The Impact of The Online Education System on High School Teachers
Topicality of the Theme of Research
Education is regarded as one of the criteria which characterize a true citizen, an accomplished personality and a perspective employee. There are diverse opportunities for the applicants to receive education of high quality, and online education system is one of the most demanded educational alternatives as far as it embodies innovative approach, a comparatively free schedule, and efficiency gained in an interactive manner. The recent course of time has been marked with a variety of constructive reforms and new methodologies purported to serve the target of aligning priorities of the young generation with the issues of the quality of received education. Nonetheless, there are also peculiar dilemmas apart from evident advantages of online education that should be taken into consideration. Therefore, an in-depth insight into the impact of the online education system on quality, proficiency and further relevance forms a topical research point in the current course of time. The online education system is considered to be a future of educational phenomenon.
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The topicality of the investigation in the scope of the online education system is predetermined by the dramatically increasing rates of preference of the online educational courses to the traditional tendency of attending educational establishments; the evolution of the given system and frequent launches of new programs, reforms and course materials targeted to enhance online education and its outcomes; and significant accomplishments demonstrated by the graduates of the online educational programs. On the other hand, there are considerable dilemmas related to the diminished value of the traditional educational system, the questionability of the efficiency of such a type of education, and particular aspects related to the grading system. Hence, there are two sides of the issue in question, and both pros and cons should be investigated. A current stage of research within the topic of online education reveals considerable gaps in the aforementioned aspects since the sphere of online studying is comparatively a novice one, and there is a peculiar deficit in empirical and profound studies.
Online Education in China
Online education in China develops at dramatically escalating rates. Chinese students reveal a considerable interest in Massive Open Online Courses (hereinafter, MOOCs), and this interest rate is provided not only by the applicants from China, but also from the U.S., Canadian and U. K. students (Wang 2013). The tendency of increase of this interest led to efficient development, expansion and improvement of online education on the territory of the country. iResearch Global (2016) provides statistics to emphasize an enormous rise in demand of the online education services: the revenue for online courses featured 17,1% of growth in 2011, whereas 2016 revealed 143,7%. To be more precise, the revenue in the given segment was 119,2 billion Yuan in 2015, and the predictions for the future progress are even more significant: the income for the sector of online education is predicted to be approximately 204.6 billion Yuan in 2018 (iResearch Global 2016). Furthermore, both academic and vocational modes of education are expected to stimulate the rapid development of education market” (iResearch Global 2016). Hence, topicality in the chosen scope of China’ area is also incredible.
Research Rationale and Research Question
The present study narrows down the focus of the research to the specific impact provided by the online education system on high school teachers. The conflict between traditional and online educational approaches is considerable as far as modern universities are primarily regarded as providers of new brilliant graduates capable of invoking new discoveries, creative and extraordinary solutions and innovations, as well as globally relevant issues (Johnson et al. 2016, p. 8). Nonetheless, such a perspective appears to be sufficiently outdated and not relevant in terms of modern priorities and ultimate values. To be more precise, the process of breeding of innovation and effective adaptation to different economic needs in the current course of time, traditional education system must alter the structure, key approaches and targets so as to acquire a sufficient level of flexibility, and at the same time stimulate creativity, independent judgment, and entrepreneurial thinking. Furthermore, there has been observed a dramatically augmenting consensus among many scientists and researchers in the field of education that institutional leadership as well as offered traditional curricula are expected to receive diverse benefits in case they adopt agile startup models (Johnson et al. 2016, p. 8). Online education aligns with the aforementioned requirements of agility, creative and innovative approaches, as well as flexibility and focus on the entrepreneurial evolution of the students.
The impact of the given type of education system on the teaching staff is regarded as multidimensional and challenging. It may be posited that teachers of high schools perceive online study as a rival or even hostile to the traditional approach to education. Nevertheless, online types of educational initiatives along with the process of teaching and the outcomes of students’ achievements are expected to be of essential significance for the purpose of enhancement of professional performance of the high school teachers. The issue of concern is investigated from such an angle and deals with three basic modes, namely, the domain of technological advancement, the domain of users, and the domain of users’ behavioral patterns. Each domain contributes to the formation of the holistic and detailed picture of the impact of inline education on high school teachers, its benefits and challenges.
The research questions are as follows: does the online education have a positive and constructive impact on high school teachers and their professional performance?
Roadmap of the Study
The research question guides both secondary and primary research. The first step is secondary investigation that involves a thorough literature review. This review relies on the sufficient quantity of the reliable, credible, up-to-date relevant sources. The search and choice of the sources was conducted on the basis of the ABS list of academic journals. The next step is primary research that also consists of two parts, namely, qualitative study of the tendencies and influential factors, as well as the quantitative assessment of the factors’ significance, as well as potential and possible complications. To be more precise, the given stage of investigation encompasses the interview of ten participants that are expected to provide necessary details and comprehensive insights of high school teachers into the issue in question, and the survey of seventy respondents targeted to evaluate the scale and prevalence of the identified aspects.
It is expected that the course of secondary research will result in the relevant and sufficient background for the primary investigation. Namely, it will identify the main tendencies, features and recommendations concerning the influences provided by online education on the contemporary high school teachers. Furthermore, the course of primary study is expected to provide evidence to support the outcomes of preliminary research. In case crucial discrepancies between the outcomes of the primary and secondary studies emerge, it is recommended to conduct a thorough analysis and to outline recommendations for further narrowed research. In case, the outcomes of both studies coincide or are similar, conclusions and recommendations on enhanced perception and use of the online education system for the improvement of high school teachers’ performance.
Overview of the Phenomenon of Online Education System
The need for fundamental changes in the scope of education is vivid and urgent. Traditional approaches fail to satisfy both graduates of the higher educational establishments and their future employers. The graduates aspire more, and the traditional education provides them with relatively standard background of knowledge and skills. Such a provision reduces the degree of their professionalism along with the level of competitiveness. It should be noted that the employers do not benefit from such a tendency as far as the standards and average outcomes are not in demand in the current course of time. As a direct consequence, alternatives are explored, developed, and established.
The novice designs of the contemporary highly efficient and agile educational initiatives are such as “online learning, blended learning, and massive open online courses (MOOCs)” (Johnson et al. 2016, p. 11). Actually, the researchers underline that an increasing demand for a paradigm shift in the education system primarily originates from the students as far as they do not receive sufficient quality of education at conventional universities and academies. This aspect means that there is a significant thirst for knowledge, skillfulness and proficiency in the young generation. Moreover, modern applicants make constructive conclusions from the experience and results of the previous generation and apparently are determined to achieve more.
A vivid example of such dynamics in online education development is the Chinese educational market. The year of 2015 revealed that “academic education constituted over half of the market share of China’s online education market” (iResearch Global 2016). 85% of the given market belongs to the adult education sector (iResearch Global 2016). The predictions for the next several years course of development posit that the prevailing types of education will be both academic and vocational ones (iResearch Global 2016). It is crucial that the Chinese educational courses, namely, MOOC, expand internationally and team with the renowned universities of global significance. For instance, an expansion in the USA resulted in cooperation with 84 universities, such as Yale and Columbia (Wang 2013). Such a contribution was made by Coursera, one of the largest organizations within the scope of MOOC, which presented the students all over the world with more than 400 courses (Wang 2013). Further expansion of Coursera encompassed such countries as Russia and India and is targeted to start cooperation with maximal quantity of the local institutions in China (Wang 2013). Tremendous investment in Chinese online education is supported by an increasing interest from both students and teachers, and as Wang (2013) underlines, since the quantity of students who receive their education abroad increases by 20% annually, the government is determined to enhance the education system, whereas private angel investors, entrepreneurs and organizations demonstrate a particular interest and invest considerable sums in the new online market. For instance, online education divisions are launched by the most significant Internet giants in China, namely, Sina, NetEase and Sohu, and this is another proof of its efficiency in terms of educational purposes and tremendous commercial perspectives.
Along with huge potentials, there are also serious challenges, especially for the investors in the online education development. Firstly, the quality of courses is to be excellent, whereas some online education providers offer a variety of options with poor or moderate quality. Secondly, the issue of presentation is also significant. The emerging market of online education provides a considerable demand for the online courses of diverse directions, and the level of competitiveness constantly increases. Students expect maximal efficiency, innovation and benefits of the flexible schedule from these courses, and the initial presentation of the organization is expected to demonstrate these aspects to the potential applicants. Nonetheless, some providers of online courses fail to provide holistic, qualitative and vivid presentations of their courses, and the first batch of the online course by Peking University is a relevant example (Wang 2013). Thirdly, technical issues are also a challenge. The providers of online courses should ensure all the links, videos, forums and webpages in work properly and are accessible to the target audience. The students expect speed, interactive mode and easy access to the materials and online tutorships, and such technical problems position the provider as an incompetent in the major sphere.
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As a result, the quality of course appears to be also questionable. Lastly, there is a challenge related to the traditional approach to the educational process in China. To be more precise, the process of education is regarded as a teacher-centric. It means that a teacher is responsible not only for providing the students with relevant knowledge and skills, but also for controlling, motivating, and evaluating the course of studying. The system where self-motivation, self-control and distant evaluation are required is primarily alien to the Chinese students. Hence, the transition to the online education system is a paradigm shift marking new values, priorities and targets of the contemporary students. Furthermore, Wang (2013) underlines that such entities as Coursera need to fulfil the governmental demands, as well as the requirements of the partners and the customers. 30% of college graduates in China failed to find a relevant job in 2013 (Wang 2013). Such statistics are meaningful and challenging for the development of online education within the Chinese market. Coursera found a potential solution and introduced the option of the verified certificates. Nonetheless, its efficiency will be evaluated with the course of time in accordance with the response of local employers to the verification alternative.
The phenomenon of online education is comparatively a new topic in the scope of the teaching and learning practices. Hereby, it is ripe for extensive and insightful investigations. For instance, Johnson et al. (2016) discussed a vivid practice of compromise between a conventional type of learning and an online capacity. Namely, it involved both ceiling microphones and acoustic panels purported to capture audio of proper quality, without disruption, as well as mobile furniture targeted to provide necessary flexible arrangements (Johnson et al. 2016, p. 12). It was a sophisticated and constructive learning experience for all the types of students, and approached the concept of blended education closer. Nonetheless, such instances are rare in the current course of time, and rather experimental than assertive. The phenomenon of online study either as a solo education system or as a constituent element of the blended learning course requires a more profound insight. To be more precise, three fundamental modes will be explored, such as technological features of online learning; perception, expectation, and motivation enhanced by the online mode of learning from the perspective of the teaching personnel; and the users’ behavioral patterns in the context of online education. These levels will be explored and discussed from the perspective of high school as far as it differs from higher education considerably. Firstly, students are more responsible, goal-oriented, and self-disciplined. Secondly, higher education means that the students have particular background of learning experience, as well as sufficient basis of knowledge and skills. Last but not least, many students align their learning activity with working hours, so online education may be the only constructive solution in that case. High school requires more involvement, guidance and control from the teacher, whereas the students are not determined in terms of future profession, vague in their preferences, and primarily need permanent control and assistance to succeed.
The Domain of Technological Features
The level of technological features of the online education system provides users with a significant variety of possibilities, alternatives, and flexible solutions. Moreover, interactive and innovative approaches to the teaching process make it more appealing, interesting and, as a result, more efficient for the students. The present study outlines three core technological benefits that characterize online education as an effective and advanced type of studying, namely, flexibility of the learning schedule, distant educational process, and innovative approach.
The flexibility of the learning schedule is a broad notion in the given context. Firstly, it means that there is no everyday compulsory attending of lectures and seminars. Students receive absolute freedom in the formation of their studying hours, the amount of material learnt, and the frequency of studies. One or two days of online education with proper attitude and sufficient efforts may be more efficient than the whole week of studying under terms of the traditional education system. Such an excellent opportunity helps the students to fit education into their lives and have time for working responsibilities, family and other personal issues. It is an opposite option to traditional approach when a person adjusts or even changes his / her entirely life in order to manage a studying timetable. The final efficiency of study is considered one of the core hazards of online education since such a flexible schedule often means that students may skip some part of material required, and lack of regular lessons is regarded as a direct threat to the quality of acquired knowledge and especially practical skills. Nonetheless, statistics demonstrate opposite outcomes. For instance, the course of investigation conducted by the United States Education Department reveals that students present better performance when taking online courses in comparison with traditional lessons (Shah 2016). Furthermore, the research by the United States Education Department highlights that the practice of blended education is also more effective and is usually preferred by the students (Shah 2016). Hence, the students who choose the online educational system to gain a degree are aware of hazards of a highly appealing flexible schedule and are capable of controlling the process of studying so as to acquire qualitative results. Such a conscious choice of an education mode and consequent successful performance confirm the topicality and future perspective of a flexible schedule as one of the major technological features of the online education system.
Distant learning is another potential of online courses that is regarded as an essential advantage by the users, both teachers and students. All the participants of the online studying process do not waste time in order to get to the working place or come back home afterwards, and it is especially valuable for the inhabitants of big cities. It is the most comfortable and consistent mode of studying. Nonetheless, there are particular challenges related to the lack of interaction between the teaching personnel and the students, as well as the deficit of empirical activity. Often, the students receive much information and even learn it, but since practical skills need more time and effort, as well as more direct control of the tutor, the results may be questionable. Along with such challenges, the contemporary online education system offers diverse improvements, adjustments, and constructive solutions. For instance, there is a significant variety of interactive methodologies and skills’ development approaches that provide considerable effectiveness of distant learning.
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Huang et al. (2015) explore one of the novice pedagogical theories in the given context, namely, transactional distance. The findings of the research reveal that the significant levels of such constituent elements as dialogue and structure may be compatible provided support of “the inverse relationship of structure, dialogue and learner autonomy to transactional distance” (Huang et al. 2015, p. 734). Izak (2015) underlines that standards are not always effective in the scope of modern education, and one of the radical alternatives is an unmanaged environment for learning. It is a broad concept, but it is relevant in the given context as far as the traditional system of education predetermines the necessity of compulsory direct contact with the teaching personnel, the presence at the lessons, and the maximally regular attendance according to the schedule established by the educational institution. Unmanaged space provides more opportunities for intuitive and associative learning, as well as more freedom of choice and preferences for the students. This is a key to the efficiency of online education since students purported to gain an qualitative academic degree will not only adhere to the guidelines and materials of the courses, but will also expand the canvas of their learning scope. The issue of guidance in the given process emerges since distance may be an obstacle for it. Nonetheless, it is not a serious dilemma provided communication with the tutor is sufficient and the students take responsibility for the learning outcomes.
One of the major hazards of online education system in terms of the distant mode of learning is that the discrepancy between the students’ background and the level of knowledge required for effective studying may be considerable (Mariano & Casey 2015). The direct and regular contact with the students permits the teachers to evaluate and modify the actual level to the necessary extent, whereas distant learning is often devoid of such a possibility since many tutors only check papers and assignments without proper interaction with their students. Mariano and Casey (2015) emphasize that the cases of incompatibility revealed between prior knowledge of students and new one is often significant. Therefore, such a drawback of distant learning should be compensated in terms of communication and cooperation between the teaching personnel and the students.
The next important technological aspect of the online education system is innovation. Innovative approach is one of the core constituent elements of the given system. Students consider it to be highly motivating and helpful in the course of studying. Innovative approach involves interactive methodologies, wide use of video material, online conferences, and game mode of learning. For instance, Bower (2015) explores and discusses the potential and core features of the Web 2.0 technologies applicable for the educational purposes. The main advantages of the aforementioned dimension of technology include cooperation potential and interactive options; hence, the students can communicate, share and contact not only each other, but also their tutors (Bower 2015).
Such opportunities are often aligned with the benefits of incorporating diverse social networking systems as an effective educational tool. Admittedly, it will be a supplementary tool, but the one that is close to the world of students’ regular activity and interests. It is preferable to interact and communicate within the familiar and comfortable space about studying. Nevertheless, the specialized forums and chats are also obligatory since they contribute to the overall learning targets. Social networking should be used as an option for additional tasks, creative work, organizational issues, etc. Kio (2015) offers an option of Social Networking Site (hereinafter, SNS) targeted to build and sustain a comfortable, efficient and consistent environment for the students’ activity. Such examples as Facebook Group use and regression techniques employed for analysis are discussed (Kio 2015).
The use of video options is another side of innovation benefit in online education system. Video materials, videoconferencing and tasks based or related to video are widely employed in the online courses. Since video materials are interactive and vivid, the students prefer to work with them. Nonetheless, not all disciplines and topics can be presented in a video form. Along with such, this vivid mode of presentation should be academic, not of an amateur or entertaining nature, in order to align with the educational standards and requirements. Admittedly, videos also often distract the students by vivid objects, new links, and related concepts. Nonetheless, videos are considered to be an effective educational tool in case proper attitude, time management and learning objectives are provided by the students and monitored by the teachers.
Konings et al. (2016) also underline that videoconferencing is widely used in particular cases of the traditional education mode. To be more precise, videoconferences are applied when the students complete part of the whole academic program outside the home institution. The major purpose of such a methodology is to supervise their activity and evaluate the level of its efficiency. Nonetheless, the course of research in the given area revealed that the students who conducted their study abroad reported a lower level of quality in terms of supervision, assistance and timely feedback on all measured aspects, whereas the students keeping their study at the home institution confirmed a higher quality of supervision and cooperation with their tutors (Konings et al. 2016). Such outcomes were followed by the next stage of investigation that compared the efficiency of those students who received supervision via videoconferencing and those who did not. The ramifications revealed that the latter group of students demonstrated lower performance than those who were supervised online (Konings et al. 2016). Nonetheless, the given study is limited and reveals the outcomes of the students accustomed to the traditional type of studying. The researchers concluded that videoconferencing has a significant potential for teaching-learning practices online, but needs further adjustments, as well as proper attitude from the students.
West and Turner (2015) explore one of the innovative aspects of the online education system applied to the traditional mode of studying, namely, video feedback. The researchers found that video feedback was preferred by the prevailing majority of the students, namely, 61%, whereas writing assignments were chosen by only 21% (West & Turner 2015). Students underlined that video feedback not only reduced complexity and ambiguity of the writing activity, but also encompassed the material in a more holistic and consistent way (West & Turner 2015). Along with such, video reports are also significant in terms of evaluation for the supervisors as far as they reveal a multidimensional essence of the feedback and illustrate the actual comprehension of the topic by the students. Video option is considered to contribute to the rapport between the teacher and the student as well as to provide an insight into the quality of the completed studying course (West & Turner 2015).
The students taking online courses also pass examinations in an online format. Such an approach saves time and eliminates the possibilities for cheating. Furthermore, the results are objective and vividly demonstrate the strong and weak aspects of the students’ academic level. Along with such, online testing provides an opportunity to employ interactive options to the process of evaluation. In such a way, the students not simply respond, but often construct, analyze, predetermine and calculate during the online test. This type of assessment is also often borrowed by the traditional education system. Nonetheless, there are constant dilemmas related to the relevance and actual efficiency of such a testing mode. Therefore, a variety of investigations and studies is conducted in order to reveal the main benefits, challenges and cornerstones of the given method. For instance, Castillo-Manzano et al. (2015) explore the effectiveness and perspective of further use of the innovative tool audience response system (hereinafter, ARS). The research reveals a considerably positive impact on performance at theoretical tests with several particular limitations (Castillo-Manzano et al. 2015). The researchers conclude that ARS should regularly be employed in the process of evaluation in order to improve performance consistently as far as the random ARS use may have questionable efficiency since it is novice to the students and they are not accustomed to such a type of performance at examinations.
Jong (2015) discusses another embodiment of creative innovation in terms of the education system, namely, constructivist learning opportunities such as game-based learning. This mode of learning is especially appealing to the students as far as it is devoid of the routine studying process and is related to the one of students’ favorite leisure activities. Such a mode may be used in both online and traditional education systems. There are numerous concerns about its relevance and overall efficiency among the teachers. The study conducted by Jong (2015) reveals that the most questionable issue is connected with the scope of management. To be more precise, management in game-based learning is superficial, and the effectiveness of this tool as an educational instrument depends primarily on the students. The issue of self-discipline and motivation emerges in the given context again. Another dilemma is related to the design and development aspects (Jong 2015). The given materials should be vivid and promote interactive learning, but at the same time focus on academic material and not on the process of game.
There are core technological features that play crucial role in the context of current research, namely, perceived effectiveness of communication tools, perceived richness of learning material, and perceived effectiveness of sharing function.
According to King (2014), perceived effectiveness of communication tools is considered to be essential aspect that predetermines overall efficiency of the course of online education/ communication forms a solid background for the process of students’ learning how to learn and profound comprehension of the courses’ material. Moreover, the students receive approval or disapproval, encouragement and motivation from communication, especially with their tutors, whereas communication with peers may contribute to formation of the skills of team work that is an evident deficit and disadvantage of online education system. Students exchange experience, share their thoughts and vision; though, there are hazards related to considerable waste of time during such communication. Perceived effectiveness of such communication tools used in online courses as chats with peers, overall forums and discussions with the tutors are considered to be a significant technological feature of online education system. Chats provide the users with possibility to send and receive messages instantly and to attach all the necessary files. Forums give an opportunity to create an open discussion of the issue in question so that every person can contribute to it and benefit from it. Oral discussions provide the same opportunity, but forums have an apparent advantage of keeping a record of the conducted discussion so that every person can check it in any period of time later.
The next technological feature of online education system relevant to the present study is a perceived richness of learning material. As it has been already mentioned, both strategies and contents in online courses fundamentally differ from the conventional ones. Hence, online education system offers the students incredible variety of data as well as diverse forms and types of its presentation. Furthermore, interactive tools and innovative approach to learning contribute to richness and permanent improvements in the course materials. This aspect is regarded as an additional motivation for the students to learn, and, as a direct result, enhances effectiveness of studying. Richness of material is also accompanied by use of only up-to-date, reliable and credible sources. It may be a challenge for many students, especially taking into consideration the necessity to work with this amount of material with minimal online support of the tutor and communication with peers remotely. On the other hand, richness of material contributes to high level of future level of student’s competence, and forms their skills in self-learning and self-improvement. A considerable amount of material is presented as PowerPoint presentations, outlets, videos and authentic writings.
Finally, the technological feature of perceived effectiveness of sharing function is a crucial element of online courses. Its significance was questionable, but recent research demonstrated that sharing function that is enacted due to diverse communicative tools such as forums and chats and social media potential provide various opportunities for sharing. Use of social media in the given context was especially questionable, but Rohr and Costello (2015) revealed the research outcomes that confirm high degree of efficiency of their constructive employment in online courses. For instance, Twitter was effective due to its capacity to provide integration of “a social presence in the course and an effective means to assess students. Results suggested students felt more connected to both their classmates and the course content through the Twitter activities” (Rohr & Costello 2015). Along with such, the phenomenon of sharing became so relevant and efficient that suggestions about establishment of regular micro-blogging activity for students of online courses was presented (Rohr & Costello 2015).
Thus, technological features of the online education system are of vital significance for the contemporary students as far as they create the learning environment the modern studying generation considers comfortable, appealing, efficient, and constructive. Moreover, some aspects can also be applied in the traditional education system, and this conclusion confirms their universal effectiveness and considerable potential for the teaching activity.
The Domain of Effects of Online Education on Teachers
There are also three basic effects online education system makes on the teachers that should be studied. These effects involve prevailing of self-learning; teacher is a guide, not just a lecturer; and the use of interactive methodology.
The evident dominance of self-learning has been observed widely both in the online and traditional education systems. This issue symbolizes a paradigm shift in the scope of learning; namely, the students strive for knowledge, professionalism, and efficiency. Moreover, they are ready to take a responsibility for the level and quality of their education. Therefore, the attitude of teachers should also adjust properly so as to align with the priorities and preferences of the students. The effect of this nice aspect promoted by the online education system is expected to lead to a paradigm shift in teacher’s role and performance. The grades should not be regarded as a powerful tool subdued to teacher’s power and necessary for the holistic process, but are expected to be positioned as the hallmarks of the students’ education progress, as well as the steps to proficiency and competence. The tests and examinations should be considered as the challenges necessary to evaluate the current point of development and identify the issues to be improved.
Admittedly, the effect of self-learning is closely interrelated with the other one, namely, the change of the position of a teacher from a lecturer to a guide. The material provided should be a unity of outline and the most crucial aspects of the chosen topic. Along with such, there should be particular guidelines targeted to orient the students in the process of self-learning. The teachers should also help their students in case there are particular challenges, dilemmas and complication in the course of research, learning, and comprehension. Nonetheless, the provision of the holistic course material is excessive, according to the modern approach implemented in the vision of the online education system, since students should learn to learn. This process is crucial for the core learning targets and objectives.
The third important effect on teacher’s performance is the use of interactive methods. The study of credible sources identifies numerous approaches and techniques employed in online courses in order to spur students’ motivation and trigger interest, make the learning process more appealing, vivid, and visually supported. Such a novice and multidimensional approach includes videoconferencing, game-based learning, video feedback, personal control over the learnt material, interactive testing modes, and other innovations. The research confirms that the aforementioned methods can also be applied by the teachers as a constituent element of the traditional learning process. If the teachers are ready to use interactive methodology, it is recommended to align it properly with regular activities of the traditional education system and make sure that the students understand all the aspects of performance required, both technically and in academic terms. All the instructions should be provided in detail and beforehand.
Furthermore, it is appropriate to employ interactive techniques regularly in order to provide positive results on the learning process. The recent research records show that many interactive methods improve efficiency of the study and motivate the students to achieve more in the scope of academic education.
Thus, the effects of the online education system on teachers are positive and constructive provided the main requirements are met and all the constituent elements of the teaching process are properly arranged. It is important to realize that innovation is future, and the traditional mode may be the basic one, but still needs particular adjustments and constant enhancement in order to correspond to the needs and novice priorities of the contemporary students.
Recommendations for Enhancement of Online Education System
This section addressed the core improvements necessary for further development of the online education system’s efficiency. These adjustments include motivation enhancement; permanent and comprehensive tech-support; enhancement of courses’ quality; and communication with the instructors. These issues are considered to be among the most urgent and topical dilemmas in the scope of the online education system in the current course of time.
According to Literat (2015), “the proliferation of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has stirred a fervent debate about global access to higher education” (p. 1164). It is a topical issue as far as the representatives of many countries around the globe demonstrate a huge interest in taking online courses, and the level of responsibility of the MOOCs developers increases respectively. Currently, it is not a novice initiative, but a significant and authentic phenomenon that is expected to provide the students with the education of excellent quality. One of the most common challenges faced by the international students taking online courses for the first time is related to tech scope. To be more precise, the students make mistakes or even fail in some parts of the course as far as either technological side has serious flaws, or there are no detailed and comprehensive instructions. Hence, the fundamental improvement of the online education system should start with the enhancement of the tech support. It is also crucial to provide it in different languages and to guarantee 24-hours support to all the students. Furthermore, detailed manuals and brief instructions are necessary in order to assist the users and reduce the amount of inquiries to the support team.
Admittedly, there are also some errors in the programs and courses currently used in the online education system. Therefore, the course of further development should be conducted, and each questionable aspect should be improved. It is of vital significance that the students are supplied with necessary materials timely and properly as well as that all the resources work impeccably. Students should not experience inconveniences since the major value of the online education system is flexibility of a learning schedule and absolute freedom of the users, especially when it concerns the time necessary for task completion of the accessing materials. The visual interface of the resources should also be comfortable, neutral in terms of color and style, and entirely academic in its essence.
One more essential enhancement requires motivation. It is evident that motivation is necessary in any type of education system. For instance, Gbadamosi (2015) discusses the options for the improvement of attendance of seminars by the students as a crucial aspect contributing to their academic performance. The study reveals that considerable modifications are required in order to increase the attendance of the students and, respectively, overall effectiveness of such an element of the traditional education system (Gbadamosi 2015). Furthermore, the attendance of the seminars was considered to be beneficial for the students in terms of learning, whereas the lectures revealed no significant impact on academic performance (Gbadamosi 2015). Motivation was one of the aforementioned modifications required. The same aspect is of vital importance for the online education system as far as there is no set schedule, regular hours and interaction with peers. Motivation should be both intrinsic and extrinsic. The latter one should be based on a well-balanced unity of corrections and encouragement. To be more precise, the students are to be corrected by their tutors in order to see their mistakes, drawbacks and challenges in their academic performance and be willing to improve it. Nonetheless, corrections should be sensible and sophisticated so as to prevent from a negative influence on students’ impulse to enhance.
Hsia et al. (2016) offer a constructive strategy of peer-assessment approach that may be both motivational and correctional. This strategy also induces competitiveness and spurs inner motivation to succeed in the chosen field of academic performance. The researchers also underline that the ramifications of peer-assessment were objective and primarily aligned with the teachers’ feedback and self-assessment conducted by the students (Hsia et al. 2016).
The next improvement is connected with the quality of the online courses offered in the current course of time. As it has been already mentioned, the variety and high velocity of their appearance on the education market leads to the low quality and range of errors detected in some of them. Hence, the issue of excellence in quality should be number one concern for the creators of online courses. The criterion of quality involves such aspects as academic value of the material provided in the courses, technological consistency, easy access to the materials and friendly online interface, and properly justified, constructive choice of strategies and methodologies. Furthermore, the system of assessment should be properly protected from hacking and cheating (Dawson 2015). Along with such, the designers of each online course should take into consideration global use of these programs and internationalism of the users’ audience (Gemmell et al. 2015). It is crucial to create such a learning environment that the students feel comfortable and like “at university” (O’Shea et al. 2015). At the same time, it is important to provide a significant level of innovative tools and possibilities for the users so that they appreciate beneficial dimensions of online education (Robinson & Hullinger 2008). Qualitative education should focus on quality, foster students’ thinking and be oriented on the final result through the consistent gradual process of learning (Wollerscheim et al. 2015).
Finally, it is crucially important to improve communicational patterns. Firstly, discussion boards, chats and forums are recommended in order to augment communication with the peers. Secondly, specific mode for communications with the tutors is required. The deficit of such communication leads to misunderstandings, errors and overall lowered quality of education. Thirdly, teachers’ feedback should be discussed in order to be efficient. The mistakes and misconceptions should not be only detected and indicated, but also be analyzed. Fourthly, self-assessment, teacher’s assessment and peer assessment may also be communicated at a particular forum in order to trigger motivation and process of improvement. In any case, the course of analysis should be guided and evaluated by the tutor. Last but not least, communication will permit to eliminate reiteration of the mistakes provided communication is regular and constructive. It is also important to ensure such communication will not devalue self-learning and self-motivation of the majority of the students of online courses.
The chapter of research methodology outlines the research methods employed for the present study. Sampling criteria, participants, as well as limitations and ethical considerations are indicated. Moreover, the data analysis strategy and the approaches incorporated for the interpretation of the study outcomes are also discussed. The justification of the chosen methodology in the context of the given investigation area is also provided.
The course of the study of the online education system and its influence on high school teachers is a multidimensional and challenging research. Therefore, both primary and secondary data is needed in order to provide a credible, objective and reliable study. According to Khan (2011), primary data is the “findings of original research work” (p. 112). The efficiency of research should be confirmed by the authentic and justified primary outcomes. Along with such, the course of primary research should rely on the credible sources and prior knowledge available in the scope of interest. Therefore, secondary data acquired by means of the literature review is employed in the present investigation.
The set research question predetermines the choice of a research strategy. The research question encompasses a broad and novice area of knowledge. The online education system is a new phenomenon, and there are particular gaps in its research. Nonetheless, the core factual background was provided by means of the literature review. It also assisted with the identification of the main challenges and dilemmas of the issue of concern. In order to explore the scope of the set research question, both qualitative and quantitative research modes were applied. Hence, the mixed method of research is recommended to be chosen so as to provide maximally holistic and objective results (Morgan 2013).
Hartas (2015) underlines that such an approach is relevant in terms of educational research as far as the phenomenon of education is “a diverse and ever-evolving field” (p. 14), and the exploration should impose at least several perspectives of insights in order to acquire a proper comprehension. Furthermore, the scientist underlines that “we seem to be at a crossroads of redefining education” and the challenges of the given process lead to innovative thinking and relevant approaches (Hartas 2015, p. 14).
The mixed method includes qualitative research in the form of interview and consequent quantitative research in the form of both questionnaire and survey. According to VanderStoep and Johnston (2009), qualitative research is purported to conduct an in-depth insight into the crucial aspects of the phenomenon in question, reasons, the why and the how questions. Quantitative research is a systematized empirical investigation that is conducted by means of the measurement of the variables in numbers, testing a hypothesis with a particular theory, or the analysis of the acquired data via statistical techniques (VanderStoep & Johnston 2009). Hence, both methods are expected to provide a broad canvas of comprehension how significantly and to what extent the online education system can impact the professional performance of the high school teachers.
Qualitative and Quantitative Research
Interviews have fifteen questions targeted to acquire necessary knowledge concerning how the online education system is perceived by high school teachers and how they align it with their performance in the sector of traditional education. There will be five close-ended questions targeted to evaluate the overall tendency of the researched issue, and the other ten questions will be open-ended in order to gain as much information and details for analysis as the respondents are willing to provide. The open-ended questions will be also aimed at identifying the pros and cons and particular aspects that are most frequently referred to by the interviewees. In such a way, a picture of attitudes, opinions, perceptions and types of actual uses or reasons of refusal to adhere to the accomplishments and benefits of the online education system will be acquired.
The questionnaire and survey will be conducted in an online format. There will be twenty five questions in the questionnaires and eighteen ones in the surveys. The relevance of using both questionnaire and survey forms of quantitative research is justified by difference in the data that will be acquired via them. Questionnaires are expected to provide the background for general conclusions and overall comprehension of the role of the online education system in the contemporary educational market from the point of view of the respondents, whereas surveys will focus on actual examples of the online courses’ impact on the performance of the high school teachers. The outcomes will be analyzed by means of the statistical technique and, consequently, will be aligned with the results of qualitative study in order to provide credible and constructive conclusions of the present study.
The Study Population
The study population will vary in accordance with the type of a research method. 25 high school teachers will be interviewed during the stage of qualitative research; 120 participants will respond to the questionnaires; and 45 high school teachers will provide their feedback to survey questions. To be more precise, the inclusion criterion for the interview and survey groups of participants is the professional activity, namely, high school teacher’s profile, whereas the respondents for the questionnaire will be selected according to broader inclusion criteria. Namely, the students of both traditional and online education systems as well as teachers at schools and universities and tutors of online courses will be selected. There will be no limitation in terms of race, age, sex, or ethnicity criteria.
The potential respondents will be found among the members of educational forums and communities related to a paradigm shift in the education market, namely, online education system development.
The preliminary number of 750 potential participants will be contacted via e-mail with an invitation to partake in the given study. All the basic features and core aspects of the research will be provided in the invitational letter. All the ethical and legal considerations of the study will also be mentioned. The nest stage of research will be the actual invitation. It will be sent as soon as the letters of confirmation arrive. The interviewees will be provided with the address and date of their interview, whereas the rest of the respondents will receive the e-mails with the links to a survey or a questionnaire. It is also recommended to create a reserve group of 35 people in case some respondents fail their actual participation.
The interviews will be conducted personally, and an approximate length of each one has been preliminary estimated as 45 minutes. It is expected that four days will be spent on conducting the interviews provided each interviewee appears timely. Each respondent will be provided with a thank-you note after the completion of interview, and those who partake in online format will receive such notes via e-mails. Along with such, a feedback with impressions and recommendations will also be offered to them afterwards.
Analysis and Interpretation
As soon as the data has been acquired, the course of analysis and subsequent interpretation starts. It is important that the qualitative data is organized properly in accordance with the type of research and aim of the analysis (Lim & Ting 2012). The data will be provided both in an audio format and in transcripts. The course of analysis will be targeted to identify the major tendencies, attitudes and opinions among high school teachers about the online education system, its role in the modern education market and overall efficiency.
A statistical analysis is an effective tool to deal with the quantitative data (Myers et al. 2010). Carlberg (2014) underlines that statistics reveal the outcomes vividly and constructively. Datta and Nettleton (2014) support the aforementioned stance. Therefore, a simple regression analysis will be used in the present study. Regression analysis provides a well-structured vivid evidence of the course of research (Anderson & Finn 1996).
The research requires not only diligence and sufficient expertise in the area of interest, but also integrity and honesty. In such a way, the rights and dignity of the participants are protected. Hence, particular ethical considerations are adhered to in the present study.
Firstly, the principles of voluntary participation and informed consent will not be violated. It means that only provided a potential participant sends the confirmation letter upon the invitation, the actual detailed invitation should be forwarded. The potential participants have also a right to know all the core details of the offered study and their role in it. Moreover, in case a participant changes his or her mind and refuses to partake even after confirmation, there is no background for reiteration of the invitation e-mail or other claims from the researchers.
Secondly, anonymity and confidentiality of the data are guaranteed to all the participants. The following guarantee relates to both personal data and the information provided during the study. All the data will be used only for the scientific purpose. No link between the individual and the provided responses will be made under any circumstances.
Thirdly, the ethical principle of self-determination will also be employed. It means that the respondents have not only a right to determine their activity in the study, but also to use the provided data about the researcher in case of further questions or possible complaints.
Lastly, scientific honesty is also guaranteed. It is a fundamental responsibility the investigator takes for all the aspects of the study in general and the objectivity of the outcomes in particular. The author of the present study provides a guarantee that there will be no manipulation, subjective conclusions or detention of the acquired data.