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"Tourism by Distance Mode" and Capacity Building on Open and Distance Learning-<br>Knowledge Base Website

Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University
Nonthaburi (Thailand)
March 14 - 16, 2006

The Technical and Vocational Education Workshop on Tourism by Distance Mode was held at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU), Nonthaburi, Thailand on March 14 - 15, 2006.  It was co-hosted by the Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development (APEID), UNESCO Bangkok and STOU. The workshop was attended by forty participants, two representatives from each of the six participating universities in the Greater Mekong region and representatives from the various potential partner organizations, such as the International Centre of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Education (THE-ICE), Northern Sydney Institute (NSI), SEAMEO RIHED, Distance Learning Television Station (DLTV), Distance Learning Foundation (DLF), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Thailand Cyber University (TCU) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

The workshop was held under the Greater Mekong Sub-regional Virtual University (GMS-VU) project which was initiated by UNESCO Bangkok in 2001, a project on Tourism in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, namely, Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam.  Since then, UNESCO Bangkok has been working with partner universities to develop a certificate programme on tourism in the GMS, which consists of one core course (equivalent to 3 credits, composed of 6 modules) and an elective course (3 credits), to be delivered by distance mode (CD ROMs).  The universities involved in the project are Royal University of Phnom Penh, Yunnan University (China), Yunnan Radio & TV University (China), National University of Laos, STOU, and Hanoi Open University.

During the workshop, the participants conducted a review of the five core course modules, which have been developed by the partner universities. 

  • Definitions, Concepts and Components of Tourism
  • Tourism Marketing and Promotion
  • Socio-Cultural Impacts of Tourism
  • Impacts of Tourism on Natural Environment
  • Economic Impacts of Tourism Module
  • Tourism resources in Thailand (elective course).

They also discussed plans on how to produce the last module of the core course, "An overview of tourism in the 6 GMS countries", and five elective courses, "Sustainable tourism in Viet Nam", "Tourism resources and environment in Laos", "Ethnic tourism in Yunnan", "Eco-tourism in Yunnan", and "Community-based tourism in Cambodia".  They reviewed agenda on target group, format, delivery, time line, and pilot test of this certificate programme.

The workshop effectively facilitated sharing of cooperative experiences among partner universities and helped them to reflect on lessons learnt from one another.  It was also successful in attracting the attention and cooperation of distance learning institutions and tourism organizations to this project. 

Following the meeting, the Capacity Building Workshop on Open and Distance Learning Knowledge Base (ODL KB) Website was held on 16 March 2006.  Twenty-six professors and curriculum developers participated in this workshop.  The participants discussed various issues concerning ODL and submitted their questions on ODL to organizers; including access to ODL, learner-instructor interaction, assessment, quality assurance, and ODL course design and development.  The Asia-Pacific ODL KB website and Decision Support Tool (DST) for assuring quality of ODL were also introduced to the participants and they learned how to search the resources in the KB and register for the ODL Forum in the ODL KB website, the platform for the discussion and the exchange of information, ideas, and experiences on ODL.

The workshop provided participants with a good opportunity to learn more in-depth knowledge on ODL issues as well as ODL KB website and DST.  The comments and answers to the questions brought up by the participants will be posted onto the ODL Forum to stimulate further discussion.