News, Banking, Education and Entertainment

Learning Objectives

  • understand how online services are provided for news, banking, education and entertainment.

Learning Outcomes

Must – be able to give examples of how the online services are provided in each area.

Should – discuss the key features of how each online service.

Could – recognise that each service has advantages and drawbacks in the ways it is provided.

News

The popularity of the Internet has seen the way news is distributed drastically change.  Before the Internet, the news was available primarily via newspapers, TV and radio.  The Internet has basically turned this on its head, as the Internet is now the main source that people that the latest news.

All major TV channels have News sites, as do local and national newspapers.  Most news providers online provide the news on a free to view basis, but there has been a shift towards a subscription based platform whereby people pay to view the articles.  This is distinctly offered at present by newspapers such as the Independent, which has seen a significant drop in its paper sales.

RSS Feeds

People who wish to read the latest news on their devices can subscribe to RSS Feeds.  RSS Feeds (Rich Site Summary) is pushed updates of the latest news, headlines and blog entries to a users device.  Users access RSS Feeds, by clicking on the link on their devices.  Many sites offer RSS Feeds services which a user can subscribe to.  The news is pushed frequently and is synchronised frequently.

Features

Online News has many features.  The first one is that it is easy to search for news online.  Nearly all major and minor newspapers have online editions and search engines can pick up keywords and search terms from these editions easily.  Search engines such as Google, have dedicated News tools, which filters out News from other search results.  News can be presented in different varieties such as text, image and video.  This is an advantage over printed media.  Users also have the ability to review, rate and comment on news articles which helps to inform debates.  News sites also allow users to subscribe to extra content and features that would not normally be available through printed formats.

Education and Training

Many institutions and training organisations have recognised that the Internet is a vast and powerful tool in order to deliver education.  By recognising its ability, they have moved courses to online formats, which allows students to study from a distance without the need to leave the comforts of their homes.  Organisations such as the Open University, offer distance learning via online courses, which allows people to go to university and study for degrees without actually needing to move away from home.

In order to access online training and education, students need to enrol and register.  Once they are registered, students are given the appropriate usernames and passwords to login.  Once a student is logged in, they will have their own personal account and workspace which normally contains information about the courses and teaching materials.  Assignments and Tests are completed and submitted electronically online.

Benefits of online learning are the fact that students can interact with each other.  Students can also access interactive teaching materials.  The final advantage is that students can access learning from home.

Banking and Financial Services

Banking and Financial Service use is so popular, that customers expect to be able to bank online in the same way they would be able to do as within the physical branch itself.  Most banks now offer services which allow customers to bank without having to physically visit the branch.

Online bank account users can move money securely between accounts at the click of a button. Payments can be made for goods and services, and payments transferred to other accounts.  Customers can also view statements, pay bills, create new accounts and access offers.  This is all done under a secure access connection provided by the bank.

Online Gaming

Online gaming is a popular past time.  In order to game online users require and Internet Connection, this connection then needs to connect to a central server which runs the game software.  The Central Server streams each players position to all players within the game.

Users require a high bandwidth, low latency connection in order for the game to run smoothly without any lagging.

Players save games to online accounts, which can be accessed later at other times.  High scores are also recorded.  Some games allow users to interact with each other online through chat.

Streaming versus Downloading

Streaming involves the user selecting a programme from an entertainment or on-demand network, e.g. BBC Iplayer.  The user presses play, the programme is continually sent from the server and streamed over the Internet.  Player buffers (stores) some data in case of delays in data arriving.  The programme plays.

A CONSTANT INTERNET CONNECTION IS REQUIRED FOR STREAMING!!

Downloading involves the user selecting a programme from an entertainment or on-demand network, e.g. BBC Iplayer.  User downloads the entire file, which could be a film or programme to their computer.  The user presses play.  The programme plays.

NO INTERNET CONNECTION IS REQUIRED ONCE A FILE IS DOWNLOADED AS IT IS STORED LOCALLY ON THE COMPUTER.

Task

Exam Question Practice

Viewing and Reading Online News is a popular pastime in the UK.  Its growth has lead to the decline of sales of newspapers.  Discuss the positive and negative impacts on society of the growth of Online News.  (6 marks)