IRMA2001: Abstract

Research-In-Progress Submission

Title: “Introducing Interactive Multimedia Methods in Computer Application Course of Bangladesh Open University”.

Bangladesh Open University (BOU) has provisions for offering continuing and extension education, professional and technical education to the rural disadvantaged groups, dropouts, working class and general mass through formal and non-formal programmes using Radio, Television and Computer media in addition to conventional print media. The new IT is being used for developing resource materials for implementing direct teaching and learning with low cost tutorial support in distant mode of education.

This paper is focusing on part of a research project intended to explore exhaustively, the gains and discriminations of introducing interactive multimedia techniques to a course for School of Science and Technology (SST), namely Diploma in Computer Applications (DCA).  This course has more than 1200 student enrolment in 2000. Eventually, BOU has plan to use this technique to similar computer related courses and future programmes would include some more generalized courses from other schools.

BOU has nearly 200,000 students throughout the country, for whom administrative support is given by 12 Regional Resource Centres (RRCs) and 80 Local Centres (LCs), while education support is given by nearly 700 Tutorial Centres (TCs) throughout the country. Within a short period of time it is expected that, the enrolment of student may increase by many folds and eventually it is becoming a real challenge for the BOU authority to manage this enlarged number of students using traditional methodologies. BOU authority seems that, it is the high time to adopt programmes utilizing low-cost IT techniques, which are feasible enough for the rural-based society to outreach its mission in Bangladesh.

Currently BOU WAN comprises of two Novell Servers connected to more than 100 workstations inside campus using fiber optics backbone, One Windows NT Server operating as storehouse of a ORACLE based software SIMS (Student Information Management Systems), One Asynchronous Server/ Terminal Server communicating to Regional Resource Centres through a modem pool and other remote stations throughout the country using standard dial-up (NWD-Nation Wide Dialing/Local) connection and One Linux Server providing e-mail service to more than 200 users inside and outside campus.

Work is in progress to develop interactive multimedia based courseware for DCA and is going to be introduced through interactive multimedia CDROM.  To avail the opportunity of accessing this course material each RRCs may be provided with an additional multimedia PC. Each RRC has a media room where they could be placed and one or two additional resource persons could be provided to run the setup.

Initially rural based students would have to be familiarized with the computer basics and then the learning techniques of CD ROMs. Afterwards, they would be given opportunity to learn from the CDs through interactive methods on their own or through group participation. Simultaneously they would be surveyed through a set of questionnaire reflecting their attitude on acceptance of this relatively complicated learning methods in the context of their livelihoods in rural Bangladesh and also their degree of capability for the acceptance for this new method of learning.

The first phase of the project could be restricted to the Dhaka and Mymensingh RRC. Though they are urban-based centres, Dhaka RRC has the largest number of student enrolment and would be a potential research station for implementation of this project. Mymensingh being the nearest RRC outside the capital and the main campus would be easier to support with minimum effort at initial implementation period and could be maintained without any additional manpower. Computer Division could support these centres during implementation phase. Scope is there to include some other courses in this project after recommendation from the proper authority and obtaining feedback from the effectiveness of the existing one and also include other RRCs in phases. After obtaining feedback from students responding to questions related to the courseware involving effectiveness, usability, availability and achievement, this course would improve furthermore.

All these expensive efforts are being made for effective learning methodologies in this rural based country, presuming contemporary socio-economic status, exhibiting preferences and advantages to promote Distance Education through extending network resources of the Bangladesh Open University.

Keywords: LAN/WAN, SIMS, DCA, CDROM.

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