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         April 2008 Volume 3 Issue 2




We are very excited about a number of improvements in the Instructional Technology Program. First, our program is now 36 credits instead of 42 credits. The course INST 5233 Performance Technology is no longer in the INST core. Also, the elective requirement has been reduced to six credits from the former requirement of nine credits. Next, starting in fall ’08, we will be offering eight-week versions of many of our 15-week courses making it easier to fit courses for the INST master’s degree into busy schedules. 

In addition, the course requirements for the Online Distance Educator Professional Development Certificate have been revised. There are now only three required courses, INST 5635 Instructional Web Design and Development, INST 6437 Interactive Distance Learning, and INST 6137 Technology and eLearning. All three courses have been redesigned to better match the requirements of online course developers and online teachers. Those achieving the certificate will be able to effectively and efficiently design and teach online courses. The course management system Moodle is used to enable our students to get hands-on experience in course design and management. The skills learned in Moodle can also be utilized in other course management systems such as WebCT, Blackboard, eCollege and a variety of other products.


Richard Smith

Learned at the 2008 Texas Distance
Learning Association Conference

One of the most interesting sessions at the 2008 Texas Distance Learning Association Conference, held at Moody Garden’s Conference Center in Galveston, discussed the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU) that operates in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. Professor of Mathematics N. Venkata Narayana described in detail BRAOU’s operation and courses of study.

BRAOU offers a form of distance learning to Andhra Pradesh undergraduate and graduate students that is not totally dependent upon computers, high-speed Internet providers or other forms of expensive new technologies. Instead, it relies upon time-tested, systematic approaches to distance learning that are cost-effective and reliable. Its programs have proved to be very valuable to students who would not otherwise have access to higher education. BRAOU uses printed course material, radio and radio phone-in ability, audio and video cassettes, along with televised lessons and teleconferencing. These resources are combined with using facilities of local universities on Sundays (when they are not in use) along with their libraries to distribute instruction to BRAOU’s student population. Courses of study range from the diploma (in India, a diploma is an academic award in a technical area such as engineering, that is somewhat lower than a bachelor’s degree in a specific area but none-the-less college equivalent), through the master’s degree and up to the doctorate. To give you an idea of its impact, BRAOU’s present enrollment is about 500,000 students.