Hi Rory and others,
This is an exciting time for pan-Canadian e-learning efforts. Introducing my self -- I'm a Registered Psychologist in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in private practice, and I specialize in dance/movement therapy (ADTR) and art therapy (RCAT), as well as health psychology, cognitive/behavioural psychology, and trauma therapies. As well, I teach through contracts. Presently I am contracted to teach for Campus Alberta Applied Psychology, with the University of Lethbridge. I'm continuing to study distance education and technology through Athabasca University's Graduate Diploma in Distance Education and Technology (GDDET).
Your post indicated that you are wondering what research or actions we have been taking. I fit the category of "actions", although I have done other kinds of research in the past, not related to DE.
First of all I believe that education and training are very helpful for instructors who want to promote online learning and I have taken the action of further studying. I do some traditional teaching, but see so many advantages to expanding access through DE online.
Secondly, recently an action I have taking includes adding both Skype and Marratech (Webconferencing) to the Health Psychology Course that I am presently teaching. I would not likely have done this action without my DE education.
Observations to date: The response from students about adding the technology that specifically facilitate varied communication at a distance has been welcomed by the students. I hope to do some data collection in my present course, asking students and a basic list of suggestions in this pilot use of the first two technology additions. The students who are presently learning Health Psychology are familiar with online forums. I hope to add more technology slowly as I teach various sections. I think the technology must be tailored to facilitate the learning and the students' need to know technology when they are working in their fields of interest. Jo Ann