Open Education Students' Perspectives of Distance Teaching of the Principles of Ataturk and the History of Revolution

Article excerpt

Introduction

Distance education (DE) is a kind education providing educational 1 J opportunities in some areas for people who are not able to participate in face-to-face education. The main characteristic of DE is that learners and instructors are in different places. Because of this characteristic of DE, education can be provided at any place, time and date. Therefore, the popularity of distance education programs has been increasing recently. Instructional activities can be held at predetermined times via technological tools and devices, even though instructors and students are in separate places. Besides this main characteristic, some other important characteristics of DE have been mentioned by Verduin and Clark (1994, in AgaogluImer, & Kurubacak, 2002) as follows:

* Special media devices are used to connect learners and teachers and to communicate the course content.

* Special data procession and communication devices are benefited to provide two-way communication between the learners and the teachers.

* An effective educational management is established for student assessment (p. 45).

According to Kaye (1981), there are three main factors influencing the emergence of student communities attending DE activities. The first one is the demand for higher education that cannot be covered by traditional higher education institutions. In order to cover this demand, distance education approaches have been adopted in many countries. The second factor is the demand for an educated work force in some important fields. This kind of demand can only be covered in effective and cost effective ways by distance education. The third factor is the potential of distance education institutions for providing education to the people who, for a variety of reasons, did not have educational opportunities in the past.

According to Ruzgar (2004), some of the benefits of distance-learning systems used by institutions and corporations are:

* Cost effectiveness of distance education; distance education enables companies and corporations to train more people, more often, and with reduced travel costs. In addition, when distance education systems are already in place, adding new students may not increase cost at all.

* Effectiveness and productivity of distance education; through five and interactive programs/courses with multiple sites interconnected for group learning, learners can be given current knowledge and skills while they stay at their worksite.

* Quality through distance education; by using distance education technologies, access to remote experts around the country and indeed around the world can be made possible, bringing information from the original resources into the classroom. Connecting many students from different sites with instructors/ experts allows the exchange of perspectives on the subjects so that new ways of looking at problems, productivity, motivation, etc. can be achieved (p. 22).

Technological infrastructure has been discussed by some researchers as the heart of the quality of distance education. For example, Ozkul (2001) emphasized the importance of the infrastructure by stating that a high-quality infrastructure of telecommunication and information technology is needed for a powerful distance education system.

As Yazici, Altas, and Demiray (2001) mentioned, different technologies for distance education have been expanding increasingly in order to make distance education a practical option for many higher education institutions. They also stated that via printed materials, television, and current interactive technologies, distance education provides a communication between student and instructor. According to Bates (1998), as an instructional tool, television has potential to give positive motivation by drawing the students' attention. It allows instructors to reach a large mass of students simultaneously. The most unique feature of television is its capability to deliver information to the students, which is not quite possible with other devices. …