Importance and Effectiveness of E-learning


Technological development and the internet have changed people’s lives on different scales including for instance teaching and learning. The web has become one of the channels of learning that opens the door for people around the world to access education for free, or for fewer costs.

The IT booming and the internet have opened the door to largely access knowledge, high quality education and training. This easy access using information systems and the web can improve people’s skills for fewer costs. Knowledge delivering to some people would have never been possible without the opportunities offered by technology and the web.

A recently published study has highlighted the importance and effectiveness of e-learning and how students are satisfied with web-enhanced teaching. For that purpose, researchers collected data through surveys “for a total of 45 undergraduate and 26 graduate students enrolled in landscape construction studio courses at Texas A&M University during 2011 and 2012.”

To understand the issue, researchers made comparison with another study that previously conducted in 2003-04. “They evaluated students’ learning satisfaction and the effectiveness of e-learning in landscape architecture construction studio courses, compared trends in learning vehicles preferred by graduate and undergraduate students, and examined preferred learning vehicles between students expecting an A grade and those expecting a B or C grade.”

This study which is published at a Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education found that “satisfaction level with web-enhanced teaching increased to 95% in the 2011-2012 investigation, compared to 73%-87% in the 2003-2004 one.”

The study results indicated that “students were highly satisfied with web-enhanced teaching in both investigations. Particularly, students in recent years were more satisfied with web-enhanced teaching than those in the past. Undergraduate and graduate students preferred different types of learning vehicles, in which undergraduates preferred interactive types. In addition, students expecting an A grade were more likely to prefer individual or independent learning vehicles whereas students expecting a B or C grade relied on interactive learning methods.”

For teachers and instructors, they can learn from this study that the web-enhanced teaching “is no longer an add-on feature in teaching but a necessity” as stated in the research. What can still be missing in online learning and teaching is the interactivity and communication offered in class-based lessons. As stated in the study “undergraduates who are more likely to rely on interactive learning may suffer from web-based teaching that often lacks interactive communications.”

Today, the use of web to teach and learn is inevitable for both teachers and students. Online courses are becoming more and more necessary for education to and for knowledge spread. Thus, teachers should consider this trend in education and get prepared technically and pedagogically to take online teaching in consideration. In turn, students need to get enough skills that will help them effectively benefit from the advantages e-learning is providing.

Today, e-learning is adopted not only by students, but also by organizations that want to offer training for their employees. E-learning is a priority for businesses that look forward to improve employee’s skills and the economic benefits they can generate from that. That’s why online learning has become an important factor for both, education and business.



How Children’s Type1 Diabetes Affect Parents’ Mental Health


Managing diabetes requires some sort of strict life style to making control of medicines prescribed by doctor so as to take command of one’s diet. This managing challenge increases when the affected person is a young person or adolescent and has type 1 diabetes. The latter is a metabolic disease that usually affects young people under age of 18 and necessitates insulin replacement therapy for life.

Families then and parents in particular, have to deal with the matter and ensure an effective management of the disease and medication.

This life style with all the daily treatment demands raises a lot of worries for parents. Fighting to prevent any health complications for their loved ones increases emotional pressure. A recently published study which is carried by a group of researchers from England highlighted the issue and investigated the association between glycaemic control of type 1 diabetes and mental health issues within the family.

The study which is published in Pediatrics Research International Journal studied the case of 66 families. The research stated that “as well as an increase in emotional symptoms, there was also an increased level of externalising behaviour if the glycaemic control was sub-optimal. This has been recognised as a significant influence upon the quality of glycaemic control, with externalising symptoms tending to exacerbate parent–adolescent conflict and hence, reducing cooperation over treatment.”

The firm vigilance required to keep the balance controlling the child or teenager’s diet and maintaining optimal glycaemic control causes negative experience for parents and this may raise health issues. Researchers stated that “given the constant strain, these issues must prompt, it would not be surprising to find parents develop symptoms of stress and even frank mental illness, such as depression.”

Among the effects of parents’ deal with their affected siblings “research has shown that some parents experience a decrease in the level of enjoyment they gain from being a parent because of the worry, and this is especially so if there is a conflict about the management of the diabetes with the young person, and worry that the young person may have a hypoglycaemic episode.”

Parental fears and worries can be reflected on diabetic young people’s psychology and change in their behavior. Mainly the mother is more affected than the father. Researchers noted that “maternal depressive symptoms are one of the strongest risk factors for predicting the young person’s own mental health…if the mother has depressive symptoms this predicts an increased risk of perhaps 2.6 fold that the child will develop depressive symptoms later in life”.

For these psychological effects that managing young diabetic situation has on parents, researchers insisted on the importance of mental health screening. As stated in the study, researchers stressed on “the importance of mental health screening in routine review clinics, and emphasises the need for clinic staff to recognise that sub-optimal glycaemic control is likely to be associated with symptoms of distress, and disruption which may not be plainly evident.”


Cesarean Section: What Are the Associated Risks?


The natural baby delivery is through vaginal birth, but when there are worries for any complications, caesarean sections are carried to avoid risks. Though, it is recommended by doctors to have vaginal births when everything is natural.

As defined by medical dictionary “a cesarean section is a surgical procedure in which incisions are made through a woman’s abdomen and uterus to deliver her baby”. In USA, the rate of c-sections has risen up to 60% since 1996.

In general cesarean section is safe and can save life of the new born and mother, but sometimes it is risky and can lead to some health complications. Among these problems is the pulmonary embolism which is “an obstruction of a blood vessel in lungs, usually due to a blood clot, which blocks a coronary artery.”

A recently published study stated that “pulmonary embolism is one of the major life-threatening emergencies that can occur before, during, or after parturition or caesarean section.” Researchers of this study carried in Nanjing University, China, come to a conclusion that pulmonary embolism can be “possible condition for patients who show shortness of breath, lower oxygen saturation, chest pain, etc after Caesarean section.”

Another research carried at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York showed that cesarean delivery can be associated with different risks that could be short or long term or risks related to future pregnancies or to the newborn.

This study for instance explained that on the short term “the risk of maternal death during childbirth is greater with cesarean delivery compared with vaginal delivery, although very low. A study that examined births between 1983 and 1992 in the Netherlands found that the risk of maternal death was 0.04 per 1000 vaginal births compared with 0.53 per 1000 cesarean deliveries” stated in the research.

For risks related to the new born, the same study stated that “babies both born by planned as well as unplanned cesarean deliveries had a nearly 4-fold risk of dying before discharge compared with those delivered vaginally.” Researchers also expressed other risks such as Trauma, and risks to respiratory difficulties such as asthma.

Also this research carried in Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru found that infants born through c-sections may have risk of obesity in childhood. The study results “suggest a higher probability of developing obesity, but not overweight, among children born by Caesarean section delivery.”

In turn, this study explained that multiple repeat cesarean deliveries can be associated with maternal morbidity. The research concluded that “the number of intended pregnancies should be considered during counseling regarding elective repeat cesarean operation versus a trial of labor and when debating the merits of elective primary cesarean delivery…because serious maternal morbidity increases progressively with increasing number of cesarean deliveries.”

When a woman gives birth the natural way, she automatically avoids all the pain and risks related to surgery including for instance bleeding, infections…etc. Another logical reason is that a woman who underwent surgery may take longer time to breastfeed her baby, unlike the woman that has a vaginal delivery.



Customer Trust and Power of Virtual Communities


Organizations care for their customers and look forward to build a good relationship and win their trust. Businesses that succeed to win this challenge keep the existing customers for life, and these customers will in turn influence others.  This is the rule whether in real or virtual businesses.

Today, virtual communities especially on social media networks play a big role in shaping customer trust and spread the word about any business. So, online businesses that worry about their reputation and invest in building trust take the power of virtual communities in consideration, mainly on social media.

A recently published study has dealt with this issue and how the virtual communities influence trust of online shoppers.  The study is led by researchers from Faculty of Economics and Management of Tunis, Tunisia and published in Journal of Internet Social Networking & Virtual Communities.

Because of their impact on purchase decisions and customer trust, virtual communities have risen to become one of the marketing tools used by companies to spread the word of mouth about their products and services.

The above-mentioned study stated that “sellers can use the power of virtual communities to gain consumer trust.” In order to reach this objective and generate results “online retailers should improve the perceived utility of the virtual community; the administrators of a virtual community or commonly known as “community managers” should maximize the wealth of information in the virtual community based on consumer needs and characteristics of the products and services of e-tailers” as expressed in the study.

According to the same research, “virtual communities offer several advantages to e-tailers and opportunities for the interaction with members of virtual communities consumers in this regard…using high technology security, convenience and sociability, a virtual community can meet the requirements of consumers and may increase their trust.”

Researchers stated that “trust is more difficult to build and more critical for online businesses. Consumers are much more cautious about the transmission of personal information on an electronic network. Online transactions are more impersonal, anonymous and automated than offline transactions. This automation of business relationships is also accompanied by advanced design means hacking, data and potential for abuse.”

This impact of virtual communities especially in social media is also highlighted by another study that insisted on social presence as a factor that affect customer’s trust. Researchers explained that “trust in a virtual environment is characterized by uncertainty, vulnerability and dependence.”

Winning trust of online shoppers is hard due to lack of human contact like in physical business. So, social media can replace this contact to spread the word among communities and keep in touch with customers and interact with their questions and needs.

No matter what marketing and advertising efforts organizations can invest, but nothing would succeed if they don’t win customers trust. More and more, purchase decisions are based on feedback spread between communities rather than advertisement.

Businesses, physical or virtual, who aim at generating good results, can no longer ignore customer trust. The latter could be reached through multiple factors, mainly being so close to customers and listen to what they need.

Yet, winning customer’s trust can’t be built on low quality products or services. So, while trying to win customers trust, make sure that your offers are worth it.