Synthroid is prescribed in cases of hypothyroidism or thyroidectomy (surgical removal of the thyroid gland) and in circumstances where it becomes necessary to restrain the secretion of TSH http://edmeds24h.com/synthroid/ (thyroid stimulating hormone). It is often prescribed against weight gain because thyroxin controls the metabolism, although it is not an appetite suppressant (anorectic).
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Not: Bu araştırma TBD Eskişehir şubesi tarafından düzenlenen Biltek 2005 Kongresinde sunulmuştur. (Uluslararası Bilişim Kongresi, 10-12 Haziran 2005, Eskişehir) 

Criteria for Developing Web-Based Instruction

Shuaib, A. Braini*,Computer Engineering Department, Master Student,Nergiz E. Cagiltay*,Computer Engineering Department, Assistant Prof. Dr. Belgin Isgor*Chemistery Group, Assistant Prof. Dr., Seha Tirkes*Chemistery Group, Instructor,  *Atilim University, Incek, Ankara, Turkey.

ÖZETWeb-Tabanlı eğitim giderek daha popüler olmakta ve birçok eğitim alternatifi sunmaktadır. Ancak, yüz yüze iletişim eksikliği nedeniyle Wen-tabanli eğitimde etkileşim ve motivasyonun sunulması kritik bir unsur olmaktadır. Bu çalışma Web-tabanlı eğitim sistemlerinin geliştirilmesi konusunda dikkat edilmesi gereken bazı kriterleri sunmaktadır ve bu kriterleri kimya dersleri için hazırlanmış olan bir siteyi etkileşim ve motivasyon açısından inceleyerek değerlendirmektedir. Bu kriterler kapsamlı ve tarafsız olarak herhangi bir web-tabanlı eğitim sisteminin değerlendirilebilmesi amacıyla geliştirilmiştir. Bu kriterlere temel olması amacıyla, web-tabanlı eğitim sitesinin birinci sınıf mühendislik öğrencileri tarafından kullanılması sağlanmıştır. Bu kriterlere yönelik olarak çalışmanın sonuçları bu araştırmada sunulmaktadır.

Abstract

Web-Based Instruction (WBI) has become popular and provides several educational alternatives. But due to lack of face-to-face communication, it is crucial that WBI provide interactivity and motivation for students. This paper introduces Criteria for Developing Web-Based Instruction that evaluates interactivity and motivation for a WBI chemistry course. The Criteria are comprehensive and objective so that it can be used to evaluate any WBI course. Based on the Criteria, the paper selects a WBI site and implements it to first year students. The result according to the criteria mentioned in the paper.

Introduction

The use of computers and communication technologies in learning has a history going back more than 30 years. Along the way, it has been called by many names, such as on-line learning, Internet-based learning and web-based learning. The advent of the World Wide Web (WWW) provides a new and interesting environment for learning that offers a host of new possibilities together with the advantages of previous incarnations (McCormack & Jones, 1998). In just a few years the WWW has transformed communication, and business. The idea of a global information system and the ease with which it can be used means that the WWW has captured the imagination of more people than any other computer innovation. The possibility for using the WWW for instruction has generated a great interest among educators throughout the world. On the whole, however, the use of the WWW for education is a rarity (McCormack & Jones, 1998).Main reason for it is that, there is a wrong impression by many educators about web- instruction. The general sense is that we use this technology to do the same old thing faster. The only thing we have to do is just publish our presentation slides, some resources and the homework on the course web site and web-based course is ready for use (McCormack & Jones, 1998). Another impression is that we can use the web for publishing our notes or books in a cheaper and easier way. Of course this is not true. Students do not like to read large pieces of text through a monitor. They also wish to have their reading material available everywhere they need to (home, cafeteria, classroom), something that does not happen if this reading material resides in a web site. Experiments showed that a simple book-to-Internet translation had not encouraging results. The students expect the web-course to offer improved functionality. Books have the advantage of portability and familiarity over computers. What expected from web-based instruction are other factors to add some value to this innovating educational practice. Students expect a more flexible structure than this of a traditional book, interactivity that is not provided by books and easier access to information (McCormack & Jones, 1998).The main purpose of this study is to find out main design and development criteria for web- based instruction (WBI) to improve its functionality for the learners. In that sense, this study is organized in two main parts. The first part of the study analysis the literature to find out important criteria for designing and developing more effective WBI sites. The second part of the study analysis a WBI site developed for general chemistry course according to these factors. This Web-site is also used by the first year students at the Atilim University. Students’ feedback and progress on this web-site are also discussed and analyzed to get a better understanding on the proposed factors.

Web-Based InstructIon

There are several definitions of WBI. For example, Khan defines WBI as "a hypermedia-based instructional program which utilizes the attributes and resources of the World Wide Web to create a meaningful learning environment where learning is fostered and supported" (Khan, 1997, p14). According to him WBI is defined as an innovative approach for delivering instruction to a remote audience using the WWW as the instructional delivery system (Khan, 1997).Clark defines WBI as a purposeful design of an educational offering that uses the technology to provide content in a manner that is not possible without the Web. To this end, WBI is not text files saved as html, a PowerPoint presentation placed on a web site, or a video recreation of a traditional lecture provided via streaming audio and video. WBI is instructional content formatted for efficient delivery over the World Wide Web that is structured to promote interaction with the content and facilitates exploration and multiple paths through the content (Clark, 1996).Among these several definitions, it is true that WBI has an important role for supporting distance education. There are different forms of distance education such as via e-mail, television or radio broadcasting and computer applications. An important notice is that, although the different definitions of WBI, a main characteristic that all agree on, is that this form of instruction takes full advantage of the Internet and WWW in order to accomplish its functionality on distance education. That means anyone may have access to education, from anywhere and anytime he wishes. It also supports different forms of instruction such as video, sound, text, and other interactive applications. WBI appears as a practice for distance education, which makes an effort to offer to the students the same functionality as the traditional classroom, but attaining full classroom replication is not easy to accomplish (Konrad & Stemper, 1996).

How Web-Based Instruction Improves Learning

As Konrad and Stemper (1996) summarize, there are factors where WWW technology improves the learning process comparing with traditional classroom. A student enrolled in a web-based course, may have an easier and quicker access in resources. Also s/he can join web discussion groups, expanding her/his knowledge about a specific topic. A web animation or simulation may help for a better understanding of a concept’s functionality, than trying to attend the instructor’s lecture in the blackboard. The student is free to ask questions to an expert on the web about difficult points that are not easy understandable. This functionality mainly helps many shy students that do not wish to ask question during the lectures (Konrad & Stemper, 1996).WBI is a potential solution to a performance problem if the learners lack skills or knowledge. Learners must have computer, browser, and Internet skills. Even learners with these skills must be carefully assessed, and the program must be matched to their skill level. Also, organizations must have adequate hardware, software, and staff to support learners. Konrad and Stemper (1996) stress that despite perception that designing and implementing Web-based instruction is radically different from developing other instructional programs, the truth is that the most fundamental issues are the same. Among the components common to all instructional efforts are the need to define your audience and their needs, choose suitable and workable teaching strategies, work out philosophical and logistical details ranging from what to teach to where and how to promote the sessions, design the materials, and observe, discuss and reach consensus on which aspects work and which don’t (Konrad & Stemper, 1996).

Problems and Limited Use of Web-Based Instruction

McCormack and Jones (1998) attribute the limited use of the WWW in instruction to the following factors: knowledge, reluctance and resources. Very few educators have the knowledge of technical and educational principles required in constructing WBI. Also, some educators are reluctant to adopt new methods, particularly those that involve technology. This reluctance may be derived from ignorance and misconceptions about the characteristics of new methods and what they have to offer. Moreover, very few institutions will provide the time, support, training, recognition, and infrastructure necessary to implement Web-based instruction. At the same time, even as resources are shrinking, industries and consumers are demanding more of colleges. Many predict that job skills will need updating every few years, if so, "lifelong learners" will continue to demand education and retraining throughout their careers (McArthur & Lewis, 1998). These changes are straining institutions to look for new ways to improve learning and teaching, improve the creation of instruction and learning materials, and to create educational communities. Hence, some institutions are considering the use of the WWW to help meet those goals.In this study, in order to improve the creation of learning materials some important design and development criteria are analyzed. It is aimed to guide the WBI designers and developer for more effective results by means of educational improvement.

Criteria for Designing and Developing Web-Based Instruction

The emergence of this new educational resource will no doubt alter the way instruction is delivered and received, but it will only approach its potential with careful analysis and investigation of the instructional strategies that match this new tool. In this part of the paper, the factors that affect the success of WBI are summarized.

Learning Styles

Learning styles refers to the ways you prefer to approach new information. Each person learns and processes information in his/her own special ways. People may approach the same situation in a different way. Students preferentially take in and process information in different ways: by seeing and hearing, reflecting and acting, reasoning logically and intuitively, analyzing and visualizing. Teaching methods also vary, some instructors lecture, others demonstrate or lead students to self-discovery, some focus on principles and others on applications, some emphasize memory and others understanding. When mismatches exist between learning styles of most students in a class and the teaching style of the instructor, the students may become bored and inattentive in class, do poorly on tests, get discouraged about the courses, the curriculum, and themselves, and in some cases change to other curricula or drop out of school. Accordingly, in order to provide instructional materials to different groups of learners, WBI should provide different forms of instructions, such as text, visual illustrations, sound, practice experiences, video etc. This may help students to choose their preferable form of instruction. Also other activities in the site should provide a wide range of alternatives for the learners having different learning styles (Kolb, 1984).

Motivating the Learner

Because leaving a Web page is as easy as clicking the mouse button, Web page designers have focused much of their time identifying what attracts and retains the attention of the casual browser. External motivators such as color, graphics, animation, and sound make a difference in the initial attraction of the users of the Web pages. However, this initial attraction does not guarantee to hold the user's interest. Designers of WBI should use strategies to increase motivation such as inquiry arousal, problem solving, contradictory information, or a mystery to be resolved (Khan, 1997).

Reminding Learners of Past Knowledge

Long-term memory retains information when associations or links are made with related information already stored in long-term memory. This is one reason WBI promises to revolutionize the way we deliver instruction. The designer can offer multiple links from any location. These links give the diverse learners the ability to make associations to previously gained knowledge (Khan, 1997) .

Requiring Active Involvement

The instructional designer cannot assume that the learner is actively processing and making sense of material through simple engagement on the Web. To increase the possibility that the learner is actively involved, the designer can require the student to create a project based on their understanding of the material. This would encourage the learner to use strategies such as comparison, classifying, induction, deduction, analysis, constructing support, making abstractions, or analyzing perspectives. Providing opportunities for students to discuss issues with peers in chat rooms would also encourage active processing of salient information (Palloff & Pratt 1999).

Providing Guidance and Feedback

Users rely on the designers to provide the guidance needed. Highlighted and underlined text should lead to relevant links. Paths, especially alternative paths should be clearly laid out. Also, procedures, facts, principles, and concepts should be presented in a systematic method. Feedback should be provided; there are many ways this can be done. Questions could be posed throughout the materials that require responses. These responses could then link to Web pages with additional information or be evaluated by the instructor. Feedback can also be given after completed projects have been submitted. Finally, the instructor could develop an evaluation to be completed at the end of the lesson (Gagne et al. 1981).

States Clear Objectives and Prerequisites in Learner Terms

Informing the learner about the lesson objectives is one of the essential events of instruction; clearly outlining the objectives of the course is an important aspect of effective WBI. The objectives often become part of the navigation schemes for WBI (Chellman & Duchastel 2001). Dewald recommends displaying objectives in the form of an outline of what one will learn, with directional signs for navigation one’s way through the lessons (Dewald, 1999). Along with objectives, learners should also be presented with clear prerequisites for each segment of the training. One of the strengths of WBI is that it can easily be designed using hyperlinks to allow learners to construct an individualized path through the training. With this type of design, students can move around within the training module. Because of this freedom of movement and flexibility, it becomes even more imperative that objectives and prerequisites for each segment are clearly stated.

Consistent Layout and Design with a Well-Planned Navigation

This requirement is not unique to effective WBI design; rather, it is a requirement for good Web site design in general. Moallem discuss consistent layout design as a major consideration in effective Web design, And he recommends the designers to be careful in the planning for consistency in layout and presentation, and for consistency in font type and size and in the use of underlining, bold letters, and italics, and he strongly advise the designers remain consistent in the use of technical language- don’t use several synonyms (Moallem, 2001).Navigation is a tremendous issue in the success of Web sites in general and WBI in particular. The site’s navigation scheme should be obvious, redundant and consistently presented. Menus, bottoms, and icons can all be used as navigational components. Redundancy and variety of style are achieved by providing more than one methods for the learner to navigate the site. These methods might include a graphic menu at the top or side of the screen along with a duplicate but text based menu at the bottom of each screen. Or it might mean a combination of a menu along with bottoms labeled “NEXT, BACK” or “main menu” which will move the user forward or backward one screen or allow the user to return to a main menu or central navigation point. Consistent and effective use of navigation as well as color, fonts, and other styles can play a large role in helping learners intuitively understand and exploit the nature and structure of the training(Gagne and et al.1981).

Concise and Presents Information in Small Chunks

Generally, there is nothing more deadly to learner enthusiasm for WBI than long pages of text. A well-designed Web-based instruction module should use the fewest words possible to teach each instructional objective (Moalem 2001). Moalem also recommends short sentences, plenty of white space on screen, and the use of charts or diagrams which can be effective tools for reducing the number of words needed to explain a concept. Dewald recommends creating modules that provide information in small blocks, breaking it up into parts and subparts with summaries and reviews. This helps learners absorb material gradually, organize the material in their own minds, and allows for frequent practice questions and feedback (Dewald, 1999).

Providing Enrichment and Remediation

Web-based instruction holds great potential for providing this final step in the instructional process. The designer must make sure that learners are provided with additional materials or activities that will be relevant. This information should be specific and matched to the students' knowledge or skill. Remediation may include alternative methods of information presentation, additional practices and links, and alternate tests. Enrichment may provide additional information and links or new ideas to explore (Dupuis 1998).

Summary of Factors affecting the success of Web-based instruction

From the analyses that found in the literature, we can conclude that the following factors are important ones for designing and developing effective WBI sites.·         Learning styles ·         Motivating the Learner·         Reminding Learners of Past Knowledge·         Requiring Active Involvement·         Providing Guidance and Feedback·         States clear objectives and prerequisites in learner terms·         Consistent layout and design with a well-planned navigation·         Concise and presents information in small chunks·         Providing Enrichment and Remediation

Methodology

The Course

The introduction to Chemistry course is provided to the all engineering students in their first year in the university. It is a five credit course having the concepts of; Fundamentals of Chemical Change, The Periodic Table and Some Properties of the Elements, Stoichiometry: Quantitative Chemical Relationship, Oxidation-Reduction Reactions, Energy and Thermochemistry, Atomic and Electronic Structure, Chemical Bonding: General Concepts, Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structure, Properties of Gases, Intermolecular Attractions and the Properties of Liquids and Solids, Kinetics: The Study of Rates of Reaction, Thermodynamics and Electrochemistry. This course is also given with three hours per week (150 min). This course also has a three hours (150 min) laboratory period per two weeks. In this laboratory section six experiments are given that are related with the concepts of the course given in the class. The course is evaluated with three midterm, a final examinations and laboratory performance of the students.

Data Collection Process

Students first provided with instructions to get a feedback on the concepts to be learned. The concepts were introduced during four lecture hours (200 minutes). Students randomly divided into two sections. There were 28 students in each section. Afterwards students attended some activities to make practice on the learned concepts. At the beginning of these activities a pre-test is conducted to find out student’s level of knowledge. During these activities, students asked to study the same set of exercises, but one group studied at the classroom with the help of the assistance and the other group studied in the computer laboratories with the help of the WBI site (Chem, 2005), which is chosen for this study, and the assistance only for the technical problems. In other words, students were not provided instructions for studying the lessons. Students studied and made practice during about 100 minutes. After this experience a post-test is also conducted to the both group of students.A questionnaire also implemented to all of the students to get a better feedback on the students learning profile in the sense of their learning preferences, study habits and computer usage. Additionally the interviews with four students from the computer laboratory section conducted to see students’ experiences and reflections for the computer laboratory activity. As a consideration for evaluating the chemistry web site, the web-site is analyzed according to the criteria discussed at section 2. This evaluation is mostly based on the interviews done with the students.

The students

56 students were voluntarily involved in this research. Students were from different engineering departments such as industrial engineering, computer engineering and electrical engineering. Their ages were in the range between 18 and 25. They are all first grade students. Table 1 summarizes the distribution of the students in to two groups. Table 1 Number of students
 ClassicalComputerTotal
Male161632
Female121224
Total282856

The introduction to Chemistry WEB Site

In this case study a web-site, which is specifically developed for the introductory chemistry courses, is used to test the proposed criteria discussed in section two.  This Educational web site belongs to Ohio-State University (Chem, 2005). Before we use the site in our study, we sent the Ohio-State University a message asking their permission to use the site. They willingly respond to our request to use the site. The web page contains the main menu, which consists of 10 buttons some of them related to the conventions used in sciences such as chemistry which are, significant figures, scientific notation, the others are,أعلى النموذج temperature conversions, density calculations, conversion of units, elemental symbols, atomic particles, complex ions, moles and Avogadro’s number, percentage composition.     

Results

أسفل النموذج

Evaluating the WBI site according to the Proposed Criteria

In this part of the study, we have analyzed the web-site according to the proposed criteria. Table 1 summarizes it.   Table 2 Analysis of Web-Site According to the proposed Criteria
 Proposed Criteria Chemistry Web-Site
Learning Styles The site doesn’t provide different forms of instructions, such as visual illustrations, sound, video etc. which may help students to choose their preferable form of instruction. The site just provides text-based instructions.
Motivating the learner The site mainly depends on problem solving as a motivating the key of the learners. there is no other implementations to motivate users.
Reminding learners of past knowledgeThe site does not provide links to previously learned knowledge.
Requiring active involvementThere are no projects in the site. Because of the nature of the lessons, it doesn’t need such projects. Meanwhile in the web-site there are no ways to actively involve students in the learning process. In that context, one student admit that, ” … I [would like to] share ideas with other learners to solve some difficult questions”.
Providing guidance and feedbackActually it offers a feedback for the wrong answered question. Although the feedback is not in detail, it is just a brief explanation. In that context, during the interviews one student recommended to add a more detailed answers. In that sense the feedback system is limited. Other than the feedback system, there is no other way of providing guidance in the system. For example during the interviews one students said: ”I would add chat rooms to communicate with instructor and other students to increase interactivity”.
Consistent layout and design with a well-planned navigation The site is consistent in layout and presentation. For example in font type and size, it doesn’t use several synonyms; the navigation scheme is obvious and consistently presented. The site is simple and easy to understand. In that context during the interviews one student said, ”I don’t like animations and colors, its educational site i like it this way”.
Informing the learner what is the lesson objectivesThe site provides the objectives in each part
Concise and presents information in small chunks This condition is well satisfied in the site. It uses the fewest words possible to explain the idea.
Providing Enrichment and Remediation There is a review button for each lesson, which provides additional materials that are relevant to the lesson.
As a conclusion, the site is weak according to providing information in different forms for the students having different learning preferences. Also, it is week for motivating the learner, reminding learners of past knowledge, actively involving the learner and providing guidance and feedback. On the other hand, it is good at providing a consistent layout and design with a well-planned navigation, informing the learner what is the lesson objectives, concise and presents information in small chunks, providing enrichment and remediation.

Students’ Learning Profile

In order to get a better understanding about the students’ learning profile a questionnaire is implemented to all of the students. In that questionnaire students are asked to range their responses for the given questions as strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree. The results of these responses are summarized in table 3. In this table the students’ responses in both the classical instruction and the computer laboratory are given. Students’ responses given as strongly agree and agree are summarized as “Strongly/agree” and strongly disagree and disagree as “strongly/disagree”.  Table 3 Students’ Learning Profile
 Classical InstructionComputer Laboratory
 Strongly/disagreeStrongly/agreeStrongly/disagreeStrongly/Agree
Learning Preferences
I like study myself818128
I prefer constant feedback from teacher424422
Study Habits
I like to study with my friends616418
I usually prepare for exams well in advance420022
I work harder than others to stand out from the crowd101286
I work best under a deadline614616
Computer Usage
I use computers every day422622
I often use internet224224
I don’t like computers280242
I often access my e-mail424622
According to the Table 3, in both groups most of the students prefer constant feedback from the teacher. However, in the classical instruction (control) group number of students who like to study themselves is higher than the computer laboratory (experiment) group. They mostly like to study with their friends, prepared well to the exams in advance and work best under a deadline. Number of students who work harder than the others to stand out from the crowd is higher in the control group. They mostly use computers everyday, use Internet and check e-mails very often and like computers.

Students’ Progress

Table 4 summarizes the pre-test and post-test results of both groups. In this table, students average test grades were evaluated out of 10. According to this, the improvement on the control group was slightly higher than the experiment group. Table 4 Pre-test and post-test results
 Classical(Control Group)Computer(Experiment Group)
Pre-Test45
Post-Test66
That is to say, in the group which used the chemistry web-site for practice purposes improved their quiz scores from 5 to 6 out of 10 (1 point), where as the group which uses the traditional classroom instructions with the instructor’s help improved their quiz scores from 4 to 6 out of 10 (2 points).

         DIscussIons and ConclusIon

This study discusses and analyzes the instructional functions of a Web-based instruction site, draws a complete guide of Web-based instruction system through different criteria and presents the outline of required functions. We hope to provide different systems currently existing with a direction and a guideline for future researches in this domain.Meanwhile, we also discover some problems out of our study, and possible directions for further studies in the future. In Table 2, we have analyzed the site of our study by using the criteria mentioned. By looking at Table 3, we see that most of the students using computer and Internet every day, accessing their e-mails, surfing the web sites. Accordingly, their level of computer use is high. We also deduce that in the process of using the traditional classroom instructions or the WBI site the improvement is slightly different. It is worth mentioning that, in the computer laboratory section, students had no idea how to use the user interface and navigate the web site by themselves which took quite long time. Another noticeable point on time is that, the time given to the students is not enough to gain familiarity of dealing with such sites. This may be an effective factor on reducing students’ efficiency and reflected on their results. During the classical laboratory section students did not loose time in that sense.Another point that needed to be mentioned here is the usage of time. In the computer laboratory class, students did not guided on how to use time. Accordingly, they spent most of their time for studying the concepts that they feel they are not good at. Accordingly, they run out of time for studying the other lessons. On the other hand, in the classical laboratory class, the instructor used the same amount of time for each concept. As a result, students got an equal chance for studying each concept.Additionally, in the classical laboratory section, students got their feedback immediately from the instruction where as in the computer laboratory section students got feedback by trying the alternatives. That is to say, students give a response to the computer and got a feedback showing that if their response is right or wrong. If their response was wrong they had to try again. In that way they could not be able to get direct or detail response from the computer. To sum up, in addition, if the site improved according to the factors listed in Table 3 as well as if the implementation is done in different settings considering the time and user interface issues discussed above, we think this could enhance the improvement on students’ learning, and gave better a performance. We think that, besides continuous research on improvements of the functions of Web-based instruction system, future researches should concentrate on better curriculum and user interface designs issues, according to the characteristics of the system, in order to make it more complete and to reflect the real learning states of the learners, through out a specialized Web-based facility of evaluation mode. In particular, as clarck (1996) states, the development of online tutors can reduce the feelings of distance caused by Web-based media and increase the learning efficiency of the learners.

       Referances

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