Virtual School Meanderings

April 15, 2014

Distance-Educator.com e-Newsletter – 4/14/14

From yesterday’s inbox…

Distance-Educator.com Newsletter
APRIL 14, 2014
Welcome to the new Distance-Educator newsletter
Hello again!As a reminder starting Monday, April 21st we’ll be making some changes to the Distance-Educator.com website and newsletter that we believe will help us continue to push our mission forward.

What you can expect:

  1. If you are a current newsletter subscriber, you don’t need to do anything different. Instead of receiving the newsletter every week, you will be receiving the newsletter every two weeks. Unless you sign up for the Pro.
  2. You can subscribe to the new and improved newsletter through the website starting Thursday, April 17th. Pro Supporter plan will start at only $5.00 per month. It will be delivered weekly and will include everything you’ve seen from us with a few extras.

We need your help and support to keep distance-educator.com alive and healthy. All proceeds will go towards continuing to deliver high quality in-depth distance education industry news that we’ve been known for.

Thank you for all your continued support.

- Dr. Fred Saba & the Distance-Educator.com Tech Team

FEATURED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Introduction to Distance Education: Theories and Theorists: Ramifications of the Theory of Transactional DistanceBy Farhad Saba Founder, Distance-Educator.com Offering adaptive learning based on the needs of the learner for independence and the requirement of the discipline for structure can be implemented in educational organizations with a management system that is conducive to learners starting and completing courses of studies based on their needs as compared to administrative needs […]

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RESEARCH-BASED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
Undertaking an Ecological Approach to Advance Game-Based Learning: A Case StudySystematic incorporation of digital games in schools is largely unexplored. This case study explored the ecological conditions necessary for implementing a game-based learning course by examining the interaction between three domains (the innovator, the innovation, and the context). From January-April 2012, one in-service teacher learned and applied the Play Curricular activity Reflection Discussion (PCaRD) pedagogical […]Keep Reading

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Game-Based Assessment of PersistenceInterest in 21st century skills has brought concomitant interest in ways to teach and measure them. Games hold promise in these areas, but much of their potential has yet to be proven, and there are few examples of how to use the rich data from games to make inferences about players’ knowledge, skills, and attributes. […]Keep Reading

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Download Proceedings: Learning Innovations and Quality: „The Future of Digital Resources“Learning Innovations and Learning Quality: The two main objectives to foster improvements in learning, education and training and the two core ingredients for learning success and impact. They are focused by many different theories and diverse practices. And they are more and more required due the increasing speed of globalization and changes in communities, economies, […]Keep Reading

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‘PARTLY SELF-MADE NICHES’? STUDENT-ONLY SPACES IN AN LMSEighty-nine students were provided with a student-only live-voice space in a Learning Management System (LMS). Would they use it and, if so, would they feel sufficient ownership to create what Havnes (2008) described as “partly self-made niches”? In this study, a substantial proportion of respondents reported that they used the space not only for social […]Keep Reading

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USING RESEARCH TO INFORM LEARNING TECHNOLOGY PRACTICE AND POLICY: A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF STUDENT PERSPECTIVESAs learning technologies are now integral to most higher education student learning experiences, universities need to make strategic choices about what technologies to adopt and how to best support and develop the use of these technologies, particularly in a climate of limited resources. Information from students is therefore a valuable contribution when determining institutional goals, […]Keep Reading

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Incorporating the Experiential Learning Cycle into Online ClassesBased on a case study built upon an introductory digital media class in a large urban school, this case study explores the relationship between ee-learning, a combination of experiential and e-learning, and technological integration in online higher education classes. By incorporating the experiential learning theory proposed by Kolb (1984), which elaborates upon John Dewey’s notion […]Keep Reading

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IN THE NEWS
Early learning, assisted by technologyVINCI’s model combines hands-on, experiential learning with software that identifies early learning gaps While students are working on activities, the software analyzes their progress—helping teachers know if they’ve grasped the material. Susan Kelly is excited about the possibilities when her school welcomes its first class of students this fall. eSchool News Full ArticleKeep Reading

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PBS Announces Sizzling Summer Season LineupARLINGTON, VA; April 10, 2014 — PBS announced today a summer schedule of programming spanning generations and genres. From examinations of our nation’s history to our connections to the animal kingdom, and escapes to Britain’s courtrooms and countryside, PBS offers diverse series and specials for all viewers. Returning favorites this summer include the second season […]Keep Reading

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The Right to TweetFaculty members and staffers at public institutions in Kansas have doubled down on a policy that protects their right to express their opinions on social media. The proposal now heads to the Kansas Board of Regents, where it faces uncertain prospects. Inside Higher Ed Full ArticleKeep Reading

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Your Guide to Picking an Online CollegeIt wasn’t too long ago that online schools held little credibility, but the number of schools offering education degrees all or partially online has increased dramatically in the last decade. The rise in online courses and degrees provides students more options as employers demand more skills, but experts warn that not all programs are created […]Keep Reading

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8 surprising facts about undergrads and ed-techIt’s not every day, after scouring headlines from dozens of news sources, that news—especially education technology news—can surprise a seasoned education writer; but in recent research provided by EDUCAUSE, as well as a spiffy new infographic, many details on how undergraduate students are using ed-tech are fascinating…in that they’re not always as ‘cutting-edge’ as some […]Keep Reading

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India suffers doubly due to lack of open accessDeveloping nations, especially India, increasingly face a challenge in prioritising their goals. One that has become increasingly relevant in this context, in the age of open knowledge, is the relevance of subscription journals in the dissemination of knowledge in a developing society. University World News Full ArticleKeep Reading

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April 9, 2014

Distance-Educator.com e-Newsletter – 4/7/14

From Monday’s inbox…

Distance-Educator.com Newsletter
APRIL 7, 2014
Monthly Supporter – Thank You!
FEATURED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Introduction to Distance Education: Theorists and Theories: Verifying Theoretical Concpets

As the field of distance education has grown in the past two decades, new concepts have been introduced to the literature. Authors in scholarly journals and books routinely use words, such as, eLearning, online learning, or web-based education to denote modes or means of learning in which the Internet is used for distance education. Rarely, […]

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RESEARCH-BASED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
Instructional Design Interventions for Supporting Self-Regulated Learning: Enhancing Academic Outcomes in Postsecondary E-Learning Environments

Theories and models about self-regulated learning are important to educators attempting to understand why some learners succeed and others have difficulty in academic settings. Understanding self-regulation in e-learning environments is critical because there is much agreement in the literature that e-learning requires a higher degree of self-regulation than face-to-face learning. Furthermore, empirical studies of the […]

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Incorporating the Experiential Learning Cycle into Online Classes

Based on a case study built upon an introductory digital media class in a large urban school, this case study explores the relationship between ee-learning, a combination of experiential and e-learning, and technological integration in online higher education classes. By incorporating the experiential learning theory proposed by Kolb (1984), which elaborates upon John Dewey’s notion […]

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Shifting from Obligatory Discourse to Rich Dialogue: Promoting Student Interaction in Asynchronous Threaded Discussion Postings

Asynchronous online threaded discussions are widely recognized as a tool to enhance learning in the virtual classroom.While they can serve as a mechanism for reinforcing material and promoting a deeper understanding of course content, discussion boards often lack rich and dynamic dialogue, and instead serve as a field of obligatory discourse, hasty postings, and repetitive […]

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A collection of suggested electronic course templates for use in higher education

The collection of electronic course templates suggested in this article results from collaborative investigation between instructional support staff and academic staff users of the virtual learning environment (VLE) at two institutions, one in the United Kingdom and the other in the United States. The particular VLE in use at both institutions was Sakai, although the […]

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Fostering collaboration and learning in asynchronous online environments

This case study, based on social constructivist learning theory, analyzed the quality of interaction and learning taking place during asynchronous discussions in a graduate level course by focusing on the types of instructional strategies employed to foster discussion. Qualitative and quantitative procedures were used to analyze knowledge construction processes based on previously conducted research that […]

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IN THE NEWS
Supporting Educators to Innovate Through Technology

Technology offers extraordinary opportunities and capacities to teachers. The breadth and depth of educational materials and information available on the Internet can break boundaries, making any subject accessible anywhere, and providing students with access to experts from across town or across the globe. New technologies also give teachers tools and flexibility to engage students, personalize […]

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The Challenges of a Contemporary Educator – Terry Anderson Interview

Professor Terry Anderson, who is based at Athabasca University in Canada, is one of the famous figures of contemporary education, and his list of achievements is lengthy. He is one of the pioneers of online and distance learning, and is Editor Emeritus of the influential online open access journal International Review of Research in Open […]

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Download Reports: The Broadband Imperative

It is a simple fact that access to high-speed broadband is now as vital a component of K-12 school infrastructure as electricity, plumbing, air conditioning and heating. The same tools that have transformed and enriched our personal, civic and professional lives are dramatically improving learning experiences intended to prepare today’s students for collage and 21st century […]

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April 2, 2014

Distance-Educator.com e-Newsletter – 3/31/14

From Monday’s inbox…

Distance-Educator.com Newsletter
MARCH 31, 2014
Welcome to the new Distance-Educator newsletter
Hello!Since 1995, we’ve been creating content for our community while maintaining our own professional careers. It’s been an amazing journey and in order to continue providing the community with the quality content we are known for, we need your help and support! Starting April 13th we’ll be making some changes to the Distance-Educator.com website and newsletter that we believe will help us continue to push our mission forward.

What to expect:

1. If you are a current newsletter subscriber, you don’t need to do anything different. Instead of receiving the newsletter every week, you will be receiving the newsletter every two weeks.

2. We will be adding the ability to subscribe to a new and improved newsletter through the newsletter and website starting April 13th. Pro Supporter plan will start at only $5.00 per month. It will be delivered weekly and will include everything you’ve seen from us with a few extras (see below).

We need your help and support to keep distance-educator.com alive and healthy. All proceeds will go towards continuing to deliver high quality in-depth distance education industry news that we’ve been known for.

Thank you for all your continued support.

- Dr. Fred Saba & the Distance-Educator.com Tech Team

FEATURED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Introduction to Distance Education: Theorists and Theories — Reflections on TheoriesIndustrialization has been a feature of distance education for many years. Otto Peters, a pioneering theorist, explained when technology is used to reach students in mass, education assumes industrial characteristics, such as, standardization of services and mass production of educational products (Keegan 1994). To the extent that correspondence education relied on mass production of instructional […]

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RESEARCH-BASED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
Student motivation and achievement in learning English as a second language using Second LifeThis study investigates the impact of a 3D virtual learning environment based on Second Life on student motivation and achievement in learning English as a second language. Twenty-one university students participate in this study, with the support of an English instructor. The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) was used to evaluate students’ intrinsic and […]Keep Reading

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Does the Internet shape a disciplinary society? The information-knowledge paradoxIn the post–modern era, knowledge is being understood as information. In reality, knowledge is commoditized and objectified as decontextualized representations. More information may mean that the society is drawn into a critical phase where loss of knowledge occurs with the unlimited flow of information. Such ubiquitous information could lead to less understanding, less trust and […]Keep Reading

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Learners’ Perceptions on the Structure and Usefulness of e-Resources for the Thesis CoursesNowadays, utility of information and communication technology (ICT) in education is a way to facilitate interaction and accessing information for learning in higher education. However, finding a set of structured e-resources to facilitate learning within specific courses is still a big challenge in most of the institutions and universities. This includes the problems and challenges […]Keep Reading

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Editorial: 15 Years after Martorella’s Sleeping Giant: A Year of Special Themed IssuesThe year 2012 marked the 15th anniversary of Peter Martorella’s (1997) short but influential article, “Technology and the Social Studies—or: Which Way to the Sleeping Giant?” The College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies marked its anniversary with a symposium reflecting on the article and its aftermath. In 2014, Contemporary […]Keep Reading

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Proposing A Metaliteracy Model To Redefine Information LiteracyMetaliteracy is envisioned as a comprehensive model for information literacy to advance critical thinking and reflection in social media, open learning settings, and online communities. At this critical time in higher education, an expansion of the original definition of information literacy is required to include the interactive production and sharing of original and repurposed digital […]Keep Reading

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IN THE NEWS
Ex-Yale President to Join Online Education VentureRichard C. Levin, who stepped down as president of Yale University in June, will next month become the chief executive of Coursera, a California-based provider of online academic courses. The New York Times Full ArticleKeep Reading

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Top-Ten IT Issues, 2014: Be the Change You SeeEDUCAUSE presents the top-ten IT issues facing higher education institutions. Many of these issues are not new. But in 2014 the ideas, solutions, and models that have been accumulating in higher education and technology will hit IT organizations—and the institutions they serve—fast and hard. This is the year that the front part of the herd […]Keep Reading

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TRADOC welcomes new commanding generalFORT EUSTIS, Va. (March 18, 2014) — Gen. David Perkins assumed command of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command from Gen. Robert Cone during a change-of-command ceremony, Friday, at Fort Eustis. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Press ReleaseKeep Reading

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PPPL allows high school students to experiment with plasma onlineStudents at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in West Windsor, N.J., were enthralled as they watched and controlled a glowing pink plasma on a screen in their classroom through a live video stream of an experiment five miles away at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). Princeton University Press ReleaseKeep Reading

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March 25, 2014

Distance-Educator.com e-Newsletter – 3/24/14

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FEATURED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Introduction to Distance Education: Theories and Theorists –Randy Garrison

Dr. Fred Saba, Founder of Distance-Educator.com By: Dr. Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Founder,Distance-Educator.com

Randy Garrison completed his BEd and MEd at the University of Calgary specializing in mathematics and computer applications, and an EdD at the University of British Columbia. He served as the Director of Distance Education and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Continuing Education in the University of Calgary from 1985 to 1996. From 1996 to 2001 he served as the Dean of Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta. He returned to the University of Calgary to become the Director of Teaching & Learning Centre. Garrison collaborated with Terry Anderson and Walter Archer in developing the theoretical concept of community of inquiry (CoI) in distance and online learning.

RESEARCH-BASED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK

From place to virtual space: reconfiguring student support for distance and e-learning in the digital age

This article examines the impact of digital technologies on student support in distance and e-learning, drawing on the case of Open University UK. Giving a historical perspective on the use of technologies in learning over many centuries, it argues that the dominant paradigm of geography -which has defined the structures for student support services in second generation distance education- has now been overtaken in digital distance and e-learning contexts by the more powerful affordances of learning design. The article examines in detail the issue of student drop-out as the major challenge for student support in distance and e-learning, and argues that educational mission, not mode of delivery, is the more powerful explanatory driver. The article proposes that student support should now be understood as integrated with teaching and assessment, not separately organised structurally and professionally.

Open Praxis

Supporting wellness in adult online education

Online education cannot continue to grow at the current pace while ignoring a crucial component of campus support, wellness for adult online learners. This paper brings awareness to the concept of wellness as an important student support service in adult online education. It includes a summarized review of relevant literature and identifies specific wellness concerns of adult online learners. The paper also provides examples of how three American higher education institutions are addressing the issue of wellness promotion in online learning. It identifies areas for improvement in current wellness initiatives and offers recommended strategies for supporting adult online learner wellness to professional organizations, institutions, instructors, and distance learners.

Open Praxis

Building a Foundation for Success Through Student Services for Online Learners

Retaining students in distance education programs requires institutions to field a strategically aligned, cross-unit team able to provide streamlined and effective services to online learners throughout the student’s academic life (from applicant to alumni). If any team member drops the ball during interaction with the online student, the student becomes frustrated or distracted, and student retention is jeopardized. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, students have a “universe of opportunities” for obtaining an education and advancing their careers. Attracting and retaining students is crucial to traditional institutions like Duquesne University in order to remain competitive in the online education marketplace. The university’s recent commitment to formalizing graduate courses online has brought strategic planning, oversight, resources, and support to students. The Online Campus director initiated an examination of the services necessary for online students to be successful learners. As Duquesne found out, retaining online students goes beyond offering resident-equivalent services to online learners; it requires a holistic and networked approach that leverages existing technologies and an institutional commitment to its online learners, or what the authors have designed as the COMFORT model.

The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks

Three Institutions, Three Approaches, One Goal: Addressing Quality Assurance in Online Learning

The rapid growth of online academic programs in higher education has prompted institutions to develop processes and implement strategies to ensure the quality of their online offerings. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are quality standards that institutions can effectively implement regardless of context. This paper examines the approaches of three different types of institutions in addressing quality assurance in online education on their respective campuses. Specifically, this paper presents three case studies and describes each institution’s (1) background and overview, (2) definition of quality, (3) general approach to quality assurance, (4) models and strategies, (5) goals, (6) successes, (7) challenges, and (8) lessons learned. A comparison reveals that despite differences in scope, size, location, mission, and extent of online development, there is consistency in the institutions’ strategies to addressing quality assurance in online learning.

The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks

English as a foreign language—teachers’ perspectives on implementing online instruction in the Iranian EFL context

This study set out to explore Iranian English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers’ perceptions on the implementation of online EFL instruction. A mixed-methods design, including semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, was employed for the specific purposes of this study. A total of 242 EFL teachers participated in the questionnaire phase of the study. In addition, 46 EFL teachers participated in the interview phase of the study. The teachers worked at a number of universities, schools and language-teaching institutions in Iran. Results suggest that although the Iranian EFL teachers adopted moderately positive attitudes towards the implementation of online instruction, the majority of them preferred blended instruction to online instruction. At the same time, the study revealed that the implementation of online EFL instruction in Iran is challenging due to a number of perceived impediments and obstacles. The most considerable perceived challenges to the implementation of online EFL instruction comprise lack of online facilities and resources, lack of interaction in online instruction, cultural resistances to online instruction and teachers’ limited knowledge of online instruction. The findings of this study provided crucial insights into teachers’ perspectives on a number of measures that can be adopted to facilitate the integration of online instruction in the EFL context of Iran. The findings would provide valuable insights for educational authorities and course designers to integrate online instruction into the EFL curriculum.

Research in Learning Technology

Leapfrogging Pedagogy: A Design Approach to Making Change in Challenging Contexts

At a time of substantial change, globalization, and ubiquitous access to information, educators struggle to change even the most basic aspects of their classrooms. This is especially true for those in challenging contexts where many perpetuate the “mind numbing” practice of rote instruction. This paper describes a collaborative partnership among academics in Canada and East Africa as they develop Innovative Learning Centres (ILC) in their respective institutions to leapfrog pedagogy in imaginative ways, drawing on experiential learning and the Maker Movement in a studio based learning environment.

The Electronic Journal of e-Learning

IN THE NEWS

Does the growth of distance learning mean that Open Universities risk becoming “the University of Last Resort”?

This was the question asked by Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Africa (Unisa), Mandla Makhanya, on the release of the Department for Higher Education and Training White Paper on Post-School Education and Training. The White Paper proposes provision of distance programmes at TVET and community college levels. ICDE Secretary General, Gard Titlestad also spoke at the launch.

International Council for Open and Distance Education

Internet2 Teams Up With India’s National Knowledge Network

Internet2, a computer-networking consortium whose infrastructure supports the work of tens of thousands of educators and researchers across the United States, expects to formalize a partnership with its counterpart in India this month. Officials say the move will clear the way for collaboration between American and Indian researchers on a scale never seen before.

New ed-tech products target Common Core readiness

At the 69th annual ASCD conference in Los Angeles this past week, preparing for the Common Core was a common theme. In the conference exhibit hall, a number of companies showed products aimed at teaching students to think more deeply in order to meet the standards’ rigor.

eSchool News

Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Founder and Editor
Distance-Educator.com


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March 17, 2014

Distance-Educator.com e-Newsletter – 3/17/14

From the inbox earlier today…

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Introduction to Distance Education: Theories and Theorists –Michael G. Moore

Dr. Fred Saba, Founder of Distance-Educator.com By: Dr. Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Founder,Distance-Educator.com

Michael Grahame Moore is Professor Emeritus of Education at Pennsylvania State University. He obtained a Bachelors of Science degree in economics from the University of London in 1959. Upon graduating he taught history and geography, as well as adult education courses. In 1963, Moore went to Africa as an education officer to assist with one colony’s transition to independence. During his seven year stay in Africa, he also taught at the University of East Africa, and worked in the Adult Education Department. In 1969 Moore began graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked with Charles Wedemeyer as a research assistant. He received his Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1973. In 1977, after 3 years as an Assistant Professor at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, he returned to UK to work in academic and managerial roles at the Open University for eight years. In 1985 he came back to the US and began working as Professor of Education for Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems. In the same year, he organized the First Annual Distance Education Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1986, he established The American Center for Study of Distance Education, and in 1987 , he began editing and publishing the first distance education journal in the US: The American Journal of Distance Education. In 1988 he organized the first American research symposium on distance education in the US.

RESEARCH-BASED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK

An Investigation of the Interrelationships between Motivation, Engagement, and Complex Problem Solving in Game-based Learning

Digital game-based learning, especially massively multiplayer online games, has been touted for its potential to promote student motivation and complex problem-solving competency development. However, current evidence is limited to anecdotal studies. The purpose of this empirical investigation is to examine the complex interplay between learners’ motivation, engagement, and complex problem-solving outcomes during game-based learning. A theoretical model is offered that explicates the dynamic interrelationships among learners’ problem representation, motivation (i.e., interest, competence, autonomy, relatedness, self-determination, and self-efficacy), and engagement. Findings of this study suggest that learners’ motivation determine their engagement during gameplay, which in turn determines their development of complex problem-solving competencies. Findings also suggest that learner’s motivation, engagement, and problem-solving performance are greatly impacted by the nature and the design of game tasks. The implications of this study are discussed in detail for designing effective game-based learning environments to facilitate learner engagement and complex problem-solving competencies.

Educational Technology and Society

Developing a Supportive Framework for Learning on Biosciences Field Courses through Video-Based Resources

Field courses are an essential component of the undergraduate experience in many subjects, but are intensive and expensive for participating students. Unpreparedness often means time is used teaching the basics rather than challenging students in exciting and novel situations. Moreover, universal participation is not always possible. Video-based resources covering key concepts and techniques could help participant preparedness and could be used independently by non-participants. This reflective case study details a collaborative project in which students and instructors worked together to make conceptual and instructional videos during a highly applied biosciences field course in South Africa. In 2012, after training from a professional wildlife filmmaker, students were involved in planning, presenting, and filming 25 videos. Students benefited considerably from the filmmaking process as explaining concepts and filming techniques helped reinforce their understanding: an example of “see one, do one, teach one.” The online, open-access videos were used by the 2013 cohort to increase preparedness and independently by non-participants to good effect, both internally and at several external institutions. New videos will be added each year to expand the resource base and allow students to gain from the filmmaking experience. This teaching and learning strategy is multidisciplinary, with relevance for a range of subjects.

Journal of Online Learning and Teaching

Improving Undergraduate Sociology Students’ Presentation Skills through Reflective Learning in an Online Learning Environment

The increasing growth of online learning creates opportunities for language learners to improve their academic proficiency. However, quite often, foreign language educators claim that an online learning environment is not suitable for developing students’ oral speaking proficiency. This paper is a case study of teaching academic presentation skills using a blended learning format. It takes a closer look at the existing web-based presentation skills pedagogy, discussing the challenges, perspectives of development, and methods of improving online academic presentation teaching through students’ reflective learning practices. It is suggested that reflective learning stages applied to an online course design and proper face-to-face instruction mode foster students’ academic oral proficiency and makes online learning highly effective.

Journal of Online Learning and Teaching

Student satisfaction with a web-based dissertation course: Findings from an international distance learning master’s programme in public health

Online distance learning (e-learning) is now an established method for providing higher education, in the UK and across the world. The focus has largely been on developing the technology, and less attention has been given to developing evidence-informed course provision. Thus the effectiveness of this teaching approach, and its acceptability to students, is, at times, uncertain. Many higher education courses require students to submit a dissertation. Traditional face-to-face courses will include meetings between the student and an allocated supervisor, to support the dissertation component of the course. Research into the supervisory relationship and student satisfaction has focused on doctoral students. Little is known about the experiences of students studying for a master’s degree.

The aim of the current study was to measure student satisfaction with the dissertation course as part of a fully online distance learning master’s programme in public health.

International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning

Initial trends in enrolment and completion of massive open online courses

The past two years have seen rapid development of massive open online courses (MOOCs) with the rise of a number of MOOC platforms. The scale of enrolment and participation in the earliest mainstream MOOC courses has garnered a good deal of media attention. However, data about how the enrolment and completion figures have changed since the early courses is not consistently released. This paper seeks to draw together the data that has found its way into the public domain in order to explore factors affecting enrolment and completion. The average MOOC course is found to enroll around 43,000 students, 6.5% of whom complete the course. Enrolment numbers are decreasing over time and are positively correlated with course length. Completion rates are consistent across time, university rank, and total enrolment, but negatively correlated with course length. This study provides a more detailed view of trends in enrolment and completion than was available previously, and a more accurate view of how the MOOC field is developing.

International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning

IN THE NEWS

101 Homeschooling Sites to Follow in 2014

Students don’t all respond well to standard teaching methods, and teachers who can employ a variety of strategies to personalize each student’s education and keep them engaged will be the most successful with pupils of all ages. Homeschooling is becoming a popular choice for parents who feel that their children need highly personalized education and individual attention, but not every family has the means to make homeschooling work. To be successful, current and future educators will need to have the ability to provide individual attention to students while meeting the needs of a whole classroom.

ElementaryEducationDegree.com

Online Tools for Task Management

When pursuing an online education, task management is a crucial element of success. With multiple classes, part-time or full-time jobs, personal life and other responsibilities factored in, managing productivity is often times easier said than done. Luckily, there are many different online tools available for task management whether working alone or collaborating with a group.

Utica Collage

Brandeis invites applications and nominations for the position of Vice President of the Rabb School of Continuing Studies

Located in suburban Boston, Brandeis is the only university in the United States founded by the Jewish community as a non‐sectarian, multi‐cultural institution, welcoming students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds and beliefs. Distinguished by academic excellence in teaching and scholarship, the university that carries the name of the Supreme Court Justice who stood for the rights of individuals is united by a belief that, through acquiring and sharing knowledge throughout our lives, we can work together to repair the world. Established in 1948, Brandeis is one of the youngest and most renowned private research universities in the country. With a 10:1 student‐to faculty ratio and a total student body of approximately 3,500 undergraduates and 2,300 graduate students, the university provides the intimate scale and personal attention of a small liberal arts college while giving students access to exceptional research experiences. In addition to the original undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences, the university now includes the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Brandeis International Business School, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and the Rabb School of Continuing Studies.

Work in Progress

BERKELEY, Calif. — A year after the Online Learning Summit was founded in Cambridge, Mass., attendees this weekend struggled to draw parallels to last year’s event. The reason, they said, is that “everything has changed.”

Inside Higher Ed

Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Founder and Editor
Distance-Educator.com


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