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The WebCT discussion list and how it is perceived
With an increasing emphasis being placed by universities on using technology to enhance students’ learning, many universities are using web-based approaches to teaching and learning. It has been argued (Anderson, 1996) that online learning potentially provides meaningful learning activities. O’ Malley (1999) argues that often new educational technologies, such as web-based learning, are implemented without any assessment of their impact on students. In many universities in Europe and North America, the use of face-to-face lectures combined with tutorials or workshops is regarded as the preferred, if not the only, delivery medium for materials. That has not been, and is not, the case in Australia. Some Australian universities had been previously designated as centres for distance education. These universities have delivered courses and programs to students, who cannot or choose not to attend face-to-face lectures, through correspondence programs for over 50 years. Using web-based technologies is of great interest to these institutions as it has the potential not only to improve the delivery and enhance students’ learning but also to reduce substantially the cost of distance delivery.