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Perceptions of Distance Education in Newfoundland and Labrador over a Ten Year Period (Historical Study)

This longitudal study will be a comparative analysis of the perceptions of distance education in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador over a ten year period. Initial data will be obtained from a study entitled Effective Schooling in a TeleLearning Environment,conducted by the Centre for TeleLearning and Rural Education, Faculty of Education, Memorial University in 1999-2000. In a series of extensive interviews throughout the province, principals, teachers, parents, and students were asked to comment on various aspects of distance education. A series of similar interviews will be conducted in the school year, 2009-2010. Drawing on historical methodology,this research study will focus on the nature of change and continuity over time and attempt to explain why and how change occurs. In the 1999-2000, interviewees consistently identified the lack of effective teacher-student interaction as a major drawback of distance education. This study hypothesizes that the implementation of new online computer technology aimed at promoting meaningful teacher-student interaction and a new way of learning will affect the successful integration of distance education program in rural schools. The study will determine the impact of new interactive technology by comparing the perceptions of earlier participants with those who have benefited from the technology ten years later. Findings will inform future policy decisions regarding distance education delivery.

This project is a sub-project of The Killick Centre.

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