The TLTP debate

March 10, 1995

Publicly-funded initiatives in education technology have enabled many university departments to explore interactive media for teaching and learning. But the Computers in Teaching Initiative and the subsequent Teaching and Learning Technologies Programme have also aroused controversy.

CTI established subject centres in approximately 20 universities, with the task of evaluating existing software and disseminating information about it throughout the higher education sector.

TLTP has actively promoted development of new courseware in United Kingdom institutions. The first phase of TLTP was launched in February 1992 with funding of Pounds 7.5 million a year for three years from the Universities Funding Council. A second phase was launched in April 1993 by the four new funding bodies. The programme ends officially in December 1996 but some projects will continue after that date.

TLTP coordinator Sarah Turpin defends the programme against charges that it has been burning money and that its performance has not been evaluated. "It is early days to say what the cost effectiveness is going to be," she said. She hopes that some of the answers will emerge from the official evaluation study of TLTP, which will be put out to tender after Easter.

The funding bodies have made an extra Pounds 2 million available for the support and maintenance of course materials developed in TLTP1. "That demonstrates the fact that we are not just walking away from it," Ms Turpin said.

In this issue of Multimedia, The THES discuss the success of the programme. David Mottram (below) reports on the experience of a TLTP project which he believes can be translated into a successful strategy for pharmacy education.

However David Clark (right) argues that TLTP is burning Pounds 40 million blindly, and that we need a complete rethink of the use of interactive media in education.

Jonathan Darby (left) reports a remarkable range of costs per student-hour for TLTP projects.

Clearly, we have not heard the last word of the programme's success or failure.

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