The widespread application of Internet technologies and the
World Wide Web (WWW) will transform the process of instruction
and learning. The fact that web-based information, especially
that over the Internet, can be retrieved by anyone, at any
time and anywhere, is forcing instructors and academics to
ensure adequacy, accuracy, and currency of their material.
There are, however, some drawbacks.
Problem of Pedagogical Balance
Virtual lessons add variation to faceto- face sessions,
but there are risks that the habitual adoption of digitised
notes, graphics, audio files, video clips, and hyperlinks
may discourage students from serious reading of print material
that contain more scholarly and researched work.
Keeping Up With the ‘Competition’
With increase in the amount of material available on the
Internet, there will be anxiety to be distinctive. For example,
in the field of statistics, a simple keyword search for topics
such as ‘Chi Square’ and ‘ANOVA’ will
call up a great number of different professors’ approaches
and resource banks. Inevitably, students will compare courses
and material as long as they are accessible on the Internet.
Besides the preoccupation with multimedia, instructors may
find it difficult to keep up with evolving technologies and
Temptation to Plagiarise
The Internet is a good source of data, information, and
reports. But in encouraging its use for research, some students
may be tempted to plagiarise, both unwittingly and deliberately,
as it is easy to copy and paste from online journals, reports,
abstracts, newspapers, and newsletters.
There is no doubt that the Internet and the WWW are here
to stay. What follows are some tips derived from my own experience:
- When authoring your course web
page, ensure that every hyperlink
is relevant to the course because
the presence of unrelated or
expired links can confuse and
frustrate your students.
- When using a ‘live’ web page for
a class, go early to class to cache
the web pages on the personal
computer (in the lecture hall/
classroom) to speed up the
downloading during use, but be
ready with backups such as
screen captures or saved versions
of critical web pages in
case of connection problems.
- Regularly check the hyperlinks
on your site and update your
web pages for new semesters.
- Design the pages for easy navigation
by adopting a uniform
format throughout the semester.
- Schedule student research on
material from the Internet assupplementary assignments and
classify web-based information
as supplementary reading after
your students have done the required
reading of print references.
- Assign groups or individual students
to report on content relating
to course topics on the
WWW and evaluate the veracity
of such material in class.
- Have a ‘What’s New’ section for
easy reference and access to information
that is newly posted.
- Get suggestions from students—
the ultimate users. They are net
savvy and spend more time accessing
the Internet for different
purposes and different courses.
- Don’t attempt to emulate all that
others are doing. Instead, try to
understand their design features
and adopt those that suit your
- Avoid large files because of potential
downloading problems. It
is tempting to use high-resolution
graphics or to digitise video
and audio clips for the web, but
such files usually require longer
time to load because of
bandwidth limitation when accessed
- Resist the temptation to
hyperlink to tangentially related
sites or even to humour sites.
Focus on the integrity and professionalism
of your site.
The WWW and the Internet are not just about improving the
content but represent a revolution in the way learning will
Just as people have adjusted to the arrivals of new technologies
the ages, innovative educators are developing and introducing
pedagogies for online instruction and training. For instance,
development is for instructors around the world to work together
joint courses. New technologies and software can improve the
presenting information, knowledge integration, project assignment,
assessment, only if instructors have the resolve to use these
new tools at hand.