Today’s students lack contact with their professors and peers which leads to loss of motivation. The world wide web has also brought up new ways of cheating. Students have access to purchasing other student’s papers and custom made term papers through the internet. This literature will attempt to identify the positive and negative affects of the 21st century learning environment. Learning: A 21st Century ApproachType Title Here_Toc482436015 Distance learning plays a major role in our 21st Century learning environment. Distance learning is excellent for anyone trying to balance work, family, and an education.
Distance learning provides a high degree of flexibility. The flexibility of online courses makes it possible for a person to complete a course or a degree which would be impossible for them to complete in a traditional classroom setting due to their work or family schedule (Galusha, 1998). Online courses are convenient for most undergraduate and graduate students who can now study when they want and they can finish writing and researching assignments based on their own personal schedules. Distance learning has opened up educational opportunities to people who thought that it would be impossible to achieve an education.
Another possible setback of online learning is that the student must be computer savvy in order to succeed. Students must understand the latest technology or it may be more confusing for the student to figure out the program itself than the lesson plans. Students must be taught how to manage the materials that they are presented with. Some adult learners are not well acclimated in the uses of current technology which can lead to major learning setbacks. Students need to be taught the fundamentals of the operating system of the school they are attending.
Technical barriers must not be an issue. Distance learning has also brought up many questions concerning academic integrity. “Cheating, or academic dishonesty, at the university level is a nationwide concern” (Swift, 1998). Students have access to term papers available at their fingertips. Student cheating has become much easier and quicker than it was in the past. It is extremely easy for a student to hand in a term paper that is not their original. Papers can be easily downloaded and the author’s name can be added. “There are endless web-sites that advertise this form of cheating.
The sites are either loan operators who by and sell other’s papers, or those who pay a collection of students or adults to write customized papers. Most of them operate around the clock and accept a variety of forms of payment” (Swift,1998, p. 20). Some web-sites even offer papers for free. Customized papers are a serious threat because they cannot be accessed by professors. Student’s pay a hefty per page charge and a paper is designed to the student’s specifications including subject, reference style, and number of pages. Students must beware, the work is very unreliable.
Papers are often misquoted, having inaccurate citations, misinformation, and even poor grammar and spelling. In order to help curve the problem. There are many web-sites designed to assist faculty in detecting cheating. Professors may want to educate students on the proper use of the Internet in their academic work. “If we convince students that the assignments are designed for their benefit and if we offer to consult with them on their assignments, they are more likely to “buy into” our educational goals and produce their own, original work” (Swift, 1998, p. 23).