The Satellite Internet Access for School Of The Air (SIASOTA) Project: The Making of a New “Live” Online Learning Community
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AbstractThe Satellite Internet Access for School of the Air (SIASOTA) Project has accomplished wonderful things for the School of the Air (SOTA) community in South Australia. It has enhanced the learning process and outcomes for the 4- to 12-year-old remote and rural students by giving them access, for the first time ever, to 100 percent clear audio and visual links to their teacher and classmates, a whiteboard to show the teacher their accomplishments and to see those of their classmates. The project has also had flow-on benefits to the wider remote and rural community. Parents have become Internet literate while helping their children, and related organisations are using the system to deliver health and community services, Scouts now meet in a virtual scout hall and the Outback Parents ’ and Friends ’ Associations use it for meetings. The project achieved international recognition for its exceptional results in the delivery of distance education, winning a Silver Award in the 2003 Brandon Hall Excellence in e-Learning Award. The quality assurance processes embedded within the project brought both visibility and accountability to it. It enabled us to: • Identify key processes and activities • Monitor and measure processes and variations, allowing us to forecast the risks and take corrective action if necessary We understood that a problem at any stage in the project would affect the quality of the entire project. We needed to ensure that the project operated in an effective way from planning to implementation and was responsive to its key stakeholders. Creating our QA procedures was time-consuming. Once these were identified, however, strategies were created to make sure that various quality outcomes were met during the project development. It has been, and continues to be, an interesting and exciting time.