The Electronic Journal of e-Learning provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Learning initiatives
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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

Using an Online Games‑Based Learning Approach to Teach Database Design Concepts  pp104-111

Thomas M Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Evelyn McLellan

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

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Abstract

The study of database systems is typically core in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes related to computer science and information systems. However, one component of this curriculum that many learners have diffi‑ culty with is database analysis and design, an area that is critical to the development of modern information systems. This paper proposes a set of principles for the design of a games‑based learning environment to help the learner develop the skills necessary to understand and perform database analysis and design effectively. The paper also presents some preliminary results on the use of this environment.

 

Keywords: Collaborative e-learning innovative teaching and learning technologies for web-based education e- pedagogy design and development of online courseware

 

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Journal Article

Watch out — the Power Users are Coming  pp79-86

Karin Tweddell Levinsen

© May 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, ECEL 2006, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 86

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Abstract

This paper analyses and discusses the future challenges that tertiary educational institutions may expect to face when the traditional organisational forms and norms of the industrial society meet the first generation of natural born ICT using students who have lived their whole life with ICT and the ever changing norms and demands of the unfolding information society. In order to analyse the premise for these challenges the paper applies a long‑term perspective on the generations and organisations affected by the transmission. A key to gain insight to the future students and the nature of the encounter is research aimed at the present primary school. Additionally a key to the organisational perspective is identification of organisations' readiness for change and the potential barriers for adaptation to the information society and the ´ power users´. Based on the analysis, the paper comprises an outline of institutional obstacles inhibiting a successful encounter and argues the necessity of integrating top‑down and bottom‑up initiatives in future organisations. Thus, the process of change demands awareness and support from both the authorities empowered to make grants and from the management of the educational organisations, and the paper explicitly focuses on collaborating teaching staffs as a tool for improving both individual and organisational adaptability.

 

Keywords: ICT, Power users, game generation, university pedagogy, collaborative teaching staff, adaptability to change, information society

 

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Journal Article

Managing e‑Learning: What are the Real Implications for Schools?  pp11-18

Helen Boulton

© Mar 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 75

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with the use of e‑learning in secondary education. It is based on research that has taken place over a period of two years with students aged 14‑16 (Key Stage 4). The paper considers the current research in e‑learning and identifies the challenges faced by students, the changing role of the learner, and the impact e‑ learning can have on students. The author argues that preparation needs to be carried out at the school level prior to introducing e‑learning into the Key Stage 4 curriculum. It concludes by discussing the findings of the research which identifies a range of issues schools may want to consider, when embracing e‑learning.

 

Keywords: e-Learning, secondary, curriculum development, teaching, learning

 

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Journal Article

Developing Critically Thoughtful, Media‑Rich Lessons in Science: Process and Product  pp161-170

Philip Balcaen

© Nov 2008 Volume 6 Issue 3, Editor: Shirley Williams, Laura Czerniewicz, pp161 - 254

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Abstract

In this paper, I describe a professional development approach and a conceptual framework used to create critically thoughtful and media‑rich science learning resources. Greater clarity about the nature of critical thinking and how to support teachers in learning to implement it are needed if we are to respond to broader calls for critical thinking both as a central goal in science education and as a key aspect in the ecology of 21st Century e‑learning environments. The conceptual framework is a model of critical thinking developed by the Canadian Critical Thinking Consortium that involves embedding the teaching of five categories of intellectual tools into the teaching of curriculum content. The "tools for thought" include addressing the need for focused and relevant background knowledge, criteria for judgment, thinking concepts, thinking strategies and the development of habits of mind. The professional development approach engages practicing teachers through focused inquiry groups in collaboration with rich media technicians to develop the e‑critical challenges (lessons). Aspects of this "comet approach" include a series of face‑to‑face sessions, gradual and planned for introduction to use of laptop computers, developing inquiry oriented writing teams and expert mentorship between large group face‑to‑face sessions. I explain the unique aspects of both the development process and the challenges in the context of a project involving twelve teachers in the creation of media‑rich critical thinking lessons in science for Grade 7 students. Although project assessment data analysis is currently underway, I offer several initial conclusions in relation to the four goals of the project.

 

Keywords: Critical thinking, science teaching, media-rich, professional development, one-on-one laptop, collaboration

 

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Journal Article

Blended Learning in the Visual Communications Classroom: Student Reflections on a Multimedia Course  pp247-256

Jennifer George-Palilonis, Vincent Filak

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

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Abstract

Advances in digital technology and a rapidly evolving media landscape continue to dramatically change teaching and learning. Among these changes is the emergence of multimedia teaching and learning tools, online degree programs, and hybrid classes that blend traditional and digital content delivery. At the same time, visual communication programs that are traditionally print‑centric have had to make room for Web design and multimedia storytelling courses, as well as technical skills development. To add parsimony to these two areas of study, we chronicle how a blended model has been introduced in a required, 100‑level visual communication course through a longitudinal study that followed 174 students through two versions of the same course, one that used blended learning strategies and one that participated in a more traditional method of course delivery. In combining an analysis of statements made by the participants in weekly journals (n=13,552) and the data gathered through a survey (n=174), we compared reactions between the two groups. Additionally, qualitative data from the journals was used to fully explicate the reactions students had to the course. This study sheds light on the effectiveness of a blended model in the context of students' enjoyment, engagement, and perceived learning outcomes. The results revealed that the blended model was in no way different from the traditional course in terms of engagement and attachment. Journal data revealed students in the blended sections were significantly less negative about the course material, personal achievement, technology, and their emotional reactions than their traditional counterparts. Additionally, statements made by students regarding the issue of fear of the course and problems regarding technology substantially faded over the 15‑week semester. Our overall findings indicate that students are able to adapt well to the technology and processes that make blended learning different from traditional classroom learning. Implications for pedagogy and future research are discussed.

 

Keywords: blended learning, visual communication, multimedia teaching and learning

 

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Journal Article

e‑Modeling — Helping Learners to Develop Sound e‑Learning Behaviours  pp265-272

Susan Greener

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

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Abstract

The learning and teaching relationship, whether online or in the classroom, is changing. Mentis (2008) offers a typology of teacher roles gathered from current literature on e‑learning including instructor, designer, guide, mediator, curator and mentor, which offer the university teacher a striking range of ways in which to develop relationships with students in the mutual development of knowledge and understanding. A study of Higher Education teachers in the UK proposed a shift in their role and behaviour concomitant with the explosion of VLE usage in universities (Greener 2008). As online and blended learning become familiar features in the university landscape, pedagogical discussions are being given more priority and ideas about how students can be enabled to learn appropriate skills for employability and lifelong learning, as well as higher order thinking, claim attention. Online, the teacher's status can easily be eroded, as learners can compare teacher‑designed resources with video lectures from across the world on similar topics and chat directly with experts in the field through their blogs. Teachers who are open to new ways of thinking about their subject, and welcome such self‑ directed behaviour from learners, are most likely to integrate new technology into their teaching (Baylor and Ritchie 2002), and their own competence with technology will be a factor in how such integration works. But it is vital in these discussions not to lose sight of classroom behaviour in the rush to develop e‑moderating and blogging skills for teachers. What teachers say and do in their face‑to‑face classes has always had a major impact on not only what is learned but also how it is learned. Bandura suggests that most human learning is done by observing and imitating others' behaviour (1977) provided the potential learner attends, can retain, reproduce and wants to do these things. So if we aim to integrate at least the affordances of VLEs into teaching design for blended learning, one of our considerations must be how the teacher uses the VLE in front of the learner. There is no doubt that teachers are increasingly uploading materials and weblinks etc into VLEs to support learners (or are made to by institutional policy). However there is less evidence that teachers are role‑modelling effective e‑ learning to their learners. Some of this is about competence, but it is rare for a teacher to lack the ability to learn basic technology use. More of this reluctance is about fear and anxiety, to be shown up as incompetent in class to what are considered the net generation. This paper will explore the concepts and behaviours implied in the role‑modelling of effective e‑learning in the classroom, drawing on data from teachers and learners involved in using VLEs and other Web resources in face‑to‑face sessions.

 

Keywords: role modeling, social learning theory, teaching methods, conceptions of teaching

 

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Journal Article

Fluidity in the Networked Society ‑ Self‑initiated learning as a Digital Literacy Competence  pp52-62

Karin Tweddell Levinsen

© Apr 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, ECEL 2010 special issue, Editor: Carlos Vaz de Carvalho, pp1 - 114

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Abstract

In the globalized economies e‑permeation has become a basic condition in our everyday lives. ICT can no longer be understood solely as artefacts and tools and computer‑related literacy are no longer restricted to the ability to operate digital tools for specific purposes. The network society, and therefore also eLearning are characterized by fluidity and the key competence for social actors in this ever changing e‑permeated environment is the ability to cope with change ‑ or Castells’ conceptualisation self‑programming. Castells’ theory has influenced international definitions of future key competencies. Both lifelong learning and digital literacy understood as "bildung" have emerged as central for the definitions of and standards for future key competencies. However, definitions and standards only tell us about the desired destination and outcome of digital competence building. They tell us nothing about how we may get there. In the educational system ICT and e‑learning are becoming an everyday condition and the basic challenge for the educational system is twofold: 1) The actually making of digital literate and self‑programming social actors – students and teachers; and 2) How to develop adequate designs for teaching and learning for that purpose. We need research that aims to describe the phenomenology of acquiring digital literacy and self‑programming in order to be able to identify relevant learning objectives and scaffolding. Findings from such studies are expected to be relevant for eLearning scenarios as well as for ICT and designs for learning in general. This paper presents a case study that aimed to explore the phenomenological appearance of self‑programming as agency and learning among postgraduate students who participated in a specially designed eLearning workshop in the autumn 2009. The findings relate to both the individual and collaborative barriers and proactive strategies that come into play among the students. Drawing on the findings, it is argued that the presented workshop design contributes to the networked society’s design for ICT, teaching and learning, as the design – at least for this small group of students – have proved to support the development of digital self‑programming as a sustainable competence. In the autumn 2010 the study will be expanded to a larger group of students.

 

Keywords: self-programming, lifelong learning, networked society, design for teaching and learning, eLearning

 

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