Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching

UW-Stout Launches Online Certificate Program in E-Learning and Online Teaching

Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching courses begin in June

Do you want to learn how to:

• Motivate online learners to succeed

• Use multiple assessments to measure online learning outcomes

• Take advantage of free Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, and podcasts) for instruction

• Facilitate online discussions to foster higher order thinking skills

• Create an efficient flow of instruction using a course management system

• Blend online learning with classroom instruction

“Our new E-Learning Certificate program will benefit K-12 instructors, curriculum consultants, and administrators, as well as instructors in technical and community colleges who are interested in the essential knowledge and skills to effectively teach or train online. Clearly, having this skill set will help prepare educators to become leaders in their school’s distance learning initiatives,” said Dennis O’Connor, course author and program advisor.

Summer Registration is Available Online

Dates of Summer Online Professional Development Courses

Sign up soon to reserve your spot.

What Our Students Are Saying…

About the E-Learning and Online Teaching courses:

"The courses were an eye-opening, growing experience and provided a strong foundation for teaching online classes. The expertise of the responsive and supportive instructors was excellent. Online learning made it possible for me to complete a course from my home computer without traveling to campus."

~ K-12 Staff Development Trainer

"I loved the format. I also enjoyed the ability to try and test new tools that I had never even heard of. I liked the feedback and challenges provided by Dennis and his positive supporting nature. This class was amazing!"

~ Corporate Manager

"I have benefited most from the challenge of the 'hands-on' aspect of the course. The readings and activities have been practical and thought-provoking."

~ High School Drama Teacher

Friday, March 02, 2007

Beautiful Moodles?

If not beautiful, at least well designed: Moodle Sites with Exemplary Design Elements

This site lists exemplary Moodles from around the country that have caught the eye of whoever put this list together for the new Hampshire State Department of Education.

Moodle is like your dog, no matter how ugly you still love it. For my money, I'm not interested so much in pretty as in clean and functional. I will admit that just looking at a few examples of exemplary Moodle design from this list has convinced me that my own Moodle site (http://wiredinstructor.us) is too cluttered. My site, hosted by the ever dependible Moodlerooms.com has more than a dozen classes running or archived. I've got to get that first page to look less intimidating and busy!

Looks like at least a front page rebuild is in order!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Crazy Librarian Guy on a Soapbox: Let Us Help!

Don't get me wrong, I think that the teachers at my school are incredibly good. Many hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from the most selective and prestigious universities in the country and our student body has some of the best and brightest students in the city, but even with those wonderful (on paper at least) credentials, most teachers here (IMHO) have a woefully shallow understanding of the complexities of conducting research on the Internet.

As librarians, it is evident to us that at the root of the problem is that most people really do not understand one of the most fundamental aspects of doing quality research using online resources and that is that the Internet is NOT a single monolithic entity.

The WORLD WIDE WEB IS NOT synonymous with the Internet.

The World Wide Web (also known as the "free web" or "open web") is the part of the Internet that you search when you type a search query into a search engine like Google or Yahoo. In many cases you will find information that is "sufficient" to fulfill your information needs. This is where you go to find answers to questions like:

"What is Julie, the Mormon girl from the Real World—New Orleans, doing now?"
"What is the word that you use to refer to a whole bunch of frogs (like a gaggle of geese)?"
This is when Wikipedia can be a great friend! :-)

However, searchers should be doing a majority of their online research in a SEPARATE part of the Internet called SUBSCRIPTION DATABASES.

Most substantial research conducted by high school and college students should at least be partially completed using PAID SUBSCRITION DATABASES that are in all likelihood available through your institution's library/librarians. Subscription databases are a part of the Internet and sometimes referred to as the "deep web" or the "invisible web" because most articles from professional journals/magazines/newspapers will NOT show up in Google or Yahoo search results.

Go tell it to the Librarian!

Before you give students an assignment that requires any kind of research, let your school or academic librarians look the assignment over and ask them for feedback. Librarians will tell you if the assignment can be done reasonably or will give you some ideas about where/when your students may have difficulty locating necessary information.

If your librarians are good, they may even offer to come up with a list of resources that could be useful for you to pass on to your students! (Believe me, librarians LIVE for this stuff … otherwise we're just cataloging books and shushing people … which is just REALLY BORING! Require your students to include citations from subscription databases where solid professional peer reviewed research is most appropriate. If you are in a blended instruction environment please consider requiring students to cite PRINT sources (gasp!) if they are available. In spite of the widely held belief that everything is available online, there is MUCH information out there that is NOT YET available in digital form (it depends on your field and the topic(s) within your field of study)

Bottom line: students really need to be made comfortable using BOTH print and online sources of information.

Read more (sources from the free web … :-):

The Internet and Subscription Databases—Know the Differences Between the Open Web and Premium Databases—Available at: <<< http://www.contra-costa.lib.ca.us/researchcenter/differences_databases.pdf >>>

Is Wikipedia an Acceptable Source for College Papers? (Includes a statement from Jimmy Wales a co-founder of Wikipedia) Available at <<< http://www.williampolley.com/blog/archives/2007/02/is_wikipedia_an.html#trackbacks >>>

Thanks for letting me rant!

Dave /middle school (where in a lesson, 80% of my very high achieving 7th graders once believed that California's genetically engineered velcro crop was being threatened by a virus causing the hook and loop strips to be un-harvestable <<< http://home.inreach.com/kumbach/velcro.html >>>) AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!