ERIC Number: ED408965
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Virtual Courses and Visual Media.
Gibbs, William J.; Fewell, Patricia J.
There are a number of issues that must be addressed when delivering courses entirely online, such as designing effective user interfaces, using the visual medium of the World Wide Web effectively, and modifying traditional instructional methods. This paper discusses the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of an online course at Eastern Illinois University. The majority of instructor/student interactions were done electronically; most student-to-student interaction occurred through e-mail or the telephone. Given the visual nature of the virtual course, instructors need to think visually while at the same time understanding the current limitations of the medium. To maintain interest in electronic dialogue, instructors should use written language in a skillful way, including humor and metaphor. Other guidelines include using short concise sentences, lowercase letters, uniform text spacing, and effective headings and white space. In developing course materials for the World Wide Web, instructors should also: present a sensible ordering of information by topic; categorize links as essential or supplemental; create a consistent navigational design; keep documents as brief as possible; and provide a linear pathway. For example, browser "frames" enable several Web documents to be opened simultaneously in the computer screen area, which can help circumvent disorientation. Sound principles of visual design can improve the aesthetics of online materials, their organization, and their effectiveness. (AEF)
Descriptors: Computer Mediated Communication, Design Preferences, Distance Education, Electronic Mail, Guidelines, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Instructional Innovation, Interaction, Internet, Navigation (Information Systems), Teacher Student Relationship, Teaching Guides, Visual Aids, Visual Learning, World Wide Web
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A