Publication Date

1-31-1988

Approximate Date

1988-01-31

Report Number

25

Abstract

The Virtual Classroom [TM] is a system for learning and communicating via connected computers. Students in the Virtual Classroom share their thoughts, questions and reactions with professors and classmates using computers equipped with specially designed software. The software enables students to send and receive messages, interact with professors and classmates, read and comment on lecture material, take tests and receive feedback, and more, without having to attend scheduled classes. Learning can take place at any location in the world and at any time of the day using a computer on campus, at home or in the workplace.

The primary goal of the project is to demonstrate that it is possible to use computer-mediated communication systems to improve access to, and the effectiveness of, post-secondary educational delivery. The most important "product" of the project is knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of this new technology. The two key research questions that arise are:

Is the Virtual Classroom a viable option for educational delivery? That is, are outcomes, on the whole, at least as good as outcomes from face-to-face, traditional classroom courses?

What variables are associated with especially good and especially poor outcomes in this new teaching and learning environment?

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