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Engineering education benefits from the knowledge and experience of topic “experts” both in the technical perspective of understanding the material and the educational perspective of understanding the challenges that students commonly encounter in learning a topic. Classically, these experts have published material as textbooks and perhaps web pages. Through distance learning, these experts can interact with students and instructors beyond the normal confines of a classroom or campus. Classroom-based, distance learning does not provide personalized, individual interaction outside the classroom setting. This situation can be critical in the context of courses with laboratory content. In this paper, the authors discuss how individualized interactions across a wide range of educators and learners can be supported. This support is facilitated by the deployment of telecollaboration stations (TCS). The evolution and use of these stations are described, as are some of the challenges and educational benefits that result.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2005