Saturday, December 31, 2011

Module 2: Diffusion of Distance Education

According to Dr. George Siemens, acceptance of distance education is growing due to the increase of online communication between people, whether they are family members, colleagues or strangers with whom they need to collaborate. Communication and collaboration with diverse and global groups has become much easier and more efficient in these last years. Dr. George Siemens believes that distance education will be impacted by new communication technologies, and that the higher education institutions will all gradually adopt distance education technologies although he also believe that face-to-face education will not be abandoned. Dr. Siemens did nevertheless not believe that k12 education would adopt national requirements for distance education. I also believe that online communication has become very important, and that people whether they are young or old are starting to use this technology to communicate among themselves.

Tools that are used to facilitate interactions among learners are Web 2.0, wikispaces, Skype, videoconferencing, facebook, email, websites, blogs, and twitter.  These devices allow students to collaborate with one another and share files which will enhance distance learning in a learning community.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer).(n.d.). The fuure of distance education [Video program].  Available from

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is distance learning evolving to the next generation?

·        After reading the three articles by Moller, Huett, Foshay and Coleman, and listening to the Simonson video programs, compare and contrast the reasons these authors believe there is a need to evolve distance education to the next generation. Do you agree with their positions? Why or why not?
According to Moller, Huett, Foshay, and Coleman (2008), e-learning and the Internet can bridge the gap for students who attend K-12 schools.  Due to the teacher shortage and overcrowding of schools, new facilities are not being built and new teachers are not being hired.  Once educators are trained to use technology, they will be able to use it successful in online learning.  As an alternative educational experience, distance learning can offer a variety of courses such as remedial, credit recovery, advanced, and elective courses.  Administrators can provide course content which aligns with the standards and resources for students who are labeled “high-risk” students.  Teachers are able to contact students better through the use of technology.  Parents are able to assist their students with assignments, reading assignments, and use relevant resources.  Learners tend to work collaboratively when the learning community is supportive, sharing and building knowledge, and social interactions are reinforced.  Students are able to access the online course content from anywhere in the world.  Students will have access to tools and resources in one setting, and they can practice/study at their own pace.  The student population is varied.  Students maybe home-schooled, homebound, in prison, hospitalized, working full-time, travel for a living, and/or just want to better their educational career.  Smaller schools can provide rich various courses/options that other larger schools offer.  Virtual schools can meet the needs of the students by offering courses online and in a monitored computer lab.  Educators have an opportunity to use technology to deliver instructional information in their field of expertise.  In order for distance learning to be successful, educators must collaborate with their colleagues and students, and share a common goal.  Educators must design instruction that will meet the needs of its diverse group of students. 
According to Dr. Michael Simonson (2008), distance learning is formal education in which learners, teachers, and resources work collaborative to link teaching and learning together.  Distance learning has increased in the United States.  Distance learning will not replace traditional classroom settings, but it will be integrated into most learning environments.  Distance learning is different from traditional face-to-face education, but it is equivalent.  Learners receive the same outcomes with distance learning, and it meets the needs of the students.  Students are motivated to learn, do not have to quit their jobs, do not have to drive to campus to attend classes, and there is a return on the investment for universities and colleges.     
There are also disadvantages to online education as well.  According to Moller, Huett, Foshay, and Coleman (2008), policyholders do not understand online learning, and as a result funding may be limited in some states.  Students may not feel comfortable in online class discussions and other activities.  Students may be reluctant to interact with other participants in online courses.  Younger students may not be independent learners, and they may not meet the necessary requirements to complete online courses.  Online education may not meet the needs of the individual student who needs reinforcement, one-on-one assistance, and/or encouragement to complete the courses.  Student may not be able handle the instructional design in nontraditional classroom environments.  There is little to no research that online learning for K-12 schools is effective.  Studies show there are not any significant difference in face-to-face learning and online learning.  Educators are not well-trained in their subject matter, technology, and their duties and responsibilities in online learning, and training those educators can be very expensive to do.  E-learning needs to be evaluated to ensure it successful in the desired outcome. There are not enough training programs available for the demand of e-learning development. 
In conclusion, I agree with Moller, Huett, Foshay, Coleman, and Dr. Simonson that distance learning must evolve to the next generation.  Distance learning offers a variety of courses to meet the needs of its learners.   Learners are also able to participate in asynchronous, knowledge building, and supportive community to enhance their learning experiences.   Learners have access to their professors as well as the necessary resources to assistance them in being successful.   

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W. & Coleman, C. (2008, September/October). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web (Part 3: K12). TechTrends, 52(5), 63–67. Information retrieved from
Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008, May/June). The evolution of distance education:
Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web (Part 1: Training and Development). Tech Trends, 52(3), 70–75.  Information retrieved from
Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008, July/August). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web (Part 2: Higher Education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66–70. Use the Academic Search Premier database, and search using the article's title.  Information retrieved from
Simonson, M. (2000). Making decisions: The use of electronic technology in online classes. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 84, 29–34.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Module 1: Project Topic and Justification

Learner Engagement

Engaged learning is the process of students actively and successfully participating in their own learning experience.  Students should be motivated and encouraged to set their own goals and assess their academic progress.  Students are also energized about their learning and possess a lifelong passion that leads to higher-order thinking, understanding, and problem solving.  Students must know how to transfer knowledge to creatively solve problems and collaborate with others Jones, Valdez, Nowakowski, and Rasmussen (1994).
In order to improve learning engagement, educators must:

(1)    Select activities that are at a correct level of difficulty and are motivating and interesting to the learners.

(2)    Create a safe and comfortable learning environment which allows students to voice their opinions and views without being judged or criticized.

(3)    Implement effectively strategies that are flexible and responsive to the needs of their students.

(4)    Possess good classroom management skills and be consistent at all times.

(5)    Develop creative lesson plans, activities, class discussions, etc. that address the needs of all their students.

(6)     Encourage collaboration amongst the students and challenge them to become higher-order thinkers and problem solvers.

(7)    Communicate with parents to ensure their input about their child is valued and respected.

(8)    Collaborate with administrators, team members, and other staff members to ensure the all students have an opportunity to be successful in their learning process.


Jones, B., Valdez, G., Nowakowski, J., & Rasmussen, C. (1994). Designing Learning and Technology for Educational Reform. Oak Brook, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.