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Online Education
Online education refers to any form of learning/teaching that takes place via a computer network. The network could be a local bulletin board system (BBS) or it could be the global internet and world wide web. The network could also be a local area network (LAN) or an intranet within a particular organization. Historically, online interaction has been called "computer mediated communication" (CMC), although this term covers applications beyond instruction (e.g., decision-making in work teams).

The most common function used in online education is electronic mail (email) that allows students and teachers to send messages to each other. In addition, most networks also provide conferencing capabilities that let participants conduct multi-person discussions either in real-time (often called "chats") or on a delayed basis (asynchronous). There are also more elaborate systems called MUD/MOOs for group interaction as well as many "groupware" programs. The latter often involve simultaneous viewing of graphics (slides) and use of a shared writing space (i.e., electronic whiteboard). Online education also involves access to databases in the form of text files or multimedia web pages, as well as the exchange of information (e.g., assignments, course materials) via file transfers.

It is not the purpose of this guide to describe the various capabilities of networks or different types of CMC systems, but to focus on the instructional aspects of online interaction. There are many good books that discuss these aspects and you should consult them for such details (see Bibliography) . To read about the latest research on this subject, see the International Journal of Educational Telecommunications (published by AACE ), THE Journal , or Educational Technology magazine. The publications of the ACM and the IEEE provide good background on the computing technologies involved. In most cases, online instruction takes place in the context of distance education, i.e., settings in which learners and teachers are located in different places and all or most interaction takes place via the network. However, this guide does not discuss distance education at length; for more information on this subject, see the resources section of the Online Chronicle of Distance Education & Communication or my textbook on the topic.

Accreditation is a non-governmental system of academic review. It is a process which periodically evaluates and produces an independent judgment by peers about the extent to which an institution or program achieves its own educational objectives and meets the standards established by an association. Standards address operational and curricular issues fundamental to educational quality.

Some Misconceptions about Online Education .

People who have little or no experience with online learning or teaching tend to harbor some misconceptions (which are quickly cleared up after actual participation in online classes). The most common misconception is that online classes will be fairly sterile and impersonal. But once a person starts to interact with other group members, they quickly discover that an online learning environment can be very rich and very personal. Participants often establish online friendships which outlast the particular class. Furthermore, people typically find that they are drawn into the subject matter of the class much more deeply than in a traditional course because of the discussions they get involved in.

A second misconception is that online education is only for "techies", i.e., people who have a lot of experience with computers. It is true that you have to have some minimal computer skills to participate in CMC, but you certainly do not need to know (or care) very much about computers. With modern software, participating in an online course shouldn't require much more technical know-how than what you need to operate any other piece of office equipment (e.g., fax machine, copier). On the other hand, you do have to have convenient access to a properly equipped computer system in order to participate regularly in an online class; this means having a machine at work and at home (preferably both -- and a laptop if you travel a lot).

Another common misconception is that online classes will be easy -- easier than conventional classes. But almost all participants report that they find online classes much more work -- and much more rewarding -- than traditional courses they have taken. Again, this has to do with the amount of thought about the subject matter that results from online discussions. Such classes also require the self-discipline to do the preparation required for online participation and activities -- homework is homework, whether online or offline!

Finally it should be mentioned that almost any form of assessment or evaluation is possible with online classes. You can do traditional quizzes or tests with multiple choice questions or problems to be solved if you want; they can even be done with time limits. However, it seems that assignments and projects that involve critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving and group discussion/interaction are more appropriate for online education. Portfolio methods that involve journals or work samples are also ideal for CMC (especially when the web is used since they can include multimedia components).

The question of cheating always comes up with any form of online education since online activity is normally done in an unsupervised setting. To the extent that assessment involves assignments or projects unique to a given individual (or done in a team or group context), this is not likely to be a problem. Tests can also be made unique for each person -- or they can be conducted in a supervised environment (like a library or learning center) if really necessary. Basically, if people are going to cheat, they will find a way, online or not. Assessing group performance in an online setting is a little more difficult than evaluating individual efforts -- particularly when people do team projects with a single outcome representing the collective work of the group. [Note that this is just as true in traditional classroom settings.] However, it is possible to have the contribution of each team member identified and perhaps background work shown in Appendices or attached files/web page links.

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• More than 1000 Admissions in single Calendar Year   • Ecole Campus Services are dedicated to providing the best virtual programs by working with qualified and experienced teachers to create a unique high quality program that meets your study needs.   •Our teachers are certified professionals. They are fully qualified and experienced in teaching their repective subjects. All teachers undergo a 12 days basic pedagogical training before their first day at ecolecampus. This is followed by another 15 days of training through the entire year and 10 days of classroom-based pedagogical support.   •We strive to provide the highest quality education which builds a strong foundation for lifelong learning, values the individual, fosters community, and respects tradition while responding to the changing needs of society.   • Your academic advisor will be available for you throughout your association with Ecole Campus . He/She will not only help you select your courses, but will also activate the online classrooms and schedule your classes. He/She will be there to support you at every step of the way?from the day you enroll to the day you passout. Additionally, he/she will act as a financial advisor, telling you everything you need to know about the financial options available to you, including scholarship, grants, fee payment options and other services.
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