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

Exploring Virtual Opportunities to Enhance and Promote an Emergent Community of Practice  pp261-270

Kathy Courtney

© Feb 2008 Volume 5 Issue 4, e-Learning in Health Care, Editor: Pam Moule, pp251 - 304

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Abstract

This paper gives an account of an attempt by an educational developer to support and strengthen an emergent Community of Practice (CoP) (Wenger 1998a). This community consists of members of staff associated in different capacities with the Centre for Interprofessional e‑Learning (CIPeL), a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), based at Coventry University and Sheffield Hallam University. The support is specifically targeting CIPeL Secondees who are recruited to CIPeL on a part‑time basis, for the purpose of creating interprofessional Learning Objects (LOs). While Secondees receive individual support, there is little formal contact between Secondees. An online CIPeL Community site was created, in order to provide a space where CIPeL members could meet virtually and share problems and experiences relating to the construction of LOs. Initially, the key question appeared to be how online participation by members of the community could be encouraged. Using Wenger's (1998a) CoP theory of learning, and after exploring how the Community site was being used, the focus of attention shifts to an exploration of reified objects and the role they play in guiding practice, which in this case relates to the creation and use of interprofessional LOs. This in turns leads to the difficult question of how relevant reified objects may be identified and built, and it is advocated that existing CIPeL LOs should be exploited as reified objects for the purpose of guiding the construction of new LOs. It is felt that invoking constructs from Wenger's (1998a) CoP theory of learning has resulted in a more detailed picture of the nature of the challenges involved in moving from an emergent CoP to more established practice. The approach has simultaneously helped clarify how support for an emergent CoP might be more effectively focused. As a final point, it is suggested that it may be fruitful to explore parallels between CIPeL as an emergent CoP and interprofessional practice (IPP) itself, based on the view that IPP is also an emergent practice.

 

Keywords: Communities of practice, learning objects, interprofessional learning objects, Interprofessional Practice, community development support, Reified Objects

 

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Journal Article

On the Road to Virtual Europe — Redux  pp297-304

Andy Pulman

© Feb 2008 Volume 5 Issue 4, e-Learning in Health Care, Editor: Pam Moule, pp251 - 304

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Abstract

Virtual Europe is a web‑based European community from which health education scenarios may be accessed for learning and teaching purposes. Featuring a map giving access to country specific resources, it is populated with different cultural case studies allowing contrasts between cultures to be examined. For example, a student could evaluate the differences between UK, Belgium and Dutch approaches to the care of a patient in a particular situation. The project is initially funded by the Consortium of Institutes of Higher Education in Health and Rehabilitation In Europe (Cohehre). This paper offers a unique view on the benefits and limitations surrounding the development and implementation of a European health based virtual community. How will it facilitate the elimination of barriers for international mobility of students and staff? How easy is it to integrate into differing European health curricula? How does it compare to the experiences offered by new virtual environments? During the first year, the pilot version of Virtual Europe was created incorporating cardiac and burns case studies. During the second year of the project, the aim is to refine the pilot and incorporate further case studies. During the third year of the project, Virtual Europe will be utilised within partner institutions as a learning and teaching tool. The project team are working to evaluate the user‑friendliness of the system on an on‑going basis encouraging feedback from the students and academics that will use it. Tutorials will be used to evaluate how successfully lecturers are able to utilise and integrate it within their curriculum. Evaluation will be iterative and formative, with feedback used to identify potential changes that will be incorporated into subsequent pilots, group sessions and system enhancements. The paper presents a cogent and stimulating analysis of an e‑Learning virtual health education project which is interprofessional in outlook; interdisciplinary in approach; intercultural in background; interactive in design and international in scope.

 

Keywords: interprofessional, simulated community, health education, Virtual Europe, intercultural, international

 

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Journal Article

Evaluating Online Dialogue on "Security" Using a Novel Instructional Design  pp1-10

Payal Arora

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

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Abstract

This paper explores evaluation strategies to gauge the impact of a novel instructional design on international community participation online. This is done by conceptualizing and devising indicators for measuring "engagement" online amongst marginalized adult communities worldwide. In doing so, a review of online evaluation literature is conducted. In comparing dialogue sessions based on an ongoing traditional model to the new instructional approach, various challenges are faced in "measuring" asynchronous discussion. While the initial findings of marginal increase in engagement with the adapted instructional approach is not sufficient to prove that the new model works, this paper demonstrates various strategies challenges in evaluating dialectic engagement.

 

Keywords: online evaluation, instructional design, community participation, international, marginalized, engagement

 

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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

Blending the Community of Inquiry Framework with Learning by Design: Towards a Synthesis for Blended Learning in Teacher Training  pp183-194

Katerina Makri, Kyparisia Papanikolaou, Athanasia Tsakiri et al

© May 2014 Volume 12 Issue 2, ECEL, Editor: Mélanie Ciussi, pp126 - 226

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Abstract

Abstract: As e‑learning is evolving into a mainstream, widespread practice, adopted by higher education institutions worldwide, much effort is geared towards the articulation of models and strategies for implementing e‑learning in formal education setting s. In the field of pre‑service teacher education, a rising challenge is to equip the ⠜21st century teacher⠀ with the necessary toolset of skills and competencies to grapple with the idiosyncrasies of the new generation of ⠜millenials⠀. To this pur pose, what still remains an open issue is the degree of innovation afforded by specific e‑learning designs, in a field where traditional teacher training pedagogies co‑exist with e‑learning‑specific ones. This article proposes a synthesis of two models, t he Community of Inquiry (COI) model, based on the Practical Inquiry model introduced by Garrison, Anderson, & Archer (2000) and the Learning by Design framework (LbyD), based on the conceptualization of â New Learning⠒, articulated by Kalantzis & Cope (2012). Both models were invented with new learning styles and circumstances in mind. The proposed synthesis guided the design of the six‑month introductory course in Technology Enhanced Learning by the School of Pedagogical and Technological Edu cation (ASPETE) research team (located in Athens) and implemented with 18 pre service student‑teachers at the Higher Education Technological Institute (TEI) of Lamia, located in another geographical area of Greece. In this context, elements of the C OI framework were employed as tools both for designing and for evaluating the contents, structure and activities of the e‑learning course. Two elements of the framework, teaching and cognitive presence were the axes supporting the course structure, whilst the kinds of activities most promoted were discussion, collaboration and reflection. The LbyD framework functioned as an awareness enhancement mechanism for trainee teachers to formulate, collaboratively negotiate and finally articulate and support pedag ogical scenarios integrating the meaningful use of technol

 

Keywords: Keywords: Community of Inquiry, blended learning, learning design, online teacher training, course design

 

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Journal Article

Improving Virtual Collaborative Learning through Canonical Action Research  pp326-338

Peter Weber, Christian Lehr, Martin Gersch

© Jul 2014 Volume 12 Issue 4, Editor: Dr Rikke Ørngreen and Dr Karin Tweddell Levinsen, pp313 - 410

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Abstract

Abstract: Virtual collaboration continues to gain in significance and is attracting attention also as virtual collaborative learning (VCL) in education. This paper addresses aspects of VCL that we identified as critical in a series of courses named Net Economy: (1) technical infrastructure, (2) motivation and collaboration, and (3) assessment and evaluation. Net Economy is an international online setting, focusing on the business impact of new technologies and is highly notable for the divergent educational and cultural backgrounds of its participants. Having been subject to research from the onset in 2008, in which approximately 10 students were analysed and evaluated, the course has continued to gain significant success as a learning tool, wit h over 150 students currently enrolled throughout the various course cycles. In this paper we focus on how we implemented changes with regard to the above mentioned critical elements as part of canonical action research between the last course cycles. We outline the general learning scenario behind our VCL‑courses, describe problems that we identified with the help of evaluation results and explain solution approaches and the impact of their implementation. The paper aims to provide a comprehensive exampl e for virtual collaborative learning as well as explaining and exemplifying a systematic approach of improving complex e‑learning settings through a series of steps, developed to ease the transition between each stage.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Social Networking Services, Virtual Collaborative Learning, Virtual Team Work, Web 2.0, International Cooperation, Community of Inquiry Framework, CoI

 

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Journal Article

It Takes a Community to Develop a Teacher: Testing a New Teacher Education Model for Promoting ICT in Classroom Teaching Practices in Chile  pp237-249

Paula Charbonneau-Gowdy

© Apr 2015 Volume 13 Issue 4, ECEL 2014, Editor: Kim Long, pp205 - 315

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper is intended to adds to the emerging dialogue on best practices in teacher education for preparing future teachers to use technology to promote grounded theory‑based practices in their classrooms. In it, I report on an evolving model f or such training that resulted from a a longitudinal case study examiningning how changes to teacher trainees identities, learning and teaching practices changed when they are exposed to the use of a variety of social networking technologies for languag e learning in the context of their teacher preparation program in a private university in Chile. . The 12‑month classroom‑based case study was conducted at a private university in Chile, using a variety of ethnographic tools .… observation, interviews, an d online conversation analysis. I investigated how the integration of certain ICTstechnology into their content courses, as opposed to more traditional stand‑alone courses on technology use, mattered both in terms of the way the participants. The approach to technology used mattered both in terms of making a difference in the ways that these pre‑service teachers viewed themselves as learners and as future teachers of language, as well as of their evolving perspectives on the use of technology for learning and teaching. My aim in conducting the study was twofold: 1) to determine was twofold. First, I examined whether innovative technology‑ infused (TI) courses would serve to enable the beginning teacher participants to shed their traditional, passive, rather narrow cultural mindset as individuals and learners that are contrary to the identities of effective, 21st century teachers; and 2). Secondly, I sought to determine to see whether opportunities for these individuals to use a variety of innovative technologies for their own learning would have an influence on the pedagogies these individualsy themselves employed in their teaching practices. Would technology‑infused courses lead to teaching with technology? While the longitudinal study provided enc ouraging signs on both accounts within the teacher preparation program, questions remained about whether the model would be supported where it mattered … in real classroom teaching. In this article, I report on follow‑up acknowledging the challenges wit hin classroom‑based research and the complexities involved in social science‑based qualitative and numbers‑based findings that suggest that, generally, the positive changes were not sustained. These findings provide strong support for the need for teacher education models to be tested in real practice. Importantly, they also uncover the essential ingredient for promoting future teachers uptake of effective use of ICTs … collective support from the Teacher Education stakeholder community research para digms in drawing generalizable conclusions, the data analysis clearly confirms that there were encouraging signs for both aims for this particular group of pre‑service teachers. This study should be of interest to all stakeholders in education, most espe cially those whose responsibility it is and who may struggle with practical strategies to ensure that pre‑service teachers have the identities, skills and tools necessary for providing quality 21st century education programs.

 

Keywords: Keywords: ICT in technology-based learning practices, Tteacher Eeducation, 21st century 21st century teaching/ learning skills, teacher identity, ICT-based Teacher Education model, ICT in practice teaching, community-supported teacher training, Teacher Ed ucation reform in Chile

 

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Journal Article

Community in Online Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities  pp188-198

Lily A. Arasaratnam-Smith, Maria Northcote

© May 2017 Volume 15 Issue 2, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp105 - 198

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Abstract

Exploring the challenges and opportunities associated with the concepts of community and communication in online higher education, this paper reconsiders the intention to replicate face‑to‑face learning and teaching strategies in online learning environments. Rather than beginning with the assumption that face‑to‑face education is the prototype for quality, the authors appraise the online learning environment as a unique medium which, by its nature, necessitates unique communication, community‑building, teaching and learning strategies. This paper proposes an in‑depth analysis of the potential unique affordances associated with online learning contexts as existing in their own right. The concepts of community and communication are explored in relation to online Communities of Practice (CoPs). The nature of face‑to‑face and online learning contexts are considered, especially in the light of the possibility of redefining “face‑to‑face” within the online realm, in addition to physical learning contexts. The paper identifies unique ways in which online communication (in the context of learning) is different from face‑to‑face communication, and consequently four ways in which this can be an advantage for students; namely, there is a measure of social egalitarianism, emphasis on verbal/written proficiency, time for reasoned response, and social agency. The paper provides grounding for further research into strategies that forge rich online learning experiences and suggests an empirical study as a next step.

 

Keywords: online community, Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), Communities of Practice (CoPs), nonverbal communication

 

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