Virtual Class – An Appropriate Environment for Distance Learning Mathematics at an Open University

Maria Hadjinicolaou, [], Hellenic Open University, 11 Sahtouri Str.Patras, GR-26222, Greece, []

English Abstract

Distance learning at an Open University usually engages technology mediated teaching tools and learning environments that have been designed and developed during the last decades. Unlike the apparently governing social learning pedagogical point of view and the benefits of asynchronous e-learning platforms, the cognitive perspectives of education and the need for synchronous interaction between the tutor and the students as well as the students themselves, is decisive for the quality of attained knowledge. Open universities, traditionally, used to organize consultative group meetings aiming at the better understanding of concepts, the development of skills, the gaining of positive attitudes and finally the enhancement of knowledge. Tutors in mathematics courses face significant difficulties due to the students’ heterogeneous mathematical background and thus problems arise that may impede a lot the acquisition of knowledge. These problems must be also addressed in the group meetings and therefore the reconstruction of the pre-existing mathematical knowledge under a common basis and the acquisition of cognitive flexibility in handling mathematical concepts in different fields are two fundamental objectives of such meetings. Virtual classes provide the appropriate environment for achieving these aims, since they allow a qualitative dynamical, on-line communication among the members of a group.

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e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, MOOCs, information and communication technology, collaborative learning, internet, learning management system, LMS, interaction,

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