Saturday, October 27, 2007

R685 Week 10 Reflection

Week 10, Online Interactivity, Engagement, and Social Presence

Last week in class we started to present content on the web supporting web 2.0. Everyone who is being graded needs to present YouTube videos or some web application. We did not get to mine so I will be doing two (see last weeks tidbits) this week. We are moving to how the web can be used in learning. Dr. Bonk brought up an interesting point how engineers want to collaborate with education professionals to deliver content over the web. This is the same with librarians. Why? Because, besides porn, that is what the web is tailored for. To deliver INFORMATION so others may KNOW or LEARN. What does this spell? E D U C A T I O N. Others see it why not education? Hey, I think we need to hitch our wagon to these partners because sooner or later they are just going to do it themselves…

For this week’s readings, Nora Jones kicks it off with a study of 5 online courses from Wales. The first thing I found interesting is Wales is “Objective One” as determined by the EU. This means they receive extra funding, I had no idea Wales would fall anywhere in any depressed category but now I know. I need to Google Wales economics to get a quick tutorial sometime. Anyway, they utilized Gilly Salmon’s five step model used in the Open University in the UK. To make a long story short Ms. Jones found the social interaction of an online class was very important and should be first to enable cohesiveness. Although it was the 2nd Step in Salmon’s scale after “setting up system…” and “welcoming…” Salmon never gave how to socially interact. These courses chose to have a F2F meeting first then set up the system. The study only validates her hypothesis (although it was not framed as such). In my opinion, this article started out evaluating online classes and ended up evaluating Gilly Salmon.

Dr. Bonk said to read this article to “get” what this upcoming week was about and he was right. Ms. Swan has written a nice over view in her “Learning Effectiveness Online…” I also think that Dr. Bonk likes her writing is because she uses the word “stuff.” Anyway, she discusses how F2F and distance learning has proven to be “no significant differences” but argues there are differences and online learning is different. The key of the article was her call to personalization, as it was the “… key to innovation in distance learning.” She then goes into interaction with instructors, interaction with classmates, and learner interface interaction. These were talked about in the other articles I am going to discuss below but she made it very interesting by giving examples from a diverse range of online institutions. She also sums it up very well in a 3 page table that spells out the findings and the implications of each.

I do not know why everyone wants to study MBA classes but that seems or seemed to be the hot research area around 2005. Bude Su along with Dr. Bonk put out another article in the long term study of online learning effectiveness in distance MBA classes. I have read a few of these already but this is the first time I grasped the idea of “vicarious interaction.” I also liked how this article defined interaction as “process oriented” and interactivity as “feature oriented. I never thought about the difference of the two and am guilty of using them interchangeably. Well, no more! The other MBA study used a real-time case meaning a problem was presented and the students made a decision and the business went with it. It was an evolving problem solving case that differed with decisions, just like the real world. In the end students liked it and learned a lot but as opposed to the numbers the comments were not as reassuring.

The tidbit was e-conferencing instruction. It discussed what was out there beyond a basic CMS. Speaking of e-conferencing, I just used Connect (old Breeze) in one of my other classes and it sucked did not work well. Long way to go boys and girls…

Jones, N. (2005). The development of socialization in an on-line learning environment. The Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 3(3),

Su, B., Bonk, C. J., Magjuka, R., Liu, X., Lee, S. H. (2005, summer). The importance of interaction in web-based education: A program-level case study of online MBA courses. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 4(1). and

Swan, K. (2003). Learning effectiveness online: What the research tell us. In J. Bourne, & J. C. Moore (Eds.). Elements of quality online education, Practice and direction. Sloan Center for Online Education, 13-45.

Theroux, James, Carpenter, Cari, & Kilbane, Claire. (2004). Experimental online case study for a breakthrough in student engagement: Focus group results. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 8(3), retrieved July 1, 2007, from

Shi, Shufang, & Morrow, Blaine Victor (2006). E-conferencing for instruction: What works? Educause Quarterly, 29(4), pp. 22-30. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from

1 comment:

Yichun's BLOG in IST, IUB said...

Again, I learned many good structures of sentences from your article. I hope someday I can utilize them into my articles as well.
As for the differentiation of interaction and interactivity, I never thought about this before, and you remind me that learning English should always think about the word’s originality. For example, interaction comes from verb, interact, but interactivity comes from the adjective, interactive. That’s why they are different. How amazing? I seldom notice the differences; it’s really good to remind me of taking this into consideration of word choice, thank you so much.