Virtual School Meanderings

July 22, 2010

Article Notice – Online Synchronous Communication In The Second-Language Classroom

Another notice of an article that came through my Bloglines last night.

Online synchronous communication in the second-language classroom
Elizabeth Murphy

Abstract: The study reported on in this paper used a framework of benefits, challenges and solutions to categorize data from a design experiment using synchronous online communication for learning French as a second language (FSL). Participants were 92 Grade 6, FSL students and four teachers from urban and rural areas of Newfoundland, Canada. Data collection relied on online observation, teachers’ use of blogs and an online discussion forum, face-to-face planning and reflection meetings for teachers as well as interviews with all participants. Benefits included independence and peer-learning; authenticity and motivation; anonymity and confidence; enhanced self-esteem. Challenges related to teacher multi-tasking; poor sound quality; technical problems; momentum; grouping; scheduling. Solutions included use of student moderators; audio tutorials and direct messaging; activity tutorials; technical support and capacity building. The categories and their subcategories were grouped into two themes of positive affect and student-centered learning.

Résumé : L’étude décrite dans le présent article a utilisé un cadre prenant en considération les bénéfices, les défis et les solutions afin de classer les données d’un dispositif expérimental utilisant la communication synchrone en ligne pour l’apprentissage du français langue seconde (FLS). Les participants étaient 92 élèves en FLS de sixième année et quatre enseignants de milieux urbains et ruraux de Terre-Neuve, Canada. La collecte des données s’est fondée sur l’observation en ligne, l’utilisation de cybercarnets et d’un forum de discussion en ligne par les enseignants, la planification en face-à-face et des réunions de réflexion pour les enseignants, ainsi que des entrevues avec tous les participants. Les bénéfices comprenaient : l’indépendance et l’apprentissage entre pairs; l’authenticité et la motivation; l’anonymat et la confiance; l’amélioration de l’estime de soi. Les défis se rapportaient à : la multiplicité des tâches incombant aux enseignants; la mauvaise qualité sonore; les problèmes techniques; la dynamique; le regroupement; la planification. Les solutions incluaient : l’utilisation d’élèves à titre de modérateurs; les tutoriels audio et la messagerie directe; le renforcement des capacités; les tutoriels d’activités. Les catégories et leurs sous-catégories ont été regroupées en deux thèmes, soit l’affect positif et l’apprentissage centré sur l’élève.

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After skimming the article, I’m not sure if this article is related to the “Innovative and Effective Practices in Online Learning” project, which is also a part of the Killick Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland, or not (as Elizabeth does acknowledge funding from SSHRC).

Article Notice – The Effectiveness Of Web-Delivered Learning With Aboriginal Students: Findings From A Study In Coastal Labrador

I saw notice of this article come through my Bloglines last night.

The effectiveness of web-delivered learning with aboriginal students: Findings from a study in coastal Labrador
David Philpott, Dennis Sharpe, Rose Neville

Abstract: This paper outlines the findings of a study that explores perspectives of e-learning for aboriginal students in five coastal communities in Labrador, Canada. The rural nature of many communities in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, coupled with a dramatically declining enrollment, has resulted in expanding use of e-learning as a means to provide quality high school curriculum. Recently, a Community University Research Alliance partnered with stakeholders to explore the success of e-learning in the province. Through one of the projects of this alliance, the authors examined the success of this mode of delivery for aboriginal students from the perspective of the students themselves, as well as the perspective of parents and educators. Additionally, student performance was examined in comparison to provincial peers. A wealth of data emerged which affords insights into factors that support and hinder e-learning in coastal areas and also informs educators about the diverse learning characteristics and needs of aboriginal students. As Canadian educators are increasingly challenged to address achievement issues that continue to characterize aboriginal populations, this study offers important data on the viability of e-learning as a mode of curriculum delivery.

Résumé : Cet article présente les résultats d’une étude qui explore les perspectives de l’apprentissage en ligne pour les élèves autochtones dans cinq collectivités côtières du Labrador, Canada. Le caractère rural d’un grand nombre de collectivités de la province de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, jumelé à une baisse spectaculaire de la scolarisation, a mené à une utilisation accrue de l’apprentissage en ligne comme solution permettant d’assurer un curriculum de qualité au secondaire. Récemment, une alliance de recherche université-communauté a travaillé de pair avec les intervenants afin d’étudier les résultats de l’apprentissage en ligne dans la province. Grâce à l’un des projets de cette alliance, les auteurs ont examiné le succès de ce mode de prestation auprès d’élèves autochtones du point de vue des élèves eux-mêmes, ainsi que du point de vue de leurs parents et de leurs éducateurs. En outre, le rendement des élèves a été comparé à celui de leurs pairs au niveau de la province. Une foule de données en sont ressorties, ce qui permet de mieux comprendre les facteurs qui favorisent et qui entravent l’apprentissage en ligne dans les zones côtières; ces données informent également les éducateurs sur la diversité des caractéristiques et des besoins d’apprentissage des élèves autochtones. Les éducateurs canadiens sont de plus en plus mis au défi de trouver un moyen de surmonter les problèmes de réussite scolaire qui continuent de caractériser les populations autochtones, et cette étude leur fournit des données importantes sur la viabilité de l’apprentissage en ligne comme mode de prestation du curriculum.

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Without having read the article yet, I suspect this is the result of the work being done by the Killick Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland on their “Participation of high school students in the isolated aboriginal communities of coastal Labrador in web-delivered learning” project.

June 11, 2010

Award Nomination – Intention, Transition, Retention: Examining High School Distance e-Learners’ Participation In Tertiary Education

This showed up in my Facebook stream yesterday and it makes for a good travel day blog entry.


To view the link click on the image or visit http://today.mun.ca/news.php?news_id=5593

Congratulations to my colleague Dale Kirby.  For those unfamiliar, this paper comes from one of the Killick Centre study’s – specifically The Impact of CDLI Course Participation on Student Transition into Post-secondary Education and/or the Workforce (Transition Study).

April 23, 2010

Newfoundland: Singapore Of The Atlantic?

Since Bloglines is still down the Friday Funnies will have to appear later today (or maybe as the Sunday Comics this week). Until then, I return you to your regularly scheduled blogging… :)

I don’t recall why now, but earlier this week I was visiting the Killick Centre for e-Learning Research at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and saw an article that jumped out at me:

Newfoundland:  Singapore Of The Atlantic? by Heidi Wicks

It stood out to me because much has been made of the K-12 online learning system in Singapore, so to see the comparison of Newfoundland and Labrador to Singapore made me take a second look.  A relatively short item, but an interesting read nonetheless.

August 19, 2009

Killick Centre for E-Learning Research

killickI mentioned the Killick Centre for E-Learning Research on this blog in the past (see Killick Centre tag).  Basically, it is a project housed at Memorial University of Newfoundland that is funded by the federal Government through the the Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) Program of the the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), which “aims to foster innovative research, training and new knowledge in the area of e-learning in the field of education.”  One of the main partners in this research is the provincial virtual school, the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation.

Anyway, I was poking around their website a couple of days ago and noticed some new links.

While some of the items appear on multiple pages and I notice that some are out of date (i.e., I know the article has been published, but it is still listed as accepted or submitted), but it is worth promoting the research that is coming out of this project.

As there are very few folks doing good empirical research into virtual schooling, and even fewer in Canada, I wanted to post this quick update to keep this work fresh in everyone’s minds.

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