28.02.2012 - www.meam.net / UNESCO-IOC

Using the web as a global training classroom: OceanTeacher

© IODE / Peter Pissierssens

The main advantage of web-based training is that you can reach a far larger audience than with traditional classroom-based methods. The classes for our online professional training courses - which are conducted by live video conference - can be any size we want. Students can also revisit a class afterward by watching the recording online via our video library when it is convenient for them.

Our vision for the next decade is to establish a number of regional training centers that are interconnected and use multi-point video conferencing as the main technology (plus desktop sharing).  This will allow us to have a class course in India, for example, and broadcast it to Brussels and Nairobi at the same time.  The students in each location will be able to see and hear the lecturer and the other students, and will also be able to interact with each other.  This means we can have a truly global classroom.  Lecturers could also lecture from wherever they are (home, office, classroom), and we can invite the best lecturers for a variety of topics without having to fly them across the globe - not a minor detail in a carbon-conscious world.  This technology already exists today but internet bandwidth still needs to grow in certain parts of the world for it to become routine.

Note: The International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) enhances marine research and management by aiding the exchange of oceanographic information among participating UNESCO Member States.  An IODE programme called OceanTeacher Academy provides online training courses on topics of oceanography and resource management, including a 2011 course on marine spatial planning taught by Bud Ehler.

By Peter Pissierssens, Programme Coordinator, IODE, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

This article was originally published in: Marine Ecosystems and Management, Vol.5, No 4, February-March 2012, an issue exploring the use of new media tools to broaden services to the fields of EBM and marine spatial planning.

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