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"Best Practices" and Collaborative Software in Online Teaching

Author: Remi Tremblay
Publisher: Athabasca University. 1200, 10011 - 109 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3S8, Canada. Tel: 780-421-2536; Fax: 780-497-3416; e-mail: irrodl@athabascau.ca; Web site: http://www.irrodl.org
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, v7 n1 p1-5 Jun 2006
Database:ERIC The ERIC database is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education.
Summary:
In recent years, many distance educators and institutions have successfully adopted asynchronous text-based environments as the backbone of their online classrooms. Group email, electronic references, and course websites, coupled with online discussions, typically constitute the model of online course delivery. Although the structure and pacing of these asynchronous text-based environments provide both students and  Read more...
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Details

Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: Remi Tremblay
ISSN:1492-3831
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 424760690
Awards:
Description: 5

Abstract:

In recent years, many distance educators and institutions have successfully adopted asynchronous text-based environments as the backbone of their online classrooms. Group email, electronic references, and course websites, coupled with online discussions, typically constitute the model of online course delivery. Although the structure and pacing of these asynchronous text-based environments provide both students and instructors with increased flexibility and convenience, the synchronicity--and sometimes the freshness of the interaction--of the traditional face-to-face classroom were often sacrificed. Despite their costs and technical complexities, the popularity of virtual classroom collaboration software packages suggest that they are seen by instructors as offering an important aid to interaction in some distance learning environments. Some established virtual classroom products (Elluminate, Centra, WebEX) are priced outside the reach of many educational institutions, but low-cost alternatives are beginning to come to market that offer much of the same functionality and capabilities. These software products change--and challenge--the asynchronous model of delivery. They focus group energy, they permit real-time interaction (which can help develop group cohesion, especially for those less familiar with media-based learning) and, most importantly, they provide a familiar instructional environment that mimic many positive features found in the traditional classroom environment (i.e., synchronicity, verbal rather than text-based interaction, instructor presence, whiteboard presentation facilities, hand-raising for turn-taking, public and private messaging capabilities). For instructors, the virtual classroom also replicates familiar elements of the face-to-face teaching environment. For instance, virtual classrooms offer instructors the opportunity to address the class as a group, respond quickly to questions, provide feedback to students in groups or individually, to "call on" participants (verbally or in private text messages), query and poll, doodle illustrations and post references for all to see, and to communicate individually or with the group in print (text). (Contains 1 table.)

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Primary Entity

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