We held our first meeting for the Autumn on Thursday September 15th. Members present were:
Karen, Mirabelle, Judith, Jon and Roger.
The main focus of the meeting was a discussion of two articles on the concept of ‘transactional distance’:
- Michael Moore (1993) ‘Theory of transactional distance’. in Keegan, D., ed. Theoretical Principles of Distance Education, Routledge, pp. 22-38.
- Paul Gorsky and Avner Caspi (2005) ‘A critical analysis of transactional distance theory’, The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 6(1), pp. 1-11
The first of these is a chapter by the originator of the concept, explaining the elements it includes, and discussing the relationships between them. The second is a paper disputing the validity of these ideas.
Group members were of different opinions regarding these two articles. Some of us felt that the ideas included in the concept of transactional distance were useful, even though the reationships between them did not seem to be clearly specified. Others felt that Gorsky and Caspi were right in their claim that the theory did not hold up to close examination. We agreed that further background on transactional distance, and the associated debates, would be of interest.
We then went on to share our items of news from the summer period.
Mirabelle is in discussions regarding possible publication of a book on developing students’ writing and self-evaluation skills. She and Judith are planning a co-authored paper on this aspect of the OU course T215 Communication and Information Technologies.
Judith is awaiting feedback on a co-authored journal paper submitted earlier this year. She, Karen, Helen and Frances are working on post-review revisions to a further paper. Judith has also made a good start on her two eSTEeM projects.
Karen has been working on a paper about social presence and user profiles in social networking. This will link into her eSTEeM project with Frances and Helen Jefferis (OU tutor and consultant). Karen and Jon have been working further with Keith on the E-xcellence Next project to further develop benchmarks and a manual on quality in elearning.
Karen and Judith have heard from Giselle, who is on study leave in Brazil until Christmas. Giselle is also working on the E-xcellence project.
Jon has been working on his iSPOT project, including dissemination. He has also presented a poster at a conference on computer-assisted assessment. This links with his eSTEeM project on confidence-based assessment. His second eSTEeM project related to a change in assessment methods is going well, with an increase in retention on the associated course.
Our next TERG meeting will be on Thursday November 17th at 2.30pm.