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Design Course Online

The Australian, Tuesday 14 July 1998

Design Course Online

OnFX: business plan and project management

by John Mitchell & Associates

Following is an article from The Australian, Tuesday 14 July 1998, on a project managed by John Mitchell & Associates.

We provided three core services for this innovative package:

  • we jointly evaluated the prototype course in September - November 1997
  • we prepared the business plan for the Consortium of five TAFE Institutes
  • we project managed the development of OnFX from November 1997 - June 1998.

Design Course Online

An Internet-based system that provides students with training qualifications in graphic design and publishing goes live in Australia next week.

Using a combination of CD-ROM-based material and on-line content, the system will initially offer three training modules.

These include an introduction to computers and instruction in the use of software packages Macromedia Freehand and QuarkXPress.

The modules are designed to provide training similar to that which students would receive in the classroom, while providing the flexibility of being accessible from any Internet-equipped computer.

The service, called OnFX, was developed by a national consortium of TAFE colleges in conjunction with Apple, online training company TechWorks and IBM network provider Advantra.

Douglas Mawson Institute of TAFE education director Andrew McGowan said the system allowed students to work through each module at their own pace before taking an online theory examination.

Mr McGowan said practical work was submitted electronically to TAFE tutors for review and then sent back to students with comments.

"Students can also ask for help and assistance by sending e-mail messages to tutors," Mr McGowan said.

"This gives them individual assistance but also means they can carry out study and practice at times that suit them."

Tutors can also check on student progress by monitoring how often they log on to the service and which parts of each module they have reviewed.

To overcome Internet band-width restraints while providing an interesting learning experience, instructional video clips have been included on a CD-ROM provided to each student.

As well as Australian-based users, the new service would be offered throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Apple would assist with the regional distribution of CD-ROM's and course information, Mr McGowan said.

Apple Computer Australia managing director Diana Ryall said the project provided an example of how Australian resources could be made available to overseas students.

"This will help Australia develop a reputation as a leading provider of educational resources on the Internet."

He (Mr McGowan) said the modules on offer would be extended in the future to provide a complete diploma qualification.