6 (1), 2005
Welcome to Volume 6, Number 1 of TOJDE
Greetings Dear readers of TOJDE,
First of all I would like to congrulate your’s new year and happy Christmas from Turkey and TOJDE and its valuable team. The year of 2005, welcome for all of us.
Before we get started, I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to our two new editors to TOJDE family is honored to have you join us.
From the Guest Editor
Dear TOJDE Readers
Welcome to this special issue of the Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, in which we focus largely on distance education research and practice within the newly enlarged European Union. On May 1st 2004, ten new countries were admitted to the EU, increasing the number to 25 member states, ensuring that the EU is now set to become the largest and most influential economy on the planet. This is both an exciting and daunting time for all those who live in the EU.
NOTE FOR EDITOR: E -books Challenges and Opportunies
E-books are commonly perceived as offering great potential for learner support but also as struggling to compete with print due to poor on-screen presentation, restrictive licencing and limited range of titles offered. The experience of a group of Irish university libraries shows that, with the right combination of product and subjects, e-books can thrive among students and faculty, while librarians can create more dynamic, relevant and flexible collections than for print. Subscription management is demanding for libraries, however, and licencing issues remain highly problematic, representing a formidable obstacle to full exploitation.
Judith HURST & Susannah QUINSEE
Partners with Clinical Practice: Evaluating the Student and Staff Experiences of On-line Continuing Professional Development for Qualified Nephrology Practitioners
The inclusion of online learning technologies into the higher education (HE) curriculum is frequently associated with the design and development of new models of learning. One could argue that e-learning even demands a reconfiguration of traditional methods of learning and teaching. However, this transformation in pedagogic methodology does not just impact on lecturers and teachers alone. Online learning has ‘pervasive impacts and changes in other HE functions’ (HEFCE, p.2). Thus, e-learning is a transformational process that posits new challenges for staff and students, both in educational methods and support.
Many political, clinical, financial and social influences impact on registered health professionals’ ability to continue their professional development. This is particularly pertinent in the delivery of nephrology care.
In order to evaluate the programme that has now run for 2 years in the context of this institution, evaluative research methodology sought to explore the experiences of the staff and students involved. Qualitative data was collected from the students and a reflective framework was used to form the basis of a focus group for the staff.
This paper will present how a virtual learning environment (VLE) was developed utilising the pedagogic framework of solution-focused learning. It will demonstrate evaluation of the students’ experiences compared to their traditional classroom-learning counterparts, and highlight the reflections of staff developers as they moved into new roles and developed different aspects of their present roles within a traditional HE context.
Keywords: On-line Learning Continuing Professional Development, Student Experiences, Staff Experiences.
Coskun BAYRAK & Eren KESIM
An Evaluation with Respect to e-Learning and Economic Analysis of the Graduate Program Offered in Anadolu University’s Institute of Educational Sciences
In this study, an e-learning platform was formed to enable school teachers and administrators to attend graduate programs in the field of educational administration, supervision, planning and economics. In this framework, for the non-thesis educational administration, supervision, planning and economics graduate programs to be conducted in the Institute of Educational Sciences in Anadolu University with using the e-learning method, cost of technical infrastructure for e-learning method, unit costs of students attending a program, cost advantage per credit and time advantage between e-learning and formal education were calculated. In addition, profitability of educational investment in e-learning and application of e-learning were discussed. A descriptive research method is used in the study. Research universe is the students, attending educational administration supervision planning and economics graduate program in Anadolu University’s Institute of Educational Sciences in the 2003-2004 academic year. Universe but not sampling, was used as the research universe in this study.
In evaluation and economic analysis of the e-learning model, inflation rate and risk free rate of interest variables are used as the main variables. The value of annually compound rate of nine months Treasury bill (29.90 %), opened bids on November 4, 2003 was used as the risk free rate of interest in the economic analysis. In the economic analysis of the non thesis web based application model of educational administration, supervision, planning and economics program as an educational investment, five year present values of discount rates were calculated according to the %29.90 discount rate value for determining incomes and variable expenditures.
Findings of the study can be stated as follows: Unit costs per students for e-learning method is lower than formal education. e-learning method provides cost advantage per credit. Due to the absence of fixed costs from the beginning of the second academic year, total incomes are larger than total expenditures which makes investments in e-learning graduate program profitable. The e-learning method is also found to be time saving when compared to formal education.
Keywords: E-learning, Cost, Education, Turkey, Open Education Faculty.
Carlos MACHADO & Karen THOMPSON
The Adoption of Open Sources within Higher Education In Europe and A Dissemination Case Study
For some time now, the open-source (OS) phenomenon has been making its presence felt; disrupting the economics of the software industry and, by proxy, the business of education. A combination of the financial pressure Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) find themselves under and the increasing focus on the use of technology to enhance students' learning have encouraged many HEIs to look towards alternative approaches to teaching and learning. Meanwhile, the “OS” has challenged assumptions about how intellectual products are created and protected and has greatly increased the quantity and arguably the quality of educational technologies available to HEIs.
Hence, the article outlines the development and proliferation of OS Software (OSS) within the sphere of education. It discusses the reasons for the acceptance and spread of OSS in HEIs across Europe, outlining its role within the four key domains of higher education. Finally, the article illustrates the case of a current Tempus Project in Central Asia, for which OS-based virtual learning environments (VLEs) have provided support for the delivery of a convergent curriculum across several HEIs in Central Asia.
Keywords: Open-source, Higher Education, Virtual Environments
Kelly CAREY & Stanko BLATNIK
E-Learning and Economic Development
In this article, our experience in the development and realization of e-Learning courses in Slovenia is described and discussed. Slovenia, the most developed republic of former Yugoslavia, became an EU member in May 2004. In 1991, after its independence from Yugoslavia, Slovenia’s transition to a free market economy resulted in lost jobs and an unemployment rate of 12%. In 1999, as the Institute for Symbolic Analysis and Development of Information Technologies, located in Velenje, Slovenia, we decided to offer several online courses to help unemployed people gain the skills and knowledge needed for employability in information technology.
We drew on our previous experience teaching online courses at Sarajevo University after the Bosnian war and on the experience of West Valley College from Saratoga, Silicon Valley in e-Learning. Over the last four years, we organized and delivered e-Learning courses in digital media design and production, with good results. Several students found jobs and changed their perception and attitude as they became more self-confident. We believe e-Learning can efficiently enhance lifelong learning and support economic development, especially in new member countries transitioning from former socialistic to free market economies.
Keywords: e-Learning, Distance Education, Economic Development, Unemployment, Transnational Learning.
Susannah QUINSEE & Judith HURST
Blurring the Boundaries? Supporting Students and Staff within an Online Learning Environment
The inclusion of online learning technologies into the higher education (HE) curriculum is frequently associated with the design and development of new models of learning. One could argue that e-learning even demands a reconfiguration of traditional methods of learning and teaching. One of the key elements of this transformational process is flexibility. This paper considers a number of aspects relating to the flexibility inherent within models of online learning and the potential impact of this on support structures. City University, London, is used as a case study to provide examples of online practice which support strategies outlined here. A number of models of online learning are used at the University to provide evidence of the variation in modes of support and illustrate the different needs of both students and staff when using these forms of learning. What is apparent through this discussion is that to provide effective support for online learners, whether students or staff, clear and solid structures need to be put in place to assist with the creation of an online community.
Keywords: e-Learning, Online Learning, Virtual Learning Environments, Learner Support
Scott L. WALKER
Objective Evaluation in an Online Geographic Information System Certificate Program
Departmental decisions regarding distance education programs can be subject to subjective decision-making processes influenced by external factors such as strong faculty opinions or pressure to increase student enrolment. This paper outlines an evaluation of a departmental distance-education program. The evaluation utilized several methods that strived to inject objectivity in evaluation and subsequent decision-making. A rapid multi-modal approach included evaluation methods of (1) considering the online psychosocial learning environment, (2) content analyses comparing the online version of classes to face-to-face versions, (3) cost comparisons in online vs. face-to-face classes, (4) student outcomes, (5) student retention, and (6) benchmarking. These approaches offer opportunities for departmental administrators and decision-making committees to make judgments informed by facts rather than being influenced by the emotions, beliefs, or opinions of organizational dynamics.
Keywords: Evaluation, Distance Education, Certificate Program, Geography
Steve WHEELER & Shannon AMIOTTE
The Death of Distance: Documenting the Effects of Distance Education In South Dakota
South Dakota has arguably the most technologically advanced educational system in the United States. The state boasts a population of approximately 750,000 residents, distributed across an area measuring approximately 250 by 400 miles. South Dakota is experiencing a shortage of specialist teachers and university faculty, and the vast geographical distances prohibit the physical sharing of educational resources. To begin to address these issues, every school, college and university in the state has recently been connected with wide band communications cable, and equipped with specialized telecommunications suites. The use of public television broadcasting, videoconferencing, Internet based resources and distance learning methods has been introduced in a rationalized attempt to overcome the vast distances between schools and communities across a predominantly rural state.
There is also a high percentage of Native Americans living in the state, located in tribal reservation areas as well as integrated within the general community. Because of social, economic or technological effects of any significant changes often have a detrimental effect on indigenous populations. The effectiveness of distance education and technology supported learning then, is a hotly contended issue.
A major evaluation project was set up between 2002-2003 to measure the success rate of the new technology based learning approaches, and the extent to which the 'tyranny of distance' could be overcome. Surveys and interviews with key instructors and administrators across the state were conducted, which yielded a rich vein of data. In this paper, the authors document the broader effects that the introduction of the technical infrastructure has had on the general population of South Dakota.
Keywords: Evaluation, Evaluation Project, Distance Education, Certificate Program
Philip GLOVER, Ismail Hakki MIRICI & Mualla Bilgin AKSU
Preparing for the European Language Portfolio: Internet connections
The European Language Portfolio (ELP) is a tool for developing learner responsibility and autonomy through reflection and self-awareness. The ELP is based on the Common European Framework (CEF) Reference Levels that enable learners to describe what they can do in different languages. The CEF is a Council of Europe initiative aimed at improving the learning of foreign languages.
This paper uses the internet to look at how the ELP has been implemented in different settings and to suggest how the ELP may be approached. The paper introduces a small-scale case study of ELP pilot implementation in a university preparatory school. The results from this institution show many similarities with responses in other places, and demonstrate the importance of integrating the ELP with the existing programme, providing teacher training and clarifying the status and purpose of the ELP.
Analysis of documents on the internet shows a number of important factors. The most successful examples of ELP use involved integration of the ELP in the institution’s programme, training for teachers and students and a high level of commitment of time and financial resources by teachers and administrators. Responses from teachers were often extremely positive, others showed interest but many also expressed reservations about the ELP. Student responses were generally but not universally positive and a number of criticisms were raised concerning the status and purpose of the ELP. The paper provides full internet links so readers can access the same documents.
The paper concludes firstly that future ELP use could exploit the internet for teacher training and secondly that thorough preparation of staff, students and programmes are needed when an innovative tool such as ELP is introduced. The basis for thorough preparation could involve detailed familiarisation with the CEF Reference Levels.
Keywords: Common European Framework (CEF), European Language Portfolio (ELP), Internet Links
Online Information Technologies Certificate Program
In this study, Information Technologies Certificate Program which is based on synchronous and asynchronous communication methods over the Internet offered by cooperation of Middle East Technical University, Computer Engineering Department and Continuing Education Center were examined. This online certificate program started in May 1998 and it is still active. The program includes eight fundamental courses of Computer Engineering Department and comprised of four semesters lasting totally nine months. The main aim of this program is to train the participants in IT field to meet demand in the field of computer technologies in Turkey. As a conclusion, the properties of this program were discussed in a detailed way.
Keywords: Information Technology, Internet-based Education, Online Certificate Program, E-learning, Online, Online Education
TOJDE, Anadolu University
REVIEW: A Review of the Literature on the Open Education Faculty in Turkey (1982-2002)
There has been a huge expansion of distance education in Turkey over the last two decades and this book provides both an overview of the work of the Open Education Faculty (OEF) and a more detailed listing and abstracts of 312 related studies.
Reviewed By Ana NEVES
REVIEW: The E-Learning Revolution The E-learning Revolution: From Propositions to Action
The impact of the electronically connected world on the learning and training of individuals and organisations is the primary subject of this book. It presents 21 propositions, which “provide a good framework to guide the actions of those involved in directing, managing or supporting the training function”. The first proposition is: “The internet changes everything, including training.” The last one is: “More honesty and less hype is required if the training profession is to grasp the new opportunity to maximum effect.” In between, the other 19 propositions are factual and provocative enough to fire the reader’s imagination and interest.
TOJDE, Anadolu University
REVIEW: Interactive Multimedia in Education and Training
Interactive Multimedia in Education and Training emerges out of the need to share information and knowledge on the research and practices of using multimedia in various educational settings. The book discusses issues related to planning, designing and development of interactive multimedia in a persuasive tone and style, offering rich research data. Roles and application of multimedia in different education and training contexts are highlighted, as are case studies of multimedia development and use, including areas such as language learning, cartography, engineering education, health sciences, and others. Authors of various chapters report on their experiences of designing multimedia materials that are pedagogically appropriate and suitable to the cognitive abilities of the target groups.