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My topic on this essay is about E-Learning sites the social, professional, and ethical issues in eLearning sites. This topic is a very wide one as there are various eLearning websites like Learn2.com, Blackboard, Intelinfo.com, Worldwildlearn.com, Wannalearn.com, Oasis plus, e.t.c. I will be choosing 'Oasis plus' as my case study because I have use it and I've seen out it works. First of all, as the world is becoming a global world day by day most University all over the world today revolves around the Internet. This consists of online studying or eLearning services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other means like using the CD-ROM and other electronic means to read instead of printed books. This brought about the name eLearning. The spread of high speed Internet among communities and the proliferation of eLearning among people create both opportunities and challenges for Websites. On one hand, eLearning may reduce many of disadvantages associated with an isolated location by decreasing distance, communication, and information cost and increasing access to lower cost suppliers and services. For example Oasis plus, This is an eLearning site which Middlesex university uses, where both student and staffs or lecturers of Middlesex university can access the site from any part of the world either at home or offices at any given time to get latest and updated information regarding their studies and academic status all they needed to access the site is the access to the internet web browser, it is very interactive that student can read or download their lecture slides online as well as getting updated information about their course work, assignment, result status, submission of assignment, online assessment e.t.c from any part of the world with just a click of a mouse and they can as well chat with their fellow students and lecturer online with just a click of a mouse on who is online link to interact and get updated information regarding their lectures or assignments submission e.t.c
e-Learning sites are sites with strategic means of education, that focuses on technology within an educational institute that is willing to adopt it however it is not only e-learning sites that requires technological innovation it is for business need as well, this is a strategic mode of learning or studying that can be achieved by using electronic delivery methods such as internet-based learning delivery packages, online video conferencing, websites or email to Administer the connections between teacher and students. It can also be any virtual act or procedure that people uses to secure information skills and knowledge via the internet.
Advantages of e-learning sites:
It decreases travel cost and time since you can access it from any where you are
students will have the option to select their learning materials that meets their level of learning and interest
Learners or students can study wherever they have access to Internet
Flexibility to join discussions in the bulletin board threaded discussion areas at any hour.
improvement of computer and Internet skills that are transferable to other facets of learner's lives
Disadvantages of e-learning sites:
Lack of familiar structure and routine
Unreliable Internet connections can be frustrating
Some courses such as traditional hands-on courses can be difficult to simulate
Unmotivated learners or those with poor study habits may fall behind.
Ethical, Legal, Social and professional issues on e-Learning sites
Ethically issues on e-learning sites: the ethical issues on e-learning sites mostly start from improper usage of this influential resource known as Internet. It is not difficult to cheat on the internet than vis a vis. Students either studying in a university or enroll on an online program can easily acquire fraudulent knowledge or information and use it for their coursework, projects, and Assignments. Therefore it is very important that the software developer for eLearning sites is cautious design and managed with adequate checks and balances to minimize unethical practices by which student can cheat. This ethical issues can be resolved if the e-learning site software developer pay attention to the design of the e-learning site software.
Legal issues on e-learning sites: There are various legal issues surrounding the use of e-learning sites in studying which we all need to be aware of, The most difficult (and often overlapping) legal issues are found in the areas of copyright, data protection and licensing.
Copyright: There is an understanding of 'fair use' (unless specified otherwise) that allows reasonable use of materials for private study. Making multiple copies of resources without the express permission of the copyright owner, or a copyright statement acknowledging this as a fair use, is not acceptable.
Data protection: The website of the Information Commissioner's Office (http://www.ico.gov.uk) quotes eight principles of data protection that apply to all those processing and holding personal data. 'Personal data' encompasses both facts and opinions about an individual, and the Data Protection Act applies to any personal information held in a structured filing system. Data must be: fairly and lawfully processed, processed for limited purposes, adequate, relevant and not excessive, accurate, not kept longer than necessary, processed in accordance with the data subject's rights secure, and not transferred to countries without adequate protection.
Licensing: The license is the legal statement of how one can use an e-learning sites copyrighted material. In an educational setting, the license will usually state the number of machines a piece of purchased software may be used on. Normally, educational establishments will need a site license, a multi-user license or many copies of single-user licenses. Software and other resources must be used within the terms of the license.
Social issues on e-Learning sites:
To identify the social issues in development of an e-learning application in an educational institution, I will briefly legalize the introduction of the field of computer ethics as related to social issues.
Storage of data: The ease with which data are saved makes the use of surveillance, monitoring and spyware methods really easy from the technical point of view.
Unpredictability of identity: Present day vague identities make possible stealing other person's identity, forging of a message, or sending a message anonymously like 'spam' for example. There is an ongoing ethical debate about the pros and cons of anonymity.
When faced with social problems, a professional should be able to make rational and well-concluded choice that will extinguish the social factors that tend to repudiate the standards set by the education institution.
Professional Issues on e-learning sites
Designing e-learning environments for quality professional education is a challenge for education designers, as the continuing practice of simply moving courses online can be surprisingly disabling. We argue that as universities strive to educate for excellence in professional practice, design approaches for the e-learning components must be conceptualized in a broader view of a contemporary learning environment involving integrated virtual and physical dimensions. These are comprehensively considered in an integrated way to facilitate learning experiences providing an emphasis on grounded practice. The design of our interface and authoring system is influenced in part by the structure of the e-Learning content.
Recommendation or things that should be put in mind when developing e-learning sites:
I want to sketch out some best practices strategies for the eLearning. These strategies are not new. Most of these strategies are being used in some form in many colleges and universities it is use on oasis plus as well, I have compiled a list of what strategies can be implemented within the framework of given software. I myself have pass through some of this strategies when written my online assessment on Oasis plus. The following ways are means to tackle the issues of cheating, plagiarism, and copyright violation within the framework of an eLearning software like oasis plus. They can help to reduce or preventing the issue of cheating, plagiarism and copyright violations.
Make online test available for just few days or a day that it would be taken
Limit the time on the test
Once chosen answer should not be revisit again
Set deferent questions for each student to avoid leakage of answers
Make student participate in an online discussion group
Give a short quiz during online session
Students should be requested to turn their project in for plagiarism check
E-Learning site software content and Internet applications have change mode of teaching and learning and have also make new issues around ethics and accountability. The extremity consequence of the eLearning sites has made both advocates and detractors. Some experts say that the successful utilization of eLearning programs appears to hinge primarily on the trust and honesty of the targeted remote learners. But while creating engaging software, program or content, the honesty and integrity of the students is not necessarily a major consideration. Therefore like in any university traditional programs, the accuracy, right components, controls, activities and evaluation techniques have also become critical issues for eLearning sites. Therefore besides focusing on the look and fill of the e-learning site, close attention should be paid to the design, quality of content, delivery practices and management of eLearning sites.