Non-traditional students are finding it easier and easier to maintain a job, a family, and pursuing a college career at the same time. This is possible because more and more non-traditional students are receiving an education using distance learning, as opposed to traditional, in-the-classroom teaching. Distance learning is basically taking college level, credit-bearing courses via the Internet. One of the most obvious advantages of distance learning is that it puts the classroom in your home, office, or wherever you can find a computer and log on to the Internet. However, there is much controversy regarding the quality of the courses being offered on the Internet versus the quality of courses taught in the traditional classroom.
The courses taught in the traditional classroom provide “important aspects of teacher immediacy, which are behaviors that enhance physical and psychological closeness (mehrabian, 1981)” with the student and the instructor. Verbal behaviors such as praising students, addressing them by name and using humor in the class may evoke immediacy. There is also non-verbal immediacy, which is body language such as adopting a relaxed body position, varying one’s vocal expression, moving around in the classroom and smiling while looking at the class (Richmond, Gorham & McCroskey, 1987). This type of behavior allows for a relationship between the student and the instructor to truly develop into something significant. It also allows for the student to develop his or her individuality in the classroom.
Traditional classroom teaching also provides students with the opportunity to have real social interaction with one another. This interaction in turn allow...
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...e learning as effective as learning in the classroom.
Audio Graphic Telecourses for the Web: An Experiment Retrieved (3/17/2000) from the World Wide Web: http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol4/issue2/larose.html
Gorham, J. (1988). The relationship between verbal teacher immediacy behaviors and learning: Monitoring processes and product. Communication Education, 39, 354-368.
Hiltz, S. (1986). The “virtual classroom”: Using computer-mediated communication for university. Journal of Communication, 36(2), 95-104.
Mehrabian, A. (1981) Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of emotions and attitudes (2nd Edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ragsdale, R.G. & Kassam, A. (1994). The magic of multimedia in education: Promises of the 21st Century. In Reisman, S. (ed). Multimedia Computing—Preparing for the 21st Century. Harrisburg, PA: Idea Group.
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