Self-access through a computer network

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

Abstract

The University of Warwick offers non-credit-bearing courses in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) to students whose first language is not English. While many overseas students attend formal classes, many more cannot use this service, because of timetabling clashes, unconventional working hours, or the distance between their departments and the classrooms. In October 1991 it was therefore decided to set up a package of computer-based activities on the University network, so that students could have 24-hour access to English language support from any networked workstation on the campus. The project was developed in a number of phases: a pilot version was devised, evaluated on the basis of interviews with subject specialist staff and student users, and expanded and edited in accordance with these findings. The full version of the package has been running since January 1993, and for twelve months details of use were recorded unobtrusively by means of a network monitoring device. The data obtained in this way reveals the identify of every user, their department status, the activities they selected, the dates and times when the activities were accessed and the length of time spent on each activity. Most investigations into the use of self-access materials rely on users' co-operation in completing report cards, diaries, questionnaires etc, but may still miss vital information. A network monitor, however, records a wide range of information accurately, and without interfering in any way with normal user behaviour. It is hoped that the information we have gathered can be used to improve and add to the existing package, in accordance with the needs and preferences of identified categories of user.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of KMITT’s Seminar on Self-Access Learning and Learner Independence
Subtitle of host publicationA South East Asian Perspective
EditorsLeslie Dickinson
Place of PublicationBangkok
PublisherSchool of Liberal Arts, KMITT.
Pages34-40
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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