Coursebook in language classroom is treated as important and plays crucial role in leading the students into successful learning. When it comes to web-based form, points discussed in this post is worth to be considered.
Prior to the burgeoning of internet-connected devices, book exists only in physical form or in printed-based form. Nowadays, since information popularly appears in digital form, everything turns into digital including learning content.
The initial intention driving the development of this web was to facilitate the 6th semester non-English major students in learning academic English. This website served as main coursebook informing instructional content, material, and activity for a semester. In this post, the pros and cons of web-based English coursebook - as I experienced during my dissertation study - are revealed.
Web-based Coursebook: Some Points to be Considered
Before discussing the pros and cons of web-based English coursebook, it is regarded crucial to discuss some crucial points of web-based coursebook since you are here to read its potential.
#1 Web as a tool
There are myriad academic resources that have successfully proven the capability of web to be integrated as foreign language learning medium. However, no matter how sophisticated a web is, a web is only a medium of delivery. This has been agreed by many researchers such as what I have written in my journal article.
#2 Instructional design matters
When a web has technically ready to serve the students, an educator behind the web needs great instructional design that controls the teaching and learning process to run as expected.
University of Michigan defines instructional design as "the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to ensure the quality of instruction to support and promote teaching and learning effectiveness by advancing best practices in all aspects of curriculum, instruction, and assessment".
Based on the given definition above, it can be inferred that sophisticated learning tool does not guarantee meaningful learning. In this case, instructional design matters. Educators should systematically plan, design and develop strategies for the teaching and learning process run as expected.
#3 Multisensory approach
As informed by literature, the more senses involved during learning, the more meaningful the learning will be. In designing and developing web-based coursebook, educators should consider putting some videos, audio files (podcast), graphs, images and charts to help students learn based on their learning style/preference.
Web-based Coursebook: Design Phase
In the design phase, an educator who do not have any knowledge on web programming is welcomed. Nowadays, there are abundant open-source scripts that are available for free. It can be said that majority of website owners nowadays are not web-programmers. In fact, they just adapt the ready-to-use web engine.
Talking about web engine, Wordpress still becomes the most widely used web engine for its flexibility. Web-based Wordpress is everywhere on the internet. It is a content management system (CMS) which allows its users to modify the web he/she creates based on needs - as an educational website, e-commerce, etc. For educational purposes, Harvard University; MIT and Princeton University are three real examples of universities which apply Wordpress as its basic.
Wordpress is available in 2 versions; the self-hosted Wordpress and fully-hosted Wordpress. The prior is accessible on
www.wordpress.com. If you opt this, you will get free hosting with some limitations. The latter is accessible on
www.wordpress.org. If you opt this, you will need to rent (1) hosting to keep all files that make-up your web so that it is accessible on the internet and (2) a domain - the address of your web on the internet.
Another web engine that you should consider is Blogger. It is provided by Google and it's totally free except if you want to have custom domain name (such as www.muhaiminabdullah.com). In case you want your web to be treated as professional and to look exclussive, you can rent your own domain name. A domain is commonly rented annually. Meaning that you need to extend the lifetime of your chosen domain name annually. Some other domain providers offer 3, 5 and up to 10 years of contract.
Blogger is known for its ease of use. However, there are some limitations in terms of the flexibility it offers. For instance, you are not allowed to custom your post URL. You will be given only one choice such as
www.yourdomain.com/2021-05-01-custom-url.html which cannot be modified to be
www.yourdomain.com/custom-url. In some cases, how a URL looks does not really matter. But the shorter the URL is, the higher the chance of your website to be remembered and to be revisited by visitors.
Beside those two, there are still so many open source CMSs or web engines available on the internet. Open source in this case means that the script of the web is downloadable and can be customized based on needs. They are usually -ready-to-install. If you buy hosting plan, you will be presented some open source CMS that can be installed just under 10 minutes. To make sure you get what you need, contact the customer service of hosting and domain provider and tell your purposes.
After deciding the best web engine for your web, start building your web based on your plan.