TOACS and eCourse2: From Thailand and Australia to the World but Where to Next?
Edith Cowan University
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Information Science
After being introduced in the 1960's on a large scale as computer based education and then fading from interest, on-line teaching is becoming fashionable again. But why is this happening? It's true that significantly reduced computer costs, vastly improved screen systems and human interface options combined with the creation of the Internet and cheap telecommunications have made the concept of on-line delivery a reality and yet these are only the tools which will help us reach the promise of online education. As has been demonstrated with TOACS the tools are here and affordable but the challenge facing this generation of educators is how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the last generation. This paper revisits the education foundation that led to the formation of TOACS and moves on from the creation of a delivery enviromnent to examine the challenges of what an online system needs to deliver to make it viable both financially and educationally. The development of the "educational objects" structure of TOACS was designed with the focus on "packaged educational systems" which would include new pedagogy to draw on the benefits inherent in the new delivery technologies. There have been many examples oflarge but unsuccessful investment in this area so it is opportune to consider which are the criteria that can minimise failure and financial loss? How education delivery organisations avoid the problems of the past and prevent repeat errors? The answers reside in the capacity of an educational organisation to identifY its customer base and integrate its infrastructure into a coherent and relevant educational delivery system. This paper outlines the move beyond TOACS and into the future of educational development tools and partnerships.