ODL services and PTTs: The Greek PTT case

TitleODL services and PTTs: The Greek PTT case
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsBouras, C, Kapoulas, V, Gkamas, A, Tsiatsos, T
Conference Name19th World Conference on Open Learning and distance Education, Vienna, Austria
Date Published20 - 24 June

During the last years Open and Distance Learning (ODL) methods that utilise network resources and
services are gaining wide acceptance. An increasingly number of enterprises uses ODL for training
their employees. Interestingly enough not all the enterprises that want to and can use ODL are doing
so. The role of PTTs is important in here. PTTs can provide not only the connections necessary for
the implementation of ODL services but the ODL services themselves, thus making the process of
adopting ODL easier for the enterprises. In Greece the main PTT organisation, as part of its strategy
to offer integrated telematics services in various areas, designed and currently operates a pilot
network offering ODL services. The services offered include among others Synchronous Distance
Education, Asynchronous Distance Education, Co-operative Learning etc.The network utilises ISDN
links to connect the users of the ODL services (either trainers or trainees) to a central site. This site is
used to interconnect the users among themselves, and to host the services and any educational
material needed. The ODL services can be offered either over ISDN services or over the Internet
(using TCP/IP services and applications). In the first case the central site utilises a Multipoint Control
Unit (MCU). In the second case the ISDN lines are used to the implement the connections to the
Internet, and the central site utilises a powerful server. Each user may access the ODL service using
an ISDN enabled personal computer. Small groups of users that wish to participate from the same
location can be accommodated using larger displays. The ODL services (and the network that
supports them) are currently being used and evaluated by a variety of organisations and enterprises
including schools, hospitals, vocational training centres, etc. The results of the evaluation will be
used to guide the deployment of the system in full scale.