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December 4, 2001

Online Communities I'm taking part in an online workshop from Romania about online communities - I think this URL will get you there. The workshop runs Dec. 2 - 8, so you may have some catch-up reading to do. Good resources, good discussions. In today's newsletter, a few items gleaned from the workshop... By Carmen Holotescu and Jane Knight, , December 2, 2001.[Refer]

Managing Distance Learning - New Challenges for Faculty This is a good essay outlining the paradigm shift that online learning brings. Two quotes give you the flavour of the paper: "The European navigator begins with a plan - a course - which he has charted according to certain universal principles, and he carries out his voyage by relating his every move to that plan. His effort throughout his voyage is directed to remaining 'on course.' If unexpected events occur, he must first alter the plan, then respond accordingly. The Trukese navigator begins with an objective and responds to conditions as they arise in an ad hoc fashion. He utilizes information provided by the wind, the waves, the tide and the current, the fauna, the stars, the clouds, the sound of the water on the side of the boat, and steers accordingly. His effort is directed to doing whatever is necessary to reach the objective. -- I. Berreman" And second, "The new framework for managing distance learning should be about managing the learning process rather than managing courses." Oh, I so agree. By Lisa Kimball, , Spring, 1998.[Refer]

The Process of Community-building in Distance Learning Classes Presented as an achingly dry research paper (up to and including references by the author to herself as 'this researcher' - ugh! Just say 'I'!), this essay nonetheless contains some good insights. This reader appreciated her diagrams, especially the detailed The Community-building Paradigm and the community building process. And some good ideas: "Community does not have to end when the class or the program ends. The department or institution should consider ways in which to continue two-way communication that facilitates community. The department or institution can readily keep in contact with the students through a database of e-mail addresses, a listserv, or a web site. Thus, a community formed through the classes and the program, can be maintained not only for the studentsí benefit (which might be personal, academic or both) but also for departmental and university purposes such as fundraising and networking." By Ruth E. Brown, ALN Volume 5, Issue 2, September, 2001.[Refer]

Group Seeks State OK for Virtual School Based in CNY The online charter school phenomenon is spreading with this proposal for a school in New York. The usual assortment of criticisms - some people because they oppose online learning, others because they oppose provate schools. By Sarah Layden, Syracuse Post-Standard, December 3, 2001.[Refer]

Online Learning Communities in Education & Training OK, this is interesting: the threaded audio discussion list. Instructional technologist recorded some statements about instructional design and set them up in a threaded discussion format. You can listen to the statements and then respond in voice or text. To listen, you need speakers (obviously) and you will be prompted to install a Java applet (so it won't work for some of you on proxy servers). To speak you need a microphone. By David Merrill, , December, 2001.[Refer]

Authentic Tasks as the Basis for Multimedia Design Curriculum I love serendipity. I gave an in-house presentation as part of my orientation at the National Research Council in Ottawa today, and then I see this article that echoes almost exactly what I said: "Knowledge needs to be presented in an authentic context, i.e. settings and applications that would normally involve knowledge. Learning requires social interaction and collaboration." See? It's not just me. By Jonathan C. Basden, THE Journal, November, 2001.[Refer]

Meaningful, Engaged Learning More on the same theme: this short snippet contains eight key indicators for meaningful, engaged learning. To quote Muhammad Betz, who mentioned it in the IFETS discussion list, "It seems to be in line with the Constructivist mantra, student-centered learning, and Active Learning: something that the Beatles might have created had they been educators." Yeah, yeah yeah. By Unknown, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1998.[Refer]

INSPIRAL Final Report The UK-based INSPIRAL (INveStigating Portals for Information Resources And Learning) final report is now completed and available on the web in PDF or MS-Word format (346 K for the PDF version). The Executive summary is at the very end of the document. In a nutshell, "The educational community sees a future where the resulting online learning environments will encompass: Seamless, one-stop access; All library functions online; Individualisation for the student; Flexibility for the teacher; Universal accessibility; and Ease of use for teacher and learner." Many links; almost half the document consists of links to references, resources and stakeholders. By Sarah Currier, University of Strathclyde, December 3, 2001.[Refer]

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