More than 50 Web Widgets, 100 Free Learning Sites, Broadband for NY, Web 2.0, Designing Change, Faculty 2.0, Podcasting, Social Networking

Here are some articles you might find interesting, including some articles from Educause Review that I missed while I was out on (or recovering from!) maternity leave last year. Chris.

More than 50 Web Widgets for Your Learning Mix
by Jeff Cobb
March 19, 2008, Mission to Learn

. . . “I went out to see what sorts of learning-oriented widgets I could find in relatively short period of time. My conclusion is that there is still a lot to be done to add great widgets to the world of learning online, but nonetheless, there are some pretty good things out there. Caveats, disclaimers, and brief observations follow, but those who prefer can jump straight into the list with the following links:
general knowledge and trivia widgets, society and culture widgets, health, fitness, and beauty widgets, environmental widgets, food and drink widgets, history widgets, business widgets, lifestyle and travel widgets, art, music, and literature widgets, math and science widgets, language and vocabulary widgets.”

More than 100 Free Places to Learn Online – and Counting
by Jeff Cobb
Feb 14, 2008, Mission to Learn

. . . “I decided to undertake what turned into a “pulling a thread on a sweater” exercise and see how many free places to learn things I could find on the Web relatively quickly. I’ve included some notes and observations on this exercise below, but first I’ll cut to the chase and offer a brief table of contents for what follows:
online tutorials and how-to sites; big idea and debate sites; higher education and open education initiatives; free CE, CME, and CEU; topical areas – at home, business and professional skills, dance, economics, handy things to know, health, human resources, international development, language, spelling and grammar, law, math, music and art, sports, recreation, and hobbies, theological, Web and computer skills.”

Universal Broadband Grants for New York Announced
Mar 19, 2008, Government Technology

“New York Governor David A. Paterson today announced that nine public/private sector partnerships will receive funds to help promote the research, design and implementation of innovative solutions to create affordable broadband Internet access for underserved urban and rural communities throughout the state.”

“The New York State Council for Universal Broadband, which is charged with developing strategies to ensure every New Yorker has access to affordable, high-speed Internet service, met for the second time this week and the competitive grants were announced at that meeting. The funds will help build high-speed broadband access networks, foster equal and universal access in underserved areas, and develop digital literacy programs.”

Wikis and Podcasts and Blogs! Oh, My! What Is a Faculty Member Supposed to Do?
by Patricia McGee, University of Texas at San Antonio, and, Veronica Diaz, Maricopa Community College District
September/October 2007, Educause Review

“In the past five years, the number of online technologies has exploded, with many of them being well-suited for teaching and learning. Those applications defined as “Web 2.0” hold the most promise because they are strictly Web-based and typically free, support collaboration and interaction, and are responsive to the user. These applications have great potential to be used in a way that is learner-centered, affordable, and accessible for teaching and learning purposes. The most commonly used (and discussed) tools are described in Table 1.” . . .

“Given that higher education finally has some technologies actually designed for teaching and learning, institutions and faculty members alike need to determine the value of these tools and how they can best support learning. It is vital that the institution provide services and resources while also supporting the range of faculty members’ skill, expertise, capability, interest, and motivation. We propose a multifaceted approach that involves (1) capturing current practices, (2) determining the needs, wants, and preferences of both faculty members and learners, and (3) carefully matching the pedagogical value of the tools as it relates to teaching and learning behaviors.”

Active Learning and Technology: Designing Change for Faculty, Students, and Institutions
by Anne H. Moore, Shelli B. Fowler, and C. Edward Watson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
September/October 2007, Educause Review

“Much of the rhetoric about contemporary higher education suggests that colleges and universities need to embrace change due to advances in knowledge, technology, transportation, and more—advances that have dramatically shifted the way we all function in the modern world.” . . .

“More to the point, however much the public rhetoric champions transformative change—the kind of organizational learning that signals a marked shift in the way colleges and universities behave—the reality is that most mature organizations and the individuals they employ resist change; and they especially resist the double-loop variety. One way to overcome such resistance is to lower learning anxiety through development programs designed to create new capabilities that people might find useful for personal, professional, or institutional reasons.”

Faculty 2.0
by Joel L. Hartman, Charles Dziuban, and James Brophy-Ellison, University of Central Florida.
September/October 2007, Educause Review

“Much has been written recently about the Net Generation—the generation (roughly twelve to twenty-five years old) that makes up the majority of students attending U.S. colleges and universities—but relatively little attention has been given to the college and university faculty who teach them. Faculty roles and the processes of teaching and learning are undergoing rapid change. Most faculty members did not seek careers in the academy because of a strong love of technology or a propensity for adapting to rapid change; yet they now find themselves facing not only the inexorable advance of technology into their personal and professional lives but also the presence in their classrooms of technology-savvy Net Generation students, leading them to feel a bit like the character Valentine Michael Smith in Robert Heinlein’s 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land.”

Confessions of a Podcast Junkie
by Carie Windham, Graduate Student and Freelance Writer
May/June 2007, Educause Review

“As more and more colleges and universities jump on board the podcasting bandwagon, it’s vital that faculty and administrators keep revisiting podcasting, as a tool for teaching and learning, from the student’s perspective. For the students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the University of British Columbia, Bentley College, Duke University, and DePaul University, a lack of familiarity with the content or the equipment was not a barrier to success.”

“All the students identified the same benefits to podcasting technology:
– The ability to access course content on a twenty-four-hour basis
– The chance to take their learning mobile so that listening can be done on the bus, at the gym, or on a walk between classes
– The creativity factor when making podcasts: they can present the content in a way that they choose
– The ease of access: podcasts can be easily downloaded from the Internet for free”

“For teaching and learning, the students saw concrete benefits to podcasting projects, especially when compared with standard modes of testing, such as writing a paper or doing a class demonstration.”

Social Networking Technologies: A “Poke” for Campus Services
Joanne Berg, Lori Berquam, and Kathy Christoph, University of Wisconsin–Madison
March/April, Educause Review

“At the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW-Madison), we have been using the fervor surrounding social networking technologies as a way for us to build better relationships with our students and with personnel from disparate parts of the campus. As a start, the three of us began talking with students about social networking technologies such as Facebook and MySpace. We asked how they use these technologies in the context of their experiences both inside and outside the classroom, and we gathered their opinions on which components of these social systems might improve the delivery of services such as enrollment, campus communications, e-learning, advising, and involvement activities. Our conversations have been energetic and productive. Our goal has been to learn more about how students think and work so that we can provide improved services.”

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More than 50 Web Widgets, 100 Free Learning Sites, Broadband for NY, Web 2.0, Designing Change, Faculty 2.0, Podcasting, Social Networking

2007 Distance Education Survey Results, Pamela Himmel Accepts the ITC Award for Excellence in e-Learning – Outstanding DL Student

I have just added the following two items to the ITC Web site.  We will mail a print copy of this survey report to every ITC member, and to every community college president.  AACC will also insert a copy of the report into each conference bag at their convention April 5-8 in Philadelphia.  We will have some left over, please let me know if you would like any additional copies.  Also, we have added the video of Pamela Himmel’s acceptance of the ITC Award for Excellence in e-Learning.  Her story is quite inspiring to say the least.

2007 Distance Education Survey Results: Tracking the Impact of e-Learning at Community Colleges
by Fred Lokken, Truckee Meadows Community College, Christine Mullins, Instructional Technology Council, and Lynda Womer, St. Petersburg CollegeStudent demand for distance education courses at community colleges continues to grow. It is no surprise that 70 percent of respondents in this ITC survey reported that student demand exceeds current class offerings. The percentages for enrollment growth and student demand have remained consistent during the four years of survey data. Offering students online services and technology support is a priority on most campuses – it is most likely an effort to meet accreditation expectations of “equivalency.” Many campuses have already completed this transformation and the 2007 survey data confirms they have made additional progress

It seems that the recent merger of Blackboard-WebCt in February 2006 and a substantial increase in fees may have prompted a growing number of colleges to review their learning management system (LMS) commitments. Thirty one percent of the respondents indicated they were considering switching from their current LMS. Although licensed LMS solutions prevail, Moodle, an open-source solution, reflected a doubling of its share in one year.

Administrators have consistently identified obtaining “support staff needed for training and technical assistance” as the greatest challenge confronting their distance education program during the four years of the survey. Administrators have consistently identified “workload” issues as their greatest challenge related to faculty. Administrators had consistently identified “orientation/preparation for taking distance education classes” as their greatest challenge related to students during the first three years of the survey, but this year, the completion of student evaluations emerged as the new primary concern.

Administrators are not as concerned about faculty “buy-in” as they may have been in the past before this ITC survey got underway. Notably, obtaining student acceptance, recruitment, and interest in distance education have never been a concern or challenge.

ITC created this annual survey in response to the growing need for national data related to distance education program creation and development, and for key issues related to faculty and students. Respondents completed 154 surveys out of the initial distribution of slightly more than 500, a 30 percent response rate.

Pamela Himmel Accepts ITC Awards for Excellence in e-Learning, Outstanding Distance Learning Student, at e-Learning 2008 on Feb. 18, 2008

St. Petersburg College was honored by having one of our students chosen as the ‘Online Student of the Year’ at the recent international Instructional Technology Council meeting at the Tradewinds. Thanks to the good work of Jeremy Peplow, the college videographer, the nominating introduction by eCampus instructor Dr. Jennifer Lechner and Pamela Himmel’s comments are captured in the enclosed video file. If you’re feeling a little tired and overwhelmed, spend the few minutes watching this video. It represents the best of what we are, and the core of what we’re about. We should all be very proud and humbled.”
James Olliver, Provost, Seminole/eCampus, St. Petersburg College

2007 Distance Education Survey Results, Pamela Himmel Accepts the ITC Award for Excellence in e-Learning – Outstanding DL Student

Articles: Desire2Learn, Digital Libraries, E-Books, Juicy Campus, Facebook 2.0, Technology Literacy, Conferences and Technology

Here are some articles you might find interesting. Chris.

Desire2Learn CEO Makes Case Against Blackboard Patent, Court Ruling: A conversation with Desire2Learn’s John Baker and Diane Lank
March 17, 2008, Campus Technology
by David Nagel
“Desire2Learn recently became the first education technology provider to fall victim to litigation stemming from Blackboard’s patent covering learning management systems. In February, the company lost a patent-infringement lawsuit filed by Blackboard and in March was enjoined by the court from selling any versions of its learning management system containing the “infringing” code. In this exclusive interview, John Baker, Desire2Learn’s president and CEO, discusses the case with us, its impact on the company and its customers, and the implications for education technology as a whole.”

Seeking Clarity about D2L Work-Around
by Barry Dahl, Desire2Blog
March 14, 2008

“I’ve been trying to get accurate information about the process related to Desire2Learn’s efforts to stop infringing on the (bogus) Blackboard patent. This is the information that I am relying on so far. . . .”

Architectures for Collaboration: Roles and Expectations for Digital Libraries
by Peter Brantley, Digital Library Federation
March/April 2008, Educause Review

Libraries are successful to the extent that they can bridge communities and can leverage the diversity of the quest, the research, and the discovery. By building bridges among various sectors, libraries will be able to define themselves in the next generation.

E-Books in Higher Education: Nearing the End of the Era of Hype?
by Mark R. Nelson, Digital Content Strategist, National Association of College Stores
March/April 2008, Educause Review

What is the reality with respect to e-books? Will e-books finally take off? After nearly two decades of talking about how e-books are right around the corner, have we finally reached the corner?

Free Culture Clash
by Barbara Fister
March 13, 2008, ACRLog

“Several universities have fallen afoul of graduate students who fear their first book – the one that gets them tenure – will be unpublishable if the dissertation its based on is open access. The University of Iowa is now finding itself in the middle of an unanticipated firestorm when they decided deposited electronic theses would be open access and, eventually, print theses would be, too.”

Google Unveils Tools to Integrate Its Digitized Books Into Campus Library Catalogs
March 14, 2008
by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Google has now scanned over a million books as part of its controversial partnership with major libraries, but many students and professors don’t know when Google has a copy of the book they’re looking for. Google wants to change that by getting college libraries to integrate Google’s book search into online library catalogs. This week Google unveiled a set of software protocols that allow libraries to essentially merge Goolge’s collection with their own.”

“Among the first to take advantage of the new protocols are the University of Texas at Austin’s libraries. If a user searches the UT library catalog for a book that happens to be in Google’s collection, the catalog entry includes a link that says “Limited Preview at Google Book Search.” The link takes users to that book in Google’s collection, which allows searching of the full text. For books that are still covered under copyright, Google allows only short passages to be viewed, though it offers full text viewing of other books.”

How to Combat a Campus Gossip Web Site (and Why You Shouldn’t)
March 17, 2008
by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education

“The [gossip Web site Juicy Campus] has no affiliation with any of the 130 campuses about which it has set up gossip message boards, so college officials cannot pull the plug. And the Web site itself does not appear to be breaking any laws, no matter how malicious the postings are, because the site is simply offering a public forum and is not responsible for what is submitted. At least that’s what Juicy Campus’s founder, Matt Ivester, a recent graduate of Duke University, has argued on the site’s public blog. (Mr. Ivester did not respond to numerous requests for comment by The Chronicle.)”

“But college officials and students at campuses across the country have fought the gossip site on several fronts since it first hit the Web last August. Below are some of the tactics used, and an argument that the best approach is to do nothing.”

Facebook 2.0
by Tracy Mitrano, Cornell University
March/April 2008, Educause Review

“Social networking continues to be a “cool new tool,” and we should stay connected to its emerging technologies, its social norms and psychological meanings, its advertising and market models, and its legal and policy queries on a global scale. A corporate, commercialized Internet has more money, flexibility, and motivation to innovate than do most business aspects of higher education and is the driving force behind the outsourcing of campus IT services and products. That move toward outsourcing might not be a bad thing.”

“As entrepreneurs continue to push the proverbial envelope of acceptability in gossip and other salacious sites, such as Juicycampus.com, legislators may rethink the Communications Decency Act’s section 230, which provides Internet service providers and sites with immunity from common torts such as defamation. Designed to stimulate the development of the Internet, this immunity is increasingly coming under scrutiny as victims of cyberbullying, libel, and defamation seek to understand the role that technology plays in terms of the scope and scale of damages. ISPs, as passive conduits, are not likely to be implicated, but site owners may acquire more liability under less protective legal regimes. Higher education needs to get out of those kinds of businesses altogether.”

States Struggle with Assessing Tech Literacy
At CoSN’s annual conference, representatives from two states discussed how they are meeting this challenge
by Meris Stansbury, eSchool News
March 11, 2008

“How do you assess whether students are tech literate? That’s a key challenge facing educators. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) stipulates that all students should be technologically literate by the end of the eighth grade. But how to assess technological literacy has proven to be a complex challenge for school leaders.”

ISTE National Educational Technology Standards 2007 

Conference Connections: Rewiring the Circuit
by George Siemens, University of Manitoba and Complexive Systems Inc., Peter Tittenberger, University of Manitoba, and Terry Anderson, Athabasca University
March/April 2008, Educause Review

“Technology as a tool for transforming practice in conferences is largely our focus here. Computers, mobile phones, podcasts, blogs, Second Life, RSS, Google Reader, and many similar tools afford new ways of interacting before, during, and after conferences. Like general approaches to teaching and learning with technology, technology use in conferences runs on a continuum: augmented, blended, simultaneous-blended, online, and unconferences—with a corresponding level of participant control.”

The authors provide examples of conferences that have used these technology tools.

Articles: Desire2Learn, Digital Libraries, E-Books, Juicy Campus, Facebook 2.0, Technology Literacy, Conferences and Technology

Spring 2008 Issue of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

Here are descriptions of the articles in the most recent issue of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, a quarterly peer-reviewed electronic journal. The journal welcomes manuscripts based on original work of practitioners and researchers with specific focus or implications for the management of distance education programs.

How Institutionalized is Distance Learning? A Study of Institutional Role, Locale and Academic Level
by Anthony A. Piña, Ed.D., Coordinator of Learning Technologies, Northeastern Illinois University

The purpose of this study was to determine areas of strengths and weaknesses in the institutionalization of distance learning at colleges and universities. To accomplish this goal, 30 factors found to influence the institutionalization of innovations were identified from the literature of several area. These factors were rated by distance learning professionals on how successfully each of the individual factors was being implemented at their respective institutions. Results were analyzed and compared according to institutional role (distance learning administrators or distance learning faculty), academic level of the institution (associate, masters or doctorate) and institutional locale (rural, suburban or urban).

Exploratory Study of the Relationship between Self-Directed Learning and Academic Performance in a Web-Based Learning Environmentby Pao-Nan Chou, PhD Candidate, Department of Learning Performance and Systems, College of Education, Wei-Fan Chen, Assistant Professor, College of Information Sciences and Technology, Pennsylvania State University-Wilkes-Barre

Through literature review, this paper examines six empirical studies. Three cases are from the United States and the other three are from studies conducted in Asian. The purpose of this study is to identify whether or not self-directed learning is a key factor leading to successful academic performance in web-based learning environments. The in-depth analysis and discussion of each study finds that the effect of self-directed learning on academic success in web-based environments is divergent among six case studies. Follow-up studies should exclude potential problems identified in this paper.

Assessment in Online Distance Education: A Comparison of Three Online Programs at a University
by Nari Kim, Doctoral Candidate, Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University in Bloomington; Matthew J. Smith, Lieutenant Commander, US Coast Guard; Kyungeun Maeng, Junior Consultant, Training & Development Department, Korea Productivity Center

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not the principles of assessment in online education are reflected in the assessment activities used by the developers and administrators of actual online distance courses. Three online distance education programs provided at a large mid-west university were analyzed; the School of Continuing Studies – undergraduate distance program, the School of Business – distance MBA program, and the School of Education – distance graduate program. The results of the study showed that the assessment activities of online distance courses do not strictly follow the principles suggested in the literature.

Financial Bottom Line: Estimating the Cost of Turnover and Attrition for Online Faculty and Adjuncts
by Kristen S. Betts, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, School of Education, Drexel University; Bernadine Sikorski, Ph.D., Deputy Human Resources Division Leader, Bechtel Systems and Infrastructure, Inc., Los Alamos National Laboratory

Turnover and attrition of online faculty and adjunct faculty is a reality. While there are no reported national statistics or data on annual turnover/ attrition for online faculty/adjunct, the overall costs of recruiting, training, and replacing faculty/adjunct can be staggering. Moreover, the short and long term effects of online faculty/adjunct who are not properly trained through recruitment and retention plans can result in faculty/adjunct attrition, student attrition, low graduation rates, legal action, and negatively affect the reputation of an institution. Therefore, online programs administrators must be cognizant of “costs” associated with faculty/adjunct turnover/attrition and understand the inherent importance of recruitment, retention and incentive plans related to program sustainability.

Traditional and Non-traditional Students in the same Classroom? Additional Challenges of the Distance Education Environment
by Tracy A. Skopek, Ph.D, and Robert A. Schuhmann, Ph.D, University of Wyoming

The new reality of higher education contains a fundamental shift in student demographics. More non-traditional students are seeking educational opportunities and traditional students are seeking out and expecting alternative modes of curriculum delivery. Students, especially older, non-traditional ones seek course delivery through distance education formats such as online or videoconferencing that meet the needs of their lifestyle that includes career, family and other responsibilities. As a result, Universities are moving to meet the needs of this growing contingency of new atypical student populations.

Student Interaction Experiences in Distance Learning Courses: A Phenomenological Study
by Sunny (Lu) Liu, Ph.D. Student & Research Assistant, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

This paper focuses on one of the most significant challenges in distance learning, the student-to-student interaction issue, by studying the interaction experiences of a group of students who have had a distance education experience. It addresses questions such as the current status of student interactions, the students’ perceptions of such interactions, and the pattern emerged from such interaction behaviors. Using a phenomenological method, this study found out that the student interaction phenomenon in distance education was intertwined with many factors and themes. In order to foster an interactive learning community and encourage student interactions, all of the administrators, faculty, and staff in a distance education program need to collaborate with each other at an institutional level.

Spring 2008 Issue of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

Add Your Name to the Ballot to Serve on the ITC Board as the Northeast, Southeast or Western Regional Rep: Respond by March 21

We invite you to add your name to the ITC 2008 ballot to serve as a regional representative on the ITC board of directors! We are looking for ITC institutional members located in the northeast, southeast and western regions to serve as a regional representative on the ITC board of directors.

ITC regional representatives serve on the ITC board for two years and must attend three face-to-face, two-day board meetings each year (this year the annual summer board retreat will be on July 17-19 in Reno, Nevada, a fall meeting during the first week of November in Washington, DC, and the annual e-Learning conference in February 2009). These meetings are supplemented by monthly audioconferences. ITC does not reimburse its board members for travel expenses, however we do provide a complementary registration to attend the e-Learning conference.

To be included on the ITC ballot, you must fax a letter to me at 202-822-5014 that expresses support from your institution for your participation on the ITC board. This letter should show that you will receive financial support to attend three face-to-face meetings annually. We will also need a three-paragraph description of why you feel qualified to represent your region on the ITC board of directors. We will include this statement in the ballot that we send to the ITC members in you region.

ITC will conduct a mail-in ballot in early April 2008. The new representatives will begin their term at the ITC summer board retreat in July 2008.

The ITC northeast region includes: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

The ITC southeast region includes: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

The ITC western region includes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

You can find the ITC member colleges in each region using the search feature on the ITC Web site at:

The duties of the ITC regional representative include:

– Organize and serve as chair of a regional ITC committee, representing a diverse cross-section of the regional membership;

– Contact new members in your region to introduce their organization to ITC activities and services and identify areas of special interest;

– Communicate regularly with regional members to solicit award nominations and articles or information for the ITC News. Remind regional members about ITC activities and requests for action on pending federal legislation. Serve as an information/referral source to answer questions and concerns of regional members;

– Provide overall guidance to and take responsibility for conducting regional conferences by chairing or appointing a chair for the conference planning committee and orchestrating the appointment of the committee members;

– Plan and/or implement regional membership drives;

– Serve as an active member of the ITC Board by participating in regular meetings and conference calls, serve ITC related commissions and committees as needed, and take a general leadership role in the planning and implementation of ITC national activities.

Please convey your interest in being included on the ITC 2008 ballot to me before Friday, March 21, 2008. Thank you for your interest in helping ITC in its mission to provide leadership, information and resources to expand and enhance distance learning through the effective use of technology.

Add Your Name to the Ballot to Serve on the ITC Board as the Northeast, Southeast or Western Regional Rep: Respond by March 21