For some, this is one of the disadvantages of distance education, for not being able to have a teacher in front to solve all the concerns. However, there are different tools and methods of distance education that approach the student and the teacher in one way or another.
- Physical distance
- Use of electronic means
- Need for tutoring or student support
- Independent learning
- Flexible hours
- Bidirectional communication
- Technological focus
- Optimization of times
- Massive Reach
- Forms of evaluation
Separation of the space between teacher and student- this is one of the characteristics shared by all distance education systems since the learning process is free and depends to a large extent on the student’s reasoning abilities.
Use of electronic means
We use virtual platforms, digital books, online notes, access to tutors, videos, visual material over the internet, etc. A quick internet connection is essential to facilitate downloads. From the monetary point of view, the institution dispenses with classrooms, costs, printed notes material, etc.
Need for tutoring or student support
On certain occasions, students have an online tutor to answer questions. Mostly these are connected to a virtual platform where the student accesses by means of a password and user. The tutors can be connected online at certain times or during 24 hours. It should be noted that the answers they provide are usually specific to a certain topic but the correct understanding depends on the particular analysis of each student.
The student must access a virtual platform or receive the study material by email or post. It prepares students to “learn to learn” and “learn to do”. Thus the student is responsible for the organization of their study time.
Among the advantages of distance education, the student can access the virtual class at the times available, given that, for the most part, the same class remains open for a certain period of time, leaving the student the freedom to access the class in the moments that are most comfortable for him.
This communication is possible due to technological progress. Not only is bidirectional communication feasible (between teacher and student), but also communication between peers, preparation of online practical work, video conferences, among others, in order to enrich their learning. That is why this type of education is called multidirectional communication.
This education system is based on technological advances without which this new teaching methodology would not be possible.
Another characteristic of distance education through High Q is that each student freely uses his or her time and way of study. This allows expanding the demand of students since they must not suspend their daily activities to attend an institution. That is why one of the greatest strengths of distance education is the flexibility of schedules offered to its students.
In order to access distance education, it is enough to have access to a computer and an internet connection. In a way, it facilitates and encourages social inclusion because it allows undergraduate and postgraduate education without having to physically move. Given that distance education is something new, many argue that it diminishes the academic requirement compared to a traditional education system.
Forms of evaluation
It is important to clarify that this type of system has several types of evaluation for students. On the one hand, participation in virtual classes, the punctuality of practical work delivery, self-evaluations, and peer evaluations can be evaluated. On the other hand, face-to-face assessments are also used for the development of topics or those where the multiple choice method is used.
Characteristics of the evaluation
We will approach this characterization by comparing traditional school evaluation (or “examination”) with what is now called “educational evaluation”, which is a broader concept.
- The parameters are established by the teacher or teacher and do not always conform to academic criteria or clear objectives
- The performance of the evaluated is transformed into a mere quantitative data (the “note”)
- Generally, it has a purpose to define the approval, as a “screening” (a part of the students “passes” the exam, another does not).
- The important thing is “the correct answer”, leaving almost no weight to the cognitive process that leads to the elaboration of that response.
- It has such a design that gives more opportunity and weight to the appearance of weaknesses and errors than achievements, which are punished instead of operating as learning engines.
- The results of the evaluation are taken as definitive, discouraging the search for self-improvement, as there are no new opportunities for improvement.
- It operates as an instrument or mechanism of control and selection imposed from the outside. It does not consider the teaching project and the characteristics of the group of students that participate in it.
- It is rigid: it takes place at certain times (= transversal), decided by the teacher, and is done in the classroom only, through a single instance: the exam.
- It is designed and evaluated by the teacher, without taking into account the own assessment and participation of the students.
- Its sole purpose is to promote or not the student, it serves the “system”, not the “individual”.
- Try to gather useful information about the knowledge that students acquire through the different academic activities in which they participate.
- It gives more weight to the strengths of students than to their shortcomings or weaknesses.
- Consider each student as a subject of learning, with their own linguistic abilities, cultural competences, levels of cognition, etc.
- It includes as a relevant part the reflection on learning as a process.
- Document the degree of advancement of the student and integrate it into a timeline, based on the resolution of significant slogans from the pedagogical.
- They usually demand more time, both to give the answers by the student and then to correct by the teacher.
- Students are invited to participate in the formulation of evaluation criteria, which at the same time account for what students perceive as important in the teaching-learning process. It is designed by the teacher, in conjunction with the institution or department and, if possible, also with the students; the “correction” can be borne by the teacher or peers.