Educational Technology in Alternative Delivery System

Educational Technology in Alternative Delivery System
Educational Technology in Alternative Delivery System

Alternative delivery system (ADS) or distance education is an educational approach which includes the use of technology-mediated communication as a means of teaching and learning. ADS has grown significantly in recent years, and it is estimated that worldwide more than 15 million students are currently enrolled in programs delivered this way.

There are many benefits to online higher education, such as cost savings, accessibility to students around the world, flexibility in course selection and scheduling, ease of access via mobile devices and laptops/notebooks. Additionally there are some concerns about how the use of technology may be changing the traditional face-to-face relationship between teachers and students in college classrooms.

 

In many cases a “traditional” campus environment has been replaced with a virtual campus which is designed to mimic, as close as possible, the on-campus experience. New, more affordable technologies are continually being developed and purchased by institutions of higher education to support their online programs.

 

The use of technology in the delivery of distance education results in many changes to traditional educational practices. Distance education students are no longer limited to learning at specified times, but can learn at any time and place that is most convenient for them.

 

For example, a student may choose to study over the weekend while watching television or while in line at the grocery store. A student may also choose to study while traveling on a business trip.

 

The traditional classroom environment is replaced by an online environment. The instructor and students are separated by the use of live video-feed and audio, as opposed to the physical presence of instructors and students. Additionally, the instructor can respond to questions or comments that are communicated through live video or audio communication.

 

In some cases, instructors take the role of a “virtual assistant” during the course of a discussion session where they serve as an extension of their students’ questions and comments. In other cases, instructors may simply respond via e-mail or text messaging when students have submitted questions or feedback about topics being discussed in class.

 

The amount of technology used in online courses varies widely, but it is estimated that more than 60% of all distance education programs utilize some form of email or messaging.

 

Additionally, over 90% of all distance education programs utilize web-based applications. Other commonly used technologies include real-time video conferencing systems and collaborative learning environments.

 

The use of technology in the classroom is not limited to the use of e-mail or instant messaging systems or collaboration software such as Blackboard Collaborate or WebCT.

 

Teachers and students can leave comments on posts on a “virtual white board”. They can also take notes by typing in comments or writing in a note field on the screen.

 

Image: Pexels

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