Teaching Online Contents
Evolution and Growth of communication
The About two million years ago, man made his first appearance on earth. Till spoken language was not discovered, they produced sound, gestures, symbols, drawings and carvings on rocks to communicate with each other their feeling of joy, sorrow and fear. With the passing of time, man started sending messages over long distances through lightening the fire and smoke signals.
Around 30,000 BC, diverse languages slowly developed for each country, community, place and religion. With the birth of language not only communication with spoken words started but also transformation of spoken words into written form came into existence and writing became the prime mode to communicate messages and feelings.
The story of human civilization, in a way, is the story of effective communication. With the growth of civilization, science and technology, the ways and means of communications are increasing and becoming more and faster.
A breakthrough in communication was brought about with the discovery of electrical power. It gave a spurt to the inventions of the telephone, radio, cinema, television, computer, etc. Thus, was developed a powerful medium of mass communication from one-to-one or one-to- group or group-to-group communication and from a distant land to global communication. After the development of languages, the communication was first initiated by manuscripts, then successively letter, press, mail, telegraphy, radio, telephones; T.V., etc. were used in communication. Now, with the development of IT, mobile phones, satellite communication, telecommunication and web /Internet communication and so on are becoming more and more popular to communicate the messages/ideas/knowledge even to far off remote areas. With the advent of information Communication Technology (ICT), tremendous changes have been brought in the field of communication. I n other words there is a revoution i n ICT and communication became so fast that whatever is happening in any comer of the world is known to anyone within seconds.
Communication is the act of transmitting information from one point to other. In general terms communication implies a sender, a message, a channel, a receiver, a relationship between sender and receiver, an effect, a context in which communication occurs and a range of things to which messages refer. In face to face (F2F) teaching or Distance mode there is a communication that can be any or all of the following:
(a) An action on others;
(b) An interaction with others; and
(c) A reaction to others.
Another communication network, which could often explain some of the seemingly inexplicable actions and reactions of the communicator and audience.
Written communication overcomes the limitation of person-to-person communication. It transcends time, distance and the audience size. Effective communication demands proper action, which makes writing persuasive. Plain words are certainly more effective. Shortness, simplicity, strength and sincerity are its major components. Shortness is achieved by eliminating stilted formal openings and by ignoring avoidable words and deleting the superfluous information. The bases of simplicity are command in the subject, clarity in ideas and keep the audience in mind. Simple words, small sentences and short paragraphs make the writing more reachable and forceful. Sincerity shines out in the words, written in human terms.
Components of Communication
I n educational institutions academic staff are normally appointed on the basis of their academic achievements and not necessarily on their ability to transmit that knowledge to students. Ma.QY teaching staff lack the skills needed to integrate communication skills in their teaching with the content of the subject. The components of communication are shown in Figure 1.
Planning For Effective Communication
The following steps may be considered to plan an effective communication
Why do we want to communicate? What is the purpose of communication?
It is to persuade or to inform.
What do we want to communicate -an order, an idea, an attitude or a feeling? What form of words o possible actions best meets the situation?
How are we going to communicate? In what form will the communication be fastest? What impact will a particular form have on the recipient?
Who is the key to the communication situation? How does he feel about the communicator and about the situation? What are his likely reactions to the communicator’s proposals?
Finally when the receiver is l likely to give his attention most? Often timing is critical to the success of the communication.
Ten Steps for Effective Communication
Communication is an important vital aspect of management. The skills of communication can be improved through following I 0 steps (Balan and Rayudu, 1994):
Clarify Ideas before Communicating: The systematic analysis of any idea or problem, which is to be communicated, makes it clearer. This is the first step towards effective communication. The goals and attitudes of those who will receive the communication must also be considered for successful communication.
Examine the True Purpose of Each Communication: Before communication, analyze what we want to accomplish? to change the attitude of recipient or to obtain information or to initiate action from the recipient? So many goals cannot be achieved successfully using single communication skill, therefore, priorities the goals first and accordingly the message can be delivered using appropriate language, tone and total approach to achieve the set objectives.
- Consider total Physical and Human Setting: Besides words, many other factors influence the overall impact of communication and, therefore, total setting must be considered before any communication. One should understand the expectations of the audience.
- Participation of Others in Planning Communication: I t is desirable or to some extent essential to consult others in planning the facts on which communication should be based. Such consultation helps in developing additional insight and objectivity in communication.
- Be Mindful in Communication: The language, tone of voice, facial expression and receipt veness to the response of others -all these have tremendous i impact on communication. The effect veness of communication is influenced more by a listener’s reaction than its basic content. It is true that the language, the fine shades, meaning and emotions in the words one uses to communicate, arc the main determinants of listeners’ reactions.
- Convey the thing of Value to the Receiver: The communication becomes more effective if communicator conveys something of immediate benefit or long-range value to the listener/receiver.
- Communication is a Two-Way Process: To understand, how well the message communicated is received by the listener, encourage the receiver to express his reactions by follow-up feedback questions or by frequent review of performance, so that, complete understanding and appropriate action would be resulted.
- Perspective Communication: Communication may be aimed primarily to meet the immediate goals but to maintain the consistency in communication; it must be planned with the past and future long range interests and goals of the subjects in mind.
- Be sure that Actions Support the Communication: As soon as, one’s actions or attitudes contradict his words, the receiver tends to rate hi m less important and unreliable and his words become irrelevant. Good assignment of responsibility of authority, fair rewards for effort and sound policy enforcement serve to communicate more than the oratory.
- Be a Good Listener : Listening is one of the most important but is most difficult and most neglected skill in communication. It demands that we concentrate not only on the explicit meanings that other person is expressing but also on the implicit meanings, i.e. unspoken words and under tones that may be far more significant.
Seven C’s of Communication
- Credibility: Trust is the foundation of communication and amicability is closely related to trust which enhances the willingness of someone to hear the thoughts of another person (Cockburn, 2002). The receiver must have confidence in the sender/communicator. He must have high regard on the communicator’s competence on the subject. This needs versatility to communicate across information boundaries.
- Context : The communications must be around the realities of its environment. The context must provide the opportunity of participation and playback and in any case should not contradict the message. For this, communicator must have the flexibility to understand the group and their culture and enhance powers of interpersonal motivation as well as create the climate of support and trust.
- Content : The message must have relevance for the receiver and it must be compatible with his value system. Generally, one likes to select the information which suits his interest and ideology. Thus, the audience determines the content.
- Clarity : The message must be understandable. Complex issues should be compressed into themes, slogans or stereotypes. Use new skills for resolving interpersonal conflicts and improve questioning and consulting techniques.
- Continuity and Consistency : Communication is an unending process. Repetition with variation and consistency in message/ideas achieves penetration among recipients and contributes to both factual and attitude learning.
- Cham1els : The established channels being used by the receiver are most effective in communication. Different channels have different effects and may be helpful at different stages in conveying the message effectively.
- Capability of Audience : Communication is assumed as . most effective when recipient receives it with least efforts and understands the message. This includes receiver’s knowledge, availability, ability, active and accurate listening habits.
Use of ICT in Communication
Recently, the value of the effective communication skills in the IT industry has been highlighted by its increasing acceptance and success. IT professionals are expected to be able to communicate proficiently with users, clients, management and indeed, each other. Researches have shown that teamwork skills including the ability to communicate effectively facilitate an increase in quality of output and productivity in IT industry (Fornaro; et.al; 2000).
The delivery of information/knowledge particularly in higher education sector is changing rapidly and mainly as a consequence of its response to the various pressures associated with widening access, commercialism and developments in information and communication technologies. The JCT is not only being used in distance mode of delivery of education but also in conventional system of education as well as at 9ifferent stages of education. In traditional teaching learning model, communication (transmission of knowledge) is unidirectional i.e. teacher to taught (Lin, et. al, 1996). Hall (1996) reveals that most universities are using technology simply to complement their conventional teaching. They have recognized the promise of technology in effective communication (transmission of knowledge) and recei ving (learning) however, still adequate emphasis to constructivist framework/interactivity is required by them.
Mutual interaction is one of the significant determinants of effective communication and it is worthy to note that the new systems/technologies have varyi ng degrees of interactivity. The satellites, computers, tele-texts, view data, cassettes, cable and videodiscs, al l fit to provide ways for individual to step-out from the mass audiences and take an active role to give his/her individual reactions in the process by which information is transmitted. With the emergence of more interactive technologies, the number of independent learners (receivers) is also increasing.
To link people between two or more locations by electronics is called teleconferencing. At least five types of tele-conferencing is presently in operation.
Audio graphic teleconferencing Video teleconferencing
Business television (BTV) conferencing Computer teleconferencing
The common factors that contribute to tele-conferencing are:
- use of communication channels
- Links people at multi allocations
- Interactive -provides two way communication
- Dynamic -requires users active participation
(i) Audio Conferencing
FM radio channel is being used for audio-conferencing in distance education. Interactivity links people from remote location via telephone lines. Presently, radio-counseling is being provided for one hour from 186 All India Radio stations. Toll free tele-conferencing facility is available in 80 cities, enabling the learners to interact freely with expe1ts. It is most cost effective in the delivery of education at a distance.
(ii) Audio-Graphic Teleconferencing
It uses narrow band telecommunication channels to transmit visual intonation such as graphics, alpha-numeric’s, documents and video pictures as an adjunct to voice communication. Other terms are desk-top computer conferencing and enhanced audio conferencing. Devices include electronic tablets/boards, freeze frame video termi nals, integrated graphic systems (as part of personal computers), fax, remote access microfiche and slide projectors, optical graphic scanners and voice/data tenninals.Audio-graphic teleconferencing can be used for conveying the meetings or learning at a distance.
(iii) Video Conferencing
On combining audio and video aspects together we get voice-communication and video images. It can be one way video/two way audio, two way video/ two way audio. The advantage is the capability to deliver moving, live images. Two way audio/video tele-conferences have the potential of face-to-face meeting/ classroom teaching and enables participants to see the facial expressions as well as interact and participate in the process from the remote sites. Graphics and other 3-dirnensional visuals can also be used to enhance the understanding and receiving potential among recipients (learners). Video may be presented in three forms:
(a) freeze frames;
(b) compressed frames; and
(c) full motion video.
Video conferencing is an effective mode for a teacher to teach as well as interact with a large number of students located at various sites at a time. It is a very cost-effective for a larger population of students located at far flung/rural and remote areas where quality teachers are not available. Thus, through video-conferencing, all the students may be served equitably. However, it could not become as popular for the purpose of education as for entertainment and dissemination of news and other T.V. Programmers.
(iv) Business Television (BTV) Conferencing
BTV is the production and distribution of video programmers by satellites for a closed user group of audiences. It often has two ways audio interaction simply through a telephone line. BTV is becoming an increasingly popular information delivery method. it is being used to deliver news, training, meetings, updating data and other events that needs live-broadcast at multiple locations. Through BTV, information can be disseminated to thousands of people at a time. The advent of smaller receiving stations called VSATs has made private communication network much more economical to operate. BTV has a number of tangible benefits such as immediate delivery, elimination of cassette’s duplication and distribution hassles.
Educational adaptation of BTV can be used by institutions in several ways. An institution with multiple sites can create its own network and deliver information as and when desired. The information can be administrative or can be to train the administrators/faculty/or to transmit the knowledge to the students. The second use of educational adaptation of BTV networks is to deliver the educational credit directly at the work place of learners. Similarly, for institutions involved in literacy training, this opens an alternative route to reach workers who need basic skills, because this is effectively a new outreach programmed. It can also be useful in organizing contract and continuing education, training, seminars, etc. for business and industry people. Through BTV, the deliberations can not only be delivered side-by-side to the workers working at their sites at various places but also their reactions may be obtained.
(v) Computer Teleconferencing
It uses telephone lines to connect two or more computers and modems. Any message from computer can be sent over the lines. It can be synchronous or asynchronous .The best example of asynchronous mode is electronic mail (e-mail) using e-mail – memos, reports, updates and newsletters can be sent to anyone on the Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN).
Computer conferencing is an emerging area for interaction/exchange of ideas or messages as well as for distance education. Today institutions are offering credit programmers completely by computer. Students receive texts and workbooks via e-mail. Teachers can upload syllabi, lectures, and assess the assignments and give the grades and remarks. Students may download these files and compose thei r assignments and remarks off-line and then upload them to send them back to the teachers. Through computers faculty, students and administrators have easy access to one another as well as access to database resources provided through libraries and internet. Similarly, administrators can access student files, retrieve institutional intonation and central repositories or communicate their messages/feelings/ reactions to teacher, students and the agencies and vice-versa.
Very little researches have been carried out on communication skills of teaching and learning within IT degree. It is found that role-playing often helps students to understand and develop effective communication techniques (Constanzo, I 992; Hudson, et. al., I 99 I ). Johnson, Sultan & Harris (200 I ) revealed that IT students perceived problem solving, effective learning and anger management as relatively more important skills whereas assertion and disclosure were perceived to be of least importance. The researchers also observed that teaching methods that students seem to final most enjoyable are role-play, discussion and group work. Consistent findings were reported by Constanzo ( 1992) and Hudson; et. al., ( 1991 ).
(vi) Computer Telephony – Future of Communication
With computer telephony potential ly bringing the price of a long-distance cal l to as l i title as one r u pee per minute, the major players in telecommunications could lose their long-time monopoly of local phone market. Computer telephony applies the power of the computer to the functions of the telephone, seamlessly merging the two worlds (and making it natural for users to wonder why things weren’t always this intuitive). Computer telephony isn’t a product in and of itself; rather it refers to that class of products that leverage the two capabilities for business benefit. We briefly focus on the enterprise deployment of architecture computer telephony solutions.
For a network manager, the business case for implementing computer telephony is the elimination of costs associated with planning, managing and administering dual network infrastructures and their associated internal and external l inks. Bringing together the two worlds also enables the consolidation of delivery device requirements, and as a result, lowers systems cost. And this technology simultaneously delivers end-user benefits. Users receive a richer man-machine interface in the computer because computer telephony harnesses the computer’s visual capabilities for communication tasks. End users can employ a wider range of interpersonal ski l ls i n communications, rather than being limited by single media tools, such as only voice through the telephone and text through email. Computer telephony converges multiple communication tools into one, simplifying communication tasks by piecing together the key strengths of each individual too.
A major difference between telephony and data is the respective intelligence of the end terminals. With telephony the normal by used, is a device with 12 keys, a microphone, a speaker, and i n some cases a numeric single line display. The telephone is a remote extension of a telephony switch, a device that holds the intelligence for call routing and management. In the data world, over 90 per cent of corporate end users have a Microsoft Windows based personal computer, which has more intelligence and power than most people know how to use. The majority of tasks are carried out using a full alphanumeric keyboard, a graphically portrayed interface, and links to multiple network services. Computer telephony, as outlined here, is an example of moving the intelligence from the telephony server out to the end devices, while simultaneously harnessing the power of these devices for the communication task at hand.
Many different aspects can fall under the computer telephony banner, but the important are only six: integrated messaging, real-time computer call control, voice over I P networks, workgroup and team collaboration through conferencing technologies, desktop videoconferencing, and fax servers. These aspects need separate articles for detailed deliberations.
In future all communication tasks -real time and non-real time -will be centered on the computer. Voice and video call placement and reception should eventually be integrated into integrated messaging systems. Leading business Enterprises go beyond the use of telecommunications technology for the standard things like access, and focus instead on reinventing their internal and external capabilities with a telecom component. In the final analysis, that’s what computer telephony is all about in the enterprise – combining the two worlds of computers and telephones for marketplace strategic advantage.
In brief, the proper use of intonation requires that you keep moving it, so that, it can be eventually combined with other information into new patterns, new ideas and ultimately new solutions to problems.