Rethinking The Academy:

Three Main Models

Claudine Keenan has identified three models for teachers who are interested in thinking through the problems that may surround the integration of computers into classroom teaching.

These are (in her words):

The Traditional Model
The Traditional model maintains all of the elements of the basic classroom: fixed and meeting time and place, traditional classroom (no computers), and the Internet is an additional resource for students to access on special trips to the campus computer lab, or on their own time. The Traditional model introduces the Internet to the class and directs them to explore it further as an alternate source of information for a specific assignment or a set of assignments. Smaller subsets of the Internet such as electronic mail, listservs, newsgroups, or bulletin board services, may alternately provide instructors in the Traditional model with a more manageable set of information than the World Wide Web. Ideally, the Traditional model incorporates several units of instruction on these technologies as appropriate complements to course materials.
The Transitional Model
The Transitional Model maintains the traditional elements of fixed meeting time and place, but that place may include regularly scheduled visits to the campus computer lab or an entirely computerized classroom.. This model may also allow the instructor to eliminate space constraints by using electronic mail or chat software for asynchronous or synchronous exchanges, thus allowing students at remote sites to participate in the class. The Transitional model introduces and continues to explore Internet concepts during class time, and incorporates the Internet not only as a supplemental resource, but as an alternate delivery mode for instruction and collaboration. Instructors in the Transitional model may post course materials to a syllaweb or to a class listserv, and may also allow students to submit assignments over electronic mail or to collaborate with each other through synchronous conferencing software.
The Distance Learning Model
The Distance Model transcends traditional class boundaries by placing all materials, assignments, and resources on-line. Students do not meet in traditional class sessions; instead they exchange ideas and information entirely over the Internet, with possible exceptions for orientation sessions, office hours, or supervised examinations. The Distance model introduces, explores, and relies upon Internet concepts for its success throughout the semester. This model allows the students self-paced instruction and individualized attention through electronic mail, listservs, newsgroups, and synchronous conferencing, either on a local area network or in a Multi-User Domain. Distance Instructors may also use Real-time video transfer over the Internet, which is quickly becoming more accessible to teachers and students for distance education, with some system add-ons available for under $100 per user. In conjunction with satellite capabilities, instructors in the Distance model may exploit the Internet's "learn anytime, anywhere" to its fullest potential. Students may participate from virtually any geographic location, at any time, using these technologies.

Educators have already begun to experiment with these models, and with a number of variants on the three main types of classroom situations; one effort to document and trace these three types of learning situations is the TicToc Project.

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Last Modified: August 2, 1996

Copyright 1996 by Keith Dorwick