Thesis: Moore Kearsley

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¶ … Technologies for Teaching at a Distance

Multiple technologies may aid the distance educator in creating optimal course material and engendering student participation. From simple online text-based readings to instant messaging during office hours, technological tools are enhancing the learning process. Yet technology is presenting tremendous challenges for distance educators. Instructors struggle to keep up with emerging technologies even before they have mastered those already in use. Exploring the range of different technologies for teaching at a distance requires many hours of work beyond that which is already required to design the course content, curriculum, and methods of assessment. Technology is increasing the demands placed on instructors at a time when funding and policy in education is floundering.

Technology can be capitalized on to create a more robust distance learning environment in spite of the obstacles facing educational institutions and their staff. One of the most significant advantages of using technology for teaching at a distance is communications software and hardware. Teachers and students can choose to communicate at any time using whatever modes are most appropriate to them. No longer do teachers need to keep regular office hours. Instead, emails allow for asynchronous communications. Instructors can answer student questions in their own time and from a home office as well as from a university. Instant messaging enhances communication between instructor and student as well as between students in the same course. With instant messaging, a whole class can enter a chat room to have engaging debates about course material or so that instructors can field multiple questions at the same time. Instant messaging can and is also used as a way for teachers and their students to interact on a more personal level and for students to express their concerns about course material with privacy. If necessary or desirable, students and teachers engaged in distance learning can use telephone and cellular phones to converse. The advantages of using digital communications tools over traditional communications are immense. Digital communications can be asynchronous and also permit anonymity when privacy is desirable. Instructors and their students no longer need to commit to certain classroom or office hours, because technology eliminates the importance of both time and geographical space in learning.

Web-based technology including access to private scholastic databases enhances distance learning. Instructors can help their students improve research skills while at the same time letting students have access to a wealth of academic and trade resources related to the course. Hypertext allows instructors to direct students to reading materials or databases, saving students trouble and letting them devote more of their time to mastering course content. Instructors may also avail themselves of free Web sites that allow instructors to upload photographic images, videos, audio files and other multimedia content.

Hypertext and other Web-based technologies offer several advantages over traditional materials. Students can more easily customize their learning experience by following links that lead to more in-depth information about sub-topics that are meaningful to them. The non-linear nature of hypertext allows for students with multiple learning styles to master material faster than they would in a traditional reading setting. Difficult texts to read can be broken down into smaller, more manageable pages with ample hyperlinks to define jargon, archaic… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Thesis:

APA Format

Moore Kearsley.  (2008, October 8).  Retrieved July 23, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Moore Kearsley."  8 October 2008.  Web.  23 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Moore Kearsley."  October 8, 2008.  Accessed July 23, 2019.