Communication Technologies in an Online Environment: Facilitating Electronic Interaction, Collaboration, and Constructivism

M.B. Yoder (USA)


Online Education and Training, E-Pedagogy, Innovative Teaching and Learning, and Best Practices of Web-based Education


Using current and emerging technologies, such as podcasts, blogs, conferencing tools, and virtual worlds, can expand student and faculty interaction, improving both the content and the effectiveness of both online and traditional class formats. An overview of educational philosophers indicates that these forward thinking technologies can promote the best of the tested theories in ways that were never before possible. Podcasts can provide reinforcement and clarification of the learning experience. Blogs can be vehicles for documenting factual material as well as expressing creative and original thinking. Real time conferencing tools can support meetings, collaborative projects, mentoring, and tutoring. Virtual worlds show promise in education particularly among traditional age students who have grown up in an electronic culture. Research has shown that communication tools, used thoughtfully in a constructivist teaching setting, can contribute to effective learning, higher student satisfaction rates and increased retention. Examples and suggestions are based on ten years of efforts by Lesley University faculty to find the most educationally sound, administratively efficient, and financially viable way to offer outstanding online learning experiences.

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