Virtual Education

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Virtual Education

Dr. S. BalasubramanianMr. S. Kannan
Former Director – IPRResearch Scholar
Anna University CoimbatoreAnna University Coimbatore


Virtual education is a term describing online education using the Internet. This term is primarily used in higher education where so-called Virtual Universities have been established. Virtual courses – a synonym is online courses – are courses delivered on the Internet. "Virtual" is used here to characterize the fact that the course is not taught in a classroom face-to-face but through some substitute mode that can be associated with classroom teaching. A virtual program (or a virtual course of studies) is a study program in which all courses or at least a significant portion of the courses are virtual courses. Instruction modes for virtual education

Many virtual study programs are mainly text based, using HTML, PowerPoint, or PDF documents. Multimedia technologies have been investigated for many years and eventually found their way into practice. Today a wide spectrum of instruction modes is available, including the following: • Virtual Classroom: A virtual classroom is a learning environment created in the virtual space. The objectives of a virtual classroom are to improve access to advanced educational experiences by allowing students and instructors to participate in remote learning communities using personal computers; and to improve the quality and effectiveness of education by using the computer to support a collaborative learning process. The explosion of the knowledge age has changed the context of what is learnt and how it is learnt – the concept of virtual classrooms is a manifestation of this knowledge revolution. • Hypertext courses: Structured course material is used as in a conventional distance education program. However, all material is provided electronically and can be viewed with a browser. Hyperlinks connect text, multimedia parts and exercises in a meaningful way. • Video-based courses are like face-to-face classroom courses, with a lecturer speaking and Powerpoint slides or online examples used for illustration. Video-streaming technologies is used. Students watch the video by means of freeware or plug-ins (e.g. Windows Media Player, RealPlayer). • Audio-based courses are similar but instead of moving pictures only the sound track of the lecturer is provided. Often the course pages are enhanced with a text transcription of the lecture. • Animated courses: Enriching text-oriented or audio-based course material by animations is generally a good way of making the content and its appearance more interesting. Animations are created using Macromedia Flash or similar technologies. These animations help understand key concepts and also allow for better retention of learning. • Web-supported textbook courses are based on specific textbooks. Students read and reflect the chapters by themselves. Review questions, topics for discussion, exercises, case studies, etc. are given chapterwise on a website and discussed with the lecturer. Class meetings may be held to discuss matters in a chatroom, for example • Peer-to-peer courses are courses taught "on-demand" and without a prepared curriculum. A new field of online education has emerged in 2007 through new online education platforms.

Virtual Education is designed for future applications of virtual reality technology to the field of distance education. Virtual reality is being used for several education uses. Two of the most prominent uses are: advanced simulation training; and virtual education as distance instruction programs evolve with more higher-order Virtual Reality applied science. Virtual reality is, even now, being used to train physicians, aircraft pilots, soldiers, and people in other professions. With respect to distance education, the virtual education revolution is, even now,...
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