Helder Lameiras Sousa, December 19, 1997
Department of Informatic Engineering
University of Coimbra
The need to obtain knowledge
Teaching Online - " An innovation in teaching "
Teaching Online - Methods
As to create a course Online
Cares to have
Presentation Slides ( Portuguese only)
World Wide Web has the potential of to revolutionize the teaching and to increase the educational opportunities, allowing a world covering with an enormous reduction of costs in relation to the conventional methods of teaching. However it still lacks some time until that it gets to remove the whole party of the Web as regards to teaching, but already exist plenty of indications that will be a strong educational technology in a close future.
I seek with this work to call to the attention for the generality of the main methods and of the cares to have in the development of courses online.
The need to obtain knowledge
Nowadays, and more in the close future, the knowledge is a good of invaluable value, strictly necessary for who tries to grow, personal, professional and economically.
With the opening of the Internet to everyone, the amount of available information to the citizens increased the such level that practically everybody the themes (for not saying everybody) they are embraced. Like this being, we could be said " we want to learn, we are going to the Internet and it is already..." .Mas the things are not like this so simple.
To the rhythm that the information grows in the Internet (practically in an exponential way) it is already today and it will be more and more difficult to find correct information and trustworthy. The volume of information is such that when we sought a theme in a search engine, it can appear thousands of possible entrances, of the which a high percentage is " pure garbage ".
To filter all that information for form to transform it in knowledge, in its sense more directo, it is not easy task, this for not speaking of the necessary time for efectuar such task that will be with enormous certainty.
Even if get efectuar a good research and to acquire a good knowledge level in a certain subject; How will we prove it to the Society? ; How to convince the companies that we acquired capacities in that theme? .
So it becomes necessary the existence of knowledge centers, that analyze and filter the available information, transforming it in Knowing, that diffuse it and supply means of proving to the Society the acquired capacities, like diplomes and certificates of national and international recognition.
Teaching Online" An innovation in the teaching "
The most innovator characteristic of teaching online, is without a doubt its system, that is completely different from the conventional education system.
For we understand the differences better, we will enunciate some characteristics of the conventional educational system:
Comparing these characteristics with the objectives of the teaching online can conclude that the difference is considerable and in my opinion, quite healthy. Let us see:
Nowadays exists several approches to the teaching online:
As to create a course online
The obvious advantages of the online teaching, took a lot of institutions to begin very quickly to develop courses online, that due to the precipitation with that were implemented they don't answer to the students needs.
To create an online educational atmosphere with success it is important to define:
The instructor should understand that a leader paper as what has in the conventional teaching, it doesn't work in the teaching online. In this teaching type has to overcome that old habit that the teacher speaks and the students hear. The teacher should work as mentor (guide) for the students giving them the " necessary feedback " so that he/she/it maintains motivated and in the right direction for a good learning.
It is also convenient that the instructor is familiarized with the available
technologies, as well as knowing in a deep way tools that facilitate the
construction of material online, like HTML, sound digitalization and image.
Due to the constant evolution of the technologies of the information it is
fundamental that the teacher stays attentive to all the evolutions for form
to know a larger fan of solutions and could choose like this the one that
better adapts to the theme.
Although teaching online has a lot of advantages, and when well built light to a better formation of the students, nor all the people have an appropriate profile to this teaching type. The student has to know what he wants, for form to be motivated for the course and to possess necessary force to have success in the teaching online, because as the teacher it only guides the student in its course, has to participate more actively in its formation.
A lot of universities, in agreement with the labor market, don't serve in an effective way the called hard-working students needs and of the eternal students, the one that will call in its group non traditional students. This flaw is not intentional, reflecte however as the conventional structures of teaching they are not well adapted socially to a knowledge distributed that the students in subject need for the development of its career and in its life way. This is one of the hole that the teaching online tries to close, with its atmosphere not distributed by the whole world, the permanent actualization of the themes and the rigidity of schedules, they are characteristic essential for this type of students.
On its side the traditional student in a general way, doesn't adapt to this teaching type. I am to speak of students about of the 23 years of age, that here are still to form its personality and to discover its true " gifts ". These students don't still know very well that want and they always need somebody that motivates them, people they admire and that accompany them. For now a thing that doesn't exist in the online teaching is day by day this type of human relationship of the that is impossible of transmitting for the Internet.
The whole support material to the course, tools, audio and video for visualization of the presentations of the matter or any another that are revealed necessary should be available through the Web in the site in a way that is easily acessed by the students. Exist some courses that besides the whole necessary software, they supply the whole hardware and the connection to the Internet.
The support where it will develop the course is one of the most important factores for the success of the same, once it will be through him that everybody is going interagir and to work. For this reason the choice of the support to use should be quite careful, verifying he/she/it always allows to satisfy all the necessary requirements for the presentation of the matters, interacção and the students' work.
A good way to get a high interactividade level is through programs I MILL (Multi-user Object Oriented). They are usually programs based on text, that you/they allow several people to link at the same time to the same virtual space and interactuem in him through text and programmable objectos.
Originally developed by players interactivos, under the form of MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons), they were games based on text for several players in simultaneous, in the Internet. These programs woke up interest in the educational field, originating MOOs, being its main characteristics:
The main limitation of MOOs is that only work with text, if not adapting that to courses that need an elaborated component.
An evolution of MOOs is the Web-MOOs, that besides text, they allow the interaction of graphs, sound, animation and hipertext links through WebObjects (objects in code HTML). However this support is not to have the results that they were foreseen in the beginning, due to the fact of they be not been to develop atmospheres that use the potentialities of the Web-MOOs, almost everybody the atmospheres that exist work practically only in text, and they are almost whole games existing very few linked to the teaching.
At this time a support that begins to be used with plenty of success in the teaching online is VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) that with its enormous sailing potentialities in three dimensions, sound support, allowed interactivity and the easiness with that it is included in pages HTML for distribution for the Internet, will give a lot to speak, not only at level of the teaching as in the own way to navigate in the Web.
Cares to have
With the constant evolution of the online teaching, and I should say that it is been to walk for a true " boom " in the growing of courses online in the Internet, a lot of precaution should exist, on behalf of the instructors that accomplish them, on behalf of the students that seek formation in these courses.
The responsible persons for the course should be aware that is necessary to give it it supports in elapsing of whole the course, trying to know which the students' evolution and which its difficulties, for form the power to assure the success of the learning.
On behalf of the students, they should have special care in the choice of the course, seeking be assured of the validity and actualidade of the course, and still than perhaps it is the most important factor, the recognition that I possessed in the labor market. Because for very good that the course is, it won't serve of a lot to the student if he/she doesn't have weight in its professional exits.
More and more the society in that lived I developed with more speed, putting under an obligation to a constant formation. Because the conventional methods of teaching don't answer to the people's needs that need formation along its life, the teaching online is revealed with promising plenty characteristics, for this type of people.
Mas if the advantages are plenty, the cares to have are also some. The teachers owe projectar the courses with very care, tends in bill the technologies and available methods, and later on accompanying the students and giving them quality feedback, that motivates them and the light to good direction in its learning. The students candidatos should try to inform correctamente of the course that intend to frequent, nomeadamente its teaching methods, the used supports and the recognition of the course. They should still have notion than they intend and they be conscious that the teaching online demands more willpower.
Last modified: 04 -01-1998