Thursday, November 5, 2015

Queensland Distance Education Schools Not Catering to Remote Students?

ABC TV's Landline program featured "Data Drought" (Pip Courtney, 4/10/2015 1:22:26 PM) concerning problems with the NBN Interim Satellite service, particularly for distance education students. In response I suggested some techniques, including those from m-learning,  could be used to reduce the bandwidth requirements.

It has been suggested that the problem only really exists in Queensland, as other states have school distance education programs which specifically cater for the limitations of satellite communications, for example using IP multicast. The suggestion is that most of the "distance" students in Queensland are actually in Brisbane (where there is good broadband access) and so catering for remote student in not a priority.

The Queensland DE schools cater to students who are unable to attend a campus due to a remote location,  medical condition, itinerant lifestyle, have been suspended from a school, are mature age or home-based by choice.

Looking at the Education Queensland website, the department provides schools of distance education for geographically isolated areas (Cairns, Rockhampton, Emerald, Charleville, Charters Towers, Longreach, Mount Isa) and one in Brisbane. They also provide for "... other home based students with limited educational choice...  mainstream school students and providing a service for by choice home based learners and students in a range of alternative education centres". Given that most of the DE schools are in regional areas, it would be surprising if they were not specifically catering for the needs of distance students.

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