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Saturday, January 31, 2009

At M.I.T., Large Lectures Are Going the Way of the Blackboard by SARA RIMER

For as long as anyone can remember, introductory physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was taught in a vast windowless amphitheater known by its number, 26-100.

Squeezed into the rows of hard, folding wooden seats, as many as 300 freshmen anxiously took notes while the professor covered multiple blackboards with mathematical formulas and explained the principles of Newtonian mechanics and electromagnetism.
But now, with physicists across the country pushing for universities to do a better job of teaching science, M.I.T. has made a striking change.

The physics department has replaced the traditional large introductory lecture with smaller classes that emphasize hands-on, interactive, collaborative learning. Last fall, after years of experimentation and debate and resistance from students, who initially petitioned against it, the department made the change permanent. Already, attendance is up and the failure rate has dropped by more than 50 percent.
M.I.T. is not alone. Other universities are changing their ways, among them
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, North Carolina State University, the University of Maryland, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Harvard.
In these institutions, physicists have been pioneering teaching methods drawn from research showing that most students learn fundamental concepts more successfully, and are better able to apply them, through interactive, collaborative, student-centered learning.

Source: The New York Times

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Friday, January 30, 2009

New Community Website, January 30, 2009

United States Distance Learning Association launches new community website to generate broader awareness, knowledge and research for distance learning.

The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the recognized worldwide organization of dedicated professionals committed to the distance learning industry, and introNetworks, the premier smart social network company for online communities announced today their partnership in the launch of USDLA's new website (
The USDLA site ( averages 2.6 million hits per month.

The partnership with the foremost social networking company, introNetworks, allows USDLA to take advantage of the value of member networking and mentoring possibilities within its global organization. Members of the distance learning community can seek out others with similar backgrounds, talents, and interests, encouraging career growth and collaboration.
The new site focuses on the importance and impact distance learning has in 21st century education across many market segments including education, healthcare, government, and corporate. It affords distance learning practitioners the opportunity to explore and become involved in an essential part of today's changing society.

New Facts and Quotes of Attribution
"The world of learning is changing. Distance learning is a multi-billion dollar enterprise and the fastest growing segment of the education market. With the guidance and input of USDLA Advisory Committee members, the design and programming excellence of Emantras, and the creative community-building ingenuity of introNetworks, the new site inspires and offers a personal and authentic connectedness and service-oriented call to action for the distance learning industry" notes Julie Young, USDLA President & Chief Executive Officer, Florida Virtual School.

"The focal point of the new website is the introNetworks Social Community which has established an effective learning community with just-in-time learning and resources for USDLA members.
USDLA is now able to maximize informal learning for member development by intelligently matching members to the people and resources they need most" notes Reggie Smith III, Booz Allen Hamilton, USDLA Board Member and Chair, Awards and Public Policy Committees.

"Everyone across a wide variety of markets is witnessing the transformational power distance learning holds. We are truly on the edge of something great and the new website built with introNetworks' guidance and support, provides a comprehensive peak into the crystal ball of distance learning, education and training," says Marci Powell, Global Director-Higher Education and Corporate Training, Polycom, Inc. & Chair, USDLA Board of Directors

"We are thrilled to be at the center of this strategic initiative of the USDLA. Building a connected community has become a prime initiative of this forward thinking organization and their leadership.
Our focus has been to make the USDLA Community visual, easy and smart to help achieve the organizations goals; to have a place to talk about trends, meet peers and discuss challenges with others interested in the many facets of distance learning," says Mark Sylvester, CEO, introNetworks.

Facts about Distance Learning

The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) finds that:

  • Schools expect the number of online students to grow to over 2.6 million.
  • 40.7 of schools offering online courses agree that "students are at least as satisfied" with their online courses, 56.2% are neutral and only 3.1% disagree.
  • e-Learning is now estimated to represent about 10% of the overall training and educational market.
  • Online students, especially undergraduates, are more likely to be studying at Associates institutions than are their face-to-face contemporaries.
  • The proportion of institutions with fully online programs rises steadily as institutional size increases, and about two-thirds of the very largest institutions have fully online programs, compared to only about one-sixth of the smallest institutions.
  • Online students, like the overall student body, are overwhelmingly undergraduates.

About introNetworks
Based in Santa Barbara, CA, introNetworks offers smart social networks that are dedicated to helping people identify, and then make meaningful connections to who and what matters to them in their work and interests. Since 2003 the company has successfully deployed over 250 introNetwork Systems across a growing customer base that includes such high profile companies as Adobe, British Airways, Starcom MediaVest, HP, Harvard, Autodesk, Fortune, Xerox, Ziff Davis, and Intel.
These companies have learned that introNetworks' smart social networks are the best way for any organization to deploy a valuable online community that allows all of its members to identify and connect with the people and information that matters to them in business, special interest groups, learning communities or at events.
For more information regarding introNetworks, contact Mark Sylvester ( or visit

The United States Distance Learning Association is a non-profit organization formed in 1987 and is located in Boston, Massachusetts. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. Distance education and training constituencies served include pre-k-12 education, higher and continuing education, home schooling, as well as business, corporate, military, government, and telehealth markets.
For more information regarding USDLA activities, contact Dr. Flores, Executive Director, or visit

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101 Time-Saving Google Tricks for Work, Play and Learning by by Laura Milligan

Kelly Sonora has been in touch to reminds us about the following article below.
Please have a look!

The Internet is full of useful tools and hacks that keep you more focused and efficient, but you have to know which ones are best. This large list of 101 Google tricks can help you lead a more streamlined, stress-free existence, from your professional life to your personal life.

Source: Best University

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The Scout Report: Research and Education

Check out these highlights from The Internet Scout Project below.

Mathematics Illuminated

Everything (mathematics) is illuminated in this excellent thirteen-part series created by Annenberg Media for adult learners and high school teachers. As their website notes, the series "explores major themes in the field of mathematics, from humankind's earliest study of prime numbers, to the cutting-edge mathematics used to reveal the shape of the universe."
First-time visitors can read a brief introduction to the series, and then look over some of the thirteen units, which include "Game Theory", "Other Dimensions", and "Geometries Beyond Euclid".

Gateway to Philosophy

Based at Boston University, the Gateway to Philosophy project provides users with access to papers presented at the World Congress of Philosophy, as well as other initiatives of a philosophical nature. The site is divided into five primary sections, including "Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy", "Existenz", and "Paideia".
Visitors may wish to start their journey through the site by clicking through the World Congress section, where they can read all of the papers presented at the World Congress of Philosophy and learn about the media coverage of this event.

Digital Resource Commons

The Ohio Digital Resource Commons (DRC) is a place to learn about the historic, instructional, cultural, and creative works of those in the Ohio University system, as well as the liberal arts colleges of Ohio. Although not all of the Ohio schools save material with the DRC, many of them elect to do so. Higher education institutions, as well as K-12 institutions are allowed to save their work via the central network, as long as the work has archival merit.
Visitors will want to click on "Communities and Collections" on the left hand menu to browse the vast resources available. Some of the communities included are "Art and Architecture", "Multi-Subject Video", and "OhioLINK Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Center".

Source: Internet Scout Project

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eSchool Current Site of the Week Online

Here's what's new on eSchool News site today.

Site of the Week

'UnderTheMicroscope' aims to support, and inspire, young women scientists

The Feminist Press at the City University of New York recently launched in conjunction with IBM in an effort to increase public awareness of the need for women in science-related fields.
The site aims to celebrate the achievements of women in science, while openly discussing the challenges they face, and also inspire more young women to pursue science careers by providing a social-networking forum for students, working scientists, teachers, counselors, and parents. More than half the women—mostly in their mid- to late-30s—working in science, technology, and engineering careers today leave these fields, citing isolation, condescending attitudes toward women, and a lack of role models among their primary reasons, the site’s creators say.

Source: eSchool News

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Thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars

Academic Earth is an organization founded with the goal of giving everyone on earth access to a world-class education.

Stephen Downes writes, "This site, Academic Earth, presents "Thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars." It seems that "top scholar" is being defined as one who teaches in one of the name U.S. universities - a rather narrow definition of "top scholar" if you ask me. That's not to say that they're bad - I sampled a number of them and they are, as expected, clear, articulate and authoritative."

Source: Stephen Downes and Academic Earth

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New eBook! Using Technology to Improve the Graduation Rate

Here’s the latest Technology & Learning's eBooks below.

Using Technology to Improve the Graduation Rate

In an increasingly and globally competitive world, education is the key to advancement, and people without high school diplomas are not likely to do well in the 21st century. The good news is that the United States high school graduation rate is fairly high and college attendance has become the norm in many places. The bad news is that in some areas graduation rates are extremely low, which leaves the students at risk for failure in school, work, and their futures.

In this eBook, we hope to provide insights and solutions for increasing high school completion and solving the urban dropout crisis. Articles here deal with the issues of academic and economic competitiveness, goals and strategies for educating at risk students, personalizing instruction, and technology and motivation. Solutions for secondary schools include employing online learning and 21st century learning with policies to encourage their use.

We hope you will find this ebook valuable as you address the needs of at risk students and high school completion in effective and cost-effective ways.

What's Inside the eBook:

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Danger online: Perils of revealing every intimate moment by Carol Midgley and James Harkin

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter - all are forums in which people are suddenly prepared to share anything from heartbreak, marital discord and a diagnosis of chlamydia to what kind of new stair carpet they are getting.
Even celebrities, who you might think would have enough public exposure, cannot seem to resist the extra fix of performing to an audience.

Pamela Briggs, Professor of Psychology at Northumbria University, whose research interest is in computer-mediated communication, says that people compensate for the fact that they don't get the complex interaction of face-to-face conversation by putting more into their e-mails and blogs. And it tends to be “the sparser the medium the richer the revelations”, she says.
We disclose more on e-mail and new media, but we also feel that we are somehow detached from it. “But it can be a dangerous thing because you don't get the feedback from them. People need to understand the impact that they are having.”

Source: Times Online, UK

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Futurephile: PCs will become sensitive by Joia Shillingford

Rob Gear, manager of PA Consulting’s IT Innovation Unit, gazes into the future.

How will IT change?
IT will become more pervasive but computers will blend into the background: into your car, desk or table. We’ll even have smart curtains that change colour. Using them will be simpler, too. A wave of your hand or an oral command should do it.

The Financial Times

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From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able: Experiments in New Media Literacy

This hour-long podcast features a keynote speech by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Kansas State University.
The presentation was delivered at the ELI 2009 Annual Conference.
A video stream of this address is also available.

It took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after speech, thousands more before the printing press was invented, and a few hundred more for the telegraph to arrive. Today, new ways of relating are constantly created and a new communication medium emerges every time someone creates a web application—a Flickr here, a Twitter there.

How can we use new media to foster the kinds of communication and community we desire in education? This presentation discusses both successful and unsuccessful attempts to integrate emerging technologies into the classroom to create a rich virtual learning environment.

Related links
Michael Wesch (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blackboard, 9.0 by Elizabeth Redden

Blackboard Inc., the giant among course management system (CMS) providers, today unveils Release 9.0 of Blackboard Learn. Blackboard bills the newest iteration as more open and flexible — allowing colleges to use the platform “as an open foundation for whatever complementary technologies they need to support their approach to teaching and learning.”

And the new release will feature expanded Web 2.0 and “social learning” tools, such as blogs and journals, enhanced notification capabilities (i.e., “Your paper is due in four hours” – or four days), and a redesigned, customizable user interface.

Related links
Blackboard Launches More Open, Flexible Learning Platform Emphasizing Greater Engagement for Students

Source: Inside Higher Ed

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How to Use Social Software in Higher Education

This handbook attempts to make the results of three years of work within the specific, targeted research of the iCamp project accessible.
In the European Commission funded iCamp project we have investigated how Web 2.0 technologies can be implemented in higher education settings.

More specifi cally, we have focused on a setting in formal higher education in which actors are distributed geographically, culturally, and across disciplines and have designed an approach through which learning processes in this setting can be supported with social software.

In preparing this handbook, we chose to arrange the tools according to the learning activities they support. Each chapter should be read in the context of these activities. Our aim is to provide you with an entry point into the application of social software technology to support learning. The handbook is both a guide and a resource for anyone considering making use of Web 2.0 technologies in teaching or learning.


Related link
Barbara Kieslinger's Weblog

Source: iCamp project

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The e-learning Newsletter brings you news about current issues, open calls, forthcoming events and e-learning resources.
Take a look at this interesting line-up below.

CALL FOR PAPERS: NEW LEARNING GENERATION. eLearning Papers is looking for essays on topics related to the new learning culture and generation impelled by ICT. The papers may address themes such as new social media in learning, changing learning cultures and habits and learning through mobiles and games. Article submission deadline: 30 March 2009.

EUROPEAN YEAR 2009. The European Commission has launched the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. It has the objective to raise the awareness on the importance of creativity and innovation for personal, social and economic development; to disseminate good practices; stimulate education and research and promote policy debate and development. Follow-up the relevant activities at the

PROJECT OF THE MONTH. KeyToNature is funded under the eContentplus programme and it aims to develop interactive e-tools for learning and teaching biodiversity. The project is developing a range of new tools for the identification of organisms to be used in schools and universities across Europe. The identification tools are available on a variety of platforms, including laptops and mobile phones.

EDEN 2009 ANNUAL CONFERENCE, 10-13 June 2009, Gdansk, Poland. The European Distance and E-Learning Network invites European academic experts and professional practitioners to contribute and share innovative experiences on the significance and impact of learning innovation in Europe.

LEARNTEC 2009, 3-5 February 2009, Karlsruhe, Germany. The LEARNTEC 2009 will once again present the future of learning as well as the latest e-learning solutions for companies and educational institutions. Experts on e-learning and knowledge management will find at the event the right products, applications and services to meet each specific need. Whereas the LEARNTEC Convention will focus on future issues and cutting-edge trends in development, the Trade Fair will showcase both successfully implemented applications and cutting-edge new developments.

eLSE Conference 2009. 9-10 April 2009, Bucharest, Romania. The theme of this year's eLSE conference is "eLearning 2.0 and Innovative Practices with eLearning". The conference participants can share lessons learned, progress in software development and research results. Read more...


Enjoy Reading!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

eLearnPortal Announces the Launch of Its Online Business Degree Guide in Response to the Volatile Economy

Professional and business services are projected to grow by over 23 percent in the next eight years. Because of the numerous business degree programs available, deciding on a program can be difficult.

However,, a web-based directory resource, has a complete guide to online business degrees for anyone considering a new or upgraded career in the business field.

After the failure of numerous banks and lending agencies in the United States, the economy is on the fast track to a recession. As a result, many industries are downsizing and cutting back on hiring new employees. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the business field to add over 4 million new jobs in the next eight years.
As a result of this growth in the business sector, many people are pursuing online business degrees. Choosing an online business degree program can be difficult, but visitors to eLearnPortal have access to a distance learning resource for online business degrees.
This guide details all the information that future business degree students need to know about the field, including: job prospects, salaries, curriculum, employers, major industries, and the best online business programs.

What is eLearnPortal? – the virtual place where students and schools can find their perfect academic match.
eLearnPortal aims to gather under the same roof all of the online programs and degrees offered by small colleges and universities across the country. This educational directory and resource tool not only offers potential students the opportunity to browse the online degrees, programs and courses offered by small, traditional colleges, but strives to meet all the needs of the online student. This one-stop solution in distance learning provides a simple-to-navigate online menu, where students can search by online program (business, education, social work, etc.), online degree (bachelor’s, master’s, certificate, etc.) or name of school.

With eLearnPortal, the right school is only a click away. To ensure a student connects with his or her campus community, detailed information about each school is available to prospective students through individualized landing pages. Each school’s landing page describes in depth its online campus, online programs or online courses. The landing page also offers links to individual degrees, programs or courses offered by the respective school. By clicking on a link, students are led to further information on the school’s academic offerings.

At any point in his or her search, a student can request more information about a program by filling out a short Information Request form. By doing so, the request will be sent to the selected school, followed up by a email or phone call and thus, place the student in direct contact with the institution of choice.


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The world's premier vertical portal for educational sites on the Internet is proud to announce the completion of its major renovation. In keeping up with the breath taking speed at which the Internet has evolved, 2.0 meets the newfound capacities of the Web 2.0 and e-learning 2.0. is one of the oldest and most respected vertical portals on the Internet for educational services.Founded in February of 1999, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a major new look and function for its website.
Users will find the beautiful new home page easy to navigate with colorful pictures and many options to choose from. Of the more than 10 million sites on the web that might be considered relevant to education, has filtered and sorted these down to a manageable 2000 sites that provide convenience and one stop shopping for education on the Internet.

E-learning provides the student with convenience and flexibility, since the student no longer must travel or be someplace at a given time. Many e-learning classes are conducted at the student's convenience, meaning "asynchronous".
E-learning has the potential of reducing pollution by limiting the needs for students to travel to their school site. Just sit at home in front of your computer to do your work. Much of the work is conducted in a paperless atmosphere online, further providing environmental advantages in saving trees.
Education on the Internet presents the distinct possibility that education could become affordable to the many areas of the world, such as Africa, Asia, and South America, where insufficient teachers and/or classrooms exist.

About is the only education portal that offers complete opportunities for training in all areas of life. is unique in all of the Internet because we use real human intelligence to seek out websites, visit them, write a concise summary of the site, then categorize and add it– but only if the site meets our high standards. No computer search engine can match the quality, accuracy, and completeness of our education portal.


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Friday, January 23, 2009

Look at the New eLearning Video Today at the Top of My Weblog

About Helge Scherlund's eLearning Video Today

Kaplan University launched the "Talent Campaign," a new ad campaign designed to drive awareness that many of today’s college students, especially adult learners, are not well served by traditional classrooms.

Kaplan University’s debut ad is a 60-second commercial depicting a professor standing before a lecture hall of students. In the spot, the professor apologizes to his class, acknowledging that the higher education experience does not have to be limited to classrooms.
He points out that it can be delivered in alternative ways to serve students unable to access traditional colleges and universities. Many of today’s college students need coursework and related university services tailored to their needs as employees or parents. The ad also includes Kaplan University’s new tagline –
A Different School of Thought – and describes how the University is redefining higher education.

About Kaplan University
Kaplan University offers a different school of thought for higher education. It strives to help adult students unlock their untapped talent by providing a practical student-centered education that prepares them for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. Based in Davenport, Iowa, the University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Kaplan University offers more than 100 academic programs and currently serves more than 48,000 online students. It also serves thousands of on-ground students through eight campuses in Iowa and Nebraska.

About Kaplan Higher Education
Kaplan University is part of Kaplan Higher Education, which serves more than 100,000 students through 70 campus-based schools across the United States and abroad. It also has online programs through Kaplan Virtual Education and Concord Law School of Kaplan University.
Kaplan Higher Education schools offer a spectrum of academic opportunities, from high school diplomas to graduate and professional degrees, including a Juris Doctor degree.
Kaplan Higher Education is part of Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).


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EDUCAUSE Review Latest Issue Online!

Just look at these articles in this EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 44, no. 1 (Januar/Februar 2009) below.

The Case of the Textbook: Open or Closed?
As the price of college/university textbooks continues to rise, new electronic models and various “open” options are being proposed from all sides: by publishers, by students, and by authors and institutions.

Managing the Platform:Higher Education and the Logic of Wikinomics
By David J. Staley
How might the logic of Web 2.0, the logic of commons-based peer production, and the logic of platform management transform the idea of the university and the very activities—teaching and learning, research, and publishing—that lie at the heart of this enterprise?

The Multi-Dimensional Natureof Emergency Communications Management
By E. Michael Staman, Mark Katsouros, and Richard Hach
With the availability of a rich variety of IT solutions for emergency preparedness, colleges and universities need to leverage these technologies to benefit emergency notification services, leading to strategic implications for campus emergency communications management policies.

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2009 Horizon Report

The 2009 Horizon Report, released at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, spotlights six emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on higher education in the next one to five years, presenting an overview accompanied by examples and suggested readings for each technology.

The report is based on research by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and is a collaborative effort of the NMC and ELI.
The areas of emerging technology cited for 2009 are:

• Mobiles (i.e., mobile devices)
• Cloud computing
• Geo-everything (i.e., geo-tagging)
• The personal web• Semantic-aware applications
• Smart objects

Each section of the report provides live Web links to examples and additional readings.



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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Advantages of eLearning by Holly McCarthy

Please be sure to check out this pertinent guest post by Holly McCarthy.
If you would like to be considered for a guest post, please
contact me

In recent years, many developments in technology have made distance learning and eLearning more possible than in years past. As these technologies continue to be developed, opportunities for learning from afar will continue in new and unprecedented ways. It is already possible to earn a college degree without ever visiting a college campus, and the advantages of being able to do this are many. What follows is a brief look into the advantages of eLearning.

Time is of the Essence

For many people, the advent of high technology in all areas of life has made the world a better place. However, with these new technologies comes the need to complete many more tasks in the same amount of time. For those who choose to explore eLearning opportunities, this is a more feasible way to work on one’s education without spending as much time commuting from place to place. Education is available on-demand, which means more time is spent working on educational goals and not on the logistics of attending school.

Varied Instruction

As technology continues to change, so does the way we learn and disseminate information. People learn in many different ways, and eLearning offers varied instruction to fit a variety of learning styles. Taking a holistic approach to education, eLearning provides textual, graphic, and interactive methods for delivering instruction to students. Being able to interact with and manipulate information is very beneficial to students and yields higher retention rates of material and knowledge in the process.

Supplemental Materials

Before, students who wanted to learn more on a particular topic had to spend time going to the library for reserve material or take countless hours pouring over the stacks to find the information they needed. With eLearning, links can be provided to supplement and enrich material. Additionally, many college libraries around the world have been tirelessly working to upload documents and books for immediate perusal at the push of a button. In time, all of the necessary information will be online for students and teachers as they see fit.

Community of Learners

Another advantage of eLearning is that it is no longer necessary to travel long distances or move altogether to work towards one’s educational goals. With eLearning, scholars from around the world can work together from their respective locations and communicate effectively and easily to get the necessary work done. Sharing and collaboration over the internet have truly never been easier.

Related links

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of online schools.
She invites your feedback at her email address.

Many thanks to Holly McCarthy.
Enjoy your reading!

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Business and Psych Top Online Degree Choices by Dian Schaffhauser

Campus Technology News

Business administration and psychology top the list of most in-demand degree programs for online education, according to a survey by

Online business administration degrees, whether undergraduate or graduate, were the most popular programs searched for or inquired about on, followed by psychology and nursing degrees.

Source: Campus Technology

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eSchool News Special Report -- Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning engages students and garners results, its proponents say; it is a successful approach to instruction for a variety of reasons:

For one thing, it helps students retain the information they learn.
For another, it engages students' interest and motivates them to learn. One of the main reasons kids drop out of school is because they're bored. With project-based learning, students are encouraged to explore their own interests and to make connections to the world beyond school.

Source: eSchool News

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Collaborative Learning Across Multiple Institutions

A new article in the 2009 issue of the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education describes an innovative research course, titled "Where is Conservation Science in Local Planning?”, taught by faculty at three universities through electronic communication.
The course focused on local planning policies and practices related to conserving biological diversity.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary.
View the abstract at

After 30 days it will be available at the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education website,
Go to (Click on the Year, "View Article List," and scroll down to article abstract).

Today's educators are looking to the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education,, for the latest teaching techniques in the life sciences, natural resources, and agriculture.
The journal is continuously updated online during the year and one hard copy is published in December by the American Society of Agronomy.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA), is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Source: Newswise

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Adobe Rolls Out eLearning Suite by Dave Nagel

Adobe has debuted its new eLearning Suite, a system designed to facilitate courseware authoring, media editing, and the creation of other learning materials. The company has also launched Captivate 4, an upgrade to its eLearning content authoring tool.

The eLearning Suite is a collection of applications designed for developing learning applications for Web, mobile devices, and other destinations. These include several Applications from Creative Suite 4 and others, as well as extensions specific to electronic learning:
Acrobat Pro

  • Captivate (the latest release, also introduced today)
  • Dreamweaver CS4
  • Flash CS4
  • Photoshop CS4 Extended
  • Presenter 7
  • Soundbooth CS4.


Source: T.H.E. Journal

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

maths online for school and distant learning

Please take a look round maths online.

maths online is a project based at the University of Vienna, Austria, and is running since March 1998. Its goal is the construction of a modern mathematics learning site on the web.

maths online tries to take into account this situation when realizing modern didactic concepts by interactive multimedia techniques. The goal is to contribute to the development of adequate standards for up to date maths education in school, highschool, college, university, and adults' qualification.

The design of maths online with respect to contents and didactical approach is carried out by Franz Embacher and Petra Oberhuemer.

Related link
German version of maths online

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December edition of Classroom News is available

Don't miss these highlights in Volume 4, No. 12 - December 2008 issue of Classroom News!

What's Inside the December 2008 issue...

  • Seven skills students desperately need
    Today’s students could fail at life, says Harvard’s Tony Wagner, because their schools are too busy teaching to the test
  • These traits make online teachers successful
  • Technology helps disabled shatter boundaries
  • Experts: Alternative search tools can help students
  • 21st-century skills map targets English teachers
  • Fair-use guide aims provides copyright relief
  • New tool helps students evaluate web sources
  • Microsoft unveils career resource for students
  • Netwatch
  • Grant Opportunities

Want to read the current issue?
Subscribe Now

Classroom News

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Learn how to take Classes Online with New Book on the Moodle Learning Management System

Taking existing classes online quickly with the Moodle LMS.
Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner’s Guide is a new book from Packt that provides the quickest way for teachers and trainers to turn their familiar teaching materials into a Moodle e-learning course.

This book begins by showing educators how to turn their teaching schedule into an engaging and attractive Moodle course, with the correct number of topics and in a fixed timeframe. Lecturers will learn how to format resources such as documents, slideshows, worksheets etc. in a way that will be effective for students, and will make it easier for them to read and follow.
Buy the Book

Related link

About Ian Wild
A physicist by profession, Ian's career has always focused primarily on communication and learning.
Fifteen years spent in private industry designing communication systems software eventually saw Ian concentrate on the development of accessibility and learning aids for blind, partially sighted, dyslexic, and dyscalculic computer users – whilst also working part-time as a math and science tutor.
Teaching only part-time meant not spending as much time with his students as he would have wanted. This and his background in learning and communication technology seeded his interest in virtual learning environments.

Source: PRLog

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E-Learning No How by Mark Simon

Many perfectly good e-learning lessons have wilted and died for reasons unrelated to the design and content. Know the most commonly encountered mistakes in e-learning implementation and how to avoid them.

After researching and selecting all the e-learning development tools that you needed to author your first lesson, you’ve rolled up your sleeves and produced an excellent, captivating e-learning course.
It really looks great, and, more importantly, it includes all of the fundamental learning methods that you discussed in your instructional design training.
You know that learners will absorb the learning concepts you’ve given them, as they sail through the module.

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About Mark Simon
He is the director of e-learning at the Eliassen Group in Boston and has more than 20 years of experience with corporate design, development, and delivery of e-learning and instructor-led training.

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Training During a Recession by Michael Laff

Recession fears shake training budgets and rouse new ways to cope.
Cancelled leadership classes, travel restrictions, and broken links on the online university site are the training professional’s worst fears during an economic downturn.

The current climate is causing many training leaders to step back, if not cut back, and rethink how they deliver training. Travel reductions are an obvious first step, followed by increased online offerings. Panic has not set in inside training departments, and most organizations report pressure to do more with the same budget without being asked to reduce expenditures outright.
No workplace analyst believes that times are as severe as the downturn earlier this decade. Tom Starr, leader of learning and employee development at Booz & Company consultancy, classifies the current climate as status quo, with selective cuts to programs. He recalls darker days in the 1990s when DuPont placed a two-year moratorium on training. Nothing in the current climate resembles such a drastic step.
“Maybe struggling business units are making cuts, but there’s no corporate or enterprisewide moratorium,” Starr says.

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Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity: Now Live on YouTube and iTunes

This week, Stanford has started to roll out a new course, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Taught by Leonard Susskind, one of America’s leading physics minds, this course is the fourth of a six-part sequence – Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum – that traces the development of modern physics, moving from Newton to Black Holes, continues Open Culture

Lecture 1 of Leonard Susskind's Modern Physics concentrating on General Relativity.
Recorded September 22, 2008 at Stanford University.

Look at the video below.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

New Ofsted report takes a look at virtual learning environments

The report, Virtual learning environments: an evaluation of their development in a sample of educational settings, shows that despite expectations the use of Virtual Learning Environments across schools and colleges has been slow to take off.

A study of "virtual learning environments" (VLEs) found that in many schools and colleges such systems were still on a "cottage industry" scale.However where they were more developed, particularly in colleges, such services were able to "enthuse" students.The benefits to learners are so far "not yet obvious", say inspectors.The Ofsted report says that "despite expectations", the arrival of these online support services for learners was "still in the early stages of development".

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Scout Report: Research and Education

Check out these highlights from The Internet Scout Project below.

The Fathom Archive

The University of Chicago's Fathom project consisted of a site whose goal was to bring accessible online learning resources to people around the world, whether student, professional, educator, or lifelong learner. And they succeeded, via a consortium of fourteen educational and cultural institutions committed to that very goal. This site contains the full archive of the Fathom project, which is part of the University of Chicago Library's Digital Collections.

Organic Chemistry Animations

Students who might be puzzled by the world of organic chemistry will definitely want to bookmark this useful site created by a team of researchers at the University of Liverpool. The site focuses on providing interactive 3D animations for a number of important organic reactions that will be encountered by students taking organic chemistry.

Biology: Online Labs

Like many other academic publishers, McGraw Hill often creates supplementary online materials to be used in conjunction with their various publications. This particular collection of online materials is meant to be used with one of their recent biology textbooks, but they can certainly be used as stand-alone educational resources for persons interested in the biological sciences. This particular site contains 31 virtual labs that cover topics like evolution, regulatory genes, iron stress in diatoms, and gene technology.

Source: Internet Scout Project

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eSchool News and the Current Site of the Week Online

Here's what's new on eSchool News site today.

Adult supervision and internet safety education are critical

A task force charged with assessing technologies for protecting children from unwanted contact online has concluded that no single approach is foolproof and that parent and teacher oversight is vital.
The Harvard-led panel, in a report released Jan. 14, dismissed prospects for age-verification technologies, the approach favored by many law-enforcement officials who had pushed for the creation of the task force.
The yearlong Internet Safety Technical Task Force also played down fears of internet sexual predators who target children on social-networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Although citing other dangers such as online bullying, the panel said cases of predators typically involved youths well aware they were meeting an adult for sexual activities.
Technology can be a component in the strategy to protect minors online, but internet companies "should not overly rely upon any single technology or group of technologies as the primary solution," the task force said.


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Internet Safety Technical Task Force

Around the Web

Florida Virtual School, UCF to train future teachers how to teach online
The Florida Virtual School--the country's first entirely online statewide public school--and the University of Central Florida are teaming up to offer future teachers what they call first-of-its-kind training, reports the Orlando Sentinel: virtual internships. Until now, teachers new to online instruction had to learn on the job how to juggle the technology and teaching techniques specific to virtual schooling.
The pilot program will give six students the chance to team up with experienced online teachers to learn what it takes to manage a diverse assortment of students who could be studying via computer anywhere in the world, at their own pace, at any time of day, and requesting help with assignments by eMail, instant messaging, and telephone.
For seven weeks, the interns will get tips on managing their time properly and communicating effectively with students who would just as soon text than talk. Future teachers typically tackle internships in traditional classrooms to get a taste of what awaits them in the real world.

Site of the Week

Free digital resources aim to capture students’ interest in science

The Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education have unveiled a new web site that aims to engage students in science education. “Siemens Science Day” provides standards-based videos and hands-on activities for earth, life, and physical science that can help educators turn fourth through sixth graders into aspiring scientists, the two organizations say. “Educators are often challenged to find new ways within their existing curriculum to interest students in science education,” said Dale Fulton, Discovery Education’s senior vice president of curriculum development. “Siemens Science Day provides many new and creative ways to present lessons on a variety of science topics, all tied to national science standards.

Source: eSchool News

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