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Tools / Features      ..........               Notes

Learner Tools 

Tools/facilities used by the student learner at their location, the client side of distance education. 
Web Browsers  Tools for viewing HTML documents
Bookmarks  Bookmarks identify internet locations. This category covers the creation, display, management and updating of bookmarks. 
Multimedia  support for images, audio, video, and VRML files.
Security  features to prevent unauthorized access and/or modification of data. Includes a wide range of approaches and methods. 
Asynchronous Sharing  the exchange of data and files where the correspondents are not on-line at the same time. 
E-mail  Electronic Mail using the internet protocols (unless otherwise indicated).
BBS file exchange  (Bulletin Board Service) - facility for downloading files and uploading\posting files over the Web. 
Newsgroups  Newsgroups facility includes access to Usenet newsgroups and like functions. 
Synchronous Sharing 
Chat  a feature that allows the exchange of text (e.g., Internet Relay Chat).
Whiteboard a shared text window that may also support shared drawing. 
Application sharing  the ability to run an application on one machine and share the window view across the Web. May also include provisions for sharing mouse control of the application. 
Virtual space  MOOs, MUDs, and virtual meeting rooms.
Group browsing  a group tour of Web sites with a shared browser window; some interaction capability between the members of the group and the tour leader. 
Teleconferencing  audio conferencing. 
Videoconferencing  broadcasting video to users without a video input device. 
Student tools  applications that cater to the special needs of telelearners. 
Self-assessing  facilities for self-assessment such as practice quizzes and other survey style assessment tools that may or may not be scored on-line. 
Progress tracking  student's ability to check marks on assignments and tests. 
Motivation building  self-help tools and other facilities that provide direct encouragement to overcome difficulties that impede or impair student performance
Study skill building  study skill building includes facilities that support effective study practices, which can range form simple review tools to mini courses in how to study. 

Instructor Tools 

 facilities primarily intended for use by instructors, markers and course designers. 
Course tools  instructor tasks related to bringing course materials together and managing the student's use/access of those materials. 
Course planning  tools that enable at least initial course layout and or structuring. 
Course managing  facilities to enable instructors to collect information from or about students related to their progress in the course structure also to permit/deny access to course resources. 
Rapid course revising  the ability to change the structure of the course and its assignments, exams, etc.
Course monitoring  facilities that provide information about the usage of course resources by individual students and groups of students.
Lesson tools  tools that facilitate the development and deployment of instructional sequences smaller than a whole course, like assignments, modules, topics, etc. 
Instructional designing  facilities to help instructors create learning sequences. 
Presenting information  facilities for formatting, displaying, or showing course material over the Web. 
Testing  facilities to assist in the making up of practice quizzes, tests, exams, and other assignments.
Data tools  tools for marking on-line, managing records, analysing and tracking. 
Marking on-line  facilities that support the marking of student generated material while on-line. 
Managing records  facilities for organizing and keeping track of course-related information.
Analysing and tracking  facilities for statistical analysis of student-related data; the ability to display the progress of individual students in the course structure. 
Resource tools  tools for building knowledge, team building, and building motivation among instructors.
Building motivation facilities for self-help (and possibly other help such as a "buddy system") to provide encouragement and enhance morale. 
Team building  the ability of instructors with common interests to communicate in a way that facilitates their forming a sense of group/team identity. 

Technical Admin Tools 

the setup and maintenance tasks involved on the server side of the application and extending to setup/configuration of client side software to work properly with the server side application (some of these tasks may be carried out by instructors in  some situations). 
Installation tools  facilities that are used in the initial set up of the application or in upgrading from a previous version. 
Server  provides the Sys Adm with a script library for operations such as Installation, Archiving, and Moving the server site. 
Client  Client tool installation includes both the student client and the instructor client software. 
System tools  authorization tools, security tools, resource monitoring tools, remote access tools, and crash recovery tools. 
Authorization tools  tools that assign access and other privileges to specific users or user groups 
Security tools  Security tools - tools to prevent unauthorized access and/or modification of data. Includes a wide range of approaches and methods. 
Resource monitoring  the ability to display the disk space and cpu resources devoted to the application while it is being used. 
Remote access tools  tools for application system administration from more than one machine. 
Crash recovery tools  facilities to recover from communications or server hardware failure without loss of data (in addition to the tools provided by the operating system). 
Help desk tools  tools that assist the technical administration personnel in handling trouble calls and requests for technical assistance. 
Student support tools  tools that facilitate the tasks of an operator responding to requests for help by student users of the application. 
Instructor support tools  facilities to assist technical support personnel in providing technical assistance to instructors using the application. 

* Adapted from Dr.Bruce Landon's original Comparative Analysis Tables *

Copyright 1998 Yannis Karaliotas 
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