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Virtual education

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Virtual education refers to instruction in a learning environment where teacher and student
are separated by time or space, or both, and the teacher provides course content through
course management applications, multimedia resources, the Internet, videoconferencing, etc.
Students receive the content and communicate with the teacher via the same technologies.[1]

Contents
[hide]
• 1 Characteristics of virtual education
• 2 Instruction modes for virtual education
• 3 Communication and Interaction
• 4 Platforms
• 5 References
• 6 See also

[edit] Characteristics of virtual education


Virtual education is a term describing online education using the Internet. This term is
primarily used in higher education where so-called Virtual Universities have been
established.
Virtual courses – a synonym is online courses – are courses delivered on the Internet.
"Virtual" is used here to characterize the fact that the course is not taught in a classroom face-
to-face but through some substitute mode that can be associated with classroom teaching.
A virtual program (or a virtual course of studies) is a study program in which all courses or at
least a significant portion of the courses are virtual courses.
[edit] Instruction modes for virtual education
Many virtual study programs are mainly text based, using HTML, PowerPoint, or PDF
documents. Multimedia technologies have been investigated for many years and eventually
found their way into practice. Today a wide spectrum of instruction modes is available,
including the following:
• Virtual Classroom: A virtual classroom is a learning environment created in the virtual
space. The objectives of a virtual classroom are to improve access to advanced
educational experiences by allowing students and instructors to participate in remote
learning communities using personal computers; and to improve the quality and
effectiveness of education by using the computer to support a collaborative learning
process. The explosion of the knowledge age has changed the context of what is learnt
and how it is learnt – the concept of virtual classrooms is a manifestation of this
knowledge revolution.
• Hypertext courses: Structured course material is used as in a conventional distance
education program. However, all material is provided electronically and can be
viewed with a browser. Hyperlinks connect text, multimedia parts and exercises in a
meaningful way.
• Video-based courses are like face-to-face classroom courses, with a lecturer speaking
and Powerpoint slides or online examples used for illustration. Video-streaming
technologies is used. Students watch the video by means of freeware or plug-ins (e.g.
Windows Media Player, RealPlayer).
• Audio-based courses are similar but instead of moving pictures only the sound track
of the lecturer is provided. Often the course pages are enhanced with a text
transcription of the lecture.
• Animated courses: Enriching text-oriented or audio-based course material by
animations is generally a good way of making the content and its appearance more
interesting. Animations are created using Macromedia Flash or similar technologies.
These animations help understand key concepts and also allow for better retention of
learning.
• Web-supported textbook courses are based on specific textbooks. Students read and
reflect the chapters by themselves. Review questions, topics for discussion, exercises,
case studies, etc. are given chapterwise on a website and discussed with the lecturer.
Class meetings may be held to discuss matters in a chatroom, for example.[2]
• Peer-to-peer courses are courses taught "on-demand" and without a prepared
curriculum. A new field of online education has emerged in 2007 through new online
education platforms.
[edit] Communication and Interaction
Students in virtual education typically acquire knowledge in a uni-directional manner first
(e.g. by studying a video, reading a textbook chapter). Subsequent discussions of problems,
solving exercises, case studies, review questions, etc. help the students to understand better
what they learned before. Electronic media like a discussion forum, chat room, voice mail, e-
mail, etc. are often employed for communication.
Homework assignments are normally submitted electronically, e.g. as an attachment to an e-
mail. When help is needed, lecturers, tutors, or fellow students, or a help desk are available,
just like in a real university. The difference is that all communication goes via electronic
media.
[edit] Platforms
Most virtual study programs use an e-learning platform (Learning Management System –
LMS) to administer students and courses and to provide learning content. Among them are
Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle, JoomlaLMS, SharePointLMS, Tadaros and many others.
• Second Life has recently become a virtual classroom for major colleges and
universities, including Princeton, Rice University, University of Derby (UK), Vassar,
the Open University (UK),[3]. Language learning in virtual worlds is the most
widespread type of education in 3D virtual spaces,[4] with many universities,
mainstream language institutes and private language schools using 3D virtual
environments to support language learning.
• WebEx is also increasingly used as an online learning platform and classroom for a
diverse set of education providers such as Fox School of Business for Templer
University, Grades Grow, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and Sachem.[5]
Webex is a Cisco Web Meetings and Collaboration Solution.[6] The platform has
worked for educational institutions because of real time collaboration using an
interactive whiteboard, chat, and VOIP technology that allows audio and video
sharing. In distance learning situations, while replacing the classroom with features,
institutions have also looked for security features which are inherently strong in a
Cisco powered collaboration environment. The downside is that Webex is not a free
platform.
[edit] References
1. ^ Kurbel, Karl: Virtuality on the Students' and on the Teachers' sides: A Multimedia and
Internet based International Master Program; ICEF Berlin GmbH (Eds.), Proceedings on the
7th International Conference on Technology Supported Learning and Training – Online
Educa; Berlin, Germany; November 2001, pp. 133–136
2. ^ Loutchko, Iouri; Kurbel, Karl; Pakhomov, Alexei: Production and Delivery of Multimedia
Courses for Internet Based Virtual Education; The World Congress "Networked Learning in a
Global Environment: Challenges and Solutions for Virtual Education", Berlin, Germany, May
1 – 4, 2002
3. ^ Parker, Quin (2007-04-06). "A second look at school life". The Guardian.
http://education.guardian.co.uk/elearning/story/0,,2051195,00.html. Retrieved on 2007-06-16.
4. ^ "8D Taps Language Learners, Bots, Microtransactions". Virtual World News. 2009-05-29.
http://www.virtualworldsnews.com/2009/05/out-of-stealth-8d-taps-language-learners-bots-
microtransactions.html. Retrieved on 2009-06-22.
5. ^ Business School to Use WebEx to Connect Classrooms Around the World
6. ^ Cisco Expands Collaboration Support

Wikibooks has a book on the topic of


ICT in Education

[edit] See also


• Virtual field trip