From Traditional Teaching to Online Learning: Revolution or Evolution

From Traditional Teaching to Online Learning: Revolution or Evolution

José Magano (Instituto Superior de Ciências Empresariais e do Turismo, Portugal) and Carlos V. Carvalho (GILT/Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-672-8.ch002
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In Portugal, like in most Western countries, most higher education institutions are already using elearning platforms. However, this does not mean that these institutions are now offering distance education programmes but rather that they are using these tools as content repositories to support normal f2f academic disciplines. Therefore effective e-learning adoption is still limited to episodic, non systematic, initiatives. This chapter presents the e-learning initiative of the Higher Institute of Business Science and Tourism (ISCET). This initiative is relevant, precisely because it represents a holistic and revolutionary approach. All the students of ISCET were involved and there was a provision of online environments for the entire body of subjects offered in ISCET. The evaluation of the experimental stage setup the path to a systematic approach to distance education in the institute and provided valuable clues for other institutions that want to replicate ISCET’s e-learning initiative.
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What exactly is e-learning? When does an initiative / methodology / model carries a more generic definition of the use of ICT's for teaching / learning for e-learning itself or one of its variants (like blended-learning)? When a term is as widespread as e-learning is today it ends up failing to reflect what it actually means. People just assume that their interpretation is shared by others and build conversations based on completely different ideas.

The multiplicity of the available definitions does not help to a clear identification. Jay Cross, who in 1998 introduced the term, says that its ambiguity is so great that he prefers not to use it anymore.

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