e-learning more user friendly than classroom teaching

December 10th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 10 (IANS) e-learning is more user-friendly than classroom teaching and is equally a shared endeavour.Caroline Haythornthwaite, professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois (U-I), said the value of e-learning has been underrated at the college level.

“Compared to the more traditional educational paradigm… where knowledge is delivered from professor to student, e-learning turns teaching and learning into a shared endeavour,” she said.

E-learning is defined as technology-based learning. Lectures, homework, quizzes and exams are delivered almost entirely or completely online. In some instances, no in-person interaction takes place over the length of the course.

A global economy hungry for customised, portable and on-demand educational platforms coupled with the Internet’s rise means that e-learning is increasingly gaining respect as an innovative and viable pedagogical tool.

Especially for subjects that require multimedia, collaboration tools (wikis, blogs and course-management systems, for example), and other bandwidth-hungry applications prevalent today.

At Illinois, Haythornthwaite teaches in classrooms real and virtual in the college’s 13-year-old LEEP programme, a distance-education program that enables graduate students to complete a master of science in library and information science, a certificate of advanced study or a K-12 library and information science certificate online.

For the current crop of more than 700 students seeking a master’s degree through GSLIS at Illinois, a little more than half are online students, said an U-I release.

“With the online classes,” she said, “I interact with my students more frequently, dropping into asynchronous discussion daily for a half-hour or an hour. With my traditional classes, I might see them once a week for three hours.”

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