Online Educator Mentoring Committee Receives its First Two Proposals

WAOE members are offering the use of their considerable background and experience to mentor other members who are new to the world of online education. The Online Educator Mentoring Committee has solicited member proposals for non-profit online education projects. Already, two proposals have been received and are being assigned to project teams. A project team consists of five volunteer members who will work with the proposal to provide guidance, resources, and their expertise in developing online curriculum or advising in online facilitation.

The team will continue to accept proposals from any WAOE members with a worthy project. Below is the call for proposals.

INVITATION TO WAOE MEMBERS TO DEVELOP A LEARNING TECHNOLOGY PROJECT

Would you like help to develop a project to do with learning or teaching in an online environment? When you submit a proposal, WAOE will convene a voluntary project team to help support you in your development idea. This is free of charge and we undertake to try and find the most appropriate experienced team members for your project as part of a service to members. Would you like to propose a project? Here's what you should do.

WHAT DO YOU DO FIRST?

Complete a proposal form and submit it to WAOE. You can obtain a form by sending a blank email to formplease@canoemail.com . The form will be emailed back to you automatically. Once you have completed the
form please return it by email to elearning@canoemail.com.

THEN WHAT HAPPENS?

Once your form has arrived you'll receive an acknowledgement from us. We'll work to construct a learning project support team and you will then get an invitation to discuss your project with the support team in our WebBoard environment. This will be a private discussion area to finalise the details of your project and start work as appropriate.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The informal learning projects are negotiated across three distinct phases. The length of each phase will depend on the project details and the time and technologies available amongst the members of the team. The phases are:

Phase 1: Team Construction Phase
The project proposal is received and submitted to the volunteer mentors. A project team is assembled from those most appropriate and/or most willing to offer their help and support. The person proposing the project is contacted to inform them that a team has been created and to let them know the names of the team members. We will also inform you of
the whereabouts of the online workspace for your project.

Phase 2: Implementation Phase
The voluntary support team will work online adopting the agreed and most appropriate methods. The project will be regarded as a group problem-solving task in which everyone on the team works together to raise ideas and discuss possible solutions. The project will end when all parties feel it is appropriate or reasonable to draw the work to a
close.

Phase 3: Closing Review Phase
This part of the project constitutes the bargain upon which support is provided by the WAOE volunteers. Anyone proposing a project must undertake to comply with the requirements of this phase as a reciprocal gesture for the support voluntarily offered by the WAOE. During this phase a summary report as a case study of the project will be produced as a resource for the WAOE. This reflective document will:

  • Review all phases of the project
  • Provide a biographical account of the project written by the proposer in terms of their own context of development to help us understand the project in more detail.
  • An additional document will be constructed by the temporary support team providing the support story and the biography of those involved in the team.
  • The two documents along with the original proposal will be placed together online with any other evidence or artefact to construct an archive.
  • Once approved, this will finalise the project and signal the close of the agreement between all parties.

WHAT NEXT?

If you have not already submitted a proposal then the next step is to send a blank email to formplease@canoemail.com to receive an automatic reply.

If you have received and submitted a proposal we will contact you shortly with details of your project discussion and development area and any account details required.

WHAT GUARANTEES WILL I HAVE?

We can only guarantee that we have your needs at heart and a desire to help. We are a voluntary organisation that makes no charges for this service. We hope to learn as much as you through these projects. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to deliver any or all of what you want. We do however voluntarily undertake to do our best and ask that
you understand this as a voluntary service and an educational collaboration.

We look forward to hearing from you in due course with your submitted proposals.


Member Profiles -- Two WAOE Members Obtain Exemplary Course Awards from WebCT

Dr. Susan Lochrie Graham of University of Exeter, and Dr. Maggie McVay Lynch of Portland State University, were two of six awardees for exemplary courses developed in WebCT. Conducted by independent collaborators and WebCT Institutes, the exemplary course project recognizes courses that model best practice in course design, interaction and collaboration, assessment and evaluation, meaningful use of technology, and learner support.

Dr. Graham's course was Living Belief: Introduction to the Bible.

Dr. Lynch's course was designed for Professor Rob Sanders' First Year Spanish course.

Both courses, along with the other 2003 winners, can be found at the WebCT Exemplary Course project site beginning October 1st.

Maggie on left, Susan on right displaying the awards.

 

In the News: Software that Quickly Translates between any Two Languages

University of Southern California computer scientist Franz Josef Och developed a single system that can translate between any two languages. Och echoed one of the most famous boasts in the history of engineering after his software scored highest among 23 Arabic- and Chinese-to-English translation systems tested in recently concluded Department of Commerce trials. "Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the world," said the great Greek scientist Archimedes, after providing a mathematical explanation for the lever.

"Give me enough parallel data, and you can have a translation system for any two languages in a matter of hours," said Och, a specialst at the USC School of Engineering's Information Sciences Institute.

Och's method uses such matched bilingual texts, the computer-encoded equivalents of the famous Rosetta Stone inscriptions—gigabytes of Rosetta Stones.

"Our approach uses statistical models to find the most likely translation for a given input," Och explained.

For more information about this system, go to the USC School of Engineering News and Events.


Have you read a good book regarding online education recently? Send a one or two paragraph review to the newsletter editor and share the information with others. Do you have experience with particular tools that help to enhance the online learning experience? Send a couple of paragraphs for those as well. In this section we will publish those reviews.


BOOKS AND ARTICLE REVIEWS

"Demystifying the digital divide" by Mark Warschauer, Scientific American August 2003
R
eviewed by Katherine Watson

University of California Irvine School of Information and Computer Science / School of Education professor Mark Warschauer holds that the "have"-v.-"have not" split is dishonest, if not treacherous, that separates twenty-first-century societies according to computer/Internet access or lack of it. That is, although it is clear that disparities exist separating rich, white folks (generally more on the "have" side) from poor, black ones (generally more "have not", especially in Africa) according to high-tech access, these discrepancies mirror social and economic inequities. Thus, it is simplistic to believe that socioeconomic solutions will devolve from increased availability of machines.

In fact, the tendency to arrive at "quick fixes" to complex problems is what Warschauer is warning against in his article, which summarizes efforts he has witnessed in places as diverse as China, Egypt, and India, as well as within the United States, to bring about a process of global socioeconomic inclusion through computer access. Warschauer notes that politically motivated moves to put computers in the small-town libraries of America and magnanimous endeavors to educate poor children in India at hole-in-the-wall computer kiosks have amounted to costly near-failures. Indeed, supplying machines in an area where people need work and housing, not to mention training in computer use, is a venture bound to disappoint. Calling the American quick-fixes a technologically deterministic "fire model" of social repair, in which "a computer, by its mere presence, will generate learning or development, just as a fire generates warmth", Warschauer notes that "failures occur when people attempt to address complex social problems with a narrow focus on provision of equipment."

Warschauer suggests a socioculturally aware, economically sensitive "social informatics" bridging of the digital divide. Given that people have "disparate reasons for wanting the level of computer access they desire", and given that computer skills cannot be assumed to be present in every society, it is "The combination of carefully planned infusions of technology with relevant content, improved education, and enhanced social support (training and counseling)…" that will multiply a society's assets. Warschauer rightly notes that "The opposite of 'divide' is 'multiply'", pointing out that it is unfair to those who pay for it and to those who are supposed to profit from it to dump equipment in a place where it is not supported by technological, educational, and socioeconomic foundations.

It might be (foot)noted that the World Computer Exchange is one of a small group of organizations essaying to offer to poor communities computers with a purpose; these machines are to be supported by technological training, hardware and software support, and follow-up assistance. The Exchange would trade an inaccessible info superhighway for a two-way street uniting the "haves" and the "have nots".

 

TOOLS

In this section we highlight tools that are free or very inexpensive that online educators might find helpful when developing their course materials and interactions.


Silicon Chalk Review
by Maggie McVay Lynch

I attended a technology conference recently and was able to see and play with a new product from the inventor of WebCT, Murray Goldberg. I was very impressed with the product conceptually. It seems to provide an ideal blending of valuable face-to-face instructional approaches with new technologies that greatly enhance the learning experience both for the classroom-based and distance student. The best part is the pricing structure which allows you to purchase only a few or thousands of licenses without too much pain. Silicon Chalk has established a pricing policy of a small annual fee for each student's and faculty's annual license. The current licensing structure charges approximately $15 per year per user for a full license. The pricing goes down as you add more users. You can purchase the license on a per class basis, as well as per department or institution wide. This type of small fee can easily be made a part of student fees in most institutions.

Silicon Chalk supports collaboration, communication, exercises, note taking and presentation in face to face classes where some or all students have laptops, desktops or tablet computers. It allows distance students to participate and creates a fully interactive recording of every learning activity for later learning, review, refinement and asynchronous participation. In addition, there are a number of feedback features that give the instructor important information.

For the professor, the ability to obtain real-time feedback on student comprehension of the ideas being presented, pace of the presentation, and evaluation of student note taking, both during the lecture and afterward, is critical to making adjustments that improve the presentation. In addition, the ability of the instructor to direct multimedia-based presentations to student laptops greatly enhances their instructional value and helps students to focus directly on the presentation without worry about where they are sitting in the room or how clearly they can see the important elements.

For the student, the shared experience both inside and outside of the classroom helps to unify the class, build community, and provide an excellent resource for study. During the class, students capture classroom events with a laptop computer, adding their own notes both during and after class as they relate to specific presentations (e.g., Instructor's PowerPoint, video, or overhead notes) to be reviewed and added to after class. Most of all these tools allow students to be engaged without being exacting note takers and to provide immediate feedback regarding their difficulty understanding concepts and to ask meaningful questions and get answers without disturbing the flow of the class or feeling singled out.

The company does encourage you to download a free trial for up to 4 months. If you have an environment where more than 1/3 of your students have access to laptops and use them in class, this may be a product that is worth your review.


Online Learning in South Africa

Elizabeth Henning, at Rand Afrikaans University, is a new WAOE member who is working with the National Research Foundation of South Africa. Specifically, she is researching " How teachers make sense of their ICT education for application in their schools." She is looking for research partners in this effort. The partner must be someone who can work on online learning in developing counties. She would like to find someone by October of this year.

WAOE Mentoring Project Still Needs Volunteers

Though 27 volunteers have signed onto the mentoring project list, there is still a need for more. Each project is assigned five volunteers as the project team. Already two projects are in the works. This is a way for you to truly share your expertise in online education with those members who need it most.

The easiest way to become a mentoring volunteer is to subscribe to the WAOE teampool list. Click on the link and it will automatically open an email window for you to subscribe. You don't need to fill anything out. Just click on Send. Once you have subscribed, send an introduction of yourself, your background and skills, and specific interests to teampool@waoe.org.



The Rewards of Effective Facilitation
of Online Learners

a guest article by Diane Howard, Ph.D.

Online learning is increasing in momentum around the world. International online learning communities and collaborative groups are developing around the globe. According to a special report, Online Education: What the Future Holds, the majority of Canadians have demonstrated interest in online learning (Ipsos-Reid, 2002). The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training reported the results of its survey in E-learning and training in Europe. The survey revealed marked growth in distance education(Cedefop, 2001). The U.S. federal government is turning to the World Wide Web to train its 1.9 million employees, to save money, improve productivity, and enhance the attractiveness of government services. This distance training includes a new Web-based training site which uses 3-D graphics to direct employees to 30 online courses that cover topics related to computers, management, customer service and ethics. This online educational effort is part of a broader e-government initiative to improve governmental efficiency and cost-effectiveness (Thibodeau, 2002). Today only about 16% of full-time students on American college campuses are between 18-22 years of age and are traditional residential students (60 Minutes, 2001).

To reach non-traditional students and to meet their educational needs around the world, more colleges are turning to distance education. Current instructional technology can potentially provide effective learner-centered, personalized education for non-traditional, non-residential students around the globe. As students and faculty move from traditional, on-site learning and teaching, they must learn to make the necessary adjustments.

Palloff & Pratt (1999) focus on online community in e-learning. They conclude from their studies that anonymity and perceived safety of distance communication allow participants in their research projects to experience intimacy and trust. Being able to take the necessary time to make thoughtful responses, participants are able to contribute substantively in online discussions. Palloff and Pratt find that participation of the instructor as a facilitator and equal member of the e-learning community is a significant factor.

In effective online teaching and learning, the instructor does not impart knowledge in a unidirectional way as an expert. Effective e-learning is not passive. Time and space do not confine online teaching and e-learning. Interactions and collaborations between students and instructors facilitate effective online learning. The sense of community is especially significant in effective distance education. Class participation in e-learning is important. Students verify their active engagement in the learning process by posting their thoughts and responses. Students posted contributions of critical thoughts and responses are more important than memorization and regurgitation of facts to an instructor.

Today with electronic bulletin boards, discussion boards, e-mail discussion groups, or chat areas, online learning can be interactive. Web sites can provide various interactive teaching and learning solutions and resources. Picciano (2002) reviews the research literature on Web-based learning and contends that it supports the position that the success of online courses frequently depends upon the nature of interactions. It is common, therefore, for online instructors to encourage or even require a certain amount of participation in various forms of interactive e-activities. Both students and faculty frequently report that increased satisfaction in online courses depends on the quality and quantity of interactions. Shea, Fredericksen, Pickett, Pelz, and Swan (2002) report the following about the relationship of online satisfaction, interaction, and performance from a survey of 3,800 students enrolled in 264 courses through the SUNY Learning Network (SLN).

The greater the percentage of the course grade that was based on discussion, the more satisfied the students were, the more they thought they learned from the course, and the more interaction they thought they had with the instructor and with their peers.

Developers of the California Distance Learning Project (1997) contend that research indicates that students who are most interested in distance education have common characteristics. These qualities are independence in pursuit of continuing education, motivation, high expectations, self-discipline, older age than average students, and a serious attitude toward learning (Palloff & Pratt, 1999). Especially for such active students, online instructors need to function more as facilitators or moderators than as traditional teachers. Collison et al (2000) argue that online teaching requires "moderators," rather than "teachers" in the classic sense. They assert that this is necessary, if student learning is to be active, "authentic," and more than passive memorization and reciting of information using high-tech equipment. They determine that an online teacher, a moderator, needs to act more like "a guide on the side" instead of a "sage on the stage." These characterizations have become cliches in the rhetoric non-teacher-centered, pedagogies. However, in online teaching the practical and theoretical implications of being a "guide on the side" are especially critical.

Receiving effective facilitation in online learning may be especially significant for students who are introverted and lacking in confidence. Palloff and Pratt (1999) are convinced that online education can draw out students, who might seem unmotivated in on-site classrooms because they are quiet and easily intimidated in face-to-face situations by more extroverted classmates or instructors. Effective facilitation can enhance a sense of inclusion for online students who are socially or geographically isolated.

However, facilitation is a challenge for many teachers. College instructors and professors often have special difficulty adjusting to the roles of facilitators rather than lecturers or unidirectional teachers. Distance educators must make the effort to adjust, however, as online and distance learning is more about process and discovery than memorizing and repeating content. Medical people, counselors, therapists, and social workers often do better in learning this new mode of facilitative instruction. They are more used to listening and then making sense of what they hear. It is easier, in general, for them to get their own personae out of the way. Effective online and distance facilitation of learning is generally more informal than teaching in face-to-face, on-site classes. However, it takes effort to move from the formal to the informal, when instructors are not physically together with their students.

In teaching online, a moderator's postings are "interventions," not "contributions." The "interventions" don't assert authority as much as they prod learning and discussions to go deeper. As the students and moderator interact, inquiry is at the center of the learning process, not information from the teacher or another authority. The moderator is not at the center of e-learning; the learning always is. Teachers who use their skills as conceptual moderators enrich the learning. Online learning is collaborative learning. If students are working on a common project or are participating in a common thread in a discussion, which creates a kind of conversation about a topic, they can experience a sense of participation and collaboration. Instructors, as educational facilitators, must encourage dialogue as inquiry. They must use inductive, expansive questioning to facilitate success in online courses. An effective online learning process is interactive among students, peers, instructors, technologies, and content.

In their book, Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace: Effective Strategies for the Online Classroom, Palloff and Pratt (1999) encourage facilitators to promote honesty, responsiveness, relevance, respect, openness, and empowerment to produce effective e-learning communities. When using threaded discussion forums with an active bulletin board and e-mail dialogue with their students, instructors of online courses have opportunities to gain greater knowledge of their pupils than in face-to-face classes alone. Further, online students often experience more open, honest, vulnerable, transparent, and supportive group relationships and collegiality with other students than they do in on-site, face-to-face classes..

Dr. Lynn Schrum (2002) recommends the following online requirements:students’ posted biographies, frequent interactions, collaborations, and responses to question-asking forums. Her recommendations for online teaching strategies further include requiring active participation, topical flexibility, and minimal technology requirements. Online course Web sites should include syllabi pages with course goals, objectives, requirements, procedures, policies, schedules, required materials, and contact information. They can provide pages for announcements, resources, links, message boards, student pages, digital drop boxes for papers, and grade book spreadsheets. Class size in most online courses should be small with approximately fifteen students or less. Classes should be divided into small working groups of three to five.

Goals of online teaching should include facilitating higher-level, thinking skills, such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. In order to evaluate online learning, as to whether or not higher-level thinking skills are being used and transformative learning is taking place, the facilitator might ask the following questions of a student's work.

  • Do the student's online discussions or e-mails restate information which is gleaned from course readings, or do the student’s e-contributions create new concepts from the course content, student experiences, and the discussion itself?
  • Is the student self-reflexive, analytical, and or evaluative in correspondence, dialogues, and interactions?

Ongoing management of technology and online classes must also be addressed as instructors adjust to cyber-teaching. Students and instructors critically need initial training and ongoing technical support in terms of human assistance and appropriate software. Mentors can be provided to faculty for ongoing class support. Finally, instructors and students need to accept the fact that they will face technical challenges and will have questions that will need clarifications from time to time.

Today there is great debate concerning the effectiveness of distance education. Often this divide is based on opinion and limited experience, evidence, and research. Frequently educators, communicators, and presenters with limited experience in the use of distance technology resist it and argue that it depersonalizes, dehumanizes, and isolates. They argue that on site, face-to-face education, communication, and presentation are more powerful because they are more personal. Dutton, Dutton, and Perry present their research that compares online and traditional lecture formats. They contend that, on average, students perform at least as well in classes with an online component, as students in traditional, face-to-face formats (Dutton et al, 2002). Educators, communicators, and presenters with more experience in using distance technology often contend that distance students, in general, can perform as well as on-site students. Furthermore, they argue that distance education can enhance education, communication, presentation, and socialization in qualitatively unique and personal ways.

For those educators who resist distance education in its various forms, the real issues may be less about education and more about resisting change or resisting reaching out beyond their comfortable local regions. Resisting distance education in a variety of modes may also be more about fear of loss of territory, control, influence, power, and/or the right to function as the primary or sole mediator, arbitrator, or expert, than about education. Distance teaching involves a loss of traditional control. If it is to be effective, teachers must function more as facilitators or moderators, than as lecturers, for example.

Being willing to make adjustments and changes to utilize modern technologies in education can be extremely worthwhile. Distance education in various forms offers valuable new possibilities, vistas, and territories.

Here are some basic guidelines for effective educational online facilitation.

  • The instructor functions as a moderator and equal member of the e-learning community.
    1. The instructor does not impart knowledge in a unidirectional way as an expert.
    2. Since effective e-learning is not passive, it is facilitated by interactions and collaborations between students and instructors.
    3. In online learning a moderator's postings are "interventions," not "contributions."
    4. The "interventions" don't assert authority but prod learning to go deeper.
    5. Inquiry, not the teacher's information or authority, is at the center of interactions.
    6. The moderator is not at the center of e-learning; the learning always is.
    7. Educational facilitators encourage dialogue as inquiry.
    8. Effective distance instructors use inductive, expansive questioning.
    9. Facilitators promote honesty, responsiveness, relevance, respect, and openness.
    10. Effective distance educators do not dominate but empower their students.
    11. Distance instructors gain knowledge of their students by using threaded discussion forums with an active bulletin board and e-mail dialogue.

  • The learning community is especially significant in effective distance education.
    1. Participation in learning is important.
    2. Students verify their active engagement and critical thinking in the learning process through posting their thoughts and responses.
  • Distance education needs to be interactive.
    1. It is collaborative learning.
    2. Even when postings are asynchronous, the sense that participants are collaborating in a community can be facilitated if they are working on a common project or are participating in a common thread in a discussion or conversation about a topic.
  •  

  • Online learners often share the following characteristics: independent pursuit of continuing education, motivation, high expectations, self-discipline, older age than average students, and a serious attitude toward learning.
  • Class size in most online courses should be small.
  • Goals of online teaching should include facilitating higher-level, thinking skills, such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • Effective distance teaching strategies include requiring the following: posting of biographies, interactivity projects, collaboration, and participation.
  • Effective online teaching involves inductive questioning, flexibility with topics, and having minimal technology requirements.
  • Students and instructors critically need initial training and ongoing technical support in terms of human assistance and appropriate software.
  • Instructors and students need to accept technical challenges at times.
  • Web sites for distance courses should include syllabi pages with course goals, objectives, requirements, procedures, policies, schedules, required materials, and contact information.
  • Web sites for online instruction can provide pages for announcements, resources, links, message boards, digital drop boxes for assignments, and student pages.


Next month this article will be followed by "The Rewards of Effective Curriculum Design for Online Learners."


References:

Cedefop (2001). E-Learning and Training in Europe. Retrieved August 11, 2002 from
http://www.ianos.gr/first/cedefop/cedefop.htm

Collison, G. , Elbaum, B., Haavind, S ., Tinker, R. (2000) Facilitating online learning: Effective strategies for moderators. Madison: Atwood Publishing.

Dutton, J. et al. (2002) How do online students differ from lecture students? JALN, 6 (1). Retrieved August 11, 2002 from http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/Vol6_issue1/6_1dutton.htm

Ipsos-Reid (2002). Online education: what the future holds. The Net, 22. Retrieved August 11, 2002 from http://www.netn.org/net22.htm.

Palloff, R, Pratt, K. (1999) Building learning communities in Cyberspace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Picciano, A. (2002). Beyond student perceptions: issues of interaction, presence, and performance in an online course. JALN, 6 (1), Retrieved August 11, 2002 from http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/Vol6_issue1/6_1picciano.htm.

Schrum, L. and Hong, S. (2002). Dimensions and strategies for online success: voices from experienced educators. JALN, 6 (1). Retrieved August 11, 2002 from http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/jaln-vol6issue1.htm#schrum .

Thibodeau, P. (2002). Feds Tout E-learning Site for Government Workers. The Net, 29. Retrieved August 11, 2002 from http://www.netn.org/net29.htm


When WAOE was formed as a non-profit organization (NPO) or public benefit corporation, 22 ambitious Objectives and Purposes were expressed in our Bylaws. It is not for the founders to say if they were visionary, but the founding Directors expressed a detailed vision of turning a new field into a global discipline by applying academic standards and ethics to education in cyberspace. As WAOE considers the need for a broader code of ethics for distance or online education, WAOE's Bylaws provide a continuing structure and mandate.

For further background information, please see Milestones in WAOE's
development since 1998 among the organizational pages at WAOE's main Website.

 

How well have WAOE's original purposes stood the test of time? While this writer draws a few observations in our sixth year, readers may be the judge, and comment in WAOE communication channels. Here are WAOE's 22
original Objectives and Purposes:

The primary objectives and purposes of this corporation shall be:

(a) to organize a worldwide professional association of educators who use or wish to use online computer technology for education;

(b) to advance the development, implementation, evaluation, and administration of online education in all fields of learning;

(c) to advance technical and institutional support for practitioners;

(d) to encourage the dissemination of online education, its related technologies, needed skills, and perspectives as a discipline;

(e) to promote scholarly activities which systematically apply educational theories and research to online education;

(f) to sponsor both voluntary and professional activities, providing online communication forums, online conferences, an electronic journal, and other online publications;

(g) to organize ongoing asynchronous and synchronous online communication channels by which members exchange ideas and engage in scholarly discussions of issues related to online education and in pan-disciplinary subject areas at all levels of true education;

(h) to serve the need for online education to become a professional discipline based on sound pedagogical principles and humanistic ethics;

(i) to promote the deserved enhancement of the professional status of online educators, technology specialists, and administrators who implement online education responsibly in terms of pedagogical principles and humanistic considerations;

(j) to promote professionalism and high quality in online education so that such educational methods merit recognition as equally valid as pre-World-Wide Web approaches to sharing reliable knowledge, conducting specialized training, and certifying educational attainment;

(k) to develop sites referencing educational resources in various fields based at servers throughout the world and providing information on sources of reliable knowledge or discussions in various fields of learning, with annotations and links to sites recommended for research and to educational programs partly or wholly online after review for
pedagogical effectiveness;

(l) to organize expertise in online educational issues to serve the professional needs of practitioners;

(m) to assist practitioners in the conceptualization, planning, construction, administration, and evaluation of online instruction, as well as in the selection and use of academically reliable online resources in face-to-face courses;

(n) to be supportive of beginning practitioners and those with little choice but to offer elements of courses online;

(o) to apply time-honored academic standards and ethics to new educational media;

(p) to guide the development of standards for online education, which in turn provide criteria for the evaluation, certification and accreditation of online learning programs;

(q) to defend the integrity of the online educational profession by rectifying misinformation about the Internet and education, and by condemning unsubstantiated claims and practices judged to constitute a misuse of educational technology for purposes ulterior to education;

(r) to provide channels for educators in similar fields or for interdisciplinary projects, whether the educators or students are in proximity or geographically distant, to join in collaborative and cooperative development and delivery of online courses and resources;

(s) reflecting the global potential of Internet technologies, to fill the need for an organization of worldwide educators, one that is unencumbered by geography, physical travel, paper publications and other material means of production that must be subsidized by members;

(t) to maintain a global perspective as a world organization, supporting multilingualism and multiculturalism in online education, preserving human rights to diversity and mutual respect despite differences, and encouraging intercultural sensitivity and world reconciliation through intercultural communication among global citizens;

(u) to be as inclusive as possible in scope, serving the aspirations of all members and working for equitable access to online education and to membership;

and,

(v) as world civilizations become digitized, to create an organization that can function entirely with digital technologies and thus provide worldwide access to its activities, research, and support.

Discussion. Considering that ethics are not only what we are up against but also what we stand for, WAOE's purposes provide a foundation for our efforts toward a code of ethics for education in the Internet Age. The above purposes also seem broader than other formulations in expressing a global perspective with intercultural sensitivity. An Indian presenter
at a 2001 conference in China indeed cited (t) and (u) above and WAOE's "voluntary collaboration for offering professional development courses online, with a concern for multilingualism and multiculturalism in online education." Let us know on occasion what you think of WAOE's 22 Objectives and Purposes.


Troubleshooting the WAOE Website, Discussion Boards, and List-Servs

Because WAOE is a virtual organization, members are dependent on using their computer to see information and participate in all aspects of this organization. In this section the Webmaster will answer questions about the WAOE site or discuss common problems that members may experience. With the large variety of software and hardware used today, most often the problem is resolved with a configuration change. Send your questions to Maggie Lynch. She will try to answer you within two days to immediately resolve your problem. If your question is a common one, she may then use your question (anonymously) in this column so that other members can benefit as well.

Q. I'm confused about the various ways to communicate in WAOE. Would you please describe the differences between the listservs and the WebBoard?

A. WAOE uses several means for members to communicate. Some of them are password protected, and others are open to anyone on the Web. For example, VIEWS is an open discussion list for both WAOE members and non-members. Anyone can join by simply subscribing to the list. VIEWS is a listserv. This means it is a mail distribution list that automatically sends you an email anytime anyone posts a messages or responds to a message. Depending on the topic, you may get many emails in one day or very few.

WAOE has several other lists with this same architecture. There are individual lists for specific language groups (e.g., French, Turkish, Russian, Japanese) where WAOE members may converse in their native language. There are also lists for specific purposes that has limited membership, such as the WAOE Board, the Ring, or Teampool for the mentors. All of these lists are archived with search capabilities. So, if you are a member of that list you can also access the archives at any time. The Communication section of the WAOE site provides links to most of the lists.

Q. Several times during the past couple of months I've had problems accessing the WAOE site or an email address. What am I doing wrong?

A. There are several possibilities as to why this happens. The problem may lie with PSU's web server, it may lie with your computer or server processing, or with any number of routers between your computer and PSU. The best approach is to try several times and if it still doesn't work, to give up and try the next day.

Unfortunately Portland State University, who hosts the WAOE site, has also had two major power outages in the past 6 weeks that took the server down for two to three days each time. The last one also resulted in a file corruption problem that required a complete restore of backups. In addition, PSU has been one of hundreds of colleges that has suffered severe virus attacks. Most of these viruses did not corrupt files or impact WAOE information. However, they do take up server space and cycles as they replicate themselves thousands of times and send spurious emails to thousands of users.

The good news is that this happened during the summer months when the problems could be addressed and there were not as many students to re-spread the virus. We have now put some additional security into place and email quarantines that will make it more difficult for this to happen again. If you continue to have any problems please contact Maggie McVay Lynch.

Q. I don't have time to read all the VIEWS messages and they take up space in my inbox. Is there a way to get a digest version?

A. Yes! We are currently generating a once per day digest for VIEWS. This means that whether there are 50 messages or only three in a day you will only receive ONE email from views. This email will contain all of the messages from that day in a single file for you to scan and pick out what interests you. To subscribe to the digest, send an email to Sam Eneman, the list manager, and he will make sure that you are deleted from the regular VIEWS list and subscribed to the digest version.