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Monday, 12 March 2012

Topic 2 : Virtual Vs Electronic


Reinventing the Universities towards new era

A virtual university provides higher education programs through electronic media, typically the Internet. Some are bricks-and-mortar institutions that provide online learning as part of their extended university courses while others solely offer online courses. They are regarded as a form of distance education. The goal of virtual universities is to provide access to the part of the population who would not be able to attend a physical campus, for reasons such as distance - where students live too far from a physical campus to attend regular classes; and the need for flexibility – some students need the flexibility to study at home whenever it is convenient for them to do so.
Program delivery in a virtual university is administered through information communication technology such as web pages, e-mail and other networked sources.

The Virtual University experience can be accurately summed up in the following excerpt:
"A post-secondary educational environment, delivered electronically through a communications medium, which mimics a real-world post-secondary environment in every aspect, resulting in an educational experience equivalent to one normally received by attending the same university in the physical world."

Lush, G.(2010), The Virtual University: Issues for administrators, p. 1, 2010
The Open University in the United Kingdom was the world’s first successful distance teaching university. It was founded in the 1960s on the belief that communications technology could bring high quality degree-level learning to people who had not had the opportunity to attend campus universities.

Teaching mode


When online courses first began, the primary mode of delivery was through a two way audio-visual network. Then as well as now, many of the virtual study programs were mainly based on text documents, but multimedia technologies have become increasingly popular as well. These web-based delivery modes are used in order to expand access to programs and services that can be offered anytime and anywhere. The spectrum of teaching modes in virtual education includes courses based on hypertext, videos, audios, e-mails, and video conferencing.





Impact of Virtual class room

“Virtual classroom it is an environment unlike the traditional classroom. In actual fact, the virtual classroom is wherever you and your computer happen to be. It could be in your room, in one of the University microcomputer labs, or at an isolated site far removed from the KSU campus. Your virtual class schedule is whatever time you want it to be” [http://www.cis.ksu.edu/cis10X/virtual.htm ] Virtual classroom provides a perfect environment for online training and gives a feel of being in the classroom itself. Virtual classroom integrates the best learning practices with the power of internet to provide a dynamic learning platform to the learner. The virtual classroom/e-learning has innumerable advantages and the most vital of which are the saving of time and cost, no interaction between teachers and students and no sense of peer pressure.
Of course, taking internet-based course at the pre-College/university level can have both pros and cons. Below will follow some of them that would make you decide if virtual learning is for you.
Positive aspects of virtual classroom/e-learning.

“Independence and time Management”
Students who take courses online often sharpen their ability to work on their own, and they also expand experience in managing their time efficiently. With nobody to stand over them and make them work, virtual learners tend to develop these skills more rapidly than if they were to learn strictly in a traditional classroom.

Advanced and specialized classes
In many cases, small school and rural schools simply cannot offer advanced or specialized classes. Virtual education gives students the opportunity to gain experience in areas that would otherwise remain out of reach.

Emphasis on the written work
Strong writing skills are essential to success in secondary and higher education as well as in the workplace. Virtual learning/distance education teaches students to communicate more effectively through writing, because the questions they ask and the work they complete is based almost solely on the written word. Virtual learning clearly gives students the chance to widen writing skills.

Problems

1.Lack of face-to face interaction
Some educators dispute that both teacher-student and student-student contact are essential to the learning process, and online classes eradicate these elements of education altogether. Also, students who excel at class participation need to deem that this piece of the learning puzzle will be missing as well.

2.The need to self-start
Virtual education actually lets students make their own schedules. Those who have a hard time with self-motivation will undoubtedly have problem in this type of educational setting.

3.Assessment Credibility 
We did not know whether the student is doing all the assessment or somebody else have done it on behalf of the student. The university and lecturer cannot determine is the student himself have done all the work without any helps from others.

Conclusion
Despite all the pros & cons of virtual learning the majority of students using virtual campuses to obtain online degrees are adults students for three main reasons:
§  Flexibility - Adults with full-time jobs and families would find it impossible to attend daily at a traditional school setting. Online classes allow students to work at their own pace and work around their busy lives.
§  Cost - The cost of an online degree is relatively cheaper than at a traditional college setting. Obtaining your degree online eliminates costs such as classroom costs and facility upkeep costs that traditional students are required to pay because they are using the campus. However, the cheaper cost of an online degree does not diminish the value of the degree.
§  Broad Choices - Students can remain at home and have availability to degrees that may not be offered by universities or colleges nearby.