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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Online learning grows more popular by Tom Regan


Improved technology has made online classes more attractive to more and more students.
With the spread of broadband technology and improved online teaching tools, students and teachers are finding online classes to be a more fluid and rewarding experience.
The use of Skype, an Internet-based phone service, for example has enhanced the teaching of foreign languages online. Yu-Hsiu Lee, a doctoral student in the Language Education Department of Indiana University, Bloomington, praised Skype for allowing anyone who wants to learn Chinese to have one-on-one instruction with a native speaker. Skype allows students to both see and hear the instructor on their computer screens, he wrote last week in the Skype Journal, a blog devoted to the evolution of Internet phone service. Unlike using a CD to learn a language, he says, Skype allows students to get instant feedback and to ask instructors specific questions.
Along with technological advances, more and more students are taking online classes. The 2007 Sloan Survey of Online Learning found that 1 in 5 higher education students is now taking at least one class online.

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