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A large scale Internet based course for computer beginners

, The Open University, United Kingdom

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Seattle, WA USA ISBN 978-1-880094-35-8 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


T171 You, your computer and the Net, is a distance education course presented at the Open University in the UK. The course was piloted in 1999 with 900 students. It is a foundation course, which provides a grounding in computer skills and knowledge of the personal computer and the Internet. It is a broad appeal course aimed not just at Technology students, but students of all Faculties, as well as a general audience who may only take this one course. The course is presented entirely over the Internet, with most of the material being web based, and extensive use is made of computer conferencing. The course was developed to reflect a Kolbian iterative learning model [1], which had been used successfully in other OU courses [2]. The model has the following three main phases: · Conceptualisation - the learner receives information about other people's concepts; · Construction - the learner uses such concepts to perform meaningful tasks; · Dialogue - the learner tests existing concepts and creates new ones through dialogue with other learners. With this model as a basis, and the following aims, the course structure could be developed. The initial aims of the course team were as follows: 1. To produce a large scale, broad appeal ICT course 2. To make the Internet the central delivery mechanism 3. To produce a course in a relatively short time scale 4. To make students feel comfortable in the 'wired world' 5. To bring the OU's traditional standards of production to the Internet. There is an initial face to face session, which operates as an introduction to the University as a whole, and to distance learning. This is not course specific, and the emphasis on face to face was kept to a minimum in order to utilise the advantages of computer mediated communication (CMC) tuition for distance learners with diverse lifestyles.


Weller, M.J. (1999). A large scale Internet based course for computer beginners. In B. Collis & R. Oliver (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 1999--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 1474-1475). Seattle, WA USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 19, 2019 from .