Thursday, September 27, 2007

Week 3, Dr. Paulus Comment Response

This is in response to an article I discussed back in week 3. Although I did not write much I received a two paragraph response (see week 3’s comments) when Dr. Bonk set my comments to Dr. Trena Paulus at the University of Tennessee. First, I must make a correction, she is correct; it was not a survey it was a study utilizing discourse analysis procedures. I miss wrote, I apologize. However, I am not going to concede that she at least endorsed that synchronous is a better forum than asynchronous.

In the last paragraph of the Introduction she introduced Davidson-Shivers (2001) and Chou (2001) who found “… more responding, reacting, and supportive talk in chat.” Using Fisher and Coleman (2001-2002) “… (synchronous) afforded community building among their distance learners.” Armitt, Slack, Green & Beer (2002) were quoted “…synchronous chat, in contrast to asynchronous discussions, affords “immediate clarification and the development of thought.” (p.9) Levin et al (2006) found learners reached higher levels synchronously.
Those are not her words BUT she does not rebut or dispute them as she does with asynchronous learning. In the third paragraph of the Introduction she talks about asynchronous drawbacks, not once does she challenge synchronous. I can only conclude that she supports the authors siding with synchronous.

As for the grades, although she only has course grades as an achievement record, it is mentioned only orange and plum received the highest grades. Orange and plum were the only teams to use all media. I concluded the article was trying to convey the more forums used the better, apparently not.

It was a good article but I obviously walked away with more than I was suppose to.

Monday, September 24, 2007

R685 Week 5 Reflection

New Learner Roles: Expectations, Issues, Dilemmas, and Resolutions

I am going to start this week with the class discussion as we talked about instruction in an “e” environment. We were broken into groups and conducted a colloquium on the acronym IRISE or Issues, Roles, Incentives, Support, and Expectations. Each group presented and the group that gave the best presentations won the book Learning at the Back Door by Charles Weidermeyer. Well, as you probably guessed the support team (Sharon, Nunthika, and I) won but really only because we were the only ones to give a skit. The others just presented from their seats. Except Dr. Bonk’s group but company family mbrs were not eligible. I am glad I held off buying the book that was a nice prize.

This week we focus our attention to the learners. All the studies focused on smaller children through high school. The first was a Report – “Are they really ready for work?” I had a tough time with this article because it placed so much focus on an excellent response. People with a high school diploma received mostly a rating of adequate of being prepared for employment and were not rated excellent in any category. I think adequate is fine, we cannot please everyone and the education system does not have time to focus on an excellent. If they are working then they are ready. Yes, it would be nice for every kid that walks through the door to have been to “Student Council Camp in Leadership” but not a reality. Two-Year and 4 year institutions did better on the “excellent ratings” (mostly 4 year) – duh.

Next was a Pew Study on the Teens and Technology. I thought this was pretty good and gave a good description of what America’s youth were doing. The main concepts I got out of the study were:

· 7th Grade is the break fm technology innocence to indulgence (my words)
· Children are still active in other non-technological activities
· Would rather spend time WITH friends rather than call, IM, email, or text them.
· IM is the preferred method of communication (in this study)

Then from the Kaiser Family comes another 145 page of love on the same topic but this one is packed with great info. To sum it up:

· A typical American kid lives in a home with “3 TV sets, 3 CD/tape players, two video game consoles, and a computer. The TV received cable or satellite and probably has premium channels.” (p.10)
· If grades are high reading is also high
· Parents who exhibit some control of media the kids have 1:50 less exposure time a day.

There was a lot more in this study but it could be a paper unto itself. I just thought the relationship with parental oversight had direct effect on exposure which may affect reading wich lead to better grade. As a parent I severely limit my children to the TV and it is nice to see, in print, there is a benefit because as a parent I am always questioning that decision.

The tidbit I read was on ETS coming out with a technology usability test – good for them.


Cassner-Lotto, Jill, & Wright Benner, Mary (2006). Report: Are they really ready to work?: Employers perspectives on the basic knowledge and applied skills of new entrants to the 21st century U.S. workforce. The Partnership for 21st Century; Retrieved June 21, 2007, from

Lenhart, Amanda, Madden, Mary, & Hitlin, Paul (2005). Teens and technology: Youth are leading the transition to a fully wired and mobile nation. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Report. Retrieved on November 3rd, 2006 from

Roberts, Donald F., Foehr, Ulla G., & Rideout, Victoria (2005). Generation M: Media in the lives of 8-18 year-olds. Washington, DC: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved November 27, 2006, from


Pope, Justin (2006, February 2). New ETS exam tries to measure students’ “information literacy.” News. Retrieved June 21, 2007, from

Sunday, September 16, 2007

R685 Week 4

Online Instructor Roles, Training, Incentives, and Supports

The following readings are for the 17 September class. Before I delve into the readings I want to discuss class a bit more as I did not much in my previous post. The class was interesting esp. with the controversy George Siemens stirred. Dr. Bonk used the You Tube Video “The machine is Us/ing us” to so how a Professor Michael Wesch at Kansas State University teaches, and is not a bad tutorial of web 2.0 and where we are going. Anyway, it was all wrapped up when Dr. Bonk sent the questions we posed to Mr. Siemens and he responded. I liked his responses (but still do not necessarily agree). Mr. Siemens is very much aware of the controversy and embraces a “good chat” about it. Thanks Dr. Bonk for taking our discussion to a different level. I always wondered when discussing material when I was in my foundations course why we debated what the author thought. Most of these people are still around why don’t we ask them? Dr. Bonk, again, thanks.

The readings this week are focused on the benefits and challenges of web learning. The Wingard study was interesting because it polled instructors that were suppose to be more familiar with educational technology. The studies found that although online takes more time and a social aspect is lost, the learners are more engaged, relay learning to practice almost immediately, and the instructors use the web for pragmatic and pedagogical reasons ie. delivery of material, changes, and able to post more advanced models to the web. It seems the benefits outweigh the problems (the problems are being solved with blended learning and more social software). What is different with this other articles is the push to utilize an instructional designer. I lied; it was also discussed in Dr. Parker’s article that stated instead of additional pay, online instructors were given technical and design support. I think that is a good deal although the time commitment is great for an online instructor if the technology and instructional design responsibilities were stripped the course would be more manageable.

The JALN article and the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration (OJDLA) both related to a survey of online MBA professors. Again, the same issues can out, not social enough BUT the learners are very engaged AND able to put learning to practice. In the JALN article they brought Salmon’s idea that facilitators are “weavers” and need to fill this role in an online environment. If the facilitator cannot “weave” the class is going to be less than exceptional. It was proposed the instructor has pedagogical role (as described above), a social role, a managerial role, and a technical role. Each of these areas was discussed more thoroughly but shows how being an online instructor is very complex, even more than a “live” facilitator. The OJDLA article again took 28 online professors and interviewed each. Although some classes were trouble at times overall it is a successful program. Again, assistance in instructional design and technology will go a long way.

The tidbits were about an online instructor from Penn State and show how much time it takes to run an online class (started at 0430). He was an extreme case as he had over 200 students that is a lot to handle, however, again (reoccurring theme) he had help from a technical assistant. The other was “Teach in your Pajamas” which gave ideas of how to develop and how to deliver an online class. I thought it was pretty good even for being 5 years old. If even a few of the items were used I think it would be a successful class. The theme I heard here was feedback. She was always referring to ways to get feedback and tweaking the class to the suggestions. Let the learner drive…

Robin G. Wingard (2004). Classroom teaching changes in Web-enhanced courses: A multi-Institutional Study. Educause Quarterly, 27(1).

Liu, X., Bonk, C. J., Magjuka, R. J., Lee, S. H., & Su, B. (2005). Exploring four dimensions of online instructor roles: A program level case study. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks. 9(4), pp. 29-48. and

Liu, S., Kim, K-J., Bonk, C. J., & Magjuka, R. (2007). Benefits, barriers, and suggestions: What did online MBA professors say about online teaching? Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 10(2), see

Angie Parker (2003, Fall). Motivation and Incentives for Distance Faculty. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 6(3),


Chronicle of Higher Education (2002). The 24 hour professor:

Karen Hyder (2002). Teach in Your Pajamas: Becoming a Synchronous E-Trainer. The E-Learning Developer’s Journal.

R685 Week 3

This week instead of presenting what the web its potentials are we are entering some controversy. I read the Connectivism article by George Siemens and was a bit taken aback by the theory that he proposed. Although I did not have a full grasp of the concept until we discussed it thoroughly in class I knew I did not like the introduction of a new theory.

Sidebar: Why does everyone have to propose a new theory? Almost every week I read of someone trying to tell me we need a new theory. We need to stay current and we need change but the models we have now can be worked with and made better. If you want to propose a new theory or model hook your hitch to constructivism, which has yet to be defined.

Anyway, as clarified in class Mr. Siemens proposes the theory of Connectivism. Now, after learning a bit more he is not the first to propose this theory but appears to be, currently, the loudest. The basics of the theory it is not the learner that learns but a “node.” A node can be a learner but it also can be a database, server, etc. any “thought” (thoughts being defined by Vyogotsy as “not a thought until it has been spoken,” Mr. Siemens referred to this often). We discussed this in class and most believed, as Dr. Bonk stated, that this stuff is nothing new that has not been presented before. However, it is intriguing that the network learns but Dr. Bonk brought up a great point by stating if the leaner does not learn then it is in all probability not a psychological theory but may be a sociological one. The idea is the network is there with the information if we need it. This sounds like JIT or cognitive assistance, not learning.

The other articles read were on the Pew Institute’s survey of bloggers. This was very interesting but I question the credibility with a low respondent rate (n = 422). The biggest things I got from this survey is it is mostly suburban kinds (<30), not necessarily white, that like to talk about themselves, and most likely do not get paid. This is a good segue into Steven Downes article on blogging. What caught me off guard was the introduction where every Fifth Grader had a blog and was checking and updating it at school. He is right, as well as everyone else I have read, this is the future and these kids will expect to learn in this way. Finally this also goes well with my tidbit this week from Will Richardson taking about blogging and RSS. He, again correctly, argues that blogs are now and should be used in education. In addition, by using RSS one can manage and benefit from a large amount of constantly refreshed content.

From the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication I read an article by Trena Paulus fm the University of Tennessee. She did a survey of 10 groups learning online. The one thing I found interesting is it was relayed that asynchronous discussions were not as valuable as synchronous. However, what was not as surprising is the groups that received the highest grade used email, asynchronous, and synchronous to complete the assigned tasks.

Siemens, George (2006, November 12). Connectivism: Learning theory of pastime for the self-amused? Retrieved July 11, 2007, from

Lenhart, Amanda, & Fox, Susannah (2006, July 19). Bloggers: Portrait of America’s new storytellers. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Report. Retrieved on July 9, 2007, from:

Special Issue on Blogging: Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 12(4), Retrieved July 30, 2007, from (16 articles to choose from).

Downes, Stephen (2004, September/October). Educational blogging, EDUCAUSE Review, 39(5), 14–26. Retrieved August 27, 2006, from

Richardson, W. (2004). Blogging and RSS — The "what's it?" and "how to" of powerful new web tools for educators. MultiMedia & Internet@Schools, 11(1). Retrieved Feb 8th, 2006 from

Thursday, September 6, 2007

R685 Week 2 Reflection

The Emergence of Blended Learning

This week’s topic was on blended learning. I have to initiate this entry with two pieces of important instruction obtained from the classroom. First, the definition of blended learning which is simply utilizing both face-to-face (F2F) instruction with online instruction. The second is IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW MUCH TO BLEND TO BE EFFECTIVE. Dr. Bonk was adamant in this point and does not understand why we would place percentages and definitions on what is F2F, blended, or completely online such as the SLOAN Institute has. The important thing is that blended (or hybrid to us military types) is utilized because more and more studies show blended is better as explained the readings for this week.

First I read two chapters from the book, Handbook of Blended Learning (Bonk & Graham (2004). This book is a culmination of multiple authors and views from business, government, and education explaining how blended learning is used and impacting each area. Graham gives the introduction and does a good job summing up the book and evoking interest in what is to come. He immediately takes the above definition on what blended is and which leaves no ambiguity for the reader. Also, he comes out with an amazing fact (supported by Dr. Bonk’s chapter) that in higher ed 80-90% of all courses are some sort of blended learning. This was amazing to me but taken into context it is more realistic because this includes those who have only posted a syllabus to the web. Graham goes on to discuss a hierarchal model of blending from instructor thru the instruction then segues into the challenges which are:

· Live interaction,
· Learner choice and self-regulation
· Balance between, innovation and production,
· Cultural adaptation, and
· Dealing with the digital divide. (Bonk & Graham (2004))

The whole idea of this chapter, and maybe the book, was when Graham stated, “It may even become so ubiquitous that we will eventually drop the word “blended” and just call it learning.”

The Chapter that Dr. Bonk co-authored with Kim and Zeng brought in an updated survey to MERLOT, WCET, and WLH members. There was an education survey and a second corporate survey. What immediately jumps out is the current usage of sort of blend in both areas. Currently, 93% of higher ed and 86% in the corporate arena use some sort of blend in the learning/training. These numbers are surprising even though I expected the results that both areas are moving to more blended approaches and most expect to grow in the near and distance future. In addition, the surveys brought forth what the respondents thought would be the most important technologies in the future. In higher ed the top three are; reusable content objects, wireless technologies, and peer-to-peer collaboration tools. In the corporate world the top three were knowledge management tools, online simulations, and wireless technologies. Both are no surprise to me. They then go on to identify trends in blended learning

1. Mobile Blended Learning
2. Greater Visualization, Individualization, and Hands-on Learning
3. Self-Determined Blended Learning
4. Increased Connectedness, Community, and Collaboration
5. Increased Authenticity and On-Demand Learning
6. Linking Work and Learning
7. Changed Calendaring
8. Blended Learning Course Designations
9. Changed Instructor Roles
10. The Emergence of Blended Learning Specialists (Bonk & Graham (2004))

All of these are have, are, or will happen within education.

I then read an article by Ellen Cohn discussing the practice of instructors developing one web site for each class. She equated this to the monochromatic model that has been in place when it should be polychromatic. She offers these solutions:
  • “ One Web site, successive courses,
  • Two instructors, two classes, one course,
  • Master instructor, consortium-based courses,
  • One Web site, demographically diverse student cohorts,
  • Student-stakeholder/mentor interactions,
  • Student-alumni interactions, and
  • Interdisciplinary learning opportunities”

I agree with her article. It is more instructor centric but if web 2.0 is to be about “sharing” and efficiency streamlining the delivery of instruction would definitely be in this realm.
I read two tidbits again this week the first was blended learning models described by Purnima Valiathan where a skill, attitude, and competency driven models were discussed. The second was by Bersin & Associates stating that blended IS the next big thing. A few take-aways from this one are, it is a lower cost/high impact method, the most simple and most effective is to “sandwich” the technology with the classic learning, and it is not necessarily an easy process but the rewards can be huge.

We are going to be starting a Wiki Book in the near future. I do not yet know my topic but am shooting for “emerging technologies in the military.” It is general but focused in my area, the Coast Guard. I will start posting some of the material and timeline here.

Articles Read:

Graham, C. R. (2006). Chapter 1: Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, future directions. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.). Handbook of blended learning: Global Perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.

Bonk, C. J., & Kim, K. J. (2006). Chapter 39: Future directions of blended learning in higher education and workplace learning settings. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.). Handbook of blended learning: Global Perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.

Cohn, E. R. (2004). One course, one Web site—of course? Maybe not! EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 27(2), 6-7. Retrieved October 4, 2006, from


1. Blended learning models (corporate); Purnima Valiathan (2002, August):

2. Blended learning: What works (Josh Bersin, 2003): (similar article at Chief Lnrg Officer Mag

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

R685 Week 1 Reflection

Explosion of Online Programs, Universities, Courses, and Reports

The world of technology has evolved rapidly which is readily prevalent in the education realm. The increase of usable applications within an education setting is not only quantifiably large but is VIABLE. Most of these applications work and can enhance learning and accommodate any schedule. The question arises why is it not more prevalent? Well, it is! Go on the internet and I bet you will see an ad for e-learning. Talk to people at your office and there is a good chance most of them are taking classes on-line. It is a revolution, either you’re with us or against us...
The first article I read was by Dr. Bonk, The Perfect E-Storm 1 and 2. Within this very interesting article (which he claims he should have made a book) he describes 4 looming storm systems that are converging and when they do, there will be this turbulent storm where some will die and some will thrive (a bit of an embellishment but the concept is sound). The “storms” described are emerging technology, enormous learner demand, enhanced pedagogy, and erased budgets. The article was published by the Observatory in two parts, Storm 1 & 2, and Storm 3 &4.

In the first part he discusses emerging technologies and learner demand. Within the learner technologies he individually discusses 30 learning technologies and readily acknowledges there are more, some include reusable learning, objects, massive multi player online games, tablet PCs, virtual worlds, plus 26 more. Then the article explains more general aspects of emerging technologies like, adventure learning, mentoring, and the impact on online learning. He also includes a survey conducted with participants of MERLOT and WLH asking about emerging technology trends that is referenced throughout the article. The point is, technologies are not restrained but he raises the question; is it too much? The second was learner demand which has grown exponentially since 1999 and quantify is the findings with statistics from the US and Internationally. Most have seen a nearly 1000% increase. So, obviously there is a thirst for online learning throughout the world.

Storm 3 talks about online pedagogy and the ways learning can be brought to and even from the learners, on-line. He boils these pedagogies to asynchronous a synchronous and gives a table outlining strategies related to the amount of risk, time, and cost giving a low, medium or high ranking. Utilizing this table an instructor can manipulate what type of instruction delivery is desirable to the factors stated. As stated in the conclusion this has potential as a very useful tool for those in remote or underprivileged settings where low risk, time, and cost can be implemented but have extreme returns. The final storm is decreased budgets which have fueled a movement to online learning as it is seen as a low cost alternative. He states that 70% of US institutions charge residency rates to online learners. Also, as budgets are cut there is a movement toward using and developing open source software for the world to use which obviously will lower the cost of e-learning.

The next article I read was Thirty Two Trends Affecting Distance Education: An informed Foundation for Strategic Planning by Howell, Williams, and Lindsay. Within this article they were informing future teachers and administrators where technology in education was heading. In fact they quoted Beaudoin (2003) saying; “to be informed and enlightened enough to ask fundamental questions that could well influence their institutions future viability.” Although I do not think this article brought “enlightenment” but it does a great job outlining trends in student/enrollment, faculty, academic, technology, economic, and distance learning. It does well condensing and delivering where education was moving. They again brought up the theme of “vision” quoting Bates (2000) saying “the biggest challenge (in distance education) is the lack of vision and the failure to use technology strategically.” I agree.

Garrison (2000) discussed distance education’s roots and transformation. He focused on theory and the need or not to grasp onto a central theme in distance learning which nearly lost my interest. I do not think we need a central theory to “dance around” to make distance learning work. He does concede that although there continues to be no central theory (do to rapid evolution) the theories of the future “will demand theories reflect a collaborative approach to distance education.” However, I enjoyed reading the article as he discussed the theories of the distance learning pioneers like Charles Weidemyer (independent study, British Open University through Articulated Instructional Media (AIM)), Otto Peters (industrial production model, self-learning, tele-learning, and social intercourse), Borje Holmberg (guided didactic conversation), Michael Moore (transactional distance), Garrison (producing many “real two-way communication”), and Henri (five dimension analytical model. All had their positives but had flaws also because, as stated, this continues to be a rapid moving field.

I also read two tidbits As We May Think by Vannevar Bush was an article produced in 1945 and was amazing to read the technologies he predicted including the computer (memex), and hyperlinks for data retrieval. He did focus a lot on microfilm and photography but the idea of “prints without needing to be wet” was definitely an accurate prediction. The second was Smith’s (2004) article in EDUCAUSE where he discussed the NEED to move to a more technologically based education system. He relates the current system in a metaphor to that of the titanic saying the ship was doomed, iceberg or not, due to the recent invention of the airplane. I agree with the content of the article but was a bit “the sky is falling” for me…

The first class offered a great introduction with Dr. Bonk’s presentation of the “The World is Flat” relating to Friedman’s book of the same name. He discussed the reasons that “flattened the world” and the ten forces that flattened the world:

1. Web Search
2. Enormous E-Learning and Blended Learning
3. Open Source and Free Software
4. Leveraged Resources and Open0Course Software
5. Online Learning Objects and Portals
6. Learner Participation in Open Information Communities
7. Electronic Collaboration and Interaction
8. Alternate Reality Learning
9. Real Time Mobility and Portability
10. Networks of Personalize Learning

What I found most interesting was the concept of “sharing.” I experienced a real “ah-ha” moment when Dr. Bonk explained how everything was now shared when just a few years ago privacy of “knowledge” was the norm. Now everyone shares everything from personal lives (facebook, myspace) to school and professional work (e-portfolios). These would have been deemed “private” issues not that long ago. The move to “open” is allowing a new door to open in learning and we are only in the beginning of its potential. This first week was a real eye-opener of what the world of “e” has to offer to learning.

Articles Read:

Bonk, C. J. (2004, June). The perfect e-storm: Emerging technologies, enormous learner demand, enhanced pedagogy, and erased budgets. London: UK: The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education. (see or and

Scott L. Howell, Peter B. Williams, & Nathan K. Lindsey (2003, Fall). Thirty-two trends affecting distance education: An informed foundation for strategic planning. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 6(3).

Garrison, R. (2000). Theoretical challenges for distance education in the 21st century: A shift from structural to transactional issues. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. 1(1). Retrieved October 5, 2006, from


1. Peter Smith, (2004, May/June). Of Icebergs, Ships, and Arrogant Captains, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 3 (May/June 2004): 48–58.
2. Vannevar Bush (1945, July). As We May Think. The Atlantic Monthly; Volume 176, No. 1; pages 101-108.