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Internet Access Technology and the Learning Experience

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

IT-based Instructional Technologies

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.835.1 - 25.835.10



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Paper Authors


Alexander A. Kist University of Southern Queensland

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Alexander A. Kist received a Ph.D. degree in communication and electronic engineering from RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, in 2004. His research focused on performance modelling and evaluation of SIP Protocol-based 3G Signalling IP networks and the development of methodologies to enable QoS Signalling in multi-service IP networks. He received his bachelor's degree, diplom-ingenieur (FH), in telecommunications engineering from the University of Applied Science, Offenburg, Germany, in 2000. The thesis on the problem of synthesising of partially link-disjoint paths in a network was completed at the Centre for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT), RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. From 2004 to 2006, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Australian Telecommunications Cooperative Research Centre (ATcrc) and RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. From 2005, he was the ATcrc networking program Project Leader. Since May 2006, he is a lecturer and since Jan. 2011, a Senior Lecturer in telecommunications at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia. His research interests include green IT, teletraffic engineering, performance modelling, QoS provisioning, and engineering education. He is a member of the Telecommunication Society of Australia, Engineers Australia, the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AaeE), and the USQ Teaching Academy. He is also a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has won several learning and teaching awards, including a University Program Award in 2010 and the University Teaching Award in 2011.

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Technological Impacts on the Learning ExperienceDistance education is increasingly relying on Information and Communication Technology(ICT) to provide learning activities in online environments. Internet-based technologies arenow commonplace in support of learning, whether the students are remote from campus ornot. Many factors impact on student experience of these systems, such as the design of thelearning experience, the attributes and experience of the learners, but also technicalperformance. Access speed, geographic location and network traffic all affect how studentsinteract with the technology and hence the learning experience.Internet access options in geographically large countries such as the United States orAustralia differ considerably between metro and rural/remote areas; effectively marking a„digital divide‟. The term digital divide is used to describe inequality of Internet accesstechnology along geographical and social lines (Norris, 2001). This paper discusses howlearning experience relates to technical performance parameters of learning and teachingsystems; and contrasts this information with key parameters of alternative options to connectto the Internet.Using the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) as an example the impact on thedigital divide in terms of learning systems is evaluated. Even so Australia is a well developedindustrial society; barriers along social as well as geographical boundaries exist. This studyfocuses on the digital divide between metro and rural/remote areas. The Australiangovernment has made a commitment to build a major infrastructure project that will providefast broadband access to all premises in Australia.Initiatives such as the NBN will further improve access and reach premises in the fringe andblack spot areas that had no sufficient broadband access before. This study concludes thatsuch programs will not overcome, but shift the “digital divide”. For the performance oflearning tools the bandwidth provided by the NBN will be adequate, for example; latency forsatellite-based internet access, however, is a problem. Learning and teaching systems that arehighly interactive and therefore latency intolerant will not work in areas that use satelliteinternet access in the foreseeable future. Key ReferencesBrooks, P., & Hestnes, B. (2010). User measures of quality of experience: why being objective and quantitative is important. Network, IEEE, 24(2), 8-13.Featherstone, D. (2011). The Ngaanyatjarra Lands Telecommunications Project: A Quest for Broadband in the Western Desert. Telecommunications Journal of Australia, 61(1).Moebs, S. A. (2008). A learner, is a learner, is a user, is a customer: QoS-based experience- aware adaptation. Paper presented at the Proceeding of the 16th ACM international conference on Multimedia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.NBN Co. (2011). NBN CO - About: Our purpose, from us/our-purpose.htmlNorris, P. (2001). Digital Divide: Civic Engagement, Information Poverty, and the Internet Worldwide. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.Sambrook, S. (2001). Factors influencing learners' perceptions of the quality of computer based learning materials. Journal of European Industrial Training, 25(2/3/4), 157- 167.

Kist, A. A. (2012, June), Internet Access Technology and the Learning Experience Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21592

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