Category Archives: Publications

The Blended & Virtual Learning Frontier Special Report


A Research Report from the Centre for Digital Education and Converge.
These are inTeresTing Times in the education field, and a bit hectic for education leaders at all levels. The digital revolution has hit full force and a whole new education frontier is emerging.
It is important to remember, however, that the revolution in banking took under a decade. The ATM greatly improved convenience for users and significantly lowered costs for banks. I can’t even remember the last time I went to a field branch. Similarly, the peak of evolution in education with blended and online learning has been the fundamental restructuring of the delivery mechanism. It will continue to evolve into the future, like in other fields. Banking, for instance, is now personalized online in so many ways and there is even micro-banking and micro-lending.
The Center for Digital Education sees that schools everywhere are grappling with the rather vast new frontier of blended and virtual learning. As such, we wanted to start defining the territory. This Special Report describes the various terms in blended and virtual learning, and gives education leaders more than a few ideas of what their peers are already doing in this new frontier.
Download: Blended and Virtual Learning 101

Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012 White Paper

Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012 White Paper | Sonic Foundry

Sonic Foundry sponsored Inside Higher Education and Babson Survey Research Group to conduct online learning surveys of faculty and academic technology administrators. The surveys garnered responses from representative samples of 4,564 faculty members and 591 administrators, from all types of institutions. For an in-depth view of what’s on the minds of these instructors and administrators regarding online education, download your copy of the study report today.
Full Text: Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012 White Paper | Sonic Foundry.

Student Insight Hot Topics – Portrait of a Transnational Education Student


This report is the latest in a series of publications that reports on the responses given in in-depth on-line surveys and highly focused interviews, and presents a comprehensive analysis of the attitudes of present and prospective students, as well as administrators and alumni, towards the growing phenomenon of transnational education (TNE).
The report begins with an overview of the evolving TNE concept – which is ot as new as many believe – and clarifies what TNE encompasses: for many, TNE means simply ‘distance learning’, however this report introduces the idea of a much larger and more complex concept, and one that is demanding the attention of students, parents and higher education providers around the world. The current market situation is then explored and changing levels of student interest are given as supporting evidence of the developing nature of the TNE market.
The report then presents a series of indicators that highlight the similarities between students within the worldwide TNE community. These indicators cover interest in and experiences of both undergraduate and postgraduate TNE programmes. By analysing and presenting the feedback given by a wide range of respondents, from secondary-school graduates to employed professionals, this report is able to create a portrait of the TNE student that challenges both the narrower perception TNE and the more widely held understanding of the importance of institution branding and reputation.
The indicators assessed are broken into two main areas. The first presents the characteristics of a TNE student by compiling data on the age, employment status and subject interests of respondents, broken down by interest in TNE programmes offered locally and overseas. The second and largest section addresses the motivations and priorities of TNE students, covering the crucial factors of course availability and ease of admission, time commitment, the quality of teaching, mode of delivery and relevance of the qualification, the reputation of the institution, and the overall TNE student experience.
This comprehensive analysis presents useful insights drawn from a growing body of data and carefully sourced qualitative information on the experiences of TNE students today. The findings should be of value to any provider interested in learning more about its TNE demographic or keen to take advantage of the burgeoning TNE market, as well as any person interested in exploring an area of education that is becoming of interest to a broadening spectrum of prospective students.
Purchase: Student Insight Hot Topics – Portrait of a Transnational Education Student | Internationalising Higher Education.

Special JALN issue on Online Learning and Open Educational Resources for International, Rural and Hard-to-Reach Populations, CFP

The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks invites submission of papers for a special issue focusing on Online Learning and Open Educational Resources (OER) for international development. The articles will focus on reaching rural or other hard-to-reach populations using education technologies that work for these populations. Some of the tools will include OER, online learning, blended learning, and mobile learning. OERs are learning resources made publically available and free to use, modify and redistribute. These include books, presentation materials, assessments and other types of resources. Online and blended learning is being used throughout the developing world in formal and informal learning in a variety of contexts from classrooms to mobile platforms.  The issue will also focus on educational transformation where students will be engaged in the creation of resources and participatory research that helps communities develop.
Traditional vocational institutions, colleges and universities in emerging countries are facing unprecedented demand. Likewise, the demand for informal training is growing. Internet growth is on the verge of exploding and mobile platforms are already ubiquitous in many countries. Yet the scarcity of financial resources requires practitioners to develop creative solutions and innovative practices. Online and blended learning, and OER, offer promising solutions to meet demand and improve quality within the context of developing nations.
This special issue will explore current applications, research and future directions for online learning and OER in the context of developing countries. Papers should present a research study, an analysis or detailed case study on the topic, including data where possible. Papers might focus on trends, project outcomes, road-tested methods and promising models including implications for online education where appropriate.
Manuscripts are due January 14, 2013 for the May issue.
Full Text: Special JALN issue on Online Learning and Open Educational Resources for International, Rural and Hard-to-Reach Populations, CFP | The Sloan Consortium.

The 21st Century Principal: Turning Your Classrooms into 21st Century Learning Spaces

“Where a school is located and how it sets up internal structures determine its possibilities”, writes Heidi Hayes Jacob in the book Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World. As she argues in this book, we have inherited spaces in our buildings that were designed for learning of another era.
Tearing down and rebuilding our schools is hardly a tasteful option in an era of tight budgets and a total lack of funding. What can we do then? We can start by redesigning our classrooms from places where “knowledge is imparted” to more of place where knowledge is found, discovered in a collaborative manner. We can turn the physical environment into places where authentic learning is the classroom business, not sitting in rows, listening to lectures. This may mean simply getting rid of desks and moving in tables and chairs that are portable and can be rearranged quickly according to the needs of the students and the teachers. It means we can change our physical spaces in our schools into 21st century learning environments without breaking our budgets.
Full Text: The 21st Century Principal: Turning Your Classrooms into 21st Century Learning Spaces.

Enabling the Classroom in the Cloud

When confined to physical classroom, many students have had the tendency to daydream beyond the standard four walls. While many a thought may have ventured to being up in the clouds, the concept of the classroom in the cloud actually has a very different meaning. In fact, as a result of leveraging the capabilities of cloud computing services students can now broaden their horizons both literally and figuratively.
A recent Alcatel-Lucent (News – Alert) white paper, A Classroom In The Cloud, explores this concept in depth. It highlighs the possibility of a new business model for educators that builds on the infrastructure of service providers to create an expansive new education platform where the sky is the limit. It is an approach that promises to reduce costs, improve engagement (a reduction in daydreaming) and can actively measure each student’s success — giving parents greater peace of mind.
Full Text: Enabling the Classroom in the Cloud.

Poll Finds Support For Use Of Technology

Hands in the air

The Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission, a non-governmental organization exploring the opportunity to use technology to improve education in the United States, released poll results today that found that the majority of parents and teachers of K-12 students support greater use of technology in education. In addition, the poll found that these audiences increasingly believe that school systems should be doing more to improve access to technology in education.
Here are other highlights of the poll findings:

  • 96 percent of teachers and 92 percent of parents believe that schools’ integration of technology in teaching and learning is important to the education of American students today
  • 54 percent of teachers and 64 percent of parents believe that the role of technology in educating students will become much more important during the next 10 years
  • 61 percent of teachers and 63 percent of parents responded that the country is somewhat or far behind the curve when it comes to American public schools’ use of technology in education
  • 82 percent of teachers and 71 percent of parents believe a greater use of technology would be helpful in connecting learning inside and outside of the classroom
  • 89 percent of teachers and 76 percent of parents would choose to spend $200 per student for an Internet-connected device over $200 per student for new science textbooks
  • 82 percent of teachers believe that they are not receiving the necessary training to use technology to its fullest potential in the classroom (our emphasis)
  • 95 percent of teachers and 90 percent of parents believe that home access to high-speed Internet gives students a big or moderate advantage when it comes to classroom performance

“The poll results shine a light on the importance of providing more access to technology in our classrooms,” said Jim Steyer, LEAD Commissioner and Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media. “A greater belief among parents and teachers that technology has the power to transform the K-12 education experience can truly accelerate the digital learning movement.”
Led by Geoff Garin of Hart Research Associates, the nationwide poll was conducted via telephone with 883 parents of K-12 students from Aug. 7-13 using random sampling techniques. The parents’ poll also included an oversample of 200 low-income parents, with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 at the 95 percent confidence interval. In addition, 812 public school K-12 teachers nationwide were polled via an online survey from Aug. 9-15, including a margin of error of +/- 3.4 at the 95 percent confidence interval. The complete poll findings can be viewed here.
[Again and again I hear teachers say they need more training to feel competent in using technology. I was hearing this 30 years ago and it doesn’t seem to improve. I do think teachers have to take some responsibility and be active users themselves, but there is obviously a need for more in-service training.]
Full Text: Poll Finds Support For Use Of Technology | LEAD Commission.

Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning Volume 16, Issue 2

DEANZ logo

DEANZ is pleased to announce that Volume 16, Issue 2 of the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning has been published. Articles and book reviews are available from
Their next issue will be 17(1), a special issue, “Primary and Secondary Distance Education: Expanding the knowledge base in the schools sector”, which will be edited by Associate Professor Michael Barbour (Wayne State University) and Dr Keryn Pratt (University of Otago).
A reminder that the Journal is an established publishing venue for your own research. Articles and book reviews are most welcome; authors will need to register with JOFDL and make all submissions online. The journal has an international editorial board featuring top scholars, a prompt review process, and an excellent international reputation.

Schools Open Doors to New E-Learning Rules


The world of virtual schooling is experiencing a host of major policy shifts that are opening doors for its expansion, but at the same time holding it up to greater scrutiny. This special report, part of Education Week’s ongoing series on virtual education, examines how state policymakers, educators, and schools are rethinking and changing the rules for e-learning. It provides analyses on the benefits and drawbacks of these changes, and what to expect during this school year and beyond.
Full Text: Education Week: Schools Open Doors to New E-Learning Rules.