Sunday, May 25, 2008
"...the reality of distance learning is that this rarely, if ever, happens across the board. You will, in fact, always find one or more students whose motivation is just lacking. Without motivation in an online class that student will do poorly, and you'll feel pretty bad about it as well. You can't be a cheerleader every moment, but you can present your course so that the material becomes understandable, real, and exciting! Once this happens, students will suddenly take notice because they have discovered that the subject of your course talks to and about them. Here's how."
The focus of the article is on synchronous online conferencing. "If you're new to presenting online or you're simply considering introducing it into your training repertoire, here are a few things to consider before your next presentation."
I just discovered this site, chock full of Very Interesting reading that will keep my busy for a long while. Topics are very current and relevant. Categories include: Best Practices, Case Studies, Tutorials, Reviews, Research papers. Articles are grouped by Design, Technology, Usability, Business, Culture. The site "offers a community hub for e-learning professionals on the Web, providing a wealth of public forums for the free exchange of ideas. Our targeted readership includes both providers and consumers of online learning, with a special emphasis on teachers, managers, and administrators working to develop educational programs or classes on the Web." I investigated the "about us" page and discovered that one of my eLearning gurus, Stephen Downes, is on the Editorial Advisory Board, and another (more recent) personal guru, Lisa Neal, is the Editor-in-Chief. Yay for the online version of 6 degrees of separation.
Author Jean Bystedt. (My link is to Lisa Neal's commentary on the book.) The book's title made me think it was about moderating online discussions (online learning being my focus). The book's subtitle implies otherwise: A Full-Tilt Guide to Creative Insightful Focus Groups and Depth Interviews. However, Lisa Neal comments on some of the content of the book are very apropos for moderators of online discussions and indeed for online instructors: " I never consciously thought about how many of the skills for teaching, moderating, and presenting overlap. The introduction to the book...says that moderators need to know how to lay the ground rules for participation, help people feel comfortable, encourage responses, ask questions, probe for clarification, segue between topics, and stay on course. This is the same as teaching and presenting."
Lisa Neal addresses the question: "You need a break and, instead of heading to the coffee pot, what can you do in 10 minutes that will refresh and energize you and increase your job satisfaction and career success?"
The authors, Lisa Neal & Clark Quinn, are "addressing if the design of a game, or even the fact that a game is being used, induces a sense of frivolity that lessens the impact of the learning for serious topics." Their answer is no: the article points out that "Properly done, serious games are highly effective for serious topics. While the notion of a game may seem frivolous, the design and content are not. In fact, a serious game can introduce tension and crises to simulate the realistic experience of practicing a particular skill, or depict consequences, more easily than other types of learning."
Monday, May 19, 2008
Stephen Downes describes the resource better than I can:
"This is a very useful resource, not simply because it makes clear that 'virtual world' means much much more than 'Second Life', but also because of the glossary and categorization system that informs this list of 250 virtual worlds. Descriptions are brief (not surprisingly) and contain links to the world web site. The document is PDF, but you have to download a zip file and extract it."
"Why arrange copyright? What is the importance for me? What is arranged by law? What do I need to do myself? Copyright: easier than you think! This website provides answers to the above questions. ...There are a few basic rules, which we aim to explain. The website also provides background information and suggests practical ways of dealing with copyright issues."
"The problem I had was whittling it down to ten!" says author Donald Clark. He concludes that "Many teaching practices are in direct opposition to the psychology of learning."
The author's list of educational games that are geared towards making a difference in the world. The emphasis is on FREE games; includes browser-based games & desktop games.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
What's new & coming soon in the Blackboard systems? See this blog post written by Niall Sclater, a Moodle proponent who attended the Spring '08 Bb European Conference.
For Engineering & other technical professionals & students: the IEEE Professional Communications Society.
"The PCS field of interest includes the study, development, improvement, and promotion of effective techniques for preparing, organizing, processing, editing, collecting, conserving, teaching, and disseminating any form of technical information by and to individuals and groups by any method of communication. It also includes technical, scientific, industrial, and other activities that contribute to the techniques and products used in this field."