К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №1 - 2009
Автор: Абдразакова К. Ж.
Three types of technology are now available
to facilitate distance education. They will be described below (UNESCO, 2002):
Interactive computer applications, the
first type of technology, are especially helpful as aids in teaching
course-specific knowledge and skills. Interactive computer applications not
only allow the student to select a variety of functions within the program, but
also make it possible for the student to access information in nonlinear ways.
Depending on the application, students can obtain information about their
performance from the application (Raymond and Pike, 2004).
Interactive video disks (IVD), one of the
first types of interactive computer applications to be developed (Falk and
Carlson, 2006), can be effectively used to provide distance education. Students
in remote sites can move through IVD programs at their own paces and schedules.
IVD programs normally provide the student with three or four selections, with
each choice initiating various video segments. Depending on the student's
choice, the video tape will continue, remedial instruction will be provided, or
feedback will be given about the option selected. When computer applications
are used in this way, the computer becomes a teaching machine to deliver
education to learners in distance locations. Although there is no real- time
interaction with the faculty member, the student interacts with the
instructional units presented through the computer. The level of interaction
can range from low to high, depending on the type of computer application used.
Six modes of computer-assisted instruction can be used effectively for distance
education purposes: drill and practice, tutorial, gaming, simulation,
discovery, and problem solving (Witmer, 2004).
The use of computer applications to deliver
distance education has distinct benefits:
- students in remote locations can engage
in self- paced, individualized learning;
- the students receive immediate positive
reinforcement and feedback through use of the computer application;
- the utilization of IVDs can expose the
distance learner to a wide variety of information including graphics,
electronic print, and sound;
- by using such applications the student
can control the time and length of study required for mastery of each learning
- computer-assisted distance education
makes it possible to provide individualized learning on a large scale to
students in many diverse sites.
In spite of these advantages, however,
higher education has made minimal use of computer-assisted education programs
to deliver distance education. The tremendous cost that may be involved in
developing the software has impeded progress in this area (Raymond and Pike,
The delivery of distance education has also
been advanced by recent developments in the second type of technology - audio
and video communications (AVC) systems. These systems facilitate the
transmission of knowledge between teacher and learner. As a result of these
developments, students at remote locations can engage in live interaction with
the teacher and with other students in real-time. This interaction can be
achieved in one of several ways, depending on the type of AVC equipment that is
utilized (Raymond and Pike, 2004).
The first type of system entails two-way
audio communication, with no video. This learning situation is similar to an
audio conference or conference call, but includes more participants. Students at
remote locations interact with the instructor using a speaker phone or
The second type of AVC delivery system
utilizes two-way audio and two-way video communication. Students at distant
locations can see the professor and can speak with the professor and other
students. The signals can be delivered by a number of means, including
telephone lines, satellite systems, cable television, and closed-circuit
television. Multiple technologies are often used as an integrated system of
system delivery (Gartio, 2005).
A third type of AVC system makes it
possible for two-way audio and two-way video interaction to occur. In this
learning scenario the teacher can see, hear, and interact with the students
and, at the same time, the students can see, hear, and interact with the
teacher and each other. Multiple technologies can be used to facilitate this
interaction. These include satellite systems, cable television and
Distance education can also be provided
through the use of a third type of technology - computer-mediated education
systems. Computer-mediated education technologies are like audio/video-mediated
education technologies in that they facilitate the transmission of knowledge
between the teacher and the learner. These systems do not provide actual
instruction, as is the case with computer- assisted technologies.
Computer-mediated education systems include facsimile machines, electronic mail
systems, computer networks, and interactive compressed video (ICV) systems. Two
of the computer-mediated education technologies now most widely used in
distance education will be described ± computer networks and ICV systems.
Computer networks, which are collections of computers that are electronically
linked and allow information to flow among different computers, have
revolutionized the way information is delivered throughout society, including
education systems. These networks can range in size from local area networks
(LAN) which link computers within a small area (such as a university or
department thereof), to wide area networks (WAN) which connect computers within
a large geographic area such as a city or state, to the Internet, which is the
largest computer network in the world and connects many of the world's LANs and
WANs (Gibbs, 2004).
Computer networks not only make it possible
for students to access information from data sources throughout the world, but
they also enable educators in both distance education and traditional education
classes to interact with individual students at remote sites. For example,
teachers can use electronic mail (e- mail) to communicate with students about
teaching assignments, feedback on graded exercises, or answers to specific questions.
Students can submit course assignments to their teachers electronically, ask
questions and obtain feedback from their instructors. List-servs are being used
increasingly in distance education (and with the traditional classroom) to
facilitate communication between teachers and entire groups of students who are
on their class rolls. Messages, notices, and assignments can be posted
simultaneously to the entire class. Discussions of course material and issues
related to learning can also be posted to the list. When used in this manner,
the listserv ensures that all members of the class receive the same
information, directions, and suggestions from the teacher. Furthermore, the use
of a listserv can facilitate more active participation among class members. In
addition to general postings on the listserv, class members can send private
messages to each other or to the teacher regarding the issue under study
(Raymond and Pike, 2004).
There are also several
types of distance education courses such as:
- Correspondence conducted through regular mail;
- Internet conducted either synchronously or asynchronously;
- Telecourse/Broadcast, in which content is delivered via radio or television;
- CD-ROM, in which the student interacts with computer
content stored on a CD-ROM;
- PocketPC/Mobile Learning where the student accesses course content
stored on a mobile device or through a wireless server.
Courses can be offered in their entirety
over the Internet. These courses are commonly referred to as Web-based courses,
and should be differentiated from Web-supported courses. Web-supported courses,
either in the traditional classroom or distance education environment, use the
Internet to augment and enrich teaching/learning through methods such as those
discussed - e-mail and list-servs. In Web- based courses, the entire content
may be offered online, without any audio/video communication between the
teacher and the students. Web-based courses may entail a great deal of
asynchronous communication between the teacher and students; for example, students'
requests, questions, and comments can be sent, received and processed at any
time. A reported difficulty with Web-based courses is the open- ended demand on
instructor time because of this asynchronous feature. Another problem is the
great deal of time and labor that is required to prepare a Web-based course (Gold, & Maitland, 2006). Because of these time and labor
requirements, progress in the development and implementation of Internet- based
courses has been slow. Nonetheless, Web-based courses offer a promising approach
to distance education in higher education.
A final example of computer-mediated
education, the use of ICV systems, has had a profound impact on the delivery of
distance education. ICV systems combine computers with telephone lines to
transmit signals. This technology involves the use of codecs - devices that
compress or decompress the signal on both ends of a digital phone line. Depending
on the type of equipment that is used, there may be a slight delay of sound and
some impairment in video quality (Beller, and Or, 2004). ICV systems are now
relatively inexpensive to purchase and operate. Consequently, these systems
have become the most commonly-used form of technology used to deliver distance
education in the USA.
Distance Education has traversed four to five
'generations' of technology in its history. Yet the radio remains a very viable
form, especially in the developing nations, because of its reach. In India the FM Channel is very popular and is being used by universities, to broadcast
educational programs of variety on areas such as teacher education, rural
development, programs in agriculture for farmers, science education, creative
writing, mass communication, in addition to traditional courses in liberal
arts, science and business administration. The increasing popularity of mp3
players, PDAs and Smart Phone has
provided an additional medium for the distribution of distance education
content, and some professors now allow students to listen or even watch video
of a course as a Podcast. Some colleges have been working
with the U.S. military to distribute entire course content on a PDA to deployed personnel.
In at least one instance, an online course has
been run entirely in a 3D virtual world through the popular online community Second Life. This
approach has also been used in conjunction with on-campus class meetings,
making the separation between distance and on-campus students increasingly
In short then, though a range of technology
presupposes a distance education 'inventory' it is technological
appropriateness and connectivity, such as computer, or for that matter
electrical connectivity that should be considered, when we think of the world
as a whole, while fitting in technological applications to distance education.
Second Life has recently become one of the cutting-edge virtual
classrooms for major colleges and universities, including Princeton, Rice University, University of Derby (UK), Vassar, the Open University (UK). In 2007 Second
Life started to be used for foreign language tuition. Both Second Life and real
life language educators have begun to use the virtual world for language
tuition. English (as a foreign language) has gained a presence through several
schools, including the British Council, which has focused on the Teen Grid. Spain’s language and cultural
institute “Instituto Cervantes” has an island on Second Life.
Distance education vs. traditional residential education
Distance education is a different way of
offering education as opposed to traditional residential education. The term
‘traditional residential education’ in this research refers to the on-campus
university education. Students have to attend classes at specific pace and
times. They have to be therefore a specified duration and sit for exams at
The term ‘distance education’ refers to two
kinds of education. The first and historically older kind is the synchronous,
Open University style of education. In this form of education, students get the
bulk of their education through media other than physical attendance. They
start their studies at a specific time and have their exams at a specific time
as well. The time and pace are pre-determined. The students get their tuition
through printed materials, audio, video, radio and television. They have to
attend on-campus activities a few times every year. The second recent kind,
named asynchronous (or Internet) distance education benefits from the recent
advances in computer and communication technologies (Alsunbul, 2002).
It provides the student with the benefits
of learning at his/her own time and pace. The course materials are provided via
electronic media that can be accessed by the student when and where it suits
him/her. This form of education does not impose any restrictions on the time of
enrollment, duration of study, or the dates of exams. Normally, the student
does not have to attend any on-campus activities. This form of education
utilizes the Internet technology.
Looking back to the last two or three
decades only very few distance education institutions around the world
associated with open universities were present. Nowadays many universities of
continuing regular education around the world already started or are planning
to start a program on distance education. According to U.S. Statistics,
Khawalda (2006, p.6) quoted that distance education was offered by about 90
percent of all higher education institutions in the U.S. To facilitate interaction
in distance education, and to get high quality learning, a solid foundation of
skills and knowledge should be laid out. It is important to provide an adequate
infrastructure, sufficient resources to support the development of course
content, access to appropriate technology, and to incorporate training with the
goals of traditional education and achievement of course goals (Bielema, 2004). With regard to Kazakh, the kind of distance
education now mostly offered is the asynchronous open-university style. They
get the course materials in printed form or on computer media. These
universities hold intensive courses for their students at locations in Kazakhstan. The timing of the intensive courses is arranged to suit working people. These
arrangements are intended to suit working Kazakhstan people who are interested
in furthering their education.
Advocates of distance education claim that
this form of education is the most suitable form for today’s lifestyle. Some
studies by Dale (2004) andAhmed (2004) suggested that the performance of
distance education students is even better than that of traditional residential
education students. Mohamed (2005, p.11) claimed that students preferred
distance education to residential education. Some studies concluded that the
scientific material provided in distance education is more organized than that
provided in residential education (Ahmed, 2004, Almeda, 2004, Alsunbul, 2002,
Three main characteristics of today’s life
are cited as imposing great challenges on traditional residential education and
are urging for change. These include:
- The current era is marred with high rates of unemployment. One of the
main reasons for this is the lack of adequate education. The traditional
residential education system is not capable of coping with the accelerating
pace of change. Hence, in many disciplines it is failing to provide the
students with up- to-date knowledge (Ahmed, 2004) & (Larose et al, 2004).
- Business organizations are in great need
to acquire new technologies and new scientific methodologies to improve their
performance, but in many cases are unable to spare their employees time to
further their knowledge.
- In these times of economic crisis and
inflation, the increasingly high cost of residential education is hindering a
lot of people from continuing their education. Distance education can provide a
way out for those wanting to study, but are faced with the above problems.
On the one hand, it is suggested that successful
distance education learners need to be independent learners who are motivated
and have focused goals in mind. These learners need flexibility in program
structure (many have other responsibilities, such as full-time jobs) and want
practical information that they can use immediately.
On the other hand, distance education has the
problems in the field of knowledge testing and evaluation. Distance education
has had trouble since its conception with the testing of material. The delivery
is fairly straightforward, which makes sure it is available to the student and
he or she can read it at their leisure. The problem arises when the student is
required to complete assignments and testing. Whether quizzes, tests, or
examinations online courses have had difficulty controlling cheating because of
the lack of teacher control. In a classroom situation a teacher can monitor
students and visually uphold a level of integrity consistent with an
institution's reputation. With distance education the student can be removed
from supervision completely. Some schools address integrity issues concerning
testing by requiring students to take examinations in a controlled setting.
Assignments have adapted by becoming larger,
longer, and more thorough so as to test for knowledge by forcing the student to
research the subject and prove they have done the work. Quizzes are a popular
form of testing knowledge and many courses go by the honor system regarding
cheating. Even if the student is checking questions in the textbook or online,
there may be an enforced time limit or the quiz may be worth so little in the
overall mark that it becomes inconsequential. Exams and bigger tests may be
harder to regulate. In smaller tests a professor may employ another computer
program to keep all other programs from running on the computer reducing the
possibility of help from the Internet.
Used in combination with invigilators, a
pre-arranged supervisor trusted with over-looking big tests and examinations
may be used to increase security. Many Midterms and Final examinations are held
at a common location so that professors can supervise directly. Many of these
examinations are still on the computer in which case the same program blocking
software can be used. When the Internet became a popular medium for distance
education many websites were founded offering secure exam software and packages
to help professors manage their students more effectively.
Even though, distance education offers the
following benefits (Alsunbul, 2002, p.73):
- portability (education delivered
- accessibility (available any time, in the
workplace or the home), affordability, (cost effective for individuals and
- incremental (augmenting current programs
- effectiveness (increasing employee
satisfaction and industry success),
- and flexibility (customized to individual
learning requirements and progress).
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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №1 - 2009