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November, 2008:

Using Chat in the Classroom

In a two part series, Campus Technology looks into using chat as an instructional tool in education:

Using Chat To Move the Thinking Process Forward
Ruth Reynard

In the first installment, chat is discussed in general terms and its abilities for the use of mixed media and synchronous interaction are emphasized.

Link: http://www.campustechnology.com/articles/68502/

Designing a Working Space for Chat

The second installment looks at some of the major concepts in using chat effectively in the process of moving the thinking process forward, like building ideas, constructing media, and establishing which elements are critical to making the environment dynamic and relevant to the student.

Link: http://www.campustechnology.com/articles/68632/

Darwin Recreated in Second Life

In honor of Charles Darwin, the University of Cincinnati has undertaken a project to recreate the Galapagos Island in the virtual world of Second Life. For those who are unfamiliar, the Galapagos Islands is where Darwin conducted some of his research that led to the famous On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. When this project is finished, which is currently set at January 2009, all avatars in the virtual world will be able to retrace Darwin’s steps “from his 1832 journey to South America aboard the Beagle to his tours of the islands.” For more information about the University of Cincinnati’s Darwin Sesquicentennial Celebration program Evolution: Evidence and Impact, please see http://www.uc.edu/darwin/.

Link: http://www.educause.edu/library/erm08516

Blended vs Traditional Learning Research Study

The Effectiveness of Blended Learning Environments for the Delivery of Respiratory Care Education
Jason Domachowski and Shawna Strickland

It has been reported that the major weakness of online learning environments is the lack of consistent, efficient communication with the course instructor. In an attempt to provide the learner with the “best of both worlds,” some educators have opted to integrate additional course materials via internet classrooms to enhance learning while still maintaining the face-to-face interaction between instructor and learner. The researchers hypothesized that there is not a difference in academic outcomes between students who complete a course in a traditional environment and those who complete the course in a blended environment nor is there a difference in student satisfaction between the two methods of course delivery.

Methods: Data collection included a retrospective review of the demographic and course information. Quantitative data analysis of the data was performed in SPSS® using the Mann-Whitney test and the Spearman rho correlation. Qualitative data analysis was performed via open coding of subjective student comments.

Results: The data obtained by retrospective review of demographics and course outcomes was analyzed to determine significant differences. None of the variables showed a statistically significant difference (p=0.05). Further testing revealed an expected positive relationship between pre-existing GPA and the final examination grade as well as the final examination grade and the course grade (p=0.05). No other positive relationships were noted in course outcomes, student satisfaction or subjective comments.

Conclusions: It can be assumed by the data presented that there is no difference in academic outcomes when comparing the traditional classroom setting to the blended classroom setting. These results favor the continuing practice of blended learning environments as a viable option for course delivery in health care education, specifically respiratory care.

Link: http://undergradresearch.missouri.edu/forums-conferences/abstracts/abstract-detail.php?abstractid=3641

A Summary of Web 2.0 for Education

Web 2.0: Good for Education?
Trent Batson

Trent Batson summarizes what Web 2.0 means for higher education:

  • More interaction between knowers and learners occurs online rather than in a room
  • More continuity between learning meetings during a course of study and after the course is over
  • More active learning opportunities are available
  • The need for certification of all formal learning is called into question
  • A shift in the fundamental perception of learning from content delivery to a guided learning process
  • More recognition of and scaffolding on what students already know
  • Collection of evidence of student learning online that is owned by the student
  • The learning process is associated with the learner
  • A deluge of unfiltered information without mature consensus methodologies to handle the deluge
  • Transience of knowledge as opinion-producers gain currency more quickly each day than ever before
  • Gap between institutions that are able to adapt to Web 2.0 trends and the rest of higher education
  • The education enterprise is merely reactive to industry developments; it must instead lead; and educators by and large are resistant; they must instead find opportunities for positive change

Link: http://www.campustechnology.com/articles/68503/

Andragogy, not Pedagogy

The Institutional Path for Change in This Age: Andragogy, not Pedagogy
Trent Batson

In pedagogy, which is associated with teaching children, the primary focus is to transmit content. In andragogy, which is associated with teaching adults, the concern is instead with facilitating the acquisition of the content. In his article, Mr. Batson makes the case that the traditional model of teaching through pedagogy has been outdated and should be replaced by a more effective combination of andragogy and evidence-based learning. For those who are interested, here are some principles of the prescribed method:

  1. Letting learners know why something is important to learn
  2. Showing learners how to direct themselves through information
  3. Relating the topic to the learners’ experiences
  4. People will not learn until they are ready and motivated to learn
  5. Requires helping them overcome inhibitions, behaviors, and beliefs about learning

Link: http://www.campustechnology.com/articles/68283/