An Evaluation of the Use of Internet Sources as a Basis for Geography Coursework
ABSTRACT Use of the Internet is proliferating rapidly, with mounting speculation as to the practical applications for teaching in higher (and other sectors of) education, yet few published or evaluated case studies are available. This paper explores the use of Internet sources on geography courses. For various academic, logistic and philosophical reasons that are discussed, students were not given full access to the Internet, but were exposed to a variety of current Internet-sourced material downloaded onto a network fileserver, and encouraged to communicate internally and externally using electronic mail. This procedure maintained some of the vitality and stimulation of open access to the Internet, whilst providing some control over potential dangers inherent in this untested teaching medium. Evaluations of the student coursework performance on, and perception of, courses involving the Internet indicate no significant impairment in either during the first staging of the course, but substantial improvement in both, relative to similar modules running concurrently, during the second year of operation. We suggest that controlled use of the Internet provides both lecturer and student with practical exposure to this medium with low academic risk and minimal costs, which may lead to enhanced learning.
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