Teaching on the WWW: Assignment Focus and Information Indexing
Roy Rada (School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Washington State University, USA)
Abstract: Seventeen students completed a course in which no face-to-face meetings and no paper exchanged hand. All information was shared either on the WWW or by email. In the first few weeks, extensive email dialogue occurred about the method of learning but after that the students focused exclusively on the content of the course. The first readings and exercises gave the students much freedom of choice but that proved too much freedom for the students. They preferred the assignment to be highly focused. The automatic indexing of email by the Hypermail program needed to be augmented with manual indexing by the teacher. This indexing and generally managing the email was the most time consuming aspect of the teaching, but in the end this was less demanding on the teacher than would have been a traditional course. The students rated the course as an above-average learning experience.
Keywords: Internet, WWW, classroom, distance education, educational applications, email, groupware, human-computer interaction