Web-Based Teaching: Infrastructure Issues in the Third World

Web-Based Teaching: Infrastructure Issues in the Third World

Dushyanthi Hoole (The Open University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka) and S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole (University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-60-5.ch003
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Abstract

The use of educational technologies is widely recognised as beneficial (IEEE, 1998; Hoole, 1988). However, cogent arguments have been made by those who have invested much time in the development of courseware for teaching (Hoberg, 1993; Vanderplaats, 1993) that the use of the technology dominates the class so much that the subject being taught tends to get lost. In this milieu, the appearance of the Internet and the Web, and following that, Web-based teaching, offers new opportunities with caution as a caveat. Unlike courseware where an individual instructor sits down and writes programs for his class, the difference with the Web is that demands in terms of infrastructure are heavy. Not only that, while in the West, things such as a networked campus, Internet connections, etc. are taken for granted, in the Third World (defined for the purposes of this article as those countries that are not a part of North America, Europe, Australia and the newly industrialised countries of Asia such as Singapore, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan), these facilities are rare. Simply asking for all the relevant infrastructure one needs for teaching will often not produce the funds. As a result, Third World instructors wishing to embark on Web-based teaching must create a wide demand based on needs that go beyond simply teaching for these facilities and, thereby try to get what they want. They must also improvise and produce new ways of teaching with the Web. This chapter spells out the attempts by the authors, still experimental, in producing new ways of teaching with the Web and the attempts by which an infrastructure for Web-based teaching was created at the Open University of Sri Lanka.

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