[E-Learning in Higher Education] Monthly Discussion - April 2012

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Welcome to the monthly E-Learning in Higher Education discussion!

First of all, thanks to everyone who contributed last month, there were some great discussions, and it was great to see so many people excited to discuss topics pertaining to higher ed.

If you’re new to the thread, here are some of the topics that were discussed in March:

·         How to help students identify if online learning is for them

·         How to equate online learning to contact hours

·         Quality Matters

·         Games in Higher Education

·         Conferences for design and development in higher education

We also had some great examples of content created for the higher education audience.

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Learning Solutions conference in Florida.  I attended some great sessions, and met lots of people.  One of the topics discussed in at least two of the sessions that I attended, was Communities of Practice.  I am very intrigued by the idea of students being able to continue to learn and discuss specific topics after the class ends.  So, I wanted to know if any of you incorporate this concept at your universities or colleges outside of the traditional discussion boards, and if so, how well has it been received?

Some of the rest of you have suggested other topics for discussion this month, here’s what we have so far:

·         Accessibility in e-learning

·         What kinds of technical or policy-wise obstacles we will encounter and how to overcome it to adopt industry standard e-learning tools in higher education environment.

·         How are you assisting user who are still on dial-up or slow Internet connections?

·         Working with reluctant instructors

Looking forward to more great discussions!

3 Replies
Sammy Hwang

As far as I know, it is a good start to read Lave and Wenger's first book to understand the idea of CoP

Lave, JeanWenger, Etienne (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation

Another reading resource is John Seely Brown's articles on situated learning. 

My experience of CoP

I noticed that their explanation is quite useful to explain a meaningful online or offline informal learning experience. I agree with their assumption that real learning can occur outside of classrooms. If we are instructional designers (Yes! We are) and want to collaborate with other instructional designers in other departments, this concept is useful. Also, if we are professors (someday maybe!) and would like to introduce the latest learning theories such as constructivism and activity theory etc to our students, CoP must be there, too.

Yet, if we are professors or teachers and want to apply this concept to our students,  it is extremely difficult because constant interaction tends to end after a semester is over. How can we ask our previous students to come back to join our learning community? Through Facebook? Well..that is another whole issue that I would like to talk about.  

Thus, I have a question at this point, Donna.

Did presenters talk about some practical idea of how to motivate their previous students to come back ? Do you have any article or powerpoint materials that can share from the session? I am very curious...

Donna Carter

Sami Hwang said:

As far as I know, it is a good start to read Lave and Wenger's first book to understand the idea of CoP

Lave, JeanWenger, Etienne (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation

Another reading resource is John Seely Brown's articles on situated learning. 

My experience of CoP

I noticed that their explanation is quite useful to explain a meaningful online or offline informal learning experience. I agree with their assumption that real learning can occur outside of classrooms. If we are instructional designers (Yes! We are) and want to collaborate with other instructional designers in other departments, this concept is useful. Also, if we are professors (someday maybe!) and would like to introduce the latest learning theories such as constructivism and activity theory etc to our students, CoP must be there, too.

Yet, if we are professors or teachers and want to apply this concept to our students,  it is extremely difficult because constant interaction tends to end after a semester is over. How can we ask our previous students to come back to join our learning community? Through Facebook? Well..that is another whole issue that I would like to talk about.  

Thus, I have a question at this point, Donna.

Did presenters talk about some practical idea of how to motivate their previous students to come back ? Do you have any article or powerpoint materials that can share from the session? I am very curious...

Hi Sami

Unfortunately, there wasn't a session that discussed the topic specifically, (although I would love to attend one).  The topic was just mentioned in a few of the sessions where the presenters mentioned that they had created CoP at their organizations.  I will review my notes from the sessions to see if I can find more specifics, but I think it's probably noteworthy that these were probably corporations versus universities.  I suspect that it's probably easier to create a CoP in a corporate environment.