Teleconferencing: a needs assessment and model for development of telecommunication specialists to meet the needs of satellite networks
Morgan, Lael W.
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The satellite industry has experienced amazing growth incorporate television transmissions over the last decade, as well as in use by educators and government. Further expansion seems assured as conferencing systems improve and costs decrease. But there is no training ground to guarantee a high level of professional performance in this rapidly expanding field. This study was designed to assess the needs of telecommunications networks, project growth and create a model program to meet future training requirements. Telecommunications technology is developing so fast that literature older than three years is generally out of date and current material is scanty. Thus, interview and questionnaire were the main tools of this research. In addition to a questionnaire on hiring and training practices sent to a random sample corporate users of satellite networks, the researcher relied heavily on extensive interviews with leaders in the field. Results showed an urgent need for academic training and, more challenging, a need for extensive research to weed out and/or update outmoded communications theory and provide a sound basis on which to base this training. To date the telecommunications industry (and satellite teleconferencing in particular) has been vendor driven with little thought given to exploring non-traditional approaches. There is clear indication that many traditional methods no longer serve in this new age of instantaneous, face-to-face communications with global reach. We are just beginning to see creative applications of new mediums such as the use of videoconferencing as a selling and marketing tool. And as technology continues to improve, we can expect more innovative uses that warrant careful study. This research suggests that a model program to meet academic needs should be built around an institute or "high tech center" with a strong, industry-oriented research arm. Students--undergraduate as well as master's and doctoral candidates--should be imbued with a thorough knowledge of the principles of telecommunications theory as well as a working knowledge of state-of-the-art equipment. Internships with industry and government would be vital. Publication of research and interaction with college communication departments throughout the country should be encouraged.
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