real time", and electronic mail, which allowed asynchronous interaction-at-a-distance between class members and their lecturer at times convenient to them. Although originally intended to reduce the number of occasions the lecturer and students had to travel to a second campus, 80 kilometres from the main campus, this mixed mode approach was also used in a regular on-campus course.

Findings demonstrate that the initial implementation process for lecturer and students, particularly for those unfamiliar with computer-mediated communications, was more complex than anticipated. Access to a wide range of resources was necessary and considerable time for effective implementation was required. Concerns of staff and students about use of technology in university courses were considerable, provoking anxiety and creating considerable management issues.

Difficulties in implementing these mixed mode approaches are discussed and suggestions are made for coping with the complexities of using newer communications technologies in a postgraduate teaching and learning environment.