Ασύγχρονη τηλε-εκπαίδευση: αρχές χρήσης και εφαρμογής, συγκριτική μελέτη και υποδείγματος οδηγός χρήσης
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Distance learning is a set of educational programs and activities, that assist the instructor and the students (who are located in different places) through various means to overcome the distance between them. Created by the need to educate people who could not attend a course physically (in a traditional classroom), mainly due to social, geographical and economic conditions characterizing the post-colonial small communities of the U.S., Canada, South Africa and Australia during the 19th century. Today distance learning is a popular way for undergraduate and postgraduate studies and for training managers of the public and the private sector. A feature of distance education is the support of new technologies to provide effective training at a reasonable cost. For this reason, distance education has embedded to its methods, all those technological achievements and goals that are widely used by the people worldwide, in order to improve the educational process. At the dawn of the 21st century, the social, economic and technological context, in which distance education is provided, is changing. We are in the transition from industrial age to the information age. The post-industrial societies are characterized by rapid dissemination of information and marketing for the creation of new knowledge. The search, evaluation and selection of appropriate information have become basic skills, which the educational systems should develop to learners. The management of information and the development of the modern society is based on the rapid development and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). These technologies are an essential tool for open and effective governance (e-governing) while they also improve competitiveness. They create alternative ways of working (tele-work), new skills and the need for continuous learning and adaptation to the educational system. ICT enables widespread use of Internet in education by opening new perspectives. Today, special software, that combines Internet Technologies, is offered in order to create a learning environment through which the educational process is realized. This 6 software is known as e-learning platform or Learning Management System (LMS), and is used in distance education provided through the Internet. In this work the term electronic platforms will be used. The main goal of this work was to analyze, design and develop an e-learning functional system which would contain a number of supporting web applications and a platform for electronic learning (eLearning). Initially, a survey on the various services and technologies offered in the area of e-learning was conducted, while in parallel the open source tools available in the Internet were decided to be used. Thus, a study on open source 'licensing’ was performed, to exhibit the general scope and the philosophy behind the open source community, and the advantages of using such programs on various levels, most importantly that of security. Finally the targeted system was analyzed, designed and implemented. The data requirements were defined to design the database and the user requirements for the design of the network services, followed by the development of a database server based on MySQL, and web services in HTML and PHP. Furthermore, an Apache web server was used to provide the appropriate services and to link with the database over the Internet. The final system can integrate the services provided by an e-class system as it can provide a very attractive proposal for the education of the students through the e-learning platform it contains.