Article Summary: Read-Only Participants: A Case for Student Communication in Online Classes
As technology advances more and more, computers and internet have become more accessible, affordable, and ever so popular in recent times. With easy accessibility to internet, the online learning environment is a growing trend. Schools all over the nation offer online programs and fast earning degrees. Students from different demographics and age groups fill online classrooms making it even more popular. However, with such diversity in the classroom how does the instructor control communication in the classroom? Does the lack of participation from fellow students influence the learning environment? What are some of the different types of students often found in the online classes environment? This article will summarize the main points found in a research based on a case study prepared by Nagel, Blignaut, and Cronjé.
With extensive research, investigation, and observations Nagel et. al.(2007) put together an article highlighting the importance of communication in the online classes. Noticing a significant drop-out rate in online classes, they were determined to research what affected this rate and which aspects of the online classes were setting students behind. The authors used different methods to gather data to support their findings, and used different articles to incorporate their research and back up their conclusions. In order to analyze student participation they "presented an 8 week course on web-based distance learning to Masters students on a computer-integrated education course at the University of Pretoria" (Nagel et. al., 2007, p.41). Matriculated in this course were students from a diverse background and different age groups ranging from 30 to 50 years old.
Throughout this 8 week course Nagel et. al.(2007) were able to observe and evaluate students from different perspectives. The authors used the different tools provided online in order to analyze...
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