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The Challenges of E-Learning Andrew Feenberg’s Article: Reflection on the Distance Learning Controversy
Points Agreed With Distance learning will not replace face-to-face classroom education Distance learning will not be a cheap replacement for campuses Overselling of foolish technological ideas should not discredit online education Educational technologists to work with faculty and students to develop outstanding applications
Points Agreed With Cont’d Interactive text based systems to be supplemented with visual and other online resources Design challenge to improve the original text based systems is very important Student diversity (on campus) is very important Systematic rejection of online education by college professors will not be advantageous
Points Agreed With Cont’d Faculty must accept responsibility now for shaping distance learning Faculty must attempt to reclaim ground lost by developing programs that will attract returning students
Points Against We should forget about trying to automate the educational system I disagree with Feenberg’s conclusion that we should forget about trying to automate the educational system since several previous attempts to do so had failed. As the world continues to advance in technology so also will educational system. Online education may not replace classroom instruction but it will help it to be revolutionized and automation involvement will be a major part of it.
Wiswall’s View In support of advances in technology having serious impact on education, Wiswall (2010) stated that the total number of internet users over the past decade increased by about 400% from about 321 million to about 2 billion people worldwide. Technological growth has brought both new opportunities and challenges to innovators and educators (Widwall, 2010).
Azer and El-Sherbini’s View To combat the challenges of e-learning, Azer and El-Sherbini (2011) provide some solutions and suggestions that e-learning as in any learning is doomed to fail if not focused on learners. Videos and images that require a high speed internet should be avoided as much as possible and students should be allowed to interact with others and instructors so as to offer class like environment by using softwares such as the Power-Edu. The Power-Edu is an online education and video conferencing multimedia textbook authorizing tool that is used to perform real time online lectures. Azer and El-Sherbini (2011) also suggest the utilization of programs that will help manage issues related to cultural influences, cultural variability, technology and learning environment, and choice of media.
View by Ellison-Bowers, Henderson, Sand and Osgood According to Ellison-Bowers, Henderson, Sand and Osgood (2010), online education has many challenges and the key components to the success of online instruction include the thorough course preparation and clear, consistent communication. Course policies must be developed to reflect the unique learning environment of both pace and time management issues and course site and modules must be organized in an understandable and easily accessed fashion. To enhance online instruction, the instructors must be resourceful in the use of technology but also be careful not to overwhelm students and the learning experience.
View by Ellison-Bowers, Henderson, Sand and Osgood Continued Although online education comes with new challenges, at the end of the day a successful online course, just as a good traditional course, requires a first-rate online instructor. Online teaching offers opportunities to try new techniques in the classroom and to become more familiar with new technology, and the global access provided by online education allows instructors to work with a diverse group of students, in age, culture, and region. While on line teaching requires some modifications from traditional face-to-face instruction, it can be a stimulating and rewarding experience.
Conclusion Any new design or development is bound to have challenges and what really matters is the way we adjust to handle those challenges. E-learning has be in use for more that a decade and will continue to face both criticisms and commendations. But we must rise up to the occasion that the system will excel and not be an alternative to classroom instruction but on parallel line so that people will have the opportunity to chose between two unique and equally balanced systems.
References Azer, M. A., El-Sherbini, A. M. (2011). Cultural challenges in developing e-learning content. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 6(1), 11-14. Ellison-Bowers, P., Henderson, K., Sand, J., & Osgood, L. (2010). Resolving instructor challenges in the online classroom. International Journal of Learning, 17(1), 339-346. Feenberg, A. (1999). Reflections on the distance learning controversy. Canadian Journal of Communication, 24(3). Wiswall, L. (2011). The impact of the internet on education and training in professional psychology. The Journal of Education, Community, and Values, 10(8).