Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Communication: Module 2

The ability of technology to aid communication has led to an increased acceptance of distance learning. Individuals now are able to easily interact with others in a distance learning class and engage in live dialogues as well as view the other students live, if desired, and use a whiteboard much like a face-to-face teacher uses a whiteboard in the classroom to work out problems, add notes, or draw figures.

In addition, individuals are using these communication technologies for non-educational purposes in their homes to bridge the distance gap between family members and friends. As Dr. Simonson (n.d.) described in his video, the impact of distance has been changed so that it is no longer significant in terms of communication.

There are many tools available today that further the communication that supports the distance learning environment. For instance, there are services such as Skype that provide users the ability to video chat and hold conversations informally or formally. Programs like Elluminate allow educators to host a classroom of students and hold a class meeting while sharing an interactive whiteboard that the whole class can use for discussion and providing examples to further understanding. It should be noted that these are just examples of a growing number of resources available to educators to host interactive and collaborative meetings and communication environments.

Even the use of blogs like the one I am using here or Wikis supports the learning environment so that communication is simple and engaging users in dialogue is emphasized and supported. In addition, commercially created virtual classrooms are available through products like Angel and eCollege. Moodle provides an open source classroom environment at no charge.

References:
Simonson, M.. (n.d. ). Distance education: Higher education, k12, and the corporate world. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5260644&Survey=1&47=8720107&ClientNodeID=984645&coursenav=1&bhcp=1&BrswrOK=1&PrevRef=http%3A%2F%2Fsylvan.live.ecollege.com%2Fec%2Fcrs%2Fdefault.learn%3FCourseID%3D5260644%26Survey%3D1%2647%3D8720107%26ClientNodeID%3D984645%26coursenav%3D1&submit1=Continue.

Comments On Other Blogs:
  1. http://davidphenix1.blogspot.com/2011/06/communication.html?showComment=1310947714116#c3962031102659033507
  2. http://debbiemorris-technology.blogspot.com/2011/06/elements-of-distance-education.html?showComment=1310948096415#c3467482338170218773
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

(EDUC 7102-2) Principles of Distance Education - Module 1

Moller, Huett, Foshay and Coleman (2008) are emphatic in their belief that, in order to flourish and to continue as a legitimate and respected educational opportunity, a distance learning model must be developed that is widely accepted and proven effective. Simonson (n.d.) is also concerned about distance learning but believes that that the key lies in ensuring that the outcome of a distance learning experience is equivalent in terms of content mastery as it is in other environments such as face-to-face classroom learning.

Moller, Huett, Forshay and Coleman (2008, p. 65) express their concern with the equivalency theory because they feel it limits the research to simply comparing the distance learning and face-to-face learning environments. Instead, the authors believe that there should be a move towards research on identifying and elaborating on the best practices that will help ensure distance learning is as effective as possible. They are, in effect, saying that it is time to move away from basic comparative or equivalency reviews and move towards the type of research that traditional education enjoys; the time is here to expand upon the methods and approaches that are proven to improve effectiveness in distance learning environments.

I am primarily in agreement with Moller, Huett, Forshay and Coleman. I feel strongly that a industry standard needs to be developed to serve as a model for the distance learning in the the educational environment. I have two Masters degrees both earned in an online environment, have completed doctorate hours at another university, and now am enrolled in Walden for the Specialist in Educational Technology degree. In each case, the format of the educational offerings and priorities was completely different. One university clearly employed an approach that took the face-to-face curriculum and forced it into the online environment. The other employed a similar approach but integrated a more collaborative work requirement. Neither of these environments used best practices of differentiation or customization and neither took advantage of the multiple tools available in a distance learning environment to improve upon the learning experience. Therefore, it seemed to me that the individual schools were simply applying whatever practice they were most comfortable with instead of determining a research-based approach that would support learning online.

References:

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008, September/October). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 3: K12). TechTrends, 52(5). 63-67.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008, May/June). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70-75.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008, May/June). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66-70.

Simonson, M.. (n.d. ). Distance education: The next generation. Retrieved from Http://sylvan. Live. Ecollege. Com/ec/crs/default. Learn? Courseid=5260644&survey=1&47=8720107&clientnodeid=984645&coursenav=1&bhcp=1.

Simonson, M.. (n.d. ). Equivalency theory. Retrieved from Http://sylvan. Live. Ecollege. Com/ec/crs/default. Learn? Courseid=5260644&survey=1&47=8720107&clientnodeid=984645&coursenav=1&bhcp=1.

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