Asynchronous learning is the idea that students learn the same material at different times and locations. Asynchronous Learning is also called Location Independent Learning, and is opposite to synchronous learning where students learn at the same time by activities such as attending a lecture or laboratory. The asynchronous learning environment provides students with teaching materials and tools for registration, instruction, and discussion. Asynchronous learning involves the ability to maintain communication without having to meet at the same place at the same time. Asynchronous learning networks (ANL) all have a common conference space (e.g. blackboard, e-mail, chat room) available where everyone can post a message, read a message or respond to a message all within the same shared spaced.
In the material presented here, the four-hour junior level chemical reaction engineering course at the University of Michigan has been divided into 20 units which you can complete at your own pace. The main core of the learning process will be the textbook. The textbook is supplemented by the CD ROM, which accompanies the book, and the Internet. The lecture notes on the CD and Internet are interactive with a number of self tests, additional examples and audio. In addition, there are interactive computer modules and a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for each chapter on the CD ROM.Below is a picture that summarizes the intended flow and progression of asynchronous learning.
Asynchronous Learning is also beneficial in that it accounts for different learning styles. The sequential learner usually prefers to begin by reading the assigned pages in the textbook while the global learner may prefer to browse the lecture notes to get an overview of the material before reading the chapter in the text. After reading the chapter or while in the process of reading the chapter, the reader should utilize the lecture notes. The components of the lecture notes should utilize include the , , and the audio hot buttons. After reading the chapter, one should look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and the interactive computer modules (ICMs). Any questions not answered in the FAQs can be addressed by e-mail to the instructor or graduate student instructor. Finally, the student should complete and submit homework assignments before going on to the next unit. Exams will be given after a specified number of units have been completed.
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