CBLIS 99Mary Peat
Director, UniServe Science
The fourth international conference on Computer Based Learning In Science was held at the University of Twente in the Netherlands from 2nd to 6th July. The conference is not attached to a society but was started by a group of academics from Austria and the Czech Republic to support the needs of tertiary and secondary science teaching, in particular in eastern Europe. There were 64 participants from 15 countries, including 10 from Australia. For the first time the papers were refereed and, of 120 abstracts submitted, 63 papers were finally accepted. The vigorous refereeing process improved the overall quality of the presentations at the conference compared with CBLIS 97 and the organisers are very happy with this and the move from 'show and tell' to discussions about the pedagogy of using IT in teaching. It seems to me from the sample I saw, much of Europe is behind Australia with respect to using the web in teaching and the discussions we were having two years ago are now happening across Europe. Session themes included teaching packages (mostly 'show and tell'), evaluation and monitoring of performance, virtual reality and virtual laboratory teaching, distance learning and multimedia techniques. Outstanding contributions were made by Maree Gosper and Peter Love from Macquarie University, Marie-Paul van Damme from Monash, Philip Barker from the University of Teesside and Jan van der Veen from the University of Twente. At the planning meeting for the 2001 conference (to be held at the University of Technology in Brno, Czech Republic) it was agreed to create a permanent web site at the University of Teesside for archiving CBLIS and the conference contents and abstracts will be available from this site. The temporary web site is http://bimbam.tn.utwente.nl/idb/cblis/.
The social program included riding bicycles in a national park (luckily this was optional), viewing an extensive collection of van Gogh paintings (in the Kröller-Müller Museum) and of course late night sessions at the bar with colleagues from around the world. I think this is a group to watch and, as I suggested before, Australia has a lot to offer this conference.
UniServe Science News Volume 14 November 1999
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