TELEVISION AS AN EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY:
USING TELEVISION AT OPEN EDUCATION FACULTY, ANADOLU UNIVERSITY
Assist. Prof. Dr. Mediha Saglik
Assist. Prof. Dr. Serap Ozturk
Anadolu University-Turkey
INTRODUCTION

Anadolu University Open Education Faculty was established in 1982-1983 academic year. Since then, the printed materials have been used as the basic educational technology. Besides printed materials, radio and television technology have been used as the supportive technologies. Computer Technology Aided Learning has also added to the system since 1993.

Why Television at the Open Education Faculty?
Alkan points out the major assumptions for distance education as follow:
 

  • Individuals are in need of different education. As the present situation cannot meet this need, it is necessary to provide mass education by individual and free learning by developing new opportunities.
  • New options must make the insufficiency of traditional educational practices disappear.
  • New models must give opportunities to outsiders of the present education system
  • New opportunities must provide all individuals an equality in education (Alkan, 1999, p.7).

  • For these various reasons use of television has been increasing from day to day by a large audiences. It makes television inevitable in the practice of distance education field in Turkey as a developing country. From the point of the faculty, television broadcast can reach a large audience across the country through its national network. The faculty can also make use of newer, synchronous technologies or use interactive technologies such as teleconferencing, internet services, etc. Using of these technologies should take into account the target community. In other words, the best technology to provide all individuals equal opportunities is radio-television technology. This is the main reason that television, a more advantageous technological tool than radio with its audio-visual facilities, is being used non-stop and is improving in each project of the Open Education Faculty.

    Why Television?
    Television, which has an important place in mass communication, has a significant role in distance education with its special position, the way of presentation and qualities peculiar to itself.

    Technological developments in the field of communication can be adapted in the field of education as it is adapted to many fields of life. Thanks to the new technologies available in this field and the advantages they provide, television can already be seen as an outdated tool. Yet as long as the opportunities it provides still keep its validity, television technology is not far from the new developments. Thanks to its special features, television in distance education fulfills the functions mentioned below:
     

  • Supporting and enhancing teaching
  • Instructing
  • Explaining , clarifying
  • Summarizing
  • Reinforcement
  • Motivation and encouragement
  • Using as supplementary for the other materials
  • Imposing study speed ( determining rate of study)
  • Presenting a reference to large masses
  • Changing behavior
  • Presenting unreachable facts and events (Hizal, 1983, p. 57).

  • Of these special features, perhaps the most important one is that television is a very familiar and attractive source from the point of view of buyers. It is also part of our daily life.

    As a result of developments in communication technologies, the price of radio and television sets are dropping and their being part of our daily life has made these tools necessary in the field of education (Kaymas, 1999, p.76).

    Information transferred through of television is different from traditional education methods with respect to the audio-visual presentation. Explanations related to the subject and examples can be presented visually, so the learner gets motivated, his/her desire for learning increases, and therefore learning and remembering become easier.

    Allowing thousands of people spreaded a large and distance geographic regions to receive the same program at the synchronous time, television broadcast helps overcome the problem of inequality and imbalance among the regions by providing equality in opportunities.

    Television transfers the events or processes through a time process peculiar to itself. In fact a process that might require a long operation can be broadcasted with main points in a short period of time. Television may grant positive motivation such as attracting the learner’s attention to a certain point or arousing attention with the movements of the camera’s coming close, going away, and reflecting details.

    Invisible or virtual objects, today, can be animated with different expression methods such as cartoon films. It enables distinguished instructors to reach a large mass of students at the same time. The most distinctive specialty of television is its ability to present information to the student which other tools cannot. This is an important opportunity for students who were unable to study at a university at in other educational institutions. (Bates, 1998, p. 215). Education methods, such as lecture, demonstration, and experimentation which are present in traditional education, are accepted in a different view in distance education. By using the screen as a laboratory, it is normally possible to demonstrate experiments which are too difficult to show to the students through all its phases (Gokce, 1997, p. 239).

    Television is an effective tool in expressing abstract concepts or ideas. Abstract concepts are usually produced and conveyed with words. Besides this, in making an abstract concept concrete, the role of animation and visual experimentation is very important. The limitation here is how to combine the text, which is involving information, with moving views, animation, concrete ideas, utterance and objects like pictures. Television in the learning process could be helpful in understanding abstract ideas directly (Bates, 1998, 215-217). Television is especially useful for lessons like geography, because it enables us to see whatever possible to see (Turan, 1994, p. 160).

    Though production is a complicated process, the cost per person is low. (see Potashnik-Capper, 1998 for the cost comparison of distance education tools) All these features point out the superiority of television in the presentation of information. Besides these advantages, television has some serous disadvantages too which are listed below:
     

  • The experience of watching television has been competed against a lot of activities which a viewer can do whatever want to do at the same time.
  • Each of the programs is compete against to the other programs which are broadcasted from other channels.
  • The viewer can prefer shifting to other program(s) or to daily another activities instead of watching program if television program does not present any attracting or watchable subject for the viewer. (Mutlu 1995, pp. 21-22)

  • One of the important disadvantages of television that it does not provide instant feedback. It’s too hard to capture the viewers reactions about the program. For this reason, the producer does not have a chance to control if the program is not watched by the viewer. In the meantime, broadcast television isn’t interactive. So that participating of the viewers are getting low. Producer never forget these important disadvantages when producing an educational television program.

    IN WHAT PROJECTS HAS TELEVISION BEEN USED?

    The projects which the Open Faculty Education used television as an educational technology are;

     
    Academic Year of 1999-2000 Bachelor of Arts Programs
    Faculty of Economics
    Faculty of Business Administration

    Academic Year of 1999-2000 two-year-higher education programs
    Business Administration
    Local Public Administration
    Public Relations
    Accounting
    Foreign Trade
    Banking and Insurance
    Office Management

                        Sales Management Tourism and Hotel Management
    Social Sciences
    Home Management
    Medical Institutions Management
    Theological Studies


    Television programs prepared and produced for this project are given in Table 1.

    Table 1:
                                Academic Year of 1999-2000   Television Programs*

                                                The number of  programs                       Duration of Programs
                                                                   (total)                                             (hours)
    Bachelor of Arts  Programs
    Lecture Programs                                     755                                                  514
    Preparation for exams                               60                                                    30
    Preparation for exams (live)                     30                                                    30
    Two-year- higher education  Departments
    Lecture Programs                                    529                                                  360
    TOTAL                                                      1374                                                  934
    * Information from Anadolu University, Radio and TV Production Center

     
    Besides these televised broadcasts, learners can buy videotapes of these programs if they apply to the faculty. Videotapes of lectures are sent to his/her address on demand. For such demands students pay a fixed price.

    The Project of Western Europe
    This project, put into action by the Open Education Faculty in 1986, was designed for Turkish Citizens living in Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and Austria. Thanks to the project carried out for the purpose of rendering higher education for Turkish Citizens living abroad, learners there have chance to study Business Administration and Economics for a license degree, and Foreign Trade and Tourism for a pre-license degree.

    In this project, television programs about the courses are posted to the learners as a videotape together with other materials. Thus, students are given a chance to make use of these materials in their own convenience.

    The Project of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
    This project is carried out with the purpose of presenting higher education to the Turks living in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and covers all the license and pre-license programs of Open Education Faculty. Television programs are conveyed to the students via television broadcast. Anadolu University does not give academic counseling for the reason that distance between two the countries. Such services are given through only teleconferencing interactively. Teleconferencing was put into practice in the academic year of 1999-2000. A total of 8 hours of advisory is given twice a week, by getting together students in the Open Education Faculty’s office in Nicosia. All students there are able to have an interactive communication. Thus an synchronous technology was first started at the Open Education Faculty in this project.

    Production OPPORTUNIties

    The Radio and Television Broadcasting Center which has two well-equipped television and two sound studios containing out-door shooting equipment (OBV, 6 ENG cameras, light and sound sets, prompter etc.) established in 1982 at Anadolu University. It makes possible all sorts of television productions with its own digital edit units, graphic, decoration, animation, archive and planning, and videotape copying departments. The center has also computer, sound and maintenance, and repair laboratories. It employs highly distinguished and experienced producers graduated from a higher education institution or got an MA degree from one of these institutions. In the departments of the center, in-service training is carried out periodically. In addition, produced programs have been revised during observation meetings in the center and the suggestions for improving the productions are put into practice.

    PRODUCTION PROCESSES and MEDHODS of PRODUCTION OF TV PROGRAMS

    Producing and broadcasting television programs are highly expensive. It is an easy work for an subject expert to keep talking in front of the camera. Additionally, this way does not mean for using television ineffectively as being an educational medium always. At the beginning, every unit had its own television program. Yet, with the adoption of the view that an educational television program must use all the opportunities of television, the process of television production was, in that time, re-evaluated and different methods were accepted. In the present process, groups of experts, formed for each project, have been reviewing the existing television programs, and deciding on the renovation of the programs that have become invalid in content or in the way of presentation. The content and the form of the program to be revised or reproduced have been determined with the cooperation of the expert group, a director and a scriptwriter. After deciding what unit or subject needs to be adapted for television, the production has been realized.

    For the planning of a more reliable and effective media, and for the purpose of meeting the expectations of a changing student profile, we formed a new structure within the Open Education faculty- “Distance Education Planning Unit” (DEPU). A group of experts in their fields in this unit has begun to act to reform television programs as well as all technologies. DEPU has considered each project separately, and in the first stage it aims at determining the all objectives the students are supposed to gain. In accordance with this decision, DEPU first settles the order of information and then decides the means of tools it will be presented. And in the next stage, the established content is transformed into teaching material ( books, television programs, web page etc.) The productions which the students have not received yet, and are still in progress, are planned to be presented to the learners in coming years. During this process, a media production director (MPD), who is also in charge of television programs, is generally responsible for media conception, planning and development. The MPD, who receives academic counseling during the production process, evaluates the produced material together with Project Coordinator and the Teaching Conception Directory, and if necessary, reproduces the materials. The studies of this group cover all the projects at the Open Education Faculty. With this respect, it has been aimed at increasing the influence of television as well as all materials and meeting the demands of the learners in a better way. (Personal communication, February 2000, DEPU presidency) At Open Education Faculty nearly 200 programs have been produced annually. Production elements mentioned below are used in the present production process:

    1. Using people
                Instructors
                Announcer / Speaker
                Players
                Field experts
                Common people
    2. Using visual production opportunities

    Graphic materials (pictures, photographs, maps, tables, diagrams, caricatures, illustrations, written texts etc.)
    Making use of real events (documents): (places, processes, procedures)
    Making use of objects (real or model)
    Making use of archive (image archives gathered from different sources)
    2-D animation
    3-D animation
    Dramatization