Jul 29th, 2005
From the Chronicle of Higher Education …
In September, the University of Pittsburgh will host a Webcast that organizers of the event believe will be the academic lecture with the largest audience in history. The lecture, given by Dr. Eric K. Noji on the topic of the public-health consequences of disasters, will potentially be viewed by as many as one million doctors, students, and others around the world. The lecture will be transmitted live to a number of organizations, including Internet2, Egypt's Library of Alexandria, the Medical Library Association, and UNICEF. Those organizations will then distribute the Webcast on their own networks. Because the participating organizations are covering their own costs for the event, the overall expense for the university will be relatively small. Ronald E. LaPorte, a professor of epidemiology at the university, said that disseminating medical research often takes a long time, and part of the goal of the Webcast is to make such information available much more quickly. LaPorte also acknowledged that many developing nations lack the technology infrastructure to support the Webcasts. For them, the university will offer presentation materials from the lecture as well as other resources.
Jul 25th, 2005
From the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning …
This paper addresses the need for quality e-Learning experiences. We used the Demand-Driven Learning Model (MacDonald, Stodel, Farres, Breithaupt, and Gabriel, 2001) to evaluate an online Masters in Education course. Multiple data collection methods were used to understand the experiences of stakeholders in this case study: the learners, design team, and facilitators. We found that all five dimensions of the model (structure, content, delivery, service, and outcomes) must work in concert to implement a quality e-Learning course. Key themes include evolving learner needs, the search for connection, becoming an able e-participant, valued interactions, social construction of content, integration of delivery partners, and mindful weighing of benefits and trade-offs. By sharing insights into what is needed to design and deliver an e-Learning experience, our findings add to the growing knowledge of online learning. Using this model to evaluate perceptions of quality by key stakeholders has led to insights and recommendations on the Demand Driven Learning Model itself which may be useful for researchers in this area and strengthen the model.
Jul 23rd, 2005
From Federal Computer Week, this story about an e-learning website name change.
After discovering that the popular GoLearn.gov Web site, which offers
more than 3,000 e-learning courses, has a name similar to that of a
commercial distance learning company, the U.S. Office of Personnel
Management is changing the Web site's name to usalearn.gov. The change
will take effect at the end of July.
Jul 18th, 2005
At First Monday, a very informative overview of web-based educational resources available from selected U.S. art museums. Could be a good site for designers, artists, and art history students.
Art museums in the United States share a common mission to educate many people – from families to teachers to researchers. But how do these museums use the World Wide Web to extend their educational mission? More specifically, what kinds of educational materials do U.S. art museums offer to online visitors, and how broadly available are such resources across the Web? This study set out to answer these questions and to tie the findings to the contextual model of museum learning. Conclusions are drawn about how museums from the sample fit within a technology adoption curve.
More on this at Higher Education Resources Online, and Relaxing on the Bayou.
Jul 17th, 2005
From Inside Higher Ed …
Confirming the suspicions of many, a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates that the United States is steadily losing ground to a number of other countries, particularly China, in the number of PhDs it awards in science and engineering fields. In 1970, nearly one-third of the world's college students attended a college or university in the United States, and more than half of the science and engineering PhDs were awarded by U.S. schools. A number of global factors contributed to those numbers, making them
artificially high. Since that time, however, higher education around the world, and especially programs in science and engineering, has greatly expanded, leaving the United States with just 14 percent of the world's college students by 2001. According to the report, China could surpass the United States as early as 2010 in the number of science and engineering PhDs it awards.For more on this story, check in at Confessions of a Science Libarian.
Jul 13th, 2005
From Learning Circuits, this story on e-learning standards.
The e-learning industry continues to expand every day, and the methods and tools necessary to create and maintain content and infrastructure applications are complicated. Enter e-learning standards.
The goal of standards is to provide fixed data structures and communication protocols for e-learning objects and cross-system workflows. This enables interoperability between applications, such as an LMS and third-party or in-house developed content, by providing uniform communication guidelines that can be used throughout the design, development, and delivery of learning objects. When these standards are incorporated into off-the-shelf products, developers can base their purchasing decisions on quality and appropriateness rather than compatibility.
Unfortunately, the typical components within a learning environment are supported by multiple products and vendors. Not surprising, if all the points of interoperability among e-learning components vary from vendor to vendor, then it is very difficult and costly to implement an integrated learning environment.
Jul 11th, 2005
No doubt you may already have a computer, but if you don't, choosing the right one is crucial for anyone attending classes online. Yes, you could use a library or other public computer, but this isn't too handy when trying to complete and prosper in your classes online.
Here's a story from CNET on computers for students, both online and off:
Computer makers are gearing up for the back-to-school season with packages targeting college students, though the choices included in many of those packages differ from what campus IT departments would prefer. This year's student-focused computer deals lean heavily on multimedia tools and performance. Features such as DVD burners, Microsoft's Windows Media Center Edition operating system, TV tuners, and high-definition audio tools are common in this season's offerings. Colleges and universities tend to be more conservative in their computer specifications, however, preferring operating systems such as Windows XP or Mac OS X, for example. Although few schools have strict requirements for student computers, many have arrangements with
particular vendors that offer discounts on their systems. In terms of design, laptops now represent a greater portion of computer sales than desktops. Despite the price advantage of desktops, laptops are hard to turn down for students going from building to building across campus.
Jul 10th, 2005
Distance learning programs are giving traditional universities a run for their money when it comes to offering 'life long learning' programs. The flexibility of distance learning programs, not only geographically, but also the ability to create your own schedule, is a tough to follow for traditional universities with a lack of institutional flexibility. This paper from the Journal of University Teaching and Learning gives a good overview of these issues.
"[A]re traditional universities able to compete with other independent education providers in relation to social demands for 'life long learning' and globalised education services?" Gurmak Singh, John O'Donoghue, and Harvey Worton think that eLearning has a "fundamental impact on the structure of higher education." Online-only corporate and virtual universities compete with traditional colleges and universities for some of the same students. Even though traditional higher education institutions have the advantage of established reputations, to maintain this competitive edge, they need to incorporate more flexibility into their existing structure.