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Negotiating geographical isolation: integrating mobile technology into distance education programmes at the University of South Pacific

Prasad, Deepak D. (2009) Negotiating geographical isolation: integrating mobile technology into distance education programmes at the University of South Pacific. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 6 (4). pp. 15-22. ISSN 1550-6908

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    Abstract

    The catchment area for the University of the South Pacific (USP) is enormous, stretching across 33 million square kilometres of ocean; communications of all kinds remain knotty even in the 21st century. Of the approximate 22,000 students currently enrolled at USP, more than half choose to study by distance and flexible learning (DFL). For these students, USP’s distance education network based satellite communications, USPNet, serves as a gateway for internet, phone and data links, audio and video conferencing, and video broadcasting, providing links with the University’s campuses. Even with this capacity, negotiating geographical isolation is not easy: not every DFL student can travel to the campus to use the USPNet facilities since many of them are studying in remote locations, and sometimes there is no electricity. This paper focuses on finding cost-effective ways of linking with these students. Connecting via a mobile device appears to be an obvious answer. Following a review of mobile devices used by Mohamad and Woollard (2008), Kukulska-Hulme (2007), and Caudill (2007), this paper proposes the most accessible, cheap, and easy to use portable mobile device that can pave the USP region’s vast geographic spaces with new bridges of distance learning. The paper then considers strategies for using the indentified mobile device and presents a DFL communication model. The paper concludes that USP should not wait for the technology to improve in the USP region but rather use the currently available technologies to communicate with the remote DFL students.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
    T Technology > T Technology (General)
    Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Engineering and Physics
    Depositing User: Ms Neha Harakh
    Date Deposited: 27 May 2009 15:08
    Last Modified: 17 Jul 2012 16:25
    URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/1613
    UNSPECIFIED

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