An Analysis of Capstone Courses Given Through Distance Education in Turkey

An Analysis of Capstone Courses Given Through Distance Education in Turkey

Feyzi Kaysi (Vocational School of Technical Sciences, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJDET.2018070101


The purpose of this article is to determine the opinions and experiences of participants who took both distance and formal education courses concerning practice. The case study method was employed for this study. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews. Distance education software and recorded virtual course videos were analyzed and observations were made. The participants comprised eight students enrolled in formal education courses and who also took distance education courses during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 academic years, two instructors who were giving lectures through distance education and an instructor promoted in the students' education program. Findings indicated that the participants were aware of the time and space advantages of distance education but they do not use the system because they are not given sufficient information and they do not know how to use it. Findings also showed that virtual courses were almost never watched, and the most important factor related to this lack of use was the lack of interaction with instructors.
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Distance learning has been responsible in the changing of behaviors and attitudes in the field of education. Indeed, it may be one of the most important trends in education in the 21st century (Ustati & Hassan, 2013). Distance education has grown rapidly both at higher education institutions, as well as at workplaces around the world and this trend continues to grow every year (Allen & Seaman, 2011; Radford, 2011). Today, many universities are striving to increase distance education opportunities (Danesh, Bailey, & Whisenand, 2015). Therefore, the number of educational programs available on the Internet has been increasing at a high rate (Hirumi & Bermudez, 1996). For example, in the United States., as of 2013, 33.5% of students in higher education were recorded as taking at least one course in distance education (Allen & Seaman, 2014).

The technology-assisted distance education model is expanding in Turkey just as it is across the rest of the world (Aydin, 2013a). Since 2010, the number of students enrolled at Faculties of Distance Education and Distance Education Centers in Turkey has been increasing. Furthermore, lectures can be provided via both institutional and distance education courses. According to a decision made by the (Turkish) Council of Higher Education (YOK) in 2011, the number of lectures that may be provided through the medium of higher education is limited to 30% of the courses offered. Distance education programs may only be delivered following the submission of course content to higher education senates and following approval by the Council of Higher Education (YOK, 2013). As a result of this change in attitude towards online courses, many universities have started to offer common and capstone courses such as Turkish Language I-II, Foreign Language I-II, History of Ataturk’s Principles and Revolutions, Physical Education I-II, Fine Arts I-II, City and Culture: Istanbul and Culture of Disaster through distance education. Thus, students who fulfill undergraduate and postgraduate matriculation criteria for higher education and who have enrolled at higher education institutions have started to receive courses via distance education. However, learners may fail to understand the experience that they will undergo when course material is presented via distance education courses to these same students who are entitled to receive instruction in the same topics via lessons in a more traditional institutional educational setting, namely the university classroom.

Distance education, which has become widespread in the 21st century, is actually a concept with a long history. That is because what is defined as distance education today is based on the well-established method of correspondence education (Karasar, 1999). Nowadays, computers and Internet distance education, which evolved out of the postal model of correspondence courses, has expanded widely and at a breathtaking speed. The transmission of information via electronic devices became more widespread together with the emergence of printed books (Kadim, Sisman & Gulsunar, 2014). Transferring information to digital media is viewed as the factor that accounts most readily for these rapid developments.

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