Ng, Cheung, and Hew, “Interaction In Asynchronous Discussion Forums: Peer Facilitation Techniques”

C.S.L. Ng, W. S. Cheumg, and K. F. Hew. “Interaction In Asynchronous Discussion Forums: Peer Facilitation Techniques.” In Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol 28 (2012): 280-294.

Abstract: Peer facilitation is proposed as a solution to counter limited interaction in asynchronous online discussions. However, there is a lack of empirical research on online peer facilitation. This study identifies, through cross-case comparison of two graduate-level blended courses attended by Asian Pacific students, the actual peer facilitation techniques that could encourage online interaction. Analyses of interviews and online discussion transcripts suggest that techniques such as ‘showing appreciation’ and ‘considering others’ viewpoints’ encourage online interac- tion. However, instructors intending to incorporate peer-facilitated online discussions should also consider the influence of factors such as the design of the online discussion activity and learners’ cultural background as some participants could consider challenging others’ ideas culturally inappropriate and need to be encouraged through techniques such as ‘general invita- tion to contribute’. Facilitators might also re-consider the use of certain traditionally recom- mended strategies such as directing an online message at specific participants to encourage responses. This study suggests that doing so could sometimes backfire and discourage online contributions.

The article is available here: Peer Facilitation Asynchronous Online Discussion

eBook: 835 Tips for Successful Online Instruction

Learning Guild - 834 Tips Cover

The Learning Guild published 834 Tips for Successful Online Instruction back in December  2005 for those building online education courses.  The membership of the Guild is highly skewed toward those developing training in the corporate word.  Often these are short-term, rapidly developed courses with a narrowly targeted population of learners.  There are, however, many useful things in the book for those designing online courses in academia.   Continue reading “eBook: 835 Tips for Successful Online Instruction”

Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education (v. 2.0)

Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education is a document created by the WICHE* Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) in the the Spring of 2009 based on “Institutional Policies/Practices and Course Design Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education.”  The Instructional Technology Council (an associated council of the American Association of Community Colleges) surveyed its members and asked for feedback to build on the work of WCET.  This second version of the document reflects the input from the ITC and for the University of Texas System’s UT Telecampus. Continue reading “Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education (v. 2.0)”

Effective Online Learning Environments: Learner-Centered Lens

In the Effective Online Learning Environments post I listed the four characteristics (Terry Anderson refers to them as “lenses”) of an effective online learning environment: learner-centered, community centered, knowledge-centered, and assessment-centered.  In this post I will deal with the learner-centered lens.

Being learner-centered, Terry Anderson reminds us, is not a context within “which the whims and peculiarities of each individual learner are slavishly catered to” (p. 47).  It must be recognized that “the needs of the teacher, the institution, and the larger society that provides support for the student, the institution, and often for a group or class of students, as well as for the particular needs of the individual learns” (p. 47)  For this reason, Anderson asserts that “learning-centered” is a better descriptor than “learner-centered.” Continue reading “Effective Online Learning Environments: Learner-Centered Lens”

How “Open” Are MOOCs?

Inside Higher Ed Icon

Inside Higher ED has a post by Steve Kolwich about the opening keynote at Educause.  In his keynote, New York University’s Clay Shirky addressed the openness (or lack thereof) of MOOCs, which he considers the more provocative aspect of MOOCs than their size.  The whole piece is focuses on the relationship between MOOCs, Open Educational Resources (OER), and the terms of service of some of the new commercial providers of MOOCs ( e.g., Udacity, edX, Coursera).  The full article provides an interesting look at the whole issue.

Solano Community College / Pearson eCollege Deal

A Northern California school, Solano Community College, has cut a deal with Pearson to allow its students using Pearson textbooks to pay a flat fee to use the textbook but receive usage of Pearson’s LMS Learning Studio (formerly eCollege) and supplementary material for free.  Instructors are not mandated to use Pearson products, but this deal would apply to electronic materials for face-to-face, blended, and online courses.

This deal was struck after the college announced its decision to move from eCollege to the Instructure Canvas LMS.

The full story is at Campus Technology.

Effective Online Learning Environments

In “Toward a Theory of Online Learning,” Terry Anderson examines the “How People Learn” (HPL) scholarship of Brandsford, Brown, and Cocking within the context of online learning.  Anderson refers to the HPL literature as the “new science of learning.” (p. 35)

In their HPL research, Brandsford, Brown, and Cocking, found that effective learning environments are constructed at the convergence of four “lenses” [Anderson’s term]. As Anderson points out, in HPL theory “effective learning is learner centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered.” Continue reading “Effective Online Learning Environments”

Sakai Foundation and Jasig Approve Merger to Form Apereo

From Sakai website:

The membership of Jasig and Sakai, pioneers in the development and adoption of open source software to support education, have voted overwhelmingly to merge their two organizations. The new non-profit entity formed by the merger, Apereo, will continue to foster the creation and sustenance of open source software in support of education and research – but with a significantly enlarged membership and reach. Continue reading “Sakai Foundation and Jasig Approve Merger to Form Apereo”