Virtual conferencing as a tool for the development of pedagogical competence for vocational educators
Reports on how the implementation of competence-based approaches to vocational education and training has resulted in structural changes to the delivery of courses in this sector. A vocational education course offered at the University of Ulster for lecturers in further education in Northern Ireland was radically restructured to assist teachers to develop strategies for responsive and flexible learning. One critical aspect of the restructuring was the decision to provide tutoring during the second year of the course using virtual conferencing in the form of the Caucus System provided by British Telecom through Campus 2000. A postal survey of candidates who completed the course was undertaken by the School of Education at the University over a four-year period. The results showed that a significant proportion of candidates favoured the use of the system and were aware of its advantages. However, many candidates still showed a preference for the traditional face-to-face approach of teacher training. Examines the reasons for this preference and makes recommendations for alleviating the situation and enhancing the use of the Campus 2000-based computer conferencing system.
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