Through the Eyes of Students and Faculty: A Conceptual Framework for the Development of Online Courses

Through the Eyes of Students and Faculty: A Conceptual Framework for the Development of Online Courses

Maysaa Barakat (Florida Atlantic University, USA) and Debra N. Weiss-Randall (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9577-1.ch025
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Online enrollments have been growing substantially faster than overall higher education enrollments. It is argued that online learning can help address issues of educational inequity, poverty, and social exclusion. The momentum is moving towards online learning, and universities are pressured to develop more online options for their students in order to stay relevant and provide needed flexibility. On average, courses that are delivered online have higher attrition rates than regular face-to-face courses. There are numerous challenges and difficulties in developing online learning environments without sacrificing the quality of learning. This case study examines the development, delivery, and evaluation of online learning through the eyes of students and faculty of an educational leadership department in a Southeast research university.
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History And Definition Of Online Learning

As Marshall McLuhan (1964, p. 7) said so eloquently and succinctly, “The medium is the message.” He further described media as “extensions” of ourselves and believed that the message of any medium or technology is “the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs” (p. 8). As an example, he cites how first the development of the railway and then the invention and widespread use of the airplane accelerated the rate of transportation, creating new cities, new work possibilities, and new forms of leisure. These two inventions changed the very fabric of society around the world. Similarly, in the late 1980s, the Worldwide Web and its system of transport, the Internet, vastly accelerated the transmission of information around the world, making it virtually instantaneous and ubiquitous. There are many terms for online education. Some of them are: virtual education, Internet-based education, web-based education, education via computer-mediated communication, and distance education.

Distance education was defined as “the application of telecommunications and electronic devices which enable students and learners to receive instruction from some distant location” by the U.S Department of Educational Research and Improvement (Bruder, 1989, p. 30). There are two different viewpoints on the main purpose of distance education; the first argues that distance education is an instrument of instruction, whereas the second contends that distance education is a teaching method. There is a definition which combines both viewpoints and is commonly accepted by the distance education community (Casey, 2008). This definition is offered by Keegan (1988) as follows:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Participatory Action Research: Is an approach to research within communities that emphasizes participation of all stakeholders and action to solve community problems.

Podcast: A program (such as a PowerPoint presentation, or video) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.

Synchronous Learning: A learning environment in which everyone takes part at the same time, and not necessarily at the same place.

Distance Learning: The application of telecommunications, electronic devices and technology which enable learners to receive education from some distant location.

Asynchronous Learning: A student-centered instruction approach that uses online learning resources to enable information sharing outside the restrictions of time and place between a net-work of people.

Online Learning: The use of technology, computer and the internet to bring instructor and learner together to complete the content and requirements of a course.

Community Of Inquiry: Any group of people involved in a process of inquiry into problematic situations.

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