Information technology (IT) has the potential to enhance teaching and learning. Most institutions have made major investments in the new technologies, distributing computing capacity across their campuses, linking faculty with students as well as with one another, and generally providing the necessary IT infrastructure that is a precondition to faculty involvement.
Web-based education tools provide many ways to increase communication between class members and faculty, including discussion boards, chats, and emails.
Researchers have found that adding these elements to a course increases student motivation and participation in class discussions and projects.
Online forums, like Course Info’s Discussion board and Chat, provide public areas to post information. Each student can view another student's answers and learn through the exposure to different perspectives.
Another benefit to using web-based communication tools is to give all students a reinforced sense of equality.
Students in courses that are supplemented by products like Course Info no longer have to worry if they cannot make an instructor's regular office hours, as they still have the ability to submit inquiries via e-mail at any time. This is good for the instructor too, as they can respond at his/her convenience instead of being tied to a desk or office. This is particularly helpful when a student’s schedule conflicts with office hours or if a question arises at the spur of the moment.
SOME ONLINE TOOLS:
Search engine has a very important part in increasing academic productivity. It is an online tool for searching web directories, web related information, images and all stuff like that. It safe our time because we have just to type a word or sentence which we want to search and search engine will show us all the relevant information.google,Mozilla are most dominant search engine besides it other search engine like yahoo are also available.
Anyone who solves problem in a very clever and non-obvious way is called a life hacker. Similarly Life hacker is an online tool which solves our every day computer related problem. Life hacker organize our by giving us different tricks. Each trick has its difficulty level. It’s our choice to choose the trick which suits us best. By organizing data we get rid of sorting out the data which saves time and thus increasing educational productivity.
Information from web sites like newspaper updates frequently throughout the day, week, or month. Like a magazine with an undetermined publishing schedule, you could spend a lot of time visiting each site you like, looking for new content, much like you might go to the newsstand to check whether your favorite magazine’s newest issue is out yet. However, checking every site you like every day is tedious and unnecessary. Like a magazine subscription that automatically brings each new issue to your door, you can subscribe to web site feeds that push information to your door. Web site feeds are special XML documents that contain all the latest updates to a web site or to a section of it. Place the address of any number of these feeds
Into feed reader software (also called a news aggregator) and you can see when new items are added to your favorite sites all in one place.
Such software which is used in collaboration with others is called collaborative software. In such types of software people work in group on some project or for some research. Such type of software is very important from educational point of view, because it helps people to gather education from other people as well. The list of some collaborative software are: keep toolkit,AE sharenet,LAMS,mindquarry,eduFORGE,etudes and DDN.AE sharenet is an enterprise Wiki that makes it easy for your team to collaborate and share knowledge. Eduforge is an open access environment designed for the sharing of ideas, research outcomes, open content and open source software for education. The KEEP Toolkit is a set of web-based tools that help teachers, students and institutions quickly create compact and engaging knowledge representations on the Web. LAMS is a tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities.
WEBMAIL AND MESSENGERS:
Web mails and messenger are somewhat also a part of collaborative software. Both webmail and messengers are used to communicate with other by sending and receiving messages. To communicate with someone who is not online is through email and to communicate with someone who is online is through messengers. Both webmail and messengers plays a vital role in increasing academic productivity because it provides us a forum where students and teacher can communicate with each other. Some of webmail and chat program are yahoo, msn, and flashchat. “Yahoo! Messenger is an advertisement-supported instant messaging client and associated protocol provided by Yahoo. Yahoo! Messenger is provided free of charge and can be downloaded and used with a generic "Yahoo! ID" which also allows access to other Yahoo! services, such as Yahoo! Mail, where users can be automatically notified when they receive new email. ”(Wikipedia).
Bulletin board also called as message board or message forum which is an evolution of traditional bulletin board or pin board is an important tool which important messages can be left. It also helps improving educational productivity. Important announcement can be given on message board on which all students and teacher could appear, thus saving time.
Digital library is a place on web where all the books and scholarly material are available in digital form. Through this tool we can search for any topic and can get relevant information and notes on that topic. Now we don’t have to worry for anything that confuses us. We just have to consult e-books and digital library to solve that confusion. Some of digital library are: THE NATIONAL SCIENCE DIGITAL LIBRARY (NSDL), merlot, penn libraries, NEEDS and web junction. MERLOT (Multimedia Education Resource for Learning and Teaching online) maintains its currency through ongoing and continuing communication with its worldwide supporters. The Web site contains leading edge, user-centered, searchable collections of peer reviewed, higher education, online learning materials created by registered members and a set of faculty development support services. NEEDS is a digital library with links to online learning materials in engineering and related areas of science and math.
SOME OTHER TOOLS:
Wikipedia, wikiversity, and math forum are some other online tools which help in increasing academic productivity. The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content. The Foundation provides the essential infrastructure and an organizational framework for the support and development of multilingual wiki projects in ten languages. Wikiversity is a community for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities. Wikiversity is a multidimensional social organization dedicated to learning, teaching, research and service. Drexel University offers a wealth of problems and puzzles; online mentoring; research; team problem solving; collaborations; and professional development.
The definition of e learning is education enhanced by computers. E learning is currently used in all levels of education, both in the classroom and out. There are numerous forms of e-learning activities that can be used to teach students.
University students no longer learn from lectures and books alone. Thanks to the internet, they now have access to a huge range of supporting material, such as lecture notes, assignments, articles, and so on. To organize this material effectively, most universities have invested in a ‘learning management system’ (LMS) to archive and present documents online in a systematic way. But as the volume of material grows, both students and tutors have the problem of locating the information they need. “In general it can be hard to find what you are looking for,” says Dr Paola Monachesi of the Institute of Linguistics at Utrecht University. “The normal way to search the LMS is by a full text search. That’s what you do in Google; you just type a word and get a list of results.”Unfortunately, such searches ignore the relevance and suitability of the ‘learning objects’ they identify.
Virtual classrooms are a result of use of chat sessions and online video conferencing for education. These are just a few examples of the way the internet has affected learning. Few can argue that this new technology has improved the quality of education. E learning has made education convenient allowing students to learn around their schedule instead of making a schedule around their schooling. E learning has enabled home schoolers to learn in the comfort of their own homes. E learning has enabled many adults to get college degrees while maintaining their jobs.