The paper will be based on the analysis of technological development within the modern system of education; special stress is given to online classes promotion and their role. The argument will be dedicated to the balance between students’ responsibility for their knowledge received through online classes, and the significance of the eye-to-eye communicative process in education making the students more involved and participative. The research paper will analyze the vision of the problem based on special works of scholars and scholarly articles touching the issue of technological involvement in the learning process.
The modern world faced the technological era when the internet and communicative innovations substituted standard norms of education and business relations; the creation of online classrooms appeared to be a great opportunity for the students and teachers to meet live for the interactive course in the virtual world. The paper will focus on the role of technology in the modern education system and the analysis of online strategies for effective online classroom organizing. Nowadays, many scholars debate the harmful influence of technology innovations and distance learning on the students’ knowledge and skills development; though there is a tendency to believe that such a method develops the students’ feeling of responsibility for personal education.
Technology in online learning
The online learning environment is getting more and more popular in countries throughout the world; modern technological opportunities provide a mass of privileges to the people, who want to get an appropriate education but have no time and means to attend real traditional classes. Palloff and Pratt, 2007, consider that the creation of online classrooms provides additional opportunities and privileges to the students. ‘Virtual education, or online courses, is the effective method for people being hungry for knowledge but having no time to get it. Palloff and Pratt strived to explain the necessity to make the transition from traditional learning to cyberspace through technological opportunities of modernity. Creating an effective online classroom is considered to be the most important element in making your education process successful; to reach this, one should follow certain steps: 1) identify the purpose of the group; 2) effective leadership promotion; 3) depicting norms of conduct; 4) proving member roles; 5) facilitating subgroups, and 6) allowing resolving the disputes to online classrooms members. (Palloff and Pratt, 114)
A successful online community is closely dependant on the possibility to create a safe environment; it means that students are to participate freely without the risk of making mistakes, as it provides involving and stimulating atmosphere to the learners. Certain tips are explaining why the students are so interested in online classrooms; most of them are connected with the privileges and convenience provided by web communication. Nevertheless, one of the most important elements is connected with the creation of a student-centered environment through online classrooms; Hiltz and Goldman, 2005, underlined the fact that through virtual learning the students can select the method of perceiving the data in their own and mot convenient way. Besides, such a method of study impacts the students’ interaction in the material discussion; every student has an opportunity to express his thought, not only those being talkative during traditional classrooms. In most cases, the instructors involved in virtual classrooms have deep practical experience, which allows the students to receive the knowledge, which cannot be got from just reading the blocks or course books. Besides, the attendance of the virtual classrooms and sharing practical knowledge with the teachers through technologies are considered to be of crucial importance for the specialists of the 21st century, where business and economic development is built on the principles of technological innovations. (Hiltz and Goldman, 78)
Many scholars express a debatable opinion as to the importance and effectiveness of this type of learning; the approaches aimed at the creation of virtual classrooms and the role of instructors are of great importance. Thus, the instructors are to be responsible for the way the online participation is determined; the regular planning of students’ attendance of online classes; it should be stressed that to pass the class, the students are to actively participate in course forums. The basic strategies for online classrooms creation making the environment conducive to learning; the central objectives highlighted in the work are the following: 1) maximizing students’ participation; 2) the formation of the state of presence in the online environment; 3) appropriate students’ performance assessment; 4) making the students be involved in the online community formation; 5) classes are to cover the reflection and collaboration aspects. (Palloff and Pratt, 134)
The American Teachers’ Federation managed to create the report identifying that distance classrooms are predominantly based on traditional ideals being mostly ‘corporate’. Online education is merely concentrated on standardization, cost, and consumer focus, while traditional classrooms are focused firstly on the educational process. The debate, whether online education is beneficial for the people, is considered to be mostly concentrated on the involvement of the students in the learning process. It is necessary to underline the fact that the student body is considerably different in two classrooms; it means that students having families and work are the dominant group of online classrooms attendants. Scholars stressed the point that most students strive to get a Master’s degree through distance learning. There are even certain myths as to the success of the online course through the students’ free access to the information about the group-mates, which impacts the rate of participation; it cannot be true because every online classroom has a fixed schedule and students are to attend them weekly by this curriculum.
To understand the balance between traditional and online classes it is necessary to evaluate the principle advantages and disadvantages of the virtual learning process by the scholars’ analysis. Comeaux, 2005, strived to underline the basic privileges of online education in its relation to the standard system. The most important benefit provided by technologies’ opportunities is connected with geographic flexibility; some people live in the community having no desired courses within the education system, and online classrooms are considered to be a wonderful opportunity to get the necessary theoretical and practical skills. Besides, it was stated that all online classes are technologically advanced; this influences easy access of the students to the program multimedia learning aids provided by the instructor. The process of study presupposes the expansion of courses options; one has an opportunity to do the necessary internet research for finding the course he likes. And one of the most significant points in online courses is considered to be time flexibility. This aspect allows everyone to get the necessary job despite work or family obligations. (Comeaux, 291)
The debate over online classrooms and the pluses of standard educational norms are connected with the fact that time management and discipline skills are considered to be mandatory in online education; the schedule sticking in some courses is the main responsibility for the students; so, those who cannot manage the time inappropriate way can face serious troubles. The inability of the students to have direct interaction with the teacher appears to be a real problem for some students; because it impacts the rate of data perception and material memorizing. Traditional education provides no isolation of the students from their group-mates, but online classrooms do. The assessment of the online classrooms based on the questionnaires of distance education students proves the fact, that some of them feel lonely environment pressing their memory and ambitions. (Maeroff, 2003)
Fitzgerald and Orey, 2004, concentrate on the point that technological development brought not only positive but negative aspects to human activities; the sphere of education is under the impact of virtual involvement brought some difficulties to the learning process, which may impact the level of highly skilled specialists. Online classrooms are to be appropriately organized to reach a total understanding of the provided material on the part of the students; the students may face the difficulties connected with the credits transferring. They are to conduct careful research to identify whether the course is held by an accredited institution. Certainly, modern people are predominantly involved in the world of technological development and have background skills to browse the internet and communicate or search the information; one does not need the knowledge of computer science to attend the online classrooms, but it is necessary to feel completely comfortable with technology. People, who have no access to a computer system with a high connection, are deprived of the opportunity to attend convenient online courses. (Fitzgerald and Orey, 145)
The minuses of online classrooms appeared to be the principal cause for numerous scholars’ debates, being concerned as to the threat of traditional education substitution based on technological interferences and opportunities, obtained by students and instructors.
The era of technological development appeared to be the beneficial method of conducting business and getting a university degree without any problems; the students’ access to virtual environments solved all the problems connected with time flexibility and schedule planning. Lowered social interaction and the lack of real face-to-face interaction with the instructors raised debates balancing the advantages and disadvantages of new technological achievements of humanity, such as online classrooms.
The research paper was concentrated on the analysis of technological involvement in the system of study; the paper managed to examine the basic strategic tools of appropriate virtual classroom organization, and evaluate all the advantages and disadvantages of online learning; the work disclosed the key aspects of debate between the norms of traditional education and online virtual learning process.
One should realize the idea that we are on the way to development and technological innovations will be more and more deeply involved in people’s social life, that is why the importance of online education is to be valued through its contribution to future career development and practical business-skills training.
Fitzgerald, M. and Orey, M. Educational Media and Technology Yearbook 2003. Libraries Unlimited, 2004.
The book is concentrated on the disclosure of recent technological developments and their interference with the system of modern education. The authors argue on the restructured technological standards in the spheres of collaboration, e-learning and standards reformation. It is necessary to underline the idea that the critical overview is dedicated to technology interaction with standardized norms on the basis of historical context.
Palloff, W. and Pratt, K. Building online learning communities: effective strategies for the virtual classroom. John Wiley and Sons, 2007.
The authors managed to depict the virtual classrooms development stimulating the sense of community and making students be responsible for their education through learning outcomes achievements. The book discovers the basic strategies for online classrooms creation making the environment conducive to learning; the central objectives highlighted in the work are the following: 1) maximizing students’ participation; 2) the formation of the state of presence in online environment; 3) appropriate students’ performance assessment; 4) making the students be involved in the online community formation; 5) classes are to cover the reflection and collaboration aspects.
Hiltz, S. and Goldman, R. Learning together online: research on asynchronous learning networks. Routledge, 2005.
The learning networks are analyzed in terms of their effectiveness on the basis of past and present experience of the society. The authors focus on the idea, that the success of online learning is directly dependant on its appropriate organization and the ability of the learners to be aware of their theoretical knowledge responsibilities. The book highlights the basic argument through the analysis of past experience; the student cannot feel involving and stimulating environment without eye-to-eye contact with the tutor. This point raised debatable points as to the advantages and disadvantages of online classrooms.
Comeaux, P. Assessing online learning. Anker Pub. Co., 2005.
The author is concentrated on the point that every student requires not only grades from the instructor but meaningful feedback in order to make a bridge between their skills and knowledge. The rapid increase of online classrooms impacted the necessity to assess their effectiveness for the identification of online learning environment role in the system of education. The author offers a collection of various assessment tools allowing recognizing the effectiveness and strategies of online courses providing. He helps to evaluate the students’ progress on the basis of their involvement in distance learning process.
Maeroff, G. A classroom of one: how online learning is changing our schools and colleges. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
The book represents the US status of online learning with its regard to the history of education. The author compares US online education to that in Afghanistan and other countries to evaluate the level of its promotion. The work reflects the role of online education through business sphere, stressing the rate of modern technological adaptation of the humanity. It is necessary to underline the fact that Maeroff demonstrates the information quality delivery and the effectiveness of online knowledge sharing.