E-Brary of Resources
Kurniali, S. (2014). An Approach to Online Learning Using Learning Management System in Higher Education. Journal of Computer Science , 10 (8), 1517-1521.
This article from the Journal of Computer Science specifically discusses the use of learning management systems in higher education. Kurniali (2014) discussed, among other things, the building of a LMS for a private university looking to expand its student body via online learning, since the biggest problem they had with students attending school was distance. Within the article, Kurniali discussed how they built the LMS, and the online program, stating that the program organized classes by a period of 3 months, and that student could complete 3 courses per period. This worked out to approximately the same number of classes over the course of a school year (2014). Each course started with a face to face session with the instructor either on campus or via video conference in the first week. From there, it was 10 weeks of online classes, where students would download content and read it, respond to instructors and classmates within a discussion board, finish the assignment for the week, and participate in a video conference (if scheduled) (Kurniali, 2014). Kurniali then broke down the LMS specifically, and talked about the different facets of it, including the discussion boards, the assignments, and the content. She then concluded her article by stating that the online program could “reduce the amount of the student tuition compared to the regular conventional program” and that “students who cannot attend the regular program can now enroll themselves,” indicating that “the LMS not only helps students in their learning process, but also in obtaining the latest academic information” (Kurniali, 2014).
Moodle 2.0 versus Blackboard 9.1 – a Brief Comparison
I found this article when I was researching different LMS to choose for an assignment, and found it to be a comprehensive comparison of Blackboard (a commercial LMS platform) vs. Moodle (a free, open-source LMS. From the website: “Thanks to contributor Olivia Coleman (firstname.lastname@example.org) for collaboratively developing this guest post.
Moodle and Blackboard are both popular online learning platforms with which educators can develop complete online course that can include multimedia content. But how do the two compare to each other and what are the benefits unique to each course delivery system? We will explore some of these benefits in this article, discussing Moodle 2.0 and Blackboard 9.1 respectively.”
Badge, J., Saunders, N. F., & Cann, A. J. (2012). Beyond Marks: new tools to visualise student engagement via social networks. Research in Learning Technology , 1-14.
This article discusses the use of social media as a tool of student engagement. While this study was done using students in a classroom setting instead of an online setting, the point the authors make is valid—engaged students do better than students who were not engaged, and traditional methods of engagement are no longer enough for a new generation of students who are always plugged in. Therefore, the authors decided to study whether student activity on a social media platform (Friendfeed) would indicate student levels of engagement as well (Badge, Saunders, & Cann, 2012). At the end of the study, the authors concluded that the outcomes were “sufficiently positive to encourage us to continue to develop a social approach” (Badge, Saunders, & Cann, 2012).
Miller, M. J. (2011). The Role of Motivation in Teacher Education Classes. In S. Fulgham, & M. F. Shaughnessy (Eds.), Pedagogical Models: The Discipline of Online Teaching (pp. 43-50). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
This article is about the necessity for teachers to be more involved in student motivation in order to increase student success. The author, Mary Jane Miller, argues that student motivation is the most critical role in the success of a distance learner (2011). Miller explains that a motivators are things that “stimulate our inner drive and lead us to behave as we do;” she goes on to state that “in an academic environment, motivators are those things an instructor routinely does to encourage students to perform well, to meet deadlines, and to excel in their studies” (Miller, 2011). Miller (2011) conducted a survey at the University of Guam that identified different student motivators that can be incorporated into basic lesson design, and used to encourage responsibility, persistence, and to promote student success. Some of these motivators included “learning was fun,” “subject was interesting,” and “teacher was interesting.” While this does not specifically state where they can be incorporated into lesson design, it does give the impression that by increasing fun level and interest of a subject, students will be more motivated to succeed.
Dixon, J.S. (2006). Breaking the ice: Supporting collaboration and the development of community online. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 32(2).
This article speaks to the idea that icebreakers are required to develop a community of online learners, if for no other reason than online classes are usually run over a shorter time frame than a traditional classroom. Dixon (2006) mentions that, while learners prefer to work online, flocking to the idea of online learning, researchers argue on the development of effective community, and whether or not online learning can, in fact, foster the kind of community that allows for collaborative learning. Dixon argues that it is possible, and that icebreakers are extremely helpful in building that online community.
Baran, E. & Correia, A. (2009). Student-led facilitation strategies in online discussions. Distance Education, 30(3), 339-361.
This article talks about peer-led discussions and the strategies used to “overcome the challenges of instructor-dominated facilitation, enhance the sense of learning community, and encourage student participation in online discussions” (Baran & Correia, 2009). Baran and Correia (2009) make the argument that discussion techniques in an online environment require different techniques than a traditional classroom setting, because of some of the problems related to online discussions, including limited student participation, inadequate analysis of peers, and failure to communicate effectively, to name a few. The authors studied an online graduate course to look at strategies students used in a facilitator role to encourage meaningful dialogue and participation (Baran & Correia, 2009).
Parmentier, M. C. (2013). Simulating in Cyberspace: Designing and Assessing Simple Role Playing Activities for Online Regional Studies Courses. International Studies Perspectives, 14(2), 121-133.
This article discusses, as evidenced by the title, designing simulation activities for the online learner. Parmentier (2013) begins by noting that simulations in traditional classrooms are effective tools for learning, since requiring students to participate and take action, as they do in simulations, allows students to retain knowledge more effectively. What is lacking, according to the article, is research on instructor designed simulations specifically for online courses. The author designed an online simulation, and found that the most problematic area was in group participation, and indicated that it was in this area where the most significant innovation needed to happen (Parmentier, 2013). She also recommended either pushing such simulations away from the end of the semester to avoid other end-of-semester events. I take from this that one could use a simulation as a final project with an extensive paper in lieu of a traditional final exam.
Fabry, Dee L. 2009. “Designing Online and On-Ground Courses to Ensure Comparability and Consistency in Meeting Learning Outcomes.” Quarterly Review Of Distance Education 10, no. 3: 253-261.
In this article, Fabry (2009) questions what the guidelines must be in order to ensure that learning outcomes are met in both an online and a traditional classroom setting, as research has shown that trying to retool a traditional classroom for an online setting often fails when the “linear-designed instructional framework is followed.” Fabry (2009) sets up the purpose of the research paper by asking the question—what happens when online and on-ground courses are designed and developed at the same time?
Pelz, B. (2004). Three Principles of Effective Online Pedagogy. JALN, 8(3), 33-46.
In his article about effective online teaching, Bill Pelz discusses his three principles, laying them out in a very clear way. His three principles are: let the students do most of the work, interactivity is the heart and soul of effective asynchronous learning, and strive for presence (Pelz, 2004). Under the heading of each principle, Pelz lists the different ways instructors can build their online courses using these tools and tips. Overall, more than anything else, this was an extremely informative article to help fledgling online instructors build better courses.
Stein, S.K. (2014). Lessons Learned Building the Online History Program at the University of Memphis. History Teacher, 47(3), 373-386.
This article discusses some of the lessons instructors in the History department at the University of Memphis learned while trying to build the online program there. Stein (2014) starts out by explaining how many schools are starting online programs, usually in conjunction with the traditional classroom setting. The number of students enrolled in online classes at the University of Memphis surprised Stein, as there is an extra cost attached to it there. However, according to Stein, online history programs are rare, especially at the undergraduate level. Some of the points he makes in the article are: online history courses are popular, that collaboration produced the best online courses, and that course design matters, among other things (Stein, 2014). Stein also argues that there is no perfect LMS, and mentions that Memphis changed their LMS a few times. He concludes by stating that demand for online history programs is growing, and suggests that there are plentiful opportunities to grow the online history programs across the country.
Sloan, A.M., & Linardopoulos. (2011). Development, implementation and evaluation of a grading rubric for online discussions. Journal of Online Teaching and Learning, 7(4).
This article speaks on the necessity for and advantages of a grading rubric. The authors define a grading rubric as “a scoring tool, usually in the form of a matrix or table, which delineates the specific expectations or criteria that will be used to assess a student’s performance” (Sloan & Linardopoulos, 2011). They argue that rubrics mitigate the chance that students won’t know what’s expected of them, thus allowing students to perform to a certain standard. The authors also argue that rubrics also help educators stay on task, as rubrics remind them what they should be focusing on. However, there is a remarkable lack of research on rubrics as a whole, something the authors comment on. The authors make sure to note that rubrics must be clear, stating “students must be able to understand clearly that their discussion grade corresponds to the discussion rubric” (Sloan & Linardopoulos, 2011). It is safe to assume that this logic would also extend to every other assignment. The authors conclude the article by stating that there “was a clear need for a tool to assist both teachers and learners in navigating the unique waters of discussions in an online learning environment” (Sloan & Linardopoulos, 2011) and that no tool had dealt with the complexities of online education, but that the rubric they’ve published here make a significant contribution in the field.