ERIC Number: ED247885
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Biological Simulations in Distance Learning. CAL Research Group Technical Report No. 12.
Murphy, P. J.
When two biological simulations on evolution and genetics (one originally developed for a conventional university undergraduate course) were introduced into Open University distance education classes, the difficulties encountered required a reappraisal of the concept of using computer simulation for distance learning and decisions on which simulation features were essential and which were merely desirable. The evolution course adapted a simulation called EVOLVE, which models the genetic and evolutionary consequences of two populations of a single flowering plant species coming together after a period of genetic isolation. The second simulation, WHEAT, models the inheritance of height in wheat for an experiment which biometrically analyzes the inheritance of a continuously varying character. To overcome problems of limited access to computer terminals and the need for cost-effective, interactive computing at remote sites, both a fully interactive and a non-interactive version of EVOLVE and a non-interactive but stochastic version of WHEAT were developed. Although the interactive element of computer assisted learning (CAL) was lost entirely in overcoming serious logistical problems, the resulting non-interactive programs have provided a tolerable compromise and, in the case of WHEAT, perhaps even a superior approach than if interactive terminals were used. Eight references are listed. (LMM)
Descriptors: Biology, Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Simulation, Courseware, Design Requirements, Distance Education, Evolution, Foreign Countries, Genetics, Material Development, Science Instruction
Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, England.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Open Univ., Walton, Bletchley, Bucks (England).