Towards a Virtual University
Amitava Datta (Institut für Informatik, Universität Freiburg, Germany)
Thomas Ottmann (Institut für Informatik, Universität Freiburg, Germany)
We discuss a possible framework for virtualizing the delivery of university courses. With the advent of new technological innovations like high speed computer networks and multimedia computers, there is an increasing awareness that direct face to face teaching is not the only possible mode of teaching in a university system. There is a demand for preparing high quality multimedia course materials across all disciplines which can be used by learners who either cannot attend live lectures or prefer to study in an off-line mode. Our group at the University of Freiburg has developed a robust tool called Authoring on the Fly (AOF) for recording live classroom sessions as multimedia documents and the synchronous playback of the diffeerent media streams in such a document in an off-line setting. In this paper we discuss the facilities this tool provides for virtualizing university courses as well as improving the offering of courses in a traditional university setting. We discuss the progress we have made in high quality delivery of lectures through multimedia documents and its implications for both off-line and classroom teaching. Further, we discuss our current attempts in virtualizing the assignment submission and correction process as a follow up of the virtual delivery of courses. We also discuss the possible implications of virtual delivery of courses and creation of a virtual university from the point of view of university students, professors and administrators.
Keywords: computers in education, mixed mode teaching, multimedia course materials, virtual delivery of courses, virtual university