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Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal Brandon Hardwick, Cory Inman, Dennis Meacham, Colin Miller, Megan Neal

Mr. Harrell English Composition I 27 November 2013 Distance Learning is No Longer on the D.L. Have you ever thought about how difficult it would be to attend a class full of high school students, without a teacher? The teacher would be on a television screen and the only way they could hear you is when you pressed a microphone button. This is something more and more students are experiencing each and every day. And its called distance learning. Distance learning is a method of studying in which lectures are broadcasted via television or the internet. All course-work is turned in online or delivered by a courier. At the University of Akron, this is known as the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program, in which students can gain college credit while receiving their high school credit for that same class. Distance learning classrooms are linked with interactive, multimedia technology and are equipped with state-of-the-art instructional equipment. Therefore, instructors teaching from Courier: someone who delivers students assignments, papers, etc. to and from the college that they are doing the distance learning program with.


Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal these classrooms have all types of instructional media at their disposal. Instructors also have the ability to view multiple remote classrooms at a time. Students have the option of staying at their high school (if a distance learning lab is available) and watch the lecture via television, or go to the campus and attend the class in person. When a student is in a distance learning class, everything the professor does on the Smart Board is translated onto the distance sites Smart Board. Anytime a student needs to speak, they hit the microphone button attached to their table and all the students in the other schools attending the distance learning class can hear them. The main components that drive a distance learning lab are: A Television - This is used to show a live feed of the Smart Board: is a line of interactive whiteboards in which you can write on and interact on the web with. Its basically a large desktop touchscreen.


professor and the other distance learning labs to the students. These TVs are usually very large and very expensive. Without these the students would not be able to see their professor during the class. An Interactive Whiteboard (Smart Board) - This is

probably the most important part of the distance learning lab. This allows the students to connect to their professors smart board through a program called See and Share. This program allows the students to view exactly what is on the professors

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal

interactive whiteboard and even allows students to use their board to interact with the professors. This allows the professor to share information with his/her students just as if the teacher was physically in the class. Cameras - The cameras allow the students to see the professor, vice versa, and other

distance learning labs when they talk. Microphones - In a distance learning lab there are about a dozen microphones, one at

every table and one at the front of the room. The students just tap a button on any microphone and the camera will zoom in on them so that people know they are the ones who are talking. Touch Screen Monitor - The touch screen monitor has many different functions that the

professor can control, but from the distance learning labs the students can only control the volume with their monitor. Here is an example of what a distance learning lab may look like:

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal Those televisions, mircophones and Smart Boards are what make remote classrooms become one. They are what make several students get ahead in their college journey and figure out if college is the right thing for them, before investing thousands of dollars into it. Although this is a great way for students to get a head start in college, get a taste of what college is like and help gain responsibility, there are a lot of downsides to distance learning as well. Ultimately, distance learning can be very beneficial but it can also be very detrimental if one not prepared and informed about it. As distance learning students ourselves, we would love to help students get familier with the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning. First, we will start with the advantages. Advantages to distance learning include: Strengthening the high school curriculum and raising expectations for high school students. Reducing the total number of credits needed to be earned in college. Potentially reducing the time required for the baccalaureate and costs to parents, students and taxpayers.

Baccalaureate: Smart Board: a college bachelors degree. Undergraduate:

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal Enriching the undergraduate college curriculum by lessening the need to take introductory courses, consequently allowing earlier entry into advanced courses, facilitation of double majors, or permitting additional electives. In the article, Distance Learning: Teaching Hands-On Skills at a Distance, Steve C. Hsiung and Walter F. Deal III list the benefits of distance learning: Flexibility - Students may access training and learning materials at convenient times. They can read and respond to email at home in the evening or other times. Assignments may be completed around work schedules and submitted via email, a course management system (CMS/LCMS), or an assignment center on a class website. Effectiveness - This is one of the most frequently asked questions. Distance learning has been found to be as effective as traditional face-to-face classroom instruction when there is timely teacher-to-student feedback (Marquart & Kearsley, 1999). Undergraduate: a student attending a college who has not yet received their bachelors degree. Course Management System: is an e-learning education system based on the web that models, virtually, different classes' content; tests, homework, grades, assessments, etc.


Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal Efficient - Studies have also shown that technology-based training takes much less time to complete relative to classroom instruction. This is significant in that instruction can be delivered at a lower cost if less time is needed. Multisensory Experiences - There are a wide range of multimedia tools available to create instructional materials to display text, graphics, animation, video, and interactive simulations. In this context, students can be presented with a wide variety of engaging activities and learning strategies: that meet individual learning needs. Interactivity - Distance learning can provide a high degree of interactivity by using conferencing strategies via email, chat, electronic conference rooms, and video conferencing and I-simulations. Affordability - Many forms of distance learning involve little or no cost in accessing online courses. Almost all students have personal computers and are connected to the Internet, thus providing a major means of accessing a distance learning program. Tuition I-simulations: devices that can imitate the behavior of the internet. Such as a Smart Board.


Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal

costs can be lower because of the reduced need for physical classrooms and other traditional classroom resources. However, expansion or increasing the technology infrastructure may be needed (37). In the article, E-Learning for Interpreting, Maria J. Blasco Mayor and Amparo Jimenez Ivars also explain just how beneficial distance learning can be:

The students take on a leading role in the learning process and this makes them far more responsible towards it. They also feel very motivated. We believe that this is a good way to implement the learner-centred method, which is currently being strongly emphasized in studies on education. (Leonard 1999, Markel 1999, Zhang 1998). The teacher becomes, more than ever, a learning facilitator, who acts as an assessor, organizer, guide or moderator rather than just transmitting knowledge (296).

This proves how much one can gain from a distance learning setting. Although this proves a lot, there are still disadvantages to distance learning. Now we are going to explore the negative side to distance learning.

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal The first disadvantage to distance learning is the lack of feedback. For some forms of

distance learning, teachers do not communicate to the student or provide a lot of feedback. Some classes are purely online and you have little interaction. This kind of online education is a disadvantage because there is minimal push for improvement. Students rely on feedback to better themselves and improve what they may have been doing wrong, which they carry on with them to future classes. Without feedback, students are repeating their mistakes and never bettering themselves. Teacher interaction is extremely important in a students education and some forms of distance learning may not be able to provide that.

Another disadvantage to distance learning is lack of social interaction. Being on a computer for several hours a day does not improve a students social skills. Teenagers need interaction with friends and classmates because they help shape who they are and who they are going to become. Classmates also help when it comes to reviewing each others work and giving feedback on how to improve it. Classmates can provide information and different views when the teacher may not be able to. Online classes and distance learning can lack in the improvement of social skills and useful interactions.

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal Another disadvantage to distance learning is the constant need for technology. The use of computers and other technologies is essential for distance learning. However, computers are not the easiest things to use and dont always work or cooperate when you really need them to. They can have a lot of malfunctions and problems. Computer problems can prevent a student from being able to turn in completed assignments or print them for a courier. Technology is expensive, and computers with the software you will need can cost over three hundred dollars. Not only does distance learning require more than just standard equipment, but the equipment needs to be able to have internet connection as well. During all scheduled classes, the computer needs to be able to have a connection to an internet source, the schools Wi-Fi. This is not as easy as it may seem because connections come and go due to the lack of reliability of a connection. A family may also have financial burdens, preventing them from being able to pay for internet every month. For some families this can be quite expensive. Although distance learning may not cost a lot initially, the cost of technologies that you will need for the class, such as a laptop, can become very expensive, especially when they break and need to be replaced. Lets not forget about technology within the classroom; it can malfunction too, Wi-Fi: a facility that allows computers, smartphones, laptops, etc. to connect to the internet within a particular area.


Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 10 of course. This can be another problem because the students at that malfunctioning distance learning lab may miss class and fall behind. However, a solution has already been created for this problem. During a distance learning class, all classrooms are constantly being recorded by a video camera, even the professors classroom. This is convenient because students can go back and watch recorded classes if they miss a class or if a technical difficulty at their school prevents them from viewing the class. Although solutions are being made, it is still an expensive process.

The last disadvantage to distance learning is the need for motivation and responsibility, when some students have neither. Students normally have teachers telling them to do their work and turn it in on time. However, with distance learning, all of the assignments are self-motivated. This is a challenge for some students because they arent motivated to do their homework in the first place; and of course, lack of motivation results in incomplete coursework and a bad grade in not only that college class, but the high school grade and credit you are receiving too. It also takes a lot of responsibility for the student to remember what homework they have and when it needs to be completed and turned in by. Motivation and responsibility are the key to success in a

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 11 distance learning setting. So if you lack motivation and responsibility, distance learning will not be right for you. Distance learning has advantages and disadvantages just like every form of education. The advantages overcome the disadvantages though, and overall, distance learning is a great program. The aspect of distance learning has been around for over a decade and has made great changes from when it was first introduced. Today, distance learning labs look like something out of a Science Fiction movie, with huge screens to see the professor, microphones to talk to him/her, an interactive whiteboard, and even a touch screen monitor to control settings. Twenty years ago this would have seemed quite impossible, but our world has made a great advance in technology. These advances have had positive effects on many aspects of our society; the biggest without a doubt being education. Take a second and think of how differently school was taught before the computer. The only thing to write on was paper, not a Smart Board, and the only way to get information was from a textbook, not an iPhone. When was the last time you used a textbook (that wasnt online) as a source for an essay? Electronic sources are what drive our generation. In our world today, everyone is hooked on technology, the internet Electronic Sources: formats of information using computer technology. By using a newspaper or magazine online, you are using an electronic source.


Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 12 and instant gratification so the thought of a technology driven classroom is perfect. Technology in the class can be a very controversial topic at times. Some students dont believe that distance learning is the best way to get an education. However, the majority of students will say nothing but positive things about distance learning classes. Mikayla Yurik, a junior at Buckeye High School, answered a few questions on how she feels about distance learning and its technology. Here is the interview:

Q: What was your first impression when you walked into the distance learning lab? A: At first I was kind of intimidated. I didnt know how attending a class without a teacher in front of me would work. I am not very good with computer either so the whole technology part was also intimidating. Q: After becoming familiar with the room and how it worked, did the technology aspect help or hurt you in your studies? A: Well it defiantly didnt hurt me. Even though I was unsure about the distance learning idea at first, now I believe it was the best decision for me. It only took me a week or so to be able to understand how everything worked, and most of the room runs its self. Q: Would you recommend distance learning classes to your friends? A: Absolutely. I have actually already mentioned it to a few of my junior friends and they are considering taking class through Akron next year.

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 13 Distance learning is a very unique experience for any student. There is no other class or school activity that compares to the college webcam classroom. Because of its individuality, there are an incredible amount of factors that go into the success of students involved in distance learning. These factors include everything from the technology in the classroom, to the professors teaching style. However, one of the most imperative elements is simply the students themselves. Every student across the entire world has a specific set of learning tendencies that allows them to achieve the greatest success in the classroom. Distance learning not only challenges these tendencies but it may be detrimental for students success in certain cases. Obviously, the way the student naturally learns affects that same students success, especially the distinct distance learning environment. By understanding how these unique learning abilities will affect success in such a classroom, we can inform and enable potential distance learning students to make the right decision when deciding to enter the program or not. The first area to look at when determining the success of a student in this sensitive setting is the ability to be sufficient when it comes to completing school work and learning in the classroom. As previously mentioned, the Webcam classroom: another term for a distance learning class. DEFINITIONS

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 14 distance learning atmosphere is unlike any other that students experience in high school. In high school, the teachers are in person and students have the ability to ask questions or make visits with the teacher whenever they choose and without the other students hearing the conversation. If you have a question on a homework, paper, or project, you can visit the teachers classroom and have a face-to-face conversation. However, this is far from the case in the distance learning program. Granted, with most professors, you can contact them in some way, whether that be through text or email, but it is not nearly the same experience as receiving one on one teaching instruction from your high school teachers. To be a student in a distance learning classroom, one must be able to solve problems and learn certain concepts without receiving in person tutoring from the teachers, as well as have independence in a classroom setting. This model provides a small glimpse into the process that will lead to success in any student. We can apply these steps and theories directly to distance learning and use it to determine success in the distance learning environment that we are talking about.

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 15 This model provides a couple of very relevant and important attributes that would be necessary for the success of students within the rare environment of distance learning. As shown in the bottom right of the model, focus is very important to successful learning. It is even more necessary in distance learning though, because it is solely the students in the classroom. There is no authority figure at the distance learning cites. Therefore, a student must display very good focus and self-control to be able to achieve success. Some students cannot attain a good level of focus in their high school classes, which would lead one to conclude that distance learning is not for everyone. In the distance learning sites, students may have professors that dont take attendance, so some students decide to leave lectures which can lead to a poor grade. This college level unique atmosphere requires even more concentration than high school. The last aspect of student learning in the distance learning environment is the different ways in which every student learns. As many studies have shown, every human learns the best in a certain way. These specific ways are listed below:

Kinetic Visual Auditory

Kinetic learners achieve and understand the most when they take part in hands-on experiences. They process concepts quicker when they not only see it, but take part in an experiment that proves it to them. In the perspective of distance learning, the kinetic way of learning is not very apparent. There is limited, to almost no, hands-on experience in distance

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 16 learning. Therefore, students who havent identified themselves with this type of learning process should most likely take some extra time and precaution before entering the program. Not to say that it is impossible to be successful as a kinetic learner in this environment, but it is something that the student needs to be aware of upon entering the program. Visual learners comprehend information the best when they can physically see the information they are given. There are parts of a distance learning class that would go well with this type of learning but there are still some negatives. During class, there is very little opportunity for visual learning. There are times when the smart board is used, but obviously, the teacher is not physically in the room with you, which limits visual aids such as worksheets and notes. The slight positive for visual learners with the distance learning experience is that there are some rubrics and visual aids that are put on online classroom websites that would help visual learning participants. Lastly, auditory learners take in information the best through simply listening to people talk. This style of learning works the best with distance learning. Most of the news that students need to comprehend and process are distributed through communication of the voice. Auditory learners would have the best chance of thriving in the distance environment because the class is dominated by auditory communication. You have to think about what type of learner you are. There are aspects in distance learning that help each type of learner but some types of learning are more prominent than others in this distance setting. You must think about what type of learner you are when thinking about participating in distance learning.

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 17 Distance learning is a great way to get ahead in college, however, everything has its negative side. In distance learning, you may feel isolated, or intimidated by the massive amount of technology, or the distance in between yourself and the professor. You may also need to purchase a computer or have an internet plan for your house, in order to submit assignments from home. This could be an extra expense on your family, but the courses you take through the university can be free. There are great benefits to distance learning: including the ability to explore the college world at a younger age, get an idea of what you would enjoy majoring in, and get a sense of what college courses are like. This can help ease your transition from high school into the college world. It can also benefit you by giving you a more challenging course than what you would be offered from your high school. You can also receive duel credit for college and your high school which means you can receive college credit for courses that are required to graduate high school. Ultimately, there are positive and negative aspects of distance learning, just like everything else in life. It is very important for a student to get informed about it before jumping into it. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning should make the decision much easier. Now, its time for you to decide; is distance learning right for you? Whatever you may decide, distance learning can be very beneficial.

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 18 Works Cited Battles, Kerri. Distance Learning Classroom. 2012. Wasserman Media Center, Texas. Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Web. 25 November 2013. Hsiung, Steve C. And Deal III, Walter F. "Distance Learning: Teaching Hands-On Skills at a Distance." Technology and Engineering Teacher. 72.5 (February 2013): 36-41. Web. 13 November 2013. Klingsieck, Katrin B. and Fries, Stefan and Horz, Claudia and Hofer, Manfred. "Procrastination in a Distance University Setting." Distance Education. 33.3 (November 2012): 295-310. Web. 13 November 2013. Mayor, Maria J. Blasco and Ivars, Amparo Jimenez. E-Learning for Interpreting. Babel. 53.4 (2007): 292-302. Web. 8 November 2013. Postsecondary Enrollment Options Program. UAkron, 2013. Web. 13 November 2013. Subotzky, George and Prinsloo, Paul. Turning the Tide: A Socio- Critical Model and Framework for Improving Student Success in Open Distance Learning at the University of South Africa. Distance Education. 32.2 (2011): 177-193. Web. 17 November 2013. Todhunter, Barrie. "LOL-Limitations of Online Learning- Are We Selling the Open and Distance Education Message Short?" Distance Education. 34.2 (August 2013): 232-252. Web. 12 November 2013. Ward, Jennifer Inez. Alamy. 2013. Guardian News, California. The Guardian. Web. 26 November 2013.

Hardwick, Inman, Meacham, Miller, Neal 19 Watson, Sharon. "Tentatively Exploring the Learning Potentialities of Postgraduate Distance Learners Interactions with Other People in Their Life Contexts." Distance Education. 34.2 (2013): 175-188. Web. 15 November 2013. Webb, Greg. Advantages and Disadvantages of the Internet Learning Environment. 1997. Sydney Institute of Technology, Australia. A Theoretical Framework for Internet-Based Training at Sydney Institute of Technology. Web. 25 November 2013. Yasmin, Dr. "Application of the Classification Tree Model in Predicting Learner Dropout Behaviour in Open and Distance Learning." Distance Education. 34.2 (August 2013): 218-231. Web. 12 November 2013. Yurik, Mikayla. Personal Interview. 18 November 2013.