February 23, 2009
Accelerated Learning: A Personal Experiment
For long I have yearned the need to become familiar and stay current with a few news domains which are information heavy. Being a fan of late night talk shows, stand-up comedy and fake news (The Onion, Stewart/Colbert) I decided to have some fun permeating these new realms.
About a year ago I had heard an npr story on how the new generation prefers to get it's news from "fake" news: Parody, Satire and Sarcasm have fed generations with laughter and skepticism, but now there is an additional nutrient in this junk food for thought - useful information. Information which can be used by the listener to inform oneself of current affairs. The listener had become a learner.
My previous attempts at staying current using social bookmarking were not satisfactory, although I still like to keep my delicious.com and Google Notes well fed with tagged items from the web.
In my attempt to regain touch with (a) State of Technology in General & Online Learning in Particular (b) Current Affairs in USA and (c) Current Affairs in India, I subscribed to some RSS feeds. When something useful would strike me, I would ask the stand-up comedian in myself, to write a one line joke for me, based on Dave Barry's highly original microblogging style.
After about a week of poking fun at the news, the information started to retain in my conscious brain and I was able to apply it - in my conversations with peers, friends and families. (Sometimes I even became the alpha-bore of the party: geeky opinionated know-all. That's an indication to cut-back on your RSS feed-greed.)
Adjusting the RSS feeds to remove redundancies and optimize focus of learning, I started realizing that the stylings of the inner comedian were now an inefficiency - so the one liners simply became comments and notes. The crutch of comedy and satire was no longer necessary to engage the mind in the target domains - the barrier to entry - spontaneous interest, had been breached. A sustainable-enough connection now existed between the mind and the knowledge domain to synthesize new information into fruitful conversation and writing.
I only hope that the trend of getting news and information from clowns does not raise a generation of skeptic jokers. These fake news outlets arise from a basic need of learners: barrier of boredom. When mainstream news started looking like sermons, propoganda or classroom lectures, the generation turned to fake news to stay current. Of course that is no justification for teachers to become clowns, however keeping learning active with or without humor is highly warrented.
Cheating in Online Exams
King et al. write in the Journal of Educators Online:
...respondents felt quite liberal in their views of potentially cheating behaviors when there was no test-taking policy set by the course instructor. In addition, 73.6% of the students in the sample held the perception that it is easier to cheat in an online versus traditional course.
Towards the end of the paper, the authors suggest research based remedies for inhibiting cheating: open discussion in a classroom setting (which is done by some departments/schools), posting of honor code in print and online (which is supported by UM's testing tools) and keeping updated on strategies from Duke University's “Academic Integrity Assessment Guide’
Design Principles Database
This is an excellent tool for instructional designers, where case studies are posted by ID/eLearning practitioners.
Whether you are an educational technology researcher, a learning scientist, a designer of web-based learning materials, or a teacher using technology, the DPD is a place for you to learn from the wisdom gained by dozens of researchers who have designed, enacted with students, and studied the use of technology for learning. This wisdom is translated in the DPD into pedagogical Design Principles
April 17, 2008
Baraka: An example of sociocultural learning approach
I recently brushed up on the learning theories through the video series at https://masielearning.pbwiki.com/theory . As a followup to my own adult learning experience, I wanted to encourage my own higher level functions of assimilation, observation and integration to play with the concepts under the three theories: Behaviorism, Cognitivism and Socioculturism as laid out by Stanton Wortham of UPenn.
Tonight we had a family over for dinner and we watched the silent movie Baraka. If you dont know Baraka, you wont need to do much searching before finding more about this thought provoking, visual treat spanning 24 countries. It has no dialog, no narration, no captions or subtitles. Just rousing music and moving images.
As the camera showed up scenes from Brazilian slums, Indian scavenging grounds and Grand Central station, all the four adults engaged each other in a learning experience where everyone came out richer.
Two of us had lightly better general information about the context in which the scenes were shown. In a silent documentary, all four of us became narrators and educators. The scenes ranged from common sterotypes to rare nooks of earth which tested our knowledge. The air was thick with interpretation and the experience more interactive than any other before.
At the end, I strongly felt that this experience qualifies as a top notch sociocultural learning experience marked by the following characteristics:
1. Contextual interpretation
2. Richness of symbolism through noises, patters and color
3. Body of knowledge depending on the sum of the mings of us four viewers, the sum being greater than anything we could accomplish in isolation.
4. Guiding each other through blond spots and working like a team of sailors who are collectively responsible for positioning a battleship on the waters (to use Wortham's metaphor).
I could clearly see that the most efficient adult learning can happen under the flag of sociocultural active learning.
October 29, 2006
Current Issues in Distance Education: todo list
To be revieved and updated...
Online journal of distance learning administration
Current Issues in Distance Education: International Review
The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Vol 7, No 2 (2006), ISSN: 1492-3831
Good Stuff: Articles are available as MP3!!! Lets take dat on da bus!
These articles look interesting & relevant from the current issue:
Distance education is generally seen as a very isolating experience for students, but one often forgets that it can be an equally isolating experience for teaching staff, who sometimes must work in isolation from colleagues. This study examines the experiences of nine tutors at one of the 10 biggest universities in the world...
This is an article seems like more of a big-picture article, something quotable in the first paragraphs of papers.
This article examines the relationship between the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and learning and teaching, particularly in distance education contexts. We argue that environmental changes (societal, educational and technological) make it necessary for Higher Education in general, and distance education in particular....
This Article below applies to the situation when faculty, as against students are geographically diverse. The author is trying to address the lack of research in this area. We have a faculty member who teaches geo-diverse students enrolled at SPH UM Ann Arbor, while working in Penn State and living with his family in the state's capital. This makes this reading relevant to me:
Academics Telecommuting in Open and Distance Education Universities: Issues, challenges and opportunities
Cheuk Fan Ng
Another relevant reading. Targeting faculty in Western Canada, an attempt made to create a culture of Faculty Development as Community Building in the context of distance learning:
Faculty Development as Community Building
B.J. Eib and Pam Miller
The following would be an interesting reading: watching the field for possible common apps for their portable versions, especially Camtasia Recorder so that settings are saved and there is no complication of dealing with settings as a user moves from computer to computer.
September – 2006
Technical Evaluation Reports
57. Portable Applications in Mobile Education
October 28, 2006
Current Issues in Distance Education: Distance education, Distance education report
May 2006; Vol.27, Iss.1
Li-Fen Liao examines something called the Flow Theory framework of online learning by constructing two "flows" and testing them on 253 distance learning students. It turns out that the ways in which a learner interacts with the instructor and the way he/she interacts with the learning interface is more significant than learner-learner interactions. This kind of information is useful in deciding between distance learning systems, when there is a feature-money trade off.
DISTANCE EDUCATION REPORT
WilsonSelectPlus was down - will try again.
Current Issues in Distance Education: AmJDisted
Hoping to do these readings soon:
A. The American journal of distance education: 2006, Vol. 20, No. 3.
-- Editor Moore writes about Dialog in Adult Education
-- In the abstract for The Effectiveness of Distance Education in Allied Health Science Programs: A Meta-Analysis of Outcomes by Stacy L. Williams the interesting thing to note was: working professional students significantly outperformed graduate and undergraduate students.
THE ONE THING I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FOCUS IN OUR CURRENT ENDEAVORS IS TO TRY TO focus on the strength of our cohort and not the weaknesses. I guess I might have found the scholastic reasons of the first such strength.
Moisey et al. explore the issue of developing learning objects, identify three facilitating factors and nine barriers to success in their paper Factors Affecting the Development and Use of Learning Objects
Aah! Cristina and Yili Liu's paper using our distance learning materials gets published! notable quote: study showed no difference in information recall between the different module lengths and formats; however, as module length increased, participants were more likely to not complete the modules. Christina's paper: Web-Based Distance Learning Technology: The Impacts of Web Module Length and Format
Stella Porto reviews a new book: An Administrator’s Guide to Online Education.
Kaye Shelton and George
Saltsman. Greenwich, CT: Information
Age, 2005, 192 pp., $69.95 (softcover).
-- This should be put on the library's ordering list. Review Here.