The purpose of this article is to describe some recent experiences at the United Kingdom Open University UKOU in setting up computermediated communication CMC support for housebound disabled or otherwise isolated students. The driving force behind this experiment was the important role that CMC has as an educational tool it empowers and reduces isolation of remote learners. This feature of CMC has received little attention, for, hitherto its application within education has been linked mainly to its use as a teaching aid. Educators concerned with the issue of widening access to higher education may be interested in learning about the OU project and its outcomes. The note first describes the context of this application, by reviewing the multimedia approach to homebased, parttime, distance education used by the UKOU. The key lessons learned from the use of CMC as an educational tool since 1988 are summarized. The current housebound student project is then described, both in terms of the design stages through to implementation of network activity and interim evaluation and review. Finally, some key points for others interested in implementing a similar scheme are summarized.
Internet Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 1991