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Enhancing Australian Science and Mathematics education

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Education Seminar Notes



Associate Professor Ian Johnston, Director, UniServe Science

Title: The Use of the Web in University Science Teaching in Australia

Abstract: The current climate of funding cuts is particularly hard on the teaching of science, which is in danger of losing its essential experimental teaching base as senior management looks at the costs of running laboratory classes and lecture demonstrations. It has always been hoped that the use of computers would ease these financial pressures. During the last three years, UniServe Science has been able to build a reasonably complete overview of how the 37 Australian universities are using IT in science teaching and where they think they will be going in the next ten years. Two new developments are important. Firstly the World Wide Web offers a distribution system which brings costs down to an affordable level for institutions although in Australia so far, only a few academics are using the web for more than just putting up lecture notes and class handouts. Secondly there are moves, particularly in the UK, to promote cooperation between universities especially in the development of web-based courses that could be shared, thus bringing down the cost to individual institutions. This presentation will describe how Australian academics and universities are using the web in science teaching and indicate where cooperative ventures might be important in future developments.
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