Archive for June, 2010

Distance online learners unite to receive diplomas

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

By LYDIA WHEELER, Post Star

Although they are all classmates, members of the Class of 2010 met for the first time on Saturday afternoon at the SUNY Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning graduation held at the Saratoga City Center. The Center for Distance Learning, which serves students across the country through online learning courses, graduated more than 850 students this year. Almost all who completed their individualized learning plan did so with a busy schedule, said Dean Thomas Mackey, as he welcomed the graduates, their families and their friends.

http://poststar.com/news/local/article_9adae788-7c1c-11df-9b16-001cc4c002e0.html

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Online learning college promise, perils

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette Editorial

As Indiana’s public institutions of higher learning struggle to serve more students with fewer dollars, news of an eighth state university could be cause for alarm. But Western Governors University may meet a need for more flexible college opportunities for adults, provided safeguards are in place to ensure scarce financial aid dollars are best used. Gov. Mitch Daniels announced this month that Indiana will partner with the non-profit, online university. A marketing campaign is planned. But some caveats on distance education should be noted. One important point is that online courses already are available at most of the state’s existing colleges and universities. Ivy Tech Community College, IPFW and Huntington University all offer online courses, for example.

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20100620/EDIT07/306209952/1147/EDIT07

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Online Learning: Summer school? That sounds cool.

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

by Sam Allis, Boston Globe

Bill McClure, head of the summer program at UMass-Amherst and incoming president of the North American Association of Summer Sessions, recently had a conference call with a dozen of its members. “Nearly everybody reported an uptick in registration, particularly online,’’ he says. The larger import is clear. “This tells me education is a year-round activity,’’ says Donna Shea, director of BU’s summer program.

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/family/articles/2010/06/22/more_college_students_are_choosing_classes_over_time_at_the_beach/

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Towards Best Practices in Online Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

by Jared Keengwe & Terry T. Kidd, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2010

This article examines a review of literature related to online learning and teaching. The authors provide a brief historical perspective of online education as well as describe the unique aspects of online teaching and learning. The barriers to online teaching, the new faculty roles in online learning environments, and some implications for online learning and teaching are also provided. This article is intended to stimulate reflections on effective strategies to enhance faculty success in their transition from traditional pedagogical platforms to online learning and teaching.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/keengwe_0610.htm

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High school will offer online learning for students with health or behavior issues

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

by Hannah Guzik, Ashland Daily Tidings

Ashland High School will offer online classes next academic year for students who can’t attend traditional classes because of health or behavior issues and possibly for students who want to take more advanced courses, the school board decided on June 14. Administrators anticipate that fewer than 10 students will enroll in the program, which is expected to cost the district about $4,500. “It’s really there for students who, for whatever reason, can’t be on campus,” Superintendent Juli Di Chiro said. “Sometimes it’s a health-related issue, or it might be a behavior issue.”

http://www.dailytidings.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100621/NEWS02/6210311/-1/NEWSMAP

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Funding cut for online learning

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

By Judy Bastien, Daily World

For about 10 years, the Louisiana Virtual School has provided online courses that may not otherwise be available in some school districts. But access to the online courses has been threatened by budget cuts. While students once were able to take classes through LVS for free, now their school districts will be charged $150 per course. Loss of funding is just part of the budget cuts on the part of the state Department of Education totaling about $1 million, said Claudia Blanchard, curriculum director for the St. Landry Parish School Board.

http://www.dailyworld.com/article/20100621/NEWS01/6210313/Funding-cut-for-online-learning

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Exploring the Advantages of Blended Instruction at Community Colleges and Technical Schools

Monday, June 28th, 2010

by Laura Lloyd-Smith, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2010

Given recent economic instability, attendance at community colleges and technical schools is expected to increase. While many community colleges and some technical institutes have embraced online learning, others might benefit greatly from the continued development and expansion of blended instruction which seeks to infuse online technologies into the teaching and learning process. Blended delivery offers advantages for the institution and student body, maximizing classroom space and school resources while at the same time offering greater flexibility for adult students who often have multiple responsibilities outside of the school environment.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/lloyd-smith_0610.htm

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Georgia online learning: Cyberschools approved

Monday, June 28th, 2010

by Shantrice Sanders, Atlanta Elementary Education Examiner

Come the fall, some Georgia students will be able to attend school from their bed with their pajamas on. The states virtual campuses, Kaplan Academy of Georgia and Provost Academy Georgia high school will be providing special needs students as well as gifted students with the flexibility to learn at their own tempo. These schools will provide a curriculum and a free computer, for those who qualify for them.

http://www.examiner.com/x-53066-Atlanta-Elementary-Education-Examiner~y2010m6d18-Cyberschools-approved

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Online course expansion aims to meet needs of new-age students

Monday, June 28th, 2010

By Christie Megura, Columbia Missourian

Students are not the same as they were 20 years ago. Today they blog, tweet, text, listen to iTunes and write a paper all at once. They are technology addicts who are constantly multitasking — in and out of the classroom. Many traditional classrooms have failed to meet the needs of this new student generation. That’s why the University of Missouri System aims to address the ever-changing student learning styles by spending $482,000 to develop 124 new online courses. The new online courses will include diverse offerings such as agroforestry, dental hygiene, criminology and financial engineering.

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2010/06/18/online-course-expansion-aims-meet-needs-new-age-students/

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Systematic Improvement of Online Learning: A Structured Approach Using a Course Improvement Framework

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Liz Romero & Noela A. Haughton, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2010

The Course Improvement Matrix was designed to provide a structured approach for online instructors – critical but sometimes marginalized stakeholders – to become more involved in the continuous improvement of online courses. This paper describes the development of this tool and its application at an online university. An online instructor successfully spearheaded the improvement of an undergraduate course by using the tool to: identify instructional issues based on student feedback; examine the course content; and propose theoretically sound prescriptions for solving these instructional design issues. The authors propose that the use of Course Improvement Matrix and similar tools can help online institutions to leverage the knowledge and potential contribution of part-time instructors to support the design team’s effort to maintain online course quality.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/romero_0610.htm

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Reflective Practice and Inquiry in Professional Development for Online Teaching

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Susan K. Eliason & Christine L. Holmes, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2010

This article is a resource for those new to online professional development. It describes professional development training for faculty preparing to teach online. The primary focus of the training is on pedagogical rather than technical skills. This focus is central for encouraging reflection and inquiry to improve teaching practices. The discussion and summary of results provide an overview of the training and evidence of reflection and inquiry.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/eliason_0610.htm

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Developing New Schemas for Online Teaching and Learning: TPACK

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

by Cheryl L. Ward & Susan N. Kushner Benson, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2010

Online education has grown dramatically over the past decade, as have the technology applications that support these environments. Although technology applications are an important consideration in online education, a comprehensive view of the online teaching and learning process is needed. The TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical, Content Knowledge) framework explains the complex relationship between content, pedagogy and technology knowledge and how these knowledge domains intersect to create the new kinds of knowledge needed to support online teaching and learning. Understanding TPACK may help instructors develop a new schema for transitioning from face-to-face to online teaching and learning. New schema development allows learners to incorporate new information and experiences into the framework of their pre-existing knowledge. Instructors can become more aware of the complexities of online course development, and they can realize the importance of developing competent consumers (learners). Institutions that provide time for individualized professional development, resources for initial course development, support for ongoing course modification, and systematic evaluation of learning outcomes facilitate the development of online instructors who use technology seamlessly to support content and pedagogy for 21st Century Learners.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/ward_0610.htm

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External Online Students Learning at the “People’s University”

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

by the BBC

Universities must find more flexible and cheaper ways to teach, the government has said. Expanding chances for students to study long-distance is one such proposal. For 150 years, the University of London has allowed students unable to travel to the capital to study for one of its external degrees – a system Charles Dickens described as “the people’s university”. Notable alumni include Nelson Mandela, who studied while incarcerated on Robben Island, and five other Nobel Prize winners.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/education/10285568.stm

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Christian colleges flourish in distance learning environment

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

by Steve Kolowich, Insider Higher Ed

“Given the relatively strong religious character of much of the U.S. population, and an ever more crowded online market, the schools that that are faith-based in some strong sense” have an advantage over others, the majority of whom have built “more generic programs that don’t have any strong affiliation with a demographic group or belief system,” says Richard Garrett, an online learning analyst for the consulting group Eduventures. Investing heavily in online has already allowed some institutions to enroll many more students than they ever could have hoped to at a physical campus.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-06-14-IHE-Christian-colleges-online14_ST_N.htm

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Open University learning is a joy

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

by Jules Horne, guardian.co.uk

It may not have the nightlife but as a way of accessing a flexible, quality education, I’ve found the Open University can’t be beaten, He was a flying goth with rocker looks. I was a new Open University tutor researching a play. I ventured into the OU room in Second Life, and after a few introductions (He: F04 R08. AL? Me: Yep. A363. R11), we had a long chat about non-Euclidean geometry. Call me strange, but I found this amazingly thrilling. Living in a rural area, you don’t come across many Gauss experts. Vast academic libraries, with international journals on tap, books and courses to get your brain cranking, people who enjoy a good barney about Shakespeare’s sonnets: the OU has brought all that to my doorstep, and it’s been an absolute joy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/18/open-university-learning-joy

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History of Online Learning

Friday, June 25th, 2010

by Ann Smarty, SayCampusLife

Online education has created possibilities that previous generations couldn’t even fathom. Literally, students can earn their entire degree at home, by working when it’s convenient for them, while wearing their pajamas. This amazing innovation has allowed for greater access to universities and targeted specializations that may not be locally available. It has also been especially beneficial for working adults or stay at home parents who are eager to earn a degree. So, how did online education programs get started? Here is a brief history of online education.

http://www.saycampuslife.com/2010/06/18/history-of-online-education/

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Online Learning Courses More Popular

Friday, June 25th, 2010

by Ryan Kruger, WSIL-TV

Associate Dean for Media Services Tom Bell says convenience is a major reason online enrollment has nearly doubled in the past two years. Across the country online enrollment jumped by more than 17 percent. They can work during the day or they can work at night and take the online class whenever it’s convenient for them,” said Bell, “they can attend to family matters, they can basically work their life around whatever they need to and still take classes.”

http://www.wsiltv.com/p/news_details.php?newsID=10423&type=top

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Online Learning: Google Docs adds new features to make sharing easier

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Posted by Brad McCarty, the Next Web

Google Docs has just released a significant upgrade that makes sharing even better.  This is particularly valuable for online learning applications – to keep student work private.

Here’s the highlights:

3 Sharing Options (Private, Public on Web, Link Only). All docs will start out as private, but then you can choose the level of access according to what you want to do. Public on the Web will be indexed via Google, though the rest will be private and hidden from the crawling.

http://tinyurl.com/2f8yab5

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Teacher Moderating and Student Engagement in Online Learning Synchronous Computer Conferences

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

by Shufang Shi, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2010

The purpose of this study was to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between teacher moderating levels and student engagement in synchronous online computer conferences. To achieve this understanding, the researcher developed new constructs and measurement methods to measure teacher moderating variables (number of teacher postings and quality of teacher postings) and student engagement variables (behavioral, social-emotional, and intellectual engagement). The researcher investigated the relationships between and among the teacher moderating variables and student engagement variables, with the final goal of identifying the critical factors that influence student intellectual engagement. The data for the study consisted of 44 transcripts of automatically archived online conferences from four groups of students over 11 weeks in a synchronous online course. Quantitative analysis revealed that student intellectual engagement was a function of both students’ participation and the number and quality of teacher postings. The findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of how students can become invested behaviorally, social-emotionally, and intellectually in the collaborative discourse of a community of inquiry through the medium of synchronous computer conferencing.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/shi_0610.htm

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Using the Four-Questions Technique to Enhance Critical Thinking in Online Learning Discussions

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

by Martha E. Alexander, et al; MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2010

This article describes the effect of a four-questions technique used to enhance critical thinking in online discussions. Students in a graduate educational psychology course participated in three online asynchronous discussions in reaction to case studies. Prior to the second discussion only, students responded to questions designed to encourage critical thinking through the four-questions technique of analyzing, reflecting, applying, and questioning. The researchers measured evidence of critical thinking by rating students’ comments in an online discussion with The Washington State University Critical and Integrative Thinking Scale. Results suggest that the four-questions technique is effective in enhancing critical thinking in online discussions.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/alexander_0610.htm

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Late-Career Adults in Online Learning: A Rewarding Experience for Individuals Aged 50 to 65

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

by Amy S. Gaumer Erickson & Patricia M. Noonan, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2010

Adults over age 50 are increasingly pursuing online instructional modalities of higher education coursework. While research shows that late-career adults typically prefer traditional, face-to-face instruction, some are embracing the flexibility and convenience inherent in online instruction. This mixed-method study examined both the academic performance and instructional support needs of late-career adults (aged 50-65) in an online course as compared to early-career (aged 21-35) and mid-career (aged 36-49) adults. Surprisingly, results of the study indicate that not only are late-career adults satisfied with the online delivery, but they actually find the experience to be more rewarding than their early- and mid-career peers despite the differences in technical abilities. Additionally, results reveal that for late-career adults to be successful in online classes, they initially require higher levels of technology support and digital interaction. However, after receiving the technical assistance, they perform as good as or better than their younger peers.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/erickson_0610.htm

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