Term Paper: Free Speech Rights of College

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[. . .] Distance Learning is a kind of education in which students do not have to go outside their homes to get an education. All they need to do is log on at a set time and listen to or down load their lectures.

With the Internet, one can enroll in a cyber school. Students can all be in contact through the Internet and even take part in class discussions online (Mast, 2003). This would be possible because all the students could be registered online with the head office of the school. Only when a student is registered and pays his membership will s/he be able to access this cyber school. This will be just like paying regular school fees. What will make these kinds of classes as effective as regular school is the fact that during these online lectures all students of that particular class will be in touch with each other; they will be able to listen to the lecture in one mode and discuss problems in their subjects with their classmates in another mode. Students may also be arranged in groups so that there are a few of them in instant contact, thereby making group discussions possible. (Education and Technology: Future Vision 2003)

Distance Learning is like the ordinary school almost in every way, except, the teachers and students would not be able to meet each other in person. This idea prompts another ethical consideration. The consideration is that honesty becomes questionable. Due to the fact that students and teachers will be in official contact but yet not see each other means that they will never know whom they are really communicating with (Hallam, 1998).

It must be realized that human beings are such that when they realize that they are communicating with people they cannot see there are higher chances for the information exchanged to be less authentic. This is because of the fact that in the absence of a real figure there is not even an image, and this encourages humans to approach one another with less ethical concern. This is practice that is actually very normal because of the fact that human beings are made this way. However, it is a problem for distance learning, and it one of the reasons why President Bill Clinton's government had focused on laws controlling the type of information exchanged through cyber space. However, such restriction was equivalent to snatching an individual's right to free speech (Fisch, 1996).

Students and teachers both need to be protected from laws that might cause them to be at risk legally. The right to express one's self through cyber space is important. However, it must not be forgotten that there are issues that must be taken care of, and these are ones like issues of false identities, plagiarism, etc.

Due to the fact that teachers and students both are susceptible to be tricked through distance learning it is important that both sides are aware of the chances they may be taking by breaking ethical codes. It is vital that online institutions set up their institutions with a rigid policy on expectations from both students and teachers who are affiliated with the institution. If an individual has breeched the codes of conduct laid down by the institution they may be liable to face severe penalties. Examples of penalties for students and teachers are disqualification and termination of services respectively.

Besides issues of plagiarism under which students may be penalized there are other forms of cheating that are also prohibited. These are ones like getting someone else to do the examination. Teachers too may be penalized for wrongly judging students by using inappropriate assessment schemes. These are things that have to be supervised or safe guarded by practices that minimize the chances of them taking place.

It is advised that institutions should implement evaluation strategies that will give him or her clear insight to the situation and standard of the school. A head of school has very often been compared to a driver who uses the evaluations as signals. Such evaluation may also be used to determine the competency of teachers, and hence lead them to being promoted. However, it must be noted here that the process of evaluation should not be considered as the basis for decision-making.

Therefore, evaluation should be considered as a major but not the only tool in decision-making. There are other things to be considered, and these have to be done over a period of time. A teacher cannot really be evaluated in a day. If this were the case then we would be able to tell in a relatively short period of time who is fit for the educational institution and who isn't. Hence, educational institutions have had to make sure that they have a specialized body to deal with this part of running the institution. Most of the bodies required for these are from the institutions themselves. And they have the administrators as the supervising figures. Hence, the school itself governs them. This may reflect in the results of the evaluation, and it is for this reason that some are of the view that it is better to have non-institutional models implemented for evaluation.

The relationship that exists between the educational system and the assessment institution is considered to be one that is the cause of the standard of education improving. It is also said "to improve the quality of teaching, the scope of evaluation must be expanded." Evaluation institutions may consist of "evaluation agencies, foundations, research departments, etc.," and these need not be dependent on the education authority (Azcutia, 1999). The more of these departments that the evaluation institution consists of, the better it is for the overall evaluation. This makes the evaluation more accurate for decision-making, as the net of evaluation spreads out more. This is because of the various approaches that the evaluation institutions have now adopted (Barnes, 1999).

In institutional models of evaluation, there is a wide range of departments that can be used to evaluate the educational institution. This is seen as an advantage, because within the staff, the administration can designate a group of employees to evaluate the teaching staff under specific guidelines.

In non-institutional models, this is limited, and will be carried out according to the policies of the non-institutional models. This is the advantage that the non-intuitional models have over institutional ones. This is because of the way the latter educational administration relates to the evaluation institution, which means that the relationship that exists between the two may influence the results of the evaluation. Hence, this is not a hundred percent way to decide if a teacher is fit for an organization or not.

Autonomy of approaches to evaluation is approached in two ways. The first is that the educational system is evaluated according to its efficiency. This includes the way that the institution is run according to the resources spent on education, measuring the outcome. The outcome is measured as the amount of knowledge that a student that a student might appear to have. S/he may have a wide range of knowledge of many topics in a particular subject, and this is the quantity of knowledge that the students may be given in a school. Thus the income (finance) is compared to the amount of knowledge (quantity). Income refers to the amount of finance that the parents or guardians may have put towards the student's education.

The second approach is a pedagogical (educational) approach. The output is not of prime importance, as most of the aspects considered are given weighting according to their importance or what their importance should be. The things that are considered include: the educational administration itself, the management and organization of schools, the teachers, the pupils, the curriculum, the teaching methodologies, etc. Thus it is the quality of teaching that is what this method aims at exposing (Azcutia, 1999). By quality, it is not the amount of knowledge that the student may have over a wide range of topics. Quality refers to the in-depth knowledge that students have been given by their teacher. This means that the teacher has gone into a quality, in depth discussion, and has made the student understand everything properly.

These two approaches (efficiency or quantity and quality) do not go hand in glove, so then how does the evaluation procedure really go, and how much autonomy do the evaluation institutions really enjoy?

Evaluation Systems may be based on:

Both evaluative and professional development processes,

Self-directed professional development for teachers,

Clear criteria and standards, supporting the Show-Me Standards, student performance and assessment,

Clear procedures for the evaluation of performance,

An emphasis on training for both teachers and administrators and collaborative process which is necessary for the development of a learning community (Cyrs, 1997)

Evaluation using the students:

Students are an immensely important source of feedback that can… [END OF PREVIEW]

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