2001 Conference Proceedings

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A Hands-On Introduction to Real-Time and Self-Paced Learning in AAC

Russell T. Cross
Prentke Romich Distance Education Department
1022 Heyl Road, Wooster, OH
rtc@prentrom.com

Mike L. Molter (online offsite presenter)
Prentke Romich Distance Education Department
1022 Heyl Road, Wooster, OH
mlm@prentrom.com

The Prentke Romich Distance Education Program: Into The Third Year

Back in March 1999, the fledgling Prentke Romich Company Distance Education Department outlined the aims of its Phase One program (Cross, 1999). These can be summarized as follows:

As these goals were achieved, in March 2000, the Distance Ed. Department presented an update to the program (Cross, 2000)along with the goals for Phase Two:

There are now many synchronous courses available on a regular basis, covering all the communication aid technologies manufactured by PRC, as well as training for Funding, Language Software, and General Course Access issues.

As the year progressed, it became clear that another area that needed to be added to the general goals was that of increasing accessibility to the courses. Specifically, the aim was to develop asynchronous courses that would comply with the standards set out by the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

The Asynchronous Course Initiative

The Distance Ed. Team decided that the first of the asynchronous courses to be developed would be 'An Introduction to Minspeak®' and that it would conform to the WAI standards. It would also be used as a template for future courses. The results of this were presented at an ISAAC conference in Washington (Cross, 2000, isaac) and can be summarized as follows:

This course is now online and available at the PRC Learning Server. It has been designed so as to be available at all times and students can complete the Units at their own pace

Planned Expansion To March 2001

With the establishment of a template for asynchronous courses, the Distance Ed. Department is planning to have more such courses available from the beginning of the year 2001. It may also be possible to make some of these available on CD-ROM as stand-alone tutorials that can be taken off-line, thus increasing availability of the training.

More specialized synchronous trainings are in the pipeline dealing with issues such as Computer Access, Alternative Access Techniques, and Implementation Program Development.

The Present Session

The aim of this workshop session will be to give participants the opportunity to take part in both synchronous and asynchronous trainings. The synchronous training will involve one of the presenters teaching from the PRC Headquarters in Wooster, Ohio, demonstrating how a tutor can run a class from a distance. The asynchronous component will give participants a chance to work at their own pace on a mini-tutorial session.

Both elements are designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of web-based Distance Education as a means of providing support to large numbers of students over a geographically-dispersed area.

By the end of the session, participants should have developed sufficient browsing and interaction skills to take part in one of the scheduled PRC Distance education courses.

References

Cross, R.T. (1999). Developing Web-Based Distance-Learning Courses For The AAC Community: A First Step. In Proceedings of the 1999 CSUN Conference on Technology for People with Disabilities. Available on-line at http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf/2001/proceedings/0147magilei.htm

Cross, R.T. (2000). New Developments in Prentke Romich Company On-line Training: Making the Most of the Learning Server. In Proceedings of the 2000 CSUN Conference on Technology for People with Disabilities. Available on-line

Cross, R.T. (2000). Computer-based Distance Learning and Accessibility Issues. In Proceedings of the 9th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Washington D.C.: ISAAC Publications.


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