Monday, July 23

Jan/February (2005) Issue: ELC Knowledge Sharing Newsletter

(Originally posted in ELC on the 8th March, 2005)
Assalamu Alaikum wrt wbt & Greetings to ALL!
Welcome to the Jan/February issue of ELC Knowledge Sharing newsletter. This issue contains 17 excellent online resources (articles, papers, sites, portals, awards, etc.) discovered from various online resources during January and February, including visions 2020 of education and e-learning, 21st century skills, quality e-learning from a learner's perspective, game-based learning, Flash Film Festival Award winners, a few knowledge sharing portals (SOFIA, Wikiversity, ItrainOnline, and The BELLE project), creating learning objects, and much more. Especially the "Visions 2020" paper, we recommend everyone to read or at least browse through, which is basically a visioning exercise about the future of e-learning (2020) by some of the top researchers in the USA.

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. SOFIA (Sharing of Free intellectual Assets)
  2. Gilbane Reports for free (Technology & Trends)
  3. ItrainOnline (Sharing Internet Knowledge)
  4. The BELLE Project (Broadband Enabled Lifelong Learning Environment)
  5. Wikiversity (Collaborative content development)

Free-Tool-of-the-Month: PLUCK

1) SOFIA (Sharing of Free intellectual Assets)
Author: FoothillURL:
The Sofia project is an open content initiative launched by the Foothill - De Anza Community College District with funding support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Under the leadership of Foothill College, Sofia promotes faculty and institutional sharing of online content.
Modeled after MIT?s OpenCourseWare Initiative, Sofia encourages the free exchange of community college-level materials on the World Wide Web. It is our hope that Sofia will lead to the exploration of ways of supporting instruction and student learning using web-based resources..."
They are initially offering eight (8) courses in the Sofia Course Gallery: Creative Typography, Elementary Statistics, Physical Geography, Enterprise Network Security, Introduction to Java Programming, Introduction to Macromedia Flash, Musicianship II, and Webpage Authoring. Have Fun!
(Yes, the Open content initiative is certainly making inroads in many places. Perhaps we in Malaysia should get together and show our force in this open content era. We have been talking about it, doing some, but not much to be proud about yet (to my knowledge). Lets' change this as a team!)

2) Encouraging Creativity in Student Online Work
Author: Brent MuirheadURL:
"Teachers will need to develop a class structure and online teaching style that encourages creativity, reflective thinking, and self-directed learning. It is important that teachers enable students to have the freedom to ask questions and take intellectual risks in their written assignments and discussion groups. Teachers can provide valuable guidance by keeping dialogues focused, relevant and probing deeper into issues. This will require moderating discussions and creating a list of key ideas, references and student contributions.
Distance educators can pose a diversity of questions to foster reflective comments. Collision, Elbaum, Havvind & Tinker (2000) have created five types of questions to encourage richer student responses that are called full-spectrum questions:

  • Questions that probe the so what! response- relevance, interest level, urgency and context.
  • Questions that clarify meaning or conceptual vocabulary- ambiguity or vagueness and common concepts
  • Questions that explore assumptions, sources and rationale- qualities assumed and study evidence.
  • Questions that seek to identify causes and effects or outcomes-primary or secondary and causes, internal or external factors.
  • Questions that consider appropriate action- weigh different courses of action (p. 143).

Teachers should view the full-spectrum questions as a tool for enhancing dialog. The choice of questions can be used to guide the discussion and help energize online interaction. It is wise not to overuse a particular question approach because students will begin to lose interest if the process becomes too predictable or even annoying."

3) Flash Film Festival Award Winners 2000-2004
Authors: Flashforward conference and Flash? Film Festival URL:
The Flashforward conference and Flash? Film Festival attract world-class developers and designers who are working in Flash and the Macromedia? SWF? format. Their goal is to provide an educational environment that generously shares techniques, inspiration and community. They support and address the needs of a broad audience, from large production companies, advertising firms, film and video studios, to freelance animators, educators and student designers.

4) Gilbane Reports for free (Technology & Trends)
Author: Bluebill Advisors, IncURL:
As of January 1, 2005 all Gilbane report articles are available free of charge! If you register, there are special offers and conference discounts, and you can sign-up to be notified of new reports, case studies, events, etc.

The Gilbane Report is the most widely read newsletter covering content management technologies. It was founded by Frank Gilbane in 1993.

5) ItrainOnline (Sharing Internet Knowledge)
"The ItrainOnline initiative aims to assist civil society organizations (CSOs) and other development actors in developing countries to confront the challenges posed by new information and communications technologies (ICTs).
In seeking to overcome skills gaps in development, it connects people and know-how with the needs of ICT learners and trainers. ItrainOnline aims:

  • To provide a selection of the best and most relevant computer and Internet training resources for development and social change.
  • To provide access to high quality and appropriate information that is suited to the ways development organizations and civil society groups in the South learn about and use ICTs.
  • To concentrate on training and "how-to" guides for development organizations and civil society groups.

In this site you will find materials and annotated links to high-quality resources in English, Spanish, French and other languages, on topics ranging from computer and Internet basics to highly technical areas and the ways that civil society and development organizations can increase their impact using these tools.

This Open Content site (ItrainOnline) is committed to the free and fair sharing of development information. The information and annotations on their site are free, and can be reproduced, translated, and disseminated without restriction. Most of the material described in the collection is free. Please respect the copyright restrictions on the external sites described on this site."

6) FOSS: Its Relevance for Engineering Colleges
Author: Laxman MohantyURL: ELC
"In recent times we get to read a lot about the increasing importance of Linux operating system. This software other than Oracle or any other proprietary software is giving sleepless nights to the software czar Microsoft. Microsoft is not hesitant to either give its software free or at a much reduced price to arrest the increased popularity of Linux and host of other software known as free software or open source software (OSS). In fact, now Microsoft is ready to share its closely guarded source code of Windows and MS Office software with government organizations of various countries in the world. It will be interesting to know if these software have any implications for technical institutions of higher learning or engineering colleges. As is evident, free software or OSS is emerging as a mass movement and there is a lot of excitement about these software in the computing world..."

7) Top 6 Keys to Being a Successful Teacher Author: Melissa KellyURL:
"The most successful teachers share some common characteristics. Here are the top six keys to being a successful teacher:

  • Sense of Humor
  • A Positive Attitude
  • High Expectations
  • Consistency
  • Fairness
  • Flexibility

Every teacher can benefit from focusing on these important qualities. Success in teaching, as in most areas of life, depends almost entirely on your attitude and your approach."

8) E-Learning and Sustainability Report (69 pages)Author: Graham AttwellURL: Word Document (416 KB)
"The brief for the study was ?working out an analysis of how to manage a virtual learning environment in different countries and by different types of organisations (universities, SMEs, primary schools, international associations) in a sustainable way?. The report focuses on five aspects of sustainability (1. Learning platforms and learning software. 2. Institutional responses to the use of e-learning. 3. E-learning materials development. 4. Pedagogic approaches. 5. Teacher and trainers skills.)

9) E-Learning Case Studies 2004 - 15 'real-life' e-learning journeysAuthor: Australian Flexible Learning Framework URL:
"The Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework) is a unique, world-class initiative designed to create and share knowledge about flexible learning and to support its take-up in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. Ultimately, by making the VET sector more flexible, the Framework is contributing significantly to Australia being a global leader in education and industry.
Be inspired by snapshots of individuals and organisations making inroads into flexible learning. Find out how they got started, the challenges they faced and their plans for the future."

10) Transforming CMS into Effective Learning Environments Authors: Colleen Carmeen and Jeremy HaefnerURL: PDF file (260 KB)
"Effective use of CMS (Course Management System) bundled technologies should enable students to experience "Deeper Learning" or the learning environment which students can "learn much more, learn it earlier and more easily, and fundamentally, learn it with a pleasure and commitment that only a privileged few now feel toward school learning (Andrea DiSessa)"
According to the authors there are five (5) core deeper learning principles. Deeper learning is:

  • Social
  • Active
  • Contextual
  • Engaging
  • Student-owned

When well-constructed practices around these deeper learning principles are used within a CMS, incredibly robust and effective learning environments are created...The possibility of deeper learning lies with both students and instructors: When they understand their diverse needs and requirements and bring these to the CMS, they can create their own effective learning environment."

11) Creating Flexible E-Learning Through the Use of Learning Objects
Authors: Marie Lasseter and Michael RogersURL:
"...For our purposes, we use the definition of learning objects offered by David Wiley as ?any digital resource that can be used to support learning.? We chose to store the learning objects in WebCT Vista, since it was the course management software already in use throughout the USG (University System of Georgia).

Lessons Learned

  • Plan: Identify teams, processes, timetables, and milestones and review procedures in advance. Anticipate that the project will take longer than you think.
  • Distill: Consider granularity up front. We chose two levels of granularity based on our materials and the advantages offered to us by the program already in use?learning objectives and media components?on which to anchor our course transformation. Organizing learning objects around the learning objectives they map to works for us; it is straightforward in empirical courses such as math and science, but can be complex with more abstract subjects such as history and communications.
  • Design: The quality of a course's instructional design will dictate the success of object-to-objective linking. Ideally, you will find at least one learning object and assessment per objective. Unfortunately, it doesn?t always work out that way. Even in well-designed courses, you may find learning objectives with no content to back them up. We?re also applying what we?ve learned in deconstructing courses to support effective online instructional design for new courses.
  • Describe: Every learning object needs a name of its own. Files in WebCT Vista can't have duplicate names or title tags. When you start your project, you?ll likely find a host of files named introduction and chapter 1. One of the most important things to do is to enforce a naming scheme that conveys the course, the topic, and the learning objective and that provides a name referring to the lesson (for example, precalc_equations_01_polynomials).
  • Research: Make sure your faculty are ready, willing, and able to take advantage of learning objects. We tested the precalculus pilot prototype with a small group of faculty who responded enthusiastically. With that faculty feedback, we confirmed we were on the right track and could proceed with the rest of our courses.
  • Market: Faculty need consistent reminders that learning objects are available and that the benefits of using them can be significant. It is important to market the merits of learning objects to faculty regularly.

Taking these steps will dramatically increase your chances of success with learning objects. Best of all, successful use of learning objects translates into increased faculty productivity and new, higher-quality educational opportunities for your students."

12) Game-based Learning: An x-Learn Perspective Paper
Author: Kurt Squire (Funded by the e-Learning Consortium)URL: PDF file (620 KB)
"Executive Summary:Interactive digital media, or video games, have emerged as a powerful new economic, cultural, and now educational force. Games are now a multi-billion dollar industry, and new conferences, journals, and research initiatives are all competing to become the home of ?serious gaming.? But when most people think of educational games, they think of Reader Rabbit, Math Blaster, or quiz games. Others see today?s games and assume that they?re primarily about ?fancy graphics.? In truth, games are much more powerful; they provide situated experiences in which players are immersed in complex, problem solving tasks. Good games teach players more than just facts; they provide ways seeing and understanding problems and, critically, supply opportunities to ?become? different kinds of people.
This study takes these theoretical notions of situated learning through game play and shows how a new generation of ?serious games? coming out of (perhaps oddly) business strategy, ?advergaming,? and entertainment gaming all share common features that point to a future paradigm for e-Learning. Most critically for instructional designers, the movement toward ?serious games? challenges us to rethink fundamental assumptions about instructional design."

13) Quality in e-Learning from a Learner's Perspective
Author: Ulf-D. EhlersURL:
"...In the discussion about the best strategy for e-learning it becomes more an more clear that e-learning has to be based on the learner. This includes the necessity to postulate in a clear way that the needs of the learners have to be determined in a concrete manner before starting the project. Important aspects are therefore the awareness of the learning biography, of individual learning preferences and of social needs. It is important to acknowledge that quality of a learning process is not something that is delivered to a learner by an e-learning provider but rather constitutes a process of co-production between the learner and the learning-environment..."

14) 21st Century Skills:The Future of Technology and Education
Author: Louis LoefflerURL:
"...Without 21st century skills, students are being prepared to succeed in yesterday's world?not tomorrow's. Schools must do more to keep pace with rapid technology, research, and societal changes. To ensure that students will be ready to thrive in today's knowledge-based, global society, three significant things need to occur:

  • The public must acknowledge 21st century skills as essential to the education of today's learner.
  • Schools must embrace new designs for learning based on emerging research about how people learn, effective uses of technology, and 21st century skills in the context of rigorous academic content.
  • Policymakers must base school accountability on assessments that measure both academic achievement and 21st century skills."

What a great site or presentation by Louis Loeffler discussing the 21st Century skills required to thrive in the Digital Age (e.g. inventive thinking, effective communication, high productivity), learning and the influence of technology. While you struggle through all the layers in this site (a bit messy), you will find all sorts of interesting content in regards to learning, skills, and technology. Great stuff Louis Loeffler! Thanks for sharing this presentation to the world"

15) Visions 2020: Transforming Education and Training
URL: PDF File (2.96 MB)
"Visioning exercise about the future of e-learning, primarily in the area of K - 12. Wide range of contributors from George Lucas Educational Foundation, Harvard, UC Berkeley, HP Labs, Maxis, and an introduction by Bill Gates."

"The way we (USA) organize schools and provide instruction is essentially the same as it was when our Founding Fathers went to school. Many education and training institutions have simply applied technology on top of traditional teaching practices, rather than reinventing themselves around the possibilities new technologies present.

Even more powerful technologies are under development by U.S. businesses, universities, and government that could be harnessed to transform education and training in ways previously unimaginable. Rapid advancements in the years ahead could enable new learning environments using simulation, visualization, virtual worlds, personal intelligent tutors, learning and collaboration unbounded by geography, vast digital libraries and museums, and more. The technologies that are coming could create compelling learning opportunities that help students of all ages reach their potential through individualized learning and progression, provide knowledge and training when and where they are needed, while boosting the productivity of learning and lowering its cost..."

Yes, USA is certainly preparing for an educational world beyond our imagination. Let's spend some time with those collection of articles (PDF above) and please visit the site, as it will be real eye opener to the potential future. We can learn so much from these articles and of course all the reports found on the site. It is certainly the most interesting site I have visited this year in terms of education, technology and e-learning.

16) The Belle Project (Broadband Enabled Lifelong Learning Environment)Author: CANARIE Learning ProgramURL:
"BELLE (Broadband Enabled Lifelong Learning Environment) is a $3.4 million shared-cost project funded under the CANARIE Learning Program. BELLE's objective is to develop a prototype educational object repository.
Over the course of two years, BELLE is exploring the critical aspects of building object repositories. Specifically, BELLE is investigating four interconnected aspects of establishing this repository. The CANARIE Learning Program is a $25 million shared-cost funding initiative, was launched in September 1999. This competitive program was established with funding support from Industry Canada to encourage the development and use of broadband networks in education and training."

17) Wikiversity (Collaborative content development)
Wikiversity is a free, open learning environment and research community. Online courses are being created as a form of co-operative and interactive exchange of knowledge. It is the home for wiki development of all kinds of learning materials.

Wiki community methods might be used to develop traditional textbooks, the Internet and Web facilities could also be used to support new or different models for delivery of educational material.

One of the goals of Wikibooks is to support the use of resulting books through related materials that would help an instructor to tailor the book to a particular course, or provide additional exercises and answers, drill material, etc."

That's All Folks!

Warm Regards & Sincerely,

Zaid Ali Alsagoff

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