Category Archives: Publications

A Social Network Analysis Comparison of an Experienced and a Novice Instructor in Online Teaching

Patricia Fidalgo [], Instituto Piaget, Almada, Portugal
Joan Thormann [], Lesley University, Cambridge, United States of America
European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning

The most productive learning experience for students whether online or in face-to-face classes can often be the interaction among students and with an instructor. Online teaching and Social Network Analysis (SNA) offer the opportunity to examine intellectual social networking and strategies that promotes student interaction which can enhance learning.
This study focuses on two online courses in which we used Social Network Analysis (SNA) techniques to evaluate and compare student and instructor interactions of two online courses (Lesley University, Cambridge, MA and Instituto Piaget, Lisbon, Portugal). One course was taught by an experienced online instructor and the other by an instructor new to the online teaching format.
We describe and present some of the main features of SNA such as degree of participation, density of interaction, linkage, formation of subsets, distribution of centrality among the participants as well as network patterns.
Although the countries and content of the courses were different, SNA allowed us to make comparisons using objective statistical methods. We found that the instructional approach has a clear effect on interactions. In addition, we noted that under some instructional circumstances a multi-star pattern of interaction was created which is an undocumented SNA pattern. We also observed that SNA can be useful in studying online course interactions leading to enhanced learning.
Full article: European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning.

Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT) seeks reviewers

In response to continual increases in the volume of manuscript submissions it receives, the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT at is seeking expressions of interest from qualified individuals to join its panel of reviewers.
JOLT is a peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal whose objectives are to:
– Enable faculty to use technology effectively in online teaching and learning by learning from a community of researchers and scholars;
– Enable academic programs to design and deploy academic technology to optimize online teaching and learning;
– Build a community around the research and scholarly use of multimedia educational resources for online teaching and learning.
Full article: MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT): Call for Expressions of Interest to join Reviewer Panel | DEHub.

Making Progress: Rethinking State and School District Policies Concerning Mobile Technologies and Social Media


It is commonly recognized that our nation’s progress depends on improving learning, thereby creating healthier communities and a stronger workforce. In today’s world, that requires us to take advantage of new learning tools to ensure that our children’s learning is practical and prepares them for the challenges of the 21st century. The advantages of digital media now greatly outweigh the disadvantages and require that schools update their thinking and policies to provide guidance on the use of these tools to improve student learning and achievement.
In 2000, when the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was first enacted, the major concern on the part of legislators and education policymakers was to protect children from viewing pornography on the Internet. A decade later, the nature and scope of digital media differs sharply from what existed in 2000. Mobile devices, social media, and other Web 2.0 applications have become mainstream in many sectors of society, and an increasing number of educators are demonstrating the power of these applications to enrich the learning environments in their classrooms.
There is a growing recognition on the part of teachers, education support professionals, school administrators, and prominent educational experts that emerging digital technologies are here to stay and, when used properly, can offer substantial educational benefits. These benefits, however, are not without some risks. Recent abuses of social media have prompted a number of state legislatures and boards of education to consider enacting legislation or policies to respond to concerns about the use of digital media to harass, bully, or make inappropriate sexual contact with children. Before steps are taken to impose limits on the use of social media and mobile technologies in schools, policymakers and educators need to consider the consequences for learning that such restrictions would produce. In this document, we argue that such action should carefully consider the advantages of social media for learning and that these guidelines for responsible use bring media into mentored environments where they can be safely explored and shared.
Many of the problems raised by these new technologies – from bullying to engaging in risky behavior – are not new to the public discourse, but are merely being delivered in different media. The challenge to responsible educators remains the same: to provide stimulating and safe learning environments that support the acquisition of practical skills necessary for full participation as a 21st-century citizen. Achieving this without mentored use of new technologies seems both impractical and counterproductive. One of the most powerful reasons to permit the use of social media and mobile devices in the classroom is to provide an opportunity for students to learn about their use in a supervised environment that emphasizes the development of attitudes and skills that will help keep them safe outside of school. A popular analogy is to driver’s education, where behind-the-wheel training is as important as the more theoretical study of the “rules of the road.” To advance thinking about the issues involved, we offer a summary of the emerging themes in educational uses of social media and conclude with recommendations for responsible use policies.
Download thePDF
via Making Progress.

The eLearning Guild : eBook: Instructional Design Tips

58 Tips

New from The eLearning Guild.
Instructional Design (ID) is — or at least should be — the foundation for effective eLearning. Whether you are new to ID or have been designing eLearning for a while, it’s easy to get stuck in certain ways of doing things. That’s when you need some new ideas!
This complimentary eBook draws on the ideas and experience of 14 ID experts who are leading sessions that are part of The eLearning Guild’s May 2012 Online Forum on “eLearning Instructional Design: Advanced and Breakthrough Techniques.” These tips, which will enhance the way you design eLearning, are organized into four general categories:

  • Research
  • Design
  • Development
  • Project management

Complete the form on the site to download the report.
via The eLearning Guild : eBook: Instructional Design Tips.

The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN) | The Sloan Consortium

As online education becomes pervasive, emerging research guides rapidly developing practice in online teaching and learning. The new issue of the Sloan Consortium’s (Sloan-C’s) Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Volume 16.1, focuses on factors that increase student and faculty success online. Contributors to the January issue include faculty researchers from Cabrini College, Drexel University, the Pennsylvania State University, Rowan University, Texas Tech University, the University of Memphis and hundreds of institutions that have contributed to Sloan-C’s collection of effective practices.
The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN) | The Sloan Consortium.

Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning Vol 16 No 1

Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning

The DEANZ 2012 conference issue of the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning is now available online at
There are 12 papers published in this issue, all of which were accepted for the refereed stream of this week’s DEANZ conference.
Full papers are freely available for download.
DEANZ has also generated speaker pages for the conference, available from

The Integration of Personal Learning Environments & Open Network Learning Environments

Chih-Hsiung Tu, Laura Sujo-Montes, Cherng-Jyh Yen, Junn-Yih Chan and Michael Blocher (2012)
The Integration of Personal Learning Environments & Open Network Learning Environments
TechTrends, Volume 56, Number 3, 13-19
Learning management systems traditionally provide structures to guide online learners to achieve their learning goals. Web 2.0 technology empowers learners to create, share, and organize their personal learning environments in open network environments; and allows learners to engage in social networking and collaborating activities. Advanced networking mechanisms, UGC, flat-structured architectures, RSS, and social tagging, permit online learners to define their own learning structures. This article reports an online course built within multiple Web 2.0 technologies designed to empower learners to construct their own personal learning environments within open network learning environments. Lessons learned, examples, and critical issues are discussed. This paper concludes that effective instructions should prepare “online” learners to become “network” or “open network” learners.
Download PDF (103.2 KB)
TechTrends, Volume 56, Number 3 – SpringerLink.

Keeping Pace with K-12 online learning

Executive summary
K-12 online and blended learning have evolved in new directions in the past year. While now familiar segments of the field, such as online charter schools and state virtual schools, have continued to grow, relatively new forms such as consortium programs and single-district programs are expanding even more rapidly, as is the range of private providers competing to work with districts. As of late 2011, online and blended learning opportunities exist for at least some students in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, but no state has a full suite of full-time and supplemental options for students at all grade levels.
Key trends and events from the past year include:

  • Single district programs are the fastest growing segment of online and blended learning.
  • Most district programs are blended, instead of fully online.
  • Intermediate units, BOCES, county offices, and other education service agencies are taking on important roles.
  • State virtual schools are dividing into two tiers—those with significant impact and those without—largely based on funding model.
  • Several states passed important new online learning laws, some of which cited the Ten Elements of Digital Learning created by Digital Learning Now.
  • The Common Core State Standards are taking hold, common assessments are next, and open educational resources are an increasingly important element.
  • The provider landscape is changing rapidly.
  • Special student needs gain new focus.

Via: KeepingPace2011.pdf

Evaluation of Evidence-based Practices in Online Learning

Via Scoop.itThe eLearning Site
Means, Barbara
Toyama, Yukie
Murphy, Robert
Bakia, Marianne
Jones, Karla
A systematic search of the research literature from 1996 through July 2008 identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning. Analysts screened these studies to find those that (a) contrasted an online to a face-to-face condition, (b) measured student learning outcomes, (c) used a rigorous research design, and (d) provided adequate information to calculate an effect size. As a result of this screening, 51 independent effects were identified that could be subjected to meta-analysis. The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. The difference between student outcomes for online and face-to-face classes—measured as the difference between treatment and control means, divided by the pooled standard deviation—was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction with conditions taught entirely face-to-face. Analysts noted that these blended conditions often included additional learning time and instructional elements not received by students in control conditions. This finding suggests that the positive effects associated with blended learning should not be attributed to the media, per se. An unexpected finding was the small number of rigorous published studies contrasting online and face-to-face learning conditions for K–12 students. In light of this small corpus, caution is required in generalizing to the K–12 population because the results are derived for the most part from studies in other settings (e.g., medical training, higher education).
Via How to Teach Online Without Selling Your Soul: Build Your Own e-Learning Business, Create Unique Content And Work From Anywhere eBook: André Klein: Kindle Store

Via Scoop.itThe eLearning Site

André Klein (Author)

“The best book on How to build an online teaching business that I did not write.” – Kirsten Winkler, education consultant

The most important thing about this book is that Andre unflinchingly spells out the simplicity of teaching online, and strips bare the misconceptions surrounding bells, whistles, toys and technology. After reading this, you will no longer feel overwhelmed about teaching online, and you’ll avoid the many pitfalls of teachers like myself who dived into the online world without Andre as a guide. – Sylvia Guinan, edupreneur