Developed within the midst of universities and government agencies, the Internet has been used for a variety of purposes in education. It serves as a convenience multimedia communication channel between teachers and students, scholars and research centers, and has hosted many new, immersing and innovative ways to enhance learning and expand educational opportunities. Distant education and non-traditional classrooms can reach more students with specialized instruction and self-paced learning, while student projects, virtual field trips and online journals may complement available local resources.
In general, the Internet can be used for education in the following manners:
• Delivering content from a course web site where various teaching materials and course management functions are hosted.
• Delivering programs where multimedia animation or simulation is provided to replace physical experiments.
• Providing access to a Web-based laboratory that enables students to set up parameters and undertake experiments from a remote location.
This is the simplest and most common way in which the Web is used for education. In fact, most universities in the world have systems that utilize the Internet as a general communication tool and aid for material download and general learning.
In particular, Simione (1997) presented a user-centered web page construction and maintenance model to develop web-based course materials, while Pascoe (1997) developed several methods, including interactive exercises, course note annotation and automatic tailored feedback, to enable students to interact with the course site to enhance learning. Rosenblum (1996) described some web-based collaborative learning communication tools through a CGI program that provides instructors with private course discussion areas. With an intuitive chat interface, these areas allow the instructors to give students a platform-independent ability to communicate in as many groups as is needed by the class.
Recently, Tartaglia et al (2002) explored a web-based evaluation system for technical education, while Ko et al (2004) designed and developed a secured web-based test system where a camera at the client computer is used to capture and deliver images of the student’s face and postures at random intervals during the assessment. This scheme overcomes the hurdle of verifying the identity of the student by using just a simple user id and password.