Thursday, July 28, 2011

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

Please link to my Module 4 Graphic Organizer at the above address.
You will be directed to the home page, then to the desgnated
page for the graphic organizer strategies/tools display.

As you will see from my colorful Inspiration graphic organizer, the online and distance education environment is rapidly becoming limitless in its functionality. I see multiple gains for both instructor and student, thanks to a welcomed and embraced non-linear approach. But the aspect that innervates me the most, particularly when I wear the educator's hat, is the pedagogical road map given to students with clear expectations (Durrington, Berryhille, & Swafford, 2006) and learning outcomes. Accordingly, everybody is on the same page literally, and that, I suppose, is the way it ought to be in any learning environment -- online or not.

Given the time I've spent in education over the years, I'm frankly not surprised by the gains that continue to be made in distance education. Durrington et al. (2006), in their work on malleable strategies to bring about more effective collaboration online among students, pointed to a detailed syllabus and a designated area to  answer student questions, all under the aegis of participation and engagement. It's hard to argue with that kind of useful expertise, and I believe as more neophyte online learners become increasingly comfortable with the distance education environment, student participation and engagement will begin taking on a whole new -- and even more increased -- positive personna.

So, from my vantage point, which involes roles as both a student and an educator, things are looking up even more these days for online and distance education. It's the kind of paradygm shift Siemens (Laureate, 2008) referred to that began in the 1950s, and one which seems to be reaching a sort of crescendo at this point in the 21st century. For educational technologists and aficionados, it doesn't get better than this.


Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in
an online environment. Heldref Publications.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2008) (Executive Producer). Learning communities (Program Video). Available from

Monday, July 18, 2011

In Search of Online Camaraderie

It’s not hard to understand why some higher ed institutions are hesitant about instituting an online curriculum. After all, there is a certain mystique about distance education, despite the fact it seemingly has been around for ages. But if you’re keeping score of how well learners and educators interact and collaborate online, and if you’re surprised by the camaraderie that seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, you shouldn’t be. Siemens (2008) is so bullish on this huge shift in distance education that he intimates we’re experiencing what amounts to a seismic shift in distance education programs over the Internet – and that the sky is the limit as to where this whole thing is headed.

As a longtime instructor engaging students in an online community, I couldn’t be happier with what George Siemens and others are saying about the benefits of distance education. True, the absence of face-to-face communication is more psychological, in my view, than anything else. But the opportunity to evaluate other peoples’ work online as well as a peer review of your own, is just something that doesn’t happen in a traditional classroom setting, not to mention having access to the classroom 24/7. And Seimens (2008) believes our best days are still ahead of us in distance education.

I don’t know about what’s just beyond the distance education horizon. But I am fairly confident that whatever it is, it’s likely to be good. Distributed learning in higher education, according to some of the experts, is getting some astronomical marks these days and things apparently can only continue to go up. Distance education, by no means, is a perfect electronic world. But as a student, if you’re in the market for establishing closer ties with fellow students or instructors, or making the best out of networking – one of the real strong suits of distance education – the opportunity online to do so couldn’t be more ripe. Granted, there are those among us online who would rather take a low-profile approach to doing anything involving the Internet. But the myriad ways of assessment online for class assignments are about as flexible in a positive sense, and no doubt a boost for all of education. Educators like myself have been clamoring for years for innovative but effective ways to assess student work, mainly in traditional class settings. Distance education apparently has come up with the answer, which seems to lie in online collaboration that puts everybody on equal footing and the like. As an online instructor and doctoral student, somehow I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Laureate Education, Inc. (2008) (Executive Producer). The future of distance education [program Video]. Available from

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Intellectual Property: Video Presentation and Storyboard


Please access graphics, images, and video for storyboard through preceding referenced link. The outlined text is below.

F. Davis

Intellectual Property
I.         textbook
II.        monitor
III.      CDs
IV.      Ideas
V.        notes
VI.      group meeting
White House Panel on Intellectual Property
TV Programs
VIII.   Films
IX.      Radio
Regulatory Agency
X.        World Intellectual Property Organization

Friday, July 15, 2011

Internet Telephony As An Effective Interactive Tool


When multimedia programming software became more accessible and multifunctional (Schrand, 2008) in the late 1990s, the table was set for such popular Internet interactive tools as Skype and Logitech Vid. While Skype, arguably, is the best known of the two, the rapidly growing Internet video program did not really start taking off and climbing up the innovations S-Curve until late 2005 (, when it was reported to have 11.8 million users.

Since that time, according to the search engine (2011), Skype reached an eye-popping 30  million users, as of March, 2011. That's impressive. And so are the hair-raising 54 billion Skype calls made over the Internet in 2010, which gives a pretty impressive track record of the leaps and bounds this popular interactive Internet program has made in two decades. George Siemens (Laureate, 2010) was right. There is definitely a comfort level with programs such as Skype that helps to spur increased interest in the burgeoning world of distance education. While the increased use of Skype and other video interactive tools such as Logitech, a program I use often interchangeably with Skype, is helping to bring about Siemens' requisite comfort level. Siemens (Laureate, 2010) believed one of the key challenges for distance education is comfort. I'm certainly comfortable using interactive video programs to keep in touch with family members and friends who are long distances away, and as the recipient of two advanced online degrees, I couldn't agree with Siemens more that online comfort and familiarity are pivotal in distance education success.

So, where is distance education headed? Well, if one subscribes to Siemens' philosophical approach to distance education, government, and business, distance education has a bright future ahead. Naturally, these three factors are the nucleus of a thriving community, one that is enriched by vibrant online educational success.


Answers. com (2011). History, usage, and traffic. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010) (Executive Producer). The future of distance education [Program Video].
Available from

Schrand, T. (2008). Taping into active learning and multiple intelligences with interactive media:  A low-threshold classroom approach. College Teaching. Heldref Publications.