Online Education Transforming the traditional classroom Eddie Elfers Office of Teaching and Learning Technologies March 14, 2002.
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Online Education Transforming the traditional classroom Eddie Elfers Office of Teaching and Learning Technologies March 14, 2002
What is Online Education? How is it different than – and similar to – the traditional classroom? What are the tools? What are the benefits and the challenges to Wayne State? WebCT demonstration
What is Online Education? A method of course delivery unbound by time or location allowing students to access instruction from a computer via the Internet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How is Online Education different than – and similar to – the traditional classroom? Traditional classrooms offer face-to-face – synchronous – instruction. Students access instruction at “our time, our place.” Distance learning classrooms – video via satellite or internet, or instructors traveling to remote sites -- also offer face-to-face, synchronous instruction. Still “our time,” but perhaps closer to the student’s place.
How is Online Education different than – and similar to – the traditional classroom? Online Education is asynchronous. Course instruction, content and communication are provided and accessed via the World Wide Web, meaning that students can be “in the classroom” whenever they want. This does not mean that a faculty member must be available to students 24 hours a day. Online course software and a well-planned online class can ensure that the experience is valuable to the student but not an undue burden to the teacher.
How is Online Education different than – and similar to – the traditional classroom? Educational goals and practices should be the same in an online course as in a traditional classroom. The National Education Association’s Distance Education Quality Checklist includes the following guidelines:
NEA Distance Education Quality Checklist Online courses must: Be at least as rigorous as similar courses delivered by more traditional means Meet accreditation standards Have content that is relevant, accurate, meets state and local standards, and is subject to the normal processes of collegial decision making Meet the objectives and requirements outlined in the official course description Have student/faculty ratios that ensure the active engagement of students and high academic achievement
What are the tools? Online course software offers a variety of tools that can enable the instructor to meet the standards of educational quality, including: Means of posting and accessing syllabus, schedule and other course content in written, video or audio formats Means of transmitting assignments Communication tools such as discussion boards, chat rooms and integrated e-mail Integrated gradebook
What are the benefits and the challenges to Wayne State? Benefits: *Potential to increase enrollment by tapping into into expanded service region *Reaching working adults whose schedules don’t accommodate traditional attendance *Allows us to compete with other institutions in the region offering online courses
What are the benefits and the challenges to Wayne State? Challenges: *Developing and marketing online programs – not offering scattershot individual classes *Training and assisting faculty in development and delivery of online courses *Enabling faculty to transfer their pedagogical skills -- which they have developed in the traditional classroom -- into the virtual classroom
Final thought: A 1999 study by Thomas Russell, North Carolina State University, found “no significant difference” between traditional courses and online courses, provided that instructors develop their courses with sound pedagogical techniques, and that the instructors employ a variety of teaching activities to engage their online students – just as they would to create a successful traditional class. WebCT Demo Graphics by Jeff Piper, NATS Russell, Thomas, The No Significant Difference Phenomenon, 1999, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.