Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Instructional Uses of Internet Services by Sultan Qaboos University Faculty Members (Part I)

Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Instructional Uses of Internet Services by Sultan Qaboos University Faculty Members (Part I)

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The possible influences of computer technology in education extend further than the Internet. Nevertheless, the Internet's recent quick expansion implies that its usage by lecturers and students should move jointly. Letting students to get into lessons and courses on flexible program of study through Internet can facilitate and enhance the sharing and structuring of knowledge. If institutions of higher education respect their employees and students; and their needs, they have to put forward the finest feasible instruction, in a huge available way, with the utmost flexibility to satisfy individual requirements. Internet usage is foreseen to develop the learning setting by strengthening student communication and access to different learning resources, allowing greater amalgamation of assessment with learning and assist staff to work more effectively.

Applications of different technologies need to be evaluated so that decision makers and potential users are fully informed. Research on the application of the Internet to the learning environment is growing but still somewhat limited e.g. Dyrli, 1994; Gallo and Horton, 1994; Kongshem, 1994; Carmona, 1995; Adams and Bonk, 1995; Schauder, 1994; Bruce 1995; Klobas, 1996; Fitterman, 1996; Lazinger and others 1997; Ken, 1997; Falba, 1998; Kelly, 1998; and Becker, 2000.

However, the potential outcomes of some research show increased faculty comfort with use of technology, and consequently, the improved effectiveness of online teaching (Cravener, 1999). In addition, Vodanovich and Piotrowski (1999) found that faculty members believed that specific benefits to using the Internet for teaching-related activities were greater than its shortcoming ... "Indeed, they saw the Internet to be quite effective for instructional uses". However, "it appears prudent for academic institutions to provide faculty incentives and skill-based training" (Vodanovich and Piotrowski, 1999).

Distance education, cross-cultural, technological options and integration issues for on-line learning are all discussed in Collis, 1994. "If web-based teaching and learning are to become the norm, then distance learning programs will have to be valued by the institution so that faculty who engage in distance education are rewarded for their activities" (Cravener, 1998). Bailey and Cotler (1994) argue that the Internet is a cost-effective method for providing learning improvements for students. The Internet thus becomes a potentially important tool in the creation of a collaborative professional culture among the teachers of a school." Utilizing the Internet would also improve student opportunities for interactions with staff. This was expected to be achieved through an Internet question and answer facility. Staff and students have greater flexibility (in time, place and pace) in asking and answering (e.g. Teehankee [1996] and William, 1997). Cravener (1998) comments that "asynchronous communication technologies provide opportunities for more frequent and timely interactions between students and faculty". In addition, using the Internet in the tertiary setting improves students' professional skills (e.g. Kent, 1996).

Although Coomber (1997) calls to understand Internet technical limitations on survey research, he states that "using the Internet as a tool for survey research offers exciting new possibilities to the research". He concludes that "researchers that are aware of the problems presented by doing survey research via the Internet and who apply themselves appropriately, can, and I am sure will, increasingly carry out important research via this medium". This finding is corroborated by the work of Watt (2000) who concludes that "Internet survey research is not appropriate for all populations and all projects, but for many applications it provides definite advantages" ... "Internet questionnaires can be used to supplement traditional quantitative data collection methods as a way of reducing the overall cost of a project or as the beginning of a migration to all-Internet surveys in the future". …

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