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Knowledge, Education, and Scholarship on and through the Web

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Abstract

Good communication is vital for the facilitation of effective learning. The embracing of the web in the learning has opened up a new chapter in the education sector and above all introduced new ways of scholarship that is not bounded by the walls of the class and the distance between the teacher and the learner. The increased access to the ICTs, especially the web has transformed the way people, work, learn, play and communicate thereby revolutionizing the education sector as the knowledge becomes more and more critical to our lives. The overall acceptance of the internet, and the ever advancing education applications, has also created new ways of knowledge transfer and scholarship through the web. Universities have taken the advantage of the internet, and developed courses that rely only on the access to the internet. These courses have improved the access and also reduced the cost of scholarship

Author Keywords:

Knowledge; education; internet; scholarship; web; Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)

Introduction

The rapid advancement of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has dramatically affected the economic and social activities as well as in the acquisition of the, creation, dissemination and the use of knowledge. This advancement affects the way in which the manufacturers, service providers, and governments are organized, controlled and how they in turn perform their functions. Knowledge has become an increasingly important aspect in our competitiveness in the world arena. The use of the ICTs has reduced the transaction costs, time, and space barriers thereby allowing the mass production of customized goods and services and thereby overcoming the limiting factors of production and use. With investments in the ICTs, growth in the internet use has also risen.

In addition, the rapid advancements in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the web use over the course of the last decade has affected a significant number of issues of our contemporary lives including the education.  These new information technologies have the potential to change post-secondary education through the use of virtual universities and learning institutions (universities and institutions that offer courses exclusively through the web), distance education and new instructional practices offered through the traditional setting (this may include the normal teaching by the virtual teacher through the web in a classroom set-up).  Nowadays, the educational material or knowledge can be found anywhere, anytime and by everybody who has access to the web. Its common knowledge that the web is packed with information of uncertain quality and importance and therefore, every web user should be able to pick out viable and useful information efficiently from this pool of unsorted information. It’s also essential for any web user to know how and where to obtain useful and qualitative information regarding their interests.   This fact has found its way into universities and educational institutions that make the use these developments to their advantage by involving themselves in on-demand web based education and training. The course delivery is done through course delivery platforms such as Ariadne web based learning environment and electronics books which in turn make use of authoring tools such as InterBook. The Internet facilitates two way communications. The students can receive their course resources, content, and exams online as well as being updated on any small change in the versions of the curriculum. The accessibility to the web allows for the assessment of the quality of the exams and the curriculum offered. The learners can also be given potential access to learning from a variety of providers on the comfort of his or her home.

The web use has significantly expanded the field of education provision and scholarship to the point where leading universities now host comprehensive online and distance education programs offering their courses at international marketplace. This borderless education or simply edgeless university ensures that same quality education can be accessed by the mass audience regardless of location, time, or space. Web usage has also led to new opportunities for informal exchange of expertise, knowledge and folk wisdom between individuals and independent institutions. Through social media applications like Wikipedia, for example, knowledge has changed from being a realm of the few to being accessible and created by all.  Therefore, leaning has now shifted from taking place at the same place and at the same time to taking place anywhere and at any time. It also offers the learners the possibility of speeding or slowing down their courses depending on the content and therefore, being more learner-centered than teacher-centered.  World Bank has estimated that by the year 2020, around ninety (90) million students will be taking degrees or shorter qualifications via distance learning. It also estimates that the market of education could be worth more than one hundred billion dollars ($100b). According to John Chambers, the chief executive officer of cisco network and systems, termed the rise of the internet based learning application to be the next big thing.

The major drivers of e learning are the substantial benefits that accompany it. These include:

  • Lower costs ;
  • Enhanced business responsiveness;
  • Messages that are consistent or customized depending on the needs;
  • Timely or dependable content;
  • Prolonged study periods;
  • No ramp up time’;
  • Universality;
  • The build-up of the community;
  • Scaleability;
  • The leverage of corporate investment on the web;
  • The provision of an increasingly valuable customer service.

The use of ICTs in education can stimulate creativity, thereby providing a medium of thinking differently. The hyperlinks and related information sources can be navigated with a lot of ease and at any point thereby allowing non-linear learning that is learner centered and customized learning that has not been known before.

The use of the web has also led to the development of E-psychology in which the internet technologies is incorporated with the ICTs. In E-psychology, the web constitutes the transmission medium in psychological intervention, assessment, orientation, and specialized counseling as a means of interaction between a patient and the therapist.  In addition to e-psychology, the web has also found another use as a source of knowledge in the issues pertaining to health. According to a recent study, web users were found to trust entirely the results of the prominent and well known websites when they were gathering the information of their health issues without consulting their physical therapists or internet experts. These virtual environments use tools like e-mails, chat rooms, discussion forums audio and video conferencing for their interaction between the therapists and patients or in the integration of other tools for educational purposes in the e-learning environments.

The numerous advantages of e-learning or education as a learner- centered over the teacher-centered learning includes the students ability to learn by discovery as opposed to instruction, learning how to learn as opposed to absorbing of the materials presented and also the teacher as a facilitator as opposed to the teacher as a transmitter. In addition, e-learning is a lifelong learning as there are no barriers to it. The students enjoy the courses at their own convenient time opposed to the institution based learning where the students must be available at designated time and places.

The concept of digital scholarships has been on the upswing with the technologies that are core to it. These technologies that include the internet, the world wide web, computing grids and digital libraries all exist in the social and political contexts and have significantly evolved over time. The research universities are central to the internet and to the issuance of scholarship in the research discovery, integration, application and knowledge transfers all of which require the web for research and development of the research.  In discovery, those awarded the scholarships must advance specific, specialized knowledge. Discovery not only contributes to the overall knowledge but also on the intellectual atmosphere of an institution or a department. In the integration, the individuals awarded the scholarship look for the new relationship between the parts and the whole and thus, bring about new insights to sustain the original research.  It’s the scholarships of integrations that make vital connections between disciplines by altering the contexts in which people view knowledge, and offsetting the inclination of to split knowledge into ever more esoteric bits and pieces. In application scholarships, the new way of knowledge utilization are addressed. In addition, the interaction between theory and the practice is addressed. The scholarship of the application consists in using the knowledge for the benefit of the individuals, institutions, and society. The main aim in this scholarship is the dissemination of useful, testable, and reproducible information to others. And lastly in the knowledge transfers scholarships the new ways of transmitting and extending the knowledge are addressed.

The standards of assessment of scholarly work are the clear goals, adequate preparations, usage of the appropriate methods, significant results, effective presentation and reflective critique.  These are meant to help the scholar to state the basic purpose of his work, to define the objectives that are realistic and achievable thereby identifying the important questions to use in the field. Also to show an understanding of the existing scholarship in the field, bring skills and resources to the body of the work, utilize a methodology that is appropriate to goals effectively and thereby modify the procedures depending on the changing circumstances among others in the preparation and the conduct of the research.  During the presentation of the results, these guidelines help the scholar to achieve his or her set goals, utilize a suitable style and organization to present the findings clearly and with integrity and lastly to critically evaluate his or her work thereby bringing in the breath of evidence.

Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge all who helped me in any way in the writing of this doctoral thesis. It would not have been possible to write this doctoral thesis without the help, support and encouragement of the kind and supportive people around me.

And for any errors or the inadequacies that may arise in the course of my work, the responsibility lies entirely on me.

Conclusion

The Internet and the web have now become an integral component of academic life. From all aspects of education, learning and scholarship, people rely on the internet connections for access to information resources, for the interpersonal communication,  in search for support of research and learning, access to administrative resources, entertainment, and simple day-to- day tasks .  In order to ensure the competitiveness of the web services, the countries involved need to ensure fair pricing and appropriate legal infrastructure to deal with online transactions. It’s therefore crucial to incorporate the government, the telecommunication and service providers, business, and individual users when formulating these strategies.

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