Virtual School Meanderings

July 2, 2012 e-Newsletter – 7/2/12

This arrived in my inbox earlier today…

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Between Purpose and Method: A Review of Educational Research on 3D Virtual Worlds

This study aims to enhance our holistic understanding of 3D virtual worlds by providing a detailed analysis of the research methods and research trends related to the research of 3D virtual worlds for educational environments. Data was collected by searching for the ubiquitous term, “virtual world,” from databases. Snowball sampling was also employed. The researchers critically analyzed the literature as data focusing on how virtual worlds were applied in individual studies, what research methods were used, and what disciplines were examined in the studies. The results indicate that virtual worlds are mainly used for the simulation of space, and they are used in different ways depending on discipline and descriptive research methods were most used in research studies on the educational applications of virtual worlds, experimental approaches are increasingly being used by researchers. Based on these results, this study suggests an appropriate research direction for the application of virtual worlds in educational contexts in the future.
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research

Linking theory to practice in learning technology research

We present a case to reposition theory so that it plays a pivotal role in learning technology research and helps to build an ecology of learning. To support the case, we present a critique of current practice based on a review of articles published in two leading international journals from 2005 to 2010. Our study reveals that theory features only incidentally or not at all in many cases. We propose theory development as a unifying theme for learning technology research study design and reporting. The use of learning design as a strategy to develop and test theories in practice is integral to our argument. We conclude by supporting other researchers who recommend educational design research as a theory focused methodology to move the field forward in productive and consistent ways. The challenge of changing common practice will be involved. However, the potential to raise the profile of learning technology research and improve educational outcomes justifies the effort required.
Research in Learning Technology

The development of distance education in the Russian Federation and the former Soviet Union

Distance education in the present Russian Federation and former Soviet Union has a long tradition that prevails to this day. The majority of students in Russia are enrolled in distance learning programs. The numbers indicate the existence of a well-established system for distance education, of which little is known in Western literature. A review of distance education research in the Anglo-American sphere showed that within the past 10 years not a single article dealing with the Russian system was published. Consequently, within international DE research Russia remains uncharted territory. The following explorative study introduces the educational and tertiary educational system and presents current statistical data while emphasizing the historical perspective to further describe how the distance education system is embedded therein. In order to discuss current practice in this field, one of the biggest higher distance education institutions in Moscow with approximately 110,000 students is used as an example.
The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning

Economies of Scope in Distance Education: The Case of Chinese Research Universities

With the rapid development of information technologies, distance education has become “another form of product differentiation in the output mix produced by the multi-product university or college” (Cohn & Cooper, 2004, p. 607). This article aims at analyzing the economies of scope of distance education (as an educational output) in Chinese research universities. The empirical results show that a) product-specific economies of scope do exist in distance education programs offered by Chinese research universities; b) there are economies of scale in distance education; and c) there are weak cost complementarities between distance education and research output, meaning that distance education and academic research can promote each other to reduce the costs in Chinese research universities.
The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning

Distance Education and Community Learning Networks linked by a Library of Culture

Humans are relational beings with their modeled behavior as practical examples of cultural routines that they hear, see, read, and assemble on their own from communal pieces of information to answer the needs of their everyday lives (Bandura, & Jeffrey, 1973). Yet few researchers have looked at the differing synthesis of culture and generally assume that others share similar ideas/values that lead to particular events and worldviews (Lillard, p.5 1998). Informational and cultural contact zones can be created to support CLNs, universities, and individuals in a variety of roles to encourage their interactions so they might design, and challenge the fundamentals of these programs and seek to better cooperation amongst the public itself (Tremmel, 2000). By increasing communication and collaboration of educational systems throughout the community will begin to raise the standard of living for all people (Bohn, & Schmidt, 2008). This will begin to draw people out from the digital divide and increase the access of technology and information available to all people with the community. Utilizing CLNs to support and further education will allow an interconnected web of assessments, standards, and cooperative efforts that has the potential of increasing democracy by empowering people from their communities.
DigitalCommons@University of Rhode Island

Business information literacy teaching at different academic levels: An exploration of skills and implications for instructional design

This study investigates the difference among students’ discipline-specific information literacy (IL) skills by studying first-year and final-year undergraduate business students. An online IL tutorial was designed and delivered to both student groups with a two-fold goal.First, the researchers wanted to compare students’ IL skills to test the faculty’s assumptions that business students who are about to graduate have already acquired the requisite IL despite the lack of mandatory business-specific IL sessions. The findings suggest that first-year and final-year business students are not significantly different in their performance and that both groups received a significant positive impact as a result of taking the same IL tutorial online.

Second, the study analyses how well the online IL tutorial, with its focus on combining instructional videos with active learning exercises, performs in delivering content related to different elements of IL, as defined by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL 2010). The findings indicate that the online IL tutorial is more effective for some skills than for others, suggesting that it will be beneficial to explore different instructional designs in collaboration with the departmental faculty to improve the current IL tutorial in these areas.

This study adds to research on the effectiveness of online tutorials and raises questions related to their design. The findings can inform librarians’ decisions on how to design online learning targeting students from different academic levels.
Journal of Information Literacy


New Strategies and Partnerships for Learning

Joel Smith, vice provost and CIO at Carnegie Mellon University (PA), believes that education technologists have not yet fully explored the potential of partnering with learning scientists and others seeking to inform instruction. CT [Campus Technology] talked with Smith about the need for these new partnerships.
Campus Technology

Flipped Learning Network

Launched spring of 2012, the mission of the Flipped Learning Network™ is to provide educators with the knowledge, skills, and resources to successfully implement Flipped Learning. The vision is preparing educators to adopt the Flipped Learning Ideology. Flipped learning happens when the teacher’s lecture is delivered outside of the traditional class time, via a video students view on their own. Class time is used for active problem solving by students and one-to-one or small group tutoring with the teacher. Students can watch the short lectures as many times as they wish to grasp the content and then come to class ready to jump into the lesson, answer questions, work on collaborative projects, and explore the content further. Teachers are embracing Flipped Learning in elementary and secondary schools for all disciplines.
Flipped Learning Network

Colleges taking a team approach to eTextbooks

Campuses will see if electronic textbooks can bring down textbook costs and satisfy student demands, thanks to an Internet2 project.
eCampus News

‘Digital Badges’ Would Represent Students’ Skill Acquisition

Initiatives seek to give students permanent online records for developing specific skills.
Education Week

Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Founder and Editor

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  1. […] e-Newsletter – 7/2/12 « Virtual School Meanderings. […]

    Pingback by Teacher Talk » e-Newsletter – 7/2/12 « Virtual School Meanderings — July 3, 2012 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  2. […] For brief descriptions of the abstracts and for more items related to online education contained in the blog, read the full post here […]

    Pingback by e-Newsletter – 7/2/12 « Virtual School Meanderings | Eleanore's Ramblings… — July 3, 2012 @ 11:48 am | Reply

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