Title:If We Build It, Will They Come? A Year of Testing Distance Learning Using the Web
Authors:Christine Vitto
Publication:MW2004: Museums and the Web 2004

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum technology staff built a Web interface for distance learning programs using Macromedia Flash. Using this technology, staff in the Museum could connect with groups such as teachers and students in a classroom and bring programs outside the Museum's walls. This technology is capable of synchronous (live) and asynchronous video and audio; for the asynchronous element, there is a component built in that allows PowerPoint presentations, film clips, Web sites, and photos to be shown to the group which the Museum staff member is addressing. As a member of the Education division staff at the Museum, I was asked to manage and coordinate the testing of this technology with teachers and students, and other groups as appropriate. This paper describes our process of testing and some of the programs that we held - those that worked and those that did not. It also discusses some of the challenges we faced, such as getting staff to buy-in on the technology and the quality of the programs, and what changes we would like to make for the coming year. We are still testing this technology and will be doing more programming over the coming year. We hope to add to our menu of technology options this year, and to improve the Web interface that we designed.