Thursday, December 29, 2011

EDUC-7102 Elements of Distance Education Diffusion mod2

Elements of Distance Education Diffusion-module 2Communication has come a long way in the field of education. Berge and Collins (1995) articulate that Computer Based Training (CBT) or Computer Based Learning (CBL) first focused on the interaction between the student and computer drills to the development of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), where the primary form of interaction is between students and instructors, mediated by the computer. However, many well established K-12 online learning programs today are more than ten years old with the newest programs focusing on the structure of the early adopters. Nevertheless, online communication has noteworthy issues-good and bad.

“Communication issues online are one of the leading causes of confusion among students in online courses. Since a large portion of a communicated message comes through nonverbal means, online courses mostly rooted in text-based communication can run into communication issues that teachers must overcome to run an effective classroom online” (Pearson, 2011). Other problems that arise are: cultural misunderstandings which can lead to inaccurate assumptions about each other, students that struggle to read the text with reading comprehension problems, some students are more auditory or kinesthetic learners and of course, technical issues.

Research from Mathew Thomas (1999) indicates in the past that online discussion forums have not been productive and therefore most students prefer synchronous learning-as seen by the diagram below. This diagram represents asynchronous learning based on a subject matter presented to a class for discussion. As you can see different pods began to develop venturing away from the initial discussion point.


There are two types of online communication in the educational setting and they are; synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous online communication takes place in ‘real time’ as to instant messaging, peer interaction at the same time and chat sessions. Asynchronous online communication takes place over time as to not requiring students to be on line at the same time (as our class). Both of these communication methods are offered in different programs.

As some issues still remain, technology has advanced to where communication is relatively easy and user friendly. Online education starts with the basics… computer with sufficient memory, an up-to-date web browser, reliable Internet access, a valid email account and word processing software. Once a student has these components, the process of learning online can begin.

Communication for online education has progressed through the use of technology. Teachers have overcome obstacles by providing online tools to facilitate learners today through the use of webcams, microphones, virtual classrooms, wiki’s, blogs, internet applications, smart phones, digital games, podcasts, Skype, texting, and online media. Fortunately, due to the interest of online learning, instructors and students have access to numerous technologies that speed up and enhance their online communication.

Berge, Z. & Collins, M. Retrieved from: //Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine// / Volume 2, Number 3 / March 1, 1995 / Page 39
Pearson, C. 2011. Online Education Communication Issues. Retrieved from:
Thomas, M. 1999. The impacts of technology on communication-mapping the limits of online discussion forums. Retrieved from:


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