by Colette Mazzucelli and Roger Boston // Case Studies
In this issue's first case study, Colette Mazzucelli and Roger Boston illustrate their use of Internet technology in an international seminar on conflict prevention in the Balkans. Through a combination of innovative Web development, chat tools, and streaming audio-visuals, the organizers sought to engage seminar participants in an ambitious, cross-cultural study of the factors leading to ethno-political violence. As they discuss the goals of the course, the authors offer a timely model of virtual learning in a global context; as they illustrate the various components of their course design, they provide a range of resources that all promote a highly interactive, dialogue-driven pedagogy.
by Marina Milner-Bolotin and Marilla D. Svinicki // Case Studies
Most educators agree that creating a technology-rich, student-centered learning environment means more than just making an existing syllabus available on the Internetbut questions remain regarding what "more" entails. In our second Case Study, Marina Milner-Bolotin and Marilla D. Svinicki offer a few suggestions: instructors can adapt their syllabuses to target specific student anxieties, incorporate discussion forums to encourage varied and extensive participation, and employ technological tools that personalize homework assignments to each student. Such advances not only resolve technological difficulties, but also address timeless pedagogical concerns.
by Donna G. Wood // Case Studies
In this issue's third Case Study, Donna Wood describes how a simple simulation enabled her students (a group of preservice teachers) to develop their technological skills and to enhance their pedagogical repertoire. Simulating participation in the Oklahoma Governor's Task Force for Technology in Education, Wood's students used Web sources to develop a plan, a curriculum, and instructional materials for helping public school teachers to integrate technology into their work. The students also had a choice to produce a multimedia Web site that would subsequently be accessible to any public school teacher in the state of Oklahoma.
by Scott Windham // Case Studies
With several years of experience teaching college-level German at UNC-Chapel Hill, Scott Windham knows that students learn best when they engage with foreign languages in realistic contexts. The availability of real-life materials in written and audio format on the Internet, Windham reports in our fourth Case Study, represents a true innovation in language instruction, and his own use of these resources gives a compelling illustration of this point. Having seen an enthusiastic response from his students, he also notes that student skills in at least two of the four critical areas of foreign language studylistening and readinghave improved.
by Maggie McVay Lynch // Case Studies
In our final Case Study, Maggie McVay Lynch reports on how she combatted several persistent problems plaguing the distance learning courses at her university. Familiar with the high drop out rates (and low re-enrollment rates) for online courses, she set out to discover what she could do about them. Lynch created a course to prepare students for the distance-learning environment, requiring them to analyze differences between distance and traditional learning, reflect on their academic responsibilities in the new environment, and use technological tools. Students also identified their learning styles and psychological types in order to build plans for adaptation to the online environment. The results? The attrition rate of online students was reduced to an average of 15% and re-enrollment increased to 90%.
by Michelle A. Johnston and Nancy Cooley // Commentary
Michelle A. Johnston and Nancy Cooley's Commentary offers some clarity on why the shift toward virtual learning is both confusing and thrilling for many educators. As Johnston and Cooley point out, instructors must develop their own technological expertise and find new ways of teaching if technology is to become transparent and student learning is to become central. In response to demands from contemporary students, their parents, and their future employers, teachers must develop a pedagogy that fosters a technologically astute citizenry. Johnston and Cooley describe the sociological as well as technological shifts driving today's pedagogical transformations.
by James L. Morrison and Ann Kirschner // Commentary
In a Commentary interview with James Morrison, Fathom President and CEO Ann Kirschner outlines the collaboration between Fathom and Columbia University. Through this collaboration, Fathom is currently building an international learning network of universities, libraries, museums, and other educational institutions. Such extensive partnerships, Kirschner observes, will not only revolutionize education by expanding accessibility to high-quality course content, but will also serve as a valuable tool for institutions seeking a broader market for their programs. For a provocative glimpse into the future of education, read on.
by David P. Diaz // Faculty and Staff Development
How can technology training in higher education be made more cost-efficient as well as more time-efficient? Addressing this crucial question in our Faculty and Staff Development feature, David P. Diaz proposes some key concepts for faculty and administrators: pedogogy-based training, an emphasis on context-specific applications, an ethic of collaboration, and a flexible combination of both virtual and face-to-face interaction. Such a fourfold strategy, Diaz notes, would save valuable resources by streamlining the process, thereby making technology integration a much more accessible goal for institutions.
by Mary Harrsch // Tools
Mary Harrsch recommends an excellent new tool called Dragon Web Surveys. For a reasonable price, Dragon Web enables non-programmers to design full-featured Web-based surveys. Users can define a single response question with either a radio button or a drop-down list, a multiple response question with check boxes, a value response question for a numeric response, a text response question with space for a short or long text response, or a Likert-scale question where respondents rate items on a numeric scale. The software also offers different security options and multiuser remote capability, and it outshines its predecessors. Still not sold? Read Harrsch's full report to find out how she took advantage of a free 30-day downloadable demo.
by Stephen Downes // Spotlight Site
In his review of our Spotlight Site, Stephen Downes introduces Technology Source readers to Harvard University's Research Matters. The site not only offers an impressive range of accessible research from Harvard faculty, but provides such information in a highly polished, easy-to-navigate format reminiscent of the finest commercial e-journals. In its fine balance of content and design, Research Matters provides a worthy standard for bridging the gap between the university and the general public. After a first browse, researchers and Web designers alike will find themselves making further visits.
Using OfficeHoursLive to Enhance Collaboration and Interaction Opportunities for Technology Source Readers
by John Walber and Jonathan Finkelstein // Letters to the Editor
In their letter to the editor, John Walber and Jonathan Finkelstein announce their collaboration with The Technology Source in creating a valuable new feature: a live "virtual office" forum that allows readers to consult with authors in real time. This new feature exemplifies how we can use information technology tools to enhance professional communication.