Web-based distance education is becoming more and more popular in particular for part-time educations primarily because it flexibly adapts to a busy life where family and work has first priority. Students can follow the course without wasting precious time traveling to and from campus several evenings a week, and participation can take place also in situations where it would otherwise be impossible (e.g. a sick child or a business trip). However, these advantages don't come for free: the students lose the social relations following from face-to-face contact with the lecturer and teaching assistant as well as the other students. Another serious drawback is the reduced bandwidth in communication among the different actors. Precautions have to be taken in order to compensate for these and other drawbacks. We describe a web-based introductory programming course for adults and the rationale for choosing technologies and organizing the course in order to compensate for the drawbacks inherent in this kind of teaching. Our conclusions, although presented in the context of an introductory programming course, holds for most other construction-based courses as well. In the first part we set the stage by describing the relevant context and identifying the special conditions stemming from the course being an introductory programming course. In the second part we present a thorough discussion of the consequences of converting to a webbased course. Based on these consequences, we discuss what is meant by flexibility and how to achieve it. We argue for our choices and define our goals for the transition to a web-based course. Finally we outline how we have planned to evaluate the efforts; the result of this evaluation will be published in a following paper.
Proccedings of Icool 2003, 2003
Main Research Area:
International Conference on Open and Online Learning