20 September 2008
About Online Learning
The information you'll here find will be helpful as you:
* research online learning
* decide upon a course of study
* choose a learning provider
* or are just curious about e-Learning!
What is e-Learning?
e-Learning is an umbrella term that describes learning done at a computer, usually connected to a network, giving us the opportunity to learn almost anytime, anywhere.
e-Learning is not unlike any other form of education - and it is widely accepted that e-Learning can be as rich and as valuable as the classroom experience or even more so. With its unique features e-Learning is an experience that leads to comprehension and mastery of new skills and knowledge, just like its traditional counterpart.
Instructional Design for e-Learning has been perfected and refined over many years using established teaching principles, with many benefits to students. As a result colleges, universities, businesses, and organizations worldwide now offer their students fully accredited online degree, vocational, and continuing education programs in abundance.
Some other terms frequently interchanged with e-Learning include:
* online learning
* online education
* distance education
* distance learning
* technology-based training
* web-based training
* computer-based training (generally thought of as learning from a CD-ROM)
e-Learning is a broad term used to describe learning done at a computer. Use our e-learning glossary to look up e-Learning and other technical terms.
Types of e-Learning
e-Learning is comes in many variations and often a combination of the following:
* Purely online - no face-to-face meetings
* Blended Learning - combination of online and face-to-face
* Instructor-led group
* Self-study with subject matter expert
* Computer-based (CD-ROM)
* Video/audio tape
e-Learning is done over the WORLD WIDE WEB or by CD-ROM, and some variations (distance learning) incorporate traditional media. Here are common delivery methods used in e-Learning:
* streaming video
* video tape
* satellite transmission
* streaming audio
* audio tape
Review and Exams
E-Learning Basics Asynchronous
* threaded discussion, weblogs
Home | Education Articles | E-Learning Essentials | Learning Styles
How to Maximize Your Online Learning
Knowing a little bit about learning styles can help you determine if online learning is for you. The interaction and delivery methods used in online classes are dramatically different from traditional classes, so understanding how you learn is a good part of the decision-making process. The knowledge can help you improve your study habits and be successful in any educational setting, regardless of what type of learner you are.
The three predominant learning styles are visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic.
Broken down further, people learn by:
* Reading (visual)
* Listening (auditory)
* Seeing (visual)
* Speaking (auditory)
* Doing (Tactile/Kinesthetic)
The first three on the list are passive types of learning, while the last two are active types of learning. How much we tend to remember is a function of the type of learning we prefer and our level of involvement in the learning. People often learn through a combination of the ways described above. To a lesser degree, environment is a factor too.
The Active Learning Modes
Given a good learning environment (be it online or traditional), most people tend to remember best that which they do - practicing the real thing. Next, a combination of doing and speaking about what we learn produces a high retention rate, followed by speaking alone. These levels of involvement are all active learning modes.
The Passive Learning Modes
The passive learning modes - seeing and reading - fall just below the active learning modes on the retention ladder. After speaking, the combination of listening and seeing produces the next best retention results, then listening, then seeing, and then reading.
How it all relates to Online Learning
In an online class there is a lot of passive learning done through reading text, listening to audio clips, and seeing graphics, but the active "speaking" mode is done very much through writing, email, and chatting. Online learners are often self-directed and/or working in their chosen fields, so a lot of doing happens in the way of applying their newfound knowledge to the workplace, hobby, or home. For this reason many online learners say they learn more in online classes than traditional settings, and have better retention, too.
As you consider online learning, recognize that everyone learns differently and attempt to zero in on the particular style you use best. Maximize your online learning by choosing the courses suited to your learning styles - and be sure to talk about and apply what you learn.
The Illinois Online Network says one of the best things you can do as an online learning student is become a true advocate of its merits through discussion. If you ". . .truly believe in its potential to provide quality education which is equal to, if not better than the traditional face-to-face environment", you'll strengthen the habits you need to succeed.
Benefits of E-Learning
"Good teaching is good teaching, no matter how it's done."
The old adage still rings true, and e-Learning brings with it new dimensions in education. Some of the unique features of e-Learning are listed below.
Features of E-Learning
* Learning is self-paced and gives students a chance to speed up or slow down as necessary
* Learning is self-directed, allowing students to choose content and tools appropriate to their differing interests, needs, and skill levels
* Accommodates multiple learning styles using a variety of delivery methods geared to different learners; more effective for certain learners
* Designed around the learner
* Geographical barriers are eliminated, opening up broader education options
* 24/7 accessibility makes scheduling easy and allows a greater number of people to attend classes
* On-demand access means learning can happen precisely when needed
* Travel time and associated costs (parking, fuel, vehicle maintenance) are reduced or eliminated
* Overall student costs are frequently less (tuition, residence, food, child care)
* Potentially lower costs for companies needing training, and for the providers
* Fosters greater student interaction and collaboration
* Fosters greater student/instructor contact
* Enhances computer and Internet skills
* Draws upon hundreds of years of established pedagogical principles
* Has the attention of every major university in the world, most with their own online degrees, certificates, and individual courses
Benefits of e-Learning
There are many significant advantages for the student who learns online. Here are just a few to consider:
Convenience and Portability
* Courses are accessible on your schedule
* Online learning does not require physical attendance
* Learning is self-paced (not too slow, not too fast)
* You're unbound by time - courses are available 24/7
* You're unbound by place - study at home, work, or on the road
* Read materials online or download them for reading later
Cost and Selection
* Choose from a wide range of courses to meet your needs
* Degree, Vocational, and Certificate programs
* Continuing Education
* Individual courses
* Wide range of prices to fit your budget
* Go back to school to get a degree, learn a new skill, learn a new craft, or just have fun!
* From art to zoology you can do it all online in a price range to fit your budget.
* Online learning accommodates your preferences and needs - it's student-centered
* Choose instructor-led or self-study courses
* Skip over material you already know and focus on topics you'd like to learn
* Use the tools best suited to your learning styles
* Online learning will draw you to topics you like and enjoy. Studies show that because of this and the variety of delivery methods used to reach different types of learners, retention is frequently better than in a traditional classroom.
* Technology tools make collaboration among students much easier. Since many projects involve collaborative learning, the online environment is far easier (and often more comfortable) to work in since learners don't have to be face-to-face.
* The global learning community is at your fingertips with online learning. The technologies used give online instructional designers the ability to build in tools that take you to resources you may never see in a traditional classroom.
Online courses come in many flavors. Selecting the right online course for you - one that matches your education needs and your learning style - can be a daunting task, but here are a few simple questions to guide you. Use them to accelerate your search and make comparisons.
How does your learning style match up to the course delivery?
Using the table below, you can get an idea of what types of course activities match your learning style. Remember that we generally learn in a variety of different ways and most courses combine delivery modalities to reach a large audience. Be sure to ask if you have a preference or need for a particular type of learning.
If you learn best by: Look for a course with:
Reading e-books, textbooks, and other required reading (written lessons are a primary method of delivering curriculum online)
Listening audio lectures or sound bytes to explain concepts
Seeing how things are done graphical demonstrations that illustrate new ideas
Doing Assignments, quizzes, exams, or practical application examples
Speaking/Communicating email, chat, or threaded discussion groups for sharing and feedback
Are you looking for short, personal enrichment classes or longer, more comprehensive courses for professional development or study toward a degree?
You can narrow your options by deciding in advance how in-depth you want to go and how much time you want to spend. Courses associated with degrees are generally more complete in their treatment of a topic, although personal enrichment and professional development courses can be quite thorough too. Online education covers the spectrum from short tutorials to semester-length academic classes and the time you'll spend is directly proportionate to the type of course you select.
Do you want a self-directed or instructor-led course?
Some of us need structure and deadlines. Others prefer to study at our convenience. Self-directed courses generally allow more time for completion and the flexibility to jump around the curriculum at your own pace (although they may still have final deadlines). Instructor-led courses are more structured and deliver the material in a progressive or suggested sequence, guiding the learner to the finish. Also, self-directed courses normally don't have a human point of contact for help or feedback, but some may offer subject matter experts.
Open Enrollment vs. Traditional scheduling (following the timing of the school)
With open enrollment, you can learn on your time, starting whenever you want to. Other scheduling takes away that control, especially if it follows a quarter or semester schedule in conjunction with a traditional school.
Are credits or CEU's important to you?
Academic credit or CEU's (continuing education units) may be a requirement in your selection process. If so, read about the school or program's accreditation status and check with them regarding CEU's or credits for the particular course you're looking at. If credits or CEU's don't matter to you, your options are wide open.
What type of support is available?
Some online classes come with other student services like tutoring, reference links, library access, mentoring, writing/math labs, technical assistance, and other resources to help the learning process, while others are void of this.
How much do you want to spend?
The more in-depth the course, the more you can expect to pay. There are a wide range of choices to fit your budget. Personal/professional development courses cost $10-$300 or more, and comprehensive courses linked to degrees a few hundred to a thousand dollars or more. Short tutorials may be free or low cost. Cost is last on the list of questions for good reason: the other factors to consider in choosing an online course are equally, if not more important.
Once you've used these questions to narrow your field of choices, you'll find that many course providers offer a free demo that can help you decide and compare content and presentation.
Posted by tutorial for elerning at 12:39 AM 0 comments
Blogging Across the Disciplines: Integrating Technology to Enhance Liberal Learning
Blogging Across the Disciplines: Integrating Technology to Enhance Liberal Learning
As the use of web logs (blogs) becomes increasingly popular, many faculty members have incorporated them into college courses to engage students in discussing course materials, to foster a sense of community, and to enhance learning. This study, conducted at a business institution, introduces blogs as a tool to help students prepare for meaningful classroom discussion. The authors assigned a similar blogging exercise in three different courses—expository writing, ecommerce, and governmentin order to introduce students to the use of blogs in their disciplines. This study finds that by completing the required readings and then posting discussion questions and reflections on topics of interest to which their classmates can respondessentially beginning the conversation prior to the class sessionstudents
become more engaged in the course material. This exercise requires students not only to read the required course materials but to engage with them critically in order to move beyond a superficial understanding of the materials. By using the same assignment and assessment tool in three different courses, the authors argue that blogs can be effective in enhancing class discussion across the disciplines. Keywords: Blogging, Liberal Learning, Critical Thinking, Enhancing Class Discussion
The use of web logs (“blogs”) has become a popular addition to many college courses as faculty try to find new ways to integrate this popular technology into the classroom. (Beeson, 2005; Quible, 2005; Ducate, 2005, Glogoff, 2005). By the end of 2004, 32 million Americans said they had read a blog, eight million Americans had created blogs, and almost half were created by people under age 30 (Reine, 2005). In fact, Huffaker (2005) cites several studies that reveal that a significant number of blog authors are younger than 20. Lenhart (2006) notes that by 2006, these numbers had increased to 12 million American adults who keep a blog, and 57 million American adults who say they read them. Thus, students come to the classroom with a facility for maintaining and communicating through blogs. Beeson (2005) argues that it is an approach that is more in keeping with their way of thinking (29). With the increased popularity of blogs, faculty members have been integrating them into their courses to enhance class discussion. Past research has summarized findings from case studies involving the use of blogs in a single course (Glogoff, 2003; Quible, 2005; Ducate, 2005). The authors of this study, conducted at a business university, assigned a similar blogging exercise in three different courses expository writing, ecommerce, and governmentin order to introduce students to the use of blogs in
their respective disciplines and to help students prepare for meaningful classroom discussion. This study finds that by completing the required readings and then posting discussion questions and reflections on topics of interest to which their classmates can respondessentially
beginning the conversation prior to the class sessionstudents become more engaged in the course material. This exercise requires students not only to read the required course materials but to engage with them critically in order to move beyond a superficial understanding of the materials. By using the same assignment and assessment tool, the authors found that blogs can be effective in enhancing class discussion in a range of disciplines and in integrating liberal learning into professional programs.
Blogging in the Classroom
Before blogging became a mainstream form of asynchronous communication over the Internet, threaded discussion groups had been popular venues for holding class discussions online. Unlike a blog, where posts appear in reverse chronological order, discussion groups are hierarchical, and the newer material generally appears at the bottom. While such discussion groups can be a useful classroom tool, it is also important for students to become part of the blogging phenomenon that is increasing in the “real world.” Recently, learning management systems such as BlackBoardTM have integrated blogs within their products, and some instructors are finding that “a course blog offers a possible alternative to a traditional learning management system … particularly if students create blogs that they control and whose content they own” (GoodwinJones, 2006).
Like online threaded discussion groups, blogs are an easy way to engage in dialogue on the web outside the classroom. The availability of several blog providers such as Google’s blogger.com, LiveJournal.com , and WordPress.com make it free and easy to set up, manage, and update blogs frequently and without additional support. By using blogs “students become familiar with blogging, a tool now used by an everincreasing number of employers to support routine operating functions” (Quible, 2005, p. 76). The underlying technology behind blogging makes it an improvement over discussion groups for classroom use. While one may “check in” with a favorite blog occasionally to see if there is any new content posted by visiting the blog’s website, blogs were designed so that the reader does not have to do this. Blogs make use of a “publishsubscribe” model, in which the author publishes content, and
subscribers use a program called an aggregator, which checks the blog periodically and then notifies the subscriber that new content has been posted. This method of really simple syndication (RSS) is possible because the content of the blog is represented in a standard XML (extensible markup language) format enabling aggregators to check and manage any new content. Those who manage several class blogs, or those who subscribe to many different blogs, will find the ability to subscribe to a blog and let an aggregator do all of the management work, to be valuable. This aggregator functionality is now standard in versions of web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox through the use of live bookmarks.
Since blogs are a fairly recent pedagogical tool, new scholarship has emerged that points to its benefits in the classroom. The ability of students and faculty to easily update an online journal promotes blogging as a new form of communication to enhance class discussion and to create a community outside the classroom. Flatley (2005) argues that the technological medium provides a space where students can interact with one another, and it can open up the classroom space "where discussions are continued and where every student gets an equal voice" (p. 77). In addition, blogs can promote collaboration (Flatley, 2005; Williams & Jacobs, 2004; Oravec, 2002).
Blogs in the classroom are sometimes used as “online diaries” where students write about their own experiences or share their ideas related to course topics. However, the power of a blog comes when others interact with an individual’s posts, creating a forum for discussion and conversation. Blogs may contain the written word, but more blog providers (such as blogger.com) now offer services such as posting pictures and hyperlinks to other websites or uploading multimedia files. One benefit of having access to direct links embedded in weblogs, Oravec (2002) argues, is that "students can access the weblogs of individuals about whom they have gained considerable background information and reflective insight over time" (p. 617).
In contrast to more traditional forums for online discussion, blogs are open to the world to see. This provides visibility for students to share their ideas with the larger world. Quible (2005) says that blogs are “a natural in business communications courses” (p. 73) because they enable students to share their writing with a larger audience. Glogoff (2003) notes that students “used the [class] blog for a purpose other than from what it was initially intended,” (p. 2162) causing them to create a new blog for a more general audience. Huffaker (2005) argues that bloggers can get feedback on their writing from a wide range of other bloggers, and "they can link to fellow bloggers, creating an interwoven, dynamic organization" (p. 94). In addition, "students can have a personal space to read and write alongside a communal one, where ideas are shared, questions are asked and answered, and social cohesion is developed" (Huffaker, p. 94). Halavais (2004) argues that this exposure to a larger audience and the responses from outside readers motivates students to write better. Should a faculty member not want student writing made public, blogs can be maintained so that only the students in the class are allowed to access it and post to it.
Blogs also encourage students to write more thoughtfully (Flatley, 2005), with the quality of writing often surpassing writing in more conventional forms (TodrasWhitehall,
2005) by requiring students to "carefully formulate and stand by one's opinion" (Williams & Jacobs, 2004, p. 236). In addition, blogs encourage students to make their writing more concise (Beeson, 2005, p. 28). Oravec (2002) notes that blogging may further develop critical thinking skills because students must carefully evaluate what they read and write, as their words are now available to a larger audience. Research on specific cases where blogs have been used in the classroom suggests that blogs can enhance a variety of courses in different ways. Glogoff (2003) incorporated the use of blogs in a communication distance learning course whose participants were scattered across the country.
Students overwhelmingly claimed that the use of blogs in the course helped them to learn more about technology and also made the material in the course more relevant for them. Likewise, in a foreign language class, “writing and reading blogs are one way in which students can gain different perspectives about the target culture” which they are studying (Ducate, 2005, p. 415). Beeson (2005) reports of one journalism class where students are required to create their own individual blogs, which “were then put under the umbrella of [their instructor’s] blog and linked together to form a virtual classroom” (p. 27). In a course on global communication, students found that blogging “formed a vibrant electronic community” (p. 29), and using this new media “made discussion very rich” (p. 29). Students were able to add value to classroom discussion from outside the classroom.
Brownstein and Klein (2006) describe several modalities for the use of blogging in education: learning, constructing, argument, commentary, chronology, extension, resources, and writing. Krause (2005) argues that students need to visit the course’s website anyway to do other tasks such as check grades or view assignments. Blogs, then, are just another place students must go online for course materials, and he finds them to be “a more inviting and interactive space for our students to write in” (Kraus, 2005, p. 33). Finally, recent scholarship suggests that blogs promote studentcentered learning. According to Halavais, students are more selfdirected, as they hold themselves accountable for their learning. DietzUhler and BishopClark (2002) examine the impact of the use of more classic forms of both synchronous computer mediated communication tools (instant messenger, internet relay chat) and asynchronous tools (email, newsgroups, bulletin boards, etc.) on inclass discussions. They find no significant difference between any of the synchronous or asynchronous tools on the impact of class discussion, but the fact that prior communication took place over the internet in any form "removed fears" and increased the students' confidence to participate in discussion during class. They conclude that
"computer mediated communication leads to facetoface discussions which are perceived to be more enjoyable and include a greater diversity of perspectives than facetoface
discussions not preceded by computermediated communication" (p. 281). Although their study did not analyze the impact of blogging (because that technology was not a common tool for selfexpression on the Internet at the time
the study was completed), it is reasonable to suggest that blogging prior to an inclass
discussion would also have a positive impact on the quality of that discussion.
The Use of Blogs in a Business Education Context
This study of discussion blogs in the classroom was conducted at Bentley College, a business institution in the northeast United States, where approximately 90% of the students major in a business field. An essential component of a business education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels is to develop students' communication skills through classroom discussion. Unlike many professional programs, however, this institution puts great emphasis on integrating liberal learning into the curriculum in order to help students better succeed in a global economy in the 21st century. Students must complete 46 hours of coursework beyond their business education in a number of Arts & Sciences courses in order to fulfill the rquirements of the core curriculum. In addition, many faculty design courses and implement pedagogical and andragogical techniques to engage the learner, which resonate with the liberal learning principles outlined by the LEAP National Leadership Council. These include “expanding horizons, building understanding of the wider world, honing analytical and communication skills, and fostering responsibilities beyond self” (College Learning; p. 39). As is likely the case at many colleges and universities across the U.S., students often do not engage or think critically about assigned reading material and many times have not even read the material. This prevents the inclass discussion
from reaching much beyond a superficial level and then precludes any opportunity for developing higherorder thinking skills.
With these goals and concerns in mind, the authors drew from many of the studies discussed above to integrate discussion blogs in a writing seminar, two introductory American politics courses, and two graduate ecommerce courses. Most students in the undergraduate courses were 18 to 20 years old; students in the graduate ecommerce courses were 22 to 25 years old on average. These five classes were offered between summer 2005 and spring 2006 with a combined enrollment of 119 students.
Discussion blogs were chosen over some of the traditional computermediated
communication formats (DietzUhler and BishopClark, 2002; Shuler, 2004) because they are a newer Internet application whose popularity continues to increase, (Lenhart 2006; Raine, 2005) and whose impact has been noted as a tool for popular communication on topics ranging from composition to commerce to popular culture.
Each of the instructors who used blogs in the five classes implemented roughly the same exercises. In the writing course, which was composed almost exclusively of firstyear
students, each student was required to post to the class blog his or her reflections on course readings and servicelearning experiences outside of the classroom on a weekly basis. They also were required to read each other's posts prior to each class meeting and to respond to at least one other student's post. Students then were able to assess their own writing based on the number of people who were engaged by their posts and the quality of the responses. Blog postings were selected at random each week and read in class to help generate discussions about writing. In the two ecommerce courses, both offered as electives in the MBA program, the instructors devised a schedule such that four students per week had three days to post to the class blog an original discussion question based on the following week’s readings for their classmates to review. Twelve students per week were assigned to respond to any of their classmates’ questions during the next three days. On the seventh day (before class met that evening), all students were responsible for reading the class blog and coming to class prepared to discuss their classmates’ questions and responses. A schedule showing which weeks students were assigned to post an original question to the blogger or to respond to one of their classmates' questions was distributed at the first class session. Randomly assigning groups of
students to post and respond to each other’s blog entries each week helped the instructors identify both the topics and issues of interest to students and the areas that might require further clarification or explanation.
Similarly, in the two American politics courses, four students used a class blog to post their original commentary on a topic covered in the New York Times or other major U.S. newspaper, while eight classmates had threetofour
days to respond to two posts. The remaining students were required to
monitor the discussions and had the option of participating in any of the discussions. In contrast to the ecommerce courses, there was less discussion of the blog posts in class, but the students initiating the process were required to post a rejoinder to those who had responded to their initial post by the time that next round of blogging had commenced. In all of these courses, the blogging assignments seemed to encourage a classroom discussion that was more substantive and engaging than what the authors had experienced in previous classes.
To assess how well discussion blogs enhanced classroom discussion and other liberal learning goals, the instructors presented students with an electronic questionnaire immediately after the last required post. Students were asked to answer 15 questions about general learning goals and outcomes, engagement in the classroom, and the technical aspects of using the blogging software. The answer choices consisted of a Likert scale ranging from one to seven, with one indicating that they strongly disagreed with the statement and seven indicating that they strongly agreed. For presentation purposes, responses 5, 6, and 7 are collapsed into a single category of agreement and 1, 2, and 3 are collapsed into a single category of disagreement. A response of 4, the midpoint of our scale, is interpreted and presented as neutral. The authors also included two openended questions that asked asking students
to comment on how useful they felt blogging was to the course and to comment about the blogging component in general. Students had approximately 10 days to complete the questionnaire. In all, 98 students submitted a completed questionnaire for a response rate of 82%.
The responses from the survey strongly suggest that discussion blogs can be an effective pedagogical tool for encouraging classroom discussion. As can be seen in Table 1, 73% of respondents said that participating in the blog increased the level of meaningful discussion in class, while only 17% disagreed. The responses from the two openended
questions indicate that blogs are useful to students because
they have the opportunity to express their views. Moreover, students say that they like being exposed to a number of different perspectives and opinions. One student commented that:
The blogs required students who are not likely to participate in class to post some of their
thoughts and reflections which enriched discussion and allowed for more contributions to
be made on a given topic since often there is not enough time to cover too many
perspectives. Other students added that the blog helped facilitate meaningful class discussions by “kickstarting” the conversation, ensuring class participation, and fostering more informed class discussions. Table 1. Blogs and Classroom Engagement
For the most part, students seemed to take their blogging responsibilities seriously. Over half of the respondents said that they spent a lot of time beforehand thinking about what they were going to post, while only about onefourth put in the minimum effort or less. Few seemed to go beyond the requirements of the assignment, however, with only 24% finding that they responded to the blog more than they had expected, that is, responding more than they were required to do so. Some students mentioned in their openended responses that they would have preferred that posting and responding be made voluntary, while others believed that they would have responded more often if they did not have to adhere to a schedule but instead when they encountered a topic of interest. While these students may have been sincere in their commitment to participate, it is unlikely that class discussions would have drawn from the assigned readings without requiring students to address these readings in some written form.
While the data show that classroom blogs facilitate meaningful discussion on the blog and in the
classroom, there was little evidence to support the view that that blogs encouraged further peertopeer interaction beyond discussion of the blog, either during class or outside of the classroom (Williams and Jacobs, 2004 Flatley, 2005, Oravec, 2003). Only 29% of the respondents felt that the class blog allowed them to interact with more of their classmates than they did in their other classes. And only 15% felt that the blog helped them establish a personal connection with their classmates offline.
Liberal Learning The data also suggest that discussion blogs are useful for promoting general liberal learning goals. As evident in Table 2, 76% of respondents agreed that posting and responding to the blog assisted in their general learning for the course, and 71% agreed that simply reading the blog contributed to their learning. In contrast with earlier research (Oravec, 2003; Williams and Jacobs, 2004), the blogs were somewhat less successful in helping students achieve more specific liberal learning goals. A majority of respondents (55%) said that posting to the blog helped them to communicate their ideas more effectively, and a nearmajority
(47%) agreed that posting made them better critical and analytical
thinkers. Still, this does not mean that the students felt that the discussion blog had a negative impact on their learning. Rather, it seems that a substantial number of students felt that the blog did not have an impact one way or another. For both of these two questions, 24% of students offered the neutral or middle response on the 7point
scale. Only 21% of respondents said that posting to the blog did not help
them communicate their ideas more effectively and only 29% said that posting did not make them better critical and analytical thinkers. Table 2. Blogs and Liberal Learning
A review of students’ posting reveal that there was significant improvement over the course of the
semester in reading and writing skills, criticalthinking abilities, and overall student learning (see
Appendix 1 for access to blog archives). In all of the classes, the contributions posted from early in the semester tended to be briefer, less polished, and less imaginative than contributions posted in later weeks. In the writing class, for example, one of the first assignments required students to reflect on their initial thoughts about participating in the servicelearning component of the class. In general, there was little development of thought regarding servicelearning. In addition, sentences were short and somewhat conversational in style.
Assistant Professor of English
Waltham, MA, USA
Senior Lecturer and Software Specialist
Computer Information Systems Department
Waltham, MA, USA
Girish J. Gulati
Assistant Professor of International Studies
Waltham, MA, USA
Posted by tutorial for elerning at 12:39 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Web Mining as a Tool for Understanding Online Learning
After an introduction to Web mining and elearning and a brief review of Web mining applications in business and education, this paper presents an experiment with pattern classification for student performance prediction in a WebCT learning environment. The results illustrate that recognition for a certain class (with good grades) on a large data set can be obtained by a classifier built from a small size data set. The paper concludes that Web mining can be an approach to build knowledge about Elearning and has potential to help improve learning performance.
Web mining, Course Management Systems (CMS), Data mining,
The World Wide Web (WWW) is a vast resource of multiple types of information in varied formats.
Researchers are beginning to investigate human behavior in this distributed Web data warehouse and are trying to build models for understanding human behavior in virtual environments. Data mining, often called Web mining when applied to the Internet, is a process of extracting hidden predictive information and discovering meaningful patterns, profiles, and trends from large databases. Etzioni (1996, p. 1) defined Web mining as: “... the use of data mining techniques to automatically discover and extract information from Web documents and services.” Web mining is an iterative process of discovering knowledge and is proving to be a valuable strategy for understanding consumer and business activity on the Web.
Online learning (Elearning) systems accessible through the Internet are intranets that represent selfcontained versions of the data warehouses and human behavior found more broadly across the Internet. Elearning systems have great potential to improve education through extending educational opportunities for those who can not use time and placebound traditional courses and through offering new interactive learning services and functions that enhance the traditional classroom. Elearning systems offer students Webbased texts, images, and multimedia, and also offer instructors and students ways to communicate with each other asynchronously and synchronously. Elearning systems provide multiple ways of learning (selfpaced, collaborative, tutorial) within a common application as well as providing the potential for rich media and complex interactions. The software applications used most frequently to implement Elearning in higher education are called Course Management Systems (CMS).
Examples of CMS include Blackboard and WebCT. Elearning systems are rich in content and invite complex forms of activity and interactivity. Understanding these forms of behavior and building models of patterns of behavior represent challenges for educational researchers.
Potential of Web Mining
Web usage mining (hereafter called Web mining) approaches can be applied to CMSbased Elearning and have promise for helping explain system usage. Web mining can be used to explore and investigate patterns of activity. Articulating and identifying patterns of use in Elearning systems may provide better understanding of how students undertake Webbased
learning and guidance for better organization of online learning activities. There are many potential benefits of using Web mining for exploring learning behavior and patterns in Elearning
using CMS. However, there is scant literature on the use of Web
mining with CMS. This article is a case report of how one Web mining method, classification could be applied against a CMS data set. This case report shows how patterns emerge from the application of Web mining approaches. The key purpose of this report is to illustrate the potential of Web mining and to identify issues in its application in currently available CMS. As a way of setting the context for the case report the following examples show how Web mining could potentially benefit ELearning. (1) Understand learner behavior University administrators and instructors may be able to improve the implementation of Elearning systems by understanding the dynamic behavior of students in the Web systems. 2) Determine Elearning system effectiveness: Patterns of behavior may be associated with system performance and enable more customized system configuration. Administrators and instructors may be able to discover high and low use areas of the Elearning system and adjust resources to optimize the technical performance of the system. (3) Measure the success of instructional efforts: In Elearning systems, students use email, the Web forum, feedback forms, etc. to express their concerns and ask questions. These data are completely recorded in the Elearning system. Web mining can provide quantitative feedback to instructors about the outcomes of their activity.
These 3 examples show how Web mining could provide new insights about student activity in CMS and to address information needs as well as suggest customization of approaches for implementing Elearning by administrators and instructors. The examples illustrate how, although we are in the early stages of understanding the use of Web mining in ELearning, broad and rich benefits may accrue from better understanding patterns of behavior in CMS through the use of techniques such as Web mining.
Web mining has been most often used for developing business and marketing intelligence. For example, Web mining is frequently used by online retailers to leverage their online customer data in order to predict customer behavior. The business benefits that Web mining brings to digital service providers include personalization, collaborative filtering, enhanced customer support, product and service strategy definition, particle marketing (marketing or customizing a product for one customer) and fraud detection. In sum, the objectives and benefits are the ability to become more customer centric by delivering the best and most appropriate service to individual customers at the most appropriate moment. There are several efforts to develop Web mining algorithms and systems for ebusiness. Chakrabarti (1998) made pioneering efforts in Web structure mining that is an examination of the use of hyperlinks and document structure. However, these Web structure approaches only took into account hyperlink
information and paid little attention to the Web content. Cooley, Mobasher, and Srivastava (1997)
illustrated that Web usage mining is an excellent approach for achieving the goal of making dynamic recommendations to a Web user based on his/her profile of usage. This behavioral data has been useful for applications like crosssales and upsales in ecommerce.
Buchner and Mulvenna (1998) presented a
knowledge discovery process to identify marketing intelligence from Web data. Based on three
classification labels with “non customer”, “visitor once” and “visitor regular”, the company could provide a special offer to attract potential online shoppers. The company also used association rules and sequential patterns to discover customer navigation behavior so that online shoppers who followed certain paths could be rewarded for their loyalty to the Web site. Padmanabhan (1998) used Web server logs to generate beliefs about the patterns of accessing Web pages for a given Web site. Padmanabhan identified 15 beliefs about the data in three groups: “(1) Usage of coupons, e.g. “young shoppers with high income tend not to use coupons”. (2) Purchase of diet vs. regular drinks, e.g., “shoppers in households with children tend to purchase regular beverages more than diet”. (3) Day of shopping, e.g. “professionals tend to shop more on weekends than on weekdays”. Relative to Web mining activity in business, there has not been much Web or data mining application in education. However, some work is available to inform our efforts. One study (Luan, 2002) focused on student enrollments in community colleges, and reports a case study in which data mining was used to monitor and predict community college students’ transfer to fouryear institutions. The model developed in this case study represents a profile of students who have transferred so as to predict which students
currently enrolled in a community college are likely to transfer. These predictions allow the college to personalize and time their interactions and interventions with these students, who may need certain assistance and support. In this case study, Luan selected a set of features to investigate: · Demographics: age, gender, ethnicity, high school, zip codes, planned employment
hours, education status at initial enrollment · Financial aid
· Transfer status (doubled as the reference variable)
· Vocational, basic skill, science, and liberal arts courses taken
· Total units earned and grade points by course type
Luan showed how data mining could be applied to the college data on an annual basis so that the model could be used to repeatedly monitor student transfer status. Across a range of data mining analyses, the accuracy rate for predicting students who had transferred was at least 77.5%, and the rate for predicting students who would not transfer was at least 70.0%. (The number of students in the dataset is 32 thousand.) The potential of Web or data mining for efficiently drawing insights from educational records and supporting and informing practices in education seems quite substantial, but is still virtually unexplored. In the following table, the first 2 columns show how Luan matched questions that are frequently asked in the business world with likely counterparts for education. The third column was added by the authors and shows possible extensions of these questions that may be appropriate for looking at ELearning
Table 1. Comparison of data mining questions in business, education and elearning.
Given the limited use of Web mining in education and the potential benefits to online education of making it more student centric that might emerge from effective utilization of Web mining, we set two research goals for this project: (1) to see if patterns of behavior could be used to predict achievement in online learning in a set of CMS data, and (2) to develop a better understanding about the process of applying Web mining to Elearning systems, as well as the constraints of using datasets from existing current versions of CMS. While Web mining is a recognized approach for building knowledge and value in business and commercial information systems, its application in education is not well understood. In this sense, this research is primarily exploratory and while the objective is to build new insights about learning activity, an equally important objective is to examine the fit of Web mining approaches to CMS. What are the challenges in extracting data from CMS and applying Web mining approaches? What strategies for data formatting and data analysis are needed for building meaningful insights? What changes are needed in CMS or Web mining solutions to improve the yield of Web mining in Eleaning systems? A key outcome of this research will be suggestions for understanding how best to utilize Web mining in Elearning. The Web mining approaches applied in this study will focus on understanding learner behavior. For example, we will examine student profiles, frequency of access to learning resources, the clustering of students with similar patterns and the cross relationship of student behaviors.
Process and Approaches
Web mining is a multistage process that requires understanding how data are stored, formatted and accessed within a data set, and work stages of selection, preprocessing, transformation and mining. These processes are described below using WebCT as an illustrative context.
Selection These data are obtained from the course management system “WebCT”. The principle forms of data in WebCT are shown below:
(1) The User Profile holds the demographic data of students including user ID, gender, academic level, etc. These data can be accessed via the student management tool in WebCT.
(2) Usage data represent access to Web pages. These data items include IP address, page reference, time of access, etc. The access log file is the major source of usage data for Web mining in WebCT. (3) Structure describes the hierarchy of Web pages, primarily linking of the content. The data for representing structure can be collected from different data source locations: server side, client side, proxy server and database. In WebCT, the data are obtained from the server side.
Preprocessing This step primarily includes data cleaning. There are several steps in the data cleaning process. First, all the entries of the images (graphs) have to be removed from the file because they are not included in the pattern discovery. Second, the entries with HTTP status code such as 404 which means, “resource not
found on the server” are deleted. Third, the requests from the Web proxy are removed. The reason for excluding requests from the Web proxy is that they are mechanisms that take the place of the server answering the client’s request, and no insight into user behavior can be identified from them.
The data are transformed into formats that can be used by the different mining applications. Here are the most common steps in the transformation process: user identification, session identification, traversal path completion, and learning activity mapping. Integration with other data such as a backend database can also be considered.
Mining There are various data mining techniques such as statistics, classification, association rules, sequential patterns, and clustering which can apply to the Web domain. Classification is the form of data mining used in this study and is a technique that uses a set of preclassified
examples to develop a model that can classify the population of records. There are many algorithms for classification such as decision tree,
neural network classification, etc. The classification algorithm starts with a training set of predefined example transactions. The classifier training algorithm uses these predefined
examples to determine the set of parameters required for proper discrimination. The algorithm encodes these parameters into a model called a classifier. After an effective classifier is developed, it will be used in a predictive mode to classify new records into these same predefined
classes. For instance, one classifier that is capable of identifying student performance could be used to help in the decision of whether to provide a specific recommendation to an individual student. In this study, the decision tree software C4.5 (Quinlan, 1993) is used, which is shown in detail in the case report. C4.5 is an algorithm introduced by Quinlan for inducing Decision Trees from data.
In this research, the population is the undergraduate students in a large enrollment course of a research university in the Midwest. A binary decision tree was built to classify the access log file from a course on WebCT. The course was a blended course (face to face and online). The total number of the students in this course was 748.
The course data were examined to identify which and to what extent student behaviors and attributes could predict grades. One form of predictor used in the study was seasonality which is a term used to represent periodic variations over time. An example of seasonality is that sales vary throughout a year and peak during the Christmas season. One of the key contributions of this study is the inclusion of seasonal effect as an educational attribute and comparisons among different sample sizes of training data for determining a good classifier.
Results and Discussion
One challenge in Web usage mining by classification is that it is difficult to identify the better attributes before building the classifier. This is confounded in online learning because the WebCT file system does not hold data in ways that are easily associated with important educational constructs. For example, there is no representation of the URL for some function pages such as discussion page, etc. and the URL hierarchy is simple, which means the depths of links on a page may not be well represented. To address these issues the researcher must construct plausible variables from the WebCT logs. For example, the variable Access Period was constructed to represent the distinction between student’s access to the system between midnight and 8:00 AM and other access between 8:00 AM and midnight.
Similarly, “Test date” represents whether an entry of the log file was recorded on the date when there was a test, and “Lecturing date” represents whether an entry of the log file was recorded on the date when there was a lecture. After examining the available information on the WebCT site, attributes were constructed for this study: test date, lecturing date, college, academic level and the others shown in
In this research, we explained the use of Web mining approaches in CMS and identified some illustrative learning patterns that can be found by using Webmining
approaches. Although some interesting patterns were found, the exploratory state of Web mining tools in education suggests replication and confirmation from other forms of research to build a context for understanding and drawing implications from the data. The primary findings of this research are to suggest that Web mining can be an approach that educational researchers can use, and when combined with other forms of data collection has potential for adding to the way we build knowledge about Elearning. A second contribution of the current study is to draw
implications for how to improve the process of Web mining elearning data sets.
The current research has shown that Web mining has promise for identifying patterns within the large datasets of CMS that may be valuable for teaching and learning. One implication of these patterns is that some form of personalization may be possible and may lead to improved learning and teaching processes. For example, student achievement might be improved if a software agent could monitor patterns of student activity and match those patterns with patterns associated with high performing students and then trigger mechanisms such as making suggestions to students and instructors for changing behaviors. These results and our ability to use Web mining in Elearning are quite preliminary, and there is a need for further exploration and possible adaptation of the forms and usage of Web mining to best suit education.
Posted by tutorial for elerning at 11:15 PM 0 comments
Marilah kita belajar dari orang ini, dia bersahaja, kaya, super pintar tapi tampil bersahaja dan sederhana
Akhirnya dominasi Bill Gates memudar juga. Setelah 13 tahun berturut-turut bercokol sebagai orang terkaya di dunia versi majalah Forbes, pendiri raksasa peranti lunak Microsoft itu tergeser juga dari tahtanya. Tahun ini, orang terkaya sejagad adalah Warren Buffett, seorang pebisnis dan investor yang ketajaman pikirannya amat luar biasa sehingga ia diibaratkan sebagai perpaduan antara fisikawan Einstein, seniman Picasso dan raja kaya raya pencipta koin emas Croesus, dalam satu tubuh.
( sumber : http://www.sudutpandang.com/ )
Warrent Buffett - foto diambil dari majalah Adbuster
Berikut ini adalah wawancara yang pernah ia lakukan dengan CNBC.
Dalam wawancara tersebut ditemukan beberapa aspek menarik dari hidupnya :
Ia membeli saham pertamanya pada umur 11 tahun dan ia sekarang menyesal karena tidak memulainya dari masih muda.
Pesan : Anjurkan anak anda untuk berinvestasi [ Encourage your children to invest ]
Ia membeli sebuah kebun yang kecil pada umur 14 tahun dengan uang tabungan yang didapatinya dari hasil mengirimkan .
Pesan : Dorong Anak Anda untuk mulai belajar berbisnis [ Encourage your children to start some kind of business ]
Ia masih hidup di sebuah rumah dengan 3 kamar berukuran kecil di pusat kota Ohama, yang ia beli setelah ia menikah 50 tahun yang lalu.
Ia berkata bahwa ia mempunyai segala yang ia butuhkan dalam rumah itu.
Meskipun rumah itu tidak ada pagarnya.
Pesan : Jangan membeli apa yang tidak dibutuhkan, dan dorong Anak Anda berbuat yang sama. [ Don’t buy more than what you “really need” and encourage your children to do and think the same ]
Ia selalu mengemudikan mobilnya seorang diri jika hendak bepergian dan ia tidak mempunyai seorang supir ataupun keamanan pribadi.
Pesan : Jadilah apa adanya. [ You are what you are ]
Ia tidak pernah bepergian dengan pesawat jet pribadi, walaupun ia memiliki perusahaan pembuat pesawat jet terbesar di dunia.
Pesan : Berhematlah [ Always think how you can accomplish things economically ]
Berkshire Hathaway, perusahaan miliknya, memiliki 63 anak perusahaan.
Ia hanya menuliskan satu pucuk surat setiap tahunnya kepada para CEO dalam perusahaannya, menyampaikan target yang harus diraih untuk tahun itu.
Ia tidak pernah mengadakan rapat atau menelpon mereka secara reguler.
Pesan : Tugaskan pekerjaan kepada orang yang tepat [ Assign the right people to the right jobs ]
Ia hanya memberikan 2 peraturan kepada para CEOnya.
Peraturan nomor satu adalah : Jangan pernah sekalipun menghabiskan uang para pemilik saham.
Peraturan nomor dua : Jangan melupakan peraturan nomor satu.
Pesan : Buat Tujuan yang jelas dan yakinkan mereke untuk fokus ke tujuan. [ Set goals and make sure people focus on them ]
Ia tidak bersosialisasi dengan masyarakat kalangan kelas atas.
Waktu luangnya di rumah ia habiskan dengan menonton televisi sambil makan pop corn.
Pesan : Jangan Pamer, Jadilah diri sendiri & nikmati apa yang kamu lakukan [ Don’t try to show off, just be your self and do what you enjoy doing ]
Bill Gates, orang terkaya di dunia bertemu dengannya untuk pertama kalinya 5 tahun yang lalu.
Bill Gates pikir ia tidak memiliki keperluan yang sangat penting dengan Warren Buffet, maka ia mengatur pertemuan itu hanya selama 30 menit.
Tetapi ketika ia bertemu dengannya, pertemuan itu berlangsung selama 10 jam dan Bill Gates tertarik untuk belajar banyak dari Warren Buffet.
Warren Buffet tidak pernah membawa handphone dan di meja kerjanya tidak ada komputer.
Berikut ini adalah nasihatnya untuk orang-orang yang masih muda:
Hindarilah dan berinvestasilah untuk diri Anda sendiri dan ingat :
Uang tidak menciptakan orang tetapi oranglah yang menciptakan uang.
Hiduplah secara sederhana.
Jangan selalu lakukan apa yang orang lain katakan, dengarkanlah mereka, namun lakukan apa yang menurut Anda baik.
Jangan memaksakan diri untuk memiliki barang-barang bermerk, pakailah apa yang sekiranya nyaman bagi Anda.
Jangan memboroskan uang Anda untuk hal-hal yang tidak diperlukan;
gunakanlah uang untuk membantu mereka yang kekurangan.
Biar bagaimana pun orang lain tetap tidak dapat mengatur hidup Anda sendiri.
Andalah yang mengendalikan hidup Anda sepenuhnya.
Minumlah Softdrink dengan Bijak
Perlu dibaca Macam-macam manfaat Softdrink!
Macam2 kegunaan Soft Drink!
1. Untuk membersihkan toilet :
Tuangkan sekaleng Coca-Cola ke dalam toilet.
Tunggu sejam, kemudian siram sampai bersih.
Asam sitric dalam Coca-Cola menghilangkan noda-
noda dari keramik
2. Untuk membersihkan radiator mobil :
Campur sekaleng Coca-Cola ke dalam karburator.
Panaskan mesin 15-30 menit.
Dinginkan mesin, setelah itu buang air karburator.
Anda akan melihat karat yang rontok bersama air tersebut.
3. Untuk menghilangkan titik-titik karat dari bumper /chrome mobil:
Gosok bumper dengan gumpalan alumunium foil
yang direndam dalam Coca-Cola
4. Untuk membersihkan korosi dari terminal aki mobil :
Tuangkan sekaleng Coca-Cola di atas terminal aki
untuk membersihkan korosi.
5. Untuk melonggarkan baut yang berkarat :
Gosokkan kain yang direndam dalam Coca-Cola
pada baut yang berkarat.
6. Untuk menghilangkan noda-noda lemak pada pakaian :
Tuangkan sekaleng Coca-Cola ke dalam tumpukan
cucian yang bernoda lemak, tambahkan detergent,
dan putar dengan putaran normal.
Coca-cola/Pepsi akan menolong menghilangkan noda lemak.
Untuk Perhatian Kita
PH rata-rata dari soft drink,
a.l. Coca-Cola & Pepsi adalah 3.4..
Tingkat keasaman ini cukup kuat untuk melarutkan gigi dan tulang!
Tubuh kita berhenti menumbuhkan tulang pada usia sekitar 30th.
Setelah itu tulang akan larut setiap tahun melalui urine tergantung dari tingkat keasaman
makanan yang masuk.
Semua Calcium yg larut berkumpul di dalam arteri,urat nadi, kulit, urat daging dan organ,
yang mempengaruhi fungsi ginjal dalam membantu pembentukan batu ginjal.
Soft drinks tidak punya nilai gizi (dalam hal vitamin dan mineral).
Mereka punya kandungan gula lebih tinggi, lebih asam, dan banyak zat aditif seperti
pengawet dan pewarna.
Sementara orang suka meminum soft drink dingin setelah makan,
coba tebak apa akibatnya? Akibatnya?
Tubuh kita mempunyai suhu optimum 37 supaya enzim pencernaan berfungsi.
Suhu dari soft drink dingin jauh di bawah 37,terkadang mendekati 0.
Hal ini mengurangi keefektivan dari enzim dan memberi tekanan pada sistem pencernaan
kita,mencerna lebih sedikit makanan.
Bahkan makanan tersebut difermentasi.
Makanan yang difermentasi menghasilkan bau, gas, sisa busuk dan racun, yang diserap
oleh usus, diedarkan oleh darah ke seluruh tubuh.
Penyebaran racun ini mengakibatkan pembentukan macam-macam penyakit.
Beberapa bulan lalu, ada sebuah kompetisi di Universitas Delhi :
Siapa dapat minum Coca-Cola paling banyak??
Pemenangnya meminum 8 botol dan mati seketika karena kelebihan Karbondioksida
dalam darah dan kekurangan oksigen..
Setelah itu, Rektor melarang semua soft drink di semua kantin universitas.
Seseorang menaruh gigi patah di dalam botol pepsi, dan dalam 10 hari gigi tersebut
Gigi dan tulang adalah satu-satunya organ manusia tetap utuh selama tahunan
setelah manusia mati
Bayangkan apa yang dilakukan minuman tersebut pada usus dan lapisan perut kita yang halus!