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Tele Education: Distance Learning System

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    Background of Tele-education

    Tele-education has a longhistory beginning with systems like that for teaching children in AustralianOutback, the British Open University and other such organizations. These builton the idea of correspondence courses where course materials are sentperiodically by post and augmented the experience with broadcasts either onradio or on TV.

    The problem of student isolation was addressed partially throughtechniques such as telephone access or two-way radio links with teachers. At theend of 1980s, the vest majority of distance education throughout the worlds wasstill primarily print-based. Technologies used for distance education areevolving from primarily one-way technologies and applications such ascomputer aided learning, computer based training and computer aided instruction,to more two-way technologies and applications such as computer mediatedcommunications and computer conferencing systems for education.

    The significanceof two-way technologies is that they allow foe interaction betweenparticipant and tutors, and perhaps even more significantly amongst participantthemselves. This development has allowed and in some senses force researches tolook more closely at the impact of educational environment, on the studentslearning experience. In the future, it is expected that thetelecommunications-based technologies to become the primary means of delivery ofdistance teaching.

    The reasons for this are as follows:

    • a much widerrange of technologies are becoming more accessible to potential distanceeducation participants
    • the costs of technological delivery are droppingdramatically
    • the technology is becoming easier to use for both tutorsand learners
    • the technology is becoming more powerful pedagogically
    • education centers will find it increasingly difficult to resist thepolitical and social pressures of the technological imperatives.

    The Emergence of Tele-education

    Radical changes in the computing infrastructure,spurred by multimedia computing and communication, will do more than extend theeducational system, that is revolutionize it. Technological advances will makeclassrooms mush more accessible and effective. Today, classroom educationdominates instruction from elementary school to graduate school. This method hasremained popular for a very long time and will probably persist as the mostcommon mode of education. However, classroom education has its problems, that isthe effectiveness decline with increase in the number of students per class.

    Other pressures affect the instructors, many of whom are not experts in thematerial they must teach, are not good performers in class, or simply arenot interested in teaching. The biggest limitation of the classroom instructionis that a class meets at a particular time in a particular place. Thisessentially requires all students and the instructors to collect in one spot fortheir specified period. But with the emerging technology, these problems can beovercome.

    Reasons for studying Tele-education

    The current Tele-educationsystems that have been applied in some countries are generally of multipointtransmission technique. It is found that, this kind of transmission techniquehaving several problems or defects. Mostly, problems raised during theapplication of the system. One of the significant problems raised is that, forthe multipoint transmission, the signals or information transmitted by thesender do not completely received by the receiver. This problem is might be dueto error that occurs during the transmission of the signals or information.

    Another problem is lag of transmission. For this case, the signals orinformation transmitted do not arrive at all the receiver at the same time, forexample, the question raised by the lecturer might not received by the studentsat the same time and this is not a good environment for Tele-education system.

    Some receiver receives the signals earlier than the others and some later oreven not receives at all. Therefore, it is important to study the Tele-educationtechnology from time to time to overcome these problems so that theTele-education system could provide a more effective way of learningenvironment. In order to have a lecture from, for example, a very famousprofessor from other country would require him to come at our place. But theamount of money spent for paying him to give lecture would be very expensive andthis also would cause troublesome for him.

    However, this problem can be solvedwith Tele-education system in which the professor does not need to go anywhereelse to give his lecture. This would save a lot of expenses and time. Anotherreason is that, in normal classes the learning process would not be veryeffective if the number of students in a class is very big. This is because thelecturer alone can not coordinate such a large class. With Tele-educationsystem, one lecturer could deliver his lecture to as many students as possibleeffectively in a way that a large number of students from different sites havingthe same lecture at once.

    Purpose of Research

    The purpose of this researchis to study the current Tele-education system that has been applied in somecountries. This study covers the background of Tele-education; that is itsdefinition, the publications of Tele-education; that is any papers that discussabout Tele-education as a whole, the performance of applied Tele-education, andalso the technology of Tele-education; that is its network architecture. But themain purpose of this study is to understand the Tele-education system that havebeen applied in another country and try to implement it in our country.


    Since Tele-education is a verynew technology that is popularly discussed today, it is quite difficult for meto find any books that discuss about Tele-education from the library. Therefore,the easiest and the fastest way to gather information relating this project isvia the Internet. I have surfed and found many interesting sites that discussabout Tele-education. Besides surfing, I also have contacted several people whoare involved in this area, Tele-education, by e-mail . But unluckily, this doesnot really help because most of them did not reply. Besides using the Internet,I also get the information for this project from the IEEE Database at thelibrary of Universiti Telekom.


    Definition of Tele-education What is Tele-education?

    Before discussing about whatTele-education means, lets look at what distance learning is. This is becauseTele-education and distance learning are very related to each other. Distancelearning is the acquisition of skills and knowledge through electroniccommunications that allow student and instructor to be separate in either intime or space.

    The to distance learning is asynchronous learning which canbe defined loosely as learning at different time. It is a highly flexible methodof training because the sender and receiver do not need to be synchronized inspace or time. But Tele-education is more than that of distance learning. InTele-education, not only asynchronous but synchronous learning is also madepossible. In other words, Tele-education is the evolution of distance learning.

    As stated before, asynchronous learning environment is not real-timeenvironment. It is a self-study-based application and is accessed via theInternet to a server. The requirement to the student is only an ordinary PC withstandard software and Internet access. This application is applicable for alarge amount of users who can access the course independent of each other. Thecombination of the lecture-part, group-work-part, and self-study-part is anothertype of Tele-education learning environment, which is synchronous learning. Itis a real-time environment.

    In this environment, students and lecturers caninteract with each other simultaneously. Tele-education use the technology ofvideo teleconferencing that allows two or more parties at different geographicalarea to interact with each other or to have learning process together. Butpeople usually get confused whether video teleconferencing can be considered asTele-education as well.

    Tele-education is actually different with videoteleconferencing in a way that Tele-education usually involve a large number ofpeople as compared to video teleconferencing, that is, it is in videoteleconferencing many people use a single monitor to see other people at otherarea but in Tele-education, students have their own monitor that can be used notonly to see their lecturer and colleagues but also to send and receiveeducational materials.

    Publications of Tele-education

    There are many papersdiscussing about Tele-education. Most of these papers cover only the general oroverall scope of Tele-education.  For network architecture, it describesabout the protocol used for the Tele-education system and its networkinfrastructure. Performance of Tele-education covers the performance of serviceof Tele-education and also the network performance. The description of theseperformances is from the customer point of view. For the operation andmanagement of Tele-education, it describes about what should be taken intoconsideration in order to provide a well managed Tele-education service.

    Examples of Systems

    From the study of materials gathered, there are generallythree examples of Tele-education system that have been applied in the Europe andCanada. Those examples are:

    • Tele-education NB
    • Delta ‘s VirtualCollege
    • ACTS Project AC052 (RACE Project Report)

    The purpose of lookinginto these examples is to try to understand what kind of Tele-education systemis implemented, how Tele-education can be implemented, to know what are therequirements to implement it, and what considerations should be taken intoconsideration for implementing it.


    It is not easy to find materials or any papers reporting thearchitecture of Tele-education. Most of the materials found are basicallydiscussing about the general idea on what Tele-education system is, for examplesome papers discuss about the general system of a Tele-education serviceoffered, its advantages over current educational environment, etc. However, Imanaged to find a very interesting material discussing about Tele-education as awhole, that is the ACTS Project AC052 (RACE Report Project).

    Therefore, I choosethis report as my main reference in doing my study on Tele-education overallsystem description covering the architecture. There are basically five maintopics that are going to be discussed in quite detail regarding theTele-education as a whole in this report.

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