WAOE Mentoring Project Site Implemented

You've been hearing about the mentoring projects for the past six months. There have now been 7 projects brought to the team. A mentoring site is now available that describes the status of each project and shares lessons learned and any resources developed.

Members may access the mentoring project site to join as a mentor, propose a project, or simply to gain use of the resources.

Be sure to read the guest article by the Mentoring Project Chair, Nicholas Bowskill to learn more about this important work undertaken by many WAOE members.

Microsoft launches ‘Office Hindi’

submitted by Ramesh Sharma

Microsoft Corporation India on 16th February 2004, launched the Hindi version of its software Office, which includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Frontpage and Powerpoint besides other applications. Microsoft’s first offering developed specifically for the Indian market, ‘Office Hindi’ will allow users to create documents and communicate with others in Hindi and navigate easily using the menus and toolbars in Hindi.

It supports nine Indian languages, empowering Indian users to leverage the global standards-based Office applications suite in the language of their choice. The two editions of the product – Office Hindi Professional and Office Hindi Standard – will be available. Microsoft also announced the availability of online resources, training material and partner support to ensure that customers adopt and integrate the offering into their infrastructure smoothly. The idea behind local language initiatives is aimed at helping Indian users realize the same benefits of IT as their peers the world over. Microsoft hoped that Office Hindi would offer significant benefits to Central and State Governments, public sector undertakings, banking industry, education institutes and local developer community.

Microsoft had first announced its intent to launch this offering in India, during the visit of its chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates in India in 2002.

Source: The Tribune, Chandigarh, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 Page 15.


Member Profiles -- Efraín Barbosa, National University
of Colombia

Adapted from an article at http://sky.net.co/physics/Efraimunimedios.html

After 32 years in education, Efraín Barbosa along with his wife and colleague, Mari Yoshida, developed a web-based learning tool, called Internet Physics, to help students learn basic concepts in Physics. The site is a collection of links to animations and simulations that depict important laws and rules in physics like mechanics, electromagnetism, relativity, gravitation, astronomy, cosmology, thermodynamics, statistics, quantum physics, and solid state theory. Only two short years ago he introduced this program and today it is consulted by thousands of students and physics instructors around the world.

His interest in physics began at a young age, and once he completed his education he quickly rose through the ranks and in early adulthood soon became the director in the Department of Physics and of Curricular Programs. Later he became a director at the Atmoics and Molecular Physics Headquarters. However, even with such a distinguished career, Professor Barbosa's first love was in the education of Physics. He wanted to ensure that students would incorporate the concepts of science and physics into their everyday life. In describing himself, Barbosa will repeat Einstein's definition of physicists, "a philosopher in worker clothes."

Barbosa's specific field of study has related to the study of light and its complex properties. The Theory of Maxwell indicated to him that light was an electromagnetic wave, but Quantum theory seeded new doubts in him when he found that the atoms emit light. The he began to study how that light is held, how it behaves, why atoms emit light, and how they interact with matter.

It is this same attitude of questioning and searching that also led Barbosa to ponder pedagogical methodologies for teaching Physics as a dynamic reality in the daily world. He soon saw that most students struggled with the limited imagination presented in textbooks that described Physics only in terms of equations. Instead he strove to provide a visual mechanism for teaching concepts--one that would allow students to actually "see" the changing physical phenomenon. In this search, he found that the "computer is an incomparable tool to go toward that objective."

In pursuit of knowledge, Barbosa has been fortunate to travel to many places in the world and meet with other physicists. He has been to Japan, Germany, the United States, Brazil, Chile and Italy to participate in seminars, conferences, specialization courses and investigative works with other physicists.

Recently Barbosa has also dedicated himself to changing educational policies in his country to be more accessible to larger numbers of people and to increase the education budget. You can contact Dr. Barbosa via email.


No new projects were submitted.


If you have a conference you wish to advertise in the next newsletter, please send information to Maggie Lynch.

Upcoming Conferences

TCC 2004
NINTH ANNUAL TEACHING IN THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES ONLINE CONFERENCE
April 20-22, 2004 (1000 GMT)
Pre-conference Dates: April 13-15, 2004

"SURFING THE BROADBAND WAVE: THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME"
http://tcc.kcc.hawaii.edu/

Faster. Wider. More?

Broadband is the megaway answer to the six-lane punyway, the Godzilla tunnel bypass to the wormhole straw. Broadband is the solution to traffic jams, gridlocks--the answer that will turn the trickle of information into a torrent, the foot-high swell into a tsunami.

As educators, we're on the lineup, sitting on our boards, watching the super set roll in. From first to last, the waves increase in size, each dwarfed by the one behind. The first wave in the set is upon us. It's relatively small. The others, however, are right behind, each increasingly bigger, faster, and more powerful, and the last threatening to turn day into night, shutting out the sun and sky.

We're experiencing the first ripple of the broadband wave that's forming in the distance. Some of us will see the squirt and say, "Ain't no big thing." Others will raise their eyes, point to the massive wall that's blotting out the horizon, and ask, "Oh, yeah?"

Join us at the ninth annual Teaching in the Community Colleges Online Conference, and share your take on "Surfing the Broadband Wave: The Shape of Things to Come."

  • TOPICS: This year's conference will focus on broadband's impact on . . .
    Learning
    Instruction
    Instructional Support
    Student Services
    Administration
    Colleges and Systems
    Global or International Education
    Educational Philosophy
    Private Sector Partnerships

REGISTRATION FEES
Individuals: $70 until March 30; $99 late fee
Presenters: $35 until February 28; $70 late fee

Institutions:
Large Campuses (>5,000 student head count), $1500
WCET & LEAGUE FOR INNOVATION Members and Affiliates, $1000
Small Campuses (<5,000 student head count), $750
WCET & LEAGUE FOR INNOVATION Members and Affiliates, $500

The institutional fee allows for unlimited number of participants from a single campus. Institutions must designate a single contact person to arrange payment and announce registration procedures to their constituents. Contact Sharon Fowler for more information contact fowlers@hawaii.edu.

REGISTER ONLINE: http://tcc.kcc.hawaii.edu

This event is produced by the University of Hawai'i Kapi'olani Community
College, Honolulu USA in association with Osaka Gakuin University, JAPAN.

EISTA Call for Participation and Paper Submittal

The Inter-American Organization of Higher Education IOHE, which includes about 400 universities, and EISTA's Organizing Committee, has issued a call for participation in the International Conference on Education and Information Systems:
Technologies and Applications EISTA 2004, which will be held in Orlando, Florida, USA, in July 21 - 25, 2004.

The main objective of EISTA '04 is to provide a forum for the presentation of both: solutions and problems of the applications of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in Education and Training.

EISTA seeks submission of original and unpublished works, research results, case studies, information systems developed for specific purposes, and innovative ideas and designs in the fields of Education/Training and Information/Communication Technologies (ICT) that
might be improved by different approaches and design in ICT.

Emphasis is on the area of Applications of Information and Communication Technologies in Education and Training, mainly Online
Teaching and Learning which is related to your specific area.

The best 10% of the papers will be published in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, the hard copy version of which will be ready in about one month, and it will be sent to the largest university libraries.

The respective Call for Papers is includedbelow. You can find more information about the conference, in our web page
http://www.confinf.org/eista04 .

CALL FOR PAPERS EISTA '04
International Conference on Education and Information Systems: Technologies and Applications
July 21 - 25, 2004 Orlando, Florida, USA

EISTA '04 Organizing Committee invites authors to submit their original and unpublished works, innovations, ideas based on analogical thinking, problems that require solutions, position papers, case studies, etc., in the fields of Education/Training and Information/Communication Technologies (ICT). ICT researchers are invited to present their research results. Practitioners and consultants are invited to present case study papers and innovative solutions. Corporations are invited to present education/training information systems and software based solutions. Teachers and University professors are invited to present case studies,
information systems developed for specific purposes, and innovative ideas and designs. Educational scientists and technologists are invited to present research or position papers on the impact and the future possibilities of ICT in educational systems and training processes and methodologies.

Manager of educational organizations and training consultants are invited to present problems that might be solved by means of ICT, or solutions that might be improved by different approaches and design in ICT.

All are invited to organize panel or invited sessions. Panel sessions with panelists coming from both: ICT researchers/practitioners and
teachers/professors.

Submitted papers must describe work not previously published. They must not be submitted concurrently to another conference with refereed proceedings.

You can find complete information about the conference in our web page http://www.confinf.org/eista04



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

Article - Scaling Up an Online Course to Deal with 12,000 Students
by Weller and Robinson, The Open University
in
Education, Communication & Information, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2003

Though this article was actually written in 2001, I'm just getting around to reading it. For anyone dealing with presenting courses to large classes or large numbers of students this would be an excellent resource article. It discusses the issues around course quality, student experience, and the changed role of tutors and facilitators when dealing with such large classes. They also talk about cost comparisons in light of the additional support structure that is needed for these types of courses.

Article - Dealing with the Future Now: Principles for Creating a Vital Campus in a Climate of Restricted Resources by Guskin and Marcy
in Change, July/August 2003

From two renowned leaders in institutional transformation, this article proposes an approach to dealing with limited resources in higher education as states and the federal government continue to provide less funding. The authors suggest three organizing principles and seven transforming actions that can help institutions move through the necessary change and transformation required to thrive in this new environment.

No book reviews were submitted.

TOOLS

No tool reviews were submitted for this newsletter. However, a special interest group has formed a review project for open source tools. We anticipate some of the members of that project will be reporting back on tools they evaluate in future newsletters.


Do you have something for this section? Send your partnership requests to Maggie Lynch for inclusion in the next newsletter.

EU-US Call for Proposals - Deadline for submission 23 April 2004

The European Commission announces a call for proposals under the EU-US cooperation programme in higher education and vocational education and training. Full programme guidelines and application forms can be found at http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/programmes/eu-usa/usa_en.html#call

Eligibility of institutions from the 10 acceding countries:

Please note that institutions from the 10 acceding countries (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia), are eligible to participate in this call for proposals as long as these countries become Members of the EU by the time grant agreements are signed.

What is the purpose?

The programme aims primarily at promoting understanding between the peoples of the European Community and the United States of America and improving the quality of their human resource development.

To achieve these objectives the Programme supports innovative, multilateral, student-centred projects with the potential to stimulate substantive and long-lasting structural transatlantic co-operation in higher education and vocational education and training. It may also support international education projects that give rise to new forms of cooperation between the United States and the European Community.

In addition, through the Fulbright/EU scheme, the programme supports the study of research and lecturing on European Community affairs and EC/US relations.

What are the types of projects supported?

Consortia Implementation Projects are three-year projects fostering institutional partnerships centred on students. Students benefit from international curriculum and cultural dimension being added to their studies through a combination of curricular innovation and study or training abroad.

Consortia Preparatory Projects are one-year projects which provide opportunities for developing international innovative co-operation as well as opportunities for giving access to the programme to institutions with little of no international experience.

Complementary activities are two years projects designed to support the overall purpose of international curriculum development and preparing students for work in a global workplace.

Fulbright/EU grants provide support for a full academic year or a one-semester research or lecturing on EU affairs or US-EU relations at an accredited institution in the US or in the EC.

Who is eligible for funding and what is the minimum number of partners in a project?

The programme is based on the development of a consortium of higher education and vocational education and training institutions or organisations in the fifteen Member States of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom), in the ten acceding Member States (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia), and in the United States.

Institutions from the ten acceding Member States are entitled to receive funding under this programme subject to their accession to the EU.

Membership may involve higher education or vocational education and training institutions and organisations including industry and business groups, non-governmental organisations, publishers, government departments, chambers of commerce, and research institutes as defined below. Complementary activities may also involve as partners other education institutions, organisations and associations.

For the purpose of this programme:

  • "higher education institution" means any establishment according to the applicable laws or practices which offers qualifications or diplomas at the higher education level, whatever such establishment may be called;
  • "vocational education and training institution" means any type of public, semi-public or private body, which, irrespective of the designation given to it, in accordance with the applicable laws and practices, designs or undertakes vocational education or training, further vocational training, refresher vocational training or retraining; and
  • "students" means all those persons following learning or training courses or programs that are run by higher education or vocational education and training institutions.

What is the minimum number of partners in a project?

All consortia in the EU-US Programme Consortia implementation projects and consortia preparatory projects must have a minimum of three higher education or vocational education and training institutions or organisations as partners on each side from at least three different EU Member States of the European Community and three different states in the US.

All consortia must have a non-profit higher education or vocation education and training lead institution or organisation in the EU and in the US. These institutions are responsible for submitting a common proposal, for directing the project and for grant management or fiscal control.

In all projects partners may represent business and industry groups and may help give your project the national and international visibility necessary for it to succeed beyond the funding period. These organisations may collaborate to offer internships or may offer professional advice and expertise.

Eligible applicants for a Fulbright/EU grant are professionals, policy makers or academics involved in EU or US affairs and must have personal qualities, a proven level of academic or professional excellence as well as outstanding records. Applicants must be US citizens or residents of the EU.

Who administers the EU/US Programme?

EU/US Programme is administered jointly by the US Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC).

How much financial support is available in 2004?

The European Commission (DG EAC) supports the EU lead and partner institutions. The United States of America (FIPSE) supports the US lead and partner institutions.

Consortia Implementation Projects will be funded up to 160,000 € for EU partners and $210,000 for US partners.

A small number of Consortia Preparatory Projects will be supported with a limit of 25,000 € for the EU partners and $25,000 for the US partners.

For Complementary Activities, the maximum grant for a two-year project is 80,000 € for the EU partners and $80,000 for the US partners.

For the three types of projects above the total amount of funding granted by the European Commission may not normally exceed 75% of the approved budget.

What is the application procedure?

The lead institution in the EU and the lead institution in the US must submit the common proposal to DG EAC and FIPSE. EU lead institutions should apply to the Commission for funding covering expenses incurred by the lead and partner institutions.

The EU lead institution must submit the original and four (4) copies of the EU application forms, which include the common proposal, to DG EAC in any of the official languages of the European Community.

All applications for funding must be submitted by 23 April 2004 by registered post



Global Online Education
Fosters Enlightened Universal Community

a guest article by Diane Howard, Ph.D.

In the arena of the World Wide Web (WWW), there is a qualitatively new, virtual dimension. Elements of the visceral world, such as those related to physical bodies, places, and cultures seem less significant and impacting in this new arena. The WWW has created a dimension where our minds and souls can freely share, connect, and bond with people around the globe. Cyberspace scholar, Pierre Levy (1998), describes it as a deterritorialized world in which there is more of a sense of a global collective we who work, communicate, experience collectively in virtual communities, virtual corporations, and virtual democracies. It is a qualitatively new kind of collective we.

The equalizing, leveling, anonymous, and disembodying aspects of communication in cyberspace can provide powerful opportunities for social justice, enfranchisement, inclusion, and equal opportunity. E-technologies can provide opportunities for global online education that can positively empower students around the world and foster internationally enlightened, balanced, educated communities. Skillful interactive cyber communicational and educational techniques can supercede universal tendencies to diminish, dismiss, or stereotype others due to gender, ethnicity, racial, and cultural differences.

The contemporary world of the Internet is more than simply an information highway (Levy, 1998). It is a unique dimension, which affects almost every area of many of our lives. In it we have the opportunity live in a new global community facilitated by interactive, e-technologies in which we can share perspectives and experiences from diverse cultures and facilitate new universal education, communication, and collaboration that balances ethno-centric perspectives.

Pierre Levy (1998) contends that communication in the virtual world can cultivate collective intelligence, which can encourage the development of intelligent communities. He states that sharing of information, knowledge, and expertise in e-communities can promote a kind of dynamic, collective intelligence, which can affect all spheres of our lives. He contends that the virtual world can foster positive connections, cooperation, bonds, and civil interactions. In e-groups or communities, which are flexible, democratic, reciprocal, respectful, and civil, this collective intelligence can be continually enhanced and enhancing (Levy, 1998). Online education that provides for group projects and communal pooling of resources, insights, and work can foster the kind of collective intelligence and knowledge that Levy describes.

Researchers in science, education, business, and industry arenas are pooling their collective intelligence, knowledge, and data in collaboratories. These are virtual centers in which people in different locations work together in real time, as if they were all in the same place. Science, education, commerce, and industry have become increasingly global. Collaboration, which is efficient, maximizing, and time-saving among distance students, facilitators, and researchers has become more critical. As distance technology has become more efficient and cost-effective, distance collaboration has become more common. The National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health have encouraged grant recipients to form collaboratories. These scholarly, virtual groups are cybersteps beyond distance sharing of asynchronous data when researchers individually take what they want from online databases. Collaboratories enable researchers at distant locations to interact, hold lab meetings, and work with data in real time (Buyya, 2001).

However, in order to foster a positive, democratic, respectful, cooperative global, e-world of constructive education, communication, and collaboration, we must continue to strive toward acquiring and practicing appropriate skills to foster effective online education, civil discourse, and productive communities in Cyberspace. Effective distance communication, facilitation and moderating techniques via modern e-technologies can enhance personalizing, humanizing, equalizing, socializing, therapeutic, and empowering interactions. (Howard, 2000, 2002). However, in this new virtual, global, e-world, we are required to learn fresh techniques to most effectively collaborate, instruct, facilitate, and cooperate. In order to participate effectively and viably in the cyber world that has great potential to enhance us, we need to continuously learn and work at effective communicational skills and empowering educational facilitation as we work with new e-technologies.

References

Buyya, R. <rajkumar@csse.monash.edu.au> (2001, July). Making Cyberspace collaboration succeed. < tripathi@amadeus.statistik.uni-dortmund.de> (2001, July).

Howard, D. (2000). Autobiographical writing and performing: An introductory, contemporary guide to process and research in speech performance. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Howard, D. (2002). Enhanced by Technology,-Not Diminished: A Practical Guide to Effective, Distance Communication, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Levy, P. (1998). Becoming virtual: Reality in the digital age. (R.B. Bononno, Trans.) New York: Plenum Publishing.


Hosting Voluntary Collaborative Mentoring of Informal Learning Projects: A New Role for Online Communities

a guest article by Nicholas Bowskill
Flexible Learning Adviser, Staff Development Unit, University of Sheffield, UK

Imagine a tutor working on an online course where the participants never meet as part of the course requirement. Not difficult. There's more and more of them about. Imagine too that the faculty tutoring the online course are also distributed. How do such tutors address their professional development needs in a way which is authentic? By authentic, I mean professional development that replicates their particular circumstances and interests. One way is to sign up for an online professional development course (my point here is not to say against a formal course –far from it). Sometimes formal options are not the most practical or appropriate or affordable). The problems associated with formal provision might be that it takes up a lot of time in a single block. It also requires adherence to some sort of pre-set schedule and structure. Most online professional development courses also involve the use of web-based provision including Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). This involves virtual travel as you start up your browser (having cleared the time to study first) and log in to see if there are any messages. There has to be something more flexible but something that also remains useful as authentic professional development in a global context.

The online mentoring initiative, within the WAOE, seeks to explore such an alternative. It allows those with an identified need or interest to propose a project for support. It allows those interested in mentoring to join in an online discussion of the project as an equal (a community-based pedagogy). Mentors work in project teams so they also learn and have a chance to explore issues together as they hear and offer different perspectives on an authentic professional development need. The project teams are globally distributed so it's authentic in a global education context where people will increasingly work across national and cultural boundaries. Finally, there is the waoe-teampool list in which potential volunteers or those interested to hear more about the initiative have an opportunity to listen and discuss projects and issues to do with the initiative. This means that there is an apprenticeship available.

The main point is that this is all done voluntarily and informally. Nobody is required to do anything so we hope that those that do become involved do so for genuine interest and this is a good sign for developing learning relationships. The initiative is all conducted by email too. This means that the e-travel is minimised as the messages, activities and people come to your inbox and likewise you go to theirs. People participate as often as they can and free of strict schedules. This makes it a lot easier for people to fit the experience into busy working lives. It is more flexible as a way of developing flexible learning skills and knowledge. We do use web sites but generally to act as a store so we can see what we build together (for example http://waoe.org/mentor). We also explore new technologies and other web sites as part of project work but the main discussions and relationships are developed by email. This technology is more inclusive. For many people email is the only available option or it is the most accessible and this may reflect why the initiative has been able to include people from around the world (Japan, Africa, India, Europe, and USA for example).

This initiative remains an experiment in a self-help approach to online professional development. An action research & learning approach is adopted in a process of continuous development and improvement. It is by no means the finished product yet. We view it as a journey anyway and not a product. We recognise that there is a need for formal courses and that those courses will also provide guarantees, resources and support that may not always be available informally. Nobody is suggesting we do away with university and college courses. Many of the participants are from institutional backgrounds but some of the time people need to develop flexible global skills in a flexible global way. As informal learning already accounts for most of our learning over a lifetime there is a need for communities to re-think their role and to look beyond the provision of tools and workspace. Communities need to look beyond hosting presentations and (dare I say it) top-down approaches in open spaces. There is a need for communities to provide accessible and flexible authentic professional development for global education. This also needs to come with a focus and one that is relevant to all involved. It needs to fit in with different time zones and different workloads too.

The voluntary online mentoring initiative, organised as a bottom-up approach, within the WAOE may be an early indicator of new possibilities for cross-cultural support and development. This more fluid networked support of informal learning projects (Tough, A., 1979) also signals new roles for online communities in facilitating professional development for an emerging virtual faculty.

Reference:


Tough, A., 1979, The adult's learning projects: A fresh approach to theory and practice in adult learning. Toronto: OISE, Second edition, Austin, Texas: Learning Concepts and Toronto: OISE, 1979


Internet Voice Technologies for
Oral Foreign Language Teaching

By Steve McCarty, President WAOE

It is a rare privilege to have been invited to teach a graduate course for credit at a top national university near Tokyo, so I called upon the WAOE network and distance education technologies to achieve aims that would not be possible in conventional classroom teaching.

 

The national universities in Japan are part of the government and have elaborate bureaucratic procedures. Although it seemed like an invitation, I had to apply through the university's personnel committee as if I were responding to a job ad for a lecturer's position. Being a lowly junior college professor with an MA in Asian studies made the screening very strict. But complete and correct documentation made it possible for them to look favorably upon my academic publications and volunteer activities. Contrary to the image of rigidity, for the first time in the university's history they accepted the documentation in my Japanese without an original English version and Japanese translation.

Specifically I taught English as a Foreign Language Education majors at the University of Tsukuba Graduate School of Education. In English the class title could be Theory and Practice of Online Education for English education. An intensive course like this approximately from 9 am to 5 pm for the week of February 16th to 20th is more hours than a regular semester class. At the same time, how much new information and technology can people make their own in their second language in five days? Stay tuned to our future publications for some data about such questions.

Since the course was about to start, as of this writing, let me just illustrate some of the virtual learning environments (VLEs) and
activities that were planned. One approach that online education makes possible is to have mentors join the course from anywhere in the world, and WAOE officers in the US, the UK, Malaysia and Brazil have agreed to join us. In an example of distributed education, the main class venues will also be abroad. While the students are in a computer lab in Japan, 1) the latest WebCT 4.1 learning management system (LMS) at Portland State University in Oregon was used for various asynchronous activities such as study, discussion, participants' home pages and so forth, as well as for synchronous text chat; 2) the same WebCT LMS at NetSpot in Adelaide, South Australia will be used for Wimba voice technologies incorporated into WebCT, particularly a voice bulletin board and voice e-mail; and 3) HorizonLive in New York, through Portland State University's server, was used for a 2-hour audioconference with a presentation by Maggie McVay Lynch in Oregon.

The voice technologies are to challenge some of the perceived limitations of network-based language learning. To be sure, oral foreign language is one of the most challenging areas for online education, and there has been little research beyond computer-assisted language learning (CALL) that is confined to a lab, not distributed through the Internet. This course experiment will be a new experience for students and mentors alike, across geographical, linguistic and cultural boundaries, showing what is possible now with online education for English as a Foreign Language.

Students were contacted by e-mail and assigned readings on the open Web. When class started they experienced the password-protected VLEs pictured below in screen shots:

The WebCT environment at Portland State University that WAOE has been using for its online educator development. The bottom row of organizer pages divides the contents and tools according to what the students will do.
Wimba for WebCT in Australia. Icons at the bottom are outside links.
The Wimba Voice BBS. Written messages can also be combined with voice recordings.
Login screen to go from Oregon to HorizonLive conferencing technologies based in New York.
Recent WAOE audioconference utilizing HorizonLive, described at the end of the article "Voice Technologies help turn the Computer into a Communication Device" (2004).

Steve McCarty
WAOE President
http://www.kagawa-jc.ac.jp/~steve


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've been receiving some interesting messages about viruses lately. Many of them seem to be from official support people.

A. It is again that time of year when viruses abound. Is it just Spring fever or are viruses just everywhere all the time now? In any case, the latest virus is one that is purportedly signed by a helpdesk or support team at your university or ISP. The one that prompted this question was signed by "Pdx.edu support." It is a fake email, as are all similar emails. Let's look at some rules about emails in the support environment.

Please remember that support groups almost never send attachments. Support teams are well aware that email attachments are the way that viruses are most often spread. Consequently, they would never do that. Instead support teams would ask you to go to an a authenticated site for accurate information.

So, as a reminder, NEVER open an attachment with the following extensions unless you specifically requested it:

  • .zip
  • .pif
  • .scr
  • .dll
  • . exe
  • . bat
  • . com

I've seen this similar fake message purportedly from my home ISP, from Microsoft support, and from something called Internet support. They were all worded similarly but the domain name changed.

Here are some ways to tell emails like this are not official.

  1. The opening greeting does not use your name or official email ID. Instead it addresses you as "user of pdx.edu" This use of a domain name or your email address instead of your real name means the sender really has no idea who you are.
  2. The note is written using poor grammar. An institution that uses English for all of its communications would normally not make mistakes as in the wording of the samplme note "because of improper using"
  3. A password is sent to you by email along with the request to open the attachment with this password. PSU, and most ISPs, has a policy of only providing passwords upon authentication to the system, or talking to you on the phone and verifying your identity. They would never send an email password and ask you to open an attachment.
  4. The note is signed with a domain name, in this case the "Pdx. edu Team." Teams do not usually name themselves after the domain.

A final reminder. There are many viruses now on the net. Once they infect a machine, the easiest way to replicate is to begin sending emails and attachments using the machine's address book. This means that even if you receive an email from an address you recognize (in this case support@pdx.edu) it may still contain a virus. I've even received emails with a virus sent from myself! Obviously, my address is in several people's address books, so it could have come from anywhere. NEVER open an attachment, no matter who sends it, unless you are sure of it and asked for it in advance.