|| Section: Web-Based Learning|
|Topic: Overview (page 1 of 1)|
Web-Based LearningOverview of Web-Based Learning
There are many issues that must be considered when offering a course over the internet. In order to better understand these issues, this report discusses precedents for web-based courses, the various instruction techniques available for a web-based course, the effectiveness of web-based learning versus the traditional classroom, the content of user interfaces, the evaluation tools for the course and the benefits and detriments of the web-based classroom environment.
According to the students and faculty who were interviewed, the benefits of web-based learning are the flexibility of class time, the ability to repeat lectures, and the continual access to lectures, notes and homework. However, the detriments include the inability to monitor student attendance and work, the lack of interaction, the accessibility issues, and unclear communication of difficult materials. In general, students and faculty were very positive about the use of hypertext and audio files for class instruction, while they cautioned that video must be reserved to small clips that are either downloadable or are not intended for use during hours of heavy internet use. Students also enjoyed the opportunities for personal interaction whenever possible. This could be accomplished through weekly recitations, pre-test review sessions, or bi-weekly office hours.
Other important issues to consider when designing a web-based class are the structure of the user interface and the method of student evaluation. In the user interface, is necessary to keep content organized and aesthetically pleasing as well as to limit information to digestible "chunks" that can keep the attention of the reader. Distracting elements such as bright colors and animation that is not part of the lecture should be avoided completely. As for the evaluation process, the progress of the student will be more difficult to assess in a web-based class. The current proposal for evaluation is a one-hour multiple choice test. Students have expressed concern about this method, however, since they feel that scantron is not a medium that accurately reflects a person's knowledge on the subject.
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