Effective Web Design and Core Communication Issues: The Mission Components in Web-Based Distance Education

By Brush, Randall O. | Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Winter 2001 | Go to article overview

Effective Web Design and Core Communication Issues: The Mission Components in Web-Based Distance Education


Brush, Randall O., Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia


The majority of the literature on web-based distance education (WBDE) focuses on learning styles, teaching methods, the effectiveness of WBDE as an educational medium, or on converting existing, traditional course materials to a webbased format. There is a gap in the literature dealing with core communications issues. Basic issues such as sender! source, message, transmitter, receiver, and feedback as they relate to design on the World Wide Web (WWW or Web) are conspicuously absent from the literature. Through published literature and personal observation, this article explores those aspects, the unique design problems associated with WBDE, and basic web design principles that can help overcome them.

**********

Distance education (DE) has been in existence for many years. Delivery of course content has come in several forms ranging from mail ordered course materials and classes by telephone, to computer-based instruction on CD ROM and floppy disk. In all of its varying forms, DE has historically been viewed as a limited extension of traditional university instruction targeted to a very small and highly specialized group of students.

Today, The World Wide Web (WWW or Web) is changing that point of view. DE delivered by way of the Internet, called Web-Based Distance Education (WBDE), is forcing colleges and universities around the world to re-evaluate their traditional models of instruction. New technologies and theories of instruction are converging to form new distance learning environments that are every bit as effective and enriching as classroom-based instruction. At the same time, "The shift to knowledge-based economies...demands greater access to higher education and promotes the need for life long learning" (Taylor, 1999). Educational technology specialists, Michal Belier and Ehud Or (1998), added that: "As a result, there is an increasing demand for a flexible learning framework, one that does not tie the learner down to a specific time or place." The needs of this new market of nontraditional students, and the ability of WBDE to effectively serve that need, are at the heart of this change.

While much research has been conducted on the topic of WBDE, very little information is available regarding the core communications issues involved with the delivery of WBDE content. As a communications medium, the Web presents many challenges to effective message delivery not encountered in traditional instructional environments or in print publications. Effective web design is essential to the development of a successful WBDE course. It is also the element that is most often overlooked when a university undertakes the development of an online course.

INTERNET COMMUNICATIONS

Using the Internet as a communications medium for educational purposes poses some unique challenges. In traditional classroom-based instruction, the communication is source-based. The instructor (source) directs the flow of information in both form and time. In WBDE, the opposite is true. The communication is receiver-based. The students (receivers) initiate the communication when they want, for how long they want, in what order they want, and in what form they want. This is very unlike other forms of communication. In television and radio, for example, the communication is released at a set time and is delivered in a format that is not controllable by the receiver. When the broadcast ends, the information is no longer available to the receiver. With Internet communication, the receiver controls all of these variables, and maintains access to all of the information all of the time.

The elements of Internet communications are unique enough to merit an examination of the appropriateness of traditional communication models. The applications of the source, message, transmitter, receiver, and feedback elements of traditional communication models do not apply to Internet communications the same way they do to other forms of communication. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Effective Web Design and Core Communication Issues: The Mission Components in Web-Based Distance Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.