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Do Online Courses Teach Responsibly

We live at a time of rapid technological development and scientific-technological revolution. Scientific research is an integral part of every community and every country. There is a constant need for certain development and progress that later results in the creation of new products and services that improve the whole system. The world has a very powerful scientific potential and effort that should always be taken into consideration when we discuss some global problems and issues since each country and society are influenced by these crucial factors. Science and every branch of it are constantly changing and developing and what is more, every alteration has an impact on contemporary society, daily life, and work. It is a certain rule that has been proved for many years and it is similar to a chain reaction that cannot be stopped. One more function of modern science is the division of the world and society into developed and undeveloped groups. And the main principle for such a division is the continuous creation of new technologies and appliances and endless research in various spheres of our life. The developed countries consider research to be the main source of social development and that is why they try to use it in a socially planned way and thus achieve certain progress. The need for scientific growth leads to innovations and new technologies that always affect society in some way.

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Nowadays it is easy to notice many consequences and implications of the IT revolution. More and more new types of technology are appearing every day. People are trying to simplify and make convenient not only their daily routine and household chores but also the organization of business and education. Far cheaper and easier access to the global network Internet made it possible to use computer-mediated communication technology in many aspects and activities. Distance education is a bright example of scientific research and its impact on society as we can see that technological progress has changed the learning process too. The main issue that arises now is whether distance education and online classes are efficient enough. This issue appeared as a result of the changed roles of students and instructors, and the fact that students become more responsible for their own learning. It can be most widespread among the students with full employment, families with children, or those who are involved in different social activities. However, such issues as ethical upbringing and quality of learning emerge.

Ethical questions always make you choose and decide what approach and side to prefer. To properly analyze a particular issue, it is necessary to view it from several perspectives and considering different ethical approaches.

According to libertarians justice can be achieved only in case individuals are given freedom of choice and behavior. Government should let individuals make their own decisions and act without any limitations, however, only in case, such behavior does not harm others. This approach also states that everyone regardless of their social class should have equal access to education and obtain equal conditions for it. Online courses can turn out to be rather expensive for some families and their cost should not become the main obstacle for individuals to receive a good education. According to this approach, it is absolutely unacceptable that some individuals can get better education only because their parents earn more (Sandel, 2007).  However, it is also necessary to consider that it is hardly possible to prevent individuals from getting certain advantages in education if they can find some ways and access them. This aspect can hardly be controlled by the state and there is no guarantee that some individuals manage to get extra and better conditions for education as compared to others. The task of the government is to provide everyone with equal education, however, everyone can have a different prospect of reaching a particular position and this aspect can hardly be controlled. When signing up for an online course people voluntarily agree to an exchange. In our culture today we are mostly visual; we see what we want and get what we want; it’s a free market. Libertarians will also feel like we’re own ourselves therefore should be responsible for our learning.

 As for utilitarianism, this approach can be considered the most controversial one, however, it is still necessary to consider it. This approach is based on the idea that it is much more important to make an emphasis on the overall happiness, and some of the minor details can easily be neglected for this purpose. In terms of distance education, this approach supports the side of overall goodness and in case the majority of individuals succeed with the help of distance education and online courses, then it is of major importance, then the fact that many families cannot afford such type of learning. However, there is much criticism of this approach as it is unethical to achieve overall goodness in terms of some metrics and utility. This ethical approach shows that online courses are not accessible to everybody in terms of the cost therefore there’s unfairness. Teachers should remember that although people can learn regardless of the conditions they are in; still, the efficiency is quite different depending on the learning environment. Unfortunately, far not every student has had an opportunity to learn in optimal conditions and use all the necessary equipment and expensive online software that is required for the online courses.

As for Aristotle, he believed that education was of great importance and it was the main component to obtain true happiness and harmony in life. He believed that education and material should be learned with the help of obedience and great responsibility. His approach proves the fact that distance education can be efficient only in case of learners devote enough attention to self-study and learning material on their own. However, every student needs high motivation and certain virtues that can enable him to have efficient online learning. Moreover, teachers should also take care of this aspect and provide every student with all the necessary capacities to perform successfully regardless of the location and cost of technology that is used.

Such an ethical perspective helps to understand that regardless of the fact whether education is distant or not, still teaching practice should always be of good quality. Now teachers have to think of new and improved teaching techniques and approaches to ensure better teaching. Distant education should not ignore the main principles of effective education such as the importance to create contacts between students and teachers, encourage the desire to cooperate among students, apply up-to-date and active learning methods, get feedback, and motivate students to work hard and achieve good results. Distance education cannot be successful without the contact between students and teachers as in this type of education communication is the crucial element.  The research showed that distance education makes a larger emphasis on the importance of communication and it is much more open as compared to the standard classroom-type of the learning process.

Nowadays there are many doubts concerning distance education as there are viewpoints that it cannot serve as a good example of quality education and meet all the requirements. To evaluate whether distant education can be efficient enough or not, it is necessary to evaluate it in terms of the basic aspects required for every type of education such as instance curriculum design, course design, and organization, methods of evaluation, etc. The online classroom should be both attractive and functional. Creating a proper curriculum and its proper development is essential to achieve the educational goals for students. The nature of curriculum means systematic approach including such aspects as needs analysis, formulating of objectives, analyzing and selecting the content and organizing it in the proper way and structure, using different types of evaluation and motivation. The curriculum should be an integration of various elements and courses and it should combine certain tools for achieving the desired goals. Besides, it should integrate into one unit which is specific for a certain institution and considers the existing material and human resources of it.

The main role of the teacher is to provide the learners with the essential and most important knowledge and also find a specific approach for every learner. Every learner has absolutely different goals when he or she decides to start education. Some learners want to gain a certain qualification, some are simply looking for something new and they want to get new skills and learn more about the changing world and its structure. However, the main purpose is to receive the desired qualification and experience, learn the methods that can help meet potential employment needs, and finally enter the world of work. That is why the main role of the teacher is to help the student develop and improve his skills and show the most appropriate and efficient methods to achieve the desired goals.

Every teacher comes across many responsibilities and difficulties during the learning process and the main challenge is to manage to combine pleasure and interest with knowledge and experience. It is essential to think of the way students learn best and create an ideal learner profile. In my opinion, it is important to understand that every learner is different and there should be used diverse skills to teach them, especially in distance education.

Moreover, the role of the teacher is to create a favorable and safe learning environment and think of some interesting ways to increase the motivation of the learners. For many learners, the teacher is the role model and that is why it is important to take care of your own image and behavior. The teacher is the person who helps students to understand the basic aspects of a certain subject and also the basic aspects and rules of modern life.

In traditional education, teachers act not only as tutors but also they are perceived as mentors. They guide every student through such notions as respect, honor, integrity, appreciation of the cultural identity to develop personal qualities comprehensively. Such methodology can prevent the misuse of powerful positions in what follows. And with the adoption of internet-based education, this methodology might cause some ethical problems.

 The research also shows that distance education has changed and partially reinvented the teaching model as now students become more responsible for their own learning. However, studies show that with the development of online courses and distance education students are more likely to face such a problem as distracting and lack of proper attention. Such a situation is very serious and definitely unfavorable during the study process. We live in the world of new technologies and innovations and nowadays nearly everything is computerized. Students should not get distracted when they complete online tasks and courses, and it is the task of the teacher to control it. Studies also show that unfortunately many students cannot cope themselves and self-study turns out to be less efficient as compared with the learning process in the classroom (Simonson, 2003). Online courses can be effective only in case the learners try to follow all the requirements of the teacher and work hard, as otherwise many learning goals simply cannot be achieved.

It is necessary to understand the main factors that can affect the distance learning process and try to minimize their harm. The main factors that influence student’s attention while learning are fatigue, lack of interest in the material, loud music, noise, etc.  All these factors influence attention a lot and distract the individual. Especially, if the first half of the day was tense and full of events, students often feel tired and it is difficult for them to improve attention. That is why it is necessary to plan courses and schedules correctly and consider some physical specific features of students. To improve concentration and attention, it is important to train it, like any other skill.

Teachers should also remember that although people can learn regardless of the conditions they are in, still the efficiency is quite different depending on the learning environment. Unfortunately, far not every student has had an opportunity to learn in optimal conditions and use all the necessary equipment and expensive online software that is required for the online courses. In such a way online education faces a serious problem of whether online classes are ethical or not for students who choose to attend them and whether they can be taught responsibly. Online courses should provide every student with all the necessary capacities to perform successfully regardless of the location and cost of technology that is used (Tait, 2003).

The issue of urban education is far not so positive and certain problems should be discussed and solved. For the rich, obstacles of space and distance are attenuated by easy transportation and communication facilities. For the poor, access to jobs and public facilities is difficult, and the bigger the city, the greater the difficulties. In balance, however, cities are better off than the rural areas in terms of proximity to social services. Yet, this convenience comes at a high cost: urban people are more vulnerable to unemployment since they depend on their wages to survive.

The main problem of urban education nowadays is that there is a serious need for money and support for these areas. The number of people living in suburban areas has increased considerably and this fact caused certain difficulties for cities that now require additional help and money to support certain essential and crucial urban settings. Both children and their parents are greatly disappointed with the conditions urban education offers them. Urban schools suffer mainly because of the lack of financial support and online courses can become a great solution, however, only if such families have enough money to access them.

There is no doubt that improving student achievement in many urban schools is an essential aspect in many urban school districts. Public administration is a powerful unit that can put many of these ideas into practice and move the whole situation from a dead point.

So, what should be done, when we talk about distance education in these areas? First of all, it is important to build and plan activities and learning processes on what students have and what they and their families can afford. It is important to realize that every student can learn, but some simply may require more time than others. Certainly, cultural differences influence learning a lot, however, these factors are not barriers to learning. These differences are opportunities to reach out and there is always some way out of every situation. It is also important to consider that social, political, and economic factors influence learning a lot and affect teacher perceptions.  Context of learning should always be considered and never neglected.

It is also important to remember that student learning should involve several types of interaction such as working and communicating with other students, discussing the course material with the teacher, and working on your own.  However, in terms of online learning, it is quite difficult to combine all these aspects and many students have to get involved in passive learning and analyze large blocks of theoretical material on their own. This aspect makes the efficiency of online courses quite doubtful. Surely, some students cope with learning better, when they learn on their own, however, statistics show that the majority of students find it much more satisfactory to learn new material while working and studying with other individuals. This is particularly important while completing different problem-solving tasks, action-oriented activities, etc.

Due to the active development of Internet technologies, distance learning became a core issue in the educational process. The possibility of getting an education using the World Wide Web can extend the percentage of the non-educated students involved in it. The main reasons for this include the following characteristics as time-saving potential, flexibility, ease of usage, and personal planning of the whole learning process. Distant education can certainly be efficient in case the basic aspects such as instance curriculum design, course design, and organization, methods of evaluation, etc., are considered. Moreover, it is possible to state that online courses are taught responsibly if the teacher manages to pay attention to such points as the difficulties students encounter while learning, students’ capacities and their achievements during the learning process, the proper level of motivation and self-esteem, and the necessity to meet all the program objectives and course goals.

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