Web Class Room Essay

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How to Go From Class-Room to Web-Room as Painlessly as Possible

1.0 ABSTRACT Getting your course onto the World Wide Web (WWW) is best done

using a systematic approach. There are a number of steps that need to be taken

prior to starting any of the actual web work. Meetings should be held with

various groups within your institution. Once the actual coursework is begun,

there are some essential components and some optional components. There are

specific skills and talents that you either need to acquire or you need to

access. Each web-based course is unique, but they often have many components in

common. Some are essential, others may be optional. Resources can be found on

your campus, from the many web companies and from the web itself.

2.0 KEY WORDS World Wide Web, WWW, Distance Education, HTML, Web-Based

Instruction

3.0 INTRODUCTION The number of degree credit courses available on the World

Wide Web (WWW) has increased at the same astonishing rate as other activities on

the WWW. There are some specific steps that can be taken that will help to

transport the professor from the idea stage to the delivery of a course over the

WWW. Also, just like any other educational technology, web-based instruction

works better for some situations than others. Web-based instruction is useful

when you want to create a virtual environment which is not easily or, perhaps,

safely accessible. An example is sending learners to a virtual nuclear lab or on

a “virtual tour” of the Louver in Paris.

4.0 WEB BASED INSTRUCTION Web-based instruction it allows learners to gain

knowledge and skill more effectively than traditional methods. Simply

transferring material such as lecture notes to the web is not using the

technology to its best advantage. Lengthy text such as lecture notes are, in

fact, best printed because most learners experience eye strain and sensory

disinterest reading long passages of text on a screen. Some specific situations

tend to lend themselves to web-based instruction. 4.1 Encouraging Communication

You want to encourage communication through conferencing. Through internet

conferencing learners may participate in discussions or group work with one

another with or without the participation of the instructor. Role plays,

simulations of historical events and debates are also examples of how learning

can be facilitated through the conferencing option. 4.2 Accessing Source

Documents You want learners to use “source documents” to complete

assignments such as conducting an analysis or designing a project. These source

documents may not be readily available to learners or perhaps, based on the

assignment, will not be equally significant to all the learners. For example,

you may ask learners to research and analyze issues pertaining to Canadian

elections. To complete the assignment, various learners may access archived

information such as newspaper and journal articles which specifically relate to

their particular interest or point of view. One example is a site operated by

the University of Victoria (http://web.uvic.ca/history robinson/index.html)

which contains letters, maps, biographies and newspaper articles about the

murder of William Robinson committed on Saltspring Island in 1868. The

information at the site allows learners and the public to pursue their research

as they please and to access original documents which are not generally

available. Individuals are free to interpret the meaning of the documents and

reach their own conclusions. 4.3 Flexibility of Learning You want to provide

maximum flexibility to allow learners to undertake learning and research in the

order which best suits them. Because the web allows learners to “move

around” at will, they do not need to follow a structured hierarchy.

Generally learners need and want some direction but the web allows a more

flexible approach. 4.4 Further Study You want learners to pool data and/or

analysis to find patterns and trends or to undertake further study.

5.0 ASSUMPTIONS For a starting point and to keep us on track in this paper, I

will discuss degree credit courses delivered by the University of New Brunswick.

I will assume that for your case there is ready WWW web access for the professor

as well as web access for students. Again, for consistency, I expect my students

to have at least Netscape 3 (or its equivalent), their own internet service

provider (ISP), and the skills necessary to access the WWW. These are my

starting points – but most concepts discussed will transfer across institutional

lines.

6.0 BEFORE YOU START YOUR COMPUTER 6.1 Steps to Take There a number of things

that you should do before you begin to do any coding, contracting or late night

computer hacking. There are meetings to setup, there is paper work to be done

and decisions to be made. Then, and only then, do you get to “play”

with the computer. 6.2 Meetings I would advise that you consider the following

meetings as part of your endeavors. They will help you set the ground rules,

help you avoid some of the mine-fields, and start you off on a working

relationship with groups that can be either wonderful allies or formidable

combatants, and hopefully help keep you on track as you work towards a finished

product. 6.2.1 Your initial meeting with your own department I feel it is

imperative for any relationship you and your delivering agency (Department of

Extension, Continuing Education or “University of the World”) to start

with a good relationship with your own department. In this meeting you may need

to get the approval of the supervisors of your department to be able to deliver

in something other than the traditional face to face, on campus mode. Those in

authority may have to guarantee the academic support for some period after the

first start of delivery of the course (at UNB, the period is three years). At

the University of New Brunswick, instructors delivering courses through the

Department of Extension are recommended by the faculties. This is something you

might also wish to discuss with your own department at this time. It is often

assumed that the person(s) developing a course will be the one(s) that wish to

teach the course and the one(s) that the faculty will appoint to teach the

course. This is not always the case. You should also discuss possible sources of

help for the development of your course. There are times when stipend relief may

be available from various sources. There may also be funds available from other

agencies. 6.2.2 Your first meeting with your delivering agency Having gained the

approval of your faculty, you should next meet with your delivering agency. In

this meeting, you should discuss the ways that they can help you in the

development of your course. They may also share with you what they know about

possible funding sources. As Web-based learning is different from regular

face-to-face lecture learning, they will want you to make use of good

instructional design methodologies. This is often an area where they can help.

Here are some items you may wish to discuss at that meeting: a. possible methods

of web-based delivery for your course, b. method of payment to the instructor,

c. ancillary support materials and their delivery to the students, d. how the

materials, assignments, marks and communications flow between parties e.

liaisons with the libraries f. liaisons with Computer Services g. on-going

checkpoint meetings with your delivering agency. At regularly scheduled

intervals, you should meet with your delivering agency as they will wish to

monitor the development of the course. Your delivering agency should be checking

with you to: * keep abreast of your time lines. They need this to be able to

best market your course and to see that it receives the coverage it deserves, *

ensure the consistency of an Academia “look and feel” * ensure the

consistency of any standards for web-based courseware development (for an

example, please see http://www.unb.ca/home/webinfo/guide.html) * keep abreast of

your needs and successes. These meetings are intended to insure the standards

and formats consistent with the delivery of your institute’s courses, and should

in no way be an attempt to interfere with your teaching.

7.0 NOW YOU MAY START YOUR COMPUTER There is an ongoing debate as to whether

one should do all or some of the web work oneself, or if the work should be

jobbed out. I enjoy working with the web, I have instructional design training

and have been involved in courseware development for quite a few years and so,

as long as I have more time than financial resources, I will do the work myself.

There are many very good professional agencies that can be contracted to produce

courseware for you. These agencies can be contracted to do a wide range of the

jobs necessary to complete any type of web-based application. There are probably

agencies within your institution who specialize in instructional design and

courseware development. These units should be consulted. For certain areas of

the development that you do yourself, you will need some specific skills. 7.1

Skills and Talents 7.1.1 Essential Skills (Talents) You will need to be very

familiar with these or will need access to people who are and can do these

aspects of the job for you. 7.1.1.1 HyperText Markup Language – HTML Stands for

HyperText Markup Language, and on a scale of one to ten, learning the basics of

HTML is about a three. The web is a great resource (see the Resource list

below), and there are a plethora of good books on the subject. I keep the most

current version of Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML in a Week by Laura

Lemay near my computer. As with all aspects of the WWW, the print support is

changing constantly, but the most recent edition is usually the best. 7.1.1.2

Instructional Design Again, there a large number of excellent resources and my

favorite is Jerry Kemp’s The Instructional Design Process (New York: Harper

& Row, 1985). It is however, out of print, and this is one case where I do

think the next edition was not as good as the first. Another good choice is,

Robert Branch’s Common Instructional Design Practices Employed by Secondary

School Teachers, Educational Technology, 34, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational

Technology Publications, 1995). 7.1.2 Optional Skills (Talents) 7.1.1.2.1 More

HTML The more familiar you become with HTML, the more you will be able to

enhance your course’s web site. This can be a good thing, and it can also be not

so good. Adding components and extra “bells and whistles” to your web

site should be done as a conscious choice to support your educational objectives

and not just because the “bells and whistles” are there. 7.1.1.2.2 CGI

Stands for Common Gateway Interface and is the coding that allows the

information collected from forms on webs sites to be manipulated. This can be as

simple as allowing students to send specific assignments to you, or can be as

elaborate as on-line registration. 7.2 Components of the Web Course Every

Web-delivered course will have a number of components. These will vary depending

upon your needs, your style and the degree of interactivity in the course. There

are some components that should be part of your site, in order to make the

course appealing to your customer. I feel that some components of a web-based

course are essential and others are optional. 7.2.1 Essential Components These

can be divided into static and dynamic. 7.2.1.1 Static Components These

components change very little. They can be put on your web site and only updated

as needed. 7.2.1.1.1 The Course Description This will often come directly from

your University calendar. 7.2.1.1.2 The Professor This can be as informal or as

formal as you like. What kind of first impression do you wish to make? How much

do you wish to add? Do you wish to link to your own personal Web site (if you

have one)? 7.2.1.1.3 Prerequisites Again, this can often come from your

university calendar. It is always a good point to specify any particular

computing hardware, software or skills that will be required for students to be

able to take your course. 7.2.1.1.4 The Text Here is a nice place to put a

scanned cover of the text – along with the ISBN, the publisher and all of the

information needed for your potential students to acquire this text. Here is a

good place to put a link to your institute’s bookstore – assuming it has a web

site. 7.2.1.1.5 Communications This is where you put as much information as you

can about how students can reach you. Will you have office hours? Virtual office

hours? Can they reach you via Email? How do they reach each other? Is there a

listserv, a secure server? 7.2.1.1.6 Grading Students all seem to want to know

what they have to do to get a mark. This is a good place to tell them about

assignments, quizzes, mid-terms and finals, and any other expectations you have

of them. 7.2.1.2 Dynamic Components These components may change often. They

might be updated, or supplemented once a week or every few days. 7.2.1.2.1

Bulletin Board This gets used much more in the first part of the class. As the

class gets “into it” this seems to be used less frequently. 7.2.1.2.2

Assignments These can be placed on the web site before the class begins for all

assignments, or can become readable at given times or as new assignments are

given. 7.2.1.2.3 Communications Options These are the actual components of the

web site that allow interactivity in the course. The real power of the WWW is

global communication. And this is what makes web-based courses so exciting. Your

course’s communications may include any number of the following: 7.2.1.2.4

Closed Listservs These use standard Email to allow all members of the class to

send and receive messages from any other member of the class, including the

instructor. Messages are automatically sent to all of the individual’s personal

Email addresses. 7.2.1.2.5 Web Forums These are places where people can

interact. Student-to-student, student-to-teacher and teacher-to-student or

teacher to the entire class. These are sections on the web that students go to

and are able to read messages and participate in on-line, asynchronous

‘conversations.’ 7.2.1.2.6 Interactive ‘real time’ two-way audio or video There

are numerous pieces of software available now that allow desktop two-way video

and audio. These tend to require very high bandwidth, and because they are

‘real-time’ they require the participating parties to all be on the web at the

same time. 7.2.1.2.7 Marks This is a place where your marking scheme can be

listed. It is also a place where you can post marks or assignments in (if you

have a secure server that only your class can access). 7.2.1.2.8 Class Notes As

each week progresses, or just prior to each week’s work, students may need to

have the equivalent of lecture notes to supplement what is covered in the text

book, or what has been assigned on the web. Some web software will allow you to

put the all the notes on the web site – and as certain dates arrive, students

then have access to the notes. 7.2.2 Optional Components These may be essential,

depending upon your requirements. 7.2.2.1 Audio clips These may be as sound

files (.WAV or .AU), audio streaming (Real Audio, Soundstream, Shockwave) or

MIDI files. 7.2.2.2 Animations These may be as animated .GIFs, QuickTime,

Shockwave or Java applications. 7.2.2.3 Quizzes, especially

“self-correcting” quizzes These may be as part of a web educational

software (WebCT) or can be developed by yourself or your institution. 7.2.2.4

Case studies These may be as included as text pages or may be referenced to

other sites. This is one area where copyright can really come into play. The

cost of clearing copyright on a set of Harvard business case studies can be out

of the question. 7.2.2.5 Video clips These may be as QuickTime video or may be

done with the new Real Video that allows real-time video streaming. 7.2.2.6 Web

Database Sites These will allow you to maintain and provide access to databases

over the web. 7.2.2.7 Web Tutoring Sessions These may be as simple as

step-by-step instructions for any topic with branching provided to additional

sites. They can also be we intelligent tutorials with on-line interactive

testing. 7.3 Points to Ponder 7.3.1 Open Server An “open server” will

allow anyone, anywhere on the web to access your information. 7.3.2 Secure

Server A “secure server” will only allow persons with some type of

authorization code to access your information.

8.0 RESOURCES (This list does not constitute an endorsement on anyone’s part.

These resources are a jumping off points to help you get your course on the

web.) Please do not overlook the many resources on your own campus. 8.1 My

resources page This site has links to courses, resources, helper sites that aid

you in choosing which type and format of media to use, sites that check your

HTML for errors or idiosyncrasies, and much more. http://www.unb.ca/web/wwwdev/resources.html

8.2 Conferences, on-line or face-to-face NAWeb ’98 – The Virtual Campus (October

3-6, 1998). This international conference is in its fourth year. It is intended

solely for those developing courseware for delivery on the WWW or for those

delivering courseware over the WWW. http://www.unb.ca/web/wwwdev/naweb98/ 8.3

Books, listservs and associations Badrul Khan’s Web-Based Instruction (Englewood

Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, 1997) is quite good. I host the

WWWDEV listserv. This listserv hosts the NAWeb conferences, and has 1400 members

from around the world – developing for delivery over the WWW or actually

delivering courseware over the WWW. http://www.unb.ca/web/wwwdev/ The DEOSNEWS

listserv is involved in all aspects of distance education. You can join that one

by sending this message SUBSCRIBE DEOSNEWS your name to emailprotected

This is who and what they are: DEOS-L is a service provided to the Distance

Education community by The American Center for the Study of Distance Education,

The Pennsylvania State University. Opinions expressed are those of DEOS-L

subscribers, and do not constitute endorsement of any opinion, product, or

service by ACSDE or Penn State. The Canadian Association for Distance Education

(CADE) can often help http://www.cade-aced.ca/ The Association for Media and

Technology in Education – Canada (AMTEC) is another favorite of mine. http://www.camosun.bc.ca/~amtec/

Use every and any resource you can. Join groups for support, and support others

in similar projects. This is a rapidly emerging field, and it is evolving and

growing just as fast as it is emerging. 8.4 Other Here is where you add ideas

you pick up at the conference.

Bibliography

This site has links to courses, resources, helper sites that aid you in

choosing which type and format of media to use, sites that check your HTML for

errors or idiosyncrasies, and much more. http://www.unb.ca/web/wwwdev/resources.html

8.2 Conferences, on-line or face-to-face NAWeb ’98 – The Virtual Campus (October

3-6, 1998). This international conference is in its fourth year. It is intended

solely for those developing courseware for delivery on the WWW or for those

delivering courseware over the WWW. http://www.unb.ca/web/wwwdev/naweb98/ 8.3

Books, listservs and associations Badrul Khan’s Web-Based Instruction (Englewood

Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, 1997) is quite good. I host the

WWWDEV listserv. This listserv hosts the NAWeb conferences, and has 1400 members

from around the world – developing for delivery over the WWW or actually

delivering courseware over the WWW. http://www.unb.ca/web/wwwdev/ The DEOSNEWS

listserv is involved in all aspects of distance education. You can join that one

by sending this message SUBSCRIBE DEOSNEWS your name to emailprotected

This is who and what they are: DEOS-L is a service provided to the Distance

Education community by The American Center for the Study of Distance Education,

The Pennsylvania State University. Opinions expressed are those of DEOS-L

subscribers, and do not constitute endorsement of any opinion, product, or

service by ACSDE or Penn State. The Canadian Association for Distance Education

(CADE) can often help http://www.cade-aced.ca/ The Association for Media and

Technology in Education – Canada (AMTEC) is another favorite of mine. http://www.camosun.bc.ca/~amtec/

Use every and any resource you can. Join groups for support, and support others

in similar projects. This is a rapidly emerging field, and it is evolving and

growing just as fast as it is emerging. 8.4 Other Here is where you add ideas

you pick up at the conference.

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