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Journal Article

Collaborative e‑Learning: e‑Portfolios for Assessment, Teaching and Learning  pp21-30

Dharmadeo Luchoomun, Joe McLuckie, Maarten van Wesel

© Jan 2010 Volume 8 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 50

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Abstract

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Keywords: e-Portfolio, Virtual Learning Environment, VLE, online assessment, blended learning, collaborative learning, learning objects

 

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Journal Article

The social shaping of a Virtual Learning Environment: The case of a university wide course management system  pp70-81

William H Dutton, Pauline Hope Cheong, Namkee Park

© Jan 2004 Volume 2 Issue 1, Special Issue for ECEL 2003, Editor: Roy Williams, pp1 - 239

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Abstract

 

Keywords: courseware, course management system, virtual learning environment, VLE, e-Learning, information and communication technologies, institutional change, social shaping of technology, online learning

 

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Journal Article

Usability of a virtual learning environment concerning safety at work  pp96-105

Heli Ihamaki, Inka Vilpola

© Jan 2004 Volume 2 Issue 1, Special Issue for ECEL 2003, Editor: Roy Williams, pp1 - 239

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Abstract

 

Keywords: VLE usability problems, usability engineering, human centred design, VLE design guidelines

 

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Journal Article

Providing Fine‑grained Feedback Within an On‑line Learning System — Identifying the Workers from the Lurkers and the Shirkers  pp15-26

Colin Egan, Amanda Jefferies, Jason Johal

© Feb 2006 Volume 4 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 111

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Abstract

This paper describes a mechanism developed by the authors to gather student feedback from formative revision Multiple Choice Questionnaires (MCQs) within an on‑line learning system. The MCQs provided first year Computer Science students with instant formative feedback, while data was also gathered about student responses, such as the percentage opting for each answer and the time taken to answer the question. We measured how students were using our on‑line learning system; whether they were in fact 'workers' who provided answers to the MCQs, were 'lurkers' who did not provide answers but asked for solutions or 'shirkers', who did not access the site at all! The data indicates that the time taken to answer a harder question was less than that of an easier question suggesting that the workers turned into lurkers strategically when they thought they could not answer successfully. It was not however clear whether the lurker suddenly finding an easier question would change back into a worker. Future work to encourage the shirkers to participate is also discussed.

 

Keywords: VLE, Formative MCQs, Summative MCQs, On-line teaching, On-line learning

 

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Journal Article

GEARS a 3D Virtual Learning Environment and Virtual Social and Educational World Used in Online Secondary Schools  pp215-224

Jonathan Barkand, Joseph Kush

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 3, Special ICEL 2009 Issue, Editor: Florin Salajan and Avi Hyman, pp191 - 316

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Abstract

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are becoming increasingly popular in online education environments and have multiple pedagogical advantages over more traditional approaches to education. VLEs include 3D worlds where students can engage in simulated learning activities such as Second Life. According to Claudia L'Amoreaux at Linden Lab, "at least 300 universities around the world teach courses and conduct research in Second Life." However, to date, VLEs have been very limited in use for K‑12 education. One option for secondary schools was developed by Game Environment Applying Real Skills (GEARS) and can be used in online or traditional schools. The 3D VLE is named ARC: The Impending Gale. This program has been used successfully for over a year as part of the Lincoln Interactive online curriculum. ARC allows students to create their own custom avatar and enter the educational environment. The actual content of the game differs depending on the subject the student is taking. Current courses include earth science, geography, pre‑algebra, and spanish. The 3D VLE experience is designed to serve as a reinforcement of the concepts learned in the traditional lessons. The game environment itself has been very well received by students primarily because many of the continued development features were derived from student suggestions. One unique feature that was most requested was the inclusion of voice chat. Voice chat was only added as part of the ARC headquarters where students were able to meet before going out into the game world for their own specific content. The students are also highly motivated to progress through the content. ARC has been a great success for Lincoln Interactive and its parent company the National Network of Digital Schools. The social aspect of ARC was limited, and the ARC Headquarters prompted a plan to create a 3D Virtual Social and Educational World (VSEW) for the 15,000 students that had access to the Lincoln Interactive curriculum in 2009. With the inclusion of a social component, the concept of an online community was evaluated. Garrison's et al. (2000) Community of Inquiry framework is used to explore the Lincoln Interactive Community. The VSEW contains a 3D social space with custom avatars, chat, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) communication, social objects in the form of community musical instruments, and a tutor zone for teachers. In 2009 four educational games are included in the VSEW. These educational games focus on basic concepts in the three disciplines of math, social studies, and language arts. Garrison et al, (2000) Social Presence, Cognitive Presence, and Teaching Presence are each explained in regards to the VSEW. Both ARC and the VSEW are implemented, and as of November 2009 they are currently being used by students. While there is still much to learn and explore in regards to 3D VLEs and Social Worlds, practical application by GEARS in an online secondary school has been positively accepted by faculty and students. National Network of Digital Schools: http:nndsonline.org Lincoln Interactive Curriculum: http:www.lincolninteractive.com Game Environment Applying Real Skills: http:gears.nndsonline.org 3D Virtual Social and Educational World: http:www.learnwithfriends.com.

 

Keywords: VLE, game environment, virtual learning environment, online, GEARS, virtual world, online community, social environment

 

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Journal Article

Using Data Mining for e‑Learning Decision Making  pp65-81

David Monk

© Jan 2005 Volume 3 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 81

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Abstract

The initial investigation aimed to examine the paths learners followed when offered the course in a custom virtual learning environment (VLE) which is structured by tasks, course materials and learning resources. However, it quickly became clear that students were spending little time with the course materials online and the time spent with each page was usually less than 20 seconds. Consequently a better understanding of how learners accessed the electronic course materials was needed to evaluate the effectiveness of developing and delivering courses in this way. By combining data on the activity with content with user profiles it was possible to examine alternate information perspectives and reveal patterns in large volume data sets. Mining data in this way provides ways to learn about learners in order to make effective decisions regarding teaching methods, delivery models and infrastructure investment.

 

Keywords: data mining, decision making, elearning, VLE

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 8 Issue 1 / Jan 2010  pp1‑50

Editor: Shirley Williams

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Editorial

As we enter 2010 it is interesting to reflect how learning has changed over the past decade. Technology has changed considerably over this time period, as have learners’ expectations. In the last 10 years we have gone from internet access as a luxury to many seeing it as a necessity. In this climate it is interesting to look at the data collected by Littlejohn and her colleagues, and to speculate what will happen in the next 10 years, and whether there will be more similarities or differences across the disciplines represented in the papers that form this edition. Shirley Williams Reading January 2010

 

Keywords: assessment for learning, blended learning, collaborative learning, digital literacy, engineering education, English for Academic Purposes (EAP), e-portfolio, , higher education , interdisciplinary collaboration, learning design, learning objects., online assessment, online faculty, online learning, pedagogy, reusability, students’ expectations of technology use, study skills, teacher education, technology-enhanced learning, TPCK, transfer of assessment practices, Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Web 2.0,

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 6 Issue 3 / Oct 2008  pp161‑254

Editor: Shirley Williams, Laura Czerniewicz

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Editorial

The International e‑Learning Conference was held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, hosted in the beautiful city of sea and mountain, at the University of Cape Town. Several pre‑conference workshops were held, on such topics as mobile learning and open education resources, which meant that by the time the Conference began, discussions were already in full swing. The 68 papers presented were well attended and debates were lively. A Special Issue such as this one cannot capture the tenor of those debates, but it can offer a taste of the conference. We have thus selected excellent articles, which give a flavour of the conference, and of the issues raised.

One might have asked, with delegates from 20 very different countries, all operating in divergent contexts, was there enough commonality of interest and context for a shared conversation to be possible? The answer was clear. Despite widely different technological circumstances, delegates were united by a passion for learning, and the possibilities of technology to enable learning to take place more effectively. The focus was therefore not on hardware nor on infrastructural issues, but on leveraging the affordances of a very wide range of technologies to address the challenges of education, the challenges faced by educators everywhere, and the challenges of helping students learn. These challenges were recognisable across the board. Can technology help students be more engaged with learning? Can technology address the impersonal and alienating environments of large classes in universities? Can technology help students be more reflective and receive more feedback? Can the most basic problems of education, such as primary school literacy be helped by current technologies?

Participants at the conference commented in the final session on how delighted they were by the innovations shared, and by the standard of the discussions in all the sessions. The papers selected for this Special Issue is a selection of such innovations, rigorously accounted and carefully researched.

Most of the papers selected for this journal address specific micro level aspects of learning. Two, for example, confront the basics of reading and writing at the primary level. South Africans Freda van Wyk and Arno Louw report on the use of electronic reading programmes in a context where primary learners perform worse than their peers internationally. They report that while all learners were below expectations for their grades at the outset, after the programme, all had improved. At the other end of the spectrum is a Danish example where researcher Karin Levinsen reports on a primary school context where ICTs have become ubiquitous. Her paper explains how technology which was developed to assist pupils with learning problems proved so successful that they were found valuable for all learners, including those without writing and speaking problems.

Still in the primary school, Philip Balcaen describes a robust process of conceptualising and developing media rich science resources in a Canadian project. The principles and framework he reports on which enable the development of thinking skills in young learners are transferable beyond that specific context and prove useful to educators across the sector.

While the specific teaching strategies change higher up the system, learning challenges do not and students need to be helped to engage with complex learning resources in potentially impersonal environments.

Stefanie Hain and Andrea Back from Switzerland report on the use of blogs to support learning, describing a robust method to design environments which integrate blogs to enforce learning. Fran Greyling from South Africa reports on the potential of technology to assist with the well known difficulties of large impersonal undergraduate classes. This paper shows how assessment and community building can be amplified in quite specific ways.

The blurring of formal and informal learning spaces was also acknowledged in the Conference. Sylvia Jones and Mary Lea use an ethnographic‑style approach to show how amongst students in higher education there is an inter‑mingling of institutional and academic requirements with issues of student identity and personal affiliations, shaping students’ digital literacy practices.

It is not however, only the students whose identities are being reshaped and who need collaborative spaces and supportive communities. Educators and learning designers do too, and indeed supporting a community of learning designers itself is a matter of concern as the field grows. Jill Jameson from the UK shows through empirical case studies how to intentionally grow a community of practice, and she highlights in particular the value of the role of a ""critical friend"". Also bearing in mind the complexity of the terrain to be navigated by learning designers, Mandia Mentis offers a valuable navigational tool, e‑Learning alignment guide which offers a way of aligning the three key zones of pedagogy, technology and context.

At a macro level, the proliferation of recorded data made possible by the online learning environment itself is an opportunity for data mining in the service of macro level decision making in higher education. South African Liezl van Dyk shows how indicators can be generated from such data and correlated with student performance and learning style, offering many insights into students’ learning behaviour.

And finally a bird’s eye view is provided by Laura Czerniewicz who uses researcher and professional views to distinguish the field itself, and who suggests ways in which the field may be developing an identity distinct in its own right. The Conference, and these selected papers provide a taste of that rich and zesty field.

 

Keywords: Academic participation, Automatic pre-correction, Blended learning, Classroom and teachers’ characteristics, Collaborative on-line learning, Communities of practice, Computer aided assessmentCourseware, Critical thinking, Cross-cultural education, Discussion forum, e-Learning portal, Emerging practice, Extreme programming, Formative mcqs, Internationalisation, Knowledge construction, Learner-enfranchisement, Learning content, Learning objects, Malaysian grid for learning, Media use, Mediated communication, Multiple choice questions, MyGFL, Omnigator, On-line collaboration, Ontology engineering, Personalisation, Predicting factors, Proaction, Programming exercises, Summative mcqs, Sustainability, Topic maps, Vicarious learning, Virtual learning environment, VLE

 

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