Technology and the Adult Classroom of the Future: New Possibilities for Teachers and Learners.Report as inadecuate

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The birth of modern continuing education as a structured university enterprise has been given impetus by the development of distance education. Instruction through and with a mix of technologies is a permanent and critically important part of distance education. Because of the heterogeneous quality of the adult student population, the introduction of educational technology for this group may lag behind that of undergraduate students for whom both educational and technical requirements may be mandated. The introduction of computer technology takes many forms. Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) and Computer Mediated Instruction (CMI) allow highly limited student/teacher feedback that is primarily restricted to predeveloped and sequenced educational materials; it is narrow in span and best used as a supplement to live teaching or to drill. Computer conferencing has made possible interactive distance learning between students and instructors. Its educational format, the electronic course delivered through the Internet, will drive adult distance learning into the next century. Beyond the issues of inter-institutional competition, population diversity, and faculty choice as factors affecting the implementation of distance education electronic technology, there is the phenomenon of electronic teaching itself, particularly the asynchronous (spread out over a series of days) electronic contact. Benefits of electronic teaching include a reconceptualization of the classroom wherein intellectual and communication skills, especially writing, are strengthened. (YLB)

Descriptors: Adult Learning, Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Mediated Communication, Continuing Education, Distance Education, Educational Benefits, Educational Needs, Higher Education, Needs Assessment, Teleconferencing

Author: Edelson, Paul J.


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