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Innovative Teaching Techniques for Distance Education
Distance education is responsible for promoting quality information, resources and expertise. There are three reasons for disseminating education to all societies due to geographical isolation, social isolation and disadvantaged groups. Distance teaching techniques enable people to undertake a course of study in privacy. The advent of the Internet and the growth of Web have now transformed distance teaching from a broadcast mode to an interactive mode. The Web, when combined with other network tools such as listservs, Usenet newsgroups and video teleconferencing acts a virtual classroom to bring together a community of learners for interactive education. The growth of television, telecommunication, videotape, audio tele-conferencing, audio graphics conferencing and video conferencing allowed linking the learners and instructors who are geographically separated. The use of innovative teaching methods helps to sustain student's interest and make the learning process more productive and interesting. The techniques that can be adopted are: computer-assisted learning (CD-ROMs), web-based learning, virtual laboratories, case studies, group discussion, brainstorming, audiovisual presentation, assignments, seminars, quiz and assigning project works. The faculty also prepares worksheets, manuals and audiovisual aids to supplement these novel teaching strategies. Students should be given two types of learning materials before their actual course material, viz. one on computer literacy class and other one focusing on Internet and the Web skills for searching, retrieving, locating and downloading the information. For better understanding by the students, the mixed-model approach of combining satellite teleconferencing with hands-on activity sessions can also be conducted. It is suggested that innovative assessment approaches like presentation, posters about learned material, dioramas; student displays and project fairs with test papers are to be used to know the progress of the students. The author concluded that problem-based learning would place students in the active role of problem solvers and confronts them with a real-world situation. He also concluded that DE librarians have much more critical roles to play in the new environment.