The role of synchronous communication in fully distance education
AbstractThe issue of whether distance education can fulfil the needs of learners has been much discussed in the literature. It is generally felt that there are two key facets to an educational context which are vital to the process of education, one is the building of a community within a group and a second is the deep understanding of ideas and issues that are presented as part of a course. This paper shows how both these aspects of learning can be facilitated through a number of different online tools in the context of fully distance Masters education. It argues further that synchronous tools are more effective for the 'social' side of education and that asynchronous tools are better at dealing with the 'academic' aspects of the course.
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