Journal of

Educational Technology & Society
Published by International Forum of Educational Technology & Society Endorsed by IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology

January 2005 Volume 8 Number 1 ISSN: 1436-4522 (online) ISSN: 1176-3647 (print)

Educational Technology & Society
An International Journal Aims and Scope
Educational Technology & Society is a quarterly journal published in January, April, July and October. Educational Technology & Society seeks academic articles on the issues affecting the developers of educational systems and educators who implement and manage such systems. The articles should discuss the perspectives of both communities and their relation to each other: • Educators aim to use technology to enhance individual learning as well as to achieve widespread education and expect the technology to blend with their individual approach to instruction. However, most educators are not fully aware of the benefits that may be obtained by proactively harnessing the available technologies and how they might be able to influence further developments through systematic feedback and suggestions. • Educational system developers and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers are sometimes unaware of the needs and requirements of typical teachers, with a possible exception of those in the computer science domain. In transferring the notion of a 'user' from the humancomputer interaction studies and assigning it to the 'student', the educator's role as the 'implementer/ manager/ user' of the technology has been forgotten. The aim of the journal is to help them better understand each other's role in the overall process of education and how they may support each other. The articles should be original, unpublished, and not in consideration for publication elsewhere at the time of submission to Educational Technology & Society and three months thereafter. The scope of the journal is broad. Following list of topics is considered to be within the scope of the journal: Architectures for Educational Technology Systems, Computer-Mediated Communication, Cooperative/ Collaborative Learning and Environments, Cultural Issues in Educational System development, Didactic/ Pedagogical Issues and Teaching/Learning Strategies, Distance Education/Learning, Distance Learning Systems, Distributed Learning Environments, Educational Multimedia, Evaluation, HumanComputer Interface (HCI) Issues, Hypermedia Systems/ Applications, Intelligent Learning/ Tutoring Environments, Interactive Learning Environments, Learning by Doing, Methodologies for Development of Educational Technology Systems, Multimedia Systems/ Applications, Network-Based Learning Environments, Online Education, Simulations for Learning, Web Based Instruction/ Training

Kinshuk, Massey University, New Zealand; Demetrios G Sampson, University of Piraeus & ITI-CERTH, Greece; Ashok Patel, CAL Research & Software Engineering Centre, UK; Reinhard Oppermann, Fraunhofer Institut Angewandte Informationstechnik, Germany.

Associate editors
Alexandra I. Cristea, Technical University Eindhoven, The Netherlands; John Eklund, Access Australia Co-operative Multimedia Centre, Australia; Vladimir A Fomichov, K. E. Tsiolkovsky Russian State Tech Univ, Russia; Olga S Fomichova, Studio "Culture, Ecology, and Foreign Languages", Russia; Piet Kommers, University of Twente, The Netherlands; Chul-Hwan Lee, Inchon National University of Education, Korea; Brent Muirhead, University of Phoenix Online, USA; Erkki Sutinen, University of Joensuu, Finland; Vladimir Uskov, Bradley University, USA.

Advisory board
Ignacio Aedo, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain; Sherman Alpert, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA; Alfred Bork, University of California, Irvine, USA; Rosa Maria Bottino, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy; Mark Bullen, University of British Columbia, Canada; Tak-Wai Chan, National Central University, Taiwan; Nian-Shing Chen, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan; Darina Dicheva, Winston-Salem State University, USA; Roger Hartley, Leeds University, UK; J R Isaac, National Institute of Information Technology, India; Akihiro Kashihara, The University of Electro-Communications, Japan; Paul Kirschner, Open University of the Netherlands, The Netherlands; Ruddy Lelouche, Universite Laval, Canada; David Merrill, Brigham Young University - Hawaii, USA; Marcelo Milrad, Växjö University, Sweden; Riichiro Mizoguchi, Osaka University, Japan; Hiroaki Ogata, Tokushima University, Japan; Toshio Okamoto, The University of Electro-Communications, Japan; Yoshiaki Shindo, Nippon Institute of Technology, Japan; Brian K. Smith, Pennsylvania State University, USA; J. Michael Spector, Syracuse University, USA.

Assistant Editors
Sheng-Wen Hsieh, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan; Taiyu Lin, Massey University, New Zealand; Kathleen Luchini, University of Michigan, USA; Pythagoras Karampiperis, University of Piraeus and ITI-CERTH, Greece; Dorota Mularczyk, Independent Researcher & Web Designer; Carmen Padrón Nápoles, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain; Ali Fawaz Shareef, Massey University, New Zealand; Jarkko Suhonen, University of Joensuu, Finland.

Executive peer-reviewers

Subscription Prices and Ordering Information
Institutions: NZ$ 120 (~ US$ 75) per year (four issues) including postage and handling. Individuals (no school or libraries): NZ$ 100 (~ US$ 50) per year (four issues) including postage and handling. Single issues (individuals only): NZ$ 35 (~ US$ 18) including postage and handling. Subscription orders should be sent to The International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS), c/o Prof. Kinshuk, Information Systems Department, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand. Tel: +64 6 350 5799 ext 2090. Fax: +64 6 350 5725. E-mail:

Educational Technology & Society accepts advertisement of products and services of direct interest and usefulness to the readers of the journal, those involved in education and educational technology. Contact the editors at

Abstracting and Indexing
Educational Technology & Society is abstracted/indexed in Social Science Citation Index, Current Contents/Social & Behavioral Sciences, ISI Alerting Services, Social Scisearch, ACM Guide to Compg Literature, Australian DEST Register of Refereed Journals, Computing Reviews, DBLP, Educational Administration Abstracts, Educational Research Abstracts, Educational Technology Abstracts, Elsevier Bibliographic Databases, ERIC, Inspec, Technical Education & Training Abstracts, and VOCED.

ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). The authors andthe copyright of the articles. ISSN 1436-4522. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). The authors and the forum jointly retain the forum jointly retain the copyright of themake digital or hard copies of digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or without feeuse is granted withoutare not made or distributed Permission to articles. Permission to make part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted classroom provided that copies fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit and that copies advantage and that copies bear the full Copyrights the components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be for profit or commercial advantage or commercial bear the full citation on the first page. citation on for first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior a honoured. Abstracting be honoured. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or specific permission and/or a fee. the editors at at fee. Request permissions from Request permissions from the editors


Guidelines for authors
Submissions are invited in the following categories:

• Peer reviewed publications: a) Full length articles (4000 - 7000 words), b) Short articles, Critiques and Case studies (up to 3000 words) • Book reviews • Software reviews • Website reviews
All peer review publications will be refereed in double-blind review process by at least two international reviewers with expertise in the relevant subject area. Book, Software and Website Reviews will not be reviewed, but the editors reserve the right to refuse or edit review. • Each peer review submission should have at least following items: title (up to 10 words), complete communication details of ALL authors , an informative abstract (75-200 words) presenting the main points of the paper and the author's conclusions, four - five descriptive keywords, main body of paper (in 10 point font), conclusion, references. • Submissions should be single spaced. • Footnotes and endnotes are not accepted, all such information should be included in main text. • The paragraphs should not be indented. There should be one line space between consecutive paragraphs. • There should be single space between full stop of previous sentence and first word of next sentence in a paragraph. • The keywords (just after the abstract) should be separated by comma, and each keyword phrase should have initial caps (for example, Internet based system, Distance learning). • Do not use 'underline' to highlight text. Use 'italic' instead.

Articles should be subdivided into unnumbered sections, using short, meaningful sub-headings. Please use only two level headings as far as possible. Use 'Heading 1' and 'Heading 2' styles of your word processor's template to indicate them. If that is not possible, use 12 point bold for first level headings and 10 point bold for second level heading. If you must use third level headings, use 10 point italic for this purpose. There should be one blank line after each heading and two blank lines before each heading (except when two headings are consecutive, there should be one blank like between them).

Tables should be included in the text at appropriate places and centered horizontally. Captions (maximum 6 to 8 words each) must be provided for every table (below the table) and must be referenced in the text.

Figures should be included in the text at appropriate places and centered horizontally. Captions (maximum 6 to 8 words each) must be provided for every figure (below the figure) and must be referenced in the text. The figures must NOT be larger than 500 pixels in width. Please also provide all figures separately (besides embedding them in the text).


• All references should be listed in alphabetical order at the end of the article under the heading 'References'. • All references must be cited in the article using "authors (year)" style e.g. Merrill & Twitchell (1994) • •

or "(authors1, year1; authors2, year2)" style e.g. (Merrill, 1999; Kommers et al., 1997). Do not use numbering style to cite the reference in the text e.g. "this was done in this way and was found successful [23]." It is important to provide complete information in references. Please follow the patterns below:

Journal article Laszlo, A. & Castro, K. (1995). Technology and values: Interactive learning environments for future generations. Educational Technology, 35 (2), 7-13. Newspaper article Blunkett, D. (1998). Cash for Competence. Times Educational Supplement, July 24, 1998, 15. Or Clark, E. (1999). There'll never be enough bandwidth. Personal Computer World, July 26, 1999, retrieved July 7, 2004, from Book (authored or edited) Brown, S. & McIntyre, D. (1993). Making sense of Teaching, Buckingham: Open University. Chapter in book/proceedings Malone, T. W. (1984). Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction. In Walker, D. F. & Hess, R. D. (Eds.), Instructional software: principles and perspectives for design and use, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 68-95. Internet reference Fulton, J. C. (1996). Writing assignment as windows, not walls: enlivening unboundedness through boundaries, retrieved July 7, 2004, from

Submission procedure
Authors, submitting articles for a particular special issue, should send their submissions directly to the appropriate Guest Editor. Guest Editors will advise the authors regarding submission procedure for the final version. All submissions should be in electronic form. The editors will acknowledge the receipt of submission as soon as possible. The preferred formats for submission are Word document and RTF, but editors will try their best for other formats too. For figures, GIF and JPEG (JPG) are the preferred formats. Authors must supply separate figures in one of these formats besides embedding in text. Please provide following details with each submission: Author(s) full name(s) including title(s), Name of corresponding author, Job title(s), Organisation(s), Full contact details of ALL authors including email address, postal address, telephone and fax numbers. The submissions should be sent via email to (Subject: Submission for Educational Technology & Society journal): In the email, please state clearly that the manuscript is original material that has not been published, and is not being considered for publication elsewhere.
ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). The authors andthe copyright of the articles. ISSN 1436-4522. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). The authors and the forum jointly retain the forum jointly retain the copyright of themake digital or hard copies of digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or without feeuse is granted withoutare not made or distributed Permission to articles. Permission to make part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted classroom provided that copies fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit and that copies advantage and that copies bear the full Copyrights the components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be for profit or commercial advantage or commercial bear the full citation on the first page. citation on for first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior a honoured. Abstracting be honoured. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or specific permission and/or a fee. the editors at at fee. Request permissions from Request permissions from the editors


fee. to post on servers. to Amy L. Ng Siew Fung. Copyrights for components Copyrights for components of than work owned by others thanAbstracting with honoured. or to redistribute to servers. requires prior specific permission and/or a honoured. Request permissions from the editors permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). or to redistribute to lists. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Giovanni Ballista and Walter Di Nicolantonio 80-89 Experienced and inexperienced Internet users among pre-service teachers: Their use and attitudes toward the Internet Wong Su Luan. Mokhtar Nawawi and Tang Sai Hong 90-103 Using Information and Communication Technology in Secondary Schools in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects Samuel Ereyi Aduwa-Ogiegbaen and Ede Okhion Sunday Iyamu 104-112 ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print).Journal of Educational Technology & Society Volume 8 Number 1 2005 Table of contents Formal discussion summaries Formal online discussions: reflections on process Moderator and Summarizer: Bill Williams 1-7 Full length articles SCBIZHELP: Information System for Linking Students with Real Business Problems Abirami jointly retain the copyright of the articles. Michael D. iii . Steve Davis and Levent Camlibel 8-16 Translating Constructivism into Instructional Design: Potential and Limitations Yiasemina Karagiorgi and Loizos Symeou 17-27 Beyond functionality and technocracy: creating human involvement with educational technology Wim Westera 28-37 Understanding Innovation in Education Using Activity Theory Donna L. © International Forum ofSociety (IFETS). copyright of the Abstracting with credit is permitted. to republish. Russell and Art Schneiderheinze 38-53 Learning with Invisible Others: Perceptions of Online Presence and their Relationship to Cognitive and Affective Learning Tracy Russo and Spencer Benson 54-62 Permanent Injustice: Rawls' Theory of Justice and the Digital Divide Elizabeth Hendrix 63-68 Designer Support for Online Collaboration and Knowledge Construction Hong Gao. IFETS must be credit is permitted. to post on lists. Stefano Scarpanti. To copy otherwise. of this work owned by others this IFETS must be for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the fulland that copies bear page. The authors and the forum The authors and the forum jointly retain the 1436-4522. Baylor and E Shen 69-79 An Educational Development Tool Based on Principles of Formal Ontology Rodolfo Guzzi. To copy otherwise. Request at kinshuk@massey. Crino. Permission to make digital or hard work of personal of this work for personal without fee use is granted without not made or distributed Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of thiscopies for part or allor classroom use is grantedor classroom provided that copies arefee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage citation on the first the full citation on the first page.

ac. requires prior specific permission and/or specific permission and/or a fee. to republish. The authors andthe copyright of the articles. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must with credit is permitted. Abstracting be or to redistribute to lists. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). requires prior a honoured. Abstracting with credit is permitted. at kinshuk@ieee. Kennedy 132-133 ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). Request permissions from Request permissions from the editors iv . the editors at kinshuk@massey. or to redistribute to ISSN 1436-4522. to otherwise. citation on for first page. Permission to make part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted classroom provided that copies fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit and that copies advantage and that copies bear the full Copyrights the components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be for profit or commercial advantage or commercial bear the full citation on the first page. The authors and the forum jointly retain the forum jointly retain the copyright of themake digital or hard copies of digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or without feeuse is granted withoutare not made or distributed Permission to articles. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). To copy post on servers. to republish. fee. To copy otherwise.The Impact of Computer Augmented Online Learning and Assessment Tool Misook Heo and Anthony Chow 113-125 Software reviews EMTeachline Mathematics Software Reviewer: Michael Verhaart 126-131 Book reviews Designing Distributed Learning Environments with Intelligent Software Agents Reviewer: Ian G. to post on servers.

Williams. 8 (1). Providing guidelines for citing contributions 1. B. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. Portugal billwilliams@netvisao. to republish. Those who have worked with collaborative workspaces like FirstClass are likely to have experience of the value of this type of visual weaving operating in text-message-based discussion. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee. to post on servers. Maintaining archives 3. (2005).pt Discussion Schedule: Discussion: September 13-22. It also falls to the moderator to attempt to pull the 1 ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). the first three of which are related to the discussion space whereas the last two are essentially guidelines for their conduct and recording. Although there has been intermittent informal discussion about the process itself. requesting participants to use the subject header to indicate which of these they are addressing and hoping that others will likewise respect the subject header convention so as to provide a clear and easily followed thread of messages. Abstracting with credit is permitted. The IFETS discussion model is. 1-7. I propose five areas for discussion. 2004 Pre-Discussion Paper Introduction This paper considers some of the issues and options for formal online discussions in general with a specific focus on moderated discussions as exemplified at IFETS. Therefore. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. Long texts in this format make difficult reading in themselves and it can be difficult to perceive the context of particular contributions in ongoing discussion. To copy otherwise. Providing guidelines/models for moderators 5. Limitations The use of simple text email messages tends to limit the length of each contribution. . Formal online discussions: reflections on process. Another consequence is that it is difficult for discussion participants to weave various contributions into their message so as to replicate the kind of multi-participant discussion which can occur in a face to face round-table discussion for example. or to redistribute to lists. given the pace of developments in the nature of online communities and the technology which supports them. 1. I don't believe it has come up for formal discussion over the last few years. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). 2004 Summing-up: September 23-24. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. I believe. HTML or colour/shading possible) and messages are stored in list archives. Educational Technology & Society. Hosting the discussion Current approach The model currently used on IFETS and ITForum is that of a moderated e-mail list using simple text (no formatting. a powerful one which has been making an important contribution to academic debate and knowledge sharing online since Preserving privacy 4. Hosting the discussion 2. I think it timely to begin a conversation in IFETS about the process of formal online discussion. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. Formal online discussions: reflections on process Moderator & Sumamrizer: Bill Williams Setubal Polytechnic. Traditionally these limitations have been worked around by the discussion moderator attempting to set out the issues involved in discrete chunks or topics.

a deluge of spam.Collaborative Workspaces The relative merits of Email and Collaborative Workspaces have been cogently summarised by Michael Sampson (2004) as follows: “Email. Strengths are universal addressability. lack of cross-product interoperability. universal interoperability.g.Webcrossing. He reminds us that the file/folder metaphor was designed almost 30 years ago when it was anticipated that users would receive around 5 e-mail messages per day.various separate contributions together at intervals throughout a formal discussion so as to make it easier to see the development and flow of discussion around each of the issues being addressed.” These systems allow for more a organised and visually pleasing discussion space and provide good archiving. then. to reconsider the options for our formal online discussions? Discussion space characteristics I would propose the following as a possible list of general features for the system of choice: Essential features Facilitate in-depth discussion Push communication Archiving facility Portability (no vendor lock-in) No/low cost Desirable features No client installation (to avoid large download. In addition to the limitations of simple text messages outlined above. filters. blogs or journals. Strengths are the provision of a set of structured tools for group work. Many people may find themselves in agreement with Eric Hahn’s assessment at the 2004 Inbox email technology conference that “e-mail is broken” (Asarvala 2004). we also need to consider the problems arising out of the use of email itself as a discussion medium – spam. and shared content taxonomy. and poor cross-enterprise capabilities. An alternative would be to move to some kind of web-based system. Is it time.” “Collaborative Workspaces. what are the other options which might be considered? One possibility would be to use a collaborative workspace (e. problems with institutional IT staff) Aesthetically pleasing interface Participant profiles Discussion space options Given the limitations of basic email-based systems. Another arguable drawback of unformatted text messages is that they are aesthetically rather basic when compared with webpages. with weaknesses of poor cross-platform support. and cross-organization functionality. volume and unpredictable taxonomy of messages. and a lack of immediacy. The drawbacks include the fact that they usually involve each participant having to install client software and that one is usually locked into a particular software environment (commercial or open source) which may be 2 . Groove). enforced group memory. among others. offset by weaknesses of a disconnect between its design and current usage pattern. Option 1 .

difficult to integrate with other applications or to migrate from at a future date. Technical support can also be an issue. Groove is an example of a commercial workspace which has been exciting interest recently although Martin Terre Blanche’s recent comments (2004) illustrate possible drawbacks of its use for our purposes. It is also possible that the open-source Sakai consortium may come up with interesting developments in this field in the near future.

Option 2 - Web-based systems A general objection to moving from email to web-based systems has to do with the fact that the former is a push whereas the latter is a pull process and experience suggests that push results in more participation. So any webbased solution would need to incorporate a push component to notify participants of new comments and contributions. Such a system could involve some sort of web-based document + comments approach whereby the context of each contribution can be seen linked to the original pre-discussion document and in a thread with others addressing the same point. This was suggested by Ben Hyde and maintained as a sort of informal parallel track during the IFETS discussion on Participation in Online Learning earlier this year (30 Jan – 13 Feb 2003); the tool used in this case was d3E Ubiquitous which has been used by JIME and others to promote academic debate. Although most of the participants in our discussion preferred to stick with the simple e-mail model there were a number who opted to use the d3e tool and the result can be seen at 62. In this particular case the push element was provided by Ben Hyde forwarding a digest of the web-based comments to the e-mail list. Commkit is an example of a commercial social software package which integrates web and e-mail discussion and allows community members to choose on a topic by topic basis whether to participate by web or e-mail. Using either d3E or Commkit we continue to have to deal with the inherent flaws of e-mail. This could be resolved by using RSS rather than e-mail to notify participants of new contributions and give a brief taster of their contents. Participants would need to install an RSS aggregator on their desktop to receive this or it could be received within MS Outlook but separate from e-mail messages (Newsgator, for example, is a commercial application which runs in MS Outlook). As the potential of RSS for this and other functions becomes apparent it is likely that its applications will be considerably expanded in the open-source sphere and this could mean that web-based systems become more attractive in the near future.

Option 3 - E-mail A third, and less radical, option would be to continue with the message-list approach but use a more sophisticated e-mail based tool which would allow formatting and hyperlinking. The expansion of Yahoo Groups and arrival of Google Groups suggest that there may still be potential in this model. It is a question of balancing the simplicity and universality of this medium against its inherent limitations. Incidentally, the University of Strathclyde has been working on an interesting method of visually representing the growth of discussions (Mohamed et al, 2004) . This was originally designed to work with bulletin board discussion and could conceivably be adapted for any one of the hosting options we have been considering here.

2 Maintaining archives
Essential features messages stored chronologically search facility

threading of messages

Desirable features view formal discussion contributions in context of pre-discussion document various viewing options (e.g. tree-view, titles, first paragraph) hide quoted text option (this feature and the previous one are found in the beta version of the new Google Groups e.g. )

Decisions regarding this aspect, and the following one, are very much dependent on the outcome of any decision regarding changes in hosting. I do think it worth mentioning that I have very rarely found mention of earlier IFETS contributions in the current discussions and, knowing the quality of earlier work, I would conclude that this is a result of access and consulting issues in our archiving system. The present IFETs archives ( ) are not particularly user-friendly in that it is not very easy to search for particular messages or topics. The interface employed for the IT Forum archives appears to be more flexible and accessible ( ).

3. Preserving privacy
The main problems are those inherent in email discussions i.e. list-enabled spamming. One measure employed to avoid inappropriate behaviour is to get list subscribers/participants sign a code of behaviour before admission. This is the policy at (2004) for example . A rather charming example of a list charter is that of the rabbit lovers list, NetBunny (Nevel 1998). The international nature of groups such as this one does complicate things and I suspect that signing up to a code of behaviour may not help in curbing inappropriate use of addresses harvested from the list. The first reaction to this kind of behaviour will often be a private cease-and-desist message from the group moderator and if this does not work the next recourse may be contacting the perpetrator’s ISP. However if the person is based outside N. America or W. Europe this is unlikely to achieve very much and even in these areas the negative activity may not be clearly illegal (e.g. mailing unsolicited CVs or marketing of commercial products). Spam posts to the list itself have not represented a problem as such at IFETS because all messages are monitored before publication to avoid this. This does involve, however, a rather thankless investment of time by the list coordinators as well as introducing delays in posting and ideally it would be better if the system was self regulating in this respect.

4. Providing guidelines/models for moderators
Although I am not aware of any formal guidelines for moderators here on IFETS, my observation of formal discussions over the last four years has led me to conclude that most moderators take a role somewhere between what we might call the moderator-participants model and the moderated participant-participant model. In the former the moderator, having been responsible for setting out the pre-discussion paper, tends to respond to each contribution as it comes in and is relatively centre-stage (much like role of the teacher in more traditional classrooms). In the latter the moderator keeps a low profile once the discussion is underway and concentrates on summarising contributions (more of a facilitation role). I know where my own preferences lie on this and would be interested to hear comments or observations from others.

5. Providing guidelines for citing contributions
Within IFETS it has become (informal) practice to mention contributors to discussion by name in the moderator’s summary but there may be a case for more specific guidelines on this. My late colleague Sally Mavor (2002) set out the issues rather well in a contribution to a discussion here in August 2002 which is worth quoting in full:

“In the IFETS discussion paper, the moderator and summariser(s) are the lead authors of the paper, but the final published paper integrates the thoughts and contributions of those who participated in the discussion. In that sense, is the authorship of the paper still solely that of the moderator/summariser(s)? Or does the paper become a collaborative effort with joint authorship? Or is the paper authored by the same moderator/summarisers with clear citations of the contributions made by members? I tend towards the latter – especially considering the amount of work involve in writing the prediscussion paper, in moderating the discussion and in integrating the contributions of the members in a final document. However, at the moment IFETS doesn’t appear to have a clear policy regarding how members’ contributions should be recognised/integrated in the final, published discussion paper. (I have looked but am prepared to stand corrected, if I have missed anything!) Having also looked briefly at past discussion papers, there seem to be a wide range of approaches to the final paper from no mention of discussion contributions, to meticulous naming and citing in a post-discussion summary. The reason I bring this to light is that in one of the last discussions, I, among others, contributed to the discussion. As it happens, I coined the term ‘contextualised flexibility’ to account for the kind of understanding of context and appropriate response to that context which is important for course design. The author of the paper kindly mentioned this phrase, saying that “One contributor used the term ‘contextualised flexibility’ to describe how overall course design should be sensitive to contexts and adaptive” Now, with my tongue firmly and friendlily- in-cheek, if I wish to use that phrase in another paper, how should I refer to it? It has now been published in the Education, Technology and Society (ETS) journal. So should I say… “contextualised flexibility” (a contributor, cited in ETS discussion paper no. vol. etc…….. who happened to be me)? ;-) And what about the other contributors, who in fact, contributed much more than I did and were not mentioned by name? This paper is by no means the only one that uses this approach, so it is quite legitimately following precedents and is even integrating the discussion contributions more than some previous papers. Obviously the summarisers must be also be selective and concise in their summaries, but, my question is: when the moderator/summariser(s) use the work of members’ contributions to the discussion should the names of these contributors not be mentioned in the final, published paper? On no account would I advocate a homogenisation of approach, but I do feel that some guidelines as to appropriate ways to integrate members´ contribution to the discussion would be helpful and consistent with the collaborative nature of the discussion paper.”

Closing remarks
I have tried to set out above what I think are the main areas where it could be useful to share our experience and thoughts on the process of formal online discussions as exemplified at IFETS and will conclude by saying that I look forward to seeing your contributions so that we can clarify our ideas and perhaps achieve some consensus regarding the following four questions: 1. What are the ideal specifications of a system for hosting and arquiving formal online discussions? 2. Is there a case for moving away from the e-mail list-serve model? 3. If the answer to 2 is yes, what would be the best alternative? 4. Is there a need for guidelines relating to the role of moderator and to citing contributions in formal online discussions?

Asaravala (2004). The changing face of e-mail. Wired News, retrieved December 21, 2004, from,1282,63692,00.html.

Christopher Eliot and Mark Nichols all refer to the importance of appropriate citation of individual contributions. Guidelines for moderation and citation Brent Muirhead. although helping to meet Christopher Eliot’s criterion that “participants should be able to choose any format they feel comfortable with. Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference on Web Based Communities 2004. 2004. Nevel.pdf. has a number of attractive aspects and may well be ideal in other contexts but. Mohamed. from http://www. RSS & Collaborative Workspaces Should Be Integrated for Business Communication. S. Although Christopher Eliot believes that discussion forums are essentially public spaces and “we certainly don't want any ethical standard that could be used to suppress criticism or debate”. Goodbye Groove. Citation ethics are an area of concern to various participants in cases where material posted on a discussion forum such as this is then reposted in other contexts like blogs or other discussion forums without the permission of the original poster.” is probably widely Sampson.html. Mark is in general agreement about a need for guidelines but also expresses his ambivalence in that “I am comfortable with the status quo as it gives the listserv the feel somewhat of a casual association of professionals” and he puts forward two of his own post-discussion summaries as contrasting examples of how to go about this. from http://ifets. They illustrate the point very well and I think.. The web-based alternative proposed by Rick Dilman. S. B. Developing Bulletin Board Visualisations. retrieved December 21. PetBunny Charter.strath. retrieved December 21.E-democracy (2004).uk/~rehman/mowbc2004. 2004.petbunny. IM. (2004).g. from http://www. R. this is “a basic professional courtesy”.” and Stephen Downes’s concern that "any transition to a web based system must be done carefully. being commercial probably rules it out as the system of choice for IFETS itself. retrieved December 21. Christopher points out “there is no accepted syntax to use for citation of online discussions” and suggests making an example of a suggested format available. retrieved December 21. M. (2002).org/center/draftrules. from http://www. Discussion paper citation practices.discusware. retrieved December 21. among as many possibilities as can be supported”. I can't see a strong enough case for another system. 2004. Collaboration Software Clients: Email. retrieved December Presence. Discus (http://www. T. 6 .html. we could use the second of Mark’s summaries as a model to guide future moderators. Gwynneth Jansen suggests that not having a clear position on this “may result in an unintended backlash of people not putting their thoughts into email discussions as they fear being taken out of context” and Beverly Trayner argues that such reposting is not only ethically questionable but can be misleading because “citing something out of its context ( from http://sharedspaces. Post-discussion summary Discussion space options The overall conclusion we could perhaps draw from the discussion is that at this stage there is no strongly-felt need to move to another system to host IFETS discussions. 2004. (2004). 2004.typepad. Blanche. Mac Cormick. D. Suzanne Aurílio comments that “at present. & Elsweiler. (1998). I do see one for elaborating on this one. For Brent. from http://www.html. rather than set out guidelines. Ferguson. E-democracy Forum rules – Interim.. 11-18. M. (2004). D. as it is more often than not the kiss of death for a forum. from a discussion group to a blog) and to a different audience gives it a different meaning”.

html for example). when she distinguishes between: public spaces like journals. and forums which are “semi-private spaces” and so permission should be sought before quoting directly from them. web pages and blogs (permission not needed for quotation but usual citation code applies (http://www. An additional point was raised by Geoffrey Cain concerning use in discussion groups of uncredited material such as definitions taken directly from other sources. I wouldn't necessarily expect them to be cited in an informal post” but this brings us back to Sally Mavor’s point mentioned in the pre-discussion paper: the discussion moderator should credit new ideas or terminology to discussion participants in the final published summary (as I have done above with Gabriela’s reference to “semi-private spaces”) but this assumes that these are either original or appropriately cited. This could be made clear by having a code of conduct to sign before access to discussions. I believe there is a case for defining more clearly the ground-rules for citation both in and from forums such as this. 7 . Corrie Bergeron says that “I'd certainly expect the definitions to be cited in the final paper.I think that the distinction proposed by Gabriela Avram is useful here.columbia. My thanks to all who have contributed to this discussion and I hope that the points raised here may help us in our ongoing encounters with learning and with what Beverly refers to as the “the subtle but complex things we do to improve social relationships”.edu/cu/cup/cgos/idx_basic.

One way of integrating real world business problem solving into the curriculum is by students undertaking projects that address problems faced by industry. 1999. SC. To copy otherwise. 1995. business representatives can search for student expertise. Electronic channel Introduction Importance of academia – industry linkage Throughout the1990s.. Barman et al. SCBIZHELP: Information System for Linking Students with Real Business Problems.Radhakrishnan. or experiential crino@clemson. including case studies (Grossman Jr. 2001. P. Clemson. and written reports. The main criticism was that academicians were simply imparting knowledge to students. 2002).com Abstract Academic institutions have come to recognize the value of involving business students in solving real business problems. Databases. 1991. Crino and Steve Davis Clemson University.. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. 1999. SCBIZHELP: Information System for Linking Students with Real Business Problems Abirami Radhakrishnan. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the A future version will also allow business users to post their needs to the Web Levent Camlibel Clemson University. L. Box 34-1305. SC. 1996. employers and the government criticized business schools for the limited effectiveness of their instructional methodologies and the consequent inexperience of their graduates in dealing with real-world business problems.. Currently. S. but most lack a way to systematically and reliably bring the needs of the business community and the resources of the academic community together. Keywords Web based system. deservedly enjoys wide popularity as a learning style (Fellers. McKeachie. conflicting business goals. useful feedback about what students have learned (Grossman Jr. Davis. 8 . © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). It is capable of supporting multiple universities within the state and across multiple states. parents. Benbasat & Zmud. business client statements. 2002). to davis@clemson. 2001). Responding to this need. M. a Web site was developed to promote linking students with real business problems. 2002). Crino. data management problems and the myriad of other issues found in the messy “real world” (Grossman Jr. Changes have resulted from this criticism. It has helped identify projects in various functional areas that aided businesses and enhanced student learning. especially small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have far fewer resources than large businesses (SBA Office of Advocacy Office of ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). including the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. 2002). informal conversations. 1996. Abstracting with credit is permitted. students. Learning by doing.. Davenport & Markus. Clemson. 1999.. to post on servers. 1998. Student projects also provide faculty with opportunities for applied research. Department of Management 101 Sirrine Hall. 29634. USA koroglu2000@hotmail. (2005). A.O. Levasseur. D. 29634. Student projects benefit faculty teaching and research... Teaching improves because projects provide faculty with clear. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. and pre/post intervention comparisons (Applegate. Department of Economics 222 Sirrine Hall. 8-16. Ahire. At the root of these criticisms was the perception that academic institutions were not engaged with the surrounding business community. Educational Technology & Society. & Camlibel. Mc Keachie. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee. 2001). Students retain concepts they learn when they apply them to solve real problems.. 1998) revising its reaccredidation guidelines to emphasize the value of integrating real business problem solving into the curriculum (Blum. Student projects addressing real world business problems benefit industry. 8 (1). without sufficient regard to its application or relevance (Richter. Nilson. USA aradhak@clemson. or to redistribute to lists. Projects force students to deal with the inevitable trade-offs. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Faculty members receive feedback from observing student performance during project presentations. Lee et al. Kellogg Commission Report. Inter-organizational alliance. Michael D. 2002). 1999.

2001). Problems faced in establishing academia – industry linkage Educational institutions have developed different strategies to set up an academia – industry link. for a number of reasons universities represent a largely untapped source of business and community assistance. but. National Foundation Science funded 1) Funding from NSF. Often they lack the expertise. (2002) . 2) Students had to identify Research / 3) Provided faculty clear feedback their own projects and faculty Management Science about students’ capabilities. 1) Only a one-time initiative assigning Operations 2) Improved student learning. 2) Limited to Operations Swinburne. Simply put.. 1999.. Martin-Vega et al. An initiative between 1) A part of Masters thesis work. (2003) mention the tremendous efforts required by faculty at Temple University to find suitable student projects at Day and Zimmermann Inc. In this paper. Research projects. Kock et al. the impact of this approach on the students. Grossman (2002) Table 1. 2003). 1991. But making useful contacts in the business community and finding meaningful projects on a continuing basis is often easier said than done. academic institutions have not structured or organized themselves in a way that would encourage or facilitate the provision of student and faculty expertise to the business community (Kellogg Commission Report. Many universities ask their final year students to find suitable industry projects. For example. For example. 3) Company reported benefits. faculty members take responsibility for identifying suitable industry projects for their students. this is a difficult and time consuming task. Bennet and MacFarlane. 2) Involved multiple projects. Grossman Jr. This remainder of this paper is organized in four major sections that describe: the Alliance. Study by Weal (1991) Bennet and MacFarlane (1992) Wouters and van Donselaar (2000). 2002)..time initiative. company in project work. No support identification for of faculty industry 9 Martin – Vega et al. 2001. A review of the literature (Table 1) reveals many publications that discuss initiatives taken by individual faculty (Weal. link students with industry supply chain 3) Companies reported benefits. conclusions highlighting the limitations of the present system and future plans. Ahire. and community. There has been little research on this issue.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy Report. 1992. Generally. or relationships between a large corporation and a top-tier university (Mead et al. 2002). 1) Very short duration project. Many of these initiatives are restricted to a specific functional area of business or are just one time efforts to link academia to industry. a university and three 2) Companies financed student 2) No systematic mechanism to companies to improve work. yet there is significant potential for benefits for all parties. 1) Only a one. only helped them while doing projects to their projects. U. 1) Involved only undergraduate a university and a 2) Company financed student students. Research. operations. faculty.. Involved 15 students and 7 Professors. Experiences of faculty 1) Involved nearly 500 students. There is a need to find a way to bring together the business and local communities with the resources of universities is a sustained long-term manner. MBA students in Ahire’s (2001) operations management class searched for projects by making cold calls on local firms. 2000. internship program at 2) Limited to Operations Strathclyde University. 2004). 2004. undergraduate and MBA students. the new information system created to facilitate a sustained academia–industry linkage. Literature on initiatives to promote academia – industry linkage Focus of the study Strengths of the initiative Limitations of the initiative An initiative between 1) Twelve month project work. 2002. we describe an effort by the Alliance for Small Businesses and Nonprofit Organizations in South Carolina to initiate academia – industry linkage. businesses find communicating with faculty or finding expertise on a university campus daunting if not impossible (Murphy. At some universities. Similarly. Wouters and van Donselaar. and finally. projects. 3) Only a one – time initiative. Department-level Company funded student work. Kock et al. and rarely can they afford the fees of professional consultants.Economic Research.

the Alliance for Small Businesses and Nonprofits was formed in 2001 as a union of: the Business Councils of South Carolina (that includes small businesses. technical schools and private colleges and universities. Likewise. and the South Carolina Center for Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership. 1) Involved over 70 projects. the Greenville County Library System. Reported benefits of fourteen formal collaborations between industry / US universities in the field of software engineering.112 full-time self-employed persons in South Carolina (U.S. Components of SCBIZHELP 10 . Kock et (2003) al. 3) Restricted to operations management projects. Survey of formal industry / university collaborations in the field of software engineering. With a goal to establish bridges between the academic and business communities. In addition to these businesses. SCORE (counselors to America’s small business).300 full-time business firms with employees in South Carolina. 1) Identifying many projects required students to make cold calls on local firms. the purview of the Alliance includes many of the students in the state. the Alliance addresses most of the businesses in the state of South Carolina. 2) Produced results valuable to industry. 1) No aids for identifying projects 2) Limited to software engineering. 2) Only a one-time initiative. In its commitment to small businesses. 1) Only a one time initiative 2) Limited to IT projects. projects. USA. Alliance Motivated Academia – Industry Linkage The formation of the Alliance for Small Businesses and Nonprofit Organizations in South Carolina motivated the development of our linkage system. Database End User W E B P A G E S Active System Administrator Management Software Contributor Dormant SERVER PC PC Figure 1. Of the 89. there are 117. 2004). Students applied concepts of IT design and development to real industry problems. 97 percent are small businesses (independent businesses with fewer than 500 workers).program for academic liaison with industry. including those at two of the larger state universities. the Small Business Development Center of South Carolina. and representatives from six public and private universities). Ahire (2002) Operations management projects at the Indiana University. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy Report. 2) Reported benefits participating MBA students. to Meed et (2003) al. Online IT course that facilitated university – industry linkage.

The user can click on a project summary to see complete information that generally includes: contact information. and constraints (such as place where project work must be performed). Contact Charlie Emery Table 2. compensation requirements (if any). improving operations. Information retrieval Business users can search for expertise by selecting keywords from multiple categories. human resources management. After a user selects keywords.scbizhelp. duration of project capabilities. there may be times when a class of students will not be available for projects. Generally university faculty are contributors. 11 . The management software component permits the system administrator to control data validity. e. Data entry and validation A contributor is identified simply by an email address. Total Quality Management Project: Students will work on faculty-approved projects in the business community as part of their assigned coursework under the supervision of business faculty. the system retrieves and displays brief summaries of project capabilities from the database (Table 2). and business SCBIZHELP: Information System to Facilitate Academia – Industry Linkage Design SCBIZHELP has two major components. Not all courses will be offered each semester. Marketing Research. www. Therefore. Business representatives could play both the roles of end-user. to seek student project assistance. that information is initially dormant (not viewable). This Web site provides continuous internet access to Alliance resources by the business community. Example project summary Project Details Project name: Business Student Projects Institution: Lander University Keywords: Family-owned Business. logistics. Consequently. the system administrator changes the status from dormant to active. and contributor. or offer to speak to a class.g. current categories include e-commerce. project capabilities. to sponsor an internship. e. The Web-based component includes Web pages linked to a database (Figure 1). willingness to undertake projects and consulting services. The representative of the contributor’s institution notifies the system administrator whether the new information is valid. The system automatically sends email messages to a pre-designated representative of the contributor’s institution and to the system administrator (as an alert that a response should be forthcoming from the institution representative). finance. Projects will be associated with specific courses. the Alliance used grants from the Kellogg Foundation through Alliance 2020 and the School of Business and Leadership at Clemson University to support development of a Web site nicknamed SCBIZHELP (South Carolina business help). When any new contributor enters information into the system. Strategic Planning. marketing. one may enter or modify information without having to remember a password.To help match student resources with business needs. to offer a plant tour. If valid. However. as well as to facilitate sharing of various resources among its members. these projects must be successfully completed within one semester.g. SCBIZHELP accommodates both assistance seekers (end-users) and assistance contributors. For example. or when any previously entered information is changed.

The system not only helps to set up student projects addressing industry problems but also helps arrange industry support for education. For the system administrator we built a Visual Basic application that runs on the administrator’s desktop computer and communicates in XML over the Internet with the database that resides on a Web server. There is no provision for those who cannot use the Web site or those who are not Internet connected. For example. University postings do not offer specific student resources but instead indicate which academic programs could provide course content bearing on the topics being searched.Software designed for maintainability and scalability The software used for SCBIZHELP was designed for maintainability with separate tiers for the user interface. We developed the current Web application using Microsoft® Visual Studio® . A professor may create new keywords or categories as necessary to describe a project. Data entry is flexible.nypl. This Web site could involve students in multiple projects across very different classes and in multiple academic years. as it is unlikely that large numbers of users will simultaneously access the system. using a Web interface. Because this project followed an incremental development method (Sharrell and Chen.NET 2003 with a Microsoft Access database. The contact information does not contain live email links. a change would require only minor modifications to data access routines that are isolated in one module. Library staff will conduct a search on behalf of a user and send the results by regular mail. We do not know of any other system that offers direct contact with professors and students. in their own words. such flexibility was important. Nevertheless we have designed the software for easy migration to a more robust database management system should it become necessary. business rules. There is a somewhat similar Web site available in New York City (http://www2. This simple database is sufficient at this point. and database interaction. including conservative use of graphics to reduce time to download Web pages. The Web site was designed for efficiency of user interaction. For example. The system requires little administration because the various categories of users are responsible for posting and maintaining material. 2000). Avison and Fitzgerald. This lowtech service benefits small business users lacking Web access or computer literacy. We designed the system for scalability in terms of workload on administrators as well as increase in simultaneous Web traffic. 12 . 2001. it allows changing the underlying database management system without requiring any significant changes to the rest of the application. Industry users can volunteer to become involved in classes and other activities of the universities listed in the database. We know of no other similar system having a reliable procedure for validating information posted to the Web. The administrator does not have to monitor system activity on a daily basis because the information need not be real email (an option is available at the Web site to send the search results directly to an email address) or fax. providing the potential for a far richer context of project work than one course or one project for final year students. time limits can be placed on a project to correspond with a semester. Special features To the best of our knowledge this is the first site of its kind available to the business community. The information is not available in a report form that can be emailed. but he or she can easily reactivate it later without re-keying. Small business and nonprofit managers also may contact the Greenville County Library System’s Reference Department. For example. Dividing the system into tiers allows for changes in one part with few side effects in the other parts (Sadoski & Comella-Dorda. 2003) and requirements evolved gradually.html) that links universities to the business community but it differs from ours in a number of ways. Members of the Alliance will also run inquiries for users that request this service over the phone. and allows professors from multiple universities to enter data on their courses at their convenience. The entry will automatically expire at the ending date specified by the faculty member. Managing a system that serves several universities in a state may require less than an hour a week.

Anderson Restaurant Group Anderson Restaurant Group Anderson Restaurant Group Anderson Restaurant Group Anderson Restaurant Group Table 3. Impact on students We interviewed participating faculty about the quality of student projects in several functional areas of business and about the impact on student learning outcomes. In the MIS area. in consultation with management. and handling variability in arrival of carriers. students were involved in projects on job documentation and performance appraisal systems. Examples of student projects Purpose of project Designed database design for volunteer management and meal delivery Designed and implemented a Web site Built database to track match ups between the brothers and sisters Conducted feasibility study for adoption of a pull system Analyzed warehouse management procedures Identified bottleneck areas inside the plants and applied Theory of Constraints Developed incentive pay plan Identified areas for quality management and continuous improvement Supported ISO certification process Identified opportunities to apply lean manufacturing and continuous improvement Developed job documentation Developed job documentation Assisted performance appraisals Conducted area wage surveys Revised employee manual Produced management policies and procedures manual for the corporation Conducted marketing study on new advertisement media for their new restaurants Conducted marketing study for an additional restaurant Students worked on projects in various functional areas of business. they were involved from the start of the project (eliciting user requirements) to system implementation using ASP. stocking methods for normal orders and special orders (using well established methods for stocking and tracking). Park Place Inc. lean manufacturing. Operations Management. For example in the job documentation project at Park Place. In the Operations Management area. changing the packaging mix. and Human Resources Management (Table 3). Several professors indicated students were motivated to participate in these projects because they knew their work would be useful to industry and because they could 13 . Greenville County Library System Park Place Inc. They applied optimization techniques to the problems considering the set of constraints in the warehouse facility. West Point Stevens Inc. several projects were conducted in evaluation of existing manufacturing planning and control systems. Organization SENIOR Solutions SENIOR Solutions Big Brothers and Big Sisters Piedmont Home Textiles Piedmont Home Textiles Piedmont Home Textiles Piedmont Home Textiles Carolina Circuits Inc. in the warehouse management project students first identified the root causes of problems using the fish bone technique. E-Commerce. In the human resources management area. Job incumbents and supervisors were interviewed and new job documentation was created and approved for 35 jobs. After a feasibility study they developed recommendations for allocating floor space during the peak / lean seasons. in the areas of Management Information Systems. Park Place Inc. Templates included corporate logos and format consistent across jobs and with federal laws. These projects provided students an opportunity to apply concepts and techniques they had learned in the classroom.Benefits of SCBIZHELP Academia-industry linkage SCBIZHELP has helped link students with a number of industry needs.NET. students used the System Development Life Cycle approach to design databases and develop Web based applications for service organizations. quality audits. For example in the database and Web page design projects for SENIOR Solutions. flow analysis and identification and removal of bottleneck in operations. students created templates for job documentation (job description and specifications). For example.

Formerly the system did not allow an open search. Founded in 1999 by Deloitte & Touche. Conclusions Since December 2003 users have accessed the Web site 1327 times and it has facilitated academia – industry linkage. this award is dedicated to the advancement of technology in education and communication. the supervisor of the implementation of the incentive pay plan at Piedmont Home Textiles. Carolina Circuits Inc. However an open search function is commonly available on Web sites and many users expect it. These revisions make the system easier to use.000. In the event that a user finds no available assistance in the database. and more flexible. It reconfigured the business processes so as to improve process capability. One team of students documented 165 jobs in several organizations thereby helping them save over $5. said. Formerly there was no way for business users to post their needs to the Web site but we added this feature. User experience suggested some recent enhancements. Success of the system depends upon support of faculty and cooperation of other organizations such as the library system and the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers. Enlisting this support requires substantial effort and generally requires personal contact. Instead the user had to choose keywords already in the database. Members of the Alliance plan to distribute this system to several organizations in South Carolina and later extend it nationwide. “The incentive payment plan student project alone resulted in a cost saving of $500. The company had so much confidence in the student projects that it allowed students to undertake many more projects. Although technically a single instance of the system could support the entire and work with practicing managers in industry.000 for the company and it was a laudable achievement. The Alliance’s application was reviewed by an outside panel and was among the three finalists for the community service award in 2003. Impact on business Involved business managers have cited benefits. better aligned with user expectations. They were able to address “messy real world” problems that helped them hone their skills. Also. system 14 . This restriction was intended to ensure that someone using the search feature would not come up empty handed. implemented some of students’ suggestions from their quality audits. whether using the free search capability or not. So we included a free search capability in the current version. Impact on community The Alliance for Small Businesses and Nonprofits made SCBIZHELP a central part of its application for an InnoVision Community Service Award. They said SCBIZHELP has reduced the time and effort to arrange student projects addressing real industry problems.” The comptroller said the student projects were tremendously beneficial to his company. The system administrator will then solicit this previously unavailable assistance from the network of faculty and nonprofit organizations and correspond directly with the user. thereby increasing its usefulness to the end user. Impact on faculty Faculty indicated SCBIZHELP has increased the number of projects addressing real industry problems and identified new opportunities for future projects that would not otherwise have come to their attention. he or she will be prompted by the Web site to send an email inquiry to the system administrator. one MIS Professor said SCBIZHELP made possible innovative student projects that involved the community and she intends to continue to use this system to help create worthwhile projects that make teaching more effective. For example. they opined these projects helped reinforce concepts covered in their courses. For example.

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Active learning. Y. During the last decade. Instructional designers are expected to be familiar with the epistemological underpinnings of instructional design and the consequences on the process of instruction. L. To copy otherwise. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. or to redistribute to lists. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@massey. instructional designers must attempt to translate constructivism into instructional design through a more pragmatic approach that focuses on the principles of moderate . Translating Constructivism into Instructional Design: Potential and Limitations Yiasemina Karagiorgi 3 Ikarou Street. design practices do not merely accommodate constructivist perspectives. the implications of constructivism for the design of instruction are discussed in terms of three dimensions: analysis. Since application of constructivism on the process of instructional design poses certain challenges. Multiple perspectives. 2107 Aglanjia. experiential. Authentic learning. Instructional designers are thus challenged to translate the philosophy of constructivism into actual practice. authentic evaluation and learner control are further outlined. authentic evaluation and learner control. Constructivist instructional design aims to provide generative mental construction “tool kits” ( some of the most problematic issues such as pre-specification of knowledge. design and evaluation. 8 (1). designers must understand the strengths and weaknesses of each learning theory to optimise their use in appropriate instructional design strategies. Compared to traditional instructional systems approaches of designing instruction. This shift could facilitate the development of more situated. This paper points to the need for instructional designers to translate constructivism into instructional design through a more pragmatic approach that focuses on the ISSN 1436-4522. 102. 1991) embedded in relevant learning environments that facilitate knowledge construction by learners. to post on servers. Cyprus Tel: +357-22-402346 Fax: +357-22-708010 yiasemin@logos. This paper discusses the basic principles underlying constructivism.rather than extreme . As Mergel (1998) stresses. The implications of constructivism for instructional design are revolutionary as they replace rather than add to our current understanding of learning (Bednar et al. 1992). 17 . Collaborative learning Introduction The field of instructional design is in a state of rapid evaluation Abstract Instructional designers are expected to be familiar with the epistemological underpinnings of several theories and their consequences on the process of instruction. Constructivism. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. they lay the foundation for further discussion between instructional designers and constructivists. Abstracting with credit is permitted. constructivism makes a different set of assumptions about learning and suggests new instructional principles.analysis. Keywords Instructional design. However. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS).cy. Cyprus Tel: +357-22-402314 Fax: +357-22480505 lsymeou@cyearn. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. Although these issues are not resolved. Application of these principles on the process . Constructivism is the dominant theory of the last decade and supports construction of knowledge by the individual. Therefore. designers must develop reflexive awareness of the theoretical basis underlying the design and must continuously assess and review instructional tools and resources. (2005).constructivism and makes use of emergent technology tools. to republish. considerable interest has been paid to the design of constructivistic learning environments. First. Translating Constructivism into Instructional Design: Potential and Limitations. particularly active. Therefore. collaborative and authentic learning. meaningful and cost-effective learning environments. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.pi. Loizos Symeou 13 Elia Tziambazi. This article aims to throw more light into the area of instructional design in terms of the epistemology of constructivism. Second.. Most of the problems are attributed to the fact that constructivism is a learning theory and not an instructional-design theory.of instructional design poses certain challenges with regards to issues such as pre-specification of knowledge. some of the basic principles of constructivism are presented. 7101 Aradhippou. development. Educational Technology & Society. 17-27. & Symeou..

These three dimensions are used here as poles for further discussion. Implications of the constructivist paradigm for the design process A number of theorists have discussed the ways in which constructivist values influence instructional design and have proposed several principles of the ‘constructivist instructional design model’ (see Lebow. 1994. rather than meaning being imposed on the individual. Constructivism proposes the existence of many levels of abstractions for knowledge construction. According to the constructivist theory. 1990. 1991a). p. learners do not just take in and store up given information. 136). In general.principles of moderate constructivism and makes use of emergent technology tools. 1998). 1994. 16) who actively constructs knowing while striving to make sense of the world on the basis of personal filters: experiences. meaningful and cost-effective learning environments. whose contributions have a dialectical relationship and cannot be meaningfully separated. language. our experiential world appeals as a negotiation between individual and social knowledge. Jonassen. 1993). and so on. 1993. knowledge is being actively constructed by the individual and knowing is an adaptive process. Willis. 1991a) but as “already a scientist” (Solomon. 1995). Ernest (1995) stresses “there are as many varieties of constructivism as there are researchers” (p. the context. For the purposes of this article. but also in social contexts (Tobin & Tippings. Hence. Hendry. 1996). Even though there might be an external absolute reality. perhaps more importantly. Thus. radical constructivists who insist that every reality is unique to the individual and second. its result can immediately be taken as material for a further abstraction. goals. 1992). and evaluation. social. 4). The notions of ‘truth’ and ‘certainty’ are replaced by the term ‘viability’. Perkins. Constructivism – An overview of the learning theory Constructivism is the last decade’s dominant theory that has roots in philosophy. which organises the individual’s experiential world (Mayer. Correspondingly. Our construction of meaning is grounded in the groups to which we belong through social interactions (von Glasersfeld. but they make and test tentative interpretations of new experiences until a satisfactory structure emerges (Perkins. learning and teaching cannot be synonymous: we can teach. The first level is abstraction from sensory-motor experiences or using Piaget’s term. curiosities and beliefs (Cole. p. “what we understand is a function of the content. Once such an abstraction has taken place. 1993) while reality is viewed as a constructive process embedded in socio-cultural practices (Duffy & Cunningham. even well. Therefore. Culture provides different types of tools to help us construct meaning. without having students learn. reference is made to the implications of constructivism in terms of the three major phases of instructional design: analysis. 18 . individuals build a personal view of reality by trying to find order in the chaos of signals that impinge on their senses. the most frequent of these tools. 459). 1996). the activity of the learner and. 1992. “cognising beings can never know what that reality is actually like” (Tobin & Tippings. nonradical or social or moderate constructivists who believe that shared reality grows out of social constraints placed on the constructive process of the individual. it is a viable construct. As Savery and Duffy (1996) point out. it is important to understand that there are various types of constructivism such as radical. 1993. evolutionary. 1995. Knowledge for constructivism cannot be imposed or transferred intact from the mind of one knower to the mind of another. post-modern and information-processing. the goals of the learner” (p. Willis. learning that focuses exclusively on individual construction of knowledge is inadequate. If we reliably repeat such an experience we can conclude that. from a perceptual experience (von Glasersfeld. Such an attempt could facilitate the emergence of more situated. For example. psychology and cybernetics and attempts to describe how people know the world (von Glasersfeld. is characterised by a dynamic process of interchange during which meanings are chosen. 1989). experiential. the learner is not considered as a controlled respondent to stimuli as in the behaviourist rubric (Jonassen. two loosely associated groups are identified: first. Hence. any knowledge to be constructed has to be viable for its agent under the particular conditions of the case. A core notion of constructivism is that individuals live in the world of their own personal and subjective experiences. Correspondingly. Therefore. At this point. For the social constructivists. development. It is the individual who imposes meaning on the world. more abstract concepts are a result of the operations we carry out. knowledge is viable not only personally. physical. under the particular circumstances.

without a level of persistence and mindfulness in the cognitive process. 2000). The two latter paths lead learners via reflection to realise that a specific approach used by the experts in the particular knowledge-domain is a product of rational thought. Development In traditional instruction. students ' metacognitive capabilities are augmented (Greening. 1998). Since learning occurs as an act of cognitive restructuring.often labelled as ‘misconceptions’ or ‘misunderstandings’ . ending up with a set of small items. multiple perspectives. Both students’ prior ‘correct’ concepts and ‘errors’ or ‘unanticipated’ responses . instructional designers must confront students with information and experiences that threaten their ‘misconceptions’ and offer support to this reflective process. Constructivist designers assume that every learner has a unique perspective. construct a better model of prior understandings (‘conflict faced’) or ‘bracket’ the intuitive models for a while and learn a new way of thinking about the phenomenon in exploration (‘conflict deferred’). cognitive apprenticeship. and ways of understanding can emerge (Hannafin et al. p. As already mentioned. for instance. the design task is one of providing a rich context within which meaning can be negotiated. 1992. Draper (1997) states that the instructional design of the Gagne school takes instructional objectives and subdivides them. In the opposite case.. is not to teach a particular version of history. Perkins (1991b) points out that. 2000). and the instructional setting .which bear on the instructional system. pre-specified content and objectives are not congruent with the constructivist view. 1997).. so the concept of the global ‘average’ learner is rejected (Bednar et al. Constructivists are also interested in the learner’s prior knowledge in terms of cognitive processes and self-reflective skills (Vrasidas. in preparation for the specification of intended learning outcomes. but are in favour of environments in which knowledge. constructivists do not adopt learning and performance objectives that are internal to the content domain.d. Empowering students to make choices about how and what they will learn results to a shift from having all learners learning the same things to allowing different learners learn different things.. the centre of instruction is the learner. this phase involves the design of a sequence to achieve specified performance objectives (Skaalid.such as the content. Constructivist designers avoid the breaking down of context into component parts as traditional instructional designers do. and the instructional goals evolve as learning progresses (Tam. supported with teacher scaffolding and authentic tasks and based on ideas of situated cognition. Active Learning According to constructivism. Perkins (1991a) points to the need for discovery learning through two approaches of constructing knowledge: ‘Without the Information Given’ (WIG) and ‘Beyond the Information Given’ (BIG). designers are interested in the learners’ skills of reflexivity and not on remembering (Bednar et al. when the prior knowledge is a ‘naive’ construction. and complexity exist naturally. 1992). Correspondingly. The goal. Constructivists point to the creation of instructional environments that are studentcentred. the learner. Therefore. 25). Such situations foster motivation.are important. anchored instruction and cooperative learning. modelling or problem solving by experts in a context domain and mentoring relationships to guide learning. student-directed. In the constructivist approach. they “search for authentic tasks and let the specific objectives emerge and be realised as they are appropriate to the individual learner in solving the real-world task” (Bednar et al. the instructional designer analyses the conditions . collaborative. 19 . a conflict is caused and the learner can follow three different paths: ignore the conflict (‘conflict buried’). for each of which a separate instructional action is taken. any benefits of the process become questionable (Greening. Thus. Instead. Subsequently. designers develop procedures for situations in which the instructional context plays a dominant part. but to teach someone how to think like a historian. Thereby. the knowledge leads to reorganisation and accommodation of activities at increasingly sophisticated levels to make problem solving possible. 1993). 1992). 1998). because students have an opportunity to experience the pleasure and satisfaction inherent in problem solving. n. Meaningful understanding occurs when students develop effective ways to resolve problematic situations. Such problems are regarded by learners as obstacles in their progress towards a goal.Analysis In the traditional approach.). reflective thinking. Such learning environments involve an abundance of tools to enhance communication and access to real-world examples. skills. Constructivists recommend that designers provide problems which may be solved in different ways and leave students struggle with problems of their own choice (von Glasersfeld.. Since objects and events have no absolute meaning. the instructional content cannot be pre-specified.

simulate and recreate real-life complexities and occurrences. The context facilitates the application and transfer of knowledge in both heavily ill-structured domains. Authentic Learning Learners are more likely to view a problem from an ownership perspective when the situations represent authenticity. authentic learning occurs when instruction is designed to facilitate. which is the way traditional instruction deals with ill-structured knowledge. 1998). 1996). Therefore. Murphy. Several cognitive tools can establish a partnership with the learner on the basis of Vygotsky’s theory of the ‘zone of proximal development’. 1992. 1991b). 1997). technology tools must also bring about learners’ active learning (Spiro et al. Conway. Situated cognition suggests that knowledge and the conditions of its use are inextricably linked (Brown et al. 1991b). and well-structured domains at advanced levels of study. 1991a). literacy interpretation. Therefore. bringing about boredom. 1989). such as medicine. Multiple Perspectives Another important strategy is the presentation of multiple and alternative views to learners. Scaffolding is the process of guiding the learner from what is presently known to what is to be known. A related approach to situated cognition is anchored instruction. history. Learning occurs most effectively in context. Not only are the knowledge domains different. which becomes an important part of the knowledge base (Jonassen. such as an aquarium or a computerised Newtonian ‘microworld’) or with a ‘construction kit’ (a set of modular parts with which to make things. constructive instructional designers must situate cognition in real-world contexts. This method aims primarily at teaching the processes that experts use to handle complex tasks (Hannafin et al. A rich learning environment encourages multiple learning styles and multiple representations of knowledge from different conceptual and case perspectives (Kafai & Resnik. 1997). while students carry out authentic tasks. students should be placed in such situations in which they will not be artificially constrained. During the partnership the tools provide strategies that experts use to solve problems as well as opportunities for higher level thinking and metacognitive guidance. 34).. Cognitive apprenticeship is an instructional strategy that provides authentic ‘indexed’ and ‘situated’ or ‘anchoring’ experiences for extended exploration. Squires (1999) refers to “cognitive authenticity” through the articulation of ideas. the learning remains inert and superficial. According to Cey (2001). Apprenticeship models promote scaffolding and coaching of knowledge. relevant to the learner’s ability level (Mercer & Fisher. 1991). Such tools can also provide scaffolding. but the ways of thinking about them also differ (p.. Anchored contexts support complex and ill-structured problems wherein learners generate new knowledge and problems as they determine how and when knowledge is used. heuristics. any simplification of the knowledge base.. and incapability of transfer to meaningful real-world situations 20 . experimentation and engagement in complex environments as well as ‘contextual authenticity’ through the relation of tasks to the real world. should confront the learner “with a ‘phenomenarium’ (an artificially limited arena where phenomena to investigate occur. as in Tinker Toys with its physical parts or Logo with its computer-command parts)” (Perkins. 1991a). the learner engages in cognitive processes. Any specific concept must be approached via a wide range of learning contexts to aim transfer of the knowledge in a broader range of domains. Thus. appropriate for the learner’s zone of proximal development: unfamiliar to the learner and of higher order than the ones the learner would display without the partnership.Except from problem solving approaches. Ordinary practices and tools used by professionals of the field under study are the most authentic situations as students are helped to implement knowledge in genuine ways and become aware of the relevancy and meaningfulness of their learning. such as mathematics (Spiro et al. facilitates memorisation but denies the development of associations between concepts and reflective metacognitive processes (Greening.. On the contrary. Such settings present learners with the phenomena they are learning about and help them understand the problems that experts in various areas encounter and the knowledge that these experts use. as a knowledge construction tool. The complexity of authentic contexts must be maintained. which emphasises skills and knowledge in holistic and realistic contexts (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. This approach aims to help students develop useful knowledge rather than inert knowledge. learners must think like physicists. As Jonassen (1990) notes: In order to be a physicist. The technology. but thinking like a physicist is different than thinking like an artist. and strategies. negative effects on motivation. when the learning of a concept occurs as separate topics. 1997.

strategies and perspectives typifies post-modern approaches to instruction. They will only survive in terms of viability (not in terms of ‘truth’) and ‘usefulness’ in a pragmatic or instrumental sense in the context they arise. but allows learners to develop. Therefore. and so forth. p. In general. evaluation methods are context-driven as they assess knowledge construction in real-world contexts that are as rich as those used during the instruction (Jonassen. Learners have an active and critical role in assessing their own learning by articulating what they have learned and how they have made the connections to their previous experiences (Lambert et al. not all constructivist learning depends on social contexts. compare. In other words. 1991a). It is thus argued that multiple evaluators are needed to deal with both goal-driven as well as goal-free evaluation in order to triangulate the learners’ theories (Cole.(Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. The goal is the rigorous process of developing and evaluating the arguments (Bednar et al.. A contextualised learning environment in which “learners can explore and set their own goals. Collaborative Learning A central strategy for constructivism is to create a collaborative learning environment. The learning environment should make it possible for students to build their theories and articulate these theories to one another. as cited in Willis. The students’ ability to explain and defend decisions is an important element of evaluation and is related to the development of metacognitive skills and self-reflexive processes. 1998. even though the learner is free to build a personal interpretation of the world. 1992). Towards pragmatic constructivism The application of constructivism to instructional design has certain advantages such as more meaningful learning outcomes. Collaborative learning does not just entail sharing a workload or coming to a consensus. 1996. and be assessed via an examination of portfolios and other idiosyncratic accomplishments” is recommended (Dick. 1991a) refer to the need for ‘cognitive flexibility’ that stresses conceptual interrelatedness. data. Most designers do not unconditionally embrace this new epistemology as there are many areas of conflict. 21 . provides multiple representations of the content and emphasises case-based instruction that provides multiple themes. hypotheses. ideas. Spiro and his colleagues (Spiro & Jehng. Evaluation Not any interpretation or opinion is as good as any other and the learners are not free to construct any knowledge. 1991b). 1991a). Evaluation in the constructivist perspective examines the thinking process. This plurality of content. 1992). not all social contexts promote constructivist learning and more importantly. more independent problem-solving capability and more flexibility in both design and instruction activities. Multiple evaluation methods are also employed to document the learners’ growth. and in terms of whether they either do or do not do what they claim to do (Spiro et al. Mayer (1999) points out that although social contexts of learning provide opportunities for constructivist learning. 1051)... becomes explicit. each student’s approach is more important than a particular solution (Cole. generalised and promotes insight into alternative perspectives. The concepts. by looking at the learning activity itself and at the child’s ability to reflect upon or discuss that activity. As there are more than one ways of solving a problem. 1990. 1992). also implies that evaluation calls for measures of transfer of learning and emphasis on student responsibility and autonomy. p. assessment emerges from task performance (Duffy & Jonassen. This ‘understanding performances’ principle (Perkins. 1994. Learners should be able to explain and justify their thinking and “openly negotiate their interpretations of and solutions to instructional tasks” (Cobb. the translation of constructivism into practice constitutes an important challenge for instructional designers. 1991b). 1991). this interpretation has to be coherent with the general ‘Zeitgeist’ (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. Spiro et al. and understand multiple perspectives on an issue. theories and models constructed are both built and tested. available. the learners construct systems that are largely consistent with one another (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. 1992). then. By continually negotiating the meaning of observations. However. 1991a). Knowledge. 1995). 14). leading towards the establishment of consensual meanings..

However. 1998). As evaluation becomes demanding. constructivists contest that learning objectives are not possible and that all understanding is negotiated. when learning outcomes are individually constructed . “a tortuous path towards an end that looks as though it might be more directly addressed” (p. While constructivism is a well-documented theory of knowing. it is not yet a well-documented theory of teaching (Fosnot. Therefore. expectations about and reactions to instructional theories compared to knowledge producers such as theorists and researchers. they show little concern for the learners’ entry level skills.The challenges A major issue of debate deals with the pre-specification of knowledge. Snelbecker (1999) refers to instructional designers and instructors as knowledge users who have divergent interests. Tobias. Cey (2001) suggests that peer-assessment and self-assessment must be incorporated. The conundrum that constructivism poses for instructional designers is that if each individual is responsible for knowledge construction.that can be applied to design. Learners might construct the wrong knowledge. not all learners benefit from having almost unlimited control over their own learning (O’ Donnell. such as that of learner control. Prawat and Floden (1994) point to the inability of the constructivist approach to evaluate learning. 22 . Additionally. constructivist instruction is from a theoretical perspective at least. 1999). 1997). However. learning theories describe what goes on inside a learner’s head when learning occurs and are. Therefore. Most of the problematic issues described above. He further continues that allowing students to structure their own learning in ‘ill structured’ environments is “not a great virtue but abdication of our responsibility as teachers and instructors…students do not know or understand their own learning mechanisms” (p. Besides. Further to this. that a designer can implement (Petraglia. 6). an oxymoron (Jonassen. to predict how learners will learn or how to plan instructional activities. Therefore. In contrast to instructional-design theories that describe specific events outside of the learner that facilitate learning. 1999). Hence.discussed in the previous sections of the paper . constructivists and instructional designers are often on opposite is extremely difficult to set standards to assess the meaningfulness of the learning. Additionally. from among available resources and how it is studied. 2000). The key to developing constructivist models is to provide the learners a measure of control over the construction of content (Savery & Duffy. Constructing the theory: Moderate constructivism In order to develop ‘pragmatic’ constructivism. the instructional designer’s access to individual learners’ cognitions is extremely indirect and limited (Wilson. For constructivists. evaluation emerges naturally from authentic tasks and measures learning gain but not mastery of a pre-determined set of skills. as stressed before. Perkins (1991b) suggests that the learner may find the constructivist learning experience dauntingly complex. Constructivists are not ‘system builders’ as they support a philosophy. a dialogue between learning theorists and instructional developers should be established to clearly define the theoretical basis of constructivism. Merrill (as cited in Draper. 1992). In the light of this. The evident autonomy of learners in knowledge construction makes it constructivism suggests . need examples and real-world case tudies of how theory can be applied in practice (Corich. 1995). Instructional designers complain about the constructivist view that learning is a personal interpretation of the world. 1992. 164). not a systems approach. for efficiency and for certifying individual students’ competency level (Dick. there is a need to draw links between constructivist theory and instructional design practices. skills and abilities since some students just want to be told what they need to learn (Perkins. Constructivists offer the learner almost unlimited discretion to select what is studied. one can also conclude that constructivism is not an instructional-design theory but a learning theory. Those involved in instructional design. there are other areas in which there are either unanswered questions or differences with the typical instructional design approach. Jonassen (1992) describes evaluation as the thorniest issue yet to be resolved regarding the implications of constructivism for learning and points to the need for evaluation methodologies that possess the cognitive sophistication implied by constructivism. 1994). stem from the fact that constructivism is an underlying philosophy and not a strategy (Wilson et al. 1992). less directly applied to educational problems (Reigeluth. then designers can not determine and ensure a common set of outcomes for learning (Jonassen. 1997. 1997).the other ‘end’ of the instructional process .has also produced differences between constructivists and designers. The literature proposes several principles . but fails to refer to practical model building. 1994). on the other hand. The instructional design approach is very much top-down while the ‘pure’ constructivist approach is totally bottom-up (Hart. if not impossible. evaluation . therefore. this creates problems of accountability that students will learn. 1997) points out that appropriate learner guidance will make learning far more effective than ‘sink or swim’ exploration. At the same time. 2004). 1995). as cited in Draper.

constructivism embraces a range of different viewpoints and perspectives.could promote instructional strategies that facilitate more active construction of meaning (Wilson. that the content of each individuals’ mental models may be different. These modest principles should be generic in order to be relevant to the wide variety of situations encountered (Wilson. the emergence of environments . As technology-related learning ventures represent growing opportunities for applying instructional theories. less time consuming and less expensive to design within the ‘closed system’ of the classical instructional design techniques rather than the ‘open’ constructivist design (Mergel. since scholars do not share only one single set of beliefs. some of the assumptions and prescriptions of a more moderate constructivism are consistent with instructional design theory. Constructivism is one learning theory that supports successful practice. 1997). As an experiential learning tool. sequential. virtual reality is also considered an enactive knowledgecreation environment. 1998). it is important to remember that the instructional designer’s toolbox contains an increasing number of theoretical applications and physical possibilities. situated and experiential environments. but not the only one. Some learning problems require highly prescriptive solutions. In general. extreme constructivism is extremely hard to conceive (Merrill. Multimedia and the Internet are also alternatives to the linear structure and facilitate data gathering techniques. simulations. Additionally. since sometimes individual learning is more effective. As Merrill (1992) points out. Moreover. In general. Instructional design does not exclude constructivist strategies. role-playing games. Extreme constructivism seems to merely have a narrower point of view and be limited to certain kinds of outcomes. as mentioned before. that testing could be integrated and consistent with the learning objectives. 1998). as particularly useful for the constructivist designer (Mergel. but may also choose alternative strategies when they are appropriate. For example. but not always collaborative. that the instructional strategy and subject matter are somewhat independent. coaching and scaffolding. However. multimedia. 1992). the needed next step is for designers to consider principles of constructivism that are aligned with non-radical views. constrained. that learning should be active. 1998). advancements in technology could make constructivist approaches to learning more possible. supportive of constructivist learning principles. but separate assessment of achievement is also possible. Hypermedia environments that allow for non-linear learning and increased learner control are frequently mentioned in the literature. microworlds and virtual reality simulations could stimulate authentic learning while the World Wide Web in general and Web Quests as innovative teaching strategies in particular could offer multiple representations of reality (Cey.such as toolkits and phenomenaria. whereas others are more suited to learner control of the environment. socratic dialogues. storytelling structures. but there is also a need to teach abstractions that are decontextualized. Merrill (1991) describes constructivist interventions as labor intensive and Dick (1992) concludes that since such interventions are costly to develop. instructional designers can be eclectic and apply such theories of instructional design in the proper setting and context. 1999). On the contrary. pre-determined. that knowledge can be pre-specified and represented in a knowledge base that applies to different domains. enable the emergence of effective. Technology built on the assumptions of “pure”. 1991). holistic psychotechnologies . but the structure is the same. a distinction needs to be drawn between extreme and moderate approaches to constructivism (Merrill. In Jonassen’s words. that there are classes of strategies which are appropriate for all learners. “to impose a single belief or perspective is decidedly nonconstructivist” (Jonassen. This assumes that mental models are constructed by the learner as a result of experience. that teaching authentic tasks in context is desirable. it is important to understand that. case studies. require technology to implement and are difficult to evaluate. principles of moderate approaches can be more easily incorporated into instructional designers’ repertoire. since there are complementary design tools to be applied in different contexts. criterion-referenced instructional design is most suitable for introductory learning while constructivist approaches are more appropriate for advanced knowledge acquisition (Mergel. it is considered easier. Other theories such as behaviorism and cognitivism also have their strengths. 2001). An example of application of moderate constructivism on instructional design is Merill’s ‘second generation instructional design theory’. Hence. it is certainly not cost viable to proceed to design that is unique in each case. that there are fundamental instructional transactions that can be adapted to a wide variety of situations and used with different subject matter contents. Moving onto practice: Technology tools The development of a more pragmatic stance on constructivism and instructional design could provide a more cost-effective approach to instructional development and thus. Therefore. Therefore. they will probably not be accepted in public schools. non-radical constructivism could provide the theoretical rationale for the development of learning environments available to all learners. 23 .In drawing links from theory to practice. 1997).

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For innovators it is important to be aware of and to understand the basic premises underlying the idea of innovation. Also. new technologies are a driving force for innovation. ICT is complex and confusing. Abstract Innovation of education is highly topical. In this paper we will go into the nature. Keywords Information and communication technologies. In conclusion. such as the telephone. To solve the conflict between techno-optimism and techno-pessimism we elaborate Borgmann’s “devices paradigm“: in order to avoid apathetic and indifferent consumption of technology-based commodities. http://www. lack of consensus and lack of policy on how to integrate ICT in education consistently. we present an explanatory model for the mediating role of technological artefacts. Education is labelled “new”. aren’t very helpful either (Bates. Beyond functionality and technocracy: creating human involvement with educational technology. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). 2002). The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. Certainly. amongst others). to post on servers. free laptops. .: 00 31 45 5762408 Fax: 00 31 45 5762800 wim. As a result. Beyond functionality and technocracy: creating human involvement with educational technology Wim Westera Head of Educational Implementation Educational Technology Expertise Centre Open University of the Netherlands Yet. 28-37. 8 (1). innovators will never be able to surpass the level of superficial and seductive effects of ICT as promoted in publicity campaigns. the origins and the premises of technology-based 28 ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). distance coaching. ICT is assumed to be the panacea that is to enable all this: logging in from the students’ homes. schools and universities present themselves as innovative educational institutes. free and fast Internet connectivity and other information and communication technologies (ICT) are expected to entice prospective students to subscription (see the homepages of several universities. Educational Technology & Society. which enable new modes of learning that. submitting projects. downloading tools. “different” and “better” as if it were washing-powder.Westera. Joosten & However. Online learning. Educational innovators should go deeply into the question how new technologies. behind the faςade. (2005). Box 2960 6401 DL Heerlen The Netherlands Tel. To copy otherwise. educational innovators are often struggling with their teething troubles. techno-pessimism as rooted in the negative side effects of the industrial revolution is reviewed. W. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee.westera@ou. http://www. or to redistribute to lists. Lack of vision.ubc. It is obviously boosted by a range of new technologies. While extending this idea to educational technologies. are independent of time and place through Web-based delivery and computer-mediated communication. This paper discusses how we should use technology to innovate and improve education. students often express their doubts about the benefits of ICT (Poelmans. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. things tend to remain largely the way they are. 2000). we explain how to approach technology-based innovations in education by arguing for transparent and interactive 1995.psu. This paper explains the origins of technological optimism and the associated faith in progress.ou. Web-based learning environments. even in the middle of the night. Learning technology. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. and it deeply encroaches on the processes of education. all learning resources at one’s elbow.O. for values that harmonise with the characteristics of man and for a mixed mode of developing new ideas and preserving former achievements. We will put forward and substantiate the proposition that innovators should broaden their horizon and consider technology as a societal phenomenon that radically affects human functioning. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Abstracting with credit is permitted. to users of technological devices should be given the opportunity to develop substantial involvement with the technological devices. Philosophy of innovation Introduction More and more. www. Also. innovators in education often encounter intrinsic conservatism or even deliberate obstructions. the car or TV affect human functioning: how does technology determine the way humans experience reality and the way they arrange their lives? Without these insights. for products as carriers of meaning.

2002). schools and universities want to stick to well-tried methods. These can no longer be considered ignorant labourers who carry out routine jobs. Some authors (Kaufman. has large implications on both the institutional infrastructure and the organisation (Bates. innovation is necessary to keep up with other educational providers. responsible and self-reliant professionals. like Web-based learning management systems. Admiraal & Droste. for instance a web-based learning management system. According to Bates. but are expected to be proactive. The wheel. teaching as such is not professionalised. education is all about consolidation and transfer of existing knowledge. The need to innovate There are two important motives for educational innovation (Westera. school-TV. psychology of learning or other topics concerning human functioning. This development gives rise to continuously changing demands upon employees. new technologies. because uncertain experiments conflict with the task to lead thousands of students through their exams in time. As a consequence many teachers receive new technologies with reserve (Sloep & Westera. skills and attitudes from one generation to the next. Westera. The branch of education has to innovate its programmes in order to keep up with rapidly changing demands of society. it hardly allows for any division of labour to increase the efficiency. The modish but pivotal term here is the “information society” (Toffler. complex and uncertain operation. such schools and universities are destined to “pine away” on the market of educational service providers. Indeed. educational technologies indeed comprise many failures: film. It rarely uses a design and it has hardly been influenced by research into instructional design. bad quality education and disproportionately high cost. According to Kaufman. because of poor performance. As a consequence. 1998. This is exactly what can be observed with the introduction of campus-wide learning management systems (Jörg. this gives conservatism a natural basis in education. Kearsley. …. the alphabet. 1980) or rather “knowledge society”. (Kaufman. They should be competent and flexible team players that are able to apply and share their expertise in service of shared goals and to adapt their expertise continually to new insights and developments (Barnett. new technologies in education allowed for various sophistications and improvements. The innovation drive To understand the contradiction between conservatism and innovation it is necessary to look beyond straightforward. 2000. 1999). Walton. 1985). Bates (1995) blames the fixated organisational model of classroom teaching and passes a scathing judgement on the role of teachers. Secondly. the innovation effort is just additional to regular work and readily leads to increased unit costs. There are various reasons for this conservatism. 1994. the topical introduction of ICT. instructional video. educational institutes fairly resemble a collection of distinct one-man shops. Humans are essentially creative beings that continuously come up with new ways to do things better. 2001). mathematics. Because other organisational models are rarely considered. but never changed the basic idea of classroom teaching (Sloep & Westera. This makes the introduction of ICT a costly. Intrinsic conservatism Education is known for its conservatism rather than its disposition to innovate. First. Teaching remains largely craft-based. while favouring the (pre-medieval) model of apprenticeship learning. might improve the providers’ service levels against reduced cost. Clearly. Educational staff is a product of the educational system itself and is probably pervaded with common patterns and role models (Westera.innovations. Internal processes should be arranged better. We will present an explanatory model for the mediating role of technological artefacts in human functioning and explain how to approach technology-based innovations in education. While computerassisted learning could be fit into the curricula quite easily to substitute only a specific part of a course. From an economical perspective. it is essentially the ideas that 29 . All this makes educational innovation a perilous undertaking. courseware and multimedia never fulfilled their promises. and cheaper in order to serve students adequately. 1999). 2003). opportunist and superficial reasons for innovation and investigate the intrinsic motives and premises that drive us to innovation. referring to the ever-growing importance of knowledge as a means of production. During the last decades. enterprising. 1998. Westera. 2001). faster. educational technology failed to substantiate the claims and kept supporting the common teacher-centred pedagogy. easier or faster. In addition. which calls up many hesitations. in a continually changing society education has to change as well. 2003). Indeed. In the last decades. 1998) blame educational technologist for not fulfilling the high expectations.

It is inevitable within the constraints of our societal system. Indeed. It asserts that the individual as well as humanity as a whole can progress to perfection. which greatly contrast with contemporary views on learning. Innovation is not straightforward. compassion and other states of mind. Being tightly linked with the starting points of modern (western) society. increasing standards of living or. pollution of water. It is the era of great scientists. understanding and control of nature’s processes. Kant. Over the last centuries innovative efforts have produced impressive achievements: sophisticated medical cures. The predominant motto is “innovate or pine away” and the concepts of growth. information technologies etc. innovation is necessary condition for all economic functioning. but only on the basis of reason. 1977. agricultural methods. Important determinants of learning. Also. The fear of God makes way for a scientific description and explanation of the world. sacred texts. Criticism on rationalism Enlightenment’s rationalism has been subject of severe criticism.make up our culture. perseverance and commitment are neglected. tangible results are omnipresent. be it only for part of the world population. Therefore innovation is a phenomenon that is inextricably bound up with humankind. Techno-pessimism Innovators are often accused of promoting decline rather than progress. Opponents claim that rationalism’s unconstrained belief in progress and its focus on human reasoning isn’t capable of describing and understanding the nature of human emotions. 2000). 1990). new modes of transport. Put differently. soil and air. In rationalism education is restricted to cognitive development. superstition. “…civilisation is ideas and no more than ideas” (von Mises. 1957). Beliefs are not anymore accepted on the authority of priests. 1913. To mention a few: economy of growth. whose theory of evolution reflected the conflict between science and religion. Innovation and culture The simple notion that innovation implies progress and leads to a “better” world. Hickman. philosophers and writers. civilisations are determined by ideas rather than biological or physiological aspects of human life: civilisations differ precisely in the ideas that compose them and that make them develop in different ways. Indeed. The strict depreciation of non-rational aspects of man disregards what probably is the predominant factor of human functioning. which will provide an economic actor with an advantage over its competitors. These keep fostering the optimism for prosperity. stagnation means decline. moral and ethics (Husserl. survival depends on our ability to change. it claimed that life has developed in a progressive way from primitive forms to complex organisms. encouraged by an ever-increasing knowledge. The decline doesn’t only concern our economy but will affect our culture as a whole. Leibnitsch. Newton. feelings. better conditions of life. Consequently. In essence. the absolute rejection of beliefs on authority disregards the knowledge that has accumulated during past generations. Rather than the creationist belief that every species was created individually by God and is not subject to change or progress. Sloep & Gerritsen. the concept of progress is not applicable to happiness. Indeed. Locke. Reinforced by the idea of natural regularity and material cause the Scientific Revolution successfully proclaimed the ideology of upward development. Voltaire and Diderot. The Enlightenment marked the liberation from the medieval doctrines of magic. Also Darwin should be mentioned. in a broader sense. 1931. or tradition. progress does not imply that modern man is happier or more compassionate than his ancestors were. depletion of fossil fuels. Jaspers. prejudices and the fear of God by replacing it with human rationality. materialism. services and production processes. Abandoning innovation means stagnation. Such a strategy would be very ineffective and would rarely lead to high levels of expertise. unmistakably reflects the values of our modern society. according to Charles Darwin and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. while it rejected the idea of creation of life according to the Bible book of Genesis. competition. like Descartes. communication media. Richness of ideas is a unique human feature that strongly corresponds with innovative power. They claim that man is rational and good by nature. Innovations further the creation of new products. emphasising knowledge rather than attitudes and competence development (Westera. innovation and change seem to have become self-evident. not to mention the uncontrollable threat of 30 . like motivation. Heidegger. The cradle of the optimism goes back to the Enlightenment. an intellectual movement in the seventeenth and eighteenth century that strongly influenced the portrayal of mankind. capitalism. techno-optimism and scientific positivism. progress and improvement of the world. progress. Negative side effects like vanishing nature.

As McLuhan (1964) and Postman (1986) demonstrated. however. destined to be just a cog in the machine. Technology’s mediating role From the 20th century. Television. which incoherent flow of trivialities is supposed to reinforce a primitive and fragmented view on the world (the “zap” culture). fragmentation. In their view. 1964). People were thus trapped in a pattern of passively fulfilling their material needs by everreplaceable stuff that was abundantly available (Verbeek. creates new ways to open up reality. 1995): learning may easily coincide with the random and impulsive collection of data which first appearance is more important than its significance. hypertexts as presented on the web often lead to unwanted disorientations (Bruer. It is interpreted from the idea that technology makes up an integral part of life and fundamentally alters the way we experience reality. inspired by the negative effects of the industrial revolution. that controlled society autonomously and alienated human individuals from the world and from themselves. technology seemed to have become a power in its own right (Ellul. This would promote the unconcerned citation of sources and 31 . discipline. Prevailing values like economy. Jaspers’ instrumental view doesn’t quite come up to the mark to describe technology’s role in the digital age: the idea of labourers in mass production differs significantly from the present situation of highly skilled and autonomous knowledge workers. broken products could be easily replaced with a new specimen. technology has to be analysed by linking the object of experiences (the world) with the subject of experience (the individual). which reduces humans to simple toolmakers and tool users. but can only be understood by considering the context of its use. technology is no longer considered a mere instrument of industrial innovation. 1931) advocated his alienation thesis: technology creates a totally new material environment and causes human beings to become alienated from the world. Such a phenomenological view. To evaluate the role of television. In accordance with Postman’s and Baudrillard's objections tot mass media. It thus overcomes the dichotomy between object and subject as claimed by Descartes and his fellow rationalists and replaces it with their mutual involvement: object and subject are assumed to constitute each other. frugality and sustainability lost ground because of the availability of many identical and exchangeable duplicates: indeed. which makes in-depth and coherent study of separate texts via the web problematic. In a gloomy analysis. human workers were degraded from unique individuals to interchangeable workers. They investigated how our material environment determines our identity and how it changes the way we arrange our life. doesn’t adequately describe technology’s interaction with today’s society (Hickman. 1990). clothes or consumer electronics. the existentialist Jaspers (Jaspers. doesn’t seem to make the observations less gloomy. composition or functioning of industrial products. It is necessary to include its context of use and to consider its impact on the human experience. the highly bureaucratic organisational form made people dissolve in their functional roles rather than supported human identity and individuality. In this view. human individuals became more and more ignorant of the origin. Internet). It fundamentally changes the way we experience and interpret the world. technology has no “essence” as such. our fixation on material needs and the resistance of teachers who’s well-respected role of craftsmen is gradually degraded to that of a cog in the machine (Heinich. McLuhan (1964). Yet.biological. and perseverance (for example English boarding schools). 2000). Scepticism against new technologies arose in the 19th century. Some schools deliberately avoid the term innovation and prefer to emphasise traditional values like order. Put differently. shallowness and alienation lie in wait. In their view. technology is assumed to mediate and give form to the relationship that individuals have with the world they experience. Husserl (1913). In addition to this. Fromm (1941). In fact. Also. Through this mass production. television is not just an information channel that is additional to books. television. it is not sufficient to consider only its technical and functional characteristics. newspapers or lectures. Postman (1986) and Baudrillard (1995) criticised the role of modern mass media (radio. In highly rationalised and controlled production processes. with all worldwide answers within reach. Web-based education is open to the same risks. In this era of the industrial revolution. Many of these patterns can still be observed today: the inescapable way technology enters our lives and makes us dependent. Heidegger (1977) and other phenomenologists considered technology by investigating its role in the way individuals perceive and experience the world and interpret it by attaching meaning to it. 1984). such a technological innovation is only material in nature and supports the loss of human capabilities like commitment. The instrumental view. chemical and nuclear armament are an easy breeding ground for techno-pessimism and a glorification of the past. human craftsmen were increasingly replaced by machines that not only made production faster and cheaper but also allowed for the mass production of objects that met constant quality standards. when the negative effects of the industrial revolution painfully became manifest. reflectivity and profundity. for instance. it is tempting to switch off thinking (Baudrillard. 2003). be it food.

Those were tough times: lighting the stove required knowledge. innovation is marked an essential condition for survival. but also dedication. activities that demand high degrees of involvement. safe and immediate. light. but rather the fact that man has no access to the machinery of products and thus is forced to accept these as magical accomplished facts. With technology. In most devices the machinery. it seems. Examples of focal practices would be walking (instead of taking the bus). concentration and skills. repairing an old bicycle (instead of 32 . gather wood. only by “hiding” the machinery and separating it from the commodity. Today. that are physically and mentally challenging and are difficult to master. which is detached from any social or material context and which removes the involvement with the world. food. Mistakenly. technological tools and instruments are never value-neutral but rather “…teeming with values and potentialities…”. perseverance. Indeed. It is just this direction of added values and meanings that provides opportunities to overcome the deadlock. technology promises a relief and enrichment of human existence. without wondering a single moment where this all comes from. etc. Borgmann indicates that man is alienating from his world and becomes more and more ignorant of the origin. omnipresent. After all. What used to be an achievement has become a simple commodity. water. make fire etc. easy. By making its machinery accessible. According to Borgmann. Today. The existentialist Borgmann (1984) approaches this problem at the level of concrete technological devices.would hamper the acquisition of insights and understanding. the availability of goods is straightforward. a deadly contradiction seems to remain: innovation is inescapable. Users of technological artefact should be given the opportunity to develop commitment with it. perseverance. According to Borgmann. such technocratic view neglects the psychological and emotional factors that add extra value and meaning to a product. Blindfold. If. However. from an existentialist view involvement is more important than availability. Devices should preferably be transparent and reveal the secrets of its machinery. only needs a switch to turn it on: the machinery of electric wires. his argument is not mass production. the interpretation of technology-induced change is quite a gloomy affair. our ancestors needed a full day’s work to find enough food. users are able to maintain. that is. that is.. According to Dewey and Hickman (Hickman. Borgmann suggests devices that support “focal practices”. which demands no commitment. To amplify the users’ involvement. we locate and operate the switches that provide us with what we need. information. It is inadequate to consider technological products as mere instrumental solutions for practical problems. without any effort whatsoever. Heidegger’s view that technology mediates the relationship between humans and their world. we dish up a ready-to-eat meal within a few minutes. 1990). such pattern of separating the commodity from the machinery only leads to apathetic consumption. electric lighting and TV-sets. technocratic concept of “functionality” is no longer satisfactory to describe and understand the significance of technology. Like Jaspers. It bears the risk of a technology-based “innovation” that promotes decline rather than progress. The role of devices Borgmann (1984) cautiously combines both elements of techno-optimism (technology can solve any problem) and Jaspers’ alienation thesis (technology detaches us from reality). techno-optimism and belief in progress are greatly challenged by various philosophical movements. goal-orientedness and involvement with the tools available. it seems to produce sensible hints for the favourable application of technology. is widely accepted. How to innovate? So far. is deliberately kept out of sight. light and information become available by simply pressing a button on “technological devices” like central heating. In ancient times. He calls on breaking out this technological consumerism not by simply rejecting technology.e. wire connectors and cable plugs is hidden behind ceiling and wallpaper. devices should also be adjustable to personal preferences. composition or working of the products he consumes. Indeed. which may cause unexpected responses. proficiency and skills acquired by effort.. while today. Who needs light. cooking (instead of ordering a pizza). that require discipline. but will eventually destroy us. i. but by restoring the relationship between the commodity and the machinery. It is necessary to break through this paradox and to look for clues how technology can contribute to our existence in a sensible way. commodities become available in a straightforward and effortless way. without any commitment or skills involved. the technology. that stimulate rather than discourage our ties with the world and that serve no particular goal other than being a focal practice. It liberates humans from burdens by making available a multitude of goods like heat. This is an oppressive idea. man is doomed to self-destruction and will loose all his achievements. as Jaspers did. strongly deviating from the initial intentions. both by existentialists and phenomenologists. that provide satisfaction and pleasure. discipline and involvement with the world. The frugal. nevertheless. The efforts are now taken care of by the device’s machinery. Heat. totally unacceptable for educational innovators – and not only for them. repair and adapt the devices. Although his “devices paradigm” cannot avoid some gloominess.

it is clear that the acquisition of skills and knowledge by learners requests large commitments. acquiring knowledge because of the knowledge. Figure 1 resumes how a technological artefact mediates the relationship between man and his world. Also the changing opinions about learning and learning processes fit into the picture. They should show intrinsic involvement. This will provide guiding principles for educational innovations in practice and may help avoid problems we touched upon earlier in this paper. 33 . the ease of travelling. Figure 1. getting wiser and wiser without a clear finish. In education: the digital portfolio is made accessible to third persons to display relevant symbolic cues. they should be completely bound up in the subject and they should in fact to continue learning forever.e. In the next paragraphs we will elaborate these levels of mediation and elaborate the connection with educational technology. The learning itself can frankly be labelled a focal practice. The level of the machinery: In the case of a car. the machinery should be accessible in order to allow for involvement. Involvement with the device’s machinery will further insight and satisfaction. it allows users to become part of a specific subculture. The level of symbolic meaning: Symbolic meaning is attached to the commodity: a four-wheel drive indicates a different lifestyle or status of the owner than a limousine. This level allows users to express and distinguish themselves. Learners have to be motivated. but rather consider it the active (i. Toward solutions Borgmann’s idea of focal practices can be easily linked to educational technology. In education: a digital portfolio provides easy accessible webspace or folders to store relevant documents. Although educational services are more and more considered as straight commodities that are being delivered and consumed within a commercial framework.e. It is interesting to apply Borgmann's line of thought to the technology-based innovation of education. This is the level of functional use. which provides relief and enrichment. We will start with the commodity level and then turn to the machinery level and the level of symbolic meaning. involved) construction of knowledge by the learners. self-reliant and responsible. Rather than holding back the machinery from its users. This is exactly what lifelong learning means: making the learning a goal as such. the machinery comprises the system of mechanical parts and electrical circuits that enable the car to drive.e. consumption) of information. The suggestion that today’s learners are hard to motivate and only interested to pass their exams with the least possible effort may indicate that education evokes too little commitment and thus fosters apathetic consumerism. the commodity would be the possibility to travel from A to B. In education: the digital portfolio can be configured at will to meet individual preferences. i. The mediating role of technological artefacts Three levels of mediation are distinguished: The level of commodity: In the case of a car. Contemporary views on learning no longer equate learning with the absorption (i.buying a new one) or any other activity that demands intrinsic involvement and hence serves the existential relationship with our world.

a piano). After all. Along this line of thought. one might wonder to what extent alienation is likely to occur. educators seem to promote such attitudes also. efficiency. This is no plea for inefficiency. We distinguish four modes of involvement: Sensory involvement Conceptual involvement Operational involvement Material involvement As a first step sensory involvement should be pursued. to explore the technology’s possibilities. that the conditions of learning should be in control of learners rather than teachers and that learners should be able to match their learning 34 . the sequencing of learning tasks or the levels of support and feedback. but also with respect to the preferred complexity of learning tasks. such development is at odds with the ideas of involvement and focality. even when most technologies are often too complex to be fully understood by laymen. preferably. in order to develop their own unique methods and routines of use (cf. The next level of involvement would be conceptual in kind: by revealing the machinery’s functional components. budget reductions and new technologies enlarge the distance between teachers and learners and affect the pedagogical climate. To stimulate the students’ and teachers’ involvement they should get access to the virtual classroom’s machinery in order to configure preferred settings. The “form follows function” motto and its associated instrumentalism has also been criticised by Ellul (1964). It is characterised by an unrestricted pragmatism and goalorientedness of users. not only with respect to a preferred lay-out or user-interface. The virtual classroom would be a good case in point here: transferring traditional pedagogical functions (i. attractive. Clearly. education shows features of a commodity. contemporary pedagogies promote critical attitudes. to create new pedagogical models: technology and pedagogy are assumed to constitute each other. Ethical and esthetical considerations seem to play no role whatsoever. intriguing or even fatiguing.e. who degrade technology to an instrumental utility. Also in education such trends can be observed: increases in scale. Indeed. In education. Devices should be transparent to allow involvement from its users. 1984). usefulness and materialism. The ultimate level of involvement would be material in kind: by offering accessibility to the machinery. educational technology is often regarded a mere instrument (“form”) to meet pedagogical demands (“functions”). self-determination or independence of learners in order to counteract intellectual consumerism and laziness. many learners opt for the easiest way to obtain their course certificates. but a plea for values that harmonise with the characteristics of man. deterring and only useful as such. It represents a rocklike faith in technology and it reflects the ideas of the 19th century’s instrumentalism for a great deal. Ellul considers technology the defining force of a new social order that is obsessed by the values of rationality. education can play an important part in the individual’s life fulfilment. which allows the easy replacement of faulty products with a new. the well-established classroom concept) to a new instrumental context (internet technologies). entertaining. audible or tangible. More and more. To counteract this technocracy. It means that anything that doesn’t evidently contribute to the achievement of learning goals is resolutely omitted. which means that the device’s machinery is visible. which proclaimed that all products should be modelled after machines: simple and prepared for their function. to develop new behaviours and. As the complexity of the applied technologies increases.The commodity level: the utilitarian function of technology This is the predominant level of functional use. users are enabled to care for it. identical specimen. The motto goes back to the modernism of 1930s. Schools that would emphasise the ease of studying (possibly with ICT as enabler) promote the commodity as such. Such involvement matches the idea of sustainability and counteracts the pattern of mass consumption. educational technology should extend its values beyond efficiency and functionality: education should be interesting. Such measures would be consistent with the notions of constructivism that learning is an active process of knowledge construction. Indeed. it becomes clear how the device operates. Until now. The machinery level: Transparent and interactive devices For the design and development of technological artefacts it is important to reveal its machinery to its users (Borgmann. which according to Borgmann and Jaspers is likely to cause alienation and apathetic consumerism. challenging. Unwittingly. one might think of an electronic learning environment that students can configure and adapt at will. pleasing. At the level of operational involvement it is important that users can practically and diversely interact with the devices. simply a practical means to arrive at an end. Such attitude rests on an instrumental approach of technology. to maintain it and to carry out repairs and upgrades. the motto “form follows function“ is exemplary in education.

important. Indeed. it will be torn between the public demand for revolutionary innovations at the one hand and. Life demands a mixed mode of developing new ideas and preserving former achievements. Such an approach fosters the users’ involvement and amplifies their insight. Being a “nerd” may even become worth striving for. educational technology should strive to go “beyond functionality and efficiency“ and pursue added values that make education interesting.opportunities to their own learning needs. the learners are hindered at developing their focal practice and are compelled to accept (or probably reject) it as a mere commodity. it may be wise to upgrade the symbolic value of lifelong learning. even if this idea is just a result of the perhaps detested consumer society and its advertising men. insight and motivation. or by capital as it was in the industrial age. reflectivity and independence. cramming for an exam”. products have become carriers of meaning more and more (Verbeek. consumers can distinguish themselves from others while they signify a particular lifestyle. the demand for regression to former days. 35 . preference or subculture. but is increasingly established by the degree that people have access to information and communication technologies and the associated opportunities for individuals to search for information. motivation and satisfaction. Not only because knowledge itself is a dynamic construct which covers both state of the art insights and well-established ones. new educational technologies offer plenty of possibilities to arrive at relevant symbolic meanings that enable individuals to express and distinguish themselves. Such mixed modes will be necessary in education as well. contemporary views on learning presume learners to be self-reliant. Secondly. New educational technologies indeed offer plenty of possibilities to arrive at symbolic meanings that are more attractive. Since the “form follows function“-motto got obsolete in the 1960s. at the other hand. By buying and exhibiting a product. transparency of the instructional design and its motives. Indeed. First. Essential presuppositions for learning like the learners’ involvement. As education will fail to fulfil its role in society. The sensible application of new technologies is inescapable. perseverance. underlying the learning tasks and learning materials may readily amplify the student’s involvement. when education apparently was successful in educating people. Establishing such symbolic meaning is more than a sly salesmanship. the outward appearance of products has become a decisive asset at the expense of functionality. because no one wants to be the “loser that spends all his leisure time at the garret. Education and its applied technological artefacts should literally be transformed into a way of life. The level of symbolic meaning: technology as signifier Instead of opening up a device’s machinery in order to enhance the user’s involvement. Lifelong learners deserve a better image. one could also exploit the device’s socio-cultural impact. For example: students should be allowed to configure and adapt their (electronic) learning environments at will. tough. Education seems to lag behind many decades by still aiming exclusively at functionality alone and it thus seems to miss the opportunity to enhance the learners’ involvement. motivated and responsible individuals rather than apathetic consumers. but also because the educational arena is characterised by both new industrial technologies and traditional teaching craftsmanship. Today. At the symbolic level. This creates the students’ ideas of ownership and responsibility. Although the importance of technology-based innovations for society has been demonstrated extensively. and invites to maintain and manage the environment actively. Also. the ever-growing importance of knowledge in our society suggests that lifelong learning will be more and more associated with standing and esteem. In conclusion As has been pointed out above. The association with lifestyle strongly stimulates the involvement of the owner and supports the mediating role of products. Whenever education becomes a straitjacket. Education should link its products with symbolic meaning: favourite lifestyles and emotions. it cannot be the ultimate and only ambition. 2000). can only be accounted for when technology’s mediating role is extended to the level of the technology’s machinery and the level of symbolic meaning. which refers to the symbolic role that products may fulfil by signifying additional meaning. education should be considered a focal practice rather than a mere commodity. 2002). The challenge for education is to meet the continually changing needs of society. In accordance with Ellul (1964) educational technology should go “beyond functionality“. economic inequality between people will no longer be determined by large-scale landownership as it was in the agrarian age. intriguing and the like. to consult other people or to work together (Soete. At the machinery level it is necessary to reveal to the users the mechanisms underlying the technology or even make the machinery accessible and adjustable. discipline. So.

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Aspects that influenced the effectiveness of their unit and the implementation of the innovation included (1) the teacher’s ability to benefit from online collaborative professional development forums. Professional development for innovators in education. new theories of constructivist-based learning and the principles of professional development for educators implementing reform. Problem-based learning Introduction This study is based on sociocultural theories of learning and development with a systems-based methodology that identifies the characteristics and consequences of purposeful efforts at change from the viewpoint of the educator. to post on servers. Researchers have primarily understood innovations as independent variables. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@massey. USA russelldl@umkc. to republish. the researchers collected and analyzed data to (1) identify how effectively each of the teachers implemented the CBLE unit based on their goals for adopting the innovations while participating in online collaborative professional development and (2) identify cross-case issues that arose as the teachers implemented the unit. Educational Technology & Society. previous studies on innovation adoption have not considered innovation as a goal-based process that is impacted by or contingent upon other innovative aspects in the research environment. Understanding Innovation in Education Using Activity Theory. Columbia. Conclusions in the study suggest that the teachers implemented innovation into their classrooms with varied levels of effectiveness based on their initial goals for the reform process. L. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. the Web-Based Education Commission (2000) contends that education is far from meeting the potential impact of Internet-based technology. research on constructivist classrooms and the mediational aspects of implementing innovative tools into complex human and (3) they do not address the possibility that the adoption of one innovation can be contingent upon its relationship to another innovation. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. Identifying and understanding teachers’ goals and beliefs is critical to creating a evaluative analysis of reform efforts in education. School of Education Kansas City. D. While recognizing that Internet technology affords K-12 teachers new tools that allow for expanded forms of communication. Using a multiple case study research method.k12. To copy otherwise. 38-53. (2005) Art Schneiderheinze Project Construct National Center 1115 Kennesaw Ridge Road #707. & Schneiderheinze.Russell. Several aspects of innovative educational settings were identified as background understandings necessary to design the study including previous studies of innovation. (2) the teacher’s problem-solving strategies for resolving conflict issues related to their local school environment. Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Suite 309. Our society places greater demands on educational systems to develop learners who can use knowledge in new areas ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). A. however. MO 64110. analysis. USA ASchneid@columbia. Activity theory methodology. or to redistribute to lists. Russell University of Missouri-Kansas City Instructional Technology. Understanding Innovation in Education Using Activity Theory Donna L. Abstracting with credit is permitted. Finally. and expression by students and teachers. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. 8 (1).us Abstract The purpose of this study was to describe how four teachers in four different cities in Missouri implemented a constructivist-based learning environment (CBLE) that included an innovation cluster that paired an emerging online technology with a unit design framework. The motivating question for the study originated from prior research on teacher reform efforts including the adoption of technology innovations in the classroom. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. technology innovation in once they enter the classroom. Keywords Technology innovations in education. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). and (3) their prior conceptions about teaching and learning and their compatibility with the reform instructional pedagogy. 38 . (2) they lack a recognition of social and contextual structures inherent in the environment. the innovations become part of a complex system of social and pedagogical interactions. Missouri 65202. Previous studies of innovation decision-making have been limited in their ability to understand the adoption of innovations by three factors: (1) they often lack the perspective of the potential adopter.

1991. 1993). Methodology In this study. 1987) is a systemic analysis of complex human environments providing the researchers with concepts that were used as instruments in developing an understanding of these systems. 2000. 1993). An activity system contains a variety of different elements including viewpoints. & Ryder. By identifying these characteristics. In the Report to the President on the Use of Technology to Strengthen K-12 Education in the United States (1997). When teachers attempt to implement a technology innovation in the classroom. Through the process of implementing these new cultural tools into classroom practice. 2001). The object of an activity system is something given and something anticipated by the subject. & Batson. The questions in this study defined the relationship among aspects of the implementation process which included the adoption of an innovation cluster. in the activity theory model. The ways they respond to these tensions affects how effectively they implement the intended reform. these technologies do not function in the vacuum. or voices. However. AT (Engestöm. and anchored in the context of the activity. Activity systems are historically conditioned systems of interrelated contacts among individuals and the "proximal culturally organized environments" (Salomon. & Palincsar. as well as layers of historically accumulated artifacts. defined for this study as the purposeful implementation of two related innovations in order to effect change (Rogers. 8). Krajcik. 1993). Peck. At the end of the study the researchers identified their outcome. and patterns of division of labor. All activity is object-oriented. 1998). However. When technologies are inserted into the educational environment. they naturally face the complex challenge of fitting together new ideas with deep-rooted pedagogical beliefs and practices. the conceptual object of the teachers involved implementing the CBLE unit utilizing the innovation cluster as tools in order to develop described higher-order thinking abilities in their students. called nodes. the teacher (Wertsch. the researchers were able to look for patterns of relationships in these nodes in the work activity of the teachers over the course of the study. such as technology. the researchers used Activity Theory (AT) as a qualitative methodology with descriptive case study methods of data structuring and analysis in order to develop an understanding of a complex social system. Salomon. the teacher. Dobrovolny. in this case. 1991. 1995. Technology has the potential to support students in the development of these higher-level knowledge use abilities (Blumenfeld. Peyton. a tension is inserted into the work activity system of the teacher. embedded in activity. Lave & Wenger. An innovation presents people with alternative tools and ways of completing everyday tasks and solving a variety of problems in ways not possible without the innovation. the committee of advisors recognizes the benefits of a constructivist theoretical framework to learning and recommends looking more closely at the constructivist pedagogic model and the role of technology as a tool to mediate learners to use knowledge in new areas and different situations. Guzdial. Batty. In this study four teachers collaboratively designed and implemented a constructivist-based learning environment (CBLE) in order to develop advanced learning abilities in their students utilizing two clustered innovations. In this study. using the AT Model to identify contextual and goal-related elements in the work activity of the teachers allowed the 39 . contain both affordances and constraints that mediate the actions of the agent. Instead they are coupled to the existing tools and concepts in the setting. constructivist learning involves knowledge that is constructed not transmitted. the actual learning potential resulting from the implementation as described by the teacher. Wilson. The study identified the innovation cluster as mediational objects inserted into the work activity to meet the goals of the educators but they were also identified this change process as potential sources of contradictions in their work activity (Wertsch. and related that outcome to their initial goals. Additionally. Pea. rules. 1993. 1998). they are meant to develop learning abilities in the students. Contemporary constructivist-based learning principles suggest that students should actively participate in goalbased activities that provide them the opportunity to construct knowledge responses to meaningful issues. In response to this tension. Sherry. and Wilson (1999). teachers take advantage of an innovation in means that reflect the way in which they negotiated old and new ways of doing things (Bruce. This study systemically identified the important factors in the teachers’ classrooms that affected their ability to respond to tensions caused by the adoption of an innovation cluster and relate these responses to how effectively the teachers were able to meet their goals for implementing the CBLE unit using the innovative tools. p.and different situations. new cultural tools. Marx. Knowledge construction can be part of a how students interact and respond in a classroom (Jonassen. an emerging online technology and a template for a constructivist unit design process. Implementing new technologies more effectively can help educators meet this societal demand. This was their initial motive for attempting innovation. According to Jonassen.

or as a dashed broken arrow when the teacher identified the contradiction and resolved it. contradictions. Il’enkov (1977) and Engeström et al. coding teachers’ cognitive beliefs as related to their motive. To develop the unit effectively required the teacher to resolve the contradictions occurring in her work activity which would ultimately result in an expansive learning process for the teacher (Engestrom. those local people that support or detract from the innovation efforts of the teacher. the researchers identified contradictions on the model using a solid broken arrow for unresolved contradictions. such as usability. (2) the community. 1999). For instance. using our apriori coding structures. These local context issues include (1) the rules of the work activity setting. The bottom of the triangle depicts the AT identified contextual characteristics for each of the teacher’s individual work settings. The middle of the triangle depicts the subject acting on the object of the activity. In order to describe patterns of behavior over time. 1983). the contradictions that occurred in her attempt to innovate and whether they were resolved or unresolved were identified in each teacher’s AT model. We were then able to look for patterns among all four teachers using three invivo issues that arose during data structuring. The researchers operationalized all these categories for coding by using research in the areas of effective professional development for educators (Kortagen. in our cross-case conclusions we can discuss the effect of the dialogic turning point responses of the teachers in the online professional development. 2002). resulting in the lessening of the potential of the teacher to develop her object. resulting in the increased possibility that she would meet her object goals. Transformation of the object in a work activity system can occur in four ways: widening. As a result. and disintegrating. and disintegrating refers to fragmenting or splitting of the object. we could then identify if the innovation’s mediational characteristics. Activity Theory Model The top of the AT Model triangle represents the insertion of new conceptual tools into the work activity of the teacher. coding their collaborative online professional development using Pfeiffer and Jones’s (1974) analysis of task and role behavior and coding the characteristics of the tools using Rogers (1995) and Barab (2001) to understand the mediational effects endemic in the tools themselves.researchers to design apriori data structures and design interviews. narrowing. using the AT Model and our coding for each aspect of the model. or element. switching. The characteristics of her classroom environment. The subject arrow also identifies the announced outcome for the unit as described by the teacher. result between nodes of the activity system. we were able to trace the response of the teacher back to the aspect of the implementation process that affected the contradiction. or tensions. Schön. accessibility. Widening of the object relates to the object expansion while narrowing refers to object contraction. or ways in which the teacher delineated the object in a new way. if the teacher’s turning point response to a contradiction made the unit shorter. (1999) noted that change systems are internally contradictory and identifying these contradictions as they occur is of crucial importance in order to understand the efforts at changing the system. 1992. Switching involves a shifting of the object in response to tensions in the system. these external elements create an imbalance in the system which results in contradictions that appear between the nodes of the activity system. the teacher’s 40 . Shulman. We also developed a Transformation Model which graphically depicts the four teachers’ AT Models in sequence over the course of the study. Correspondingly. The subject attempting change in a work activity system endeavors to appropriate external elements to aid her in meeting her object. When an external force. and anticipated outcome using Bereiter’s Scheme of Knowledge (Bereiter. the researchers looked for indications of object transformation by way of these turning points. surveys and otherwise collect data on the relationships among the categories and later identify the contradictions resulting from the implementing of the innovation cluster. the innovation cluster. those people that are necessary for the teacher to implement the innovation. becomes part of a teacher’s work activity system. and functionality. For this study they are defined as a behavior of the teacher in response to a contradiction that affected the implementation of the unit—the development of her object. Contradictions can also result between systems such as those tensions that occurred between the teachers’ work activity goals during their collaboration efforts. and (3) the division of labor. 1993. For instance. Figure 1 shows the completed AT Model for Teacher A in this study. this is a temporal contraction in her object lessening her chance at effectively implementing the unit to meet her original goals. that contributed to the contradiction and the teacher’s resulting turning point response. However. The responses of the teachers to contradictions that occurred during implementation of the unit were then categorized as turning points. In the AT Model developed for this study.

and to design and implement a CBLE unit that incorporated problem-based learning methods and that would be implemented simultaneously with other ePioneer classrooms across the state. Each eMINTS classroom gets a saturation rate of computers and supporting technology (see Table 1 below). Participants The study participants were four eMINTS teachers who work with students in 4th and 5th grades in four different schools in Missouri. The four teachers in this study voluntarily chose to collaborate with the researchers and each other in the design and 41 . eMINTS teachers are volunteers who have undergone training in technology implementation into inquiry-based learning environments. These teachers were originally part of a cohort of 45 teachers who were invited to participate in a pilot project called ePioneers at MOREnet (Missouri Research and Education Network). Figure 1. Shadow netWorkspace™ (SNS) developed by the University of Missouri at Columbia College of Education. The teachers that volunteered for the ePioneers program all had 2 years of eMINTS training. eMINTS establishes demonstration classrooms in Missouri's public schools to illustrate the use of technology in classroom instruction. The eMINTS program presented the researchers with a unique opportunity to study teachers involved in both the design of a Constructivist Based Learning Environment (CBLE) and the implementation of emerging online technologies.anticipated outcome in relation to their beliefs about learning and the characteristics of their individual school environment that strengthened or weakened the effectiveness of the teachers’ efforts at reform. Activity System of Teacher A Research Context The eMINTS (enhancing Missouri's Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies) program is a statewide effort to upgrade Missouri's classrooms in the 21st century by combining cutting-edge technology with first-class teaching. They agreed to learn about a new online tool.

a scanner. Second. laptop. was used by the teachers in this study to design. The unit included three phases each one building on the previous and guiding students to develop a solution to the problem by working collaboratively with students in their class and online with students from the other three participating classes. software and hardware. SNS served three purposes in this study. the socioeconomic issue. a reflective questionnaire 42 . Their main sources of collaboration during the unit were SNS chatrooms and discussion boards. These students communicate. and a unit design framework for the CBLE unit called “Improving Interstate 70”. disseminate material. used SNS as a means to communicate about the study. transcripts from a phone conference and seven chatroom conferences. communicate. the students used SNS to collaborate. These issues were identified as invivo coding organizational structures and were used to query the data set of apriori AT categories to identify patterns in individual and cross-case responses to the contradictions that occurred during implementation of the unit. file management system. the researchers. The second innovation. 8 Black or African-American Technology Access As a part of their participation in the eMINTS program. The Innovation Cluster The innovation cluster in this study included an emerging technology. a color printer. they had differing beliefs about the learning potential resulting from the unit. It draws upon the theoretical and practical applications of constructivist learning principles. plan and implement the I-70 unit collaboratively. In this problem-based unit. First. students from the four Missouri schools collaborated to work as engineers to tackle this state-wide problem and propose an effective and efficient way to ultimately improve this major interstate highway which runs border-to-border in Missouri. In Phase 1 the students defined the problem setting by establishing the issues in the problem such issues as the cost issue. differing abilities to collaborate and problem-solve as innovators and differing context issues that impacted their responses to the implementation of the unit. collect. In Phase 3 the students bring their Phase 2 expertise back into their classrooms in order to identify a solution strategy. all Black or African-American 9 boys. Participants in the Study Community Students suburban rural urban mid-size city 12 boys and 10 girls. The CBLE unit. Third. The teachers used the design template to collaboratively design and implement the unit online. “Improving Interstate 70”. revise work and present their group projects online using SNS. 11 Caucasian. a set of academic standards that school districts can use to align curriculum and which serve as the basis for state-wide assessment on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP). 10 girls. a Smartboard and projector. open-ended problem taken from a real-world context. and chat rooms. Data Collection and Analysis The data collected from the teachers included initial and follow-up interviews. The learning goals of the unit were based on the Missouri Show-Me Standards. and assess data. and collaboratively construct meaning in the data collected. Although the teachers had the same amount of technology. and the same amount of previous eMINTs training. messages posted on discussion boards. In Phase 2 the students are grouped totally online with students in the other classes researching these identified problem issues. each teacher has 12-14 Pentium3 LCD computers. a teacher workstation. all Caucasian 7 boys and 10 girls. the unit design template. the environmental issue. messaging. Grade Teacher A Teacher B Teacher C Teacher D 4th 4th 5th 4th Table 1. They took advantage of SNS tools such as a discussion board. Shadow netWorkspace™ (SNS).development of the problem-based unit called “Improving Interstate 70”. all Caucasian 12 boys and 12 girls. who were also located in two different cities in Missouri. and share knowledge during the unit. engaged students in the four classrooms in tackling a complex. define. and a digital camera. The group also represented 4 different sized communities with a diverse cultural background among the students. the teachers in this study collaborated to design the unit via online professional development provided by the researchers. etc.

Her initial motive for developing the ePioneers I-70 unit was to increase the problem-solving abilities of her students by working with other students with multiple perspectives. working in groups online.related to their design of the unit and the principles of constructivist learning. They did this by studying case studies from various places. Her turning point was to move to control the learning processes by placing the responsibility for information gathering within her classroom by limiting students’ access to the internet resources thus giving her all access to resources. widening it to allow more time to meet the goals she had for student learning. and ongoing contact with the researchers during the data collection process. the manner of implementation. drawing upon multiples sources. an online journal. Consequently.” Teacher A expressed a dilemma with the unit design framework when she did not feel comfortable with her perceived inadequate background knowledge on the problem. her beliefs about learning and pedagogy. and the unit design. the unit design framework and SNS. she transformed the object. and documents the teachers produced related to the unit and technology as well as interactions with the other teachers during the phone and chatroom conferences. 43 . They also learned the importance of looking at what others have done to solve similar problems. The researchers identified the nodes of the teacher’s work activity system and created the AT Model for each teacher using the teacher’s voice in both her collaborative dialog with the other teachers and in her reflective dialog with the researchers. As a result the researchers could identify case by case contradictions and turning points which resulted in widening. The contradiction was between subject. subsequently. the accessibility of online resources for her students. These issues then were utilized to structure our findings and our conclusions. narrowing or disintegrating of the object. the way her response influenced the transformation of object. These progressive questions are: How does the individual teacher’s participation in collaborative professional development influence how teachers implement a CBLE unit integrating an innovation cluster? What factors in individual teacher’s school environment influence how teachers implement a CBLE unit integrating an innovation cluster? How do issues of practice and pedagogy and their beliefs about teaching and learning influence how teachers implement a CBLE unit integrating an innovation cluster? Results Teacher A Teacher A worked with 4th grade students in a suburban community. The project was set up in phases that flowed very well. A turning point occurred pre-unit when she responded to this contradiction and worked with the principal and other teachers to avoid departmentalizing during the unit. They learned a lot about how MODoT attacks problems and works together to solve them. Finally the researchers identified the turning points indicating how she responded to the contradiction and. the researchers could also ultimately define the overall transformation process for each teacher. her overarching concepts about the type of higher-order learning the innovation cluster could potentially afford her students. local as well as statewide. Next the researchers identified contradictions occurring in the development of the object. Upon hearing an overview of the unit design framework. and the usability of resources to help her students develop conceptual understanding about the eight areas of expertise. Each case study included a description of the teacher’s experience of implementing the innovation cluster over a six week period. she narrowed the object by lowering her expectations for developing students’ complex problem-solving responses despite her initial motive to develop those problem solving skills. She voiced the learning responses of her students in her post-unit interview: The students looked at the I-70 from many angles. Three progressive invivo questions were revealed during data structuring that aided the researchers in understanding how the teachers’ responded to the implementation process. as perceived by the teacher. Teacher A identified a contradiction (shown as a lightning-shaped arrow in Figure 2) related to departmentalization in her grade level. Each phase provided the students with opportunities to help them understand the problem at various levels. A second contradiction appeared during Phase 2 of the unit related to the mediating tools. and categorized them as contradictions she could or could not resolve. were “out of control. Teacher A responded to the design of the unit in an email communication with the researchers stating her discomfort with her feeling that her students. As a result of this turning point. Using the teacher’s original motive for implementing the reform.

Teacher A consequently developed a favorable opinion about only part of the innovation cluster. She made this decision despite her initial motive to develop multiple perspectives about the Interstate 70 problem by interacting online with the other classes. She expressed a dilemma with the inconsistent accessibility of the SNS chatroom. preventing her students from interacting with students from other communities in Phase 2. Despite her initial enthusiasm towards the potential of the innovation cluster to support her motive for participating in the activity. She did not resolve this contradiction between subject and tools and narrowed her object in depth. She completed the unit but the learning goals for her students changed from the higher-order concept of understanding multiple-perspectives in authentic problem-solving to content delivery for standardized testing. she struggled with overcoming her perceived issues of incompatibility of the innovation cluster with her concepts about teaching and learning. She used the resources in her community (e.g. The contradictions that occurred during Phase 2 of the unit were critical aspects of her decision to narrow her object and develop her unfavorable opinion to the problem-solving unit. SNS. She stated that she would not do the unit in the future because it did not contain enough “MAP content information. the researcher and the other teachers in the collaboration) more for sharing her frustrations rather than using those community resources to resolve those contradictions. 44 . However. She was unable to resolve the contradictions between her beliefs about teaching and learning and the CBLE unit framework which dramatically changed the interactions of the students and her role in her classroom. but not the other part. the unit design framework. Teacher A’s Work Activity System She overall narrowed her object in depth by removing activities..” Figure 2. Teacher A completed all three phases of the unit with her students.A third turning point occurred when she decided to forego the SNS chatrooms as a way for her students to interact online with other students and instead end Phase 2 and start Phase 3 without the other classrooms.

In her post-unit interview she described the students’ responses to the unit: They almost had it. involved talking with the principal and other teachers about avoiding departmentalization during the unit. in Phase 3. we could have. I liked the fact that there was a question in each phase guiding you. I mean I think the phases are really good. Her turning point response. you're back in your own school again. when the lack of communication between Teacher B and the technology support staff in her building led her to believe her students could not access the SNS server. This contradiction remained unresolved throughout the implementation of the unit and contributed to the fact that she could not finish the unit before the end of the school year thereby eventually disintegrating her object overall. She noted in her final interview her opinions about the unit: I would really like to try the I-70 unit again. After hearing an overview of the unit design framework. It could have been a project that we could have spent a lot more time on Teacher C Teacher C worked with 5th grade urban students. so we would do it and be done. during Phase 2. and then you're back in your community. agreeing to the shortened schedule. 45 . In her pre-unit interview she described her students’ communication skills as “very low. Teacher C’s initial goal for participating in the I-70 unit was pressure from her principal to participate. which resolved this contradiction between rules and object. she had missed so much time online during the unit that she abruptly ended the unit without completing Phase 2 or initiating Phase 3. Only one other contradiction arose in her work activity system. then you're out there. indicated as a turning point during collaboration. As a result she overall disintegrated her object. I guess we tried to cram it in too fast. I like that idea. Teacher B’s initial motive for implementing the unit was to develop the problem-solving abilities of her students by putting them in contact with students outside their rural culture in order to build multiple perspectives. They were learning how to solve problems or learning how to work collaboratively. and they (the students) were all for it. Then. Her inability to resolve these contradictions because she did not communicate effectively with technology support personnel in her building and did not develop her goals in the collaboration with the other teachers meant that she could not develop the unit to meet her learning goals. I mean you're in your community. When dialoging online with the other three teachers. probably the shortest part. We joked about adding another week to the school year. When the problem was fixed. Her students were off SNS for over a week during Phase 2 when her students were supposed to use SNS in order to interact with students from other communities to develop multiple perspectives on the Interstate 70 problem. Her inability to resolve the community and division of labor contradictions resulted in her shortening the unit drastically and prevented her from meeting her initial goals. she identified a contradiction in her work activity system (see Figure 4): how departmentalizing for part of the day would limit the amount of time she had with her students to implement the unit. Another part. The researchers identified this turning point in a phone conversation with Teacher B during which Teacher B realized the problem was with the building’s firewall and not with the SNS server. We had a lot to do and the year was almost over. This contradiction (shown in Figure 3) and her response. Despite these two dilemmas. Teacher B developed favorable opinions about both parts of the innovation cluster in terms of their potential to align with her motives. was out there with the other schools. she knew waiting to implement the unit until after all of the teachers finished administering standardized tests would severely reduce the amount of time she would have to complete the unit since she was the first of the four teachers to end the school year. I don't think we quite made it. With another week.Teacher B Teacher B worked with rural 4th grade students. I would like to try other things like this. led Teacher B to temporally narrow her object. and I like that one of them was done in our school.” She was unsure whether they would even be able to communicate with the other students online. and I know that was my fault since everyone (the other teachers) wanted to wait until MAP was finished. I would really like to do I-70 again.

she transformed the object. Teacher B’s Work Activity System Eventually. Her realization of this contradiction between her beliefs about the learning potential of her students and the unit design tool resulted in a turning point which led Teacher C to widen her object by increasing the expectations she had for potential student learning outcomes resulting from the unit. a type of learning that she came to believe was more important than the rote learning she regularly employed to prepare students for a standardized test. This collaborative dialog helped Teacher C to resolve the contradiction between her beliefs about learning and the unit. She also experienced inconsistent access to the SNS chatroom server preventing her students from participating in all of the cross-classroom chatroom conferences during Phases 1 and 2. she did not have her students in her classroom throughout a significant part of the unit leading to a temporal narrowing of the object. by talking with the researchers who designed the unit framework about the potential learning outcomes of the CBLE unit.Figure 3. Despite her initial response to communicate her need to have the students all day. the group of teachers did not pursue this idea. As a result. Because she did not resolve this contradiction. Teacher C decided not to talk with the science teacher or the principal to keep her students throughout the day. widening it through the collaboration with the other teachers and the researchers to develop advanced learning outcomes in her students. Teacher C actively developed her unit by working with her online community to develop ideas for how to implement the unit more fully. Subsequently. Even though she tried to suggest an alternative to the chatroom in order to maintain interaction among the four classrooms of students. Teacher C response to this contradiction between tool and object was to narrow 46 . she was better able to conceptualize the type of learning that could potentially occur with her urban students. The previous contradiction between object and rules reappeared during Phase 2 when the science teacher asked to departmentalize again in order to obtain more grades from students to assign final grades for quarter.

They enjoyed the challenge. They got a lot more out of it than I expected. She finished Phase 2 and continued Phase 3 without the other classrooms. successfully completed all three phases of the unit. who initially participated in the innovation because of the authoritative decision-making of her principal. she was enthusiastic in her final interview about how she ready to design a new unit for the next year that would incorporate both parts of the innovation cluster. Teacher C. Despite the number of contradictions arising in her work activity system. Teacher C’s Work Activity System She overall widened her object by dramatically reformulating her own beliefs about the learning potential for her urban students as a result of implementing the problem-based unit and developing her community resources. benefited from collaborative professional development processes and used the resources in her local community ultimately developing new expansive concepts about the abilities of her urban students. In fact. Figure 4. She decided not to continue using the SNS chatrooms. despite the challenges in her local context and her own initial limited beliefs in the learning potential of her students.the object. This teacher. Teacher C took advantage of local and online community resources to resolve contradictions and she developed a favorable opinion about both parts of the innovation cluster. 47 . They felt empowered to work on a big problem that kids would not usually be involved in solving. They enjoyed the chance to communicate with other students in Missouri. They did wonderful brainstorming and cooperative planning and decision-making.

Teacher D resolved this contraction (see Figure 5). She called the unit design and the student activities in Phase 2 and 3 “useless” in the post-unit interview. did not resolve two contradictions that arose in Phase 2. that the unit was meant to develop. related to the inconsistent access to the SNS chatroom server by the students in other classes and her continued perception of the lack of learning potential for her students in that process. She believed the Phase 2 online unit activities were too difficult for her learning disabled students and decided not to participate in these activities. by changing the unit design framework and removing the students’ online collaboration. The main point of frustration was thinking I was letting down three other teachers and their classes if I did not live up to my end of the project. a contradiction between subject and rules. She developed a favorable opinion about only one part of the innovation cluster.” She ultimately completed all three phases of the unit in order to stay with the other teachers thus widening her object temporally. she did not change her beliefs about the higher-order learning processes. An initial contradiction occurred during the initial phase of the unit when SNS was not accessible in her building Teacher D worked with the researchers as technology resources to resolve this contradiction between the tool and the object. Teacher D also expressed hesitation in working with other teachers to not only design a unit but also implement a unit collaboratively. Teacher D’s response to these contradictions was to remove the online group work aspect from the unit. a contradiction between subject and tool. hoping to change the unit design framework to include only Phase 1. In doing so. Teacher D’s initial motive for implementing the unit was to use Shadow in her classroom. shown as a break between subject and community. Teacher D. problem-solving using technology. during the pre-unit phone conference when the teachers characterized their work more as a means for coordinating rather than collaborating on day to day parts of the unit. However. I would have known what I was doing and where I was going much more clearly. who were part of a class within a class inclusion model. “Had I done it alone. As a result she did decide to work collaboratively with the other teachers throughout the unit. she widened the object in depth. Teacher D did implement all three phases of the unit. temporally widening her object overall from her initial goal of implementing only Phase 1 something she initially said was unnecessary and too difficult for her students. SNS. In her post-unit interview she stated. enabling her students to use the SNS chatroom which had been disabled by the building firewall. She also did not resolve a contradiction between the potential benefit of the online interactions developed in the unit and her concepts about the unit design template. however.Teacher D Teacher D worked with 4th grade students in a small city in Missouri. Teacher D explained in her initial interview how she felt the unit was too complex for her students. She cited several examples from her own building that helped to develop negative feelings about not wanting to feel “lock step” with other teachers. Cross-Case Conclusions The researchers designed a Transformation Model (figure 6 below) that depicts the contradictions that occurred among all the teachers over the course of the study and helped the researchers respond to the three progressive issues that developed in vivo in this study: • • • How does the individual teacher’s participation in collaborative professional development influence how teachers implement a CBLE unit integrating an innovation cluster? What factors in individual teacher’s school environment influence how teachers implement a CBLE unit integrating an innovation cluster? How do issues of practice and pedagogy and their beliefs about teaching and learning influence how teachers implement a CBLE unit integrating an innovation cluster? 48 . She initiated email contact with the other teachers. teacher D’s role in the online collaboration during the unit tended to focus on anti-task behaviors such as dominating the dialog to vent her frustrations with the unit design framework and blocking the group from collectively resolving individual contradictions and group tensions. This response resulted in a narrowing of the object. in depth. However.

Using the Transformation Model. the line across the top of the model shows the contradictions that occurred in the collaborative dialogs of the teachers as a widening or narrowing of the object. the teachers all stated that the collaboration was not only beneficial but also necessary to implement a complex innovation in their classroom. the teachers used the online forum as a means for coordinating activity or as a support system rather than to collectively act upon a shared object.Figure 5. The online collaboration process available to the teachers. During Phase 2 the teachers did not use their online chats productively to solve any problems occurring when the students were all in their online groups. the researchers could look at the contradictions that occurred in the AT models of each teacher throughout the study in order to identify patterns between the four teachers. The researchers found that all the teachers narrowed their object during a difficult collaborative phase of the unit. Additionally. On one hand. when all their students were online in synchronous chatrooms. Phase 2. Also Teacher D’s decision to stay with the online group meant that she resolved her belief contradiction about the length of the unit and completed all three phases. 49 . Teacher D’s Work Activity System Collaborative Professional Development Tertiary contradictions occur between different interacting work activity systems. Based on dialogic coding of task and role relationships. a weekly online chat. The collaboration process did not seem to affect the implementation of the unit for Teacher A. was insufficient to aid these teachers in resolving contradictions during this phase. On the other hand. identified by widening or narrowing of the line. Using this model the researchers could look for patterns in the work activity of the four teachers using the three progressive issues. Teacher B’s decision to stay with the group and shorten her unit resulted in a narrowing of her ability to reach her goals. participation in the collaboration created additional tensions for them. created for this study. When teacher C discussed the ideas used by Teachers A and B in their classrooms and viewed work samples uploaded to the SNS workgroup by students in those classes she subsequently developed similar activities for their students and resolved her belief contradiction and widened her object. Two teachers used the collaboration to solve problems at other times in the unit.

who described in their pre-unit interviews several prior experiences working with other teachers in their building. a level 5 on the Bereiter scale. Local Context Issues Secondary contradictions occur in the local context of the work activity setting and are depicted on the Transformation Model in the AT triangle made for each teacher. a level 3. initially stated as using the online dialog to develop the ability of her students to type a sentence. 50 .The two teachers. A potential side issue resulting from this study could be the identification of the beliefs of the students in relationship to the beliefs of the teacher’s. C and D. with her ability to implement the unit more fully than she originally anticipated and ultimately changing her beliefs about the learning abilities of her students. Both of these teachers resolved contradiction during implementation of the innovation cluster through the collaboration process. coded hierarchically using Bereiter’s Scheme of Knowledge (Bereiter. A primary contradiction is a negative tension between the concepts underlying the implementation of the object or the agent’s motive. The researchers coded these as hierarchical levels. Her beliefs about the learning potential of the innovation were unrealized because she did not resolve two contradictions. did not resolve any contradictions as a result of the online dialogs. a scale from 1-7. Three of the teachers in the study narrowed the object because of communication issues with people in their school environment who were important or necessary to successfully implementing the unit. In this study we used the teachers’ initial stated learning goals. both described feeling isolated in their school environments and did not describe prior experiences collaborating with the other teachers in their building. because of a primary contradiction that occurred during implementation. stopping the chats among her students and the other students. Her original motive changed from the learning processes she stated in her initial interview. Teacher D widened her object overall in order to collaborate with the other teachers but she did not change her beliefs about the learning processes afforded by implementing the unit and the CBLE unit design. a level 5. 2001). the development of multiple perspectives during problem-solving. When interviewed after the unit. She credited the professional development programs. the students in her classroom expressed a real interest. Collaboration is an important aspect of professional development for innovators in education. Without a productive dialog about the teacher’s goals for the innovation with her local division of labor and community members. However. Teacher C widened her object overall from her pre-unit motive for implementing the innovation cluster. Developing a positive communication structure in their local context is an essential process for all the teachers implementing innovation in the classroom. to delivery of content. of the teacher’s philosophy of learning in order to identify changes in their overarching learning goals for their students as they stated them pre and post unit. She stated in her final interview that she had “let her students” down and she would advocate for her students more forcefully in the future. Beliefs about learning A primary contradiction is a pre-existing contradiction between the subject’s overall goals. that collaboration process should be designed to develop problem-solving strategies and effective communication strategies for innovators. The other two teachers. motivation and a deep understanding of the problem and its complexity which was totally in opposition to how Teacher D conceptualized the unit as being “too difficult” and “boring” for her students. online with the other teachers and with the researchers. none of the teachers were able to resolve contradictions in their local setting. the motive and outcome. into her belief that her students could communicate collaboratively and develop problem-solving strategies in an authentic-based unit. Teacher A narrowed her overall object. She was unable to resolve context-related contradictions despite her initial motives for innovation. Her students were unable to develop multiple perspectives or suggest strategies to solve the problem. The researchers identified relationships between the pre and post levels in outcome in order to evaluate their relationship to the overall development of their object. Teacher B disintegrated her object overall despite her high expectations for the learning resulting from the unit and her strong background developing innovative units. Her change was based on her process of identifying and overcoming her primary belief contradiction that her students were unable to develop advanced learning processes. A and B. and their stated ending learning goals to define overall development of the object. a level 2 on the coding scale.

or can even reduce the effectiveness of their reform units. Training in anticipatory problem-solving and proactive communication processes are beneficial constructs for reform-based professional development models. teachers who are implementing innovation should proactively develop communication support structures in their local community that allow them to resolve the eventual contradictions in their local activity setting. the identification of contradictions in motive for innovation. Transformation Model Professional Development Implications In response to the first issue. However.Figure 6. the identification of contradictions in their local context. as a result of collaboration. collaborative professional development processes of innovative educators should be modified to fit the level of previous collaboration and innovation of the participating teachers. In response to the second progressive issue. the identification of contradictions in collaboration processes. In response to the third issue. teachers implementing units with innovative tools designed to develop advanced learning processes in their students can 51 . As a result. the researchers found that teachers implementing innovation who are working in local contexts with little collaboration experiences can benefit by collaboration outside their local environment with teachers implementing similar innovative units. teachers who are already working at a high level of innovation in collaborative and supportive local contexts may not benefit.

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Communication Studies Department 102 Bailey KS 66045. MD 20742. Cognitive learning. like student interaction in face-to-face classrooms. Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics Microbiology Bldg.. or psychologically. Williams. student perceptions that others in the online course are immediate. Results relative to cognitive learning showed that student reports of their perception of their own presence in the class were significantly correlated with performance in the class and with the grade they would assign themselves. Much of the research focus in online education has been on technical characteristics such as platforms. download speed. Just as in face-to-face Spencer Benson University of Maryland College Park. Moore (1997) and Terry (2001) reported attrition rates as high as 50 percent in some online classes. College Park. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. Perceptions of the instructor’s presence were significantly correlated with both affective learning and with student learning satisfaction. by dropping the course or simply failing to finish it. 54-62. & Christie. S. This appears to be especially true for one of the largest groups served by online classes. whose expectations are likely to include dynamic interaction with others and learning constructed through discussion (Brandt. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. Based on research about face-to-face classes. it can be argued that behaviors that support student engagement are likely to contribute to both positive attitudes about the class and to enhanced learning. presence is a key concern of this study. Keywords Online presence. the communication behaviors that students enact contribute to others’ perceptions of them and to the overall learning dynamic. to Abstract This study investigated the relationship between student perceptions of others in an online class and both affective and cognitive learning outcomes. Student interaction online. 1440 Jayhawk Blvd. Results from this study indicated significant correlations between student perceptions of the presence of other students in the class and scores on an attitudes scale and their satisfaction with their own learning. they may disengage physically. 2002. ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). “present. Carr (2000) reported that online course completion rates are often 10 to 20 percentage points lower than in traditional courses. This outcome in an online class is consistent with findings on teacher immediacy literature in traditional classes and highlight the role of the teacher in establishing a learning environment. but technology does not operate independently to create a learning environment. In particular.Russo. non-traditional or adult students. Abstracting with credit is permitted. is a critical component of the learning context. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@massey. Short. (2005). It may be argued that when students find online classes impersonal or isolating. 8 (1).. USA This finding demonstrates the salience of other students in the learning environment to affective learning outcomes. Because of its relationship to such outcomes. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. or to redistribute to lists. Learning with Invisible Others: Perceptions of Online Presence and their Relationship to Cognitive and Affective Learning. Learning with Invisible Others: Perceptions of Online Presence and their Relationship to Cognitive and Affective Learning Tracy Russo University of Kansas. by doing the minimum to complete the requirements but not engaging either the material or the other participants. engaging links. Evaluating the role of technology itself on learning has merit.” or significant to the interaction may help establish an environment in which students attend to one another. Affective learning. T. Lawrence. & Benson. To copy otherwise. share ideas. Attrition rates in online classes frequently are cited as demonstration that the technical delivery system is inadequate for learning. and collaborate (Picciano. streaming audio and streaming video. Immediacy Introduction As increasing numbers of college-level courses are developed for delivery via the World Wide Web. Although many online classes have little turnover. Educational Technology & Society. trust one another. Data were gathered from student survey responses and instructor evaluation of performance. 1997). 1976). © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). pressure grows to identify components of online learning environments that contribute to or support learning. USA trusso@ku. 54 . to post on servers.

and be more satisfied. student interaction may contribute to web course effectiveness. 2001) see presence as a projection of one’s personality as well as of their ideas. argues that social presence is the degree of person-to-person awareness that occurs in a mediated environment. Hiltz & Wellman. Given the concern of teachers. Recognizing the limitations of media-based conceptions of presence. Lombard and Ditton (1997) frame presence as the “illusion of nonmediation. Garrison & Archer. stance. Because most online classes do not include interactive video allowing teachers and students access to nonverbal immediacy behaviors. speech duration. 1998. 1976). it can be argued that they will be more likely to complete courses. task. Tu (2002). (2000. LaRose & Whitten.Cognitive learning or comprehension and retention of knowledge (Christophel. cited in Rourke. and institutions. other students may provide social and academic support online. Immediacy’s relation to presence The examination of presence in online learning is informed by the literature on immediacy. another important indicator of distance learning success is affective learning. Verbal immediacy is indicated by a variety of behaviors that include calling others by name. however. Text-only interactions are not without signals of immediacy. but other students online also make important contributions to the process and product of distance classes. especially teacher and classroom immediacy. In addition to cognitive learning. Although online courses are perceived by some researchers to be deficient in actual and perceived student interaction (BenbunanFich & Hiltz. perceptions of others in online interaction Social presence most frequently has been considered predominantly a characteristic of a communication medium. and the instructor. Walther and Burgoon (1992) note that research in intimacy indicates that verbal or text components not only convey immediacy but may compensate for reductions in immediacy that are assumed in online contexts. for example. a component of affective learning. Students’ feelings of connection 55 . others have reported that online student discussions improved academic performance (Althaus. cues of verbal immediacy serve as the primary means of establishing psychological connection among participants. is a critical component of the learning environment (LaRose & Whitten. In an effort to extend knowledge of the effects of engagement on student outcomes in a distance learning environment. 2002). but teachers are not the only salient participants in the learning environment. Mediated presence. administrators. voice quality. Affective learning involves student responses to the instructor. When students have positive affect about these targets. Anderson (1979) defines immediacy as a function of the psychological distance that a communicator puts between himself or herself and the object of his or her communication. Further. students reinforce one another’s behavior through verbal comments. using personal examples. online participants must rely on verbal messages. touching. Grammatical and lexical measures that indicate affection. 1997. 1997). inclusion. The primary focus of immediacy research in the classroom has been on teacher behaviors. does not account for context. A student’s sense of the salience or presence of others online. Measuring presence as a function of the medium (Short. however. experience. In the online classroom where nonverbal cues often are not available. like her sense of face-to-face classmates. Thus. 1968). 1988). relaxation. and students about the efficacy of online education. Immediacy is related to presence in that both focus on the salience of individuals in communication.” wherein a user would respond as if the medium were not there. and soliciting personal views or opinions (Gorham. in light of the exigencies and characteristics of the asynchronous online learning environment. 2000). As LaRose and Whitten (2000) argue. 1990) is an important outcome for students. Garrison. facial expression. or individual differences (Picciano. and formality of dress) as well as verbally. Anderson. Williams. in particular affective and cognitive learning. the topic. 2000). and involvement also reflect verbal immediacy (Wiener & Mehrabian. & Christie. it is appropriate to examine outcome variables. in addition to being associated with achievement levels comparable to face-to-face classes. become involved intellectually with the material and the others in the online class. Anderson and Archer. Affective learning represents the attitudes students develop about the course. teachers. Researchers in distance education integrate human behavior to a greater degree. A person can convey immediacy or non-immediacy nonverbally (through such signals as physical proximity. Hiltz and Wellman (1997) found that online discussions resulted in increased student satisfaction. this study examined students’ perceptions of presence in an online graduate class in genetics and the degree to which these perceptions were related to both students’ learning and their attitudes about the course. scholars present alternative definitions.

and their own presence related to their affective learning. or with whom a student works on a paper or exam. 1999). Teacher immediacy in face-to-face classrooms has been shown to be positively correlated with cognitive learning (Christophel. 1990) is an important outcome in most learning contexts. 1996). 1988. Richmond. the relationship between verbal immediacy and affective learning has been studied less frequently. or salience of teachers and other students. Perceptions that others in the class were “present” accounted for 60% of variance in overall learner satisfaction in one study of the use of a text-based medium (Gunawardena & Zittle. Addressing the frustrations experienced by online learners. Based on these findings. that is. to their attitudes toward the course and subject? 56 . Research in online learning environments demonstrates the significance of perceptions of others. They further argue that learner motivation may suffer in Web courses because of a lack of teacher immediacy (LaRose & Whitten. 1988. immediacy. Witt & Wheeless. especially where in distance education the instructor has little or no control over when.cognitive learning Cognitive learning or the comprehension and retention of knowledge (Christophel. Sallinen.44) with satisfaction in another study of text-based computer conferencing (Gunawardena & Duphorne. through the classroom. 1990). 1990. 2000). 2000). and issues of grade distribution. Research has shown that in traditional classrooms. the immediacy of the teacher is an important correlate of affective learning and connection between student and teacher (Ellis. Plax & Kearney. Myers & Avtgis. Although the focus of these studies was on the communication behaviors of the teacher. 2000) remain important correlates of student satisfaction and affective learning. Therefore. Myers and Avtgis (1998) further reported that teacher use of nonverbal and verbal immediacy behaviors were strongly correlated with student affective learning and. instructors. Fayer. the instructor. & McCroskey. McCroskey. Sanders and Wiseman (1990) proposed that cognitive learning should be defined as how much students thought they had learned in a course. Cognitive learning is most frequently operationalized in research on online courses as course performance or as performance on selected student tasks. LaRose and Whitten (2000) note the importance of connection in the learning environment in arguing that many Web courses fail to address the leading concern of learners — lack of interaction with the instructor and fellow students. Sanders & Wiseman. researchers have sought for alternative measures. 1998. how. especially their perceptions of the presence. Gorham. Given the difficulties in using performances. Teacher immediacy in face-to-face classrooms has been shown across a number of studies to be positively correlated with affective learning (Kelly & Gorham. the instructor’s presence. Although research demonstrates a consistent positive relationship of teacher nonverbal immediacy and student affective learning. 1988. and the instructor. the third research question was developed to further examine the relationship between perceptions of presence and affective learning: RQ3: How were student perceptions of other students’ presence. Although research has indicated that distant students expected less nonverbal immediacy from telecourse teachers (and presumably even less from asynchronous online teachers) than on-site students expected (Witt & Wheeless. 2000). clearly has the potential to influence these outcome variables. 1997) and showed a significant positive correlation (r = . & Barraclough. Rodriguez. with students' perceived cognitive learning. this study of an entirely asynchronous graduate class in genetics begins by examining the levels of presence students perceive with RQ1: What levels of presence did students assign to the other students. Two approaches to selfassessment have been suggested as viable alternatives to grades for measuring learning. the second research question in the present study examines the relationships between teacher presence behaviors and cognitive learning as well as the relationships between student perceptions of presence of both other students and themselves and cognitive learning: RQ2: How were perceptions of presence related to students’ cognitive learning in the course? Learning outcomes . 2001). 1999. the topic. Sanders & Wiseman. one known as learning loss (Richmond. Freitas. 1990) and intimacy (Ellis. teacher immediacy (Gorham. and their institutions. Freitas. Gorham. Menzel & Carrell. measures perceived student learning as a function of how much students thought they learned in the class subtracted from how much they thought they would have learned from the ideal instructor.affective learning Affective learning represents the attitudes students develop about the course. and themselves? Learning outcomes . The second self-assessment approach. 1996. 1987.

responses to assignments. In addition to the quantitative questions. taught by the second author at the University of Maryland. the degree to which this online course was more enjoyable than others they have taken. George.The Context: Online Graduate Genetics This study focused on a spring 2002 class. All but two were teaching full-time at the high school or community college level during the course. Principles of Transmission Genetics: Historical and Modern Perspectives. The transcript of the chat was available on the course site for those who could not attend. They accessed the class from a wide variety of locations. Cognitive learning Cognitive learning was measured in three ways. All but one student (95%) completed the class. the degree to which the delivery system contributed to their learning experience. Twenty-two students were enrolled in this class. and seven men (30%). The class used the WebCT platform. several open-ended questions allowed students to identify the most and least helpful elements of the course. South Carolina. a self-assessment of class performance. posted weekly Online discussion in response to several content or content/thought questions posted each week. Maine. including reflection papers Exams Methods The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between perceptions of presence in an online class to affective and cognitive learning outcomes. more. generated independently or in groups of varying sizes Writing assignments. a biography of a significant geneticist and some journal articles Problems from the text and others from the instructor. and the degree to which the class had provoked heightened awareness of and reading in the topic area. the degree to which the class was a positive learning environment. the same as. 16 women (70%). This class was part of a completely asynchronous online program offering a masters degree in Life Sciences to science teachers in high schools. as an operationalization of cognitive learning. and the Yukon. and. 57 . The single items for each presence target were framed in the style of: As you came to the end of the class. Course components were organized in ten one-week-long modules and included the following: Readings – a genetics text. The survey asked them to rate on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the highest) the amount of presence they perceived in the other students and in the instructor. as well as to rate the amount of presence they believed they had in the class. my learning in this course was (much more. what level of mediated presence did you perceive in the other students? Affective learning The survey also asked students to report their attitudes about the course. An optional weekly synchronous chat. community colleges and technical colleges. LFSC 630. Perceptions of presence To assess perceptions of presence. the North Pole. family circumstances were responsible for the one incomplete. Data were collected in several forms: through an end-of-course selfreport survey. satisfaction with the online delivery system. At the end of each unit. but for about half this was their first online class. in addition to a number of students scattered across Maryland. less. A single item in the summative survey asking for student assessment of their learning was adapted from Witt and Wheeless (2001): Compared to what I might have learned. Several students had taken other courses in this program. Two measures reflected self-assessment. Teaching tips. they were located in Delaware. This was significant because students were as many as five time zones apart. the percentage of points earned during the course. students were required to answer two questions weekly. Seven single items asked for assessment of: student satisfaction with their learning. Wisconsin. where process and content questions were answered. the instructor posted a summary of the discussion and provided additional material or focus where necessary. Florida. serving much like the instructor’s online office hours. California. students were asked to complete a survey at the end of the course. Students accessed the materials from their homes or from their work locations.

07 Perceptions of instructor’s presence (r = . The third measure was the percentage of points earned during the class. Their assessments of their own presence in the class was somewhat lower (mean = 3. The third research question examined the relationship between perceptions of presence and student learning. Reliability for this scale using Cronbach’s alpha was .72 . The other assessment was a self-assigned grade. 58 . consistent with assessments of affective learning (Anderson. Results The first research question sought to identify how much presence students perceived others students and the instructor had and how much presence they perceived they themselves had in the online class.11 1. sd = 3. Table 2. as the total number of points a student earned in the class.91). satisfaction with the online delivery system. and as the grade students would assign themselves.67 1. Gorham. p = . and were doing increased general reading about it.11 Course was good educational environment 3.94 on a scale of 1-5 where 5 was highest) and in the instructor (mean = 3.00) and the instructor’s presence (r = .33 . Seven items were included in the summative course survey to answer this question.00 Satisfaction with delivery system 3.94 1. both perceptions of other students’ presence (r = .08 Delivery system added to course 3. the degree to which the class was a positive learning environment. the degree to which this online course was more enjoyable than others they have taken.22 1. Means and standard deviations of items in attitude scale Item Mean Standard Deviation Satisfaction with own learning 4. students reported perceiving fairly high presence in the other students (mean = 3. Students were asked to report their satisfaction with their learning. and the degree to which the class had provoked heightened awareness of and reading in the topic area. They were offered extra credit for providing that information.52.96 Course makes me more aware of topic 4. 1979.001) were positively and statistically significantly correlated with the attitude scale variable. the degree to which the delivery system contributed to their learning experience.” A scale called attitude reflecting attitudes about the class material and class experience was created from the seven survey items. Learning was operationalized in three ways.16 Self 3. There were no statistically significant differences in their assessment of the presence of the three targets.61 .03) were significantly correlated with student responses to the single survey item addressing satisfaction with their learning in this class.70. In addition. Means and standard deviation for presence measures Mean Standard Deviation Other students 3. Each item was in five-level Likert form.71). The mean for this scale was 17. as student assessment of how much they learned. Table 1.13 Enjoyed this course more than others 2.94).69.28 1. Students also were asked to report the extent to which they had a heightened awareness of the course material.94 .0 (range = 8-23.81. generally anchored with “a great deal” and “none. Students had the opportunity in the final exam to identify the grade they would give themselves for the course and write a paragraph explaining their own assessment. p = .05 1. Overall. genetics.87 Instructor 3. 1988) two items were used to evaluate perceptions about the course topic.98 Research Question 2 asked to what extent these perceptions were related to students’ attitudes toward the course and the subject.59 Course makes me read more about topic 4. p = .much less). In addition.

Although perceptions of instructor presence were strongly related in this study to both attitudes and satisfaction.46.04 . online interaction among peers offers more than academic exchange. p.” Opportunities for students to connect with one another and the instructor in this class. thanked one another for ideas. it is significant to note that satisfaction with learning was correlated more highly with perceptions of others (r = .06 Perceptions of own presence .52* .40 . This study makes an important contribution in demonstrating the presence of a relationship that is often posited or assumed. though they are often accompanied by exchanges of information and services. emotional support.05 -. In addition. Perceptions both of the presence of others and of the instructor were significantly correlated with scores on affective learning and particularly on student satisfaction with their own learning.01 Perceptions of instructor’s Presence .3 and the standard deviation was . Interestingly.14 -. Interestingly. most of the points reflected performance on homework assignments and examinations.00). Correlations among variables Others Instr Own Points Perceptions of others’ presence .75.07). and a shared context. As LaRose and Whitten (2000) have noted.81.70** . synchronous chat. with 4 representing a grade of A. 2) argued. As Hiltz and Wellman (1997.75** .52).58* Percentage of points earned Self-rating of grade in class Attitudes about the class Student satisfaction with learning * Correlation is significant at the 0. these findings support the arguments of Rourke et al. and provided encouragement. Students posed procedural and content questions. were statistically significantly related to positive feelings about the course.15 -.69) than with perceptions of the instructor (r = . and encouragement. p = . The mean was 3. One student noted in identifying the most useful element of the class. sd = 9.Although students did earn some points through participation.33 . emphasizing the considerable role for the other students in the class. Because a feeling of connection may encourage students to engage the material as well as the other people. p = .32 Satisf . Mean percentage of points earned was 88 (range 68 – 108. In self-assignment of grades. p = .00 . with a mean of 3. p = . Social support and content-related interaction both can support idea development. and a sense of belonging as important ends in themselves.58. (2001) and Oren. “The discussion problems were the most helpful because you could see other 59 . student postings revealed the importance of online interaction as a means of ambiguity reduction. other students serve as important referents in online classes.63** Correlation analysis revealed a statistically significant positive relationship between student perceptions of their own presence and the points earned in the class (r = .11 . the range of responses was 2 to 4 on a 4-point scale. Discussion Results from this study demonstrate the importance of the presence or immediacy of the other participants in an online class to affective and cognitive learning outcomes. the self-reported measure of learning was significantly correlated with students’ self-assigned grade (r = . affirmation.9).69** . as well as between student perceptions of their presence and the grade they assigned themselves (r = . Findings of this study also address LaRose and Whitten’s (2000) concerns that online classes may fail to connect students with one another and similarly may offer fewer opportunities for connection between teachers and students. self-assigned grades and points earned were not significantly correlated (r = .05 level (2-tailed) ** Correlation is significant at the 0.03). provided answers (or suggestions). or electronic. Table 3.01).01 level (2-tailed) Rating .54.07 . Student comments in open-ended questions on the summative survey and the open-ended self-assessment question in the final exam further demonstrate the role of student interaction as key to a positive online learning environment.46 Attitude . In this class. In emphasizing the importance of connection with others in online classes.18 -.64.40 . Scores on this item ranged from 2 to 5 on a 5-point scale. communities involve sociability. “virtual. through discussion boards. Mioduser and Nachmias (2002) that social presence is necessary for development of an effective community of inquiry. this also may increase the likelihood that students will complete online classes.2 and a standard deviation of .

More investigation of students’ assessment of their own presence and its relationship to outcomes is in order. offers important tools to enable heightened performance. ask for support. This result may also reflect more engagement among those students whose interest level. Establishing and supporting opportunities for students to establish both their own salience and provide social and material support in online classes. however. Future research should address operationalization both of presence and of performance. and with their attitudes about the course. specifically those focused on math. More importantly. The discussion boards were one of the best tools of the course. This study provides clear evidence in an online class for this relationship. 1988. Students’ perceptions of the presence they had in the class were significantly correlated with the teacher’s assessment of their performance in the class. 1998. “The other students were the best element of this course. In the end. Another useful extension of this research would examine change in perceptions of presence over time. would provide richer data. The instructor might have seen these students as more engaged and evaluated their performance more highly. Examination of additional types of online classes with other types of students also would provide opportunities to refine measurement and evaluate validity across contexts. perceptions of the instructor’s presence were significantly correlated with both the attitudes scale and student satisfaction with their learning.” Another wrote. It is easy to argue that interaction is not required for some subjects.students’ responses and ideas.” Consistent with the literature on teacher immediacy (Christophel. Because most points in this class represented solutions to genetics problems and therefore were largely objective. The role of teacher makes the instructor especially visible and especially important in establishing the tone and initial norms for the learning environment. as classroom dynamics develop. This study provides evidence for incorporating interaction among students into class design. Implications for instructors and designers These findings systematically demonstrate the significance of student-student as well as teacher-student interaction in online classes. the findings reflect the difficulty of operationalizing and measuring presence. and solve problems also allows students to articulate their understanding and to work through the material with an eye to others. 1990). offer ideas. Myers & Avtgis. Students who saw themselves as performing effectively may also have felt their contributions to the online discussion were valuable or salient. While instructor immediacy or presence was related in this study to attitudes and satisfaction. as would be expected.” And yet another noted. As Terry (2001) has found. The strongest relationships with perceptions of own presence were with performance. Limitations and directions for future research This study is limited by the small sample size and by the homogeneous nature of the sample. This may better prepare them for assignments and exams. Kelly & Gorham. A multifaceted presence instrument. one that examines presence with more than single items and addresses the construct more by evaluating specific behaviors rather than a global effect. and possibly their effort. individual evaluation played a very small role. This may be important to instructors. but potential inconsistency in how students interpreted the presence items may have influenced the findings. The ability to work online with other students. presence is what people perceive it to be. 1998. This suggests an opportunity to support student learning and performance through student-student interaction in essentially any online class. 2002). The finding in this study of a statistically significant relationship between students’ performance and their perceptions of their own presence in the class adds weight to the argument for interaction. 1990. Facilitating interaction is time-consuming and often demanding. both as assessed by the instructor and as evaluated by the students themselves. especially by working with the material together. was higher. The relationship of students’ reported perceptions of their own presence with the outcome variables was especially compelling. This relationship merits further attention. “Online discussions have been the best part and learning tool of all my online classes thus far. facilitators and course designers who are discouraged from requiring and/or supporting interaction. thus they assigned themselves high presence ratings. Freitas. some contexts. or some students. A third alternative is much less likely. Sanders & Wiseman. thereby improving their overall performance. It may be argued that this reflects the effect of self-efficacy or self-confidence (Jackson. this study highlights the importance of interaction among students to attitudes about the class. however. with the grade they would assign themselves. It is increasingly clear 60 . Gorham. attrition rates are particularly high. even in some of the classes where interaction might be considered unnecessary.

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Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. Permanent Injustice: Rawls' Theory of Justice and the Digital Divide. even subconsciously. She argues that another ethical theory should guide technological funding and policies in schools. 8 (1). or to redistribute to lists. to post on servers. in order to open scholarly discussion on the issues of injustice and technological funding inequities. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. classism. Cooper & Weaver. Funding. Noddings. I challenge educators to think about their actions with regard to funding. indicating that computer technology is used by less than one-eighth of the population. or as a way to solve the digital divide and the inequalities in school funding.Hendrix. and sexism now through technological means (Cooper & Weaver. administrators and educators embrace John Rawls' theory of justice. 63-68. or the time it takes to navigate an available public computer and Internet connection. and Internet connection. I can recall many instances when my friends and I would trade lunches and evaluate who had a better meal. 1991. educators and administrators would like to believe that all schools are created equally. we began to segregate ourselves according to race. Educational Technology & Society. but the world population is approximately 6 billion (Trend 2001). and Buber. Kozol. Rawls.simplecom. Bell. Inequalities. printer. Educational technology "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. 63 . Trend. at least one lunch would not be satisfactory. Abstracting with credit is permitted. and big yellow Tel: +1 205 339-1105 Abstract There are more than 700 million current Internet users. 2001. and gender. As a child who despised lunchroom food. thinking they have solved the digital divide issue. their lack of funds for a computer at home. In this article. and their curriculum materials. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Valenzuela. I want these educators to consider socioISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). AL 35476-3610 USA ehendrix@cobra. in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" Schools are microcosms of the world in which we live. Jr. class. during these exchanges. In this paper. However. and the time that it takes to wait for and navigate an available computer. Nkrumah. To copy otherwise. but in practice as well as in funding. Schools even perpetuate racism. especially in regard to technology. justice and equality do not exist. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. Martin Luther King. often viewed as a democratic panacea despite the costs involved and despite the fact that the majority does not have access to computers and/or the Internet. In addition. and nothing represents this microcosmic experience better than the lunchroom on any given school day. and my friends would poke fun at the lunch and its consumer. To paraphrase George Orwell." In this vein. 1992. homework assignments. 2001). create a placebo effect because most do not consider students' issues of transportation to the library. Educators think that they have solved the digital divide issue. this creates a digital divide for students. but in reality. Teachers often assume that students have access to computers at home or at a public library. The grim realities of inequities in school funding are conspicuous. Educators. Trend. embracing theories by Levinas. these discrepancies exist in our schools on an everyday basis (Anyon. the author argues that Rawls’ theory of justice does not work in practice with regard to technology. and I hope that I open a chain of discussions challenging their assumptions about their students’ access to computers and the Internet. 2003. 1997. they have just created a placebo effect because most teachers and administrators do not consider the students' issues of transportation to the library. but some lunches are more equal than others. 1999). some schools are "more equal" than others." – Dr. (2005). to republish. which become so ubiquitous that they are being ignored and accepted. Freire. Permanent Injustice: Rawls' Theory of Justice and the Digital Divide Elizabeth Hendrix The University of Alabama Instructional Leadership 2706 31st Avenue Way Northport. In regard to technology and schools. yet even at an early age. 2003. We were all together in the cafeteria. "all lunches are equal. but they fail to consider the fact that many students cannot afford a computer. wherein economic inequalities are embraced supposedly to benefit everyone. Many times. Injustices and inequalities in our schools are as commonplace as school lunches. and the funding simultaneously masks and unmasks the injustices. in which some are “more equal” than others. lack of funds for a home computer. Davis. textbooks. Computers are becoming common tools in schools. Keywords Digital divide. and many libraries are just as technologically under funded for disadvantaged students.

this equal access does not actually exist. Trend reveals the disparity in the number of computers." Without any knowledge of positions. homework as a whole is not fair for them. is like an oxymoron in practice. as long as everyone benefits. under this veil. one group – white. my niece and nephew often have homework where Internet research would be advantageous.12-15). Trend posits the technological gap and the computer ratio differentiation. almost certain. wherein inequalities exist for just ends. but they do not have Internet access at home. Within "A Theory of Justice. which adds another layer in the injustice and another catalyst for the "World White Web. technology is widening the gap between wealthy and poor institutions—as those with the least resources are least likely to afford technology. Trend. and 2. "Injustice. income. theoretically. this technological injustice and digital divide is a threat to justice. How is this unequal justice possible though? How is it that injustice does not exist when one group has more opportunities and funding than another group? Rawls answers this and informs us. contributing to what is now termed the "World White Web. my niece and nephew are required to get on the bus immediately after school because their parents are not able to pick them up. Thus. My niece and nephew do not have the same technological access. especially when educators and administrators perpetuate this injustice by positing it as fairness. school leaders maintain a "just stance" and argue that the technological inequalities are fair because all students supposedly have the same access to computers and the Internet currently. but he fails to mention possible.) Everyone is supposed to have an equal right to basic liberty. Trend (2001). Technology advances rapidly. because in reality. then. Schools that comprised more than 90 percent of students of color had a student-to-computer ratio of 17-to-1 in 2000. Although the school library is available after school for them (with several older computers and programs). The historic lag in the introduction of computers into many rural and urban schools is yet another symptom of the savage inequalities in school funding from district to district. "But there is no injustice in the greater benefits earned by a few that the situation of persons not so fortunate is thereby improved" (p." Here. the disadvantaged remain marginalized. 63). especially concerning technology. and society maintains justice because of this "veil of ignorance. then the disparity in benefits is acceptable and even just. uncovers the divide between poor and rich students in technology: Rather than democratizing education. especially with regard to technology. but do they really have the same access and opportunities now? According to Rawls. and at times. These inequities established the framework for differentials in computer access and usage that favored middle-class and wealthy students. However.” With regard to their restrictions involving the Internet. disadvantaged groups? If one group has more opportunities and financial support. but none of their teachers considers their situation and the costs of computers and the Internet." Rawls proclaims. For instance. Thus. and they live over half an hour away from their school. 2001). especially for the least favored. then one group has less. Despite the digital gap that exists at school and at home for these most disadvantaged students. and the inequities are conspicuous when one contemplates the minority students' disparity in technology levels. The family vehicles are old and unreliable and are only used for work and grocery shopping. or status. justice is fair when autonomy and a "veil of ignorance" exist. with more critical reflection.) Inequalities are just when they are for everyone's advantage. and with Rawls' "difference principle. even at times essential.economic class issues when they teach. the students who are primarily African-American and Latino (Cooper & Weaver. and computers become outmoded at an alarming rate." Two concepts direct these decisions: 1. 2003. Their teachers assume that every child has equal access to the World Wide Web (or should it be “World White Web”?). in Welcome to Cyberschool: Education at the Crossroads in the Information Age. Administrators and educators perpetuate injustice and inequalities because of funding issues. and other marginalized students do not have the same access to computers at home and at school either. compared with the national average of 10-to-1." the inequalities should only benefit the least advantaged in society. The disproportionate numbers only indicate the discrepancy in 64 . The children are aware of class issues because they have limited technological possibilities when compared to their peers. they even argue that homework is “unfair. people would logically engage in decisions that help themselves. In regard to technology. how does this difference in advantages truly help everyone? Can injustice and inequalities really create just ends or really help marginalized. This theory of justice. under which all members make beneficial decisions for every party. suburban students – clearly has more opportunities and advantages in regard to computer access and usage than the inner-city group. and the inequalities and injustice become conspicuous. and injustice would not exist because it would not be reasonable under the "veil of ignorance. inequities in the quality and overall speed and usefulness of these computers. wealthy. However. 145) Emphasizing the lack of democracy in our schools." (p. just injustice. is simply inequalities that are not to the benefit of all" (p.

sexism. Educators and administrators misuse Rawls’ theory to maintain injustice and inequities in our schools. especially in regard to school funding and technology. While parents and educators manipulate Rawls’ theory of justice. My niece and nephew have older computers to use at their school. pitting poor students against wealthier students in a battle for finances and fairness.] the poorest school district in Texas spent $2. I wonder if many administrators and educators are really aware of these socio-economic issues in regard to technology when they apply for grants." 65 . Educators are creating a larger social gap between the rich and the poor.127 per pupil. the suburbanites ask. and some even defend the injustice. In the wealthier school districts. assign homework. and these discrepancies do threaten justice and make it an impossibility so long as these disparities are perceived as being fair and right. but this is not a possibility at my niece and nephew’s school now. do not question funding inequalities.” and they are giving every student the same opportunities to succeed and advance. These parents and educators profess equality with "every child" and "guarantee of education. Why is this the case? Could racism.] what harm can it really be to let us spend a little more. are these teachers really providing this equal opportunity and “state of the art” technology when other schools have more computers. "[.150 per pupil while the wealthiest spent $14. However. For school reform to occur. the Educational Testing Service 1999 study. Injustice and inequalities clearly exist in our schools and within technology. and they won’t be updated anytime in the near future because of school budget cuts and the lack of funding. while some students have “more equal” technological tools at their disposal." herein the very discourse implies "more equal.” Thus. and new computers are outdated within six months. In addition to Trend's analysis concerning the disproportionate amount of computers in wealthier schools. when one considers the rate at which computer technology advances. and there is never a discussion about the quality of computers in the various school districts in my state. and injustice follows without question or critique. "The digital divide: Understanding and addressing the challenge" from the New York State Forum for Information Resource Management. what harm can it really be to let us spend a little more?" (p. the incongruity of computer worth is yet another unexplored layer of this phenomenon of technological just injustice in the academic environment. or 6. they state. and unfortunately.." despite the fact that some funds are "more equal" than others. Students are denied the right to technological knowledge. As a side note. and whether or not these tools are indeed “state of the art. Ron Renchler (1992) explains. its poorest district spent only $3. and argue about funding needs. teachers as well as administrators tell him that their technological tools are “state of the art. In most availability in schools. "Computers and Classrooms: The Status of Technology in U. which are newer. How wide is this "miseducative" and funding gap? Paraphrasing Lonnie Harp. and programs.75 times more. and have better. However.S. Echoing Rawls’ theory of justice. Their computers have not been updated in several years. uncovers the fact that the "surburbanites. "So long as every child has a guarantee of education. Jonathan Kozol (1991).514.. but it does not work in practice. so long as the wealthy students and parents are satisfied. they really advocate inequalities. and administrators and educators ignore these divides. when my brother asks about the school computer programs and the students’ access to the Internet.238 per pupil in 1989-90.. 8). Thus. some students are falling behind. New York's wealthiest district spent $19. as well as these suburban parents. Rawls’ theory of justice may work in theory. because minority students are hurt as a result." wealthy parents and school donors in the suburbs. How can an equal education truly exist when funding incongruities are this conspicuous? This gross funding disparity perpetuates the notion that some schools are "more equal. two to five times more per pupil is spent in the wealthiest districts than in the poorest districts" (¶ 2). argues that societal gaps create the digital divide. technology. the lesson for my niece and nephew is one of just injustice. one must wonder about poorer schools that have computers which are five to ten years old (or more). which are not addressed in our schools? Latimer’s 2001 report. this "miseducation" of minorities must end." however. chiefly within technology now. In my previous experiences with my niece and nephew. but the digital divide may widen existing social gaps and even create new ones (p. in Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools." revealed that poor students had half the access to computers in the classrooms compared to wealthier students. some students have new computers and new technological programs added to their schools each year. despite the fact that they justify the inequities in funding. Schools. Educators. the injustice is masked and ignored altogether in their school. "[. 222). per pupil. and classism serve as vehicles for funding and technological inequities. faster equipment and programs? I don’t think that this technological issue pertaining to quality and usefulness is even discussed or acknowledged. especially with computer technology. do not believe the funding inequities are unjust..

appropriate targets" (p. Definition. socioeconomic status may be more of a significant factor for inequities in technology than race or gender because of the immediate expense involved with technology. and renders forth advantages for white males at the expense of the other students’ 66 . A white patriarchal hierarchy serves as the framework for technology as well as school funding. focusing on inequities in Californian schools. and minority students are more predominant in inner-city schools. gender. and gender categories of which people are members. to broader issues of school inequality.” Children such as these grow up in a public school environment where the state and federal governments feel (quite blatantly under closer examination of funding discrepancies) that computer technology closer to “state of the art. and where college is a dream rather than an expectation.The problem is that educators and parents alike.” The difference and discrimination involved with these children in their own schools on a daily basis is palpable.” My niece and nephew are among many children in Alabama’s public schools (as well as schools all over the South. and wealthier Americans have more access regardless of race and gender. Spring (2000) sets forth his idea of students’ rights in education. Males have more access than females. and at worst. according to Jean Anyon (1997) in Ghetto Schooling: A Political Economy of Urban Educational Reform. Why are these children referred to as “ghetto” children though? Why can they be “targets” and "expendable?" “Ghetto” here in the technological arena is not limited to race alone. 33) Minority students are the last to receive technology and funds. wherein funding and technology discrepancies occur. and they are struggling to compete for jobs. it is masked. Why is it that inequality in funding and technology hurts the minority students. access to training in IT [Informational Technology] is not equitable and some people have greater access than others [do] with the likelihood depending on the income. reports: In California. at least in part. and the seventh right for every student is to have. differences in digital literacy and technological competence must be linked. (p. 3) White males have more means and more access to technology training. In addition. appropriate targets. racial. Historically. and at worst.” which would more adequately prepare these children for college and other further academic studies. class position plays more of an overreaching role (in conjunction with race. "Knowledge of the use of electronic calculators and computers" (p. The message for these children is that they must be expendable and targets because they are the ones who do not have school districts or states “spend[ing] a little more. rather than in addition to) in the determination and subsequent exploitation of these supposed “expendable targets." These financially challenged students in urban and rural schools are falling behind their suburban and wealthier counterparts in technology because of funding inequities. and class are inextricably linked in the hierarchy of oppression. not a given. these schools were the last to receive computers and last to become wired to the Internet. Clearly. and Native American students find themselves in the poorest fifth of schools. The majority of suburban students are white. all over the United States) who grow up in an environment where computer technology is a luxury. 161). White Americans are more likely to have access to computers and the Internet than African-Americans. enforces the status quo of injustice for these groups. with inequalities in funding and technology. which excludes poor minorities. or worse – wasted. (p. indeed. which places students like my niece and nephew in the position of becoming “at best expendable. Trend (2001). Latino. which gives them advantages over minority students in both academic and career fields. "regard ghetto children to be at best expendable. where more than 25 students share each computer. It is this more economically disadvantaged environment. and justice becomes hidden. technological inequalities are based on gender and racial issues: Yet. However. poor students do not have this "universal right. white males may benefit from technology more so than marginalized groups because of their overall class position. However. the choice becomes no choice. and Guidelines. not necessarily race alone. is unnecessary. In The Universal Right to Education: Justification. which are increasingly more technical. These are schools where every dollar committed to technology represents a dollar subtracted from somewhere else. What factors contribute to this masking? Could issues of race and gender be significant in these disparities? According to Cooper and Weaver (2003). within Gender and Computers: Understanding the Digital Divide. Though race. more than 80 percent of African American. 128). where choices have to be made between computer workstations and roof repairs. Why is it that these students are the last to receive computer workstations and wiring for the Internet? Why are inequities in funding and technology acceptable? When administrators have to choose between fixing a roof and incurring technological expenses.

Trend (2001) suggests applying Levinas’ ethical theory. In the end. Davis. Cooper. and my hope is that this educational discussion continues. wherein one group has more. In Gregroy. W. Davis’ "lifting as we climb. Educators need to reexamine how Rawls’ theory of justice is used in practice and in their schools. and is in this case. while their wealthier counterparts will. disability. sexuality. which is hidden under the guise of true democratic education? How can we change this injustice and inequity in technology and funding? What are the deeper implications of the discrepancies that minority students face? How can unjust school policies." Levinas’ "Face and Responsibility for the Other. 128-131." Nkrumah’s "consciencism. World ethics. D. (2003). D. they will never have the same amount of funding as the wealthier students. so some students are not “more equal. (Eds. 1923. 266-269. References Anyon. we need to remedy the notion of being "more equal" within our schools. should not feel that homework is “unfair” because of their limitations. New York: Basic Books. and big yellow buses. Computers and classrooms: The status of technology in U. schools. unless there is major funding reform. these issues will never be contemplated. Freire. Faces at the bottom of the well: The permanence of racism. Ghetto schooling: A political economy of urban educational reform. they should take on the responsibility of acting ethically and with social justice in mind for all of their students. some students. injustice will be perpetuated. If educators use ethical works. I and thou. In order to move towards a just technological school environment." and Noddings’ "ethic of care. as the number of Internet users certainly will in the future. Buber. especially in regard to technology without proper funding. especially in regard to technology and school funding. In addition. In Gregroy. ever benefit everyone? What are educators to do? As long as educators and parents justify the inequalities with masks of ignorance.S." Freire’s "conscientization. W. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company.). such as Buber’s "I and Thou" ethic. World ethics. and they should be aware of these issues and even make their students more conscious of them. without manipulating them. and they need to embrace a more practical ethical theory. The questions that educators should be positing are: How can we bring to the surface the impact of the digital divide. these scaffolds may hold the promise for building more equal access and funding for all students. D. which is premised on respect and recognizing the other." then inequities in funding and practice may be resolved. 1964. 1970. like my niece and nephew. instead of one select group. 1985. Without active scholarly discussion.” If we can fully bring the digital divide out from behind the mask of just injustice. 1988. New Jersey: Educational Testing Service. and the threats of injustice will be assuaged (Buber. gender. Levinas. textbooks. & Giancola. despite their funding. they should model and use Noddings’ ethic of care to lift their students up. and students should discover justice and equality as commonplace as lunchrooms.. (1997). we might be able to see students’ success grow. especially with regard to technology because of teachers’ and administrators’ assumptions that everyone has equal access to the Internet and computers. 1984). California: Wadsworth Publishing Company. In the future. & Weaver. first educators should recognize themselves in the faces of their students. (Eds. Davis. wherein one group has more. Since these ethical frameworks are not premised on unjust principles. or socio-economic class status. M. Gender and computers: Understanding the digital divide. J.rights? Rawls’ notion that inequalities are acceptable as long as everyone benefits is unjust. (1923). A.). so that their students can succeed and feel as though school is as fair and equitable as possible. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Radical perspectives on empowerment for Afro-American women: Lessons for the 1980s. & Giancola. a detriment to the minority students because. K. much less alleviated. and the minority students will fail to succeed. despite the fact that Levinas’ theory is largely absent. (1988). 67 . in spite of minority issues such as race. which is just to all students. they will never have the opportunities to succeed that the suburban students do. to funding and school technology that we currently have. J. New York: Teachers College Press. Educational Testing Service (1999). Bell. Nkrumah. (1992). Thus. Noddings.

(1984). definition. (Eds. D.).). Spring. Savage inequalities: Children in America’s schools. Nkrumah. In In Gregroy. 68 . Financing equity in the schools. D. (1991). In Gregroy. Pedagogy of the oppressed. (1985).nysfirm. (2001). D. The universal right to education: Justification. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company.-Mexican youth and the politics of caring. (1970). (1992). L. 11 (39). G. Latimer. E. Trend. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company. J. & Giancola. Levinas.ericdigests. retrieved January 3. Caring: A feminine approach to ethics and moral education. 338-342. W. K. Rawls. J. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Brett.htm. The face and responsibility for the other. Provenzo. 2004 from http://www. The digital divide: Understanding and addressing the challenge. Computers. 1-2. School-finance suits look beyond money to issues of quality.). 157-160. Subtractive schooling: U. D. (1964).. (Eds.Freire. New York: State University of New York Press. New York: Rowan and Littlefield. Education 286-288.). World ethics. C. R. A. 2004 from http://www. and cultural change: An introduction for teachers.htm. World ethics. Kozol. (1971). World ethics. D. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Noddings. J. retrieved January 4.. Renchler. New York: Harper Perennial. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company. In Gregroy. and guidelines. W. Harp. curriculum. Welcome to cyberschool: Education at the crossroads in the information age. A. & McCloskey. 234-236. Valenzuela. P. & Giancola. & Giancola. (1999). (2001). W. Consciencism. (1999). Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. (2000). E. A theory of justice.S. N. W. & Giancola. (Eds. World ethics. (1992). (Eds.

Online collaboration and knowledge construction. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. The manner in which technology is used is partly determined by the design of the learning environment as it embodies the designers’ ideas and impacts humanmachine and human-human interaction. FL 32306.fsu.. to post on servers. Jonassen & Yueh. Lavigne. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS).. the functions of computers in online learning environments created by currently adopted course management systems in most schools and universities (e. 69 .edu Amy L. Educational Technology & Society. Guerrera. 2001. USA Tel: +1 850-644-8004 Fax: +1 850-644-5803 hhg2629@garnet. The effectiveness of such learning environments relies to a large extent on how computers are used. Designer Support for Online Collaboration and Knowledge Construction. 2000. FL 32306. Abstracting with credit is permitted. or to redistribute to lists. Research scientists proposed the idea that computers function as cognitive tools (Jonassen & Carr. & Shen. Abstract Designer support is critical for facilitating collaboration and knowledge construction in an online learning environment. Examples of strategies for creating a shared context include the use of metaphorical designs to graphically represent the virtual environment for intuitive navigation and role transplantation. To copy otherwise. Tallahassee. Designer support in this paper refers to the mechanisms that a designer builds in a technology-mediated environment to facilitate online learning. Examples of these two aspects of support are presented along a continuum ranging from technology that simply allows collaboration to collaborative technology that makes collaboration more accessible to users.fsu. Designer Support for Online Collaboration and Knowledge Construction Hong Gao Instructional Systems Program Department of Educational Psychology & Learning Systems Florida State University. 8 (1). However. H. and the use of multiple information channels and tools to support coordinated collaboration in task-based projects. This paper focuses on two aspects of designer support: 1) creating a shared context.g. Finally.acns. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. Center for Research of Innovative Technologies for Learning (RITL) Instructional Systems Program Department of Educational Psychology & Learning Systems Florida State University. USA Tel: +1 850-644-0149 Fax: +1 850-644-4952 ess0086@garnet. Facilitation of online communication Introduction With the development of computer and network technology. to republish. designers can employ communication scaffolds to structure online communication and artifacts as shared representations that provide contexts for online discussions. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Keywords Designer support. Designer support. WebCT) are far from what is desirable. the potential application of similar mechanisms to online course management systems is discussed. ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). and 2) facilitating online communication and knowledge E Shen Instructional Systems Program Department of Educational Psychology & Learning Systems Florida State University. FL 32306. Tallahassee. In order to facilitate online communication and knowledge construction. Baylor Director. Baylor.fsu.acns. Lajoie. Tallahassee. & Munsie. Blackboard. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee. computer-mediated learning has become a common practice. Teasley & Roschelle. USA Tel: +1 850-644-5203 Fax: +1 850-644-8776 baylor@coe.Gao. on the other hand.. A. is critical for facilitating collaboration and knowledge construction in an online learning environment. L. 1993) that extend students’ capacity to learn and create knowledge. E. (2005). thus. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. the use of informational support for decision-making.

In doing so. 2004) discussed their change of metaphors for the Inquiry Learning Forum from “floating doors” that create a pseudo-physical feel to “a more virtual school appearance” (p. An example would be using a metaphorical design to graphically represent the virtual environment to create a sense of time and space. ranging from features that allow collaboration to those that support collaboration. In the following discussions. 1999). it is essential that a shared context be created to foster the establishment of social relationships. Support in creating a shared social context is associated with the problem of making transparent the social structure that is tacit in real life. designers of MathForum (www. Creating a Shared Social Context A shared social context is important for online learners to socialize. Shared context can be established with various amount of support in design features ranging from having virtual environment representations to foster social relationships. particularly when learners are strangers with little or no previous collaboration experience. 1999). is related to the mechanisms that can be built into the learning environment to ensure the quality of online interaction. It is usually difficult for persons who are new to an online environment to decide what features are of interest to them and they will need support systems that contain information critical to make their decisions. given the research finding that the quality of learning and knowledge construction is closely related to the types of communication that occur between learners ( provide an “ i ” at the end of each discussion group so that participants can easily access information when they make decisions on which groups they wish to join. Informational support for decision-making Designers can also build mechanisms that provide information support to assist with decision-making. Apart from the different areas that designer support addresses. learn. Facilitation of online communication. 79) that gives users a sense of a concrete place. It is worth noting that research has indicated that the design of the virtual environment has to have the impact of being real and concrete. They consider those systems that allow collaboration to be collaborative use of technology where users of the system have to make efforts for collaboration to occur. Metaphorical Design: Graphical Representations of the Virtual Environment When no social contact is made prior to collaboration. & Scheckler.mathforum. on the other hand. To that end.” resulting in users of the system being more likely to relate to it and have sustained involvement in the online activities. and create knowledge. This is a distinction that was made in a recent paper by Dimitracopoulou & Petrou (2003) to differentiate technology supported systems based on the extent of support. and to having multiple information channels and tools to support coordinated collaboration in task-oriented projects. to providing informational support for decision-making. the examples will be presented along the continuum of designer support. the more realistic look and feel would produce a feeling of “place. 70 . it should also be noted that such support exists in a continuum ranging from features or systems such as instant messaging systems that simply allow collaboration to those that support collaboration. designers make it intuitive for learners to navigate and transplant the roles to which they are accustomed to the new environment. the socialization structures that have been so integrated into the traditional learning process have to be made explicit in some fashion (Dirckinck-Holmfeld & Sorensen. examples from existing design practices will be used to illustrate what mechanisms have been used to address the social structure issues and facilitate online communication and knowledge construction in online environments.This paper focuses on two sources of designer support in online learning environments: one is support from designers to create a shared social context and the other is support that facilitates online communication. In addition. For instance. Barab and his colleagues (Barab. MaKinster. while the systems that support collaboration are classified as collaborative technology where designers create opportunities for collaboration and/or make online collaboration more accessible to users. Where elements and the spatial layout of the virtual environment bear resemblance with the physical world that learners encounter in their daily practices.

List of Mathforum discussion groups (From http://www. more informational support is needed to support workspace awareness. as indicated in the following table (Table 1).math (From http://www.math.Figure 1. Similarly. p. Multiple Tools to Support Coordinated Collaboration In task-oriented projects.ed. Figure 2. in some online With a click on the “ “ button. participations can obtain information on the purpose of the discussion group. whether it is moderated. each of which requires different types of information. Such information appears in the middle of a conversation and the participants in the online conversation are informed instantly and can act accordingly. Such assistance that designers provide to support “legitimate peripheral participation” (Lave & Wenger. but such support only sets the stage for collaboration. Information on the discussion group of k12. but more importantly. the following information is provided to support social and action awareness: who logged on. they must be aware of what is going on with the project and then act appropriately. as indicated in Figure 2. how it can be accessed. This kind of support does not actively mediate the actual collaboration process and is not adequate when learners are engaged in task-oriented projects. 71 . learners should not only have knowledge of the environment. To achieve coordinated collaboration.ed. At least three kinds of awareness are of concern: social awareness. action awareness. Systems can usually provide some support for social awareness and action awareness. One simple example is the chat room in the Blackboard course management system that provides instant information regarding who enters the discussion and who departs at what time.mathforum. as well as where to obtain detailed information on the discussion group. as elaborated below. and activity awareness. 29) affects how well the user gets acquainted with the virtual environment and in turn his or her ensuing involvement.mathforum.html) Metaphorical design and embedded informational support are useful to get users/learners oriented with the virtual environment.

To successfully complete task-oriented projects online. whether he or she is active. resources. or rationale. the Gantt chart views in the planning pages in the notebook can be 72 . task dependencies based on roles. Figure 3. or frequency of collaborators’ interactions with a shared resource. happening?” location and focus of collaborators’ current activity Activity: “How are Creation or changes to shared plans.. frequency. timing. type. and resources. Rosson. a joint workspace with multiple tools that support the above types of awareness should be enacted. and current presence. exception handling However. evaluations. Three awareness concerns and information that might address them (Carroll. 611) Awareness concern Information needed to address this awareness concern Social: “Who is Presence of collaborators. 2003) The central tool that is displayed in the middle of the screenshot (Figure 3) is the collaborative editor. etc. and activity awareness. “science notebook”. plans. participants’ understanding of others’ actions. and activity in the system. Neale. location. 2003) (p. action awareness. Further. assignment or things going?” modifications of project roles. Collaboration and awareness tools in the Virtual School (Carroll et al. a metaphorical design used to create a shared social context. Activity awareness involves distributed goals. the session manager window on the left of the screenshot has three components: 1) the roster pane that provides information on members of the group. & McCrickard. how long he or she has been idling. and in what activity he or she is engaged. and 3) the notice board that documents significant actions to the notebooks and lists the last time when shared notebooks were edited. Various mechanisms were built in to provide informational support for social awareness. timing. Table 1. as well as assessment of the current situation. The following example is part of the notification system in the Learning in Networked Communities (LiNC) project for middle and high school students who collaborated in science classrooms. features of an online collaborator that convey motivational around?” state or attitude. the support for activity awareness that is necessary for the successful implementation of complex and long-term tasks is rare in online learning environments.. or intensity of individual or group activity or communication Action: “What is Timing. Learners are notified via auditory cues when their peers join or leave the session. 2) the notebooks section that notifies the user the notebook in use. Moreover.where he or she is in the virtual environment. group affiliations. Isenhour.

the quality of online learning is. 73 . McLean. 1999). reason for the conference. Different colors were used to indicate what pages are currently under a user’s editing control or are being edited by a collaborator. 1994) by having students select message descriptions (e. However. Scaffolds that center on certain aspects of interest are presented to elicit relevant information from teachers including the type of conference. some technological tools for online communication allow collaboration rather than support collaboration. CoVis (learning through collaborative visualization) provided collaborators with desktop video teleconferencing. In addition. two examples in which designers provide support for communication are discussed: one uses communication scaffolds and the other uses artifacts as shared representations to provide a context for online discussions. For instance. applications.” “I need to understand. the idea has been implemented in creating a case-based database for teachers’ professional development (Jonassen. However. a special multimedia scientist’s notebook. A shared whiteboard can also be activated for annotation of graphics. determined by and reflected in the types of interactions that occur while the learners are engaged in the activities. deadlines. Communication Scaffolds Many methods have been proposed to structure and facilitate online communication (Fischer. Rather. to a large extent. The textual information at the bottom of the window notifies the user that the page has been locked and is unavailable for others’ editing. What is evident in the above examples is that to support collaboration in task-based projects. goal of the conference. 1999). users of such systems have to make efforts to collaborate with each other in that there are no structures or other forms of representations available that would support their communication. 1994). and those annotations can be used to inform collaborators of a certain aspect of the project. As mentioned before. Bianchini (1997) found “discussions of scientific concepts. plan. Thus. Bruhn. These descriptions serve as metacognitive tools for learners to reflect upon their thinking process as well as to communicate their thinking to each other (McLean. and instant messaging systems are not designed to support collaboration. and help learners effectively organize and share their experiments or projects to achieve coordinated collaboration. visualization software.g. 2002. Edeelson. For instance. On the other hand. and the story (Figure 4). 1053) and the students mainly focused on observational or procedural matters in their activities. results of the conference.. alternative teacher action. Similarly. In the following sections. designers may need to have multiple tools to support different types of awareness. This strategy has been successfully implemented with young learners at KnowledgeForumTM (Scardamalia & Bereiter. support for activity awareness may not be essential. “my theory. a lock in green is used to indicate the notebook page currently under review by the user is the robot picture. real-time collaboration. obtaining information on the types of activities in which learners will be engaged will give the designer some indication of what kinds of support are indispensable. and completed tasks. Kittleson & Southerland (2004) observed that there were few instances of knowledge construction where each member of the team contributed and the consensus on a possible solution to the problem was reached. & Gomez. Facilitation of Communication and Knowledge Construction The establishment of a shared context and awareness support provides the potential for sustained conversation and knowledge construction. discussion boards.triggered to obtain information on project state. particularly activity awareness.” “new information”) for preparation of their messages. and connections appear to be rare. classroom placement. the students’ ability to conduct effective interactions with others was limited. studies on knowledge construction in collaborative learning have revealed that despite the efforts made in various learning environments (Ge & Land. & Mandl. Grasel.” (p. and access to the resources on the Internet (Pea. As illustrated in the screenshot. The above research findings point to the need for direct intervention on the part of system designers and online facilitators to support online communication and facilitate knowledge construction. Emails. 1999). shared software environments for remote. 2002) and one of the strategies is the use of communication scaffolds. earlier learning environments for collaboration in science projects have also had a wide range of tools to support online collaboration. For instance. task descriptions. reflection by the teacher. when the goal is for users to get acquainted with the online environment.

researched. Such strategies include the use of sentence openers in many learning environments including DIALAB (Moore. 1998). the archived conversations help instructors identify what skills they need to focus on in class. shared representations can also be used to facilitate the building of common ground. and the use of argumentation scaffolds and message labels in online debates (Jeong & Joung. training. Although the sequences of the conversational acts may be significant. the use of constraint-based argumentation scaffolds to assist learners in problem-solving (Cho & Jonassen. it fosters reflection on the part of the teacher who actually had the experience (Lin. Graphical representations have been found to be better than texts in assisting communication. Clarifications. The communication scaffolds not only assist the learners in enhancing the quality of online interaction. Artifacts as shared representations to provide contexts for online discussions Artifacts as shared representations can be another method to facilitate collaboration and knowledge construction. and furthermore. and practice prior to the use of the communicational scaffolds may help alleviate the problem of improper uses. the thinking and conversational skills represented in the sentence openers may not be not practiced (Dillenbourg. 2001). 2002).Figure 4. 1996). and extended to other online activities. from Jonassen & colleagues (1999. & Newbern. In addition. Good. More importantly. In the communication process. The differences in perspectives enhance the likelihood that teachers will engage in more reflections and discussions of their practices. 1993) and BetterBlether (Robertson. and thus. they provide online facilitators/instructors an effective means to monitor online interaction. & Pain. which is a critical process of knowledge construction (Ostwald. Database of teacher stories. Another concern researchers pointed out was that the communicational scaffolds may not be used by the learners as intended. 2001). 2001). scripting the learners’ conversations may not be necessary when effective group strategies are used. One possible solution is for designers to provide templates so that instructors can adapt the scaffold to suit the needs of specific tasks. but more importantly. One consideration is for the amount of structure imposed on students. the communication scaffolds structured the discussions and enabled learners to find different perspectives on similar cases. 161) The scaffolds in this case serve several functions. Some systems not only confine the communication moves within the selection of scaffolds but also have the students use the scaffolds in the pre-determined sequence to promote the quality of interaction. Caution should be taken when using communication scaffolds. 74 . On one hand. 1992) and they are used to guide interaction in collaborative activities (Suthers & Hundhausen. Dansereau. 1999). Studies have also found the potential risk that students may change their intended meaning to fit the given sentence openers and thereby change of the nature of the interaction (Soller. (Patterson. p. 2003). Similar strategies have been proposed.

59) Findings from empirical studies also support the use of collaboratively constructed artifacts. and the formation of temporary alliances. their interpretations of the shared representation become similar to one another’s. or professional engagements. 2002). p. and in some cases. In the above web page. is one of the systems that use artifacts (web pages) to support online discussions. 1996. Kukakuka (Suthers & Xu. Similarly. which will negatively influence the sustainability of online interaction. embedded communication tools enable users to conduct discussions in the context of the artifact. the explicit representations themselves become the medium of communication (Suthers. although graphical representations can be collectively or individually created in the whiteboard. Explicit representation assists in creating a shared context (Ostwald. while the subject lines of the group messages appear on the upper right frame. With the presence of the shared representations. The display of the associated artifact provides a context for 75 . A series of studies by Roth & Roychoudhury (1992. However. Likewise. and the systems do not assure the coordination between the discussions and the related artifacts. the use of adversarial exchanges. the artifacts and the associated discussions in such systems appear in separate windows. the subject lines of the group messages. the learning environment. One thing in particular about the discussion is that each message is centered on an artifact. 1999). 1994) found that the students “talked science” in creating the concept maps and engaged in processes similar to those in the science community: collaborative construction of concepts. discussions and interpretations may lack a context. as illustrated in Figure 5. and users can capitalize on the advantage by referring to part of the artifact or recovering discussions on certain parts of the artifact. and systems that contain “embedded communication tools” have been proposed and created. and the selected message. in the Blackboard system. In such systems. the process and outcomes of collaborative learning improved. the artifact associated with the message “storyboard” appears on the left frame of the screen.there will be breakdowns resulting from the limited shared contexts of participants with different cultures. 2002). For instance. As the shared context between participants increases. Kukakuka. Figure 6 displays a web page of a group discussion. & Hundhausen. and the selected message is shown on the bottom right frame. has the capacity to simultaneously display the artifact associated with the message on display. Without readily accessible representations. Girardeau. That is. participants can draw the attention of others to an object by pointing to it or naming it to ensure all are referring to the same thing. personal experiences. most online environments contain “parallel communication tools” (Suthers. Efforts have been made to improve the situation. Suthers and his colleagues have created different tools to facilitate communication.. the discussions on the associated graphical representations can only be accessed from the group discussion page. Guzdail & Turns (2000) used documents as anchors to motivate students and stimulate sustained on-topic discussions. 2002) that when the learners are provided with tools to construct content-specific visualization. 1993. which will be discussed below. it was found (Fischer et al. Figure 5.

as well as instant identification of the presence of collaborators. notice board to notify students of important actions on documents. Such design efforts would make the navigation intuitive and transplantation of roles easy in the virtual environment. or personal information students would like to share with the class. they are potentially useful. Additionally. designers could build scaffold templates which instructors could later adopt to suit their needs in specific courses. For instance. it is less likely that readers will misinterpret the suggested revisions in previous messages.the reader of the message to comprehend the textual information. and thus. 2002). These are the concerns that have to be addressed if embedded communication tools are to be useful in supporting online communication and knowledge construction. the capability of the system to simultaneously display artifacts and discussions would be beneficial to learners when the discussions are context-dependent. a “virtual office” where students can have meetings with instructors. a “lecture hall” where students can listen and/or view content related information. and a “discussion forum” where students can annotate each other’s work and conduct intensive discussions on course contents. the display of the Gantt charts along with 76 . in the planning phase of a project. To facilitate communication and knowledge construction. since the artifact maintains its presence in both the replies to the selected message and other messages along the same line. Also mechanisms that support coordinated collaboration should be made available for complex projects. metaphorical designs like the following could be used to guide learners in the virtual space: a “student lounge” for social activities. Figure 6. which causes learners to lose a holistic view of the discussion and the relationships between different aspects of the artifact (Dimitracopoulou & Petrou. Problems are being addressed such as the system’s lack of ability to differentiate between previously read and newly displayed messages and the absence of a notification system that would periodically inform users of newly posted messages (Suthers & Xu. Kukakuka: an online environment for artifact-centered discourse (Suthers & Xu. the artifact facilitates the building of common ground and knowledge construction. In addition. A problem with the systems that contain embedded communication tools is that discussions are usually fragmented by artifacts. All of these notification systems would enable students to coordinate their efforts in completing large projects. 2003). For instance. such as Gantt charts for students to plan their projects and keep track of actual implementations. postings of social events. Conclusion Although most of the above support is not available at present in the online learning environments of the course management systems widely in use. 2002) This system is undergoing revisions based on users’ feedback.

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Guzzi, R., Scarpanti, S., Ballista, G., & Di Nicolantonio, W. (2005). An Educational Development Tool Based on Principles of Formal Ontology. Educational Technology & Society, 8 (1), 80-89.

An Educational Development Tool Based on Principles of Formal Ontology
Rodolfo Guzzi
ISAC CNR Via Gobetti 101 Bologna, Italy

Stefano Scarpanti, Giovanni Ballista, Walter Di Nicolantonio
Carlo Gavazzi Space at ISAC,CNR Bologna, Italy

Computer science provides with virtual laboratories, places where one can merge real experiments with the formalism of algorithms and mathematics and where, with the advent of multimedia, sounds and movies can also be added. In this paper we present a method, based on principles of formal ontology, allowing one to develop interactive educational tools. The structure of our system starts from general considerations on knowledge itself moving on to formal ontological principles in order to obtain a robust knowledge frame and good awareness of knowledge levels involved during the teaching process. Our system is split into object-knowledge - the knowledge of the phenomenon to be taught - and meta-knowledge - i.e., how to teach it. Using a trip (journey) metaphor, together with the flexibility of semantic graph representations, we define the reference frame and we apply it to a case study related to the Planetary Missions, the subject of our research. This tool is provided with a multimedia interface to show the results of several current missions , but may be implemented with new missions.

Formal ontology principles, Edutainment, Knowledge graph, Knowledge representation.

With the advent of multimedia technology in computer science, the word edutainment (a combination of the words education and entertainment) has become broader in scope. In multimedia computers, the virtual laboratory, a room where experiments can be carried out, merges real experiments with the formalism of algorithms and mathematics, by means of sounds and movies. Even though at a first glance several words are not needed to justify the use of multimedia support to have entertainment in education, given its strong appeal to users, it is necessary to be aware of the importance of the use of entertainment within the framework of the dynamics of teaching. Several web sites in which edutainment is used, are poor and not really effective: the use of movies or images is marginal and ornamental. There is no real interactivity and the content is worse than a poorly written book, so that the level of teaching is not sufficient for learning. To better analyze the dynamics of teaching, especially in the web case, it is suitable to take advantage of the concept of control in teaching and its transfer from the teacher to the learner, a sharp way of analysis born in the 90s, even before the web widespread diffusion. Educational web sites can be analized by point of view of transfer of control. Our analysis may start from the following two cases as illustrative of several other cases. Without any intent of criticism we refer about two different approaches selected as representative of the matter under discussion. In NOAA education resources site ( the relation between users and the computer environment, the transfer of control is parcellized in different parts: those primarely dedicated to teachers, those dedicated to students and the cool sites for everyone. In such approach the web acts as a remote book with beatiful pictures with some quick and brief movie but not with a true interactivity. In a second case the NASA site ( the transfer of control is supported by a minimal interactivity mode with related articles and guides on space exploration. In both cases two actors are identified by the transfer of control: the person learning (that is supposed to learn) and the teaching environment (or better the environment in which teaching should be carried out). Then when a teacher is not physically present it is evident that the best way to learn is by a certain degree of computer interactivity. Initially, the learner is passive because she/he does not have control of the environment. The
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simplest way is to make a tour of the environment giving one an idea of what and how it is. Afterwards, the user becomes more active and interacts with the system. This stage is not necessarily the stage of understanding, but it will be the stage of pre-comprehension, which varies from person to person. Only when there is complete control of the interactivity can the users enter into the environment of the teaching system and become protagonists of their own learning within, of course, the limits of the information content of the system itself. Since learning strongly depends on personal attitudes, it is difficult to define, a-priori, which is the best approach: deduction or induction, or both. Probably the deductive approach is more natural for software tools, in which rules are defined a-priori. The aim of this paper is to present a method allowing the development of an educational tool. This method has been implemented in our multimedia laboratory and has been applied to space missions, which is the subject of our research. It may also be used for other subjects. Our approach is based on formal ontological principles, which are summarized in the following sections. Then we present the structure of our system and its semantics and, finally, the applications we have developed.

Ontology & Formal Ontology
Recently, computer science and, in particular, artificial intelligence have developed a new discipline called formal ontology. Formal ontology is an extension of the more traditional knowledge representation field because generic knowledge representation strategies are not sufficient to achieve the goal of engineering a piece of knowledge into a software system. This means that new tools or strategies are needed to find the best structure of knowledge, its disaggregation, relations between its atoms, and the hierarchy of its parts. Since it is currently considered worth thinking of knowledge as an entity by itself, before planning its engineering, it is important to outline which parts of it are devoted to specific domains and which are more general. This is why it is necessary to switch from knowledge considerations to ontological considerations. Briefly, formal ontology has been defined, (Cocchiarella, 1991), as: ”the systematic, formal, axiomatic development of the logic of all forms and modes of being “. Even though the genuine interpretation of the term "formal ontology" is still a matter of debate, it takes into account both the meanings of the adjective "formal": that is synonymous of "rigorous", while ontology means "related to the forms of being". Therefore, “what formal ontology is concerned with is not so much the bare existence of certain individuals, but rather the rigorous description of their forms." (Guarino, 1995). Formal ontology provides several hints about knowledge treatment in a system but here we are only considering those related to the knowledge structure. Thus, our approach is based on: an analysis of what is known about a certain argument, its subdivision into different homogeneous pieces, let us say atoms, the understanding of what relations there are among them, and the selection of some of these parts, that are explicitly devoted to the software system for handling the knowledge and above all for handling its ontological part. This involves the sharing between the static knowledge engineered into the system (that is the unalterable part, the part constituting the system) from knowledge that is alterable and may be modified by the user (in our approach the teacher). Although we will not go here deeper into the technical aspects concerning formal ontology, we describe how we have used formal ontological principles. From our point of view, an ontologically correct educational software system needs a proper knowledge representation, which will be presented in the next section, in which some of its components are devoted to handling explicitly ontological problems and then to carry out the computation of the knowledge transfer. From several points of view it is crucial to have some components devoted to knowledge processing: first because it increases the transparency of the system, and also because it allows an easy identification of those parts to be considered and modified for knowledge upgrades or changes.

Knowledge representation
As mentioned above, knowledge is represented by its own domain and its transfer educational structure. The former is the object of the system, that is to say the domain of the teacher’s knowledge which one handles

we have also introduced the concept of error. introducing and explaining an argument. which produces a warning and induces another trial. as shown in figure 1. in which there are feedback loops to represent dynamic systems. Categories are only conceptuals and do not enter into the software development. So our system is based on the trip cycle.e. For these reasons we do not describe their use although they are included in our Planetary Mission project. as though it were another path. The second is the system. and reaches the final destination which is the conclusion of his reasoning. and the evolution of their quantities. starts from certain assumptions. This approach contains the essence of teaching. Since in the description of phenomena or events we may have many starting points and many destinations. regardless of the complexity of the phenomena to be treated. we can always describe them by a linear procedure. State diagram: the trip cycle with bonus or warnings This linear. They contain a certain number of descriptors and are the main elements of our semantics. in a very natural way. classes and descriptors. the transfer of the domain knowledge is based on the assumption that any teaching process may be represented as though it were a description of a trip. It is worthwhile pointing out that we are not building a model of something. Semantics Let us now show the semantics we use to describe the process in our domain knowledge. and paths passing through inner steps. They represent the minimal self-consistent information in which the subject of knowledge has been divided. In our approach. by concepts. 82 . our system is also able to represent all those figures. the way by which the knowledge is transferred and engineered into the system and which cannot be altered by the user. We are simply describing a process choosing a starting point and a final destination. So. different from the correct path. Since our system is also dedicated to the user. structure can be applied to describe the phenomena which are the subject of the knowledge. i. In fact the teacher. to render clearer the structure of our semantics. They are used to describe the potential links between sets of classes. according to the level of detail of the description chosen. with several intermediate steps. Classes are the elements in which the narration has been segmented. Figure 1. Categories are sets of classes representing the same status or event. considered the initial set up. mono-dimensional. develops them by intermediate states. many paths linking them together. but only a description of it.explicitly and thus can be changed. so we do not use the approach of many modeling systems. The semantics of our language is defined by categories.

Descriptors are primitive elements which define the subject of the knowledge and allow the input of its relation to classes. Nodes contain the constraints of the narration. Figure 3. which can be considered the physical element which links one descriptor to another by arrows. The graph formed by classes and nodes summarizes the plot of the knowledge and represents the logic links. since there are different choices or potential paths that can be used during the narration. Each class. Figure 2. Elements of ontology. Frame of knowledge segmented into classes 83 . Descriptors inside classes shown The domain knowledge is segmented into self-consistent pieces. being a step of the narration. contains different descriptors to follow different paths of the narration but equivalent from the point of view of semantics. Each class may contain several descriptors. The strict relationship between each node and its descriptor and the connection between one descriptor and another defines a graph. Descriptors and nodes are connected together to form a graph that is the plotted structure. In figure 2 ontology elements and its semantics are shown. Each descriptor is associated with a node. All possible events occurring in the plot are shown by graphs. so the whole domain knowledge is fragmented but complete.

Example of constraint buttons for local paths inside the class Since.We might consider classes and descriptors as semantic structures. Figure 4. are their syntactic counterparts (see figure 3). some constraints are to be added to descriptors by the constraint buttons as shown in figure 4. the system is based on different paths related to the subject of the knowledge domain. Drawing arrows between nodes means mapping out possible paths in the narration. are to be inserted is shown in figure 5. while the nodes. 1998). our graph is the set of nodes and arrows connecting them (Luger et Stubblefield. 1998) or semantic networks ( Nilsson. with which they are associated. we do not deal with graphs in which 84 . Each node has a label to distinguish its descriptors. Then the whole domain knowledge will be built as a net. In order to make a distinction between two or more descriptors in the same class. Figure 5. between different classes. 1998). during each run of the system only one path will be taken. and many runs will be typically needed by the user to understand the subject being learned. as shown in Figures 5. Graph between classes and constraint buttons applied to nodes Knowledge graph Since the graph is a very common data structure to represent conceptual knowledge (Luger et Stubblefield. in which each knowledge atom will be linked to others to form the whole net information necessary. as mentioned above. An example of how some constraints.

Every time the step forward is subject to an error. The teacher mode acts to modify or implement the knowledge but not the structure of the comparator. In teacher mode it is also possible to define the conditions to proceed through the steps. In figure 6 we can see the two interfaces linked to the system kernel. Vice versa. A typical sequence of classes. 1993). and above disjunctions. One is used to set up the knowledge (teacher mode). User mode (or learner mode). Building relations between nodes also means also building relations between the descriptors contained in each class. The teacher mode acts on classes and descriptors of the system producing directories containing images. the narration proceeds to the next class. which is a standard way to represent every complex logical proposition.there are possible loops. 85 . AND-branches are nested into ORbranches. that is to say a condition for proceeding. This allows a partial conditioning. controlling the direction of the whole narration along that path. Conditions between classes are based on Boolean logic. selecting the best items or statements describing the domain knowledge . to condition only a path leading to a specific destination. In this mode one defines all possible steps and paths and all possible statements (and their features and constraints) to begin and carry out the trip. The whole domain is only completely described by all paths. the classes graph is nonsense. named Comparator. so a good learning system implies several trials. The use of graphs instead of trees gives more flexibility to the plotted description because we may have multiple paths leading to the same result. Vice versa our semantics may manage forks from each node because we may deal with graphs and not simply with trees which are simpler graphs. the user can make choices to define the main parameters of the trip. Each OR-branch is labeled by a selected destination or by ALL destinations. Class graph & conditions Once we have built up a graph node. At the bottom we have conjunctions. In addition to this simple structure. The system uses link nodes to infer link classes. Null conditions are considered true. branches may also be parallel. OR-relations. Each class may reach the next only if conditions defined in arrows linking classes are satisfied. it is possible to put a label. which are defined as paths among all those possible. This unit maintains and uses the transfer educational structure which is statically engineered and which cannot be altered by any users. properly prepared in teacher mode.e. During this phase. the learner acts as though he were teaching himself. data. Each run of the system takes a path of the narration and this path is a level of knowledge acquired by the learner. or to find the atoms of knowledge. AND-relations between atomic conditions. The user collects all the items necessary to define and complete the trip. Without at least one complete path. movies and sound files related to the topics of the domain knowledge selected. because one misses some links and has no complete information needed to run the system. because our semantic structure does not allow such structure in paths. comparing the choices made by the teacher with those made by the users (learners). the cognitive feedback system gives a warning to correct the procedure the user has set. The minimum necessary conditions for paths among classes are: not cyclic and at least one complete path. The logical sentence we adopt is the disjunctive normal form (DNF as defined in Barwise et Etchemendy. Then the entire knowledge can be taught as compounded by the descriptors graph (path graph) plus the conditions for proceeding. with AND and OR operators.. neither teacher nor learner. Link classes can be labelled. linked one by one as in a list. carrying out the task of interactively teaching through warnings and suggestions when learners make errors. in which the domain knowledge is explicitly transferred by means of simple rules defined in teacher mode. Operation on the system The operations to be carried out on the system are defined by teacher and user modes. Between the teacher mode and user mode there is a unit. It uses the domain knowledge. that is to say several runs. in order to be able to distinguish some paths from others according to the final destination. we also obtain a class graph. the other is used to learn (user mode). This is why we may consider OR-branches as case-branches. Teacher mode. is shown in figure 5. i. These conditions can break the narration if false and trigger a warning to the user. In this mode. that is to say one may have forks from some classes.

They are: possible transition between areas. conditions for proceeding between classes (linked to lists of items in areas) and special conditions (global conditions on system variables). Thus the user. decision selectors to carry out the trial/path in domain knowledge. We referred to some detailed scientific documents on space mission design (Wertz et Larson. The graphics user interface is. variables monitoring the system (linked to items and areas properties — displayed). condition of item transferring. on the other hand. When all the constraints and connections have been defined the system is saved and only the teacher can modify it. Application: a case study Space Mission Games Using Formal Ontology as presented above. drags and drops inside a proper iconized area descriptors in order to define the logical links between the steps of the narration. what the user deals with in user or learning mode.1999. The comparator between the teacher and the learner mode Graphics interfaces Let us now show how a graph is built and its graphics interface designed from scratch on the basis of our semantics. we need to create classes and related descriptors by simply clicking on the classes and embedded descriptors using the relative buttons (see figure 7). empty. The interface contains: storage areas. Doody. and some monitors showing system variables.Figure 6. 2001) to identify the main parameters considered as affecting a generic space mission. The user will find all the items describing the knowledge domain. They produce the corresponding icons in the computer window and directories on the computer hard-disk. If the computer window is blank. Several real planetary missions 86 . simply. Only when the construction is well defined and correct will the system run otherwise it shows a warning with information on possible corrections. storage areas with icons. Figure 7. We may start by activating the teacher mode. we have built up an educational tool about planetary missions. Main button field Operations are defined in teacher mode as relationships among all the ontological parts.

nasa. It is linked. a warning related to the mission failure (see figure 10) is shown.) and the target planet (from Earth to Uranus). in planet target class and so on. contained in classes. planet target. etc. we may add other pathways. see figure 9. Since the system accepts more links. The first descriptor inside the Platform class and ESA (ESA. different flight dynamics. and then to Mars. rocket. etc. probe. NASA missions at http://www. All the components are introduced inside the rocket silhouette by drag&drop Classes & Descriptors In this Space Mission Game. We may select Ariane as launcher (static mode). They may be subdivided into the following classes (plot segments): platform. The warning also contains a link to the space mission manual where there is information allowing the user to understand his error and correct it.documented by NASA (JPL-NASA at http://www. lift-off. trip. in our case defined by the components of the mission. we have three formal categories: launch. etc) and in the lower part the suitable amount of fuel. following the graph path from the starting node (the launcher) to the final one (planet destination). The corresponding descriptors. descriptors. These cases.nasa. for instance starting with the launcher Saturn or other launchers instead of Ariane.nasa. in the middle the instruments to perform the space mission (from the navigation sensors to power. different probes.jpl. by examples (figure 8) how to set up teacher mode and how to plan to reach Mars. different planets. Connections: Links & Conditions Let us show. 87 . A proper interface to QuickTime has been built up for AVI and MPEG movies. The link is simply obtained by dragging the arrow between the descriptors. users select the scientific mission (for instance to study the magnetic field. which are in the right part of the picture.jpl. The movie shows the mission as it proceeds and its results. probe. different landing approaches. Constraints are introduced by clicking on the arrows as shown in figures 4 and 5. and NASA database at http://photojournal. the system in teacher mode In user mode. atmosphere. In the upper left the chosen instrument for the scientific mission. to Ariane in Lift-off class (dynamics mode). Figure 8. Ariane. The Launch Button allows the mission to run and to be visualized. When the required conditions are defined the space probe is set up for its mission. are the nodes of our graph by which we outline all the different ways to carry out a planetary mission. are: types of launchers (static and/or dynamic state). flyby. Vice versa when a set up error occurs. and within these we have identified several possible different cases. target planets and related to the instrumentation allowing the fulfillment of the mission. etc. have been considered to tune mission parameters and main items with real mission quantities. We have fragmented a hypothetical mission into several pieces. Each node descriptor. 2004). are linked to movie fragments which are edited in a whole sequence when the mission is set up. Example of configuring. mission classes. always leading to Mars. by multiple arrows. by an arrow. exploration. in fact.

The knowledge frame is expressed by categories (only formal). The structure of our system is based on formal ontological principles for a robust knowledge frame and good awareness of knowledge levels involved during the teaching process.Figure 9. in conjunction with Boolean logic. Graphic user interface of Space Mission Figure 10. Warning example Conclusions In this paper we have presented a method to develop an interactive educational tool able to describe a selfconsistent process of knowledge learning based on the description of a defined phenomenon. semantic rules based on graphs. Using such items. The system contains two main units: one used by the teacher (to set up the knowledge) and one used by the learner (to learn by trial and error). classes and descriptors . have been developed. 88 .

Guarino.esa. N. Munich: Philosophia Verlag. We intend to apply the current structure in other fields of application. J. European Space Agency official site. Conceptual Analysis and Knowledge Representation. including medicine. Basics of Space Flight JPL D-20120. W. The advantage of our approach is that it is based on a mono-dimensional linear procedure resembling the form of a narrative. ESA (2004). which will be evaluated during the system run. N. The open structure of our educational tool allows it to be applied in other contexts. Formal Ontology. Guarino. J. CA: CSLI Publication. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Formal Ontologies in Information Systems. Space Mission Analysis and Design. in order to evaluate its flexibility and its ontological robustness in depth. & Larson. A New B. Wertz. (1999).bo. 43 (5/6). Artificial Intelligence. W.isac. G. by using the GUI tools.. This structure is easily transferable into a software tool which. Doody.In teacher mode the system is mainly based on two features: paths between classes and related constraints between classes. Space Mission can be downloaded from: http://yoda. 89 . Space Technology Library (3rd Ed. Formal Ontology. Stanford. Burkhardt & B. In N. (1993). Torrance. Artificial Intelligence. Nilsson. N. 625-640. discovering the information contained in the system. The user will have to choose or to set up elements and their related properties. Cocchiarella. (2001). (1998). retrieved 9 December 2004 from http://www. San Francisco. (1998).).). Guarino (Ed. Formal Ontology and Information Systems. a user friendly interface has also been created. D. retrieved 9 December 2004 from (1995). the user knows which events are encountered in each class.. the user knows whether he will be able to proceed or not from one class to another (of course along its path). The Language of First Order Logic (3rd Ed. Luger. on running the system.). 3-15. (1998). In user mode. Smith (Eds. 640-647.). N. The first release of an educational tool has been set up and called Space Mission and it is devoted to a planetary mission. By these two approaches the learning system is conditioned. J. References Barwise. Italy. & Etchemendy. CA: Morgan Kaufmann. A. International Journal of Human and Computer Studies. allows one to use the computer as though it were a piece of paper on which a pencil can draw a knowledge graph.cnr.nasa. F. (1991). It has been presented in several exhibitions to acquire feedback and in order to be closer to user requirements. In order to make the system attractive. Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology. Milan: Addison Wesley Longman. In H.jpl. Structures and Strategies for Complex Problem Solving (3rd Ed. Amsterdam: IOS Press. J. & Stubblefield. CA: Larson and Microcosm inc.).it/SpaceMission/ It runs on Windows and MacOS X operating systems. A guide is also included. and from the conditions.

Moon & Kim. which took 13 years to reach 50 million viewers (Molosi. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. W. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). 90-103. With such rapid speed. Selangor. Universiti Putra Malaysia. 2002. 2001. three phases exist between the Internet and education. The study is exploratory in essence and seeks to ascertain the comfort level of pre-service teachers where the Internet is concerned and hence to provide a glimpse of the future of the Internet in education within the Malaysian context. Fung. to assess their Internet use and attitudes toward the Internet. S. 1998). to republish. Selangor. Jalan Yaacob Latif. 8 (1). 43400 Serdang. teachers must be willing and able to use the Internet effectively in their The Internet as an Educational Tool and its Impact on Teachers The Internet serves not only as a delivery medium but also as a teaching and learning tool. Ng Siew Fung Cheras Secondary School. ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). S. learning the Web (using it for certain purposes) and learning via the Web (using it as a mode of learning).my Tang Sai Hong Faculty of Engineering. Selangor. Experienced and inexperienced Internet users among preservice teachers: Their use and attitudes toward the Internet. Wilayah The Internet revolution has brought drastic changes to the area of education.. This paper describes a study on pre-service teachers with differing levels of Internet experience. Malaysia mokhtar@educ. at one of the premier universities in Malaysia. Mokhtar Nawawi Faculty of Educational Studies. According to Lê and Lê (1999). It has revolutionized the way students learn and how teachers teach in the classrooms. Malaysia nsfung2000@yahoo. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. Studies have also clearly shown that the likeliness of teachers using the Internet effectively and the success of Internet utilization was very much related to the users’ attitudes toward the Internet (Liaw.Luan. 56000 Kuala N. or to redistribute to lists. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee.upm. 90 .. S. the permeation of the Internet technology into classrooms has created the opportunities for students to be active learners and allowed instructors to be facilitators (Anderson & Reed. Nawawi. & Hong. Malaysia saihong@eng. Keywords Pre-service teachers. (2005). Universiti Putra Malaysia. Educational Technology & Abstract Much has been said about the benefits of the Internet as a teaching and learning tool but to realize these benefits. To copy otherwise. 2001). Experienced and inexperienced Internet users among pre-service teachers: Their use and attitudes toward the Internet Wong Su Luan Faculty of Educational Studies. Malaysia Tel: +6-03-89468175 Fax:+6-03-89435386 suluan@educ. Abstracting with credit is permitted. Johnson & Hignite. M. the education field has not been spared the onslaught of this revolution. It took only four years for the Internet to achieve the same mark as the television revolution. to post on servers. Internet experience Introduction The Internet is without doubt the fastest growing communication technology today (Dlodlo & Sithole. Universiti Putra Malaysia. Internet Attitudes. 2000). Internet Use. 43400 Serdang. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. 2001). 43400 Serdang. They comprised learning about the Web (getting to know its functions).

Lê and Lê stressed that teachers and students are no longer bound by the traditional mode of learning but instead their interactions with one another is immediate. A study by Ramayah.explore the relationship between pre-service teachers’ use of the Internet and their attitudes toward the Internet. The number of participants accessible at the time of data collection was 313 and the participants were from seven different programs. Teachers also constantly need to face unfamiliar format and teaching strategies (Stoney & Wild. 2001). instant messaging and bulletin boards. 5). Morgan. UPM (N= 1601). Information Technology (IT). undeniably immense. They also reported that they did not have the time to learn how to use the Internet. 3). Lessons become more interactive and students become more independent (Lê & Lê. creates an environment where teachers will have more time working with individual students and small groups because instructions are delivered via the Web. three of them had no experience using the Internet. Ramlah. prompt. They used the Internet mainly to search for information and to access their e-mail. Wong. 2). the impact of the Internet on education has not been very encouraging. while communication between teachers and students are more targeted and directed (Boer. 2001). In this study. technology specialists. Under these circumstances. 4). the student centred learning environment is greatly enhanced. explore the types of Internet services used by pre-service teachers. explore pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward the Internet. Duggan. social and professional changes (Fetherston. They will need support as they face personal. Ridzuan & Kuek. the likeliness of teachers using the Internet effectively could be influenced by their attitudes toward the Internet. motivators. affection and perceived control while Internet experience is measured in terms of numbers of years of using the Internet. 2003) and pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward the Internet can significantly influence the future integration of the Internet into their teaching. 1998). attitude is measured in terms of perceived usefulness. Table 1 shows the number of participants from each program. According to them. Rohani and Tang (2003) reported that less than 50% of pre-service teachers in a government funded university possessed a high level of Internet skills despite having just completed an introductory Information Technology course that comprised six hours of hands on training on the Internet. Their responsibilities are more complicated as they are expected to be content experts. In another study. Objectives of the Study The specific objectives of this study are to 1). 1999). Teaching Malay as a First Language (TMFL) and Physical Education (PE). puts the lone teacher in a challenging and demanding work condition. Method Participants The target population of this study was pre-service teachers at the Faculty of Educational Studies.The effectiveness of the Internet in the classrooms is profound when used either as a teaching tool or as a delivery medium. therefore. Hess. determine if differences exist in attitudes between pre-service teachers with differing levels of Internet experience. The impact of this new education technology on teachers is. determine if differences exist in Internet service preference between pre-service teachers with differing levels of Internet experience. cooperative and collaborative learning advocates and monitors of student progress (Abtar & Kuldip. Mathew and Dohery-Poirier (2000) suggested that Web-Based Instruction (WBI). Teachers are spared the burden of repeating their teaching tasks with the use of WBI. In the Malaysian context. Home Science (HS). This is worrying because only those with good basic Internet skills tend to have positive attitudes toward the Internet (Hong. widely shared and resource supportive. 1999). Muhamad and Bushra (2003) found that the level of Internet use among university students was still far below expectation. Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). Of the 313 participants. Kamariah. Kim and Wilson (2001) stressed that within any format or teaching strategies. This is true with the incorporation of synchronous and asynchronous communication tools such as the e-mail. The remaining participants were from the following programs: Bachelor of Education majoring in Agricultural Science (AS). Abtar and Kuldip further added that this new learning environment instead. Data from these participants were eliminated. 91 . Counseling and Guidance (C&G). they avoided using the Internet because they did not know how to use it.

74). The youngest and oldest participants were 19 and 39 years old respectively. the third teacher compared the original and the translated English versions.5. use at home and leisure. Tsai et al. social.8.2. affection (items 3. Validation and pilot test Two of the authors of this paper content validated all the items in the questionnaire. 2. affection. the Internet services were grouped into three categories: information (items 2. 3. 3. 3.63 (S.10 and 3.7. The participants were also required to state the average number of hours per week spent on the Internet. measured attitudes toward the Internet in terms of perceived usefulness.4. perceived control and behavior.13) and perceived control (items 3. Three bilingual schoolteachers were involved in the translation process.2. 2. 3. rarely (average of 15 minutes per day).9) and leisure (items 2. 2. The items were also checked for clarity. 3. 2. The instrument comprised three sections (Appendix A) as follows: 1.6.5. 3.11.14). were adapted from the instrument developed by Hills and Argyle (2003). The subscales that made up this construct were perceived usefulness (items 3.11. ranging from never. The items were measured by a five point Likert-type scale. 3.10.8. Fifteen items measured attitudes toward the Internet in section three of the instrument (three items were removed after conducting pilot test). 3.10 and 2. Lin and Tsai (2001).4. 3. The item “The Internet can allow me to do more interesting and imaginative work” was changed to “The Internet can allow me to do more imaginative work” because it was double barreled in nature. Third section: Attitude towards the Internet All items in the second section except for items 2. All three content validators found the items to be suitable in the Malaysian context. 92 . 3.11. frequently (average of between 1 and 3 hours per day) and very frequently (average of more than 3 hours per day). Items 3.9. 3. 3. sometimes (average of between 15 minutes and 1 hour per day).10). This meant that the lower the mean scores.12.7.D.= 3. 2. 3.Table 1. 2. First section: Participants’ demographic background. Number of participants according to programs Program Number of participants AS 46 IT 16 HS 53 C&G 54 TESL 48 TMFL 40 PE 53 Total 310 The mean age of the participants was 22.15). 2. A qualified person with vast experience in the field of computer technology but not involved in the research was also asked to validate the items. Each item was measured against a five point Likert-type scale ranging from strongly disagree (5) to strongly agree (1). A double back translation was carried out on items to ensure that the items in the Malay Language were equivalent to the original English version. Instrumentation The instrument developed for this study was in the national language (Malay Language).5.7. 3. For this study.12). 2.3. The participants were composed of 238 females and 72 males. The first teacher translated the original English version into Malay. the more positive participants’ attitudes were as the scores given for the items were in reversed order. 3. social (items 2. Finally.2. The teacher agreed that the meanings of both versions were consistent. Part E of the second section comprised 11 different types of Internet services and the participants were required to indicate their frequency of use for each service. Internet experience and sources of Internet knowledge. Hills and Argyle categorized the types of Internet use into work. 3. All the items in the third section were adapted from Tsai. Second section: Types of the Internet services used.9. 3. 2.13 were reverse scored. The second teacher then retranslated the Malay version into English without looking at the original version.

The information sought by the students online was mainly for their studies. Of the 29 respondents.= 4. students took about 10 minutes to answer the survey forms. Table 2.62 and . however. This shows that students have a higher tendency to use the Internet for gaining information and to use it least for socializing. Table 3 shows that the participants used the Internet mostly for information related purposes as indicated by the high mean value (>3. The same author waited until everyone finished and collected the survey forms.96 hours (S. As in the pilot study. Data collection Data were collected from the participants on a voluntary basis at the beginning of their lectures with prior permission from the instructors involved. Those with such access spent an average of 4. The majority of them did not have Internet access at home (n= 197) while the rest had (n= 113).70) recommended by DeVellis (1991).08 and 1.= 2.7 35.D.47) per week Table 2 shows the various sources of learning the Internet against the number of participants. Internet experience and sources of Internet knowledge The participants reported spending an average of 3. The two least favored activities among the participants were online shopping and banking as indicated by the low means (1. The removal of this item meant that there would only be two items left to measure this construct. no queries suggesting that the items were clear and comprehensible. There were also no queries from the participants. The Cronbach alphas recorded for sections two and three were . These values were considered high as they surpassed the minimal consistency guidelines (>. It also shows that the students treated the Internet as a useful learning tool.09) surfing per week while those without such access spent an average of 2. On the average. the same author was present throughout the data collection process.41 hours (S.20 hours (S.77. One of the items from the behavioral construct was removed to improve the reliability of the instrument.= 3. There were. Sources of Internet learning Sources Number of participants Learning through friends Learning on their own Learning while in school Learning through courses while in university Learning from commercial computer centres Others 214 188 120 109 92 16 Percentage (%) 69.7 5. One of the authors of this paper collected the data for the pilot test at the beginning of a lecture with the prior permission of the course instructor.D.25).2 29.2 Use of Internet services The Cronbach’s alphas for sections two and three for the actual study were recorded at .00 years old (S.00) with the youngest and oldest respondents being 25 and 42 years old respectively.0 60. seven were males.= 4.D.6 38.70).77 (after the removal of three items) respectively. The same author was present throughout the data collection process to entertain any queries from the participants.D.The instrument was pilot tested on a group of teachers from the TESL program. They were not included in the actual study.78 and. The most common source was learning through friends. 93 . The authors were then concerned that the small number of items would not be a valid measure of behavior and eventually decided to remove the entire construct from the final version of the instrument.21) per week on the Internet. The mean age was 32. the survey forms were distributed to students. Most of the participants indicated that they learned from more than one source. After a brief introduction of the research. Results Participants’ demographic background. Twenty-nine out of thirty respondents answered the items fully.

D. Table 4 presents the participants’ means scores with the standard deviations of the three subscales.08 1.Service Getting information for studiesi Getting information in generali E-mail for studiesi E-mail to friendss Downloading free softwares Accessing online newspaperi Online gamesl Online discussionl E-mail to familys Online bankings Online shoppings i= information.25 2.07 1. the more time they spent on the Internet for various purposes.47 per item). On the whole the participants were nevertheless aware of the benefits of the Internet and were willing to use it to assist them in important tasks.95 per item) and lastly the perceived control subscale (an average of 2. The strength of relationship was considered as almost negligible.50 2. n= 310. Preliminary assumption testing was conducted to check for normality. The strength of relationship was considered as moderate.13±1. This means that the participants showed feelings that were more positive and perceived the Internet as useful.411 Attitude towards the Internet Attitude towards the Internet was measured in terms of perceived usefulness. however. l= leisure Table 3. affection and perceived control.55 The relationships between pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward the Internet and two other variables were also investigated using the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient.93 per item) followed by the perceived usefulness subscale (an average of 1. Internet experience and preferences of Internet services A one-way between groups multivariate analysis of variance was performed to investigate whether participants with differing levels of Internet experience had any preferences for different types of Internet services. 2. affection and perceived control Subscale Number of Items Possible range Actual range Mean Perceived usefulness 5 5-25 5-24 9.007]. homogeneity of variance-covariance matrices and multicollinearity. P < .18 1. information and leisure.69 1. n= 310.17 2. For this analysis.81 1.There was also a negative correlation between attitudes and Internet use [r= -.17 2.07 2. the scores of items representing types of services were summed up to arrive at a composite score. P= . Table 4. Three dependent variables (types of Internet services) were measured: social.74 Affection 5 5-25 5-25 9. The variables were the participants’ length of time being online per week and their use of the Internet. The results. the more positive the attitudes S.64 Perceived control 5 5-25 6-19 12.48±1.34 The lower the mean scores.0005].36±1. Types of Internet services Number of users 305 300 269 250 208 184 148 118 114 44 14 Mean frequency of use 3. linearity. The independent variable was Internet experience that was categorized into two levels.91± 1. The results suggests that the more positive attitudes they have toward the Internet.71±1.08±.96 3. those with at least one year Internet experience (Group 1) and those with more than one year experience (Group 2). s= social. Cohen’s (1988) rule of thumb was used for both relationships. Scores of perceived usefulness.314.80±0.54±0.153. There was a negative correlation between their attitudes toward the Internet and the time spent being online [r= -. No serious violation was noted 94 . Group 1 was considered to be inexperienced Internet users while Group 2 was considered to be experienced Internet users.85 2. The participants scored the lowest on the affection subscale (an average of 1. Both relationships were found to be statistically significant.25±0. univariate and multivariate outliers.85±1.71±1. show that they did not perceive themselves to be in control when using the Internet suggesting a lack of skill in navigating through the Internet and needing assistance to surf the Internet.

D.0005.260 .32 3.050]. Internet experience and attitude towards the Internet A one-way between groups multivariate analysis of variance was also performed to determine whether participants with differing levels of Internet experience differed in terms of their attitudes toward the Internet. P< . a more conservative alpha level for determining the significance for that variable be set.050 Affection 10. P< .95 3.92 1. Using the Benferrroni method.011 Perceived control 13. The data could be transformed or the cases with outliers be removed. The mean scores for perceived usefulness was not statistically significant [F(1. This suggests that participants with more than a year of Internet experience used the Internet more for information and social purposes compared to those who had a year or less of Internet experience.066.435.084] and social [F(1.088. There was a statistical significant difference between Groups 1 and 2 on the combined dependent variables: F(3. Tabachnick and Fidell (1996) recommended an alpha of .305)= 3. The authors decided on the second option as only three cases needed to be deleted. the mean scores for the two variables reached statistical significance (Table 5). leisure was not statistically significant [F(1. Differences between Groups 1 and 2 in terms of attitudes Group 1 Group 2 Dependent variables Mean S. p= .003 The variables were information [F(1.001* .33 2. partial eta squared= 0. Pallant (2001) suggested that if this happened.308)= 13. No serious violation was noted except for the presence of multivariate outliers.403 .0005. Mean S. Table 5.084 Leisure 2.89 7.D. perceived control and affection. The three dependent variables (attitudes) were perceived usefulness.066 .435 .041 Information 10.152 .303)= 6.912.403.88 9.0005. Wilks’ Lambda= 0.35 3.05 28.132 . F P Partial Eta Squared Social 7.51 However. P< . Pallant (2001) suggested that if this assumption was violated. Table 6.152. partial eta squared= 0. the mean scores for affection was also statistically significant [F(1. . partial eta squared= 0.007. The authors decided to use the most stringent alpha level. Preliminary assumption testing was conducted to check for normality.01 for the entire analysis because of the aforesaid violation.59 2. F P Partial Eta Squared Perceived usefulness 10.305)= 12.01.939.01 was still used for this second MANOVA analysis.48 12.0005.79. When the results for the dependent variables were considered separately using the Bonferroni adjusted alpha level of . P< . partial eta squared= 0.22 1.71 13.011]. The results suggested that participants with more than a 95 .003.024 * Significant at p< .025 or .47 16. .305)= 16. P= . two alternatives were available.007 . there was no statistical significant difference between them when measured in terms of leisure.000* .94 2. partial eta squared= 0. P< .02 9.except for the equality of variance for the dependent variable (leisure) which was not met.55 12.003 The ANOVA on the mean scores for perceived control was statistically significant [F(1. Mean S.77 12.D.000* . Wilks’ Lambda= 0.168 .024].06 2.260.308)= 7.003. partial eta squared= 0. This left 307 participants as samples.041] The mean score for the variable.0005. homogeneity of variance-covariance matrices and multicollinearity.039 * Significant at p< .60.75 3. The alpha level. P= . Differences between Groups 1 and 2 in terms of types of Internet use Group 1 Group 2 Dependent variables Mean S. linearity. each ANOVA was tested at the adjusted alpha level of .024]. There was a statistical significant difference between Groups 1 and 2 for attitudes: F(3.306)= 9.001.49 2. univariate and multivariate outliers. partial eta squared= 0. partial eta squared= 0.D.57 2.03 8. The results are shown in Table 6.68 1.308)= 28.000* .

41 hours per week when asked to indicate how long they used the Internet either at home or in campus. Since the introduction of online banking in this country four years ago. When the participants were online. The results also showed that besides learning through friends. They. The relatively higher scores on the perceived control subscale suggest a lack of skill while online. England . The least used services were online banking and shopping. This is still unsatisfactory compared to the average online time reported by Hills and Argyle (2003). Malaysian pre-service teachers’ average online time may thus be said to be moderate. spent an average of 7. It is. (2003) that undergraduates used the Internet mainly for seeking information. They reported that although students in a large research institution in the southeast United States used the Internet for academic purposes. in contrast to findings by Mathews and Schrum (2003). did not show any statistical significant difference in terms of their perceived usefulness of the Internet. Discussion An overwhelming majority of participants involved in this study indicated that they learned to use the Internet through several sources. The results concur with the results reported by Ramayah et al. Both groups. however. a high number of participants were self-taught. it can be assumed that the participants were more comfortable being online when someone who was Internet savvy accompanied them. Tsai et al (2001) suggested this could indicate that they had low anxiety with high confidence when using the Internet. it was possible that participants who did not have Internet access at home were deterred from subscribing to any Internet services. As online shopping is usually payable by credit cards. The computer laboratories in the university were usually fully booked and utilized for practical sessions. It is not surprising that the preferred services were related to information rather than for social or leisure purposes as the participants were undergraduate students in a university. Online banking and shopping are rather new services in this country and it may take a while for people to see the benefits of using such services.9 hours online per week. the more they had to pay. The use of the e-mail for their studies was also prevalent among the participants.year Internet experience had better control over the use of the Internet. It could be assumed that the most popular Internet service used was information related. therefore. seemed to spend longer hours online searching for educational related information. They spent longer hours on this type of service compared to the others. Despite the moderate level of Internet use generally. Even those with Internet access at home spent an average of only 4. unlikely that undergraduate students own credit cards unless they are given supplementary cards by their parents or if they have worked before. course notes retrieval and consultation with lecturers. Affordability or the ability to pay for Internet access has been proven to be a dominant factor in determining the number of Internet subscribers (Minges. This assumption is supported by a study by Duggan et al. many banking customers still express distrust at such services. This would certainly discourage users from using the Internet for a long time. They were seldom available to students to surf the Internet during their free time. However it is rather low when compared to a developed nation such as England where Hills and Argyle (2003) reported that their participants in Oxfordshire. This moderate level of use may be due to the high Internet subscription rates in Malaysia where users pay by the minute. It can be assumed that they would prefer to have someone more experienced to guide them while online. Moreover.20 hours online per week. The longer they used the Internet. 2003). were positive. not many students would be able to carry out such activities. most Malaysian undergraduate students do not own credit cards as banks require their customers to have steady incomes and jobs. they spent less time on it compared to nonacademic matters. (2001) which reported that university students usually used the Internet mostly for term paper research. As learning through friends was most common. It was highly likely that the participants would not be phobic to future use of the Internet as 96 . These findings are consistent with those by Duggan et al. The participants spent an average of 3. the participants’ attitudes toward the Internet when assessed. almost all of them used the Internet for searching information that was mostly for educational and general purposes. (2001) and Wei He and Jacobson (1996) who found self-taught or learning from peers to be the most common methods. This is much higher than that of Nigerian students where the average online time per week was only one hour (Jagboro 2003). however. however. The result of this study was. The moderate online time among the participants in this study may be due to insufficient Internet facilities in the university concerned. By charging a high rate.

In terms of perceived usefulness. Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Dr. Internet experience also encouraged positive attitudes toward the Internet. The research also provides some evidence that Internet experience plays a pivotal role in increasing Internet use. the more likely they would use it for information related activities compared to activities of a social nature. the authors are grateful to the three anonymous reviewers for the helpful comments and suggestions. Moon & Kim. Pre-service teachers with longer Internet exposure had more control over the Internet. caution must be taken when generalizing any findings for the entire population at the faculty where this study was conducted. (2001). Experienced Internet users tended to remain online longer than those with lesser experience each time they access the Internet. no statistical significant difference was detected suggesting that Internet experience was not related to students’ relaxation preferences. both groups did not show any statistical significant difference. Students with longer Internet exposure time and more opportunities to use the Internet in campus were found to have more positive attitudes toward learning to use the technology (Hong et al. A further limitation of this study was that it provided only a snapshot of the time when data were collected. 2003). Duggan et al. The more experienced they were. the longer they stayed online. The results were substantiated by the fact that the participants used the Internet for many purposes as shown in Table 3. The authors would also like to thank Wong Su Chen for her assistance. 2000). Those who had more experience using the Internet were in better control while online compared to those with less experience. The results from the second MANOVA conducted in this study also found that there was a statistical significant difference between those with differing levels of Internet when measured in terms of their attitudes toward the Internet. 2002. this finding proves encouraging as studies have clearly shown that the success of Internet utilization was very much related to the users’ attitudes toward the Internet (Liaw. Their attitudes toward this technology were positive. They also perceived the Internet as a useful tool. The results also suggest that these participants tended to be certain of what they were looking for and could navigate through the web with ease. 2001. This result concurred with Anderson and Reed’s (1998) findings which revealed that positive attitudes were related to increased Internet use. They appeared to be aware that the Internet held many benefits for them as undergraduate students in a higher learning institution. The tendency of those who have more positive attitudes. They regarded the Internet more as an educational tool rather than a tool for seeking entertainment or improving their social lives. Minges (2003) asserted that Internet use was closely linked to education. It is likely that they will integrate the new technology effectively in their classroom instruction as they are convinced of the benefits of the Internet either as a teaching tool or as a learning medium. Johnson & Hignite. Tsai Chin-Chung for granting permission to use their instruments in this study. Conclusion This research shows that the vast majority of pre-service teachers in this public university used the Internet for many reasons. The results from MANOVA revealed that those with differing levels of Internet experience differed significantly in their preferences of the Internet services. The authors of this research also found that the more positive attitudes the participants had. When compared in terms of entertainment. 97 . Peter Hills and Dr. those who favored the Internet as an educational tool tended to share them with their friends. The experienced participants appeared more independent while online and it was likely that they surfed alone. All data collected were based entirely on the honesty and how the participants perceived their use and attitudes toward the Internet. to use and integrate the Internet in their teaching-learning process in the classrooms is very high. According to Duggan et al.. Although much need to be done to increase Internet use and skills among pre-service teachers. went on further to suggest that this kind of feelings might actually enhance social use of this technology. Lastly. It should be noted that this study is preliminary and exploratory in nature. Participants with more experience used the Internet more for seeking information and improving their social lives. They seemed to believe that the technology helped to improve their productivity as students in a higher institution.well. It also must be recognized that the participants involved were undergraduate students who majored in education in one public university and had volunteered to participate in this study. Therefore.

& Lê. efficiency and enrichment in www-based learning environments?. D. 267-281.. Lê. retrieved November 14. Morgan. Duggan. K. Hypermedia and Telecommunications. Pedagogical challenges for the world wide web. K. W. (2001). (2002).firstmonday.firstmonday. D. & & Kuek. 2001 (1). 902-905. W. 1999 (1). Flexibility. O. S. (1988).org/8474. T. M. (1999). and difference. 2004 from http://www. A web-based study of students’ attitudes towards the web. M. Mathews. Computers in Human prior computer experience. 1999 (1). A. (2003). A study of Internet usage in Nigerian universities: a case study of Obafemi Awolowo University. Hills. (2003). 2001 (1). (1991). NJ: Sage Publications. Boer. Journal of Educational Computing Research. (2003). 19. 2004 from retrieved November 14.. K. Liaw. 2004 from http://dl. (2001). Internet and Higher Education. Jagboro. Hong.. Uses of the Internet and their relationships with individual differences in personality.. World Conference on Educational Multimedia. 1245-1246. (2001). (2001). D. Hypermedia and Telecommunications.aace. F. Dlodlo. retrieved November 14. retrieved November 16. retrieved August 20... & Argyle. M. Q. Anderson. 8 (2). DeVellis. & Kuldip. 18. 125-144. 425430. Journal of Educational Computing Research. Mathew. 747-752. Student usage of the World Wide Web: A comparative study. & Dohery-Poirer. 40 (4). 2004 from Hillsdale. S. (1999). retrieved November 26. 374-379. M. N. Hypermedia and Telecommunications.. W. retrieved November 14. (2003). (2000). (2000). Measuring students’ attitudes toward educational use of the Internet. & Schrum. Educational Technology & Society. Students' attitudes toward the use of the Internet for learning: A study at a university in Hypermedia and Telecommunications. L.html. Hess. World Conference on Educational Multimedia. K. P. Johnson.aace. 93-97. 2004 from http://www. A. 45-49. The effects of Internet instruction. & Reed. K. World Conference on Educational Multimedia.. (2003). The Internet as a tool for a revolution in education in Africa: A dream or reality. 2004 from http://dl.References Abtar. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.itu. retrieved November 15. World Conference on Educational Multimedia. K. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. An Internet survey for perceptions of computers and the world wide web: Relationship.. Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2001 (1). 25 (3).. 227-246. A. Fetherston.aace. World Conference on Educational Multimedia. 6 (2). Cohen. 6. Teacher survival in a web-based constructivist learning environment: a malaysian experience. Newbury Park. A. & Sithole.. T. K. S. A. B. ITU digital access index: world’s first global ICT ranking education and affordability key to boosting new technology adoption. Journal of Computer Information Systems. Minges. Scale development. 2004 from http://dl. M. 2004 from http://dl. M. & Hignite. N. Computers in Human Behaviour. Using the world wide web to enhance classroom instruction. First Monday. S. and learning style on teachers' Internet attitudes and knowledge. Ridzuan. A.aace. 59-70.aace.. Kim..html. 98 . 19 (3). High-speed Internet use and academic gratifications in the college residence. R. R. J. N. (1998).

40-50. T. Y. H. S. Internet usage among students of institutions of higher learning : The role of motivational variables. T. (2001). 37-38. & Bushra./Nov. 31-51. J. Ramayah. Pallant. SPSS survival manua.. 2003. A. (2001). S. Extending the TAM for a World Wide Web context. Ramlah. (2001). & Fidell. Tsai. B. A. J. 38. 37. Making the Internet work for Africa. 1. Information & Management. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. Motivation and interface design: Maximizing learning opportunities. New York: HarperCollins. Rohani. 38 (E). K.. Wong. J. Malaysia. L. Computers & Education. C.. S. & Wild. T. July 10-12. L. Paper presented at the 1st International Conference on Asian Academy of Applied Business. Jurnal Teknologi... C. J. M. Computers in Africa. A. 1-14. Tabachnick. Muhamad. & Tsai. Wei He. G. M. (1996).. 41-51. Sabah. 14. (1996). S. Kamariah. Moon. What are they doing with the Internet? A study of user information seeking behaviours. G. & Jacobson. E. (2003) Assessing IT preparedness among pre-service teachers at Universiti Putra Malaysia.Molosi. (1998). (2001).. Stoney. P.. & Kim. J. Oct. H. S.). W.. Developing an Internet attitude scale for high school students. 217-230. Lin.... B.. (2003). Internet Reference Services Quarterly. 99 . Canberra: McPherson. & Tang. Using multivariate statistic (3rd Ed.

5 Do you have experience in using the Internet? Yes (Proceed to Question 1. Part A: Background The purpose of this part is to collect some basic information about your background.4 Yes No Do you have access to the Internet at home? Part B: Internet Experience The purpose of this section is to collect some basic information about your Internet experience.3 Gender Male Female 1. 1. please indicate why.5.7) 1.Appendix A Internet Use and Attitude towards the Internet Survey Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.1 1. 1. Your responses will provide valuable insight into preteachers' Internet use and attitudes toward the Internet. Please answer each question in the following three sections to the best of your ability.Ed (Information Technology) 1.Ed (Home Economics) B.6 How long have you been using the Internet? ____________years 1.2 Age Program of study ____________years B. (You may place more than one checkmark in the appropriate boxes) (You do not need to proceed to Sections 2 and 3) Don't know how to use the Internet No time to learn about the Internet No time to use the Internet 100 . B and C by placing checkmarks in the appropriate boxes and filling in the blanks for written answers.Ed (Teaching English as a Second Language) B.Ed (Agricultural Science) B.6) No (Proceed to Question 1.Ed (Counseling and Guidance) B.Ed (Physical Education) B.7 If you answer 'No' in question 1. SECTION 1 Please complete Parts A.Ed (Teaching Malay as a First Language) B.

3 E-mail to friends E-mail to family 2 3 4 5 101 . 1.1 On the average.No interest at all Others (Please indicate) Part C: Source of Internet knowledge The purpose of this section is to gather some information about the source of your Internet knowledge. how long do you use the Internet in a week? ____________hours Part E: Frequency of Internet Use The purpose of this part is to determine the frequency of your Internet use on a scale of: 1= Never 2= Rarely (Average of 15 minutes per day) 3= Sometimes (Average of between 15 minutes and 1 hour per day) 4= Frequently (Average of between 1 and 3 hours per day) 5= Very Frequently (Average of more than 3 hours per day) 1 2. Part D: Length of Internet use 2.8 I gained my Internet knowledge from: (You may place more than one checkmark in the appropriate boxes) courses at university courses at commercial computer center school self-study friends Others (Please indicate) SECTION 2 Please complete Parts D and E by placing checkmarks in the appropriate boxes and filling in the blanks for written answers.2 2.

9 2.5 2.10 2.3 3.8 2.2.5 3. I am afraid that I might damage it in some way The Internet makes society more advanced The Internet makes me feel uncomfortable The Internet enlarges my scope I do not need someone to tell me the best way to use the Internet I feel bored toward using the Internet 102 2 3 4 5 3. Part F: Attitudes toward the Internet The purpose of this part is to assess your attitudes toward the Internet on a scale of: 1= Strongly Agree 2= Agree 3= Not Sure 4= Disagree 5= Strongly Disagree 1 3.8 3.10 .4 3.7 2.6 3.12 Obtain information in general E-mail for studies Obtain information for studies Online banking Online shopping Download software Access online newspaper Online discussions Online games SECTION 3 Please complete Part F by placing checkmarks in the appropriate boxes.11 2.7 3.2 3.6 2.1 I could probably teach myself most of the things I need to know about the Internet I hesitate to use the Internet in case I look stupid The Internet can allow me to do more imaginative work I need an experienced person nearby when I use the Internet If given the opportunity to use the Internet.9 3.4 2.

without the assistance of others When using the Internet.14 3.13 3. I am not quite confident about what I am doing The Internet helps me acquire relevant information I need If I get problems using the Internet.3.15 103 .12 The Internet makes a great contribution to human life I can use the Internet independently.11 3. I can usually solve them one way or the other 3.

This paper. Request permissions from the editors at Abstract Though it has been rightly said that what is wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. 1995. and lack of relevant software appropriate and culturally suitable to Nigeria as the major stumbling block o the adoption of ICT in secondary education in Nigeria. as it has not made significant effort to integrate ICT into secondary school curriculum. In modern society. Many studies have found positive effect associated with technology aided instruction (Burnett. over 7500 elementary schools owned 15 or more computers. there has been a staggering amount of research and publication related to ICT use for educational purposes during the past decade. and Fitzgerald and Warner. or to redistribute to lists. therefore. Abstracting with credit is permitted. Nigeria is on he wrong side of the international digital divide. A great deal of instructional and administrative work in secondary school in Nigeria is still carried out manually. more than $900 million was earmarked for educational technologies (Hess & Leal. Nigeria needs ICT to aid teaching and learning and educational management. However.Aduwa-Ogiegbaen. Internet Gateway. 104 . there is no doubt that modern life is dominated by technology. ICT is an instrument for the economic and technological development in the 21st century. The report also says half-a-million teacher used computers during he same period and that half of U. Today. 1994. Nigeria philbet2@yahoo. 2001) ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). lack of human skills and knowledge in ICT. & Iyamu. Also. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Virtual Learning Environment. Nigeria’s Telecommunication Introduction The role of technology in teaching and learning is rapidly becoming one of the most important and widely discussed issues in contemporary education policy (Rosen and Well. and Thierer. 1996). The report suggested that over one million computers were in American elementary and secondary schools and that more than fifteen million students used them during 1985. There is universal recognition of the need to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education as we enter the era of globalization where the free flow of information via satellite and the internet hold sway in global information dissemination of knowledge. S. Also. Benin To copy otherwise. examines the major obstacles militating against the use of ICT in secondary education in Nigeria. Most experts in the field of education agreed that. There is no doubt that computer can aid the instructional process and facilitate students’ learning. to post on schools) owned 15 or more computers. therefore. Using Information and Communication Technology in Secondary Schools in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects Samuel Ereyi Aduwa-Ogiegbaen and Ede Okhion Sunday Iyamu Department of Educatinal Psychology & Curriculum studies Faculty of Education. Educational Technology & Society. In the more advanced industrialized nations. S. It has been almost two decade since the figures quoted above were released. E. 104-112. relevant textbooks and adequate classroom let alone being given adequate fund for high-tech equipment. (2005). It identifies he high cost of computer hardware and software. Nigeria cannot afford to be on the wrong side of the digital divide. in the US administration’s fiscal 2001 budget. secondary schools in Nigeria are not given adequate funds to provide furniture. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. E. There is no doubt that those figures would have increased tremendously since then. Already. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. O. Becker (1986) reported a comprehensive survey of the instructional uses of computers in United States public and non-public schools. This has actually gingered a new and strong desire to equip schools with computer facilities and qualified personal necessary to produce technologically proficient and efficient students in developed countries of the world. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). 2000). Keywords Information and Communication Technology. Cyber Education. weak infrastructure. when properly used.. to republish. At present the cost of subscribing to the Internet is too high for many of the impoverished secondary schools in Nigeria. information and communication technology hold great promise to improve teaching and learning in addition to shaping workforce opportunities. 8 (1). secondary schools (about 16. Poole (1996) has indicated that computer illiteracy is now regarded as the new eosiyamu@uniben. Bergheim and Chin (1984) reported that the US government made available $529 million to schools out of which 60 to70 percent was spent on computer education. University of Benin. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. 1987). Using Information and Communication Technology in Secondary Schools in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects. nearly everyone in the industrialized nations gained access to ICT and the purchase of computers for school use in such nations as the United States has been increasing in such a pace that is difficult to keep track of how many computer machines are now in American schools (Harper.

manufacturing industries and multinational companies in the oil sector have embraced multimedia technology to bring innovative solutions to their current challenges. to promote the use of computers in school administration and management. Unfortunately. The Economic Commission for Africa has indicated that the ability to access and effectively utilize information is no longer a luxury but a necessity for development. The main purpose of ICT “consists just in the development of human mental resources. In 1988. According to Okebukola (1997). Nigeria enacted a Policy on Computer Education. 2001. the computer is capable of activating the senses of sight. hearing and touch of the users. political power in Nigeria has been used to entrench mediocrity. are already on the wrong side of the digital divide in the educational use of ICT. There is no doubt that in the current harsh economic competition.70). In a rapidly changing world of global market competition. many developing countries. the central government made available $325 million. These programs in African countries mentioned are supported by their government through the ministries of Education. is now using information and communication technology to help secondary schools students to become better information users. Though the chalkboard. so have other developed nations been doing same. teachers and students are using computers extensively as information tools. and consumer culture. none has quite impacted on the educational process like the computer.P. In Uganda. However. Thus the chalkboard and textbooks continue to dominate classroom activities in most secondary schools in Nigeria. and ICT as a course of study. especially in Africa. In Africa. beyond the distribution and installation of computers in the Federal Government Colleges. 2001). Just as the United States and Britain have been budgeting huge sum of money for cyber education. The banking sector. Such programs link schools around the world that in order to improve education. the story is the same as the wider availability of computers in schools was made possible through government funding largely through the Local Education Authorities (LEA). ICT as instrument of high technological development. ICT as instrument for economic development. ICT has the capacity to provide higher interactive potential for users to develop their individual. in an attempt to keep pace with development in computer education. the private sector in Nigeria has embraced ICT to stay afloat. If Nigerian wants to be a major player in the global market place of ideas and prepare her citizens for the new environment of today and the future. intellectual and creative ability. textbooks. over time. In Senegal. 105 . Why does Nigeria need ICT? The question of why Nigeria needs information and communication technology may appear too simplistic and unnecessary. Okebukola (1997) concluded that computer is not part of classroom technology in over 90% of public schools in Nigeria. concerted efforts have been made by many governments to initiate Internet connectivity and technology training programs. misplace priority. and increasing democratization. While television and film impact only on the audiovisual faculties of users. ICT as a tool for management. corruption in high places. Even many developing nations have embraced ICT. enhance cultural understanding and develop skills that youths need for securing jobs in the 21st century.In Britain. If a country such as Uganda which has less than a-fifth of Nigeria’s resources. why is Nigeria lagging behind? The answer is simply mismanagement of the huge resources of the country and inability of political leaders to prioritize Nigeria’s developmental needs. Visscher et al (2003) reported that following the Education Reform Act in 1988. first to all secondary schools and then to the Primary schools. The plan was to establish pilot schools and thereafter diffuse the innovation. the country should embrace ICT for the following reasons: ICT as aids to teaching and leaning. Unfortunately. which allow people to both successfully apply the existing knowledge and produce new knowledge” (Shavinina. ICT as aids to teaching and learning The importance of ICT is quite evidence from the educational perspective. insurance. the political conditions in Nigeria for the past thirty years leave no room for continuity. radio/television and film have been used for educational purpose over the years. Such ability and capability must find bearing in information and communication technology in the global village. The direct effect of these is a battered economy and an educational system that is decaying by the day.16). basic education is necessary for an individual to have the capacity and capability to access and apply information. automation. an interconnectivity programme known as “Uganda School Net” is dedicated to extending educational technology throughout Uganda (Carlson & Firpo. the project did not really take off the ground (P. Over the years.

budgeting. including educational institutions. performance. According to Shavinina (1997). biology and so on. history. officials still go through the laborious exercise of manually registering students. maintaining records of pupil. Information and communication technologies are being used in the developed world for instructional functions. personnel selection and training system monitoring and evaluation. literature. The country seems to be living in prehistoric times in the educational management while even developing countries in Africa such as South Africa. Many of these files are often eaten up by rodents and cockroaches thus rendering them irretrievable. In educational multimedia application Shavinina (1997) asserted that today’s learning contents are domainspecific products and that they dominate the world market. facilities procurement and management. equipment maintenance. physics. Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind in using multimedia to raise the intellectual and creative resources of her citizens. finance. At the instructional level. A great deal of routine administrative work in government establishment is still done manually with the state and the Federal government showing little or no interest in embracing ICT. Thomas (1987). mathematics. In most Nigeria schools. along with the convenience of storing large quantities of information on ‘small disks or tapes’ (P. as a result of globalization. Kenya. support services. printing reports and drawing architectural designs. infrastructure. Educational administrative functions include a wide variety of activities such as educational governance. domain-specific educational multimedia is directed to knowledge acquisition skills development in the language arts. 1987). Most of these companies in which government hold majority shares have been mismanaged over the years that they have become a huge burden and a financial drain-pipe to government. said that “Computers bring great speed and accuracy to each of these tasks. The importance of ICT in Nigeria strongly manifests itself from an economic standpoint. 1987).The collective and rigid nature of learning and the passive nature of the learning associated with the use of radio. Today. The huge man-hour spend on these exercises can be drastically reduced with ICT to enhance overall management procedure. motion. Today. Uganda and Tanzania are far ahead of Nigeria in ICT applications. still keep records in files and tucked them away in filling cabinets where they accumulate dust. text. Through the simultaneous use of audio. simulation and health practices. There is no doubt that ICT provides productive teaching and learning in order to increase people’s creative and intellectual resources especially in today’s information society. television and film do not contribute any innovative changes to traditional methods in education system. The prevailing condition in school management in Nigeria is disheartening and discouraging. computers are used by pupils to learn reading. keeping inventory list of supplies. ICT gives ample and exceptional opportunities to the students to develop capacities for high quality learning and to increase their ability to innovate. This is particularly important for children whose adulthood will blossom in a cyber environment entirely different from that of the present (Shavinina. accounting. industrial competition is increasingly harsh and companies must not only come up with innovative 106 .5). The official administrative drudgery in government offices and education institutions can be better managed through ICT. and so on (Thomas. Despite its huge material resources and population endowment. ICT as tool for educational management It is not uncommon to find that many establishments in Nigeria. Nigerian children need to be taught by radically new educational programme and variety of educational contents with multimedia playing key role. supervision. Nigeria cannot be counted among progressive nations using ICT in educational management. paying bills. research. art. music. It is striving for a private sector driven economy hence it is selling its shares in many companies so that they can fully be managed by the private sector. computers perform a host of functions in teaching and learning as many nations are adding computer literacy. as technology has become a critical tool for achieving success in education. multicolor images. graphics. ICT as instrument of economic development The present government in Nigeria is pursuing the deregulation of the economy with a passion that has never been seen in the country. reading and writing literacy as skills students will need for succeeding in a technologically developed world (Thomas. 1997). social studies. hence deregulation in the country today. doing cost accounting.

65). This is what makes human subservient to technology rather that technology being subservient to humanity. enterprising. most Nigerian graduates acquired overdose of theoretical knowledge. “technology is progressively effacing the two previous environments: nature and society” (p. Dabalen and Oni (2001) asserted that Nigerian University graduates of the past decade are poorly trained and unproductive on the job. satellite. Modern society desperately needs highly able citizens who can bring innovative solutions to its current challenges and at the same time produce new ideas for ongoing socio-economic and political advancement (Shavinina. skill and training that would help to solve problems that do not yet exist today. New and sophisticated breakthroughs in high technology encourage companies to introduce technological innovations rapidly into their business practices. and wireless technologies combined with innovative business practices are beginning to make up for the shortcomings of the traditional wire line technologies. Unfortunately. the economy. though majorities of Nigerians are yet to benefit from the services due to high cost. Nigeria was introduced to cellular technologies a little over two years ago and this has revolutionized the communication industry in the country. In fact. The United States Space Programme has benefited immensely from rapid development in high-tech and today’s information and communication technology. Nigerian graduates are not properly trained for the new positions that are opening up in the new companies being established. 1997). responsible and selfreliant professional. Contemporary society strongly needs highly able minds that could productively solve many economic problems of today. The environment Elluh talked about is that which enables us to live. As society changes. Nigeria lags considerably behind others in the development of small and medium scale enterprises. There is need for the country to re-strategize and expand its vision so as to cope with the challenges of a technological society. Nigeria needs to replace the traditional pedagogical practices that still underpin its educational system. This has been due to the fact that there are no jobs out there as many government establishments and private companies are even retrenching workers as a result of hard times being experienced by the economy. There is strong need to know and use modern technology in our social life. There is no doubt that one of today’s realities is an extremely fast development of high-technology.products and services to the global market but must do so with unprecedented speed. the business and education. 2001). Today employers of labour are in search of graduates with requisite knowledge. Though the Nigerian government has opened its doors to foreign investors and many of them are coming in. they need intellectual and creative employees who’s “novel ideas are to a certain extend a guarantee of companies’ existence” (Shavinina 2001. which does not match well with the demands of workplace practice. ICT as tool for higher technological development In today’s world. If Nigeria must be part of developed world in the near future. it must lay the proper foundation for ICT use in the education sector. which are the mainstay of modern economy and society. ICT as a course of study The most challenging aspect of the post-industrial era is how to meet the demand of the information society that modern man is trying to build. Such development calls for a rethinking of the objectives education should pursue. He asserted that modern man cannot live without our gadgets.134). In many parts of the developed world. cellular. the educational system has to change accordingly (Westera and Sloep. sets us in danger and it is immediate to us and mediates all else. There is a high demand for highly skilled and technologically trained workers. P. the country is already on the wrong side of the digital divide. In recent years thousands of university graduates found it difficult to secure good paying jobs. According to Walton (1995). In a report of the World Bank sponsored research study on the state of the Nigerian graduate. This has resulted in a huge change of the individual’s life in business and private settings. The report indicted Nigerian University graduates as deficient in mastery of the English language and requisite technical skills. but our primary means of reaching others in far and near places are mediated by technology. Nigeria can only be part of such modern society if ICT facilities are deployed to all sectors of the economy. The role of education in developing modern society cannot be overemphasized. society and education are highly interdependent. Because. it must embrace technology and discard some of the old habits and perspectives and retool completely. modern employees represent the business’ human capital. For the companies to survive. not only are we surrounded by technology. According to Elluh (1989). 107 . Modern companies need employees that are proactive. Such highly able minds are nurtured by a country’s educational institutions.

weak infrastructure. other costs associated with peripherals such as printers.In order to revolutionize Nigeria educational system. the average Nigeria worker may require more than two years’ income to buy one. the country needs ICT not only as tools for communication but also as a field of study. which can boast of electricity supply for 24 hours a day except probably areas where government officials live. Obstacles to the use of ICT in secondary schools in Nigeria There are several impediments to the successful use of information and communication technology in secondary schools in Nigeria. 108 . Currently. especially under extreme weather conditions as obtained in Nigeria. While a personal computer may cost less than a month’s wages in the United State. especially those operated by the new foreign investors need skilled workers with basic knowledge in algorithm. there is no part of the country. Apart from the basic computers themselves. There have been cases whereby expensive household appliances such as refrigerators. complex programming. Nigeria needs to establish a virtual learning company along the model developed and implemented at the Open University of the Netherlands. The virtual Learning Company is regarded as a state of the art cyber education. These are: cost. it aims to bridge the gap between education and professional working. video recorder and even computers has been damaged due to irregular power supply. most of them are still theoretical in nature to impact meaningfully on the society. For the past fifteen years Nigeria has been having difficulty providing stable and reliable electricity supply to every nook and cranny of the country without success. flow chart design. such as Nigeria. and web design. a formidable obstacle to the use of information and communication technology is infrastructure deficiencies. monitors. it is difficult to keep high-tech equipment such as computers functioning. extra disk drives are beyond the reach of most secondary schools in Nigeria. few Nigeria universities are already having computer study as part of their academic programs.. paper and pencils. According to Westera and Sloep. Electronics equipment such as radio. Nigeria also needs computer technicians and engineers. (2002). “Is a distributed. Modern companies. modem. lack of skills. Nigeria has over 6. Cost The price of computer hardware and software continues to drop in most developed countries. Though.” (P. Majority are short of books. Many of the schools lack adequate infrastructure such as classrooms and only few are equipped with television or radio. which strives to bring together the context of education and workplace. The schools can not also afford the exorbitant Internet connection fees. the Netherlands Virtual Company.116). When electricity supply is not stable and constant. lack of relevant software and limited access to the Internet. paper. Computer equipment was made to function with other infrastructure such as electricity under “controlled conditions”. between theory and practice between knowledge and skills.000 public secondary schools. the cost of computers is several times more expensive. The Nigeria Open University has a lot to learn from the Netherlands example by offering a concrete and meaningful environment that closely resembles the student’s future workplaces. television. The high levels of dust during the dry season in Nigeria also make electronic equipment to have short live span. These new fields of study could be introduced as areas of study in Nigeria universities and polytechnics. Nigeria has just launched its own version of Open University in Abuja after so many years of planning. but in developing countries. Weak infrastructure In Nigeria. The Nigeria University Commission recently established a virtual learning website but its impact is yet to be seen and it is too early to be assessed. it offers students a rich and meaningful context that resembles the context of professional working in many respects. virtual learning environment that embodies the functional structures of veracious companies. The Netherlands virtual Company was established to answer to future challenges of modern society. deep freezers and cookers have been damaged by upsurge in electricity supply after a period of power outage.

sealed rooms and stable electricity are lacking in many urban homes and rural areas.In rural Nigeria most inhabitant do not have access to electricity. there are clear indications from many countries that the supply of relevant and appropriate software is a major bottleneck obstructing wider application of the computer. In 1997. there is dearth of 109 .000 connected. On the Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM).109) Lack of relevant software There is no doubt that the ultimate power of technology is the content and the communication. Information transfer using ICT is minimal or non-existence in secondary schools in Nigeria (Anao. The few Internet access available in Nigeria is found in urban centers. the cost of producing relevant software for the country’s educational system is enormous. television. There is acute shortage of trained personnel in application software. there are two major problems to be encountered. most secondary school teachers lack the skills to fully utilize technology in curriculum implementation hence the traditional chalk and duster approach still dominates in secondary school pedagogy. about $3. connection fees for telephone lines were about $1. Nigerian needs to figure out new ways of building necessary infrastructure to support ICT in the country. According to Carlson and firpo (2001). There is a great discrepancy between relevant software supply and demand in developing countries like Nigeria. the current rate is still too high for many Nigerians. Secondary school teachers in Nigeria need to be trained on educational technologies and the integration of computers into classroom teaching. the need for locally trained workers to install. Software that is appropriate and culturally suitable to the Nigerian education system is in short supply. First. 2003). To change this situation. In Nigeria also. Though the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has rated Nigerian’s Telecommunication Sector as the fastest growing in Africa. majority of Nigerians have no access to telephone. At the end of 1999. these products do not integrate into curriculum across countries. Nigeria is also ahead of most African countries with more than 2 million subscribers connected. software developers and publishers in the developed countries have been trying for long to develop software and multimedia that have universal application. techniques. it also lacked the human skills and knowledge to fully integrate ICT into secondary education. 000 lines with 450. Between 2001 and 2003. The current rate is too high in a country where the minimum monthly wage is about $51. thereby denying rural secondary schools opportunity to benefit from the use of electronic equipment such as radio. Lack of skills Nigeria does not only lack information infrastructure. total private investment in telecommunication industry in the country was $50m and there were over 700. Though Nigerian’s telecommunication sector is growing faster than in most African countries. do not receive any training at all (Okebukola. maintain and support these systems cannot be over emphasized. video recorders and computers. due to the differences in education standards and requirements.500. Again. today it is about $148. and assistance that can help them develop computer based projects and activities especially designed to raise the level of teaching in required subjects and improve student learning (P. Even if Nigeria tries to approach this software famine by producing software that would suit its educational philosophies. As at the moment. 1997). To use information and communication technology (ICT) in secondary schools in Nigeria. at worst. most of the subscribers to the Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) and landlines owners are found mostly in urban centers. It is also on record that the connection fees for telecom facilities have reduced drastically over the years. These environmental realities are difficult to manage because fans. more than 3 million landlines have been added to the existing telephone capacity. the over 3 million landlines and 2 million GSM subscribers are a far cry from the ideal when such figures are meant to serve Nigeria’s nearly 124 million population. Those who are designated to use computers in Nigeria do not receive adequate training. Though.8 billion new investment by foreign private investors have been recorded. “teachers need effective tools. The government officials and officers acquired more than half the lines connected. Second. operating systems. network administration and local technicians to service and repair computer facilities. The telecommunication sector in Nigeria has attracted more direct foreign investment hence the growth rate is faster than any other sector of the economy. According to Salomon (1989). Another obstacle to ICT development in Nigeria is inadequate telecommunication facilities.

accounting for expenditure. It is true that many of the tasks above are not effectively and efficiently done in secondary schools in Nigeria.000 Internets subscribers. They have to charge high fees in order to recoup their investment in reasonable time. English language is taught and learned as a second language in Nigeria and many teachers of English are weak.6% of the populace has home personal computers. Nigeria has about 500. Prospects There are numerous and good prospects for the use of ICT in teaching and learning in secondary schools in Nigeria. reporting students’ progress and testing students and scoring tests which help to reduce paper work. many secondary school teachers are already teaching large classes of students. First. the few reliable Internet providers who have invested huge sum of money in the business have a very small clientele. Second. In this way. The few reputable companies. Furthermore. computers can be used for individualized learning in secondary schools in Nigeria. Secondary schools in Nigeria are not given adequate funds to provide furniture. For many years. students no longer receive the much desired individual assistance. Also. In this situation. microcomputers will enable the student to progress at his or her own pace and receive continual evaluation feedback and corrections for errors made. requisite books. which does not allow for the competitive environments that reduce telephony rates. The efficiency in teaching various subjects could be improved. computers can serve administrative functions. The following major areas suggest the range of applications that computer can serve teachers and learners in Nigeria. the Nigerian government had a monopolistic control of telecom service. 110 . computers allow the development of partner-like interactive and individualized relations with the user. The greatest technological challenge in Nigeria is how to establish reliable cost effective Internet connectivity. which render reliable services. especially in rural areas in Nigeria. people need to be trained in instructional design. Computers play the role of the tutor and present the leaner with a variety of contents and symbolic modes. Another administrative application of the computers is their use for budget planning. Many of these companies provide poor services to customers who are often exploited and defrauded. charged high fees thus limiting access to the use of the Internet. To overcome this. the computer can enhance problem-solving skills of the learners by focussing on thinking skills especially in subject such as mathematics. Third. For instance. Such Internet providers are made up of Nigerians who are in partnership with foreign information and communication companies. computer can enhance educational efficiency. Nigeria in lagging behind other African countries such as Uganda. Again. Paltridge (1996) asserted that the penetration of Internet hosts is five times greater than in monopoly markets and that Internet access in countries with telecommunication competition enjoyed a growth rate five times higher than the monopoly environments. laboratories and adequate classrooms let alone being given adequate funds for high-tech equipment (computers) and Internet connectivity.qualified computer software designers in the country. Due to large classes and differences in individual learning style and pace. Senegal and South Africa who are already helping secondary school students in those countries to become better information users. due to the lack of adequate electricity supply. They can replace the laborious exercise of filing papers in filing cabinets and shelves where records accumulate dust over a long period of time. Limited access to the Internet In Nigeria there are few Internet providers that provide Internet gateway services to Nigerians. In a country where only about 0. writing correspondences and reports. All that may change for Nigeria now as the government had invited private participation in the telecom industry and many investors are already in the Nigeria markets but it will take many years to know their full impact on Nigeria education system. secondary schools located in those areas have no access to the Internet and are perpetually isolated and estranged from the world’s information superhighway. It is possible to use carefully prepared computer programs to ensure that learners are accurately and systematically instructed. assigning students to classes. All Internet service providers in Nigeria are based in the urban areas.

September 10. knowledge incubation and management . The cumbersome exercise of searching by hand through the library’s card catalog or periodical indexes can be made easier by typing few key worlds pertinent to the research topic into a computer and the researcher can receive extensive list of related sources of articles in books and journals in just a matter of minutes. A. 7. Classroom Computer Learning. 127-48. K. Secondary school students in Nigeria are already farther behind their peers in developed countries. November 11. The WorLd program links secondary schools around the world in order to improve education. G. In L. NY: Mary Ann Liebert. thus widening the global digital divide. The program has been establishing computer laboratories and bringing Internet connectivity to secondary schools in developing countries around the world. 28-37. Fitzgerald. Larchmont. (2000). It is universally accepted that computers allow more independent exploration. a program initiated by the World Bank in 1997. computers will offer the Nigeria teacher improvement in the techniques of research. N. African countries such as Uganda. The Guardian Newspapers. Grand Rapids. 1989). and more significantly. Labour market prospects for university graduates in Nigeria. Cyber education: The future of Distance Learning. Fifth. from authoritative source of information to a guide of self-propelled exploration (Smith. & Firpo. Conclusion There is no doubt that teachers and students in secondary schools in Nigeria will have incredible resources available if they have access to the Internet. 85-114. G. ERIC/CUE Digest. Cornell (Eds. & Oni. & Werner. (2003). However. Computers in the classroom. References Anao. 75. Senegal and Zimbabwe are already benefiting from the WorLd program and it has improved the accessibility and quality of basic education in those countries. World Bank Report on Nigeria University system innovation project. which depended heavily on the traditional lecture method. V. New York: Eric Clearing house on Urban Education. (1994). (2001). A. (1996).. a fundamental shift in the way teacher teaches and students learn will be evolved. and develop requisite skills in youth which will prepare them for the job markets in the 21st century. Shavinina & R. It is also training teachers in these countries to acquire skills necessary to integrate information and communication technology into their classroom practices. 95. Bergheim.ericdigests. A. The role of the teacher. There has been a steady decline in government’s budgetary allocation to education over the past five years. from http://www. Nigeria needs to invest heavily in the Internet business and create enabling environment for secondary school students to participate in downloading available and useful knowledge in the Internet. The greatest challenge to the state and federal government is to ensure that budget cuts resulting from dwindling revenue and the need to satisfy other sectors of the economy do not adversely effect education. J. Journal of Computing in Childhood Education. (1989). A Recent update.htm. Burnett. changes from information dispenser to that of information manager.. more teamwork. By integrating information and communication technology into secondary school curriculum. 96-102. S. Society. The use of the computer to support cognitive behavioral interventions for students with behavioral disorders. there must be proper and adequate funding and financing of education. What I believe.). R Vandervert. MI: Erdmann. Computers in the J.Fourth. less didactic instruction. Technology as a tool for urban classrooms. (1984). retrieved December 21. Dabalen.. to integrate computer into teaching and learning in Nigeria. & Chin.. 2004. Becker. computers can change current pedagogical practices in secondary schools in Nigeria.Lagos. enhance cultural understanding. January. L. J. 111 . Carlson. getting to all time low of less than 1% in the 2003 federal government budget. Integrating computers into teaching: Findings from a 3-year program in 20 developing countries. Nigeria should join the World Links of Development (WorLd). therefore. Elluh. more personally tailored activities. K. InfoWorld. H. Inc. (1986). R.

Educational technology: its creation.Harper. HRM. Shavinina & R. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. L. R. R Vandervert. P. (2003). 112 . Cyber education: The future of Distance Learning. 11. (1996). (2001).). Social Science Quarterly. M. & Leal. The International Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. V. Computers in Curriculum. A shrinking “digital divide”? The provision of classroom computers across urban school systems. L. Salomon.). 115-136.). R Vandervert. Shavinina. E. Shavinina & R. 765-778.). Dublin. trends and challenges. January 29. A new gulf in American education. Cornell (Eds. N. P. Cyber education: The future of Distance Learning. L. L. Hess. Thierer. In M. How competition helps the Internet. 63-82. Cornell (Eds. Paltridge.. Walton & P. 25-34. Evaluation of the implementation. OECD Observer. In M. M.. W. M. Smith. A new generation of educational multimedia: High intellectual and creative educational multimedia technologies. 201. Shavinina. (1985). Towards a strategy of eliciting employee commitment based on policies of mutuality. August/September. Wild. (1996). NY: Mary Ann Liebert. 9-31. A. L. 35-63. 170-175. (2000). (1987). A.). Thomas & V. R.. D. V. 34 (3). O. (2001). Larchmont. (1995). Old. 7-18. NY: Mary Ann Liebert. & Michelle. UNESCO Africa. Educational multimedia of “tomorrow”: High intellectual and creative psycho educational technologies. In L. In L. (1989). Eraut (Ed. Oxford: Pergamon Press. A. G. Thomas & V. Thomas. 1997. development and cross-cultural transfer. 34-76. DC: Heritage Foundation. Oxford: Pergamon Press. use and effects of computerized management information system in English secondary schools. & Newton. Presented at the European congress of Psychology. (1997). A. S. Computer in Human Behaviour. V. computer experience and technophobia among public school teachers. D. Walton. The future of education in cyberspace. Kobayashi (Eds. Educational technology: its creation. Microcomputers in schools. V. L. The International Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. R. P. & Sloep. Lawrence (Eds. Ireland. Oxford: Pergamon Press. N. Poole. Kobayashi (Eds.. 357-366. the digital divide. In R. 26. (1989). M. In R. In R. (1997). Computer technology: An example of decision-making in technology transfer. Rosen. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Inc. D. 167-170. The creation and development of Educational computer technology. Smith. Divided over the digital divide. 18 (4). W. 14 (15). British Journal of Educational Technology. Washington. Computer availability.). L. Westera.. Visscher.. A. F. development and cross-cultural transfer. (2001). Inc. Larchmont. Eraut (Ed. Okebukola. E.). new and current technology in education. D. April 17-19. New York Times. (1987). G.

van Merrienboer. When the intrinsic cognitive load is low. not much room remains available in the working memory for extraneous cognitive load. When information is properly processed in working memory. can enhance that student learning. Educational Technology & Society. on the other hand. learning does not occur efficiently. embedded directly within the code while maintaining the original integrity of the coding environment.Heo. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. Student learning was measured via analysis of six online quizzes. (2005). & Paas. In this case. Humans are conscious of only the contents of their working memory. Keywords Online learning. 1956). Cognitive Load Theory suggests that instructional design will be improved if better consideration is given to the role and limitations of the working memory (Cooper. Unfortunately. 242-C Louis Shores Building Tallahassee.. is information that is not essential to instruction.fsu. When the intrinsic cognitive load is high. USA mheo@fsu. one of the primary objectives of instruction is to reduce the mental workload of the learner (cognitive load) in working memory. Extraneous cognitive load. Cognitive load theory postulates that two types of cognitive load affect learners simultaneously: intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load. A sample of 24 online graduate students at a southeastern university were randomly assigned to four groups: Group 1 (Control group). available working memory. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). but humans are not directly conscious of long-term memory. Information technology education. Group 3 (Lecture group: the tool was used to describe examples of code provided in lectures). especially while controlling for and minimizing cognitive load when presenting new information. on the other hand. In this case. or to redistribute to lists. if not all. the working memory has enough space to handle a large extraneous cognitive load. This tool enabled students to work with programming code that was supplemented with instructor descriptions and feedback. FL 32306-2100. 1990). to post on servers. ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. becoming a part of a person’s permanent memory (Anderson. Personalized learning. The capacity of long-term memory is virtually unlimited. 2000). According to chow@lis. The Impact of Computer Augmented Online Learning and Assessment Tool Misook Heo and Anthony Chow School of Information Studies Florida State University. A. the instructional design does not have much of an impact on student learning. 113 . this process can free the working memory capacity. only the information that is attenuated to and processed through adequate rehearsal in the working memory is transferred to the long-term memory. using most. 113-125. poorly organized information will cause a substantial increase in extraneous cognitive load. which serves to distract learners from the primary information to be learned. as these schemas allow for meaningful encoding and efficient knowledge retrieval for learners allowing processes to occur that otherwise would overburden working memory (Sweller. to republish. Knowledge is stored in the form of organized schemata in the long-term memory. it is encoded into long-term memory. Abstracting with credit is Tel: +1 850 644-5490 Fax: +1 850 644-6253 Abstract The purpose of the study was to investigate the impact of an experimental online learning tool on student performance. To copy otherwise. 8 (1). 1998). the results indicate that students performed best when they had the opportunity to view examples of code facilitated by the tool during the learning process of new material. the experimental tool used was designed to minimize cognitive load during the instructional and learning process. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee. Long-term memory can be used to store schemas of varying degrees of automaticity. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. As such. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. By applying cognitive load theory to online learning. Group 2 (Assessment group: the tool was used to provide feedback on student work). While provision of toolfacilitated feedback alone did not appear to enhance student learning. This implies a carefully designed online learning environment. The Impact of Computer Augmented Online Learning and Assessment Tool. and this load cannot be reduced externally through either the instructional design of the material or the instructor. the capacity of working memory is limited to about seven elements at a time (Miller. and Group 4 (Total tool group: the tool was used to provide feedback on student work as well as describe examples of code in lectures). & Chow. M. Intrinsic cognitive load is based on the level of difficulty the learner associates with the information that is presented. Cognitive load theory Introduction According to the human cognitive architecture.

students often play the role of a self-directed learner while instructors serve as facilitators of personalized learning rather than as broadcasters of knowledge (Clear et al. & Álvarez. In this case. thus. While educators agree that instructors in an online learning environment must spend more time and effort reviewing student work than they would spend in a face-to-face classroom course (Clear et al. 2000. Therefore. Preston & Shackelford. & Saikkonen. 2002). assessing student work becomes even more difficult (Gayo. Utilizing worked examples is a primary way to reduce extraneous cognitive load and facilitate student learning. Suhonen. In this environment. and this is referred to as the worked example effect. There can be. enabling learners to induce generalized solutions or schemas. 2003). Emory & Tamassia. as these types of courses often are designed with tightly paired conceptual and pragmatic knowledge. Reed & John. Meyer. Kar. Students gain exposure to fundamental programming techniques and underlying concepts through practice with code examples that they are able to later transform into practical solutions through assignments and small projects (Clear. 2002). a code example is often followed by additional explanations and descriptions. Chen. Malmi. When direct contact with students is limited. 2000. 1999).. & Low. especially when the course is in programming where the primary mode of communication is text-based (Malmi et al. providing worked examples in an integrated format is critical in order to best facilitate learning. & Patterson-McNeill. 1997). 2002. Learners’ extraneous cognitive loads. Instructors. Korhonen. 2002. with the goal being to minimize these distractions as much as possible. the instructor does not always have the luxury of devoting this amount of time. 1990). 2003. 2002). This forces the learner to go back and forth from explanation to original code. 2002. Price & Petre. instructors are also asked to provide personal attention to students and to provide an environment where students can learn in ways that work most effectively for them (VanDeGrift & Anderson. however. For online learning environments. 1997). The need to reduce cognitive load in online learning environments that are predominately static and text-based represents a significant problem.if it occurs at all. when appropriate worked examples are utilized. thus. 2003). coding assignments are usually graded with limited feedback in problem solving and programming techniques (Trivedi. Worked examples let learners attend to problem states and associated operators. When learners utilize the means-ends analysis. In fact. many instructors contend that the inability to complement their virtual classroom environment with traditional methods dampens their sense of effectiveness (Gayo et al. learners have nothing else to attend to and their extraneous cognitive loads become low. O'Quinn & Corry. often utilize textbooks and lectures that provide ample code examples that are in the performance context in an effort to facilitate student learning. that the task of grading student programs is a laborious process (Jackson & Usher. For example. 2002... Likewise.. 2003. causing split-attention effect for learners and creating a situation where every student receives the same amount of description for a specific code. For example. 1999). General interaction among the instructor and students is often less frequent than it would be in a face-to-face classroom environment. A tool that simultaneously reduces student 114 . This split attention can cause increased cognitive load. The use of worked examples is a critical component to the learning process in programming courses. means-ends analysis is an efficient way of attaining a problem goal. It is often reported. worked examples presented to the student in a non-integrated fashion scatters student attention. To better support personalized learning. negotiating the differences between the current state and the desired state in their working memory until the goal is reached. Extraneous cognitive load therefore is of primary concern for instructors and instructional designers. impairing the ability of students to learn. 2002). no guarantee that all worked examples reduce cognitive load in comparison to a means-ends search. One of the primary means for achieving this goal is for instructors to provide accurate and meaningful assessment (Preston & Shackelford. however. lectures and code examples tend to be functionally and visually static and remain organized around the delivery media rather than the knowledge representation and learning tasks of the student (Altman. placing an extraneous demand on working memory (Cooper. Malmi et al. such as using code to explain a concept but placing the description and explanation of that code at the end of the sequence instead of in an integrated fashion directly paralleling the code and the discussion of that code. the learner attends to the information. In contrast. thus. they focus their search on actions that reduce the difference between the current state and the state that is their goal. & Varden. Gil. Zachary & Jensen. Haataja. 2000. In the absence of a schema with worked examples. especially in programming courses. O'Quinn & Corry. 2003).. become high.

split-attention but does not cost instructors any additional time and effort in teaching online programming courses is needed. By addressing the problem of split-attention, overall student extraneous cognitive load should be reduced, leading to more available working memory for learning newly introduced information, and potentially increasing overall learning effectiveness. In addition, such a tool could also potentially reduce the overall work load of an online programming instructor through augmenting the process of providing meaningful descriptions and personalized comments to code examples and student work.

Purpose of the Study
The research presented in this paper seeks to investigate the impact of an experimental online learning tool on student performance. An experimental tool, the Online Learning and Assessment Tool (OLAT), was implemented to apply the cognitive load theory to online learning, attempting to minimize cognitive load during the instructional and learning process. This study is intended to address the primary research question, “Does the use of the OLAT improve student learning?” We have developed three hypotheses addressing the research question tested in this paper: 1. Students receiving tool-facilitated feedback on their work will gain enhanced understanding from their mistakes, thus their test performance over time will improve beyond that of control group students. 2. Students receiving tool-facilitated descriptions in code examples will develop a better understanding of the examples, thus their test performance over time will improve beyond that of control group students. 3. Students receiving both tool-facilitated descriptions and feedback will show the greatest improvement in performance over time. The OLAT allows the student to view instructor-provided descriptions and/or feedback needed to increase knowledge about a particular section of code or about mistakes that have been made. It is expected that exposure to the tool-facilitated descriptions will improve student learning by reducing extraneous cognitive loads for students when they are first exposed to new materials. While it is expected that exposure to the tool-facilitated feedback alone will not improve student learning much since students’ intrinsic cognitive loads will not be high when dealing with already learned material, it is anticipated that students exposed to both the tool-facilitated descriptions and feedback will achieve the greatest improvement in performance over time.

Participants Each of the 24 graduate students participating in the six-week study attended a southeastern university; a possible selection bias is present in the study as each of the participants was self-registered to the online session of the Advanced Web Applications course. Participants were not monetarily awarded but were rewarded with academic credit for participation in this experimental study. Each participant’s age, gender, and academic program were recorded, but kept confidential in accordance with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) guidelines.

Instruments and Materials Experimental Intervention: The Online Learning And Assessment Tool (OLAT) – as Learning Tool The OLAT serves as a learning aid by allowing the instructor to tailor descriptions to a specific portion of the code example. The process occurs easily, utilizing simple “point and describe” actions. The instructor simply loads the saved code example to a web browser and clicks on the line requiring detailed description. This mouse click action can be likened to the process of a face-to-face classroom instructor pointing to a portion of code to provide an explanation. A description-ready window appears in which the instructor is able to compose the desired description. Figure 1 provides a screenshot of this stage. The instructor’s code description is now ready to be viewed by students.


Figure 1. Interface for the instructor: description prompt

The process of reducing cognitive load for the instructor by providing such an efficient means for adding description to meaningful worked examples can be referred to as augmentation, which reduces the load of working memory by removing trivial human tasks, thereby freeing the working memory and enhancing the available capacity to be used for instructional purposes as efficiently as possible. Once an instructor description has been embedded, students are free to review the code example with or without the embedded descriptions. Students may choose to review the embedded code descriptions by moving the mouse over the color-coded lines (e.g. red-colored lines implicitly indicate that there are embedded descriptions). This process can be likened to the student raising a hand in the face-to-face classroom for further explanation of a specific section of code. Figure 2 provides a screenshot of this stage.

Figure 2. Interface for the student: revealed description

Theoretically, by providing instructor descriptions embedded directly within the worked examples, the OLAT can help protect against the split-attention effect that causes extraneous cognitive load in working memory, and thus support efficient student learning. Further, the OLAT’s ability to view code descriptions on demand cultivates a positive environment of self-directed, personalized learning among a diverse student population (Brusilovsky, 2001). Providing mouse-over activated descriptions within text to preserve the original integrity of the performance environment is not completely new technology. Popular applications such as MS Word provide easy access to such functionality. One of the primary benefits of Web-based education, however, is classroom and platform independence (Atolagbe, Hlupic, & Taylor, 2001; Brusilovsky, 1998). With the advent of platform-independent applications, there are far greater possibilities for creating more useful educational tools (Bridgeman, Goodrich, Kobourov, & Tamassia, 2000). Eliminating the need to rely on students owning specific proprietary software can be seen as taking full advantage of the benefits offered through online learning. Color-coding for the code lines with embedded description and feedback utilizes the inherent advantages of preattentiveness theory. This theory holds that processing occurs automatically for people as they pay visual attention to and process graphical features such as color and size in a pre-attentive fashion. In other words, people see and process size and color differences prior to cognitive processing. Pre-attentive information representation is mentally economical, since the information is rapidly and efficiently processed by the preattentive visual system rather than through cognitive effort (Bartram, 1997).

Experimental Intervention: The Online Learning And Assessment Tool (OLAT) – as Assessment Tool In face-to-face classroom courses, students may submit their assignment printouts to the instructor. The instructor is then able to read through the submitted code, marking errors or inserting corrections, comments, or advice in the appropriate portion of the code. Often, the instructor will choose to emphasize feedback with colored ink (Herrmann et al., 2003). Upon receiving the graded assignment, the student is able to directly view the location where feedback is written; it would not be necessary to count line numbers or read the code line by line to interpret the instructor’s feedback. Currently, in most online education environments, student assignments are uploaded to the course server or delivered to the instructor by email. The instructor then reviews the submitted assignment and adds feedback at the end of the assignment file or in a separate email message, which is returned to the student. This practice creates added difficulty since, in addition to evaluating and providing feedback on the code, the instructor must now consider the line number and location of the applicable comment, or must use proprietary software to insert comments within the document itself. This process also presents added difficulty for students, as they must orient themselves to the specific location of comment by counting line numbers and apply consolidated feedback to appropriate sections of the code, or they must possess the necessary proprietary software. The assessment portion of the OLAT facilitates the process of providing feedback on student code by allowing the instructor to tailor comments to individual student code. The instructor simply accesses the submitted assignment code through a web browser and clicks on the lines that require feedback. This mouse click action can be likened to providing feedback at a specific location within a printed version of the code. On this click action, a comment-ready window appears and the instructor simply types in the appropriate feedback. The process for making and retrieving comments are the same as for providing and retrieving instructor descriptions to worked examples as part of a lecture depicted earlier in Figures 1 and 2. Although the OLAT’s learning and assessment tool features serve different purposes, they function in the same manner. The OLAT, as a platform independent online application for providing instructor feedback, facilitates the assessment process and also relieves the instructor and/or students from the burden of needing to have proprietary software—inserted descriptions occur and are saved directly to the server (the application is Perl/CGI/JavaScript based) through any browser they may use. This augments the process by allowing instructors to skip the time intensive process of downloading a student document, making comments and saving that document to their local desktop, and then having to upload it back to the server and/or emailing it back to the student. The entire transaction occurs online. The OLAT was embedded into the existing online course infrastructure. Since the tool produces pages with embedded description and feedback that are visible in any Web browser, neither the instructor nor students were asked to install any special software to make use of the tool.

course calendar. This system has similar functionality to commercial products such as BlackBoard or WebCT possessing 1) asynchronous components such as posted lectures.. Quizzes were based on relevant course material and were offered not only to evaluate the impact of tool-facilitated material. Students were asked to respond to quiz questions on a weekly basis after reviewing code examples and instructor feedback. and conducted online using the course management system’s assessment features. but also to reinforce student learning and application of course content. Quizzes consisted of online multiple-choice and short answer questions intended to address the two main categories of assessment. Example Quiz Question Assignments Each week after learning new syntax and being exposed to worked examples. the majority of questions were standard close-ended multiple choice (objective based questions). each quiz. For each quiz. and 2) synchronous components that consist of text-based chat interactions. Student code was submitted through the course Website by uploading a zipped ASCII text file. assignment/drop box. Assessment Measures There were two types of assessment measures used in the study: quizzes and coding assignments. threaded-discussion boards. objective questions and performance based questions (McCracken et al.). Six questions were asked in each quiz. and other course materials (syllabus. students were asked to complete a coding assignment. etc. short answer questions (performance based questions). 118 .Course Management System An in-house course management system was used to conduct the study. also included a few open-ended. formbased. Figure 3. announcements. however. On each quiz. Quizzes Six in-class quizzes were conducted. The quizzes were standard HTML. email. three questions addressed the previous week’s assignment and three questions addressed the current week’s examples of code. 2001). Figure 3 shows an example of the quiz questions.

Questionnaires Two questionnaires were administered during the study. The questions were a combination of ordinal scale and seven-point Likert scale. lectures were offered and coding assignments were presented. Interface for the student: line numbered description An initial online pre-test questionnaire was administered to participants to collect demographic and experience data as described above. The pre-test was a 15-item questionnaire.” Procedure In order to test our hypotheses. Figure 4. and previous experience with computers. 2) Assessment group: the OLAT tool was only used to provide feedback on student work. the Web. Example pretest questions include: “How many computer language courses did you take so far?” and “How many courses per semester (on average) do you take Webbased distance courses?” The post-test questionnaire was also a 15-item instrument and collected participants’ perspectives on their experience with tool-facilitated descriptions and feedback. programming languages. The experiment ran from May 2003 through June 2003. The study involved 24 graduate students from a southeastern university. The experimental study consisted of four groups: 1) Control group: the OLAT tool was not used and participants viewed line-number based descriptions and feedback in the traditional manner. Each lecture provided one or more examples of code and the instructor reviewed each student 119 . Each participant was assigned randomly to one of the four groups. all of whom were enrolled in the online course “Advanced Web Applications. Students in each group reviewed lecture material and completed a series of quizzes and programming assignments. a six-week experimental study was conducted in a Web programming course taught online during a summer session. Each week of the study period. Examples of post-test items include: “Indicate the amount of time you spent studying the lecture slide/audio per week” and “How helpful the descriptions in the code examples for your understanding of concepts of each week's learning material? Choose one between 1 (Not at all) and 7 (Very much). and 4) Total tool group: the OLAT tool was used to provide feedback on student work as well as descriptions of examples of code in lectures. which collected participant demographic data including age and gender. as shown in Figure 4.” Participants were randomly assigned to four experimental groups. and online learning. 3) Lecture group: the OLAT tool was only used to provide descriptions of examples of code in lectures.

p = . Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient was used to analyze linear relationships between the number of correct answers and the time taken to complete quizzes. Measures Dependent variables The number of correct answers and the amount of time taken to complete weekly quizzes served as the study’s dependent variables of performance. Student performance on these quizzes could reflect pre-existing knowledge of course subjects. After concluding the pre-test and all six quizzes. As a post-hoc test. Results Homogeneity Among Groups Since no screening process was used to recruit participants. Analysis Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) one-way factorial design was used to measure the participants’ performance progress. Immediate access to quiz performance was not available due to the fact that there were a few open-ended. programming languages. Multiple-choice questions had one correct answer per question. Analysis of student performance on quizzes completed during the first three-weeks also showed inter-group homogeneity. 20) = 4. short answer questions. No significant difference in the amount of experience among the groups on computers. Tukey’s Honestly Significantly Different test was used. an asynchronous faculty office discussion forum. No time limit was enforced for any of the quizzes but participants were advised to finish the quiz in 15 minutes. and online learning was found (all asymptotic significance values were greater than the significant level of 0. including weekly audio lectures with slides. User logs such as access time to the quiz page.34. The short answer questions were performance based requiring participants to identify problems and/or provide necessary solutions to coding examples. and student ID. and the main effects of the OLAT on student learning were analyzed.assignment within 12 hours of the assignment deadline. ANOVA one-way factorial design was also used to analyze the results of the perceptive evaluation questionnaire. Analysis also showed that this group had a corresponding positive 120 . During each week of the study participants took an online quiz during the regularly scheduled class time (two hours each week). participants were asked to provide their perspectives on the examples of code and feedback on their work in a post-test questionnaire. Student learning was also supported by various online education methods.05). Follow-up perceptive evaluation results were also collected and analyzed to enrich the data. if tool-facilitated descriptions and/or feedback aided student learning. Main Test Results The progress in performance (the change in the number of correct answers from the first three weeks to the last three weeks) for each of the four experimental groups is shown in Table 1. variance among the four experimental groups was analyzed using the Kruskal and Wallis Test to test for potential differences in homogeneity. which included questions from the current week’s examples of code as well as the previous week’s assignment. IP address. A one-way ANOVA indicated that student performance in the tool-facilitated lecture group significantly increased across questions asking about lecture material (F(3. weekly synchronous chat sessions.016). student performance on quizzes would improve over time. a post-hoc analysis was conducted to investigate the differences among the groups. the Web. since participants were newly introduced to the course and had not yet become accustomed to the way to view tool-facilitated descriptions and feedback. When the resulting F values were significant. were reviewed for student identification. which needed to be graded by the instructor. Time taken to complete quizzes was analyzed to measure the possible trade-off between the number of correct answers and time on task. and an asynchronous student discussion forum.

Participants in this study were asked to answer quiz questions after reviewing examples of code and feedback on their work provided with or without the use of the Online Learning and Assessment Tool. Analyses of experiment data show that descriptions of code examples facilitated by the tool were the most helpful for participants’ learning. Statistical results of the main-test Improvement in number of correct answers Question Meana Std.77.33 Assignment -. In contrast.056) and .014).00 Assignment 1.33 1. Each group spent about the same amount of time completing quizzes (F(3. participants were asked to rate their experience with the examples of code and feedback on their work via a set of survey questions.51 327.17 Assessment Lecture -1.). A one-way ANOVA indicated that participants in the total tool group spent significantly less preparation time than the participants of the control group in studying examples of code (F(3.33 3. p = .97 298. “How long have you been taking online courses?” there also was a significantly negative correlation of -. a Tukey post-hoc test was conducted. for the question. (seconds) deviation 1007 1083 1274 921 1071 252. seven-point Likert scale questions. p = .67 1.000) with student performance.404 (n = 24.trend on student learning in overall quiz questions (F(3.726 (n = 24. According to the test. p = . (Lecture related questions = 9 and assignment related questions = 9) b Mean quiz time reflects a summed amount. p = .50 3. Clear performance differences emerged among the four groups.81 Note.65.46 Assignment -. Perceptive Evaluations In the last week of the study.00 Assignment -1. The survey consisted of 15.069). n.40 292.396 (n = 24.051). In addition. 6 6 6 6 24 Role of Experience in Online Education While programming knowledge in general and programming course experience in a face-to-face classroom environment showed positive correlations toward student performance. 121 .51 1. p = .003). however the lecture group showed more progress than the participants in other groups. Pearson’s correlation showed no significant trade-off between the number of correct answers and time taken to complete quizzes. the significant difference in increased performance occurred between the lecture group and the assessment group (p = . 20) = 6. The total group also showed an increase in student performance across overall quiz questions. aNumber of questions asked at quiz #4 through #6 = 18. .67 2.50 1.03 -.17 Assignment -1.s. 20) = 2. p = .50 2. Discussion The purpose of the study was to determine whether the OLAT intervention would improve student learning in an online educational environment. “How many courses per semester (on average) do you take online?” there was a significant negative correlation of -.64 -2. To determine where the difference occurred.50 2. 20) = 1. For the question. tool-facilitated feedback appeared to be the least helpful for participants’ learning. This post-survey was used to obtain participants’ perspectives on Web pages with embedded description and feedback facilitated by the tool. deviation Quiz time Meanb Std. Group Control Table 1.97 Total tool Lecture .51 -3.002) with student performance.305.50 Total Lecture .02 Lecture Lecture 1. previous online education experience showed a significant negative correlation.67 1.95 N Lecture -.593 (n = 24.07 2.04 270.04 2.

Based on the fact that the OLAT lecture group and the OLAT total group (OLAT was used in both lecture and assessment) showed improved performance at higher levels than other groups. we believe that although extraneous cognitive load may have been reduced by using OLAT during the assessment process. trial-and-error nature of knowledge and skill acquisition involved in becoming proficient in a programming language. Also. Based on the findings in our perceptive evaluation. While this trend was somewhat surprising. an online instructional and learning environment). 122 . Implications The findings of this study support cognitive load theory as applied to instructional design (Sweller et al. additional extraneous cognitive load associated with the instructional delivery and environment could potentially increase the overall cognitive load leading to cognitive overload (intrinsic plus extrinsic cognitive load exceeds available working memory). This difference suggests that participants could obtain the same amount of knowledge. then the necessary working memory will be available for processing and retention of new information. participants with online education experience showed an overall decrease in test performance over time. with already preconceived learning and feedback paradigms. 2000). we surmise that students who have more experience with online courses may have established expectations of minimal interaction and personal engagement when reading lectures and assessing assignments. Such learning strategies are problematic in an online programming course because of the iterative. leaving little room for additional requirements made by extraneous cognitive load (e.We believe that these findings suggest that the OLAT intervention facilitated a decrease in the overall extraneous cognitive load associated with students learning new material. there are still a number of limitations that should be considered. Our study also supports the idea that the worked-example effect is only beneficial if the example actually decreases extraneous cognitive load (Cooper. it cannot be determined if all students actually read the lectures and feedback comments. we infer that the OLAT intervention led to increased student learning by reducing overall extraneous cognitive load. Given this premise. Limitations Although this study provides data supporting cognitive load theory. such as when faced with processing new material. the findings of this study indicate that student learning can be improved in an online programming environment when unique challenges. When the split-attention effect occurs. we believe that more experienced online students. Feinberg & Murphy.g. the worked-example effect may actually increase cognitive load and impede student learning. however. we were unable to control for variance in the breadth and time students devoted to this area. the available working memory is already severely limited. If instruction is delivered in such a way as to effectively reduce extraneous cognitive load. Students who were exposed to the OLAT during the initial presentation of new information in the lecture significantly improved their learning performance over time. Using the OLAT’s embedded description/comments arguably helps preserve the integrity of the instructional context—all the information being presented is in the same location. Simply put. 1990. For the OLAT assessment group. 1998). Overall. the intrinsic cognitive load for students was assumed to be relatively high as they were faced with learning new material presented. in less time when the toolfacilitated lectures were provided in both lectures and in assignment feedback. took advantage of the experimental tool less frequently and effectively than their less experienced peers. we have also determined that while participants with programming language experience showed improved performance on objective testing over time. Although it was strongly recommended that students read all lectures and instructor feedback on their work. the impact on overall student learning was minimal due to the fact that the tool was not available during the initial learning process. such as non-linear characteristics of code paired with associated comments. thus protecting students from the split-attention effect. which performed significantly lower than the OLAT lecture and total groups. Experienced online students are more likely to typically face a lack of personalized learning and assessment feedback from the instructor.. thereby impeding student learning. In our study. the participants in the total tool group devoted significantly less time on preparation than did the members of the control group in studying examples of code. In addition to the primary findings. are carefully considered and mitigated. if not more. When intrinsic cognitive load is high.

due to constraints of resources and time. the results are encouraging and suggest that the OLAT may be successful in reducing cognitive load during the initial instruction and learning process. 1998.. August 16-19. Currently. Y. References Altman. other measures may need to be used in future studies. (2000). R. T.. Perceptual and interpretative properties of motion for information visualization. therefore most likely not accounting for much of the performance variance. however. S. Austin. P. Las Vegas. November 10-14. Adaptive Educational Systems on the World-Wide-Web: A Review of Available Technologies. In addition. Anderson. Semantic exploration of lecture videos. will prove to be beneficial for online programming instruction and student learning. providing the ability to run code directly within the browser is also planned in order to substantially reduce time required by the instructor to test student code and to reduce students’ time to test code examples. each quiz took approximately 18 minutes to complete. PILOT: An interactive tool for learning and grading. Cognitive Psychology and Its Implications (5th ed. G. Our findings are only preliminary with a small sample size. Goodrich. One week was given to complete each assignment. December 1-6. Paper presented at the International Multimedia Conference. personalized learning among a diverse student population freed from the limitations of space and time (Brusilovsky. 2002. Juan-les-Pins. Paper presented at the Workshop on New Paradigms in Information Visualization and Manipulation. self-directed. E. 123 . 1997.. Arlington.. We remain optimistic that this tool. USA. One point of qualification. Paper presented at the 31st SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. Brusilovsky. USA. Hlupic.. Students began the quizzes at the same time. Conclusion Although the study described in this paper is still in its early stages of research and development. V. Chen. The OLAT represents an initial attempt to bring together contemporary learning theory and information technology to realize the core vision for online learning—open access. USA. S. unfortunately. J. as student performance was measured only through the use of quiz scores. San Antonio. J. 2001). although when they finished varied across students.. we were unable to control for this variable. T. Lastly. & Low. Kobourov. teaching an online programming course can be a daunting task. Atolagbe. R. In addition. New York: Worth Publishers. March 7-12. (1998). TX.).. Paper presented at the 33rd Conference on Winter Simulation. Continued improvement of the current tool is planned and includes incorporation of a component that allows descriptions or feedback to be provided across multiple lines of code (one comment for multiple lines of code in different areas). the overall amount of time students spent completing quizzes and assignments was not controlled. France. & Taylor. TX. Bridgeman. Teaching tools and methods: GeNisa: a web-based interactive learning environment for teaching simulation modeling. (2002). December 9-12. platform independence. with additional research. Bartram. 2000. USA. is that the asynchronous threaded discussions were voluntary and ultimately not utilized to a great extent by students. Paper presented at the Workshop "WWW-Based Tutoring" at the 4th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems. (2001). 2001. We acknowledge that discussion and interaction play an important role in online learning and may have a significant impact on student learning. E. W.Students were required to participate in a weekly synchronous text-based chat sessions that were supplemented by voluntary asynchronous threaded discussion forums. S. The need for easing the burden on behalf of instructors and students is essential to increase the overall effectiveness and efficiency of instruction and learning in virtual space. L. VA. & Tamassia. On average. (1997). M. (2000). C. extended study with additional participants may need to be conducted to increase the overall strength of our findings.

L. & Utting. & Paas. Working Group Reports from ITiCSE on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education. February 27-March 3. J. Proceedings of the ITiCSE 2000 Working Group Reports. J.. T. A. (2002). P. (1997). & Petre. Cambridge. Herrmann. Clear. Applying cognitive load theory to the design of Web-based instruction. B. Y. NV. Australian Journal of Educational Technology. G. Lass. F. USA. Diaz.. 124 . Teaching programming through paperless assignments: An empirical evaluation of instructor feedback. C. Improving on-line assessment: An investigation of existing marking methodologies. S. plus or minus two: some limits of our capacity for processing information. & Varden. USA. September 24-27. Paper presented at the 28th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. & Álvarez. Paper presented at the 34th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. October 23-27. 101110. L.. Sweden. R.. J..Brusilovsky.. R. June 1-5. 1997. D.. 2002. February 19-23. R. 2003.. Uppsala. Van Merrienboer. L. C. Grading student programs using ASSYST. J. & Murphy. M. S. D. Suhonen. (2000). (1956). I. J. Sweller. D. 2002. Wilusz.. L.. Popyack. 2000.. & John. NV. 6 (2).. 2003. G. (2002).. & Usher. M. Psychological Review. A. (1998). 125-180. McCracken. 81-97... M. (2001). Educational Psychology Review... E. P. Cognitive load theory as an aid for instructional design. FL. WebEx: Learning from examples in a programming course. KY. Emory. M. B. Feinberg. Paper presented at the 7th annual conference on Innovation and technology in computer science education.. February 19-23. A generic e-learning multiparadigm programming language system: IDEFIX project.. 63. (2003). T. Kolikant. & Nanjappa. February 27-March 1. L. A multi-national. Paper presented at the 34th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. June 27-30. W. USA. USA. Miller.. Zoski. Reed. Price. S. Cracow. Experiences in automatic assessment on mass courses and issues for designing virtual courses. Cognitive architecture and instructional design. A.htm. Cera. & Saikkonen. 251-296. M. Malmi. USA. M. retrieved December 21. J. Preston. Poland. Reno. Paper presented at the IEEE Professional Communication Society International Professional Communication Conference. A. Reno. Guzdial. D. M. (1997).. V. G. February 19-23. Haataja. R. J. Hagan. J. Laxer. G. Factors that deter faculty from participating in distance education. Gayo. The magic number seven. Jackson. Reno.. Cooper. Denmark. M.. Orlando. USA. (2003). F... D. (2003). New York: ACM Press.westga. (2002). Paper presented at the 33rd SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. Gil.. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. (1990). CA. San Jose. & Tamassia. A. MA. NV.. 5 (4).. Meyer. Paper presented at the 2nd Annual SIGCSE/SIGCUE ITiCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education. Dimensions of Distance Learning for Computer Education. B. 108-113. Korhonen. June 24-28. 10 (3). 1997.. C. Paper presented at the WebNet'01Conference. Aarhus. J. Almstrum. & Shackelford. N. & Corry. M. multi-institutional study of assessment of programming skills of first-year CS students. New York: ACM Press. (2001). Thomas. O'Quinn. (1999). Redesigning introductory computer programming using multi-level online modules for a mixed audience. 2004 from http://www. D. USA. A. 2003. 1999. Paper presented at the 4th Annual SIGCSE/SIGCUE ITiCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education. Paper presented at the 34th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. Jerpa: A distance-learning environment for introductory Java programming courses.. Char. (2000). Web annotator. 2001.. Covington..

(2003)... Denmark. Reno. February 19-23. & Anderson. A. Aarhus.. 30-37. R. & Patterson-McNeill. 2002. Kar. (2002). Paper presented at the 34th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. Paper presented at the 7th annual conference on Innovation and technology in computer science education.Trivedi. T. June 24-28. 125 . 18 (4). J. (2003). & Jensen. Automatic assignment management and peer evaluation. L.. A. H. P. 2003. VanDeGrift. Exploiting value-added content in an online course: Introducing programming concepts via HTML and JavaScript. USA. NV. C. Learning to support the instructor: Classroom assessment tools as discussion frameworks in CS 1. Zachary. D. The Journal of Computing in Small Colleges. J.

8 (1). (2005) Rating out of 5 2. and consists of over 35. exams and problem-solving lesson plans. algebra. Products include. Hundreds of general and special solution methods. Math formulas proofs. Educational Technology & Society. inequalities and more. trigonometry and hyperbolic trigonometry. 126 . to republish. Multilingual and XMLMathML support. Software review: EMTeachline Mathematics Product details: Product Name: Product Category: Developer/Publisher: Website Product Price: Contact: EMTeachline Mathematics Software School/Polytechnic/University software Education/Mathematics/Software/Teaching/Learning EMTeachline Software http://www.5 3 .5 2. Dr Marina Chabalova contact@emteachline.Verhaart. To copy otherwise. According to the author " The evaluation program EMSolutionLight is a fully functional analog of commercial programs and covers the whole range of topics developed by EMTeachline". o EMSolution will provide detailed step-by-step solutions to each problem.1/95 or higher o 486 DX or higher (Pentium recommended) o 8 MB RAM (16 MB recommended) Installation o The evaluation copy submitted for review (Emsolutionlight. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Abstracting with credit is permitted. to post on servers.exe) was a 3MB self-extracting file archive.(dependant on usage and application) 3 3 2 Snapshot review: Ease of use Ease of navigation Documentation Price/value ratio Pedagogical foundation Instructional values Interactivity Brief product overview EMTeachline's web site describes EMSoftware as comprising millions of math problems in arithmetic. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee. EMMentor allows variants of tests to be created (this was not provided for review). 126-131. As an example a module on arithmetic will cost 113 Euro for the tasks and 186 Euro for the tasks and solutions. System requirements o Windows Purchasing is via the online web site.emteachline. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be M. EMTeachline Mathematics Software (Software review) Reviewer: Michael Verhaart Faculty of Business and Computing Eastern Institute of Technology Hawke’s Bay New Zealand Tel: +64 6 974 8000 mverhaart@eit. o Installation is by default to C:\Program Files\EMTeachline\EMLight ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print). These are grouped into programs and there are many options available. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles. and o EMFormula teaches formulae and their "verbal formulations" (also not provided for review). © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). o EMTask is a task-book comprising thousands of problems with answers. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. pre-calculus. or to redistribute to lists. Fully explained step by step solutions of equations. Authoring tools to create math tests. eMTeachline provides a repository of over a million math problems.000 problems.

No run instructions were given at end of installation (which would be useful).. running it had no effect. as there appears to be no files external to the EMLight folder merely deleting the files in this folder seemed to delete the application from the system. No icon was created on the desktop. somehow this deleted itself later. the expanded version was displayed (figure 2) Figure 2.4MB on disk. De-installation o Although a program UnInstallEM. Expanded option Selecting the first option under Perform operations produced a task sheet as shown in figure 3.exe existed. Figure 1. but the folder containing the extracted files was opened. o There does not appear to be any Registry settings (which is a nice change!) o Installation was on a P4 2.Installing uses about 10. 127 . o Using the system On starting the system a "quote" splash screen was displayed then the screen illustrated by figure 1.4GHz running Win XP Pro (with Service Pack 2). but an entry was made in the start bar programs. But. Initial screen On selecting Arithmetic II (the first option) then Perform operations.

Figure 3. Figure 4. Clicking on the forward button (>) redisplays the question on its own as Figure 4. Task displayed on its own 128 . Task sheet Clicking on the (=) button simply redisplays the question with its answer.

The instructions for this method were terse and assumed prior knowledge (e. Figure 6. "Let's multiply polynomials by each other. shows the question with a Ukrainian translation). The View button (fast forward) displays the full worked solution in EMSolution. German and Ukrainian were available (Figure 7. (In the Lite version English. Figure 5.On the toolbar the "Full Solution" first displays a warning screen that MathML needs to be installed then displays a fully worked solution (Figure 5).g. Help attached to task. definitions and instructions. using distributive law"). Worked solution The forward button displays the worked solution one step at a time. (The full solution is displayed in the web browser). Other options shown on the tool bar also gave textual descriptions. The (?) icon provides some term definitions as shown in figure 6. 129 . giving definitions The world icon display the solution instructions in two languages.

Once the interface became familiar using the software was reasonably straight forward. From a student perspective the software would be used as follows. I found that when trying to go back to a previous screen the application shut down entirely. The software provided for this review was drill/repetition based which is based on a traditional text book based pedagogy. until I discovered that [X] exit button takes you back a layer (rather than back one screen). go to the computer to have worked solutions displayed. The system as provided for evaluation used a book metaphor similar to a hyperlinked PDF file. Further. Some guidance as to the student age level would be useful. The tasks in the evaluation version were at an advanced level. Initially the navigation was not intuitive with many alternative navigation paths. Main features and strong points The main feature is that there are millions of problems and solutions available. For example. The software is compiled so size was kept small. and those in the demonstration system were at a reasonably advanced level. Contact the authors was straightforward and replies to any queries were received promptly. 130 . a difficulty scale for each task would assist a teacher in a class of mixed ability students. If a test was selected there appeared to be no way back to the start!!. Criticism and suggestions The demonstration software provided consisted of a program that contained mathematical tasks with solutions. solve problem on paper. Although the system promised that it would analyse errors I could not discover any way to enter any work into the computer for analysis. select a topic (this could be teacher directed). giving definitions Navigation proved difficult and was not intuitive.Figure 7. Help attached to task. The exception when clicking the [X] button is in the collections window where the entire application shuts down. Unlike many adaptive environments the questions were the same each time. get presented with problems. The implementation interface was like a text book that had been converted to a computer based environment.

The cost of purchasing the software is not insignificant. A huge bank of solved problems is provided in varying topics.Conclusion The pedagogical basis of this repository is on repetition and learning by example. then this repository is worth looking into. but if at the same level as those supplied for review. The software made no attempt to be a teaching tool to teach concepts. especially if multiple modules are to be purchased. If this teaching style is one you or your institute adopts. are at a fairly advanced level. 131 . and you are looking for a large task bank of questions with solutions.

132-133. or to redistribute to tutoring or instruction. The book is a useful compilation of ten chapters. "Agents" are computer services that humans (or even other agents) can call upon to accomplish their task (p. The approach the authors take is complementary to the common approach of designing with learning objects. So. 8 (1). to republish. G. Request permissions from the editors at kinshuk@ieee. One adaption is to free the individual constraints of place and time. (Book description from Amazon. Educational Technology & Society. The authors and the forum jointly retain the copyright of the articles.) 2005. To provide the best education for each anywhere. However it does reveal many of the issues that you have to face in creating a new learning environment. (2005). (These individuals I prefer to call "educatees" . To develop our society we need to achieve the best education for every individual through providing every appropriate means for the particular individual. I. Educational research has traditionally focused on studying the instruction of groups of educatees rather than individual education. we must perforce adapt our education to the individual. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IFETS must be honoured. Many publications and books are appearing on the topic of customising distributed education for the individuals. The common viewpoint that the authors adopt is that agents are required to help in the design of distributed computer systems to be used for education. As a reader of this publication. In addition. It offers new and interesting research issues surrounding the development of distributed learning environments. ideas presented in the book are applicable to other domains such as Agent-Supported Web Services. © International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). 4). which implies only children and craftspeople. Information Science Publishing (an imprint of Idea Group For me. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear the full citation on the first page. you are probably involved some way in the designing of a distributed environment for local or distance education. written by twenty-three scholars from around the world. To copy otherwise. Computer-Supported Collaborative Work and e-Commerce. requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Ally sensibly comes to grips with the basics of designing for the differing needs and styles of educatees. teaching.I hate the inadequate term "learners". the main contribution in the book is provided by Mohamed Ally in his chapter VI titled "Intelligent Tutoring Systems for Distributed Learning". Kennedy Senior Research Officer School of Electrical and Information Engineering University of the Witwatersrand 1 Jan Smuts Avenue.) The idea is to design a learning environment that will enable the individual educatees to acquire knowledge just in time. 132 . Johannesburg South Africa i. This book benefits the Artificial Intelligence society and educational communities in their research and development. Book review: Designing Distributed Learning Environments with Intelligent Software Agents (Fuhua Oscar Lin). distributed business process and resource integration.Kennedy.) ISBN 1-59140-500-9 (hardcover). you should obtain this book. Chapters are devoted to various aspects of intelligent software agents in distributed learning. 1-59140-501-7 (paperback) 311 pages. If so. I believe that education is an investment for the future of society. Designing Distributed Learning Environments with Intelligent Software Agents (Book Review) Reviewer: Ian G. and tailored to their personal needs. to post on servers. Abstracting with credit is permitted. including the methodological and technical issues on where and how intelligent agents can contribute to meeting the needs of distributed Textbook Details: Designing Distributed Learning Environments with Intelligent Software Agents Fuhua Oscar Lin (Ed. This is not a book that will get your learning environment going. Do not be put off by the word "agents" in the title. anytime. The book reports on the most recent advances in agent technologies for distributed learning. little is known about the individual learning characteristics which are vital to help us develop the student model and pedagogical modules for intelligent tutoring systems. ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print).

Y. different motivational levels. & Rokos. such as unique learning styles. E. 133 . Questions from the educatees that are unanswerable from the contained knowledge base should be flagged for subsequent treatment outside the course and possible inclusion in later versions of the course. 7 (1). The vocabulary of the material can be switched to match that of the career path of the educatees. for example. 42-50. A well-designed intelligent tutoring system will be able to cater to learners' individual needs in a distributed environment. different backgrounds. put the book on your reading list.. so that further refinement of the course can take place. The question is how to develop an intelligent tutoring system that identifies these individual differences and adapts the instruction to meet learners' individual needs. If the current activity level of the educatee is measured. The relevance of the book is that it comes at a time when researchers around the world are still struggling to come to grips with the questions that need to be solved. (e. entitled "Modeling Web-based Educational Systems: process Design Teaching Model" in Educational Technology & Society. fill-the-blanks-in assessment) feedback of problems such as commonly made errors can be provided to the educator. it might serve as a proxy for sensing the educatees' sleepiness and cause the system to bring in some anecdote. F. (2004)."When students come to the learning process. they come with many individual differences. and a reading of the book suggests more directions for research than there will be available scholars. This paper describes the introduction of stereotypes to the pedagogical design of intelligent tutoring systems and appropriate modifications of the existing package diagrams of the Unified Modeling Language. Topics that the educatee has demonstrated mastery of need not (and should not) be delivered." (p. The researcher in this area will surely also be interested in the recent paper by Pantano Rokou. In conclusion. On the other hand. and different expectations. humour or specific examples from the domain of the individual educatees to sustain their interest. different levels of expertise. An index is provided to help in this regard.. Topics that the particular educatees do not need in their current career can be safely omitted or postponed until they are relevant.g. Rokou. 168) My thoughts on the topic are that if. topics that require practice can be repeated with slightly different variations until the educatee has had enough practice. By building in assessment into every topic. material being delivered to a cell-phone or hand-held computer would have all gratuitous graphics stripped out. .International Forum of Educational Technology & Society http://www.

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