Training teachers of distant learners

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Title: Training teachers of distant learners
Author: Isaacs, Morton
Abstract: Distance Education increasingly is being utilized as an instructional method within the college environment. It has several advantages, among which are that it enables course participation by *Handicapped persons whose problems of speech, hearing, or movement may make spontaneous interaction with others difficult; *Geographically or temporally isolated persons; *Those whose language differs from that of the instructor; *Instructors who have special knowledge that would otherwise be impractical to teach due to the scattered locations of those interested in the material. However, this method requires instructors to adjust to many factors that have little relevance in traditional teaching methods: *The absence of face-to-face communication with the learner limits semiotic cues often used by teachers as feedback mechanisms to the efficacy and quality of their teaching; *Evaluation of students' engagement and level of performance becomes more limited, forcing the instructor to rely upon written communication as the major, if not sole, method of judgment; *Extraneous factors such as typing speed and skill and degree of student access to the mode of communication may influence teachers' judgment of student performance. Rochester Institute of Technology offers more than 140 courses through Distance Teaching. Methods of ameliorating these problems currently used by RIT are discussed, as well as practical experience by the author garnered from having taught Distance Education students for the past three years.
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Date: 1996-07

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