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mLearning from the Perspective of Generation Y July 31, 2011

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This guest contribution was submitted by Gena Taylor. Questions and comments can be sent to genataylor@maestroelearning.com

The term “mLearning” did not exist when I was growing up (and this is coming from a twenty-two year old!) but now it is apart of my everyday life.  As a member of generation Y, I remember my first cell phone.  It was one of those big clunky Nokia phones my mom gave me when I was in the sixth grade.  Since then I’ve had flip phones, sidekicks, touch screens, blackberrys, etc. 

The cell phone has instilled itself into my daily activities.  I use it to look up movie tickets, check the weather, view email, find a local restaurant, or to navigate unfamiliar areas.  The impact is so profound that even Movado was forced to change its positioning.  It now markets Movado watches as fashion accessories, since the cell phone has become our generation’s new timepiece.

Without my cell phone, my level of productivity and multitasking would go way down.  We all know that feeling when we lose our cell phone or leave it at home.  You feel empty, like something is missing.  It’s almost like we’ve lost part of our connection to the world, because we have.  Cell phones continue to be a link to our family, friends, and coworkers, but I have to say I’m more excited about them being the link to knowledge.

On many occasions in the past I would hang out with friends and someone would bring up a very vague question like, “Why is the sky blue?” A few people would try to answer but never really nail down anything memorable.  Nowadays, if I’m out with friends and that same question comes up, someone will whip out their iPhone or Android to instantly look up the answer on Google.

This has done WONDERS to clear up arguments, prevent fights, and ENHANCE the learning experience.  Sometimes we get wrapped up in life or we are having so much fun that we don’t even notice when we are learning something new.  This is the BEAUTY of mLearning – it’s effortless.

As a generation Y’er, I’m sick of textbooks and paper printout packets.  It’s not that we want to take the easy route – we just want to take the route that saves us time and energy.  Give me a kindle, an iPad, or a smartphone to read my book on.  Show me an app that can help me learn something new.  I love my smartphone because it’s portable, convenient, and a lot easier on my back.

How to Manage Your Online Courses and Your Social Life April 4, 2011

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This guest contribution was submitted by Jamie Davis, who specializes in writing about masters degree. Questions and comments can be sent to: davis.jamie17@gmail.com.

New advances in virtual distance programs make higher education accessible to more Americans. Nowadays, for your organic chemistry class, you can perform lab experiments from the comfort of your own home. You can do your assignments at 6 pm or 3 am, and your online instructors won’t mind really have any idea. As long as you get your tests and homework assignments in by the required due dates, you’ll be in the clear. Does it sound too good to be true? Are you excited about embarking upon the e-learning journey, where independent, e- learning reigns free? You should be, as it will be an exciting endeavor. However, with great power comes great responsibility. What are you supposed to do when your friend invites you to go out for lunch when you’re supposed to be studying?  Are you supposed to study on the weekends? Is it ok if you socialize on a Friday night instead of reading for your online history class? Here are some tips you can follow to help organize your time, while enrolled in online courses. If you follow these tips, you can find an adequate balance between your social life and your studies.

Set a Schedule

Although online courses can be incredibly convenient, they are just as time-consuming as traditional courses. In order to learn all the necessary information, you have to give yourself adequate time. It is important to set a realistic schedule for yourself and STICK TO IT.  At the beginning of the course, find out how long it takes you to complete assignments and readings. Also, see when you work more efficiently. Are you a night owl? Or do work best early in the morning? Set your schedule accordingly! One you set your schedule, make sure to NOT schedule any social events during that time period. Tell your friends you can see them on nights/days that don’t coincide with assignment due dates.

Lacking Self-Control? Cut off Your Communications

So you made your schedule, but what do you do when your friend calls you to go out for drinks the night before your big test? How about making sure she can’t call and tempt you to go out in the first place? Turn off your phone, log out of your social networking sites, and GET serious! When you’re studying, concentrate on what you’re doing. This way, you’ll spend a lot less time working.

Reward Yourself for Your Hard Work

It is important to take breaks to make sure you don’t burn yourself out. Schedule breaks in your study schedule. Perhaps you can do work in the morning and meet your boyfriend or girlfriend for lunch. Or study all day and spend the evening eating dinner with your friends. If you study for a few hours, call a friend or family member for a ten minute conversation. This will give you the fuel you need to go back to hitting the books!

Limitations of iPads in University Classrooms March 22, 2011

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This is a guest post by Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

The Apple iPad has proven to be wildly popular immediately following its release. It has been hailed as the next substantively different tech gadget, positioning itself as a happy medium between the stodgily semi-portable laptop and the mostly text-call-and-surf smart phone. It weds simplicity and performance, a computer that you can easily fit in a purse. Even before its release, and especially in the months after, educators have been speculating about the iPad’s use in the classroom. Surely, in our increasingly online educational worlds, the iPad would be a boon for students and professors, right? According to a recent Chronicle of Higher article, many educators say doubt it. Here are a few limitations of the higher ed classroom uses of the iPad.

1. You can’t type quickly with your finger.
Although many educators envision that the iPad or a similar tablet gadget will eventually replace heavy textbooks and unwieldy notebooks, combining everything into one neat package, the fact still stands that you can’t take notes on the iPad. The finger-pecking of the iPad works with texting on smart phones, but not so much if you want to write comprehensive notes quickly during class.

2. Annotation is either not possible or difficult.
In addition to taking notes, both college students and professors find that marking class texts is an important part of the studying and learning process. Even those books and texts that are available on the iPad do not have the mechanisms in place to annotate. On laptops and physical texts, underlining and jotting down marginalia is relatively simple.

3. Textbook and other educational material companies have been slow to adapt its offerings to the iPad platform and vice versa.
While many textbook companies have explored the possibilities to expand their offerings on platforms like the iPad, they have been slow to adapt. This is so both because of Apple’s closed system, making it a risk for some publishers to meet Apple’s demands, and because textbook companies are watching and waiting for a potential competitor in the tablet industry that will catch on more quickly at schools and universities.

4. It presents yet another tempting distraction for students sitting in the classroom.
As noted in the Chronicle of Higher Education article (note especially the comments section), professors are especially not completely on board with implementing iPad on a wholesale basis in the classroom. A common complaint is that it becomes yet another gadget that enables students to surf the Internet during class to browse information unrelated to the course. At the same time, however, some professors noted that it was more difficult to hide unrelated browsing on an iPad than on a laptop, which can fold and conceal the screen from others’ view.

Although the iPad has yet to catch a mainstream student audience because of these factors and various others, including the sometimes prohibitive cost, tablets will inevitably become more common classroom fare in the future. As the article notes, if learners can produce ample demand, then the professors will be forced to adjust.

Using Wikipedia and Other Sources for Online Research March 7, 2011

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This is a guest post by Lauren Bailey. She is a graduate in English literature and currently pursuing her masters in Online Journalism. She can be reached via email at: blauren99@gmail.com

Most college professors have mixed feelings about Wikipedia, and they tend to fall on the negative site of the fence. This, of course, is understandable, as most faculty conducted their own university research back when card catalogues were still being used to find books in libraries. At the same time, however, Wikipedia can be a good tool, if used wisely, when you must research ideas and topics for papers, essays, projects, or presentations. Here are a few tips for using Wikipedia and other online platforms for conducting research:

1. Never use Wikipedia as a source.

Although some professors may be old-fashioned, they are completely justified in not allowing the citation of Wikipedia as a primary source. This is because Wikipedia, although using an inherent system of checks and balances, is created by pretty much anyone and everyone, and articles are all short summaries of information. Wikipedia, does however, provide a great platform for other sources that you can use. Check out the books and articles that are cited at the bottom of Wikipedia articles, which are usually respectable and fair game.

2. Go to a public or university library while conducting online research to have access to academic journals and other online scholarly sources.

A lot of the good, scholarly information available on the web is locked down by databases that require payment. Although more and more solid information is becoming “open”, sites like JSTOR still block access. Instead of paying for articles yourself however, use the Internet at a library or other institution that subscribes to scholarly databases.

3. Avoid using or citing material from non-experts.

This may be a no-brainer for some of you, but it’s best to avoid citing information from the Web that is informal and purveyed by non-experts. These sites include personal blogs, press releases as opposed to actual newspaper articles, and material from content farms like eHow and Demand Media.

4. Never, ever plagiarize information. Cite all sources meticulously, even if you aren’t directly quoting.

I’m sure at some point in your academic career, you were given the lecture about plagiarizing. While you certainly know that copying and pasting word for word is wrong, what many people do is plagiarize without even being aware of it. Putting information into your own words is fine, but you still have to cite your original source. It’s very rare that you’ll come up with completely original insights, so be sure to pay tribute to those who helped you out in your research. You know you’d want the same credit if someone used your work for their research paper.

5. Google the smart way.

One of the most important skills of the 21st century, whether or not you are student, is learning how to differentiate good information from bad information on the Web, since there’s a lot of bad info out there. Although Google recently tweaked its algorithm to get rid of crap stuff on content farms, you will still have to use your own discretion. Change up your keyword searches to get different results, and use Google Scholar and Google News to get more high quality info.

How to Manage Online Courses While on Vacation February 23, 2011

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This is a guest post by Katheryn Rivas, a freelancer who blogs about online universities. She can be reached via email at: katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

The best thing about pursuing a degree online is the flexibility it affords. The convenience of completing coursework in your pajamas if you wanted to is what makes online schooling such a wonderful option for those of us who want the freedom to set our own schedules. Online schooling also means that you can take vacations whenever you feel like it. As such, you can take advantage of cheaper airfare by going on vacation during off seasons. Of course, you’ll still have to complete your work, but gone are the days when you had to wait till spring break to take a week off at the beach. Here are some tips for managing your online coursework while on vacation.

  1. Make sure that your place of accommodation has a fast and solid 24-hour Internet connection.
    This is the most important consideration you’ll want to keep in mind, especially if you are traveling overseas to countries in which Internet connections aren’t as readily available. Some cities have very few free Wi-Fi spots. Although most cities and towns will have “Internet cafes” for tourists, these places are mostly for a quick email check, not several hours of use. The fees at cafes tend to add up, so it’s best to make sure your hotel or hostel has Wi-Fi for customer use.
  2. Make a list of all the materials and equipment you’ll need to take with you.
    When we are studying and completing coursework at home, of course, we have all the materials and equipment we normally use at our disposal. However, when you go on vacation, chances are you might forget something. Make sure that you make a list of all the things you’ll need several days before you embark on your journey, including items like your laptop, notebooks, textbooks, as well as some things we tend to overlook, like passwords to particular courses, etc.
  3. Plan out all your assignments such that you make time for play.
    If you’re spending some time in an exotic locale while still having to complete assignments, time management become so much more important, as you don’t want to spend your entire vacation doing work. Make sure that you schedule all your homework and study time such that you finish everything in the early afternoon, giving you plenty of time to explore sights as well as experience the nightlife.
  4. Set up automatic emails notifying friends, family, and professors that you are out of town but will get back to them as soon as possible.
    Going on vacation, especially if you are going overseas, means that you’ll be in a different time zone than those with whom you usually keep in contact. As such, it’s extremely important to notify your professors that you may not be able to respond to emails immediately. The easiest way to do that is to set up an automatic email notification system on your email account, so that everyone who tries to get in touch with you will know that you may respond later than you normally do.

Pursuing a degree online is one of the most convenient ways to be working toward a professional goal while still making time for yourself. Take advantage of this and go on vacation when you feel like you need the break. At the same time, however, make sure you plan everything carefully so that you have a great time while still getting all your work done. Bon voyage!

Midwestern and Southern States Fall Behind in Online Education Regulation February 15, 2011

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This guest contribution was submitted by Raine Parker, who specializes in writing about online accounting degree.  Questions and comments can be sent to: raine.parker6@gmail.com

In a recent report, consulting firm Eduventures found that online colleges faced the toughest regulatory obstacles in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Essentially, these states were the least open to allowing online programs to enroll resident students and otherwise operate inside their borders. And yet, elsewhere across the nation, states have done well to keep abreast with eLearning developments, allowing their students who desire an education to seek it however they see fit.

Part of the trouble that online programs in the Midwest and South face is a result of the U.S. Department of Education’s backing away from creating a nationwide regulatory stance regarding what it means for an online program to function within a state. Instead, the department has left states and online degree programs alone to work it out between themselves, though it did say that programs that do not pass state requirements will not be eligible to receive financial aid.

This mandate is effective this coming July, which means that states have several months to further define how they expect online degree programs to work, what will be allowed, and what will not be allowed. The good news, however, for online and eLearning programs is that the majority of states, around 34, are permissive in allowing the program to not be licensed by state regulators and not keep a physical location within state borders. These two permissions allow online degree programs to flourish healthily.

So what then for states and online degree programs in the Midwest and South? Inside Higher Education suggests that we cannot be sure if they will loosen up their regulations or not, though they suggest that the growth of non-profit online degree programs could be a good indicator that the method of educating students is becoming far more acceptable. States will have to follow or risk being left behind.

Unfortunately, until that happens, those organizations that are new to online learning could suffer under those strict regulations, especially since the federal government has not stepped in to simplify everything. Those same non-profit programs aren’t as well adjusted to regulations as the for-profit counterparts, so they could struggle to meet the complex requirements that vary state-by-state.

So how can new online and eLearning programs learn to deal with and adapt to these different regulations? One thing to try to do is to look at how established online programs work with different states. They should examine successful online programs and try to replicate their own methods as they work to establish themselves.

All that’s left to be seen is how states prepare for the July federal aid mandate.

Annoucing the Winners of Graphic Design Contest February 4, 2011

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Hello all,

As you are aware, the contest for graphic designers ended on January 31, 2011. Despite several viral marketing strategies and our personal invitation to over hundereds of graphic designers, this contest received entries from just TWO contestants! Its our pleasure to thank Mr. Mayukh Das and Ms. Shivi Kapil for their interest to participate in this contest.

Mayukh's Entry

Mayukh's Entry

 

Shivi's Entry

Shivi's Entry

Its time for announcing the results! Entries from both contestants were unique and awesome in many ways. Mr. Mayukh’s entry conveyed the meaning of e-learning in a traditional way of representation using appealing color schemes and graphic objects. On the other hand, Ms. Shivi’s entry was simple yet innovative in conveying the meaning of e-learning. Considering various parameters such as design style, use of color schemes, and clarity in conveying the meaning of the contest theme, we chose both Mr. Mayukh Das and Ms. Shivi Kapil as the winners of this graphic design contest. We will share the total prize amount of $20 between them.

Congratulations winners. You will shortly be receiving your prize amount :)

Note: If the contestants agree, we will also share their contact details with you. Watch out our blog section frequently for updates in this regard.

E-Learning Games January 19, 2011

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This guest post is contributed by Elias Cortez, who is a freelance writer and the editor of www.topnetbookpicks.com – a website which provides reviews and information for netbook computers. Learn more about the world of netbooks at his website.

Online education has become a well maintained version of education which combines teaching, learning, and technological communication systems. Electronic learning takes place both in the classroom and outside of the classroom. With new software, children of all grades can attend computer lab classes and utilize the electronic systems to learn from a variety of subjects. Outside of the classroom, electronic learning commences in the form of online courses where students are not required to take courses in a classroom setting, but rather an online version of a classroom inclusive of homework, tests, study materials, and interactive community games.

Whether the learning is web-based or computer-based, e-learning establishes classroom opportunities virtually as well as digitally. Through CD-ROMS and the internet, children are delivered e-learning content, including e-learning games. Without using computer software, e-learning games are available for students of all grades on the web. For basic learning activities geared toward younger children, there are sites such as Fun with Spot, Crayola, Bob the Builder, NatGeo Kids, Dr. Seuss’ University, as well as Ben & Jerry’s Fun Stuff. As far as categories are concerned there are games online for animal learning, art, coloring, comics, crafts, dinosaurs, history, math, music, literature, English, science, space, books, sports, television, architecture, computers, life skills, health, as well as environmental skills.

Websites offering e-learning games about animals include Petcyclopedia, Bow Wow Meow, Animal Planet, Planet Pets, and OWL Kids. As far as art is concerned, KinderArt, Haring Kids, Metropolitan Museum, Animation Learning, Color Matters, Rudiments of Wisdom, and Cartoon Critters each offer e-learning games for grades K-12. Comics which include e-learning games include Tarzan, Calvin & Hobbes, Peanuts, Fat Cats, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and Garfield. Coloring is taught through e-learning games from Sesame Street, Scooby Doo, Arther the Aardvark, Fisher-Price Coloring, NASA Kids, Magic School Bus, and Peanuts Coloring Book.

E-learning games for learning about dinosaurs include Curse of T Rex, Discovering Dinosaurs, Jurassic Park Institute, Walking with Dinosaurs, Follow a Fossil, and Dinorama. Crafts are taught through interactive e-learning games from KinderArt, Magic School Bus, Let’s Try Origami, Balloon Twisting, Elmer’s Glue Crafts, and Out of the Box. History is taught through Maya Adventure, Triumph of the Nerds, 1900 House, Color Me Egypt, Enter the Middle Ages, History of Video Games, The Revolutionaries, America’s Story, and Life in Ancient Civilizations. Math games are found at Math Stories, Math Advantage, Figure This!, Escape from Knab, A+ Math, Cool Math, Brain Bashers, and Math Goodies.

Children of all levels can continue their musical education through e-learning games from Amanda’s Melodies, Disney Music, Play Music, Music Genre Sampler, Learn About Instruments, Intro to Reading Music, Guitar Lesson World, and Creating Music. Science tips are found from Cool Science, Strange Science, Extreme Science, Brain Pop, Amusement Park Physics, Exploring Leonardo, Skateboard Science, Volcanoes, and Your Weight on Other Worlds. Space education is expounded upon through games from Amazing Space, NASA Observatorium, Space Camp, Space Kids, Astronomy for Kids, Sea & Sky, Understanding the Universe, Star Child, and You Wanna Be an Astronaut?

7 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Online College December 29, 2010

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This guest post is contributed by Joy Paley who is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on accredited online colleges for the Guide to Online Schools.

Sure, online education suffers from scam artists who steal people’s money in exchange for worthless pieces of paper. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a reputable, valuable online program—you just have to do some research first. From the course style to financial aid, take a good long look at any college you are seriously considering, as well as your own needs, before you jump into any online program.

  1. Is this college or program accredited?
    Accreditation is sort of like Consumer Reports, but for college programs. In accreditation, third party agencies evaluate a school or program’s curriculum, teachers, and overall merit, and only if they meet certain standards will the school receive accreditation.
    National and regional accreditation are two types of accreditation that are awarded to an entire school or institution. You can check the Department of Education’s database of accredited colleges to see if your school has these credentials. Programmatic accreditation may be important for you if you’re pursuing a particular type of degree, say nursing or business, where certification by a professional group is helpful. You can check the Bureau of Labor Statistics website for your desired career, to see if programmatic accreditation is necessary for your job.
  2. Does it participate in the Department of Education’s federal financial aid program?
    If you’re interested in getting any of the federal government’s money to help pay for your education, in the form of grants, subsidized, and unsubsidized loans, your school has to participate in the Department of Education’s financial aid program. Ask the school’s financial aid officer if you’re unsure, and make sure you fill out the FAFSA 6-8 months before you enroll.
  3. Does it offer merit or need based financial aid?
    Besides money from the government and private lenders, you may be eligible for grants or other scholarships through your school. See if they decide financial aid packages based on merit or need: if you’re a stellar student, merit will be better for you; if you’re facing financial hardship, a need-based package is probably a better bet.
  4. What type of online classes does it offer?
    Not all online classes are created equally. In fact, there are four distinct types, ranging in their flexibility and time commitment. Some are self-paced, meaning students work through the syllabus independently, without due dates. Others have due dates, but give you flexibility about when you log on to watch lectures or do assignments. Synchronous classes require students to get online at certain times, to chat with professors or peers. Finally, hybrid classes have some in-person requirements at a nearby college, while still keeping some of their curriculum online.
  5. How much professor/peer interaction will it have?
    A truly great online program will give students full access to professors and peers, in the same way that a traditional program would. See how closely students work with their instructors—a  very interactive program will have video chats, instant messaging, and frequent emailing between professors and students.
  6. Can I really make this commitment?
    Online college can offer a very flexible alternative to regular school, for people who need to continue working or taking care of other obligations. Be realistic with the time commitment you can make, however, and don’t overload yourself with course work that you can’t realistically complete. Is it possible to work full time and go to school full time? Yes. Is it enjoyable or easily managed? Probably not.
  7. Does it have everything I want?
    If you’re going to the local college near you, you probably have to accept whatever major or price tag they have to offer. Prospective online students should remember that with online school, you don’t have to settle. You’re not hindered by geographical location, so you can find a program with the specific focus you want, the right type of classes, and with a good price tag. You just have to look around.

Advantages of Web 2.0 as a Training Tool December 23, 2010

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This guest post is contributed by Mark Davies who regularly writes on the topics of Online Masters Degree.  He welcomes your comments at his email id: markdavies247@gmail.com

For a few years now, it’s been all about Web 2.0, the new and current avatar of the evolving face of the Internet. This version is more interactive, it allows you to voice your opinion and be heard, and it lets you take an active part rather than just be a passive bystander. It’s a great tool for communication because you can reach the far ends of the world with just a computer and an Internet connection, and it makes the commonest of men as famous as kings and queens.

While we all know that Web 2.0 can be used for marketing and entertainment purposes, we’re still unaware of how it can be used as a training tool. Corporations spend millions of dollars in training their employees and getting them to adapt to their ways of doing things. With Web 2.0 tools, training becomes easier and more personalized. Also, these tools lend themselves to customization and sustenance. The advantages of Web 2.0 as a training tool include:

However, in spite of all these advantages, Web 2.0 tools for training work only when:

If organizations can find ways to maximize the potential of Web 2.0 tools for training and minimize their disadvantages, that’s when these tools live up to their billing.

E-Learning Tools and Skills Everyone Can Use December 8, 2010

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This guest post is contributed by Alvina Lopez who regularly writes on the topics of accredited online schools.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com

In today’s society, we can obtain a lot more than just music and movies online – we can even achieve an education. Being in charge of making sure that students have the opportunity to actively practice what they are learning, an Instructional Designer is responsible for designing and developing learning experiences. Simply pouring heaps of content into PowerPoint slides and Word documents and asking students to read it all does not create an interactive experience. As An Instructional Designer, one is responsible for knowing how people learn, and is in charge of creating ideas on how to help individuals learn better. The simple function of an Instructional Designer is to create learning and facilitate practicing.

However before they can do so, the audience for the course must be known. Once you know who you’re talking to and what their skill levels are, then you can begin the extensive task of actually putting the training program together. As you begin, you must never forget the importance of organization. If you cannot easily navigate your way to the information needed, it cannot be expected of the students. An easy way of keeping things in order is by creating an outline.

When you are creating an online world designed to give students a realm where they can find engaging learning activities, it is important to think outside the box. The stereotypical thought of e-learning is that students just sit at their computers to take an online class. But that is not so, thanks to the boom of technology. In fact, our society has witnessed over the last half decade that online learning can be much more than simply studying on a laptop. Today’s e-learning tools go beyond computers and extend into the realm of MP3 players, podcasts, blogs and more.

While students can still take online classes on their laptops, they can also download podcasts of a course’s lecture to their phones or MP3 players to review wherever and whenever they have time. Flexibility is important as it can take away some of past limitations.

A professor’s blog is a great place for posting a course syllabus, any necessary assignment changes, or other important information such as due dates. In addition, by providing each student with their fellow classmates contact information (e-mail and cell phone number), study groups can be arranged fast and effortlessly. These sessions can allow students the chance to answer any questions they may have about the material they are studying.

Something important when you are learning is being able to check your own progress along the way. Having access to ongoing grades for each course a student is taking can enhance their effort and impact how they study their subjects. For example, maybe you didn’t know you needed to spend more time on Math than Science. With self-checks on progress, you will know where your weaknesses lie so that you work on strengthening them.

Another great tool for e-learning is about availability. Students need to be able to communicate with their professors on a regular basis. This can be achieved through instant messages or over the phone. No matter which outlet is used, that communication must take place.

There are multiple different e-learning tools out there. Some may only fit a certain criteria, so it is important to know all of the resources you have to work with. In the end, it is all about learning and practicing.

Online Courses: A Perspective from Online College Professors November 20, 2010

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This guest post is contributed by Brian Jenkins who has been writing for BrainTrack.com for two years. He writes about a wide variety of topics related to education and jobs.

What do professors who teach online courses really think about teaching online? It depends on who you ask. Scott Brady, geography professor at Chico State, and Jay Halfond, Dean of Metropolitan College & Extended Education and Associate Professor of Administrative Sciences, have different views about online education.

Scott Brady, who has taught at least one online course every semester for nine years, stated, “You come up will all these things as a teacher, like whether you’re going to tell a joke at the five-minute mark, or whether you’re going to ask a certain student something. I don’t know if I can put that into an online environment. I can’t bring everything to an online course that I can with a traditional course.”

Regarding online teaching, Halfond, who taught both online and traditional courses for several years, said, “[With online classes] it is easier to make thoughtful, substantiative contributions, much more so than in the classroom, where you might get 30 seconds to talk. It encourages students to think more deliberately and write better.”

A study performed by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities – Sloan National Commission on Online Learning included interviews of administrative and faculty members. The study showed that 64% of faculty felt that it takes “somewhat more” or “a lot more” effort to teach an online course compared to teaching a face-to-face class. The report, Online Learning as a Strategic Asset, includes the results of 231 interviews of administrators, faculty, and students at 45 public institutions located across the nation and more than 10,700 comments from faculty members that teach a variety of subjects.

According to the above mentioned report, a large majority of the instructors stated their primary motivation to teach online was to “meet student needs for flexible access” or because it offers the “best way to reach particular students.”

According to the study, many faculty members were dissatisfied with the support services and the incentives provided by public universities. Faculty members ranked seven of eight support dimensions as below average, including support for course development, course delivery, and students; intellectual property policies; recognition in tenure and promotion; and incentives for creating and delivering online classes. The only support structure rates as average was technical infrastructure.

In Volume II of the report, which is available at the same website, the majority of faculty members with online teaching or development experience stated that the learning outcomes of online classes are as good or better than face-to-face instruction. Also, over 85% percent of faculty members with online course development experience stated it takes “somewhat more” or “a lot more” effort than traditional classes.

According to Janet Poley, President of the American Distance Education Consortium, tenured colleagues or department chairs, in some cases, advise professors to stop teaching online if they want to get on a tenure track. “Because the perception is that if the online teaching is going to take more time than face-to-face, what they should be doing is teaching face-to-face and getting their research projects started,” Poley said. “If the incentives aren’t matched up administratively, then you’re going to have people who at a minimum are frustrated.”

Online learning is increasingly popular, so colleges and universities will have to figure out a way to meet the needs of professors.

The Advantages of Online Learning in the K12 Environment November 1, 2010

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This guest post is contributed by Carrie Oakley, who writes on the topic of online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: carrie.oakley1983@gmail.com

It’s an issue that’s being dogged by controversy after the other; what with state-run public schools being up in arms against the funds that are allotted to virtual charter schools because they’re not limited to admitting students from one district alone and with for-profit organizations supplying learning materials and online curriculum, allegations of corporate profiteering are rampant in the online K12 schooling environment. But even with all these controversies, K12 online schools offer various benefits for middle and high school students:

Online K12 schools are here to stay, and for students who are not averse to treading a new path, they’re a good alternative to your usual public school.

Libraries Without Books: How Online Library Collections Are Shaping E-Learning in Today’s Universities October 22, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Useful Resources , 1 comment so far

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes for online college courses.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7@gmail.com

E-learning has picked up speed in university settings with the advent and rapid expansion of online courses over the last 10 years, as well as the use of e-learning platforms like Blackboard to supplement traditional courses. Virtual university libraries emerged as the next logical step to aid college students in the e-learning process. The idea of universities’ virtual libraries making e-books and research articles available to students online is nothing new. But until now, the virtual university library has primarily been a supplemental thing the cherry on top of a physical library where real volumes of real bound books sit in neatly organized rows. What’s new is the idea of eliminating physical books from libraries entirely and moving all or at least the lion’s share of books and research articles online.

I read an interesting article in USA Today recently that explores how the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Applied Engineering and Technology Library lays claim to being perhaps the first university library to make its on-site collection available only online. You’ve probably heard of people going paperless with their bills. In this case, the library has gone bookless. You heard it right you won’t find any bound books sitting in this university library. This virtual library isn’t shrimpy either. Students have access to 425,000 e-books and 18,000 electronic journal articles from this bookless library.

The reason an accomplishment like this is possible is due to the fact that today’s modern students are well acclimatized to reading books and conducting research online. The introduction of products like the Kindle and Nook have facilitated a move to reading books online for leisure. Online degree programs are continuing their push toward making textbooks available online along with everything else. It only makes sense that you can find complete library resources online and even instant message librarians for help.

The article also discusses how some university libraries have greatly reduced the number of bound books they have on their shelves, instead investing in collecting more online books and materials. Many physical books have been moved to off-site storage at these libraries, where they are available on request. In addition, many university libraries are beginning to devote less space to books and more space for study and meeting space.

Is UT San Antonio’s bookless library a sign of things to come? This remains to be seen.

Best E-Learning Bloggers & Blog Posts (October 03, 2010 to October 09, 2010) October 13, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements , 1 comment so far

We are pleased to announce the best e-learning bloggers and blog posts of the previous week (October 03, 2010 to October 09, 2010).

Best Bloggers of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Bloggers of the Week” are:

Best Blog Posts of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Blog Posts of the Week” are:

Here are the aspects we look into a blogger or a blog post when selecting the above list.

Congratulations winners!

Eye-Tracking Technology and eLearning September 21, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Useful Resources , 1 comment so far

This guest post is contributed by Roger Elmore.  He welcomes your comments at his email Id: rogerelmore24@gmail.com

Recent technological advancements have allowed eLearning developers to track learners’ eye movements as they complete various tasks within a specific lesson or course module. This technology can be extremely useful in two areas: 1) long-term development of courses and 2) short-term/real-time feedback for instructors. Essentially, this technology could greatly improve educators’ ability to improve how eLearning practices can best serve students.

The potential comes from a current trend in research to find new ways to evaluate students’ engagement with eLearning material. One specific project that seems to be breaking new ground in this area is AdELE (adaptive elearning with eye-tracking). Those behind AdELE say that such technology could improve both the teaching process and the learning process. Authors of another recent research paper, titled “Eye-tracking Users’ Behavior in Relation to Cognitive Style within an E-Learning Environment” agree, especially in regard to the way technology could help users personalize their eLearning experience, saying that there are “two implications in the design of e-learning and hypermedia applications: a) the psychometric tool and theory are both suitable for identifying types of users and b) the [Cognitive Styles Analysis] reveals differences in information processing and may be used as a personalization parameter.”

Results of general research concerning eye movement among those who learn via different cognitive styles can significantly help eLearning developers to create more efficient courses in the long term. By reevaluating and constantly updating courses, educators can ensure that their content and methods are benefitting students. After analyzing the eye positions and movement as well as score results of a particular test group, developers could filter from their content the less relevant material. Additionally, they could help create customizable applications within each module that allow different kinds of learners to select how the information is presented in order to best meet their particular learning style.

Furthermore, with this technology, instructors could monitor how their students process the information and work through the course. For example, the data concerning students’ eye movements could be stored in each student’s account, so that the instructor and student could make adjustments to the course as needed. If a student’s data suggests that he or she has recently been tired while studying, the student could schedule a different study period. If a recent set of scores are low, the instructor could check to see how the student looked at the course material and reassign it or present it in a new form in order to help the student. Of course, such an application would have to be used with care, otherwise the instructor could find him or herself wading through files of raw data rather than interacting with students.

Best E-Learning Bloggers & Blog Posts (September 05, 2010 to September 11, 2010) September 19, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements , add a comment

We are pleased to announce the best e-learning bloggers and blog posts of the previous week (September 05, 2010 to September 11, 2010).

Best Bloggers of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Bloggers of the Week” are:

Best Blog Posts of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Blog Posts of the Week” are:

Here are the aspects we look into a blogger or a blog post when selecting the above list.

Congratulations winners!

Best E-Learning Bloggers & Blog Posts (August 29, 2010 to September 04, 2010) September 8, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements , add a comment

We are pleased to announce the best e-learning bloggers and blog posts of the previous week (August 29, 2010 to September 04, 2010).

Best Bloggers of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Bloggers of the Week” are:

Best Blog Posts of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Blog Posts of the Week” are:

Here are the aspects we look into a blogger or a blog post when selecting the above list.

Congratulations winners!

Best E-Learning Bloggers & Blog Posts (August 22, 2010 to August 28, 2010) August 30, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements , 1 comment so far

We are pleased to announce the best e-learning bloggers and blog posts of the previous week (August 22, 2010 to August 28, 2010).

Best Bloggers of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Bloggers of the Week” are:

Best Blog Posts of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Blog Posts of the Week” are:

Here are the aspects we look into a blogger or a blog post when selecting the above list.

Congratulations winners!

Best E-Learning Bloggers & Blog Posts (July 11, 2010 to July 17, 2010) July 21, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements , add a comment

We are pleased to announce the best e-learning bloggers and blog posts of the previous week (July 11, 2010 to July 17, 2010).

Best Bloggers of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Bloggers of the Week” are:

Best Blog Posts of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Blog Posts of the Week” are:

Here are the aspects we look into a blogger or a blog post when selecting the above list.

Congratulations winners!

Best E-Learning Bloggers & Blog Posts (June 27, 2010 to July 03, 2010) July 11, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements , add a comment

We are pleased to announce the best e-learning bloggers and blog posts of the previous week (June 27, 2010 to July 03, 2010).

Best Bloggers of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Bloggers of the Week” are:

Best Blog Posts of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Blog Posts of the Week” are:

Here are the aspects we look into a blogger or a blog post when selecting the above list.

Congratulations winners!

Announcing Contest for Graphic Designers June 28, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements, Graphic Design , add a comment

Hello all,

It’s time for the first online contest of this year :) This is a contest for graphic designers and other e-learning professionals who are interested in developing graphics. This contest will be open till January 31, 2011. The winner will receive a prize amount of $20. Click here to view further information about this contest.

Regards,
E-Learning Planet Team

Best E-Learning Bloggers & Blog Posts (Jun 13, 2010 to Jun 19, 2010) June 24, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements , add a comment

We are pleased to announce the best e-learning bloggers and blog posts of the previous week (Jun 13, 2010 to Jun 19, 2010).

Best Bloggers of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Bloggers of the Week” are:

Best Blog Posts of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Blog Posts of the Week” are:

Here are the aspects we look into a blogger or a blog post when selecting the above list.

Congratulations winners!

Best E-Learning Bloggers & Blog Posts (Jun 06, 2010 to Jun 12, 2010) June 18, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements , 1 comment so far

We are pleased to announce the best e-learning bloggers and blog posts of the previous week (Jun 06, 2010 to Jun 12, 2010).

Best Bloggers of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Bloggers of the Week” are:

Best Blog Posts of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Blog Posts of the Week” are:

Here are the aspects we look into a blogger or a blog post when selecting the above list.

Congratulations winners!

Best E-Learning Bloggers & Blog Posts (May 30, 2010 to Jun 05, 2010) June 10, 2010

Posted by elearningtyro in : Announcements , 1 comment so far

We are pleased to announce the best e-learning bloggers and blog posts of the previous week (May 30, 2010 to Jun 05, 2010).

Best Bloggers of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Bloggers of the Week” are:

Best Blog Posts of the Week

The “Best E-Learning Blog Posts of the Week” are:

Here are the aspects we look into a blogger or a blog post when selecting the above list.

Congratulations winners!