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RESEARCH-BASED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
The purpose of this study was to examine the progress of a class of third- and fourth-year undergraduate science students as they attempted to create a knowledge building community in a blended or hybrid science education class. The research sought to examine this process through analyses of the frequency of their note postings and responses, and through a social network analysis of their communication patterns for note reading. These data were automatically harvested by the Knowledge Forum knowledge building environment, and downloaded for later analysis.
Contribution levels indicated that the frequency of note postings increased three-fold following the mid-term of the course causing maladaptive student work patterns to reduce information overload. As well, the disparity between high-frequency note posting students and low-frequency note posting students followed a linear curve with the ratio between the highest posting and lowest posting student to be 2.7:1. A similar pattern was found with regard to responses.
A disparity was also found among the students in the number of postings read, with the highest note reading student reading six times the number of notes as the lowest note reading student. The social network analyses revealed evidence of community formation in the note reading network. Analysis showed both one-way and reciprocal interactions, indicating that the pathways needed for the transfer of complex information were present.
Considering all the data together, while some communication patterns necessary for a knowledge building community were present, contribution patterns suggested that a true knowledge building community did not form, but that there was progress towards it.
Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology
In recent years the student experience of higher education in general and distance education in particular has been strongly influenced by the wide scale uptake of Internet based learning approaches and an expanding distance education market, amongst many other trends. As competition within the sector increases because of access to the WWW and other in-country socio-political influences, the push to attract and retain students is becoming a key issue for institutions. Understanding the distance student’s voice in relation to these trends and developing appropriate responses to ensure a satisfactory learning experience is of critical importance. This paper reports on a recently completed study that explored the distance learners’ experience at one dual-mode Australian institution. The paper outlines a rationale for investigating the student voice to meet the unique needs of the distance learner. It describes the approaches that were adopted to undertake the research and discusses some of the main themes that emerged from the study – individualness, connectedness, quality, mobility, and resourcefulness. The paper concludes with considerations for policy and practice in relation to utilising the distance learners’ voice in enhancing distance leaners’ experiences.
Australasian Journal of Educational Technology
In an attempt to foster student integration in virtual education programs, several higher education institutions have launched systematic large-scale hand-outs of personal computers, inspired by the “One Laptop per Child” distribution model. However, the level of impact of these initiatives on academic performance is not yet well understood. This article aims to explore student responses to changing levels of access to IT hardware, applying multiple correspondence analysis. Some of the broader socio-economic factors affecting education are also examined.
The Journal of Distance Education
Grammar is understood to refer to languages and how words and their component parts combine to form sentences. Definitions also refer to grammar as a normative or prescriptive set of rules setting forth the current standard of usage for pedagogical or reference purposes. Grammar is important to communication as it forms the backbone of an agreed upon system for relating and understanding information. Online searching and distance education have grammars of their own including terms and descriptors, operators and logic, and methods for gathering, evaluating and disseminating information. We teach grammar and vocabulary in our language classes, to facilitate listening, speaking, reading and writing but are we doing the same in our courses dedicated to information literacy? Are we meeting the evolving (and revolving) needs of a new generation of information users that are savvy, demanding and impatient? We may be teaching the vocabulary but are we addressing the grammar?
IN THE NEWS
Making It Count
Massively open online courses, or MOOCs, are not credit-bearing. But a pathway to college credit for the courses already exists — one that experts say many students may soon take.
Inside Higher Ed
How Will MOOCs Make Money?
Massively open online courses, or MOOCs, do not currently lead to any widely recognized credential. Still, with more than 1.5 million people having registered for MOOCs through Coursera, Udacity and edX, the demand for the novel online offerings is undeniable.
But while demand appears to be high, none of these three organizations — two of which are for-profit companies that will be expected to generate money for investors and the other of which is a nonprofit that will be expected to stand on its own feet eventually — currently has a business plan.
Inside Higher Ed
Preparing Today’s Students for Success Requires Moving from Teacher-Directed, One-Size-Fits-All Model to Download Report: Personalized, Student-Focused Instruction, New Report Finds
Washington, DC – Preparing all students to succeed in today’s increasingly complex world requires a shift from a teacher-centric culture to learner-centered instruction that recognizes students’ individual learning needs, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education.
The report, Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered by Digital Learning, examines the support that educators and schools will require to implement genuine teaching practices that are personalized for each student. Digital learning, the report argues, can be a major strategy for enabling teachers to meet varied students’ needs while also supporting necessary cultural shifts in teaching.
“The global economy has raised the stakes for today’s students,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “To help students meet these higher expectations and graduate college and career ready, the nation’s education system must follow the examples of successful schools that provide a more personalized, rigorous, and collaborative learning environment that moves from teacher-directed, one-size-fits-all instructional strategies toward a learner-centered model.”
WGU Indiana Celebrates 2 Years as First of Its Kind
Indiana online university pioneered state-endorsed model at WGU
SALT LAKE CITY — Two years after the launch of as the first online university formed in partnership between a state and national nonprofit Western Governors University, two more states have successfully established this innovative model. The result: More than 7,800 of WGU’s 33,000 students nationwide now attend one of WGU’s state-based universities.
Western Governors University
New York Times to Suspend Online-Education Program
The New York Times is bowing out of the online-education business just as a growing number of colleges are putting their own courses on the Web. Knowledge Network, the distance-learning initiative started by the company in September 2007, will suspend operations on July 31, a company spokesperson said today.
Colleges join internet goliaths in long-awaited protocol change
June 6 was perhaps the most important day in the history of the commercial internet, and hardly anyone noticed.
Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, and a host of the web’s most visited sites made the switch to the Internet Protocol Version 6 that day—known as World IPv6 Day—marking a momentous shift from the old protocol, IPv4, after it ran out of web addresses last year.
Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Founder and Editor
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