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Internet is one of the most important inventions in the past twenty years. The appearance of the internet made our lives become much more colorful and also made us feel much closer with each other. It is easily to make a video call with our relatives and friends who are thousands of miles away within only a few seconds. Today, internet has penetrated into every corner in every industry; in this article I will mainly focus on how has the internet helped students in education.
It can be said that the application of the internet in education is already very extensive, such as online distance education, Internet resources for education and so on. In this article I will talk about the following aspects
- First part is online courses in this part I will both talk about online learning and online tutoring;
- Secondly, I am going to describe how students use internet as a research tool to find information;
- Students use it as a delivery tool;
- Students use internet as a communication medium with teachers or other students;
- Finally I am going to give a new plan which brings to internet education.
Online courses – Online learning, Online tutoring
‘Learning by distance has been available for over 100 years but it has increased dramatically with the appearance of the Internet.’ (Phillips, B. (2003), pp, 3)So the online courses were invented. 40 years ago Open University offered the first online courses. During the last 40 years online courses has been improved greatly. At present time online courses are very popular all over the world. Online courses should been separated into two parts, one is online learning another is online tutoring. As contribution to Wikipedia have suggested, online learning is a term which is commonly used. Most frequently it seems to be used for distance education, with no face-to-face interaction. Online tutoring refers to the process of tutoring within an online virtual environment or networked environment where teachers and learners are separated by time and space (Bates, A. W. (1997) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On-line_tutoring)
Goals and benefits of online courses
- Reducing environmental impact
People who take part in the online courses don’t need to travel every day, thus it reduces the overall carbon output indirectly. In the fact it also allows the decrease of paper usage, so that a plenty of trees could live on. With online tests instead of paper tests and online assessments instead of paper assessments, online courses are a more environmentally friendly education method.
- Fees much cheaper
As last point said you don’t need to travel every day, as a result you can save a large number of travelling expenses. What’s more compared with the high cost of tuition fees in school the cost in online courses are much lower. Take Brighton School of Business & Management as an example let us look at the picture 1 we can find that most online courses fees are only around £2000. It is much cheaper than the normal courses such as my MSc degree tuition fee about £13700. It really can save a large number of money.
- Convenience and flexibility to learners
Generally speaking, for the part-time or full-time job workers and some disabled people they are impossible to be reeducated. They cannot go to the class because time is not allowed. While after the appearance of online courses, the dream of those people comes true. In many contexts, online courses are self-paced and the learning sessions are available 24*7. Learners are not demand to attend classes in a specific day time. They can also pause learning sessions at their convenience.
Research tool – find information
With the development of the internet, people get information more and more easily. In the past if somebody wants to read books or find some specifically information. They always need to borrow reference books from library or buy new books and magazines. It’s a large spending and also not convenience you have to remember when you need to return them. However, those things would not happen if you use the internet sources. Nowadays people especially the student use the internet as a research tool very frequently. We can find all the information we want online from daily things to academic books. Google the most famous online search engine, it has more than 100 language and we can also use the advanced search for academic learning. What’s more, I think every university has a mass of online resource for the particular subject. For instance in the university of Sheffield we have a powerful network resources. It’s known as the ‘MUSE’ (picture 2). So wherever we are, we still can get almost all the information about our subjects as long as we can access the internet.
- What is online delivery?
One of the most all-embracing definitions is made by Tony Bates. He said ‘it is a Student-centered education approach, which contains a number of technologies, in order to make the activity and communication opportunities asynchronously and synchronously. This model is based on mass selection and appropriate technology in the campus, open Learning systems and distance education. This approach allows teachers determine the learning environment flexibly to meet the different needs of Students, and at the meantime provides high-quality and cost-effective Learning’. (Bates, A. W. (1997), pp, 98 – 99)
- Benefits of online delivery
In this part I will use the online delivery to compare with the traditional delivery, so that we can find the benefits clearly.
Firstly, we can focus on all over the world such as choosing courses which is offered by other countries. Secondly, online delivery is available in everywhere at anytime instead of going to school at a specific time. What’s more we can all learn in interest, I think student can study a subject best when they are interested in it. Last but not least it also gives the disabled student and staffs. They get a good chance to be re-educated.
- Case study of online delivery – Open University
Open University is one of the oldest universities which offer online courses. After about 40-years development, its online course system is very perfect. Next I will take the Open University as an example to explain the online courses.
- How do you apply for entry
According to the Official Website (http://www.open.ac.uk/new/apply-for-entry.shtml), ‘For most courses, you don’t need to apply for entry. You simply register for the course you want to take.’
- How do you pay
First of all, you have to choose the subject you want, you will find an overall situation about the subject such as the starting date, the ending date, fees, course offering and so on. Then you Register your course and pay it by card. Finally you will get your username and password.
- How do you learn
Every time you sign in to the OU website you can access to the home page of your course.
Now you can begin to study online. You can make a suitable studying schedule. After that you take the online classes, and discuss with teachers or classmates online, or hand on your homework online etc., it is very convenient.
Communication medium – with teachers or other students
Communication is the most important and also the most basic human activity in our daily lives. You need to communicate with others from waking up in the morning to going to bed in the evening, unless you always stay at home and not use the telephone, while it is impossible. For students the communication between teachers and students is the premise of studying well. Before we have internet we could only touch with teacher at school. It was really restricted. If we had some problem after class, we only had to wait until the class began again on the next day. Students wasted a lot of time on waiting.
However, on these days with the help of the internet our communication becomes more and more convenient. From now on the class is not only in the classroom, but also it extends to everywhere at anytime. E-mail is the most widely used communication medium among student teacher and other classmates. It doesn’t matter when you haven’t finished your work on time in class or if you didn’t understand a certain question. You can send them to your tutor by E-mail immediately when you finish them. For instance in Christina’s class (my summer school academic writing teacher in University of Sheffield) we are always asked to write a short article in class and check by Christina one by one. While time is usually limited, so at that time the rest of us would be asked to send the articles to her by E-mail. It is very efficient and can save time. Of courses there are other methods to communicate such as online chat, Skype and MSN. They are all very useful.
New plan brings to internet education
At last I want to give you a new plan of my own opinion which I think will assist the development of the internet education. That is: using the online tutoring when the student graduated from the primary school instead of the middle school. Maybe some people think that this suggestion is absurd, but I believe that some day in the future it will come true. Now I am going to explain why I have such idea. There are several possible reasons.
First of all, adapt to the internet education ahead of schedule. In real life, students usually use internet to help study when they came to college or university. That is good but it brings some drawbacks to them.
- They don’t know how to use the internet correctly. A lot of students plagiarizing from internet result in lose their marks. And also some students don’t how to research the information they want, so that they don’t believe internet is a good learning method.
- The information on internet is not always healthy. There are some violent and pornographic information. For many people, this is the first time they contact with Internet so closely especially the student in developing countries; they cannot withstand the temptation and misleading information. Internet cannot have the desired effect.
- Senior high school and university study are both very important, it seems important that we need to cultivate a most efficient learning methods before this period, so secondary school is the best period of time. What’s more high school students have strong ability to accept new things and there are not many rebellious thoughts.
So do you agree with me now?
As we can see from the report internet is playing an increasingly important role in our lives. Because internet is connivance, fast, secure and necessary, if you are always working and studying in primitive way, it will be more and more ineffective and uncompetitive. We need to learn and have a good use of the internet in our study; it really helps you a lot. As a person also a student who is living in the new age we have the responsibility to use and create new technologies. That is the requirement of social development.
At last I enumerate several suggestions:
- It is a good idea to use internet in your study
- Never spend too much time on internet
- Learn to distinguish right from wrong
- Bates, A. W. (1997) the impact of technological change on open and distance learning. (Online)
- Booker, D (2000)’getting to grips with online delivery’. Australia: NCVER Ltd
- Smith, S.C. (2002) from online learner to online teacher. (online)
- Phillips, B. (2003) overview of online teaching and internet resources for statistics education. Australia: Swinburne University of Technology
- David, M. (2001) an Online Course in Information Literacy. Open University of Hong Kong
- Wikipedia encyclopedia.11/08 E-Learning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Learning viewed 23/08/09
- Timeshighereducation. 18/05/2001 Evolution not an e-revolution http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=166182 viewed 25/08/09
- Wikipedia encyclopedia. 25/08/09 Online tutoring http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On-line_tutoring viewed 28/08/09
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