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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Friday, February 09, 2007

February/March Issue of Innovate

A message from James L Morrison (morrison@unc.edu).

The February/March issue of Innovate (http://www.innovateonline.info/) focuses on online assessment and effective course design, the value of e-portfolios asdynamic records of academic and professional development, and the creativeuse of synchronous communication tools for online tutorials.

We open the issue with my interview with Scott Howell, who stresses the effective alignment of instructional content with testing methodology and the ways in which such alignment can be realized in distance and online learning programs. As such programs continue to grow and develop, the work of Howell and his colleagues promises to give valuable direction to this vital trend in higher education. (See http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=409 )

Judith Boettcher provides further direction to such developments by drawing on the work of brain research and pedagogical theory to describe ten corelearning principles that educators should seek to realize in their teaching, whether it be in online, traditional, or hybrid learning environments. Boettcher's article will be of particular value for instructors who are in the initial planning stages of course design and development. (See http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=54 )

Our next two features focus on a significant trend in the use of technologyfor enhanced professional communication: e-portfolios. Cara Lane emphasizes the importance of e-portfolios as a way for students to develop effective online presentation skills for their future careers and the key proficiencies that students should develop to ensure the long-term value of their e-portfolios as records of their professional and academic growth. (See http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=369 )

Vicki Lind provides a more focused look at e-portfolios in the context of amusic education program, illustrating the ways in which this medium allowed student teachers to document their distinctive skills, their instructional strategies, and the ways in which they align their teaching with state standards. (See http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=351 )

The use of synchronous communication tools in online learning environments serves as the focus of our next two articles. Yuping Wang and Nian-Shing Chen describe the results of a pilot study assessing the value of alearning management system to support synchronous tutorial sessions in second language learning. They found that the range of tools provided by the system--including chat, whiteboard, and videoconferencing technology--provided a resilient, supportive learning environment for distance learning students. (See http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=337 )

In turn, Birgit Loch and Christine McDonald describe the results of a pilot study that explored how a free and widely available chat client (MSN Messenger) could serve as a viable medium for distance learning tutorialsin mathematics. By providing its users with an easy way to incorporate diagrams, symbols, and specialized mathematical annotation in their communications, this popular chat client offers a convenient alternative to the whiteboard function of Blackboard and other proprietary systems. (See http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=374 )

Finally, in his Places to Go feature, Stephen Downes reviews the Open CourseWare Consortium Web site. Downes observes that while the site represents a step forward in the consolidation of open courseware resources, its limited navigational options and restricted access unfortunately work against the ethos of openness that the site proclaims to support. If such initiatives are to fulfill their promise, Downes concludes, they will need to ensure that they truly support the growth of the communities they are intended to serve. (See http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=445 )

Please forward this announcement to appropriate mailing lists and to colleagues who want to use IT tools to advance their work. Ask your organizational librarian to link to Innovate in their resource section for open-access e-journals.


James L Morrison
Editor-in-Chief, Innovate
Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership
UNC-Chapel Hill

Tags: conferences, academy, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

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