Academic journal article Journal of Business and Educational Leadership

Online Education: Progress and Prospects

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Educational Leadership

Online Education: Progress and Prospects

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Internet is perceived as "the outgrowth of US Defense Department work and popular enthusiasts" (Guice, 1998, para. 1). Hence, both engineers and managers in the in the US Defense Department in the 60s through 70s became the driving force of the development of internet as they developed ARPANET (Guice, 1998, para. 8). Consequently, researchers, and academicians in other interdisciplinary fields started using the network. In a brief time line, you will notice that in 1969 the defense department came out with ARPA, which was used by the defense, universities; and in 1970 ARPANET was established, but still limited to defense, universities, and regional networks; NSFNET came into being where email, and other networking; in 1991, National Research and Engineering network (NREN) was established; and, in the recent years access of internet to businesses, university students, technical professionals, primary and secondary students brought the use internet technology for teaching, and learning at the figure tips, where by 1995 the public had access to internet, corporate advertising, and electronic commerce such as internet marketing by eBay, Amazon, PayPal, Billmelater, etc. have persistently taken hold of online trading (Guice, 1998). Apparently, the spread of internet technology hardware has opened varied ways of disseminating education through teaching and learning; and in the mix teaching and learning has been simplified as the learning management systems (LMS) compete for business in schools (Okamoto, Cristea, & Kayama, 2001; Sener, 2010; Fu, 2010).

METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY

As part of qualitative research methodology, this study employed "narrative research" method, where I collected the online education narratives, analyzed the themes found in these narratives (McQueen,& Zimmerman, 2006, p.475); and, based on the analysis I developed the following research questions: (l)What is the definition of online education? (2) What are the gains online education has achieved in terms of teaching and learning technologies? (3) What are some of the technologies driving online teaching learning? (4) What are the benefits of blackboard learning management system? (5) What are the advantages of online education? And, (6) what are the challenges that lay ahead for online? The understanding of the narrative research method was enhanced by "meta interpretation" for the interpretation synthesis of online education by weaving together the discussions of the earlier studies, their findings, and the conclusions (Weed, 2005, para. 1). Also, this study took a deliberate reflection on varied resources on online or internet education, analyzed them, and identified patterns of online education and the use of varied technological tools to determine the gains online education has made, and the challenges ahead (Del Carlo, Hinkhouse, Isbell, 2009).

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

The process of literature review was applied to determine the gains online education has achieved and the challenges ahead by providing answers to the research questions. Below, research questions were restated in terms of topics as shown throughout the study.

The definition of online education

Online education can be viewed as an education that is received through the use of varied technologies. Online education is distance education which utilizes internet based delivery, and employs internet based technologies (Kaya, Kesan, & Izgiol, 2013; Cejda, 2010; Johnson, 2004; Ahem & Repman, 1994). In the internet based delivery, community colleges and universities have relentlessly embarked on online education; where curriculum developers, course administrators have included varied courses in the course shells. Consequently, full time and part time faculty members are contracted to teach courses that may be already prepared, or the courses they collaboratively prepare.

In trying to understand what online education is, Milman (2010) shows other terms used to mean online education as "distance education, distance learning, eleaming, online education, online learning, virtual education, or web-based instruction" (p. …

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