Distance courses in mechanics and in distance instructor training
This paper describes two related distance courses for instructor and leadership training and a distance undergraduate course in mechanics. Flexible and distance learning are becoming more and more important, so it is important to train instructors for such changes. KTH (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm) has the course '5C4502 Distance Teacher Education with PBL'. It considers training trainers/instructors/teachers to design their distance education by having them work individually as well as in various teams. The participants' main task is to design their own distance course. We achieved the objectives of training participants to design their own course and actively co-operating, communicating via computer conferencing and taking responsibility for their own learning. As the main medium the FirstClass® computer conferencing system is used. In an EU Leonardo project course this scheme was extended to Internet integration with hypertext links and FirstClass conferencing via computer-designed mind maps. The course was designed for upper secondary school teachers and leadership using action learning, but it was not possible to get it to operate smoothly. Our experiences have been applied to the KTH distance course '5C4104 Mechanics, Basic Course at Distance', based on the learning management system Ping Pong®. This course is intended for those who need to study mechanics but are unable to join regular programmes. The discipline part functions well but it has not been possible to get participants to communicate.
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