Jun 30th, 2006
Would you like to know more about the future of technology directly impacting higher education? Then you don't want to miss the 2006 Horizon
report, courtesy of The New Media Consortium and EduCause Learning Initiative.
The Report details six areas of technology that will have the greatest impact on the future of online higher education:
- Social computing
- Personal broadcasting
- Cell phones
- Educational gaming
- Augmented reality and enhanced visualization
- Context-aware environments and devices.
Find out the future, today.
Jun 30th, 2006
Congratulations to Capella University, recipient of a highly coveted 'innovation in education' award.
The National University Telecommunications Network, a network of professionals advancing higher education through technology and distance Learning, selected "Next Generation Learning: Problem-based Learning in an Online Environment" for its Outstanding Distance Education Innovation Award 2006.
"These courses are an excellent example of what's possible in the next generation of online learning," said Koch. "It combines a problem-based learning design with technology in new ways to provide real-world learning experiences, enrich the online-education process, and save time for learners and faculty."
It's wonderful to see the leaders in this industry honored. With recognition of excellence comes even more excellence.
Jun 30th, 2006
It's no secret that women have long struggled to make a place in a 'male' world, and one of the best tools for success is education. That tool has become even more effective with the opportunities offered by online education.
Though brief, this article offers hope for women in the workplace and beyond.
According to a 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, almost half of all workers are women, but they are concentrated in a small number of positions such as kindergarten teachers, receptionists, and dental hygienists. While there are a number of online schools that offer courses in these areas online, they aren't the only educational options that a working woman or homemaker can explore.
A college course online is a great way to increase your career value and even break into new fields. If you're looking for something beyond the traditional female-focused fields, you should know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicates that women can also find opportunities in areas such as engineering, Dentistry, and law.
Online education is more than just a convenience; it really can change lives for the better.
(Photo Source: TCU)
Jun 30th, 2006
Instructional immediacy–simply, the Accessibility of the teacher to students–has long been considered a crucial component of quality education. But what are online students to do?
An interesting new study takes a look at this question, from the view of online graduate-level healthcare students.
…little is known about experiences distance education learners in graduate study programs have had with immediacy…The following three overarching themes were identified and are used to explain and describe significant features of instructional immediacy behaviors that healthcare learners who graduated from either a Master of Nursing or Master of Health Studies distance education program found valuable: 1) Model engaging and personal ways of connecting; 2) Maintain collegial relationships; and 3) Honor individual learning accomplishments.
An interesting read that covers a timely issue. What have your experiences been like in online courses? Do you think the industry needs improvements in the area of instructional immediacy?
(Photo Source: APU)
Jun 30th, 2006
Still think an online degree is sub par when compared to a traditional university setting? Not so. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Asia, where students and educators have embraced online education, with top quality in mind.
In fact, in Asia, distance education using information and communication technologies (ICTs) is proving to be an efficient way of delivering high-quality education using course materials often developed by the best faculty teams. And by making higher education affordable and accessible, it is helping to address equity issues.
Thus was born PANdora's Box, a model for online education to be used throughout Asia.
"You can't just steam-roll out an educational system and expect it to work," says Malik. "We need to learn lessons from previous online projects. We need to develop access models and understand how they work and in what circumstances. What instructional activities are most effective for distance learning education? Would the approach that works best for sociology also work best for engineering?"
Malik is certain that distance learning is making a significant contribution to human resource development in Asia. "One only has to look to India's emerging power to see the value of a population with more access to higher education," he comments.
Jun 30th, 2006
The U.S. Department of Education Commission on the Future of Higher Education draft report has been released, and it is a fascinating read. Please be sure to read it in its entirety, here.
Especially interesting is the nod towards online education. The report makes a point to note how far education has come, yet vehemently notes the industry's shortcomings and need for innovation. A primary goal recommended for education today? More online courses.
We recommend that America's colleges and universities embrace a culture of continuous innovation and quality improvement by developing new pedagogies, curricula, and technologiesto improve learning…Do more to support and harness the power of distance learning to meet educational needs of rural students, adult learners and workforce development.
Fantastic news, indeed.
(Photo Source: SOCC)
Jun 30th, 2006
By Larry V Flegle, D.B.A., CSE, CEC, MFP, MPM
Students and even professors have been guilty of having misconceptions of the online classroom. While online learning is and should continue to be lifestyle friendly, that does not mean that online learning is easier than face-to-face.
In fact, online learning may be much more challenging. The majority of online courses offered today are asynchronous courses. This delivery medium allows both student and instructor to sign-on, read, and complete tasks at a time that best fits their schedules.
Of course, this is within guidelines set forth in their syllabi. Most schools require a minimum of three sign-on's per week. The question is whether this minimum achieves the desired academic rigor. If not, what can be done?
Rigor in Design
Careful course design should emphasize rigor both in spirit and in fact. Every component of the course must be examined to determine how they will engage the online learner and draw them into the threaded discussion. Since most online students are adult learners they are often reluctant to engage early in their online experience. Many have been away from school for years. It is incumbent upon the instructor to manage student relationships positively. Some may disagree but I believe students are to be considered customers in at least one context. Students deserve the best product the instructor and institution can offer. They should have a well-constructed and well-executed course.
Set behavioral objectives that state learning outcomes precisely. Mark out a path that guides students and leads them to mastery of the material.
According to constructivist theories learners do not acquire knowledge passively but construct it actively based on their experiences. It is the challenge of the instructor to provide a framework for the students to build their knowledge base. Variety of question- and exercise-type will make the course interesting and help to involve the student. For example, the discussion forum should have individual assignments and team assignments. Use as many questions types as possible. Discussion questions, research questions and case studies all keep the online classroom interesting and exciting. The more a student is involved in the information the instructor provides, the more involved he or she will stay in the course.
How teachers require their students to post their involvement is important. Some student work should be posted to the discussion area for peer reviews and further discussion. Other work should be e-mailed to the instructor. This will offer variety and freedom in their responses and lessen the temptation just to paraphrase a classmate's work. It is a good idea to develop an assignment using the online library, if one is available. The use of online tools will enrich the course and increase the student's time online. In every online course it is helpful to set up a Student Lounge or free area. Direct the students to use this area for any non-course related communications. This does several things – it keeps unnecessary chitchat out of the threaded discussion and it gives the student another reason to log on just to see what others are saying. By the end of the course you will be amazed by how much your students utilize this feature.
Another tactic to encourage students to visit the site often is setting up an area for "Interesting URL's." Gather a list of 10-12 URL's you have found on your "surfing trips" and sprinkle them in during the course. Ask the students to share the interesting URL's they have found. Students seem to like this feature and the instructor may find some useful site's to visit as well.
Rigor in the Classroom
The instructor has to lead by example. The instructor's connection time to the teaching platform must exceed that of the students. An effective instructor will connect 6 or 7 days a week in order to maintain appropriate contact with the students. So, the most rigorous involvement is that of the instructor. Students will have incentive to increase their activity just because they know the instructor is so active.
Here is a list of ways to involve students:
1) It is an old tactic to answer a question with a question. For the purposes of a well-developed discussion this is a good way to respond. It will cause the students to deeply explore the topic rather than settle for a superficial answer. Often just a tossed-up, "Class?" works extremely well.
2) The concept of "praising in public and rebuking in private" is a good one. If a student is not active, send a private e-mail restating the requirements of the course and encouraging their participation. Some instructors may feel this is not their responsibility, however this will improve the classroom experience for everyone.
3) Scheduling synchronous office hour(s) at a regular time.
4) Keep office hours dialogue focused on course content.
5) If your platform has a virtual chat or whiteboard feature, use it. They greater the variety of delivery methods you use, the more interesting your course. If your platform does not have a virtual chat feature you could use ICQ, AIM or some other free chat feature.
Maintaining rigor is the responsibility of all online instructors. The success of online education depends on equal or higher rigor than face-to-face delivery. The future of online education is in your hands.
The author is a registered user of Creative Reporter – join our blogging community today.
Jun 30th, 2006
Are you still wavering over whether or not to take the plunge into online college courses? Do you want to know what the experience is really like? Here's your chance.
Leading online educator, Capella University, is now offering podcasts that take a peek into the lives of online college students. The podcasts will feature interviews with both students and professors, and will average between 7 to 15 minutes in length. Go here for complete details.
Jun 30th, 2006
Why drag yourself to an 8am class when you can have the lecture directly sent to you through your iPod? And so what if your note-taking skills aren't the best; you can replay the lecture as many times as you need to. Uber-conveniences like these have made podcasting–the current craze taking colleges and universities by storm–extremely popular with both students and professors.
Now the students at UNC (and the general public) can
enjoy the hoopla. UNC Charlotte's College of Information Technology now offers lessons on everything from gaming to cyber security, all available through the college's website and Apple's iTunes music store.
"The benefits of these podcasts are very practical to the users and to the university," said Mirsad Hadzikadic, dean of the College of Information Technology. "Users have a new source of easily accessible information from our staff and faculty and from visiting experts, and the college increases its profile among people who are interested in computing and informatics. And, hosting the podcasts is fun."
And just as importantly, enjoying podcasts is a simple process, even for the non- computer savvy among us. Hooray for UNC's willingness to share knowledge outside of the classroom.
Jun 30th, 2006
Even the non-traditional students have their non-traditional counterparts. Call it non-traditional, squared.
The numbers of college students and professionals in online courses continues to steadily rise, far outnumbering the increase of students in 'traditional' courses. Some schools are not surprised by the numbers, but by the type of student usually found in these classes:
Combs, who also takes some face-to-face courses and online classes, is not the type of student distance-learning officials thought they'd attract when they began setting up their computer networks and video feeds. But the Miami County resident and thousands of students like her are defying the conventional wisdom, embracing technology and changing the face of online learning.
"We thought it would be adults flooding back to get their baccalaureate, and we do have some of those," said kate Carey, the Ohio Learning Network's executive director.
But the largest segments are community college students and existing students who are using distance learning to bolster their classroom schedules.
Given a choice between a classroom and a computer screen, it's an easy decision for thousands of students who opt for convenience over traditional structure.
(Photo Source: E-Learners Advisor)