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MODELS OF ONLINE COURSES
Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University
|1. Short description||5. Examples|
|2. Historical Introduction||6. Issues in Teaching and Learning Online|
|3. Pedagogical Evolution||7. New learning Environments|
|4. Online Course Models||8. References|
The study is actually a proposal of a simple framework within which it should
be considered the online courses that exist. This need arises from the fact
that the term "online courses" covers a wide range. Of course,
the proposed framework doesn't cover all the applications, but it is an
effort to start defining this online educational world.
We can describe the history of online courses with one phrase: It's a technological journey from command line frustration to user empowerment. The first online courses were delivered on command-line systems. Later on, Archie, Veronica and Gopher were used from course providers to give students access to information and MOO's (Multi user dungeon Object Oriented) came to provide real-time text-based communication. During the 90's, newer conferencing systems became available, and after the advent of the web they supported audio and video also, to conclude to web-in-a-box software for student tracking.
A lot of things changed since then, but three elements still remain the backbone of the online courses:
The pedagogical evolution that has taken place is in the level of adjusting to the technology evolution and not to the teaching itself. The educational approaches are still the same, they are only adapted and re-discovered in their online form.
So, this new online pedagogy that emerged out is characterized by:
So, the proposed framework is consisted of the following three Models:
Content+Support Model is used extensively in the UK Open University. For
example, the Technology Foundation course (5000 students), the second
level Information Technology course (DT200) and courses in the Open
Business School (40000 students). Mostly, these courses use FirstClass.
There is also a web-based version of this model (100 web pages) that is
particularly appropriate for short courses and for professional updating or
This model can achieve unprecented economies of scale.
The Wrap-around Model is used from less well known OU courses. For example,
the Artificial Intelligence and Lisp programming (DM863) course that
uses a textbook and FirstClass.
The courses that follow this model may require a higher ratio of tutors to students or possibly a higher rate of payment due to their greater responsibility in creating the course, but for small courses is still cost-effective.
The only OU course that approaches the Integrated Model is the second year
of the Masters in Open and Distance Education. The aim of this model
is to create a self-sustaining learning community, but to make this model
equally achievable on a large scale, will be the ultimate OU test.
To summarize, the issues of the online teaching are:
The following two concepts define the nature of the new learning environments:
Mason, R. and kaye, A.
(eds.) (1989) Mindwave: Communication, Computers and Distance education.
Pergamon Press, Oxford.
(ed.) (1990) Online Education. Perspectives on a new Environment.
Praeger, New York.
(1992) The Whole Internet. User's Guide and Catalog.
O'Reilly and Associates, Sebastopol, CA.
(ed.)(1997) Web-Based Instruction.
Educational Technology Publications, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Harasim, L., Hiltz, S., Teles, L. and Turoff, M.
(1995) Learning Networks.
MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
Bos, E., Kikstra, A. and Morgan, C.
(1996) 'Multiple levels of use of the web as a learning tool'.
In: Educational telecommunications, 1996
Proceedings of ED-TELECOM,
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, Boston, Mass.
(1996) Tele-learning in a Digital World.
Thomson Computer Press, London.
©Vivian Synteta (03/06/99) updated 10/06/99|
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