Enhancing and Measuring Students'Communications Skills In Two Different Learning Environments
AbstractThis is a paper about enhancing and assessing students' communications skills in two new higher education learning environments--the newly-transformed traditional classroom environment with its new technology tools, and the distance learning environment that includes online college courses and degree programs. There is sufficient new evidence that as these two new environments take the place of the traditional old classroom and its pedagogic teaching methods, students' communications skills have become increasingly important and at the same time somewhat questionable. The paper presents a logical approach for assessing the impact of these new learning environments on students' communications skills by using a series of four distinct types of questions. By classifying and properly ordering the questions asked, teachers can systematically move from situation to problem to implications to need-payoff and arrive at answers that as yet have not been addressed. The paper concludes that when academics are able to ask and answer these questions, they will be truly able to structure and balance the use of the new learning environments, to arrive at better student communications skills. The result will inevitably be more effective learning experiences, enhanced learning outcomes and more relevant, more survivable schools in the ever-changing complex world that demands that the teachers of today become effective teachers tomorrow.