• Academics' use of courseware materials: a survey

      Diana Laurillard; Betty Swift; Jonathan Darby (1993-12-01)
      Learning technology has yet to enter the mainstream of higher education. The UFC-funded Teaching and Learning Technology (TLT) programme is attempting to change this by sponsoring projects concerned with courseware production and delivery. These efforts could be thwarted if the Not Invented Here syndrome prevents the use of technology-based teaching and learning materials outside the originating departments. To gain a clearer understanding of why academics have been rejecting much existing courseware, and to establish the extent of the Not Invented Here syndrome, we carried out a survey of 800 academics in eight UK universities. The survey proved to be exceptionally revealing.
    • Standards

      Gabriel Jacobs (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      One of the aims of ALT is to promote good practice in the use of learning technology within higher education. Few would not subscribe to this aim, but proclaiming it without a full awareness of the problems it entails is of the same order as proclaiming one's commitment to Peace without further comment. Except for the absolute pacifist, being against war does not mean being against it at any price, but rather being committed to ensuring circumstances in which war will not occur. So it is with good practice in educational technology, which can be achieved only if circumstances are propitious. Such circumstances include sufficient funds, and a willingness in both teacher and learner to accept in whole or in part a technological route – good practice is unlikely to be achieved if technology has been incorporated into the curriculum merely in order to ensure that funds already spent do not appear to have been wasted. Above all, in my view, good practice assumes that users of learning technology are able to concentrate on learning without (necessarily) thinking about the technology, since if the technology cannot be made to work transparently, actual practice will at best lag behind ideal practice, and at worst be abandoned altogether. Impatience is a barrier to learning, and particularly if it is the result of struggling with the learning tools themselves. If the teacher or learner is constantly having to tweak the technology, or ending up with a half-baked implementation because the setting-up process has proven too difficult, the learning tool may well be left to gather dust.
    • Academics' use of courseware materials: a survey

      Diana Laurillard; Betty Swift; Jonathan Darby (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      Learning technology has yet to enter the mainstream of higher education. The UFC-funded Teaching and Learning Technology (TLT) programme is attempting to change this by sponsoring projects concerned with courseware production and delivery. These efforts could be thwarted if the Not Invented Here syndrome prevents the use of technology-based teaching and learning materials outside the originating departments. To gain a clearer understanding of why academics have been rejecting much existing courseware, and to establish the extent of the Not Invented Here syndrome, we carried out a survey of 800 academics in eight UK universities. The survey proved to be exceptionally revealing.
    • Design issues in the production of hyper-books and visual-books

      Nadia Catenazzi; Monica Landoni; Forbes Gibb (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      This paper describes an ongoing research project in the area of electronic books. After a brief overview of the state of the art in this field, two new forms of electronic book are presented: hyper-books and visual-books. A flexible environment allows them to be produced in a semi-automatic way starting from different sources: electronic texts (as input for hyper-books) and paper books (as input for visual-books). The translation process is driven by the philosophy of preserving the book metaphor in order to guarantee that electronic information is presented in a familiar way. Another important feature of our research is that hyper-books and visual-books are conceived not as isolated objects but as entities within an electronic library, which inherits most of the features of a paper-based library but introduces a number of new properties resulting from its non-physical nature.
    • A Mathematica-based CAL matrix-theory tutor for scientists and engineers

      M. A. Kelmanson; S. B. Maunders; S. Y. Cheng (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      Under the TLTP initiative, the Mathematics Departments at Imperial College and Leeds University are jointly developing a CAL method directed at supplementing the level of mathematics of students entering science and engineering courses from diverse A-level (or equivalent) backgrounds. The aim of the joint project is to maintain – even increase - the number of students enrolling on such first-year courses without lowering the courses' existing mathematical standards. A CAL tutor for matrix theory is presented in this paper, in the form of Mathematica Notebooks. This constitutes one of a list of specific A-level mathematics core options required by science and engineering departments. The module has been written so as to recognize students' errors and advise accordingly. Questions are generated randomly, at run time, in order to preclude copying between users. The module incorporates automated performance indicators so as to impinge minimally on existing staff resources. As an aid to other CAL authors considering the use of Mathematica Notebooks, idiosyncratic difficulties encountered within Mathematica Notebooks are catalogued and discussed in detail.
    • Talking with pictures: exploring the possibilities of iconic communication

      Colin Beardon; Claire Dormann; Stuart Mealing; Masoud Yazdani (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      As multimedia computing becomes the order of the day, so there is a greater need to understand and to come to terms with the problems of visual presentation. This paper deals with iconic languages as a means of communicating ideas and concepts without words. Two example systems, developed respectively at the universities of Exeter and Brighton, are described. Both embody basic principles of the iconic communication which,, though not unique to learning technology, is forming an increasingly important part of user-interfaces, including those in the area computer-assisted learning.
    • Technology and plagiarism

      Gabriel Jacobs (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      In many disciplines within higher education, there has been a steady move over the last decade or so away from traditional examinations at the end of courses. Such examinations are seen as inherently unfair, partly because only in rare circumstances can a single set of timed tests genuinely reflect the content of an entire course, and partly because factors extraneous to normal intellectual capabilities, such as a headache, may unexpectedly depress a student's mark. Modularization may go some way to easing educationists' anxieties on this score, but will not in itself completely dispel the perceived problems. Other than dispensing with testing altogether (there are advocates of such an approach), there are only two ways of overcoming, or at least cushioning, the potentially unrepresentative effects of a final examination on which all or a significant part depends. Hie first is to test in the traditional manner but at intervals throughout a course, with the consequent periodic examination results making up the final assessment, or counting towards it. The second way - which has recently gained considerable ground - is to introduce continuous assessment of work done outside the examination room (essays, dissertations, projects, assignments, group work and so forth) either as the sole set of criteria for the final mark or, again, as forming part of it.
    • Reviews

      Philip Barker (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      This publication is part of the Educational and Training Technology series edited by Chris Bell of the University of Plymouth. It is aimed directly at teachers, trainers and instructional designers who wish to incorporate diagrams into their instructional materials.
    • Does interactivity require multimedia? The case of SAKI

      Michael Horwood (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      SAKI is a self-adaptive touch-typing tutor with a pedigree dating back to the mid-1950s. Even in its most recent form it eschews the temptation to present itself with the trimmings now commonly associated with microcomputer products. This paper argues that while the absence of such features may be a limiting factor in the commercial success of the program, SAKI is nevertheless a prime example of the way in which a computer can successfully react to and interact with a user, and indeed one which would actually lose educational value if it were to undergo an interface-lift. It should be noted that Eurotech is the official distributor of SAKI
    • Recognition of animated icons by elementaryaged children

      Tom JONES (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      This paper describes a study to investigate the recognizability of and preference for animated icons by elementary-aged aged children. Fourteen typical computer-related tasks (e.g., copy, move) were viewed by 60 school-children in two iconic formats: animated and static. The content of the icons and the computer process or action they mimicked were drawn from a previous study in which a similar group of children was asked to depict gesturally their interpretation of the 14 tasks. Results indicated that the animated version of the icons was more recognizable and that the children greatly preferred the animated icons over the static icons. Implications for the design of enhanced user-interfaces for children are noted.
    • Finely integrated media for language learning

      Henry Hamburger (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      FLUENT, an immersive foreign-language learning environment, was developed without recourse to hypermedia techniques. Nevertheless, if one accepts the premisses, proposed in this paper, on which the idea of hypermedia has been constructed, FLUENT shows a strong relationship with it. The paper discusses this relationship after attempting to distil the essence of educational hypermedia, and after presenting a taxonomy of media for language learning.
    • Reviews

      Stephen Richards (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      Compact Disc Interactive (CD-I) is a new electronic publishing medium for multimedia information. Unlike conventional publishing media such as paper and film, CD-I provides an interactive method of accessing stored information and controlling its subsequent display on a TV screen. CD-I revolutionizes the publishing of all sorts of material such as music, text, images, computer graphics, film and video. It also adds many capabilities not possible with traditional publication media. Until recently, however, the only widely available textbook on CD-I was Preston's Compact Disc-Interactive: A Designer's Overview, published in 1988 by Kluwer Technical Books. Now, with the recent release of CD-I in Europe, three new books on the technology have become available. They form part of The CD-I Series produced by Philips Interactive Media Systems (UK) and published by the Addison-Wesley. All three have 1992 imprints.
    • Early experiences of computer-aided assessment and administration when teaching computer programming

      Abdullah Mohd ZIN; Neil Gutteridge; Eric Foxley; Edmund Burke; Steve Benford (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      This paper describes early experiences with the Ceilidh system currently being piloted at over 30 institutions of higher education. Ceilidh is a course-management system for teaching computer programming whose core is an auto-assessment facility. This facility automatically marks students programs from a range of perspectives, and may be used in an iterative manner, enabling students to work towards a target level of attainment. Ceilidh also includes extensive courseadministration and progress-monitoring facilities, as well as support for other forms of assessment including short-answer marking and the collation of essays for later hand-marking. The paper discusses the motivation for developing Ceilidh, outlines its major facilities, then summarizes experiences of developing and actually using it at the coal-face over three years of teaching.
    • Student reaction to parallel hypertext and menu-based interfaces

      A. J. Meadows; Mubarak Sulaiman; C. K. Ramaiah (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      It is often necessary to consider the question of what sort of interface is most useful for retrieving information from a particular land of database. A small database of text-based but multi-faceted items is used here in order to compare ease and speed of retrieval from two commonly used combinations of interface – HyperCard on an Apple Macintosh and dBase III+ on a PC. For the restricted range of tasks employed here, the latter combination appears to be more acceptable to students with limited computer experience. However, in more general terms, the acceptability of an interface for information retrieval depends on what particular aspect of information retrieval is being emphasized, and what conceptual frameworks students bring to their tasks.
    • Virtual Reality: theoretical basis, practical applications

      Philip Barker (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      Virtual reality (VR) is a powerful multimedia visualization technique offering a range of mechanisms by which many new experiences can be made available. This paper deals with the basic nature of VR, the technologies needed to create it, and its potential, especially for helping disabled people. It also offers an overview of some examples of existing VR systems.
    • Designing an interactive multimedia instructional environment: The Civil War Interactive

      Charles S. White; Lynn A. Fontana; Ward M. Cates (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      This article describes the rationales behind the design decisions made in creating The Civil War Interactive, an interactive multimedia instructional product based on Ken Burns''s film series The Civil War.
    • Cognitive style and Computer-Assisted Learning: problems and a possible solution

      John A. Clarke (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      Although the notion of cognitive style has been around for some time, only in relatively recent times has there been a research interest in examining its effect on the performance of Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL) users. There are a number of practical difficulties associated with catering for different cognitive styles of CAL users. This paper identifies not only a style which influences CAL-user performance and overcomes many of the difficulties, but also a possible suitable measure of that style. Data on the reliability of this measure is reported, along with preliminary work on its use to cater for CAL users with different cognitive styles. Future work will focus on the development of the package and the predictive validity of the style measure.
    • Academics' use of courseware materials: a survey

      Diana Laurillard; Betty Swift; Jonathan Darby (Association for Learning Technology, 1993-12-01)
      Learning technology has yet to enter the mainstream of higher education. The UFC-funded Teaching and Learning Technology (TLT) programme is attempting to change this by sponsoring projects concerned with courseware production and delivery. These efforts could be thwarted if the Not Invented Here syndrome prevents the use of technology-based teaching and learning materials outside the originating departments. To gain a clearer understanding of why academics have been rejecting much existing courseware, and to establish the extent of the Not Invented Here syndrome, we carried out a survey of 800 academics in eight UK universities. The survey proved to be exceptionally revealing.
    • Educational software reflecting two philosophical approaches to ethics education

      Betty Collis; Marike Hettinga (Association for Learning Technology, 1994-12-01)
      Ethics education can vary considerably in its instructional strategies based on differences in the theoretical positions underlying the approach to moral development being stressed. Two such approaches are the 'justice' approach as exemplified by Kohlberg's six stages of moral development, and the 'care ethic' approach as exemplified by Gilligan's work on empathy as a base for moral decision-making. Each of these approaches can be demonstrated through different instructional strategies in the ethics education course, but each strategy is often difficult to execute in practice, given time and resource constraints.
    • Reviews

      Gabriel Jacobs (Association for Learning Technology, 1994-12-01)
      The term typography refers to the style, arrangement, appearance, and design of typefaces and typeset material. In this book, Sassoon rightly assumes that typography now extends way beyond words printed on paper, and in particular to the world of computers, where alphanumeric information displayed on a screen is often as important as printed output. Both forms of typography are dealt with here. The book consists of eleven chapters, written by a variety of different authors, and grouped together into five main sections, each one covering a different aspect of typography.