Promoting academic integrity online

A new report from Faculty Focus that should be of interest to distance educators titled Promoting Academic Integrity in Online Education has just been released.

Although there’s some disagreement as to whether distance education is more susceptible to academic dishonesty than other forms of instruction, what isn’t up for debate is the fact that for as long as there’s been exams, there’s been cheating on exams. The online environment simply opens up a different set of challenges that aren’t typically seen in traditional face-to-face courses.

This free report features nine articles from Distance Education Report that will give you the latest techniques and technologies for mitigating cheating and other unethical behaviors in your online courses. The 20-page special report features these articles:

  • Combating Online Dishonesty with Communities of Integrity
  • The New News about Cheating for Distance Educators
  • A Problem of Core Values: Academic Integrity in Distance Learning
  • Student Authentication: What Are Your Duties Under the HEA Reauthorization?
  • 91 Ways to Maintain Academic Integrity in Online Courses
  • Remote Proctoring: Key to Secure Exam Administration?
  • A Chink in Our Armor: Can Technology Provide a True Online Proctored Exam?
  • Practical Tips for Preventing Cheating on Online Exams
  • Identity Gift: The Opposite of Identity Theft?

Online learning more effective than face to face

A recent report from written for the U.S. Department of Education has concluded that Online & blended education is more effective than residential method alone.

This conclusion was reached after analyzing research studies undertaken from 1996 to 2008 that address this topic, concluding the following:

  1. Online education is more effective than face-to-face learning;
  2. Online learning combined with some face-to-face learning (blended learning) is the most effective;
  3. Face-to-face learning alone is the least effective method among the three types studied.

Note that these findings are specific to college-level learning as the researchers found that not enough studies exist to merit a valid comparison at the K-12 level.

The full version of this report is available here:

Dept of Education: “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning” (PDF)

Virtual Worlds, Simulations, and Games for Education

An article in this months Innovate.  Partly sponsored by Microsoft.  Quite an interesting read.  (As one who is NOT greatly into this field)  Unfortunately you need to create an account.  😦

Virtual Worlds, Simulations, and Games for Education: A Unifying View by Clark Aldrich.

The intro:

Many practitioners have been struck by a paradox. They sense an overlap between virtual worlds, games, and simulations, and yet they know that one is not synonymous with the other. The three often look similar; they all typically take place in three-dimensional worlds that are populated by three-dimensional avatars. Yet as I have argued elsewhere (Aldrich 2009), the differences are profound. Games are fun, engaging activities usually used purely for entertainment, but they may also allow people to gain exposure to a particular set of tools, motions, or ideas. In contrast, simulations use rigorously structured scenarios carefully designed to develop specific competencies that can be directly transferred into the real world. Finally, virtual worlds are multiplayer (and often massively multiplayer), three-dimensional, persistent social environments with easy-to-access building capabilities. They share with games and simulations the three-dimensional environment, but they do not have the focus on a particular goal, such as advancing to the next level or successfully navigating the scenario.

Aldrich, C. 2009. The complete guide to serious games and simulations. Somerset, NJ: Wiley.

Yet another Journal: IJMBL

International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning (IJMBL) – An Official Publication of the Information Resources Management Association — New in 2009

From the website: “Technology supported learning has been increasingly used across a broad spectrum of educational contexts, in many cases being integrated with more traditional forms of teaching. As new opportunities have emerged for mobile, immersive and augmented learning, freeing electronic teaching tools from the desktop, researchers have begun to explore the wide potentials of learning experiences that are integrated with both the classroom and the world outside, leveraging the boundless new possibilities that a pervasively wired and wireless society can support. The International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning aims to provide a forum for researchers in this field to share their knowledge and experience of mobile and blended learning environments”

Dave Parsons is the Editor.

Tips for Synchronous eLearning


With a long weekend coming up in New Zealand here’s a bit of reading that may be of interest to some. The eLearning Guild have released the latest in their series of free e-books, this one titled 144 Tips on Synchronous e-Learning.

As is usual in previous ELG publications, the tips range in length from one-sentence ideas all the way up to multi-page discourses. You will find tips in these categories…

  • Blending Synchronous Learning with Other Learning Modalities
  • Designers of Synchronous Presentations, Courses, and Webinars
  • Managers Who Lead Synchronous Learning Efforts
  • Synchronous Speakers and Instructors
  • Technical Production, Planning, and Preparation

All of the tips have been submitted by practitioners, and there’s a lot of very useful stuff here – particularly for those who are entering the field, or for those who may be in a position of creating manuals or staff development activities to support those working in your school or institution. There’s quite a bit of advertising included from Adobe about their synchronous eLearning product – but even this is informative and usefully presented.

Digital Strategy 2.0 for consultation


The Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 document has been released for public consultation.

Digital Strategy 1.0 was released during 2005.  It was designed as an action plan to maximise ICT opportunities and create a vision of a digital future for New Zealand.

The refreshed Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 builds on input from a series of workshops held in late 2007, the Digital Future Summit 2.0 held last year, as well as the significant progress on Digital Strategy 1.0. The Digital Strategy Report on Progress 2007 sets out those achievements.

New Zealand’s research community is essential to innovation. It is responsible for the creation of new technologies and has a key role in supporting new education topics and methodologies.  Hence your participation and feedback is important to shape New Zealand’s digital future and the development of an updated Digital Strategy.

The Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 is available on the Digital Strategy website.  Consultation on the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 will be for four weeks, from 14 April to 12 May 2008, and will include opportunities for feedback to be given via new tools, such as a wiki and online dialogue boxes.

DEANZ members are encouraged to familiarise themselves with this document, in particular, the section on “Connection” which outlines a number of action areas that will be of particular interest to those who are exploring the use of online technologies as part of their distance ed programmes.

Distance Learning – Still Going – Still Growing


The Sloan Consortium has released their fifth annual report on growth in the higher education elearning market in the US. The results: distance ed enrollments keep growing, at a pace significantly greater than their terrestrial education counterparts. According to the free report, Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning, about 3.5 million people registered for an online course fall semester 2006. About 3.2 million did likewise in 2005.  From the fall 2004 to fall of 2005, online enrollment grew about 36 percent. The growth between fall 2005 to fall of 2006, was smaller, a 9.7 percent increase. General college enrollment grew by only 1.3 percent from 2005 to 2006, giving online education nine times more growing power even as it slows. While faculty acceptance continues to be a barrier to e-education growth academics themselves increasingly do not see lack of acceptance by employers of online credentials as a key barrier.

The fifth annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education is based on responses from over 2,500 colleges and universities. The full report is available free as a PDF download.

(courtesy Virtual Education Gazette) 

E-primer series available

A series of ‘e-primers’ authored by Mark Nichols is freely available from the Flexible Learning in New Zealand site. The e-primers are written for those requiring an introductory theoretical and research-based framework for e-learning practice. E-primers have been peer-reviewed and are written from a New Zealand perspective.

This E-Primer series aims to make the unknown known, to place e-learning in a context of learning theory, institutional development, and instructional design. It examines the role of faculty, good practice in hybrid course design, and the dynamics of online discussion — and places all of these in a coherent context, drawing from refereed sources and 7 years of dedicated experience.

The series of E-Primers includes:

1. E-learning in context An introduction to e-learning and the international experience; definitions of terms; a theory for e-learning; technologies; benefits. (PDF, 478KB)
2. E-education and faculty Education theory and e-learning; the changing role of faculty; workload issues; quality. (PDF, 221KB)
3. Designing for e-learning Instructional design; learning objects; constructing a hybrid course. (Available by end of 2007)
4. Online discourse Synchronous and asynchronous communications; designing online discourse; online facilitation. (Draft phase)
5. E-xtending possibilities Web 2.0; ePortfolios; virtual worlds; lifelong learning. (Conceptual phase)

New e-Book! The eLearning Guild’s Handbook of e-Learning Strategy

New e-Book! The eLearning Guild’s Handbook of e-Learning Strategy

Learning Solutions eMagazineThe eLearning Guild announced today the publication of its next e-book – The eLearning Guild’s Handbook of e-Learning Strategy. Like all Guild e-books, this one is also available to everyone and does not require you to be logged-in to download it. This free e-Book will help you make a broad, fundamental connection between learning, e-Learning, and your organization’s mission, business objectives, and the bottom line. Chapters address everything from crafting a focused strategy, to keeping your strategy focused, to change management. Download it today!

The Death of the Page Turner: Deal With the Application First

Title: The Death of the Page Turner: Deal With the Application First

Author: Mike Sullivan and Michael Gardner

Many designers and subject matter experts default to “knowledge first, application last” as the pattern for e-Learning. But is this always the right way to go? In this week’s article, two experienced designers offer another view, one that starts with a job simulation, allows learners to guess and make mistakes, and builds in interactivity through performance. This approach not only provides a welcome change of pace, but it also improves learner performance on the job.

Via The eLearning Guild. You will need to be logged in but registration is free.