Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 141

141 Arctic Yearbook 2014   The main technological characteristics of distance education is a Learning Management System (LMS), a Course Management System (CMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is software used for delivering, tracking and managing training/education. LMSs range from systems for managing training/educational records to software for distributing courses over the Internet and offering features for online collaboration (Mahnegar, 2012). Blackboard is one of the leading commercial LMS software packages used by North American and European universities. Educators have other opportunities as well. Moodle is a course management system. It is a free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites (The website of Moodle). Many institutions, in particular, in Russia are developing their own LMS, sometimes using open source approaches. As has been discussed, there are two primary types of distance learning activities: asynchronous learning and synchronous learning. Synchronous is live or “real time”, participants are all logged in and communicating at the same time. Adobe Connect webinar or online chat are examples. Asynchronous is not live or “not real-time”, participants log in and communicate at different times depending on what is most convenient to them. Online individual, team, and whole group discussions are examples (Hopkins 2010). Distance education uses interactive telecommunication tools as primary or adjunctive media to promote learning. These tools may take various forms, including groupware programs (such as Webex and Skype); teleconferencing applications; web camcorders; presentation applications (such as Powerpoint); and learning management systems (such as Blackboard/WebCT, Plateau, eCollege, Flex Training, Travantis, Lectora, and Moodle) (Pajarillo 2012). Web-based distance learning environments use course management systems, portals, and custom designed Web-pages to deliver instructional-learning modules to students at their convenience. Social networking, collective decision making, and blogging types of applications should be incorporated into the current Web 1.0-based course management systems. The Blackboard course management system improves learning by highlighting increased communication between the professor and students, cooperation among students, immediate feedback, and acknowledgement of the diverse ways of learning among students. E-learning environments are at a crossroads. They can continue to expand the use of course management systems that provide the standard plate of offerings (i.e., notes, assignments, quizzes, multiple-choice tests, discussion boards, and chat rooms), or they can create interactive learning environments that provide modeling, engaging activities, assessment of student performance, and immediate feedback using intelligent tutorial technologies (Wijekumar 2010). Distance Education in Russia The Russian Federation Distance Technologies The education in Russian rural and remote areas of the North has a lot of problems. It may be that to many inhabitants of the Russian Federation, especially in the rural parts, the idea of having access to the Internet seems rather unreal, or utopian. At present, for many people in Russia Internet Distance Education in the Northern Regions of Russia