Saturday, January 21, 2012

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools
The educational aspect of online learning is shifting as technology becomes a part of our daily lives. As new technology emerges into the 21 century, educators have opportunities to interact and collaborate with the learners, therefore establishing a learning community. Through the use of online tools and strategies from educators, online participation can enhance the learners experience in communication, collaboration and content. Online tools include; wikis, skype, instant messaging, individual study, resources, blogs, forums, discussions and small groups. Strategies include; asynchronous/synchronous learning, guidelines, rubric assessment, and problem solving activities.
Sandy Wenzel’s blog agrees that you now have a network view instead of a geographical view in the educational setting through the web by means of communication and content. The convenience of the online tools creates an atmosphere where students are able to engage and collaborate in the areas based on their learning desires. Tawana Stiff posts in her blog that “it is the learner who constructs the knowledge by creating the experience or the collaborative discourse that yields new knowledge”.
Siemens (2007) and Durrington, Berryhill, & Swafford (2006) both indicate that student satisfaction and achievement outcomes can result from strategies and tools used in an online environment. So converting face-to-face courses to online learning, the educators must take into consideration the learners needs and the availability of the 21st century online tools. So through content, communication and collaboration, successful engagement of learning can be established by using new tools and strategies as stated in first paragragh.
Durrington, V. A., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in an online environment. College Teaching, 54(1), 190-193. Retrieved from:
Siemens, G. (2007). George Siemens-Curatorial Teaching. Retrieved from:

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

EDUC-7102 Principles of Distant Education mod3

Assessing Collaborative Efforts         Module 3
What are the best measures for involving students to participate in an online community environment? Siemens (2009) states in his podcast “in a society where individual contributions are highly acknowledged, collaborative learning communities can be a challenge for many students”.  Many students are unwilling to participate in discussions due to shyness/unfamiliar area, exhaustion, boredom, low self-esteem/confidence and disinterest- just to name a few.  It seems that some students are more willing to participate in a small-group discussion than a whole-class discussion as I was with my first experience in online learning. Online learning should be a great learning experience where all students are actively involved and become at ease with the process and expectations asked of them.
So the question is; how do you get everybody to participate equally in an online community? I think the basics are to include, scholarliness, encouragement towards each other, being truthful and reliable, and frequent interaction. Frequent interaction would not only encourage others to contribute more but it will also enhance their learning skills.   
 In an online learning community, you must make an honest effort to communicate with others in order to actively exist in the virtual world. However, considerations must be well planned for learners to shape the participation level, both in structure (number/kind of postings) and in content (organizing the discussion of subjects interesting to them). I believe instructors who purposefully design learning activities to create opportunities for students to learn about each other, decreases transactional distance and increases social presence are likely to improve learners’ sense of classroom community.
Siemens (2009) concurs that the greatest way to involve participation in a learning community is to use the activity of role-play and change the assessment tools with an emphasis on working together. The goal is to help each student find their voice and feel part of a community. Cooperation and collaboration seem to be the key words here.

Anderson, T. & Misanchuk, M. Building community in an online learning environment:   communication, cooperation and collaboration. Retrieved from:
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008b). Principles of distance education. Baltimore: Author

Monday, January 9, 2012

EDUC-7102 storyboard

“Virtual worlds might be useful tools in online teaching because of their ability to engage students in interactions with the instructor and others in the class as well as with their environment”( Baker, S. C., Wentz, R. K., & Woods, M. M. 2009).  It provides opportunities by building a community for interactions when face-to-face is not an option. The potential of different users covers a wide spectrum from; kids, students, educators and business'. I am in the process of developing a video that describes virtual worlds and the many uses of it.
I am having troubles with my storyboard please let me know if this works.