The 'Virtual Faculty' Project

Our intention is to use the possibilities opened up by recent communications media to re-invent the form of university education. This particular project is located within the social sciences, but is transferable to other disciplines. It seeks to supplement rather than replace current practice through a reversal of the traditional notion of distance education. That is, rather than the students being dispersed, in this case it is the faculty members who are dispersed. This enables recognised world leaders and authorities in a field to join together as an active, virtual faculty, allowing students access to an array of talent that no traditional University could assemble.

At this point in time the faculty has established itself and a set of materials on the web (the url being: http://www.massey.ac.nz/~ALock/virtual/welcome.htm). The next goal is to put core courses in place that lead to qualifications in particular specialisms. Not all of these subsequent developments can be mounted by this particular initiating group. The timescale depends on the success of the faculty in obtaining specific financial support, but regardless of this, the next 18 months will see the majority of the groundwork completed.

The essential features of the teaching model being proposed are that

The innovative aspect of this proposal is its integrative approach to the use of computing, telecommunication networks and academic institutions. Our view is that the successful integration of the 'old' and the 'new' will define best practice in education for the foreseeable future. Our problem is that our intentions thus cut across the traditional interests of any single potential collaborating partner. Our challenge at this time is to negotiate consortial agreements between the contributing educational and technological institutional interests.


For another view of these intentions
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