LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CASLL-L Archives


CASLL-L Archives

CASLL-L Archives


CASLL-L@LISTSERV.UTORONTO.CA


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CASLL-L Home

CASLL-L Home

CASLL-L  February 1997

CASLL-L February 1997

Subject:

Distance Education book reviews

From:

Marcy Bauman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 1 Feb 1997 03:27:51 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (383 lines)

I thought some CASLLers might be interested in reading these reviews . . .

Marcy


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 22:04:00 EST
From: ACSDE - DEOS-L <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: DEOSNEWS Vol. 7 No. 1

DEOSNEWS Vol. 7 No.1,ISSN 1062-9416. This document has about 396 lines.
Copyright 1997 DEOS - The Distance Education Online Symposium
DEOSNEWS has 4,278 subscribers in 71 countries.

The American Center for the Study of Distance Education (ACSDE)
The American Journal of Distance Education (AJDE)
The Pennsylvania State University
110 Rackley Building
University Park, Pennsylvania 16802-3202, USA

Telephone:  +814-863-3764.  FAX:  +814-865-5878.
Internet:  [log in to unmask]

Director of ACSDE and Editor of AJDE:  Dr. Michael G. Moore.
DEOSNEWS Editor: Dr. Melody M. Thompson

To subscribe to DEOSNEWS and DEOS-L (a discussion forum), post the
following messages to LISTSERV@PSUVM or [log in to unmask]
(substituting your name):

SUBSCRIBE DEOSNEWS  Firstname Lastname
SUBSCRIBE DEOS-L  Firstname Lastname

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

EDITORIAL

This issue of DEOSNEWS comprises two full-length book reviews published
in recent issues of The American Journal of Distance Education.  _Why
the Information Highway? Lessons from Open & Distance Learning_, is
a resource of practical applications from the field of distance
education that can be used to help interpret and exploit the challenges
and opportunities offered by new communications and information
technologies. The review is written by Tony Bates of the University of
British Columbia. The second book,_The Virtual Classroom: Learning
without Limits via Computer Networks_, discusses a teaching and
learning environment mediated by computer conferencing. _The Virtual
Classroom_ is reviewed by Zane Berge of the University of Maryland.


Why the Information Highway? Lessons from Open and Distance
Learning. Judy Roberts and Erin Keough, eds. Toronto, Ontario:
Trifolium Books, 1995, 276 pp.

Reviewed by Tony Bates
Director of Distance Education and Technology
Continuing Studies
University of British Columbia

_Why the Information Highway?_ is a useful and timely addition
to the growing literature on Canadian distance education,
complementing earlier collections of papers such as those of
Mugridge and Kaufman (1986) and Sweet (1989). In his preface to
this book, Sir John Daniel, Vice-Chancellor of the British Open

"In the mid-1980s the term 'distance education' was practically
unheard of in the United States.... This has now changed....
distance education is suddenly at the centre of public discourse
about the electronic future. Canadian distance education is
particularly rich in lessons and experience that can help us assess
the likely fate of new mutations. The Canadian experience will
be very relevant to institutions around the world that are
assessing the implications of the information superhighway for
their institutions."

The editors have assembled a collection of thirteen chapters from
experienced Canadian distance educators on different aspects of
open and distance learning. Part 1 is concerned with emerging
issues in open and distance learning. Margaret Haughey of the
University of Alberta provides a thoughtful discussion of the
meaning of distance in education. Lucille Pacey of the Open
Learning Agency and Wayne Penney, a management consultant
(both from British Columbia), challenge distance educators to think
strategically by developing models of teaching and learning that meet
the emerging needs of learners in the 21st century.

Part 2 is a collection of case studies, each of which describes a
specific context and identifies issues arising from these applications.
Anna Stahmer, co-publisher of _The Training Technology
Monitor_, describes five case studies of open and distance learning
in the training sector; Norman McKinnon, a private consultant from
Ontario, describes three case studies of open and distance learning in
the K-12 sector; Athabasca University's Barbara Spronk provides
seven case studies on the application of open and distance learning
for aboriginal education; Jane Brindley, former Director of Student
Services at Athabasca University, makes an impassioned argument
for high-quality student support services for distance learners;
Laurentian University president Ross Paul takes a hard look at the
reality, as distinct from the myths and "hype," of technology
applications in distance education; and Therese Lamy (private
consultant), Pierre Pelletier (Director of Continuing Education at the
University of Ottawa), Denise Pacquette-Frenette and Daniel
Laroque (private consultants), Noel Thomas (president of an
Ottawa-based company that provides on-line educational services),
and Don McDonell (Director of Distance Education at the University
of Ottawa) provide case studies and perspectives of francophone
applications of distance education.

Part 3, concerned with analysis, includes stimulating chapters on
research and evaluation (Judith Tobin, TVOntario),
internationalization (Ian Mugridge, Commonwealth of Learning),
and government policies regarding distance education (Erin Keough,
Director of the Open Learning and Information Network of
Newfoundland and Labrador and Judy Roberts, an Ontario-based
private consultant).

Several of the contributors emphasize the point that there is now a
great deal of experience in teaching distance learners, and that many
of the lessons derived from this experience will apply to new
applications of the information highway. In particular, teaching
needs to be learner-centered and characterized by good instructional
design, appropriate choice and use of technologies, and, above all,
strong student support services including counseling, group work,
interaction between teacher and student, peer-group interaction, and
links with local communities.

_Why the Information Highway?_ is comprehensively Canadian
in terms of geography, culture, and experience. However, the book
does not include contributions from some of those Canadians--such
as Linda Harasim and Gerry Sinclair from Simon Fraser University
and Terry Anderson from the University of Alberta--who have
pioneered the use of the Internet for teaching or from those using
videoconferencing at Calgary, Queens, Guelph, Waterloo, and
MacMaster universities. These new "players" reflect a range of
differing philosophies and contexts for technology-based distance
learning. Their potential contributions are missed, especially in the
context of the inherent conservatism of Canadian distance education
and the need for it to adapt to a rapidly changing technological and
social environment, which is noted by several of the contributors.
Pacey and Penney for example, question whether Canadian
distance educators have changed their thinking to take account of the
changing world around them. Tobin also notes that, despite nearly
twenty years of research in distance education, the research is still
fragmented and repetitive, failing to address the wider issues of
what learners need and how best to meet those needs in a world
where distance education and campus-based teaching are rapidly
converging through the use of technology.

The absence of perspectives on these issues highlights my main
disappointment with this book. With a few exceptions, the authors
do not address the central issue of how the information highway will
change the nature of both distance teaching and campus-based
institutions. As a result, issues specific to the application of
technologies such as the World Wide Web, computer conferencing,
and videoconferencing are not discussed in any depth. The
"missing" contributors named earlier are experimenting with these
new delivery forms in new contexts and are coming up with
solutions that extend both the campus-based and distance education
paradigms.

Thus, while the book will be useful for faculty members who are
interested in using multimedia and the information highway for their
teaching, it will not provide answers to some of the critical issues
that they are having to address: the difference between on-campus
and off-campus use of technologies, faculty development, and
technology infrastructure support, for example. Despite these
limitations, _Why the Information Highway?_ can provide
educators with much needed guidance about many of the critical
aspects of teaching distance learners, whether over the Information
Highway or in other ways.

References

Mugridge, I., and D. Kaufman, eds. 1986. Distance Education in
Canada. London: Croom Helm.

Sweet, R., ed. 1989. Post-Secondary Distance Education in
Canada. Athabasca: Athabasca University/Canadian Society for
Studies in Education.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Virtual Classroom: Learning without Limits via Computer
Networks. Starr Roxanne Hiltz. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1994, 406
pp.

Reviewed by Zane Berge
Director, Training Systems
ISD Graduate Programs
University of Maryland Baltimore County

One of the first "names" in the field of computer-mediated
communication (CMC) of whom I became aware was Starr Roxanne
Hiltz, who has been researching and writing on this topic for twenty
years (see Hiltz and Turoff 1978). It is with this long-time
knowledge of the field that Hiltz has crafted a book to summarize
her work. In _The Virtual Classroom_, Hiltz describes a "virtual
classroom" as a teaching and learning environment within, and
mediated by, a computer system. The Virtual Classroom (TM)
computer-conferencing program originated at the New Jersey
Institute of Technology; it "brings the university into the homes and
work places of students through the use of computers" (p. xvii).
One goal of this book is to make Hiltz's many years of research
and technical reports understandable to several target audiences,
especially to teachers and students who might use CMC in their
courses. Additionally, Hiltz hopes to reach scholars and the general
public interested in technology, society, and "new communication
technologies and in issues of evaluation research related to
computer, communications, and pedagogical innovations" (p. xviii).

When the original research reported in this book was conducted,
justification had to be made for the use of CMC for teaching and
learning. The comparison with the "traditional classroom,"
however, does a disservice to this powerful environment. The
traditional classroom, in most cases, is not the shining standard to
which we should hold all learning environments, and I am
somewhat concerned by the overarching comparisons made. It is
difficult to describe in text the flavor of vanilla ice cream, and
equally difficult to explain the "flavor" of a learning environment,
especially to someone who has never experienced any virtual
classroom. To her credit, Hiltz clearly states that while a computer-
mediated learning environment can support some activities that are
difficult or impossible in face-to-face environments, _both_ face-to-
face and CMC have strengths and shortcomings. Clearly, unless we
are concerned only with issues of access to high-quality education, a
challenge to educators is to find the "mixed mode environment"--
using all tools at our disposal--to deliver what we know at any time
is the highest quality education.

Chapter 1 states two basic research questions guiding the Virtual
Classroom project:

*Is the Virtual Classroom a viable option for educational
delivery?

*What variables are associated with especially good and
especially poor outcomes in this new teaching and learning
environment?

As mentioned above, I would suggest that we now have moved
significantly beyond the first question, thanks in large part to the
already published research on this project. However, the second
question is the more important one.
Hiltz does an excellent job presenting the case for using the
virtual classroom to provide improved access through flexibility of
place, flexibility of time, and absence of travel requirements. She
also recognizes the limitations of CMC in providing access: limited
course offerings, equipment requirements, and skills requirements.
Hiltz summarizes the more important features of CMC by
contrasting them with the traditional classroom, an approach which,
as I mentioned earlier, has its limitations.

Some important philosophical foundations are articulated in
Chapter 2. After providing an appropriately concise summary of the
"no significant difference" outcome in media comparison studies,
Hiltz reviews (in a somewhat abbreviated fashion) the literature
relating to active learning, collaborative learning, and selected
aspects of CMC .

Hiltz does a good job of describing the features of the virtual
classroom software, and these descriptions are generalizable across
many conferencing systems. She then outlines eleven hypotheses
that she and her colleagues have been studying over the years. The
first hypothesis deals with the comparative effectiveness of virtual
classrooms versus traditional classrooms. In general, I think the
field is well past having to justify CMC as a viable channel for
learning to take place. With this exception, the hypotheses seem
valuable: they explore a causal model for the virtual classroom and
begin to explain under what conditions and to whom on-line
learning is most useful.

Chapter 5 covers "basics" and has dozens of useful practice tips,
obviously gleaned from years of experience. Chapter 6 addresses
the moderation of computer conferences, and Chapter 7 involves
collaborative learning. Chapter 8 describes some of the problems
faced in implementing the on-line classroom. Topics such as
recruiting sufficient numbers of students for experimental on-line
sections, faculty opposition, inadequate access to equipment, and
deliberate misbehavior by some students are among the many issues
discussed. This section of the book is rich in practical advice,
exhibits, and lists, making it valuable reading for any on-line
teacher, whether veteran or novice.

Chapters 9 through 14 describe the quasi-experimental design and
results of full-scale field trials conducted on a prototype of the
system in 1986=CB87. While a researcher wishing to replicate or
extend the author's work may find them useful in their entirety, the
summaries are well done and probably stand alone for practitioners
and scholars not actively engaged in research. Taken together, these
chapters are useful for all readers in understanding what happened in
the early Virtual Classrooms. Topics covered include results based
on sample transcripts and interactions, variations in student ability,
access problems, students perceptions, motivation, and dropouts.

In Chapter 15, "Learning Without Limits," Hiltz describes current
and future developments in the virtual classroom and her view of the
future of CMC in elementary to postgraduate-level education. While
I agree with most of what she says, I have some reservations about
the extent to which students can choose to learn whenever and
wherever they wish, especially in K-12 contexts.

Hiltz states that the work described in this book focuses on
university-level learning, but that it can and is being applied at the
K-12 level. She goes on to describe a project to provide "freedom
for the [K-12] learner" (p. 256). Given the severe constraints and
limitations on the use and employment of effective educational
processes that the author lists, the idea is to implement a program
"whereby each student can progress through each course according
to his or her level of ability and motivation. Learning can occur
around the clock and throughout the year" (p. 257). However,
factors outside of learning and teaching will reinforce the status quo
and mitigate against the type of radical changes that a focus on
pedagogical factors alone would seem to call us to.

As the author suggests "the most important changes over the next
decade or two will not be in technological advances, but in
institutional change" (p. 259). Yet it is the changes to the roles and
functions of students and teachers highlighted in summaries of the
"faculty perspectives" and the "student perspectives" that are more
likely to immediately affect on-line learning.

Because the theoretical perspective in _The Virtual Classroom_ is
weaker than the practical guidance offered, _The Virtual Classroom_
cannot be said to be _the_ one book about CMC that readers should
have. (A better all-purpose choice would be either _Learning
Networks_ [Harasim et al. 1995], of which Hiltz is a co-author, or
_Alone but Together_ [Eastmond 1995]). However, _The Virtual
Classroom_ is a valuable book for teachers using CMC and for
researchers and scholars working in this field. The author's long
experience with computer conferences adds great credibility to her
conclusions. Overall it is clearly written and contains valuable
references in the field prior to the copyright date.

References

Eastmond, D. V. 1995. Alone but Together: Adult Distance Study
through Computer Conferencing. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Harasim, L., S. R. Hiltz, L. Teles, and M. Turoff. 1995. Learning
Networks: A Field Guide to Teaching and Learning Online.
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Hiltz, S. R., and M. Turoff. 1978. The Network Nation: Human
Communication via Computer. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

                  -----------------------

Retrieving Back Issues of DEOSNEWS

Post to [log in to unmask] the following command:
GET DEOSNEWS skip a space and then type the filename.

Volume 1 Filenames are:
LOG9104                 for nos.     1-4
LOG9105                 for nos.     5-6
LOG9106                 for nos.     7-8
91-00001 to 91-00017    for nos      9-25

Volume 2 Filenames are:

92-00018 to 92-00026    for nos.     1-9
92-00027                appendix to  9
92-00028 to 92-00043    for nos.     10-25

Volume 3 Filenames are:

93-00044 to 93-00054    for nos.     1-11

Volume 4 Filenames are:

94-00055 to 94-00066    for nos.     1-12

Volume 5 Filenames are:

95-00001 to 95-00012    for nos.     1-12

Volume 6 Filenames are:

96-00001 to 96-000012   for nos.     1-12

- - - - - - - - - - - End of DEOSNEWS Vol. 7 No. 1 - - - - - - - - - - -

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

September 2020
August 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
September 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011, Week 1
January 2011
December 2010
October 2010
April 2010
February 2010
January 2010
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995
October 1995
September 1995
August 1995
July 1995
June 1995
May 1995
April 1995
March 1995
February 1995
January 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.UTORONTO.CA

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager