WWW for Education

This page will discuss using the World Wide Web for delivery of education, show the advantages and disadvantages, with examples of a competency.


What is the World Wide Web?

The World Wide Web or WWW is a UNIX based web of interconnecting networks that use HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) pages to link multimedia, text and graphics into a cohesive document for viewing.

The protocol used is HTTP (Hyper Text Transport Protocol). This is specified in the URL (Universal Resource Locator) or "address" of the location that one would link to. A typical WWW URL would look like:

HTTP://www.sait.ab.ca/index.htm


The WWW Advantage

The WWW has the advantage of being fully multi-media capable for graphical viewers and being multi-dimensional for linking. This is ideal for educational purposes because now graphics, movies, animations, photographs and sound can be integrated into a single educational document.

Multi-Dimensional Linking

The real power of the WWW for educational purposes is the multi-dimensional linking that is available. The Web allows you to link to other pages, documents, files or locations by just pointing and clicking at any underlined word. The underlined word is an indication of a "link" to another file, location or document.

This means that an educational document does not have to be a sequential document such as a book. It can be multi-dimensional. There can be links to past references and to future references. When a student is learning a new subject, links can be made to material that has been previously covered. The student can decide whether or not they should review the material. The option is always available.

Here is an example competency that demonstrates the multi-dimensional capability of the WWW.

Ohm's Law

Pay particular attention to the ability to quickly move through the many pages. Note also that there are links referenced to previous modules such as Current, Voltage and Resistance. These backwards links can be used as a review by the students as they surf the material at there own pace.

Also of note is the links to the many acronyms and abbreviations used in electronics. A common problem when learning a new subject is having to remember the many abbreviations and acronyms used. One HTML file can be used to explain an abbreviation or acronym. The file can be linked from a multitude of other HTML files.


Now the Exciting Part!

In the example on Ohm's Law, there is only one copy of the files used. It resides on the Web server. Any modifications or corrections are made at a single point. All users are simultaneously updated whether they are on campus or off-campus, local or across the world.

One Stop Shopping

The Web server becomes a common repository (almost called it a suppository!) for the courses developed in the institution. It provides one stop shopping for curriculm development. If another course required a module on Ohm's law, a link to the Ohm's law module is all that is required. The link can be between courses, departments and even institutes in separate cities.


What are the WWW Disadvantages?

There are disadvantages to using the WWW for education and you should be informed before jumping on the bandwagon. There are some solutions discussed but this technolgy is still in its infancy.


What does a user need to cruise the WWW?

You need a connection and a Web Browser.


What do you need to operate a WWW site?

You need a Web server and some savy.


Some tips on setting up good Web pages

Here are some tips that I've compiled to help you in setting up good web pages.


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