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What is Course-ware?


For many educational technologists ``course-ware'' is the production of computerized learning materials that would fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Programmed Instruction (transfer of content proceeds step-by-step)
  2. Computer Assisted Instruction (Drills and Tutorials)
  3. Intelligent Computer Assisted Instruction (ITS Tutorials)
  4. Computer Based Learning (Simulations, Hypertext and Micro-worlds)
  5. Intelligent Learning Environments (Micro-worlds + tutors, helpers, experts)
  6. Cognitive Learning Support Environments (some hypertexts)
  7. Knowledge Construction Environments

Currently, The Web and other on-line tools fit in rather poorly (except as far as the Webs distribution quality is concerned). The potential of the Web should be addressed in a more general ``course-ware perspective'', understood as:

  1. optimizing access to educational ``information'' via an appropriate interface and structuring of the material

  2. implementation of instructional strategies, i.e. sequencing of teaching materials

  3. implementation of instructional tactics, e.g.: giving examples, multiple choice questions, asking the student to perform a task, telling what learning strategy to adopt with some material, etc.

In this perspective, the learning material contains what has to be learned in a very broad sense (e.g. knowing what, knowing how). It can be computational in various ways (exploratory hypertext, lesson and task oriented hypertext, simulation software, task solving environments, etc.)

The Web has potential for new pedagogies: For teachers, the focus shifts from ``information transfer'' to ``organization of information access'' + ``organization of collaboration''.

Daniel K. Schneider
Mon Jun 12 18:25:21 MET DST 1995