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Defining the Requirements for the Next Generation Asynchronous Computer Mediated Communications System for Use in Online Education: A Faculty Perspective

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2 Author(s)
Cohen, M.S. ; Graduate Sch. of Comput. & Inf. Sci., Nova Southeastern Univ., Fort Lauderdale, FL ; Ellis, T.J.

Distance education courses at all academic levels and throughout all disciplines are increasingly being offered by educational institutions. Over 1300 colleges and universities offer degree programs using an online modality. The literature contains several thousand articles comparing online to face-to-face education or discussing various pedagogical strategies for online education. Despite this widespread acceptance, the online learning environment is still quite immature. The software constituting the environment has largely been developed in an ad hoc fashion. Design decisions were largely based on the limitations inherent in the technology rather than user needs and requirements. The development and implementation of most commercial learning management systems have followed a one-size-fits-all approach. This rather casual methodology is inadequate for the broad range of courses now being offered online. This paper is a follow-up of work presented at FIE 2005 in which the development of a requirements specification for an effective asynchronous computer mediated communications system from the student's perspective was reported. This research employed a similar Delphi Process using eight experienced online instructors. An initial list of 39 potential characteristics for the ideal environment, brainstormed by the expert panel in the first round of the process was refined to 37 criteria split into five broad categories

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 36th Annual

Date of Conference:

27-31 Oct. 2006