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Database future for old notes

Virtual reality is about to transform the humble lecture note after years of obscurity, writes Estelle Maxwell.

A huge database is currently being created on Barnsley Tertiary College's networked information system to be used by staff and students alike - and it is hoped that in the future the information will be accessed by cable audiences in their homes in South Yorkshire.

The "virtual college" scheme led by Michael Smith of Barnsley College quality assurance unit has been backed by the region's training and enterprise council, the Further Education Funding Council, City Challenge and the European Union.

"Traditionally most syllabus material is held by lecturers who are available for perhaps eight hours a day and it is then stored in filing cabinets.

"If a student misses a lecture, for example, then it is often difficult for them to retrieve what they have lost," he explained.

"We aim to transfer this information on to database so that in the future a student can access it easily. We are going to make sure that things like lecturer's notes, assignments and handouts will be interactive."

The college has 14 satellite centres and has invested heavily in information technology, CD-Rom, multi-media and interactive video. Its local area has a large number of houses with cable television and it hopes to use the medium to reach people in their living rooms.

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