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Global Communications in a Graduate Course on Online Education at the University of Tsukuba - page 25 / 30





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readings assigned by e-mail before the course started were intended to help clarify the relevant concepts]. Impressions Using a BBS is markedly more efficient that than the traditional blackboard, chalk and notebook, and there are various applications, so it was felt that it should by all means be used in mainstream educational institutions.

2/19 Fourth Day. 9:00-11:00 Yesterday’s BBS questions and answers were rendered aloud, and then all of us had a deeper discussion of the issues. Prof. McCarty provided augmented explanations of each item and the following points were heard [regarding the same five questions of the previous afternoon]: 1) There is a tendency to think that online education means the students are always connected to the Internet, but that is not necessarily so. Materials such as from voice/discussion boards [downloaded for study offline] can also be considered online education. 2) E-learning indicates learning methods utilizing digital appliances, for example CD-ROMs and computers [offline CAI as well as online learning]. 3) In distance education the school tends to be too far from the student and materials are sent by post, or correspondence education takes a form such as two-way radio, whereas in online education through the Internet the student can, for example, participate in a virtual school and progress in studies [whether or not separated geographically from the institution and teachers]. 4) F2F means actual in-person human communication in the traditional classroom between teachers and students, whereas offline means that one’s computer is not connected to the Internet at a given time or that communication takes place with dedicated software [not utilizing the Internet]. 5) [Proprietary] videoconferencing has been widely used in industry and could also be beneficial for education. But whereas videoconferencing incurs huge costs, online educational systems are comparatively low in cost[, widening educational opportunities for people globally]. To investigate the meaning of technical terms we learned about the Google Website, and particularly the technique of typing “define: [term].” 11:00-13:00 Using the Voice Board we exchanged views [with the instructor and other students]. As an example, how could the online education techniques we have learned up to now be applied to EFL in Japan? Will it heighten students’ motivation? Will the learners themselves grow? We further discussed the future potential of online education. 14:00-15:30 We learned about an online academic conference while visiting its Website at the University of Hawaii. They have been conducted since 1996 but have not become a big trend. Conferences were originally confined to the elite or wealthy, but online conferences are inexpensive, not requiring travel, and can involve people of various levels. We also learned to compare the open Web that is freely accessible and searchable with the password-protected Web where only registered members can enter [online courses such as with WebCT are usually of the latter type and cannot be spidered by search engines]. Finally we discussed [offline in a circle] what kind of virtual organization in which we might like to participate. Examples included networks of EFL teachers or of alumni so as not to lose contact in the future. 15:30-17:00 We started working independently on our class paper to submit at the end of the day tomorrow. Impressions In this class we engaged not only in practical activities like chat and audioconferencing but also in the theoretical side characteristic of the typical class. We also received very important feedback from student-student exchanges. The teacher brought the discussion together in the form of augmenting our own views, so the progression of the discussion was easily understandable. There were some difficult theoretical issues, but explanations were illustrated by very helpful examples. The great potential online education holds has left a lasting impression.

2/20 Fifth and Last Day. 9:00-10:00 Before the second audioconference was scheduled to begin, students did independent work such as reviewing course Websites or working on their final report. 10:00-11:00 The second audioconference started and particularly Maggie [author

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