Monday, July 23

December (2004) Issue: ELC Knowledge Sharing Newsletter

(Originally posted in ELC on the 7th January, 2005)
Assalamu Alaikum wrt wbt & Greetings to ALL!
Welcome to the December issue of ELC Knowledge Sharing Newsletter. This issue contains several excellent e-learning presentations, simulations, articles, and research papers found from various online resources during December; including UNITAR Breeze showcase samples, Ericsson Mobile Application Awards, a free educational stockmarket simulation game, e-learning guidelines and tips in several areas, and much more. We hope you find the resources we have selected useful, and if there is something you'd like to see in an upcoming issue, please let us know.
In this Issue:
  1. Virtual Trader (UK's free Stockmarket simulation game)

1) UNITAR Breeze Showcase Samples
Authors: Zaid Ali Alsagoff, Au Yong Geok Lian, Wan Hendra Wan Hamzah, and Chong Kim LoyURL:
Utilizing Macromedia Breeze can make a huge impact in terms of teaching and learning at UNITAR, giving lecturers more time to conduct interactive tutorials (hands-on, discussion, case studies, group presentations, workshops, etc.). In short, Breeze is a great tool to record a lecture with PowerPoint slides, and publish the presentation to the server, enabling students to easily access recorded lectures from anywhere, anytime. Also, students can rewind, forward and jump to key areas of the recorded lecture as they like, based on the useful navigation structure that Breeze provides. The great thing about Breeze, is that basically any facilitator, lecturer, or content author can create, publish, and manage (on the server) recorded presentations or lectures, without requiring programming and Flash technology skills. Breeze makes authoring and managing content simple.

2) Ericsson Mobile Application Awards 2004 Winners
Author: Rolf WeissURL:
The four winning applications are:

  • "Best Mobile Enterprise" - Gavitec AG from Germany with Lavasphere, a very convenient barcode reader solution that can be used for all kinds of solutions e.g. mobile ticketing or product information.
  • "Best Information Application" - Wayfinder Systems AB from Sweden with Wayfinder EuroNavigator that turns the mobile or smartphone into a GPS-based voice guided fully-fledged navigation system.
  • "Best Mobile Gaming" - Artificial Life Inc. from Hong Kong with V-girl, an interactive 3D role playing real life simulation for 3G.
  • "Best Mobile Entertainment" - Softhouse Nordic AB from Sweden with Twin Factor, a fun application that lets your mobile tell you whom you resemble and to which degree.

3) Guidelines for Establishing Interactivity in Online CoursesAuthor: Mark Mabrito (You need to subscribe (free) to Innovate to view the full article.)URL:
"Establishing fruitful interaction in online courses is a persistent challenge. Mark Mabrito shares his personal practices with readers, outlining the tools and policies he has used to enhance interactivity with students, among students, and between students and course content. Mabrito explores the fine lines that instructors must walk:

  • Encouraging participation without being overbearing.
  • Evaluating student input without making it a dreaded requirement.
  • Allowing for spontaneous reactions while promoting careful reasoning and good writing skills.
  • Providing ample resources without overloading or confusing students.
  • For educators struggling with such issues, this article offers clear and practical strategies."

4) Phoenix University Simulation showcase samples
Author: Phoenix UniversityURL:
"Simulations are a dynamic set of custom business simulations that place students into real-world environments. Students learn through the process of discovery. This discovery process allows students to apply critical thinking skills to decision-making situations and ultimately, enhances learning outcomes. Simulations are not pre-packaged training courses. They have been designed to put the learner in the position of a key decision maker of an organization and to apply the principles introduced in that specific course. Simulations were designed, developed, and tested by University of Phoenix faculty for University of Phoenix students. Simulations have been designed using Macromedia Flash, and can be easily run via any Internet connection. They are a part of University of Phoenix?s initiative to deliver all course content electronically. Sample Simulations include:

  • Channel Development and Pricing
  • Contribution Margin and Breakeven Analysis
  • Managing Research Design"

5) Virtual Trader (UK's free Stockmarket simulation game)Author: IEX InfoExchanges Ltd (IEX)URL:
Virtual Trader is UK's largest and best Stockmarket simulation game. Experience the thrill of investing with no risk. It's completely free to play. Virtual Trader is the most comprehensive Investment Simulation Game available, offering its users the opportunity to gain practical experience trading a wide range of investment vehicles, such as Stocks, Options, Futures, Mutual Funds etc. Start with a portfolio of 100,000 of virtual money and trade stocks listed on the London Stock Exchange and Euronext.. Conduct limit and stop orders, build your own private game and more!"
This is an excellent free tool to incorporate in your business, e-commerce, trading, economics, etc. classes, which will enable students to learn and experience trading through simulation and fun without any risk.

6) Instant Messaging Collaborative Tool or Educator's nightmare!
Author: Robert FarmerURL:
It is only a matter of time until IM becomes an obligatory communication modality for academic service providers. If the culture has moved to adopt technology in commerce, in industry, in recreation, and in daily life, higher education may be legitimately slow to react, but react it must.
While IM is relatively new to the educational environment, IM is seen as having many uses affording benefits to both educators and students. Uses of IM within educational settings: Virtual office hours, remote guest speakers, collaborative work groups, class discussions, lectures, mentoring/buddies, recruiting and admissions, library consultations, etc.
Benefits of IM in educational settings:

  • Heightened Social Presence especially for distance/remote students
  • Available and functional actively used and accepted by millions
  • Provides increased collaborative opportunities
  • Connect from anywhere home, office, mobile...

IM in education is not without its drawbacks this is where the potential faculty nightmare? lies:

  • Growing expectation of ubiquitous instructor access
  • Adds more time to faculty workload
  • Time Online!
  • Time Consuming!
  • Time Commitment!
  • Time!!!"

7) ePortfoliosAuthor: George Siemens
"Definitions of eportfolios vary, but generally include the notion of a digital resource (personal artifacts, instructor comments) demonstrating growth, allowing for flexible expression (i.e. customized folders and site areas to meet the skill requirements of a particular job), and permitting access to varied interested parties (parents, potential employers, fellow learners, and instructors)...

Eportfolios offer many benefits for learners as they seek to create and reflect on life experiences.

  • Personal knowledge management
  • History of development and growth
  • Planning/goal setting tool
  • Assist learners in making connections between learning experiences.
  • Provide the metacognitive elements needed to assist learners in planning future learning needs based on previous successes and failures.
  • Personal control of learning history.

Faculty members also benefit from the use of eportfolios:

  • Means to share content with others faculty
  • Move to more authentic assessment (as opposed to testing)
  • Preparing learners for life-long learning
  • Create an assessment-trail that is centralized and under leaner control

Institutions also experience direct value in initiating eportfolio use in learning:

  • Providing value for learners by allowing personal control
  • Contribute to the development of a more permanent role in the lives of learners (i.e. education is not viewed as a 2-4 year relationship, but rather a life-long relationship)."

Author: Dr. Richard M. ReisURL:
"The DOs of Online Learning (Extracted highlights):"How should students go about establishing a good instructor/student relationship with you?" Many instructors mentioned the points covered above: read the syllabus, understand the course software, make sure you have your textbook and other materials, and make sure your email is working. In addition, they mentioned things such as "communicate, put forth a good effort, show an interest in the course and in your fellow students, ask questions if you don't understand something, and be courteous."

The DON'Ts of Online Learning: I asked online instructors for their pet peeves regarding online students. As with what instructors appreciate, the things they don't appreciate are quite specific. They include:

  • Not reading syllabus, instructor messages, email, course materials, questions already addressed
  • Late work and not following directions
  • Causing a lot of off-topic discussion or one-line replies such as "I agree"
  • Negative comments on discussion boards and rudeness
  • Email with no name or course number (who is
  • Students who don't participate
  • Not correcting work after feedback

In addition, it highlights the main concerns of online instructors, which are communication and plagiarism. The article also includes some great additional comments by online instructors worth reading.

9) Teaching and learning online with wikisAuthors: Naomi Augar, Ruth Raitman and Wanlei ZhouURL:
"Wikis are fully editable websites; any user can read or add content to a wiki site. This functionality means that wikis are an excellent tool for collaboration in an online environment. This paper presents wikis as a useful tool for facilitating online education. Basic wiki functionality is outlined and different wikis are reviewed to highlight the features that make them a valuable technology for teaching and learning online. Finally, the paper discuses a wiki project underway at Deakin University. This project uses a wiki to host an icebreaker exercise which aims to facilitate ongoing interaction between members of online learning groups. Wiki projects undertaken in America are outlined and future wiki research plans are also discussed. These wiki projects illustrate how e-learning practitioners can and are moving beyond their comfort zone by using wikis to enhance the process of teaching and learning online...

...Additional features such as authentication and tracking are required for wikis to be suitable for teaching and learning online. Authentication enables all wiki edits to be traced back to the author, enabling the assessment process. Tracking helps to secure wiki content against possible misuse and intentional deletions... This project illustrated how e-learning practitioners can use wiki technology to enhance social interaction amongst students online. However, wikis can also be used for the dissemination of information to the student body, for building information repositories or for the collaborative production of documents. Wikis are freely available, reliable and relatively easy to use..." Example: WIKIPEDIA

10) Encouraging Interaction in Online Classes Author: Brent MuirheadURL:
"...Instructional strategies and insights which can promote interaction and authentic educational online experiences:

  • Promote Critical Thinking
  • (Be) Relevant and Engaging Lectures
  • Biographical Posts (instructor and students share biographical posts)
  • Positive Affirmation of Student Work
  • Integrate Stories into the Class Discussions
  • Provide Student's with Flexibility

..The wise instructor will offer emotional support at times and there will be other moments when students will need an intellectual challenge. Garrison and Anderson (2003) recommend establishing the following online presence:

  • a feeling of trust and being welcomed
    a sense of belonging to a critical community
  • a sense of control; a sense of accomplishment
  • a willingness to engage in discourse
  • a conversational tone; and a questioning attitude."

11) Top Ten Tips for implementing e-Learning
Author: Jane KnightURL:
"e-Learning is a powerful tool which can achieve some remarkable business (and educatioal) results. If you keep in mind these ten tips (below) then you will be well on the road to implementing e-learning successfully in your business.

  1. e-Learning is more than online courses
  2. Content is not the answer to every learning problem
  3. Beauty is in the blend
  4. Learning solutions must be appropriate
  5. e-Learning is a strategic solution
  6. An LMS is not a necessary pre-requisite for e-learning
  7. Coordinated e-learning efforts make sense
  8. Success measures should be clearly identified
  9. The right conditions need to be in place for e-learning to succeed
  10. Just do it!

12) A Balancing Act: Improving Student Online Discussion Participation
Author: Bhupinder VirkURL:

"...Specific Suggestions for Online Facilitators:
Helping to Make the Discussion Boards Easier to Navigate

  • Use specific title in the subject line.
  • Include a line or two of the post you are responding to.
  • Write easy to read posts by applying text formatting and avoiding lengthy blocks of text.
  • Categorize or start new threads when the discussion threads become too long.
  • Give enough time to students to read and respond to discussion topics.
  • Do not overload student with information at one time.

Helping Students Become More Comfortable Participating Online:

  • Provide students MANY opportunities to practice discussion (e.g. feedback to peers, sharing experiences, group work, sharing resources, leading a discussion topic (student facilitators), and analyzing and commenting on research Provide a safe and encouraging environment).
  • Explain the value of discussion and its connection to learning.
  • Provide a discussion rubric which includes good student participation examples..."

13) Another New Paradigm for Instructional Design
Author: Reuben TozmanURL:
"A major goal of good instructional design is to marry content with presentation?both physically and theoretically. Armed with current technologies, instructional designers have new options for designing and developing content. In this array of possibilities lies a new paradigm: dynamic construction of instructional content based on an independently managed presentation and delivery layer. Without the marriage of content to presentation and delivery, content can be easily reused across different media platforms...

When practitioners talk about reusability, most don't necessarily have plans to reuse content across media. Most practitioners plan on reusing one piece of electronic content in different curriculum or within different electronic environments. Through the Structured Content Development Model, content and presentation and delivery are all separated from one another. Content can then be moved from one presentation layer to another and from one delivery mechanism to another without ever having to rewrite content. It allows content to be created independent of a delivery mode and independent from a presentation style. So, any questions about using Flash, Camtasia, Dreamweaver, and so on should be determined through other criteria. Tools such as the Flash authoring environment can be used in conjunction with XML-based editors so that content resides out of Flash and dynamically assembled based on the proper tagging of content."

14) LMS: The wrong place to start learning
Author: George SiemensURL:
"Learning Management Systems (LMS) are often viewed as being the starting point (or critical component) of any elearning or blended learning program. This perspective is valid from a management and control standpoint, but antithetical to the way in which most people learn today... Outside of primary and secondary school, most of our learning falls into the ?topping up what we know? category. As a result, we need tools that allow for rapid creation and breakdown. Searching Google, blogs, and wikis has a very quick learning structure creation and breakdown. An LMS has a long creation/breakdown process (and once the learning structure has been broken down (i.e. end of course), it is no longer accessible to learners). LMS' still view learners as canisters to be filled with content ? this is particularly relevant in light of the heavy emphasis on object repositories for learning. Essentially, most LMS platforms are attempting to shape the future of learning to fit into the structure of their systems, even though most learning today is informal and connectionist in nature. ...."

That's All Folks!

Warm Regards & Sincerely,

Zaid Ali Alsagoff

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