Your presentation got me thinking about the way we deliver the E-HELP course that we are developing for the third year of the project. It will of course be a real meeting. However, it will limit the numbers we can communicate with. I will be interested in your ideas on how we can deliver this kind of course in the form of distance learning.
so I thought I'd start a new topic to try to set out some ideas.
When I'm designing a distance course, the first step is to work out what it's for. I often express it in this question: what problem is this distance course intended to solve? (In other words, you apply the same reasoning to distance courses as you do to any other kind of course!).
In the case of E-HELP, it would seem that the problem is that you want to disseminate the lessons learned on the project to the greatest possible number of teachers in Europe but you only have funds to collect a relatively small number of them in one geographical location. It's the common problem of trying to bring expertise to bear - you end up paying a lot of money and spending a lot of time transporting people's bodies when it's actually their ideas you need to transport. The reason you have to transport their bodies is that we human beings haven't really yet worked out how to work with each other effectively if we don't meet each other face-to-face (f2f).
So if we start out by accepting that a distance course for the E-HELP project isn't going to be a full-blown substitute for an f2f meeting, we can perhaps start to speculate what it *could* be useful for. I'm not a History teacher, and I'm not particularly well-versed in E-HELP, so please bear with my speculations about this, and adapt the bits which you find useful.
You could use a distance course to prepare participants for a f2f meeting. It might involve briefing them about the process you'll all have been through in Years 1 and 2, perhaps giving them some case studies to look at in detail (e.g. what we did wrong and what we did right). The f2f meeting could then begin at the step 2 of evaluating and developing what you've learned on the project, rather than the step 1 of 'merely' disseminating information about it.
Another use of a distance course could be as a kind of 'Lancaster method' after an f2f meeting, when participants in the f2f meeting fan out across Europe spreading the word, as it were, to groups of teachers who couldn't participate. It would be fairly natural for these distance courses to be specific to a particular country and/or language. In Sweden, for example, Dalibor and Anders would run a distance course in Swedish, aiming to recruit, say, 20 History teachers from around the country.
There are almost certainly yet more variants which you History teachers can think of for yourselves
Now we've dealt with the 'why' of an E-HELP distance course, the next set of questions is all about 'how' but that's the subject of my next post.