Technological Approach to Business Education: webCT Application

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

WebCT has attracted the attention of many individuals around the world, including that of educators and trainers. Despite all the interest, there has not been much research to support claims for the effectiveness of WebCT instruction. This study provides evidence that WebCT is an effective learning and teaching instrument that brings several dimensions together including interactive, collaborative and critical learning techniques. This study finds that WebCT provides an effective learning environment for students with different learning styles and creates numerous benefits for many diverse groups including nontraditional, physically impaired or disabled, or culturally deprived students.

INTRODUCTION

Technological developments like the World Wide Web, CD applications, WebCT, and other multimedia tools are new means for teaching and learning. The compelling evidence shows that with the advancement of instructional technology in education the teaching duties in higher education are changing. For example, in business education, technology instruction has become an integral part of the instructional process. Its goal has been to create learning environments that are flexible, dynamic, and capable of responding to a wide variety of individual needs and learning styles through the use of advanced media techniques. There is no denying that Web-based courses open new educational access to nontraditional and geographically dispersed students. The online setting provides a level of flexibility and convenience not provided by traditional classroom courses. However, effective Web-based teaching requires responsible and motivated students whose aims are to learn and enhance their cognitive reasoning.

Recently, business students have been expected to become comfortable with the new network-based global economy. Businesses are hoping that one way to learn about the new world economy is from recent business school graduates. To educate the business student about the global network economy it is desirable and logical that the student's education, at least partially, utilize network-based technology. WebCT allows students to become familiar with network technology and learn their traditional material in an interactive online environment. In fact, WebCT is used by more than 2,500 institutions in 81 countries, and is available in 10 major world languages. It is currently used by The French National Center for Distance Learning, the Japanese National Institute of Multimedia Education, and two Australian territories (WebCT, 2002).

This paper discusses how to embrace technological tools in the name of modernity, efficiency, and effectiveness through the development, structure, and use of WebCT in teaching business courses. In this paper we illustrate how the use of WebCT can contribute to cost-effectiveness of learning, bridge the gap between the textbook and other learning resources, and improve the quality of the students' learning outcome. In particular, we examine the areas of critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making ability, aptitude for detail, oral and written communication, knowledge of information, and ability to organize and analyze. The increasing dependency of business education upon WebCT instruction seems inevitable, because it helps meet the needs of students for greater individualism of instruction and greater relevance of subject matter in a more global, competitive, and challenging business world.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Higher education has begun to respond to the challenges of the new instruction paradigm in part by developing a strong technology component. Availability of an improved infrastructure and an increasing variety of course development tools encourages faculty to develop online or WebCT courses. New aspects of online and WebCT instruction are directed toward improving learning by reducing time, labor, and costs. The most attractive benefit to faculty members is a technological instrument that improves the quality of their teaching and the cognitive learning of their students. …