WAOE 2004 Annual Meeting Set, Nominations for Office Requested
As posted by Michael Warner, Online Parliamentarian

It is my pleasure to announce the upcoming Annual Members' Meeting which is scheduled to begin online at 3am June 25, 2004 Pacific Daylight Time (1000 GMT), in accordance with the Bylaws of WAOE, Article 13 Section 2, In addition to other business
that will be conducted at this meeting, Voting Members of WAOE will be casting votes for Vice President, Secretary, Membership Chairperson, and affirming the Directors' appointment of Dr. Maggie McVay Lynch as the Chief Technology Officer/Director.

The terms of office for current Vice President, Rafael Molina-Velazquez; Secretary, Jenna Seehafer; and
Membership Chairperson, Arun Tripathi are scheduled to expire with the opening of the 2004 Annual Board of Directors' Meeting on July 2, 2004. This message serves as a Call for Nominations for the Director positions
of Vice President, Secretary, and Membership Chairperson of WAOE. Eligible candidates must be Voting Members of WAOE and be willing to fulfill the job responsibilities for their respective office as listed in the Bylaws at http://www.waoe.org/organization/bylaw.htm Articles 3 and 4. All nominations should be made to the Parliamentarian via the Views list serve and the nomination period will close at 3am PDT (1000 GMT) on June 5, 2004. Self nominations are permitted and current office holders are eligible for reelection.

Any Associate Member who wishes to upgrade their membership status to Voting Member and take an active role in the governance of the Association may do so in accordance with instructions found at
http://www.waoe.org/members.htm The deadline for Voting Member eligibility for this election is set at 3am PDT (1000 GMT) on June 18, 2004 to establish the quorum number needed to sanction this election.

Any Voting Member who feels they can no longer actively participate in the governance of the Association may request reversion to Associate Member status by notification to the Membership Chair at tripathi@waoe.org

Additional agenda items for this year's Annual Members' Meeting will be posted on the VIEWS list serve. Any questions about the nomination or voting process should be directed to Michael D. Warner, WAOE Online Parliamentarian

Update on Mentoring Project

submitted by Nicholas Bowskill to the VIEWS list.

Again, just to keep everyone informed of developments in this initiative we have 9 projects at various stages of development. We have a web site that records most of these at http://waoe.org/mentor. The latest one, just coming in and so not yet up there, is from Italy. This project contributes to and affirms the international nature of the initiative.

We also have plans to attend a conference in England on Internet Research. This will be a first physical meeting amongst some of what has become the organising team behind this online informal learning project initiative. It should also be noted that many others, unable to make this meeting, have also made substantial contributions to the work involved. Either way, we are delighted that we've had formal acceptance of our paper and we look forward to the event in September this year.

The initiative to date is starting to indicate to me a model of online (sub-)community design and development at 3 levels:

  1. A framework and technological structure for the community to support informal learning projects as a learning activity for participants at all levels
  2. A process for facilitating project development, knowledge management and support within an informal learning community
  3. A tentative model of self-initiated learning within an online informal community that can also secure support for professional development activities from others within the community

Work continues on the refinement and understanding of the processes and issues in what is still a fluid process. None of this is adequately proven over enough instances to have full confidence but it is certainly improving over several cycles of action research. Hopefully there may be other communities or sub-communities within WAOE that might provide a
test of this model at some point in the not too distant future.

I hope to have more on this in due course.

We do very much welcome people interested in becoming potential volunteers/mentors for projects. We equally welcome people that would like to join the initiative in any capacity by subscribing to waoe-teampool.


Member Profiles -- Miki Yokoyama

Miki Yokoyama is an Assistant Professor at Future University-Hakodate in the Department of Media Architecture. She teaches courses in communication, specializing in the teaching of Japanese as a foreign/second Language (JFL/JSL). She received her M.A. in Japanese linguistics from the University of Wisconsin in 1999 and taught Japanese at East Tennessee State University until summer 2000. Her specialization is foreign language education, focusing on the teaching of Japanese as a foreign language.

Her current research interests are in second language acquisition studies and intercultural communication. She believes in using media and technology to enhance communication in her classes. She has used BBS (discussion boards) at Future University and has observed the communication activity as a case study regarding students' intercultural understanding.

 

In addition to incorporating technology in her teaching, Ms. Yokoyama has also studied interesting aspects of communication between host family members and international students. She has looked at both sides of the cultural milieu by studying students who come to Japan from elsewhere, and Japanese students who travel abroad.

In one study she looked to build a bridge between formal learning in a classroom setting and the informal learning outside of the Japanese language classroom.

She collected conversation data to answer these research questions:

  • What is happening when language is not enough to communicate to make one task conveyed?
  • What is happening when a communication gap and/or misunderstanding occurs between them? How are they reacting to the situation? What would be effective/ineffective ways?
  • Are there any outstanding phenomena due to differences in cultural backgrounds?
  • How are the learners of Japanese trying to learn new vocabulary while being involved in free conversation?

In contrast to studying students coming to Japan and learning a language, she has also looked at the reverse of that intercultural communication by also studying how Hakodate people might react when they traveled abroad and encountered new, inexperienced, or non-Japanese situations. Are there any differences among age, sex, job occupation, or experience in staying abroad?


Free Course Management System from Luigi Macri, for teachers in Italy.

Dr. Macri has placed a free course management system for online teachers in italy. He indicates this system is built to allow for peer to peer environments using"social constructionist pedagogy." He is also using it as one means to promote the WAOE Italian division.

 


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

Upcoming Conferences

EdTech2004: Fifth Annual Irish Educational Technology Users' Conference submitted by Brian Mulligan

Full details of EdTech2004: The Fifth Annual Irish Educational Technology Users' Conference, which will take place in Tralee, Ireland on the 3rd and 4th of June, is now available at the conference website at: www.ilta.net/EdTech2004

2nd Biennial Distance Education Conference
Best Practices in Distance Education for Health Professions
September 24 & 25, 2004 submitted by Theresa Hartman

Sponsored by the University of Nebraska Medical Center?s College of Nursing
Omaha, Nebraska, this national conference is to advance the quality of distance
education practices in the health professions.

Audience: Health Professions Educators (Nursing, Allied Health, Physicians, Pharmacy, Dentistry); Library and Information Science Professionals; and Educational Technologists.

Full details at the conference website at: http://www.unmc.edu/hsns/disted/conference.htm

ITIE2004 -- International Conference on Information Technology in Education:
Learning from Different Cultures by Janice Carter

Beijing, P.R. China July 19th-21st, 2004, Call for Participation and Contribution

If you are an educator interested in sharing your knowledge of using information technology in the classroom with your counterparts throughout the world, then this conference is for you.

By bringing together educators from various academic disciplines, this conference will facilitate the exchange of how information technologies have been used effectively by teachers, students, and librarians to facilitate teaching and learning in classrooms and beyond

Please consider submitting an abstract on work-in-progress reports, research proposals, teaching demonstration proposals, poster sessions, projects involving the use of school libraries or reports on issues related to information technology in education at all levels.

Over 100 teachers and school librarians from the rural western and southern provinces of China will be sponsored to attend by 3 San Francisco bay area foundations. They will be providing teaching demonstrations, giving work-in-progress reports and poster sessions on the their library programs, We also expect many educators from the large cities of China. A number of educators from the US and Hong Kong have already committed to attend and make presentations. We feel that this will be a rich and rewarding experience for all educators.

For more information on the Evergreen Education Foundation, see
http://www.EvergreenEducation.org

For topics of interests and the format requirements of paper/demo submission, see:
http://www.evergreeneducation.org/evergreen2004/

Please direct your questions to: evergreenlibrary@yahoo.com



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

ONLINE LEARNING: SELECTED READINGS
(Proceedings of the International Conference VidyaKash – 2002)
Madur, S.P.; Sasikumar, M.; and Dhamapurkar, Suresh D. (Ed.)
Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi
2003, ISBN:81-259-1429-3, 165 pages

Review by Ramesh Sharma

Institutions, organizations and companies all over the globe have or are planning for online learning with the purpose to impart education and training. Online learning has been found suitable for professional and continuing education; and for on-the-job training settings. Due to the changing needs of professionals and learners, the demand for any place, any time and any pace learning has increased. However, attractive online learning may sound to be, it has not been found to be free from problems. Efforts have been made to carry out R&D in the area of courseware engineering, content delivery frameworks, instruction design methodologies, and standards for contents etc. Keeping in view the need to discuss various issues related to above, VidyaKash-2002 was planned as a forum to bring out experiences and case studies pertaining to E-learning. This was the first international conference on online learning in India, organized by the National Centre for Software Technology (NCST). The current book presents the selected 14 papers out of over 80 papers submitted to the conference. These particular papers pertained to different domains of e-learning like courseware engineering, instructional design and delivery, learning environments, learner modeling, learner support and case studies.

Of the 8 sections of the book, ‘Content Delivery’ is the first with 2 chapters. In the first chapter Dutta, Majumdar and Majumdar have brought out different dimensions of flexible learning and adoptive delivery of online content. They have suggested the use of intelligent tutoring systems, adoptive hypermedia systems, SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) and Metadata as different delivery strategies. In the second chapter, Janardhanan introduces a new <mood> element in the VoiceXML specifications to enable voice portal developers to produce natural sounding voice outputs. He favours the need for a text-to-speech conversion system which gives outputs resembling human speech.

The section on ‘Content Design’ also has two chapters: first one deals with creation of e-learning experience through a mix of learning strategies, media and technology, second chapter reports on the effectiveness of integrative model for development of web-based courseware and recommends the following of instructional design principles.

The ‘Courseware Engineering’ section also includes two chapters: in first, a novel authoring tool called eVOLv for courseware design has been discussed with special reference to e-learning. The next chapter under this section highlights the theoretical perspectives of adult learning, ways of imparting education to an adult learner and discusses salient features of an effective digitally enabled self-learnable course whereby the assessment, grading and ranking of students is accomplished in a fair manner through objective type questions.

The understanding of any concept may be incomplete if we do not have gain to the insights and experiences of others who have adopted that content. Two such cases of e-learning experiences: one at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (India) and other at Southwest Preparatory Virtual School, San Antonio, USA provide real life details of the models they follow and operational aspects.

The section on learning environment presents three systems: Acharya (an intelligent tutoring environment for learning SQL); National Trust (A Glass-Box simulation environment for understanding how the economy works); and PRABODH (a distributed online Hindi Grammer Teaching/learning system). These case-examples describe different environments whereby the learners can experiment with different aspects of these systems.

Rehani and Sasikumar have discussed a student monitoring and learner profiling system called ‘Chaatra’, that how the student monitoring and learning modeling can be integrated into web-based course authoring packages. The section on ‘learner support’ provides details of an automatic query refinement (AQR) system for online learning and ‘Sandesh’ – a response management system. The AQR runs on the end user machine and guides the user in self learning settings. The ‘Sandesh’ finds its application in email responses and has a feature of auto-responding subject line mode. It can be configured for one domain at a time and the pre-formulated replies prompt Sandesh to produce replies for new queries from a given corpus. But there is one limitation that when replying from previous mails, it does not take care of the semantics or emotions etc.

In the last section ‘content design’, two case studies – one as intelligent tutoring system for learning data structures and algorithms (ITSDS) and other as a learner support system for Engineering Mechanics subject at Ist year level of Engineering degree course have been discussed. Three case studies highlight how different approaches are being adopted in e-learing environments.

The National Centre for Software Technology has been doing significant R&D in the area of online learning, content development, development of learning management systems and other aspects to support online learning. The current volume, through carefully selected papers, provides unique experiences on educational and technical developments in the field of e-learning in India and other countries.

E-Learning Strategies, Badrul Khan

A popular book that has been available exclusively to the English-speaking market has now been released in Korean. The Korean booksite is at http://www.seohyunsa.co.kr/010.html. Dr. Khan sent me the following introduction to this Korean version.

It is with great pleasure that I would like to announce the publication of the Korean version of my book entitled "E-Learning Strategies." I am very delighted to have Dr. Myunghee Kang of Ewha Womens University, Dr. Miwha
Lee of Pusan National University of Education and Dr. Sangho Song of Andong University as collaborators for this book project. This book is not a direct translation of the English version, rather it is a book which is designed to cater the needs of Korean audience with global perspectives. Drs. Kang, Lee and Song worked very hard to customize the book for the Korean audience.

The purpose of this book is to provide you with a broad understanding of the emerging field of e learning and also to advise you on the issues that are critical to the success of a meaningful e-learning environment. It walks you through the various factors critical to developing, evaluating and implementing e-learning. Throughout the book critical e-learning
factors are presented as questions that you can ask yourself when planning, designing, evaluating and implementing e-learning modules, courses and programs.

The book will also be available soon in other languages including Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese and Turkish.

Thing Knowledge: A Philosophy of Scientific Instruments by Davis Baird
February 2004, University of California Press
ISBN: 0520232496

Review by Arun-Kumar Tripathi

The book of Professor Davis Baird will be useful to scholars, who are pursuing the research in philosophy of science
& technology and studies in technology & society including technocscience research. Davis Baird's Thing Knowledge uses instruments to do philosophy.

Western philosophers have traditionally concentrated on theory as the means for expressing knowledge about a variety of phenomena. This absorbing book challenges this fundamental notion by showing how objects themselves, specifically scientific instruments, can express knowledge. As he considers numerous intriguing examples, Davis Baird gives us the tools to "read" the material products of science and technology and to understand their place in culture. Making a provocative and original challenge to our conception of knowledge itself, Thing Knowledge demands that we take a new look at theories of science and technology, knowledge, progress, and change. Baird considers a wide range of instruments, including Faraday's first electric motor, eighteenth-century mechanical models of the solar system, the cyclotron, various instruments developed by analytical chemists between 1930 and 1960, spectrometers, and more.

Content features:
1. Instrument Epistemology
2. Models: Representing Things
3. Working Knowledge
4. Encapsulating Knowledge
5. The Instrumentation Revolution
6. Thing Knowledge
7. The Thing-y-ness of Things
8. Between Technology and Science
9. Instrumental Objectivity

Professor Peter Galison, author of "Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps: Empires of Time" writes about the book: "All too often, the knowledge Baird pursues here has been obscured by accounts that reduce understanding to theory. By contrast, in this rich text Baird shows the myriad of ways that models and devices do work in science: by representing, by manipulating, by measuring, and by calculating. This is a book as lucid on the semantic account of theories as it is on the inner workings of the cyclotron; it is a book that brings the laboratory to philosophers and philosophy into the laboratory."

Learning Online: A Guide to Success in the Virtual Classroom by Maggie McVay Lynch
May 2004, Routledge
ISBN: 04157000000 Paperback
ISBN: 0415700051 Hardback

I wrote this book primarily as a means to provide a quality orientation for students facing online learning for the first time or as an entire program. It seemed to me there was a dearth of comprehensive books that addressed learning from the student perspective. Some institutions have expressed an interest in using this book as part of their online orientation courses or workshops. Others simply have it available in their bookstore for interested students to purchase like they would any specialized study guide.

As I am incapable of objectively reviewing my own book, I have placed below the description from the publisher.

"Whether you are taking classes in school, college or university, or in a corporate training setting, it is likely that you will be expected to do at least part of your studies via the computer. This book provides realistic guidelines to ensure your success in the virtual learning environment. From detailing tools such as WebCT and Blackboard, to overcoming personal barriers to success in distance learning, this handy text deals with issues that readers of any age, stage, or situation are likely to encounter by:

  • demystifying terms and concepst common to online learning;
  • addressing issues of online ethics such as netiquette, plagiarism and software piracy;
  • offering practical advice on interacting effectively online, submitting assignments, and doing research; and
  • furnishing numerous links to Web Pages and other resources for further study and research.

The author offers anecdotes to help you avoid the pitfalls and capitalize on opportunities that will help you become a successful online student. Both current and prospective online learners will greatly benefit from this practical book filled wtih clear, detailed assistance for learning online."

TOOLS

Free Online Survey Tool http://www.surveymonkey.com/home.asp

Nicholas Bowskill submitted information about a new online survey tool available free of charge. He didn't have the opportunity to try it out, but thought it might be worth a look.

After a quick review of the tool, Maggie posts the following review:

Surveymonkey is a tool that allows you to design and customize online surveys and to collect and analyze results in real-time. It has the usual choice of survey item types, such as multiple choice, drop downs menus, open ended questions and a few others. Once you have finalized the design, you can send a link to access your questionnaire via e-mail. The survey and information is kept on a hosted server.

Soon after the first participant has completed the questionnaire you can start viewing test results in real-time, either through summaries in tables and graphs or as detailed raw data. You can also download the results for further statistical analysis and place them in a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel or into SPSS.

The positive aspects of Surveymonkey is that it is easy to use and it doesn't take long to get going. It allows for some flexibility in designing your questionnaire's content and structure. For a free product, it works pretty well. If you have an occasional very short survey it's not a bad idea.

The biggest negative for the tool is that the free version is limited to only 10 questions and 100 responses and a lot of customization options are not available. For most people, this isn't nearly enough. So, if you find you like the tool and you plan to do a lot of surveys, you would need to become a professional subscriber at $19.95/month.


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

English Composition Course Partner Needed to Share Writing Practice with Classes in Germany, Caroline Coit

I teach an online writing course (at a university in Germany) in which the students, not the teacher, carry out the corrections. The course is intended to give students writing practice, make them more autonomous in the process, and help them learn to enjoy writing. They write a lengthy paragraph each week, send it to a peer editor and receive one to correct each week as well.

I am looking for an English composition teacher who would like to have his/her class exchange corrections with mine. It would not have to be every week; we could adapt. The assignments could also be mine or different. That would also not matter. I teach two classes of 45 students so I am looking for quite a few students to do this with. The following address is the homepage of my course which might help to
understand what I am looking for:

http://www.uni-koeln.de/ew-fak/institut/engl/coit/online-course/

Thanks in advance,
Caroline Coit

 

Innovate - New Peer-Reviewed, Online Journal Calls for Manuscripts and for Partners in Other Countries for Language Translation

In December 2003, a very popular and respected online journal ceased publication. The Technology Source, founded by James Morrison with a grant from Microsoft, was continued under the sponosorship of the University of North Carolina, and most recently with Michigan Virtual University. Unfortunately, in September 2003, Michigan Virtual University decided to stop its support of the Technology Source and was unwilling to let it be moved anywhere else.

Founder and Editor, James Morrison, after discussions with Board members, section editors, and many subscribers worked hard to get another similarly well-respected journal started to fill the gap left by Technology Source. Fortunately, he was able to find a sponsor through Nova Southeastern University. This new, online peer-reviewed journal is called Innovate. It will focus on the creative use of information tools to enhance active learning methods irrespective of sector (K-12, colleges and universities, corporate universities).

Innovate will model the use of these tools to enhance professional communication (i.e., a discussion forum for each article; a "read related" feature that links readers to articles on similar topics for instant access; an "email this article"
feature; an "easy print" feature; and links to text, audio, and video files within each article as appropriate). In addition, the journal will be available in multiple languages and will include a multimedia classifieds section where employers can market their openings and job seekers can present their credentials. Finally, an Innovate partner, ULiveandLearn will host Innovate-Live, a series of interactive webcasts addressing the topic of each article with authors and readers.

The first issue of Innovate will be published 1 July 2004. Unfortunately, it will no longer be free. However, the editor, university sponsorship and board are all committed to the subscription being offered at a very small individual and institutional subscription, and partners for language translation and other country needs will certainly receive some consideration.

If you would like to submit a manuscript for publication consideration that is congruent with Innovate's focus, or if you know of an institution that would like to partner to produce the journal in a language other than English, please send a note to James Morrison. If you would like to receive periodic announcements of the progress of Innovate, please register at http://horizon.unc.edu/innovate

CALL FOR PAPERS - ASIACENTRIC COMMUNICATIVE PERSPECTIVES
SPECIAL ISSUES OF HUMAN COMMUNICATION
A Journal of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association

Human Communication: A Journal of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association is soliciting papers for special issues on Asiacentric Communicative Perpsectives. Contributions are encouraged that explore communicative perspectives in such countries/cultures as Japan, Korea, China, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Russia. All theoretical and methodological approaches are welcome. All manuscripts will be subject to peer review.

Send submissions by email to hkakai@sipeb.aoyama.ac.jp or by postal mail to Dr. Hisako Kakai, School of International Politics, Economics, and Business, Aoyama Gakuin University, 4-4-25 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
150-8366, JAPAN in MSWord (PC) format. Image files should be prepared in JPEG or PNG formats.

Deadlines for submission:
September 1, 2004 (for papers on Japan, Korea, China, India)
August 1, 2005 (for papers on the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Russia)



The Digital Literacy Alliance:
Literacy is the beginning of freedom

a guest article by Dr. Phara J. DeWindt

http://www.pharra.com

The Digital Literacy Alliance is a clearinghouse for information and discussions about West African, American and African American literature, arts, history and culture. Participants in the DLA will begin to develop model programs for community-based organizations in Ghana to facilitate access to information via Internet interactive technologies in relation cross-cultural exchanges between Americans and Ghanaians.

Picture if you will, a typical village in the Central Region of Ghana. Mud or wood tin-roofed houses sing as a gentle rain beats out its message. As you walk down the red clay streets, dogs, chickens, goats and laughing children run past you. The children shout as they kick a ball to each other, and pretend not to hear their mother's voices calling as they pound fufu and prepare kenkey in the yard.

In the distance, the sounds of Junior Secondary students reading, writing and reciting their lessons in an open classroom float on the air. The students are eager to learn so they may improve their village and obtain jobs that will allow them the chance to help provide for their families, but have few opportunities for advancement when they live in a rural area
in Ghana.

An article published by the Ghana News Service in August of 2003 referenced a report published by the World Bank in 2002 that underscored the quality of life for women in the Central Region of Ghana. The report stated, "Poverty in the Central region especially the Gomoa District was a reflection of the "worsening welfare situation" of female-headed
households." Mr. Richmond Sam Quram, Central Region MP at the time, stressed that women were still vulnerable, and often the primary victims of poverty."

The article goes on to say, "Mr. Quarm attributed the poverty facing the people in the district to lack of formal education and asked parents to send their children to school." (Central Region, - Poorest in Ghana)
http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=41636

According to Bernice Heloo of Pro-Link, there are several reasons for poor educational infrastructure in rural areas. In her paper, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) TRAINING FOR WOMEN IN RURAL AREAS IN GHANA,
Heloo enumerates several reasons:

  • Poor quality and coverage of education and the accompanying high illiteracy levels among the rural poor and women in Ghana, which in some rural areas is as high as 70%,
  • Low levels of investment in women's education especially at the household levels
  • Low levels of expenditure on Science and Technology education in general
  • The almost universal lack of formal policy and strategic objective for the development of IT skills in the rural areas in general and for rural women in particular.
  • High cost of IT-related education and training in Ghana
  • Inadequate and poor telecommunication and communications infrastructure
    http://www.ayf.de/documents/Bernice.doc


It is important to note that Ghana in 1995 became the first country in the Sub-Saharan Africa to have full Internet connectivity, however that connectivity did not reach the rural areas of Ghana until just recently. Ghana has signed an agreement with Microsoft Corporation under which the largest and richest ICT Company in the world would provide resources to improve ICT education in Ghana. (Microsoft to bolster ICT education in Ghana)
http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=53353

The Digital Literacy Alliance, Inc. (DLA) is dedicated to improving the education and life experience opportunities of African people in Ghana with a particular interest in impacting the life experiences of women and girls in the Central Region of Ghana. The volunteers of the Digital Literacy Alliance are individuals who combine their efforts to generate
support and develop resources to promote the use of digital technologies in order to strengthen cross-cultural exchanges between individuals specifically in Ghana at the Duakwa Vocational and Technology Institute and generally throughout West Africa.

Therefore, with the permission of and in collaboration with the people of the village of Agona Duakwa, Ghana, the Digital Literacy Alliance, Inc. has developed a project for a library facility that will serve children and adults in the Central Region.

The Yaa Nyarkoa Library

The DLA is dedicated to providing access to literacy and computer technology as a way to improve the quality of life of the families in the Central Region by providing access to information for the people of Agona Duakwa and their surrounding villages using information technology, media literacy, traditional literacy materials, and distance learning capabilities available via the Internet.

The Yaa Nyarkoa Library will serve as a focal point to promote a love of reading, access to Internet Computer Technology (ICT), support and develop resources to promote the use of digital technologies in order to strengthen cross-cultural exchanges between individuals, and an opportunity for increased literacy among the people, specifically
targeting issues impacting women and girls.

Opportunities to accomplish this objective will be addressed through programs and projects designed to:

  1. Create culturally appropriate cross-cultural communication and literacy access for youth and adults particularly women and girls. Through the use of interactive technology as well as traditional instructional methods to support initiatives to provide digital literacy resources accessible to individuals in Ghana.
  2. Increase digital literacy access and use through ICBT's and grassroots programs in specific selected villages in the Central Region.
  3. Incorporate gender equity into literacy programs; and facilitate cross cultural distance communication through the use of ICBTs.

In order to promote cross-cultural education, dialogue, and understanding, the volunteers of the DLA will provide a community library within the village of Agona Duakwa.

The desired impact of the activities of the DLA would provide sustainable economic and educational impact on the residents of the region. Supported by the volunteers of the DLA, the library will serve as a literacy and information clearinghouse in support of improved information access opportunities and activities developed by DLA.

The intended impact of this project is for programs given by the centre to change the literacy levels in Agona Duakwa and surrounding villages. With the introduction of the library to the Agona Duakwa region, the literacy of this region is expected to be further improved due to increased access to books and computer technology.

It is our belief that the introduction of the school, library, and accompanying community centre to the Agona Duakwa region, will support the economy of this region through increased literacy skills of the population, leading to increased employment opportunities and productivity, thus the quality of life for the people in Agona Duakwa may be enhanced.

How can you help?

The Ghanaian education system provides free education up to grade 6. The children do not start learning formal English until grade 4. It is very difficult to obtain K-12 and college level books in Ghana. The majority of students have to make copies of the notes and lectures from their teachers from what is written on the damaged black slate slabs that suffice as blackboards in their K-12 classrooms, or from a book written long ago with torn and missing pages.

The DLA is dedicated to providing traditional reading materials for the K-12 level or adult low literacy. All levels of books are needed, however the college level books will be important for those who have the ability to read well. These books, as well as e-books and other reading materials available on CD-Rom will allow for those who do not have
electricity to have access to the same knowledge and opportunities as those who can access the computers at the library. In many cases any materials sent by the DLA would be newer than what is generally available to the students in the urban schools.

There are so many WAOE members who know first hand the needs of the impoverished peoples areas that were previously colonially controlled areas such as West Africa and South Africa. You know that literacy is the beginning of freedom from oppression and the foundation for nation building. The members of the DLA are looking to support that process toward educational and economic freedom for a small part of the world. Your support by suggesting ways of or directly providing books and computers for the library we will be able to put more knowledge into the hands of more people.

In addition, WAOE, working in collaboration with the DLA to form a virtual community of educators, thinkers and doers who would provide a communication exchange with our counterparts in the Central Region, and throughout Ghana will open that cross-cultural exchange forum that allows for discussions about education not only from a western point of view, but from the best educational practices throughout the world.

With your tax-deductible donation to the DLA we can see not only the Yaa Nyarkoa Library grow and flourish, but the people of the Central Region of Ghana as well through your generous gifts of knowledge and funding. Assistance in any of these three areas would be welcome by the volunteer members of the DLA.

In August of 2004, a group of DLA members will be trveling to Ghana to launch the opening of the Yaa Nyarkoa Library on the grounds of the Duakwa Vocational and Technology Institute. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the library were brimming with children and adults with books in their hands and computers on the tables they made? You could make that happen.

Pharra DeWindt, Ph.D
Executive Director
Digital Literacy Alliance
http://www.pharra.com
pharra@pharra.com


E-Learning:Knowledge from the Desktop

a guest article by Dale Batko

 

E-learning refers to the act of using computer technology to facilitate the learning process. Over the last decade, computers have continued to increase in speed while decreasing in price. This, combined with an ever-expanding Internet user base, has the world poised for an e-learning explosion.

The roots of e-learning can be traced back over a century, when distance learning began in earnest with correspondence courses. An alternative to live classroom-based learning, correspondence courses allowed students to study in remote areas and communicate with their teachers via the Postal Service, and to do so at times that suited their individual life style. While not electronic, this early form of alternative learning shared the same spirit as e-learning does today.

CBT (Computer-Based Training)

In the early 1990’s, multimedia PC’s ushered in a new era in learning: CBT (Computer-Based Training). Utilizing a CD-ROM drive, a simple audio card, and small speakers, multimedia PC’s allowed users to learn computer software programs and basic computing concepts right on their desktop. This virtually eliminated the need for classroom-based learning for the disciplined student.

A popular series of CBT courses were offered by “video professor” throughout the 1990’s. Founded in 1987, Video Professor provided consumers with training on software for their personal computers. Since that time, millions have used and learned from Video Professor's "What-You-See-Is-What-You-Do" teaching method. The first lesson, DOS 1.0, was available only on video tape. Over the years, Video Professor has produced hundreds of titles on video, CD-ROM, and online. Their current courses are listed on http://www.videoprofessor.com.

If your interest in CBT is for learning Microsoft applications, then you may want to check out the Microsoft Office tutorials available from TeachUcomp, Inc. at http://www.teachucomp.com. “Mastering Microsoft Office Made Easy” consists of 37 hours of instruction containing 777 unique lessons covering Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word.

While many CBT products are geared toward learning computer software applications, there are also CBT products available for other subjects – including medicine. One such provider is St. John Ambulance Canada. For $24.95 you can purchase the “First Aid” CBT on CD-ROM. The program is designed to teach the fundamentals of first aid. Visit http://www.sja.ca for further information.

Workplace safety is a significant concern of many manufacturing businesses. Training employees on the nuances of OSHA workplace safety compliance can pose significant problems to HR managers. A series of CBT modules that can help are available from HR Press in Fredonia, New York. Topics covered include electrical safety, forklift safety, emergency response, fire safety, and eye protection. The modules cost $249 each, with discounts available for bulk orders. Visit http://www.hrpress-software.com for details.

Online Learning

Enrichment and college credit courses are now available via the Internet from hundreds of institutions across the country. An emerging trend in the late 1990’s, many of the early critics have now come to accept online learning as a practical alternative to classroom-based learning. This was a slow process in some circles, however, as the staunchest detractors claimed that online learning was somehow deceitful and ineffective. This all changed though when prestigious universities like UCLA and Harvard Business School embraced e-learning, thereby setting the stage for a flood of online learning offerings from institutions throughout the world.

A pioneer of online learning is Jones International University. Founded in 1995, JIU became the first exclusively online university to be fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. All JIU courses are delivered over the Internet asynchronously, which allows students from different time zones to participate equally regardless of the time of day. JIU programs span several fields including business, education, and information technology. Students can earn certificates, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees. Visit http://www.jonesinternational.edu for more information.

A newer face on the e-learning scene is ITT Technical Institute. Founded in 1969, ITT maintains 75 campuses in 29 states. Some campuses began offering courses online in 2001 as part of a hybrid learning system whereby students would take some courses online and others in the classroom. The Indianapolis, Indiana campus currently offers three degrees entirely online – a Bachelor’s degree in “Technical Project Management for Electronic Commerce,” a Bachelor’s degree in “Information Systems Security,” and a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Visit http://www.itt-tech.edu for more information.

Accredited Programs

A matter to consider when it comes to online degrees is accreditation. If you plan to apply for federal aid to help cover the cost of tuition, the institution that you plan to attend must be accredited by a body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The U.S. Department of Education - http://www.ed.gov - does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs directly. However, the Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes several accrediting bodies including the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Visit http://www.detc.org for DETC, http://www.acics.org for ACICS, or http://www.accsct.org for ACCSCT. Visit the U.S. Department of Education website for a complete list of recognized accrediting bodies.

Non-accredited Programs

Many online learning institutions offer certificates and degrees without holding accreditation credentials from the bodies listed above. In general, this has led them to be deemed as “non-accredited” programs, which is not an entirely correct classification.

Some institutions like Columbus University and Lacrosse University hold accreditation from the WAUC (World Association of Universities and Colleges), which does not allow them to offer federally funded financial aid to their students. It does not, however, mean that degrees earned will not be accepted elsewhere. Whether or not a degree is officially recognized is decided on an individual basis by other institutions and/or potential employers. The two main issues at hand would be transfer credit and job qualifications respectively.

A popular online university that has enjoyed success for two decades without holding accreditation is Kennedy-Western University. Located online at http://www.kw.edu and with administrative offices in California and corporate offices in Wyoming, KW offers programs in 19 areas of study including business, computer science, and engineering. Students can earn degrees at the Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate levels. While KW is not “accredited,” they are “licensed” by the State of Wyoming Department of Education.

Conclusion

E-learning is not for the faint of heart. It takes discipline and determination to find and stick to alternative forms of learning. As computers get faster and cheaper, they become an ever more valuable learning tool. The e-learning trend has existed for years and is growing in popularity.

As technology continues to advance and the needs of the consumer evolve, e-learning will adapt to keep up. E-learning is big business and their potential customer base numbers in the millions. Consumers enjoy options, and the more affordable they are the better. If you haven’t given e-learning any consideration, take another look, it just might be the right thing for you.


Global Online Collaboration
Fosters Universal Balance of Empowerment

A guest article by Diane Howard, Ph.D.

E-technologies can provide limitless access to information and productive opportunities. Communication in Cyberspace, the dimension provided by a global network of connected computers, provides potential enrichment for people all over the world. The virtual world facilitates highly efficient sharing of information, knowledge, and expertise. It provides virtual mobility in interactive discussions, collaborations, and projects across national borders and time zones around the globe. Most obstacles specific to real mobility are absent in Cyberspace.

Through virtual mobility, collaborations become more efficient, time-saving, and cost-effective. Information and communication content can be transferred quickly and easily into different cultural contexts in a global setting. New computer-mediated, distance communication technologies do not replace older forms of onsite or distance communication, but add to, enhance, expand, and balance communication possibilities and options around the world (Levy, 1998).

The fact is that people in many countries are rapidly using modern technological information and communication skills. Around the globe, people are involved in Internet communication. People around the world are participating in various kinds of e-communities, due in part to the informality and free access of Internet e-groups. Virtual learning communities and the contents related to them are constantly developing and expanding.

Cyber communities are creating new and various cultures facilitated by emerging technological possibilities and norms. We need to pay attention to specific, concrete guidance as to how to communicate effectively via Web sites, e-mail, e-discussion groups, e-communities, message boards, audio conferences, and voice mail. Further, we must address effective e-teaching, videoconferencing, videostreaming, Webcasting, e-job hunting, and e-publishing. As we learn and master effective cyber communication skills, we can be enhanced personally and professionally, not diminished or displaced, by modern communication technology.

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).

Researchers in science, education, business, and industry 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 researchers in these fields, 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).

In the various forms of e-groups or e-communities participants are free to communicate ideas without the limits related to the physical body, i.e. appearance, gender, race, ethnicity, and status symbols. Levy (1998) suggests further that they are free to participate in virtual community and to add to the collective intelligence.

In Cyberspace…each of us is a potential transmitter and receiver in a space that is qualitatively differentiated … constructed by its participants, and explorable. Here we no longer encounter people exclusively by their name, geographical location, or social rank, but in the context of centers of interest, within a shared landscape of meaning and knowledge…Cyberspace provides large and geographically dispersed groups with instruments for cooperatively constructing a shared context… communication now involves participants in a form of interaction…This dynamic …collective context serves as an agent of collective intelligence, a kind of living bond…Cyberspace promotes connections.

Best-selling author, Howard Rheingold (2000), argues that the technology which makes virtual communities possible has potential to empower ordinary citizens at a relatively small cost. He suggests cyber technology can potentially provide lay citizens, as well as professionals, with leverage and power which is intellectual, social, commercial, and political. He further insists that civil and informed people must understand the leverage cyber technology provides. They must learn to use it wisely and constructively, as it can not fulfill its positive potential by itself. We must appreciate, respect, nurture, and foster positive and meaningful relationships in our visceral and virtual lives. We must learn to skillfully empower each other and to effectively create constructive communities that wisely use their leverage and power.

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.

Diane Howard
http://www.dianehoward.com


Leadership in Introducing Educational Technology in Japan

By Steve McCarty, President WAOE

Recently I moved from an outer island of Japan, where my social life was online, to Japan's second largest city, Osaka. This is where the movie “Black Rain” was made, but the weather has been beautiful lately and my college is near the castle that appeared in the movie “Shogun.” Although I was born in Boston and my wife is from another large city, Nagoya, we enjoyed living in a big house on a hill in the countryside for many years. But as my online work led to more and more f2f involvements in Tokyo and elsewhere, I was drawn back to the excitement of city life.

Osaka Jogakuin is a women's college with a two- and four-year program of content-based English education integrated around themes of peace, human rights, modern crises, science and religion. They are so serious about getting results, including on international tests of English as a Foreign Language, that I am working on my five different courses about 60 hours a week in order to do well enough the first time. With much homework and putting productive performance pressure on the sometimes reluctant students, they are indeed gaining expressive skills in English, perhaps self-development as well.

Since I was ostensibly hired as the e-learning mentor, it has been frustrating so far to have little time for that role. Academic activities such as publishing and presenting on educational TV are being put off until time allows. Note that the school year in Japan starts in April, so I can probably catch up by summer. Our first trip to Europe from mid-September, including the Association of Internet Researchers conference at the University of Sussex, will end before the second semester starts again with fewer classes.

Into this very busy f2f college WebCT and Blackboard were introduced, despite a faculty survey warning about levels of computer literacy. A Learning Management System (LMS) Committee has been established, but then the training is to be divided into Japanese and English native speaking groups. So far my Japanese literacy has received more praise than the idea of using an LMS.

Thus it was quite timely that John Afele pointed readers to an article that Arun Tripathi had recommended on our waoe-views public discussion list. My college is considering investing a great deal in educational technology, and afterwards there will have to be some accountability in terms of the return on investment (ROI). As a new professor it was dicey for me to propose that adoption of
educational technologies be made an item on faculty personnel evaluations. The son of the college president is on that LMS committee, which tells you something about how things actually work here.

Be that as it may, the challenge I face here can be guided to an extent by the recommended article, an interview with the computer scientist Peter Denning on developing a Culture of Innovation:

"An innovation is a transformation of practice in a community. It is not the same as the invention of a new idea or object. The real work of innovation is in the transformation of practice. In this definition, community can be small, as in a workgroup, or large as in the whole world. A transformation of practice in the community won't happen unless the new practice generates more value to the members than the old. Value may not be economic; it may be pride, reputation, health, safety, freedom.

"We see two kinds of practice contributing to a culture of innovation. One is organizational processes: management values, rewards, prohibitions, encouragement of new ideas, encouragement of risk-taking, and the like.

"We believe that without a foundation of appropriate personal practices, it's very hard to get the organizational practices to work. Since changes to personal practice often entail personal discomfort, we find it more challenging to teach this aspect than the organizational aspects.

"[Peter] Drucker discusses the practice of innovation, which consists of five steps: locate an opportunity, analyze it, assess your community's receptivity, maintain a focus on a simple central core idea, and exercise leadership."

http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/interviews/v5i8_denning.html

Ordinarily a foreigner does not exercise leadership in Japanese communities, and I was referred to one of the Vice-Presidents to empower my mission. It is always an adventure to test the universality of theories of human nature across cultures.

Best regards,
Steve McCarty

P.S. I am not using e-mail addresses @kagawa-jc.ac.jp anymore but can be reached
via waoe@waoe.org, yet my Website still starts at: 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. It seems to take a long time to get our membership information. What's going on?

A. Yes, and I apoligze for this delay. I am quite behind in processing the requests and building member's pages. This has become a job that takes upwards of 10-15 hours per week.

In order to maximize the effort, I've taken to doing these in batches once each term. At the posting of this newsletter, I have caught up with new members requesting to join through April 30th. I will be working on the batch from May 1st to June 15th as quickly as possible to ensure that the voting list is updated.

If you joined before May 1st and have not received your notice of username and password (or forgotten what I sent you), please contact me directly at mmlynch@pdx.edu.

Q. I sometimes get undelievered items from WAOE members that my server said had a virus. But I can't see the items. What is happening?

A. There continue to be multiple virus attacks on institutions worldwide. One of the most common ways that viruses clone themselves is by reading the email list in someone's machine and then sending out messages using each of those names on the email list.

Though we have covered this before, it bears repeating. Do not open attachments that you are not expecting--even if it is from an email address you recognize. Most of these viruses are sent with a one or two line message like "here is the document you were expecting." Get in the habit of always sending emails that state exactly what you are attaching and why, the file structure, etc. Ask your friends and colleagues to do the same. In this way you will easily recognize something that is not right. Finally, but most importantly, is make sure your machine has virus software. Once it is installed you must REGULARLY go to the vendor site and download the latest virus definitions - updates (unless you have an automatic update with your virus checker). If you do not update regularly, you will have wasted your money on purchasing a virus checking program. There are hundreds of new viruses released each week. These updates make sure that your program can spot them before they harm your machine. These updates are usually free.

Update site for McAffee

Update site for Norton