• Subject: Distance Learning for AS/400 Education
  • From: "Ilena E. Ayala" <Ilena@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 08:33:53 -0400

I have recently become aquainted with 'distance learning', the offering of
courses (including college courses
for credit) over the internet.  It strikes me as a wonderful way to offer
classes on the AS/400.

Many colleges now offer a limited number of classes in this fashion, so the
basic vehicle for doing things like
tracking grades, enrollment and fees is in place in such places.

Some advantages of distance learning:
-Students from anywhere in the world can enroll in a class.
-A teacher can teach from anywhere in the world
-Depending on the way the class is structured, scheduling may be VERY
flexible; if 'online lectures' in real time aren't a (regular) part of the
class students can log in at any hour to take their class, hand in (email)
assignments, etc. ('Lectures' may be posted in HTML format to take
advantage of this.
-Online chats, discussion groups and email can be used to communicate
amoung students and teachers. 

Existing challenges: (which we can overcome!!)
-I haven't been able to find a college which offers any distance learning
classes on an AS/400.  SInce it would be nice for students to have access
for an AS/400 for assignments, until a web-enabled AS/400 could be made
part of this, it is impractical to offer classes aimed at beginers who
would need such access but won't have it.  (Maybe starting backwards with
advanced classes aimed at folks who have access at work is an approach?)

But...I *did* find http://www.vu.org, an online university (hey look,
classes are FREE).  Volunteers teach classes here, a class can be one or
more lectures; offered once or repeatedly.  This might be a good place to
offer initial classes as they are being adapted to the internet.  It is
also a place to offer one time seminars. The bad news is (sorry), the
teachers don't get paid for this, so if that is an issue keep in mind it
can be used as a stepping stone to a paid teaching position.   

-Existing curriculums would need to be adapted for use on the internet.

-Provision of textbooks or other learning material???  Some stuff could be
emailed to students on the 
roster; books currently in publication can be used as texts, new ones (or
revised ones) might be desirable for some topics.  Students can currently
get books via one of the internet bookstores; www.amazon.com seems to have
every book on the AS/400 available.

Any thoughts on this?

-Ilena Ayala

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