I didn’t get a chance to post this yesterday…
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FEATURED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
As the 21st Century approached several events dramatically changed the environment of business and education in the US, as well as elsewhere in the world. In June of 1997 Allen Greenspan, then the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, testified in the Congress that the US economy has gone through a fundamental change.
Farhad Saba, Ph. D.
RESEARCH-BASED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
Active military service members are increasing as constituents of online distance learning environments in America. For instructors, first-time engagement with military learners poses challenges and opportunities. This paper considers military learners through a framework of stereotype, labeling, and culture. It explores the use of stereotypes in new social engagements and provides a brief discussion of the cultural differences that military learners bring to the learning environment. It presents a small-scale phenomenological study of military learners’ experiences in online courses, and suggests that their values and concerns do not differ significantly from non-military students. It concludes that, as with all learners, the most effective way of engaging with military students is for the instructor to be actively present, critically aware, and genuinely open. This approach, mindful practice, is presented as a strategy for exploring and developing a deeper understanding of the military learner. Suggestions for such practice are offered in the concluding section.
MERLOT Journal of Learning and Teaching
In addition to preparing students for college and a career, a rigorous and engaging curriculum contributes to creating a positive school climate for students. For the purposes of this paper, a “positive school climate” is defined as an environment that reflects a commitment to meeting and developing the academic, social, and emotional needs of students.
Alliance for Excellent Education
Many Open and Distance Learning (ODL) providers report that their students are prone to lower rates of retention and completion than campus-based students. Against this background, there is growing interest around distance-specific learning support. The current research investigated the experiences of students during their first semester as distance learners at Massey University in New Zealand. The overarching methodology was Design-Based Research, within which phenomenological data gathering methods were used to study the experiences of twenty participants from their own point of view. Using video cameras, over twentytwo hours of self-reflections were gathered between July and November 2011 using a technique adapted from previous studies. A grounded theory approach was applied to the process of thematic data analysis. Results revealed how participants varied in their engagement with learning supports, including orientation events, outreach activity, cultural services, learning consultants, library services, fellow students, lecturers, residential courses, and other people. The discussion reflects on clusters of participants who utilised learning supports effectively, moderately and barely. The paper concludes by summarizing how the current research has had an impact on the design of learning support services at one of the world’s leading providers of distance education.
The vision and mission of Universitas Terbuka (UT) is to become a highly qualified open and distance education institution and to provide higher education access to all communities. Graduates of UT are expected to acquire adequate knowledge, hard skills and soft skills. Soft skills play important roles in the world of work. The aim of this article is to describe: (1) whether the open and distance education systems are capable of providing graduates with soft skills, (2) how soft skills are acquired during the period of study, and (3) how are the range of soft skills acquired by graduates and required by stakeholders at work. This article uses 2009 UT tracer study, which employed survey and in-depth interviews to selected respondents and stakeholders. 2.417 pairs data (graduates and stakeholders) were analysed. The rating scales were from 1 (very poor) to 4 (excellent). The attributes analysed were personal, interpersonal and situational skills. The results show that learning systems that are based on individual learning and tutorial did provide graduates with soft skills. Graduates and stakeholders perceived interpersonal skills as fair. In general, soft skills required at work were time management, self-confidence, problem solving, creativity and team-work.
English as a second language (ESL). In this study, the instructor uses e-portfolios to manage the self-learning records of learners, to allow learners to interact with peers, and to evaluate performance outcomes. Learners record their self-learning activities using e-portfolios in which they submit and archive the activities they have done. The learners interact with one another through e-portfolios to enhance their learning. By using mixed methodology (survey, interview, instructor’s feedback report and analysis of e-portfolios), this study explores how the use of e-portfolios can help in learners’ independent learning process in English. The results indicate that learners have a mixed feeling towards the use of e-portfolios to assist their language learning experience. It is still uncertain that e-portfolio meets the needs of learners and provides an efficient and effective way to archive their tasks and facilitate peer feedback. This study also discusses the challenges that users of e-portfolios face in the process of English-language instruction, and the implications of the use of e-portfolios in language learning. It is hoped that the study will enable clearer focus to be given to the use of e-portfolios at both local and international levels.
The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning – EURODL
IN THE NEWS
Jim Bottum, Clemson CIO and Vice Provost for Computing and IT and Internet2 Presidential Fellow, tells how Internet2 community technology is putting research and education back in the driver’s seat.
As Bottum says, “Let’s start steering into a new future where we’ll do things differently.”
As much excitement as there may be about wearable sensors, most of the activity tracking devices today are pretty lame.
All Things Digital
The wheels on the bus go round and round — and so does government’s stance on the impact of cuts to distance education, say teachers.
College could be a very different place when freshmen step foot on university campuses in the fall of 2023. For starters, many students will find that step to be entirely virtual.
Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Founder and Editor
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