Bailey, E. K., & Cotlar, M. (1994). Teaching via the internet. Communication Education, 43, 184-193.


This article looks at the many benefits that come from teaching over the internet.  There are many benefits between teacher-to-student interaction and student-to-student interaction.  The internet works as an efficient way to save time and give students to opportunities they would not normally have because of money issues.  The internet provides students with a more rounded education.

Points of Discussion

1)   Introduction

  1. Bailey and Cotlar’s article is intended to “begin compiling the techniques and methodologies used in [the] individual efforts to integrate computers and communication technology into existing curricula” (184/307).

2)   Teaching and Learning

  1. There is a need for students to do more than “recall static [bodies] of knowledge”.  Students are now expected to “develop thinking skills along with recognition that life-long education is a quality of life, not to mention a career requirement (185/308).
  2. Technology should be incorporated in all classrooms (185/308).
  3. Resistance to include technology in the classroom is “often due to faculty and administrator reluctance to explore new techniques out of fear of change in general or of the technology in particular” (185/308).
  4. Faculty can get help from “hands-on demonstrations, learning assistance and computer courses are usually available from campus computer center personnel” (185/308).

3)   Teacher-Student Interaction

  1. Traditional styles of teaching that consist of “passive, one-way lecture method that perceives students as empty vessels” tend to dominate the way classrooms are run (186/309).
  2. The internet can be used to allow students and professors far away from each other to “successfully explore, experience and better understand each other” (186/309).
  3. The use of internet-driven assignments can “provide an international , global experience for students without the costs of travel for study abroad” (186/309). 
  4. The internet makes everything more convenient from online charts, graphs, and textbooks, to fast teacher responses through email, electronic lectures, electronic file transfers and more (188/311).

4)   Student-Student Interaction

  1. The internet can provide “structured projects with faculty and students at distant universities” that have the ability to “allow students the opportunity to develop interactive relationships with people at foreign universities, or in other geographic regions of their own country” (188/311).
  2. The following project was used to show the many different positive outcomes of interactive relationships over the internet: The Telecommunicated International Business Simulation (TIBS) consisted of graduate students in business classes from nine different countries in Europe and Asia from the Institute for International Studies and Training (IIST) and undergraduate and graduate students from business classes at the University of Hawaii.  The students were put into groups and given the assignment to create a business (189/312).
  3. The TIBS experiment proved “distance cooperative projects allow students to discover, explore and come to understand cross-cultural differences in many dimensions” (190/313).
  4. Electronic communication allows gender and minority barriers to be minimized.  It also typically makes people more relaxed and better to express their ideas (191/314).

5)   Electronic Guest Lecturers

  1. Electronic guest lectures are a “powerful innovation facilitated by email” (191/314). 
  2. The guest lecturer must have an efficient delivery system for there to be extreme benefits to the students (191/314).

6)   Electronic Forums and Panels

a.  Electronic forums are used to get students and teachers to interact with each other at a rapid pace.  Students can “raise questions directed at specific panelists’ position statements; [and] panelists [can] comment on each other’s statements; [and finally] students [can] respond to other students questions and comments (192/315).

7)   Discussion Questions

  1. The authors referred to the way traditional classrooms are run as “passive, one-way lecture method(s) that perceives students as empty vessels” (186/309).  Do you agree with this criticism? Do you think that is a broad generalization?  Why or why not?
  2. The authors claim the internet “allow(s) students the opportunity to develop interactive relationships with people at foreign universities” (188/311).  Do you think the students are actually forming “relationships” with the foreign students?  Do you think the computer forms a barrier between the students that never allows them to have a real relationship?  Would you feel connected to another person if you were talking to them through the internet and you had never met them?
  3. This article claimed through the TIBS experiment the students were given the opportunity to “understand cross-cultural differences” (190/313).   To what extent do you feel the students can learn about cross-cultural differences over a computer?  Do you think students must experience the culture, by physically being in the culture, to actually begin to understand it?
  4. It was mentioned that technology must be used in the classroom to prepare students for their careers.  Do you agree with this statement?  Do all students need to understand technology to get a “good” job? Discuss what you believe are the differences between the necessity of having technology proficiency now in the workplace compared to 1994 when this article was written.
  5. This article mentioned the following benefits for using the internet in education: 1) improved teacher-student interaction, 2) improved student-student interaction, 3)easy access to electronic guest lecturers and 4) convenience of electronic forums and panels. Can you think of any other benefits teaching over the internet can bring?  Have you experienced any other benefits besides the ones mentioned?

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