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The communications between learners and instructors in distance education must be provided by technologies. There is a wide variety available. They include broadcast radio and television; audio- and videotapes; interactive audio and video teleconferencing; various computer and Internet technologies, and print technologies. Different devices may be used for courseware delivery and for interpersonal interaction, but the backbone technologies along which the signals travel are often the same. The Technology domain provides information about the varieties of each of these technologies, and describes their different strengths and weaknesses as vehicles for education.

Among features to be considered are the relative merits of recorded technologies for delivering presentations of subject matter and the merits of teleconferencing technologies for facilitating interaction between teachers and learners. Administrators and teachers have to consider the benefits of relatively high cost technologies such as broadcast television and interactive video compared with the lower costs of text, audio recording and telephone conferencing.

Mixtures of technologies will always produce better results than any single technology. Getting the optimum mixture though requires great skill and knowledge. Ultimately it depends more on the quality of course design and the quality of instruction than on technology itself.

BackboneBroadcast and Computer-BasedInteractivePrint and Recorded

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