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Distance Education: Facilitating student communication Karen Anderson Edith Cowan University.

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1 Distance Education: Facilitating student communication Karen Anderson Edith Cowan University

2 INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON ARCHIVES Section for archival education and training CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES ARCHIVES Section pour lenseignement de larchivistique et la formation des archivistes European Conference for Archival Educators and Trainers Marburg, September 24 th & 25 th 2001 Reading the Vital Signs: Archival Training and Education in the 21 st Century

3 Overview Aim: –to demonstrate effective communication with and between distant students Objectives: –introduce some communication methods for distance education students –demonstrate use of an electronic bulletin board for discussion and assessment Learning outcome: –understand stages of development in e-moderated discussion –use an electronic bulletin board for class discussion

4 Communication tools Asynchronous: –Telephone - individual –Email – individual or group –Print – group –Web page - group –Electronic Bulletin Boards or Computer Moderated Conferencing - group Synchronous: –Chat rooms - all participants log on at once

5 Overcoming isolation Distance education students often feel very isolated Overcoming this isolation is a big challenge Good access to a tutor is essential It is most helpful if students can communicate with each other, building their own learning community

6 Chat rooms can be difficult to organise across time zones discussion can lack depth (limited by keyboard skills) it takes skill by the moderator to plan the session and control the discussion large groups can be broken up into smaller groups and sent to other rooms for short sub- discussions ask them to return and report to the whole group at a particular time The chat session can be captured & posted to a BB for those who cant attend

7 Social chat Students can also use chat rooms to meet others at pre-arranged times without their tutor for –Friendly café chat sessions –Informal study groups Requires some leadership by individuals who want to start a study group

8 Electronic Bulletin Boards E-moderator (tutor) and individuals contribute at their convenience Allows more reflective contribution than chat rooms Contributions are preserved Boards may be multipurpose: social and study; OR Special boards can be set up for particular tasks or discussion groups The e-moderator can set deadlines for tasks

9 Model of teaching and learning online (Salmon, 2000. p.25)

10 Stage 1: access & motivation Learning about the benefits of computer moderated discussion boards Learning about the course requirements Setting up and configuring software Navigating to the BB Be prepared to provide help or to direct participants to a help desk

11 Stage 2: social introductions Overcoming shyness and making introductions Some enjoy being faceless Others will lurk for a while before they have the courage to contribute Introducing netiquette Make sure participants understand the need to protect their own privacy and respect others privacy

12 Rules for discussion groups Be courteous: participate responsibly Participate actively Write clearly Build ideas on what others say Question the opinions of others Actively read and question the text Be credible: back up your statements Stick to the subject (Based on Shoop, 1999)

13 Stage 3: information exchange Learning to use the information resources supplied Learning to search & use the Internet Sharing information Helping others with solutions to problems Information overload may become a problem Silence is OK, but be alert for dropouts

14 Stages 4 & 5: knowledge construction & development Students interact and respond much more participatively Students take responsibility for their own learning –Introduce new discussion threads –Suggest alternative approaches –Support each other E-moderator becomes a participant, not a tutor

15 Evaluation Provide opportunities for –students to reflect on their own learning and contribution –feedback on the learning experience –evaluation of your performance as e- moderator Reflect and revise your e-moderating strategies

16 References Salmon, Gilly. (2000). E-moderating: the key to teaching and learning online. London: Kogan Page. ISBN 0 7494 3110 5 Palloff, Rena M. and Pratt, Keith. (2001). Lessons from the cyberspace classroom: the realities of online teaching. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. ISBN 0 7879 5519 1

17 References and Resources Berge, Z. and Collins, M. Resources for moderators and facilitators online Handbook for Instructors on the use of electronic class discussions sc/pages/home.htm sc/pages/home.htm Shoop, Linda. (2000). Developing interactive competence with student centered discussion. [Draft Manual]

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