Facilitating Interactive Exchanges in Electronic Forums.
[Delivered at SRHE
Conference, University of Sterling
Dr S D Stein.
University of the West of England.
The substantial investments in making computer
mediated communications available to all educational sectors in the
United Kingdom, backed up with additional resources from the EU1,
have been repeatedly justified in terms of the probable realisation of
educationally linked objectives2.
Much the same can be said for the extensive programmes
implemented and underway in other EU member states3, North
America, Australasia, and elsewhere.
In the United States, in addition to substantial investments by
federal, state, and municipal sources, considerable funding is
available for this purpose from private bodies, the Sloan Foundation
being particularly active in this field. Also, unlike Europe, there
are some very influential information-technology-in-education advocacy
groups that support increased use of such resources in education. They
bridge and integrate the interests of the corporate and educational
sectors in this field4.
the EU, integration is mediated to a much greater degree by an array
of governmental and European Commission programmes and funding, which
has, at the macro level, been justified on grounds of the medium to
long-term benefits for employment and economic competitiveness5.
In many quarters it is taken as a matter of
course that networked computer mediated communications will assist in
the attainment of educational goals along personal, organisational,
cultural, and national dimensions, and in relation to varying sectors
levels and types: primary, secondary, K-12, higher, continuing,
life-long, adult, employee training, face-to-face, open, and distance.
Such expectations underlie some of the main UK higher education
information technology programmes that were introduced during the
eighties and nineties under the auspices of the higher education funding councils6.
A similar message is conveyed in various influential
assessments exploring current and future educational provision,
including the Dearing Report7.
The same themes haves become a mainstay of many scholarly and
professional papers delivered at the increasing number of national and
international conferences that take place each year which cover issues
interfacing information technology and education8. Not
surprisingly, such ideas are favourably received and reinforced by
information technology corporate interests.9
Belief in the revitalizing and extending powers
of computer mediated communications in education is particularly
strong among governmental officials, educational administrators10,
many, but not all, researchers into education, and instructional
designers. It is widely argued that the increasing incorporation of
CMC in educational delivery, in addition to facilitating a broadening
of access to educational provision and a reduction in unit educational
costs, will also significantly impact on the quality of pedagogy.
In operational terms, this latter contention implies that
educational outputs, manifested in terms of grade scores, competency
attainments, student and teacher satisfaction, and completion rates,
will show significant improvements over those associated with
traditional methods of educational delivery.
This expectation derives in large measure from
the perception that CMC in its varied manifestations allows for
enhanced interactivity. The term interactive is, however,
defined and employed in many different ways in the scholarly and
professional literature. In an interesting Keynote address to the 1999
EDMEDIA Conference, Reeves noted that in one sense all learning, both
traditional face to face learning, as well as CMC, is interactive, in
that “learners interact with content
to process, tasks to accomplish, and/or problems to solve.11”
Reeves defines interaction in the context of CMC, as “involving
some sort of technological mediation between a teacher/designer and a
learner. …The adult
school dropout developing basic literacy skills via a multimedia
simulation, the high school student surfing the WWW for archival
material about indigenous people to prepare a class presentation, and
the three-year old practicing color-matching skills with Big Bird with
a Sesame Street CD-ROM program are all engaged in interactive
According to Reeves, interactive learning, that
is, technologically mediated learning, can be divided into two types.
The first, in which the student is largely a “passive”
recipient of information, albeit technologically mediated, entails the
student learning from materials that are provided.
Such interaction occurs, for example, when the student uses a
CD-ROM, accesses information from an html file, or peruses materials
delivered with the aid of an authoring system such as WebCT or
A different form of interaction occurs when the
students’ “learning” involves the use of “cognitive”
electronic applications, and takes place largely in “constructivist
learning environments.” The students’ interaction in this instance
is with the learning content, rather than from
technologically mediated materials.
Examples of cognitive tools and “constructivist” learning
environments include: “databases,
spreadsheets, semantic networks, expert systems, communications
software such as teleconferencing programs, on-line collaborative
knowledge construction environments, multimedia/ hypermedia
construction software, and computer programming languages.13”
Despite the fact
that Reeves, in line with the conclusions of Clark,14
Seigel,15 Schlechter,16 and Joy and
Garcia,17 finds that there is no convincing evidence that
instruction mediated by information technology of itself can be shown,
in operational terms, to be superior to traditional face-to-face
instruction, he tends to favour interaction of the second type, that
is, instruction that relies on cognitive tools and is embedded in
constructivist learning environments.
The inference to be drawn is that the outputs associated with
educationally oriented interactions that rely on cognitive tools,
particularly when these are integrated with “constructivist”
pedagogical frameworks, are in some sense superior. This is suggested by the very long list of advantages he
provides for interactions of the with variety in comparison
with the paucity of those associated with from interactions. In addition, one cannot but help drawing the conclusion that
the type of outputs he associates with cognitive tools and
constructivist pedagogical frameworks are inherently superior.
This is probably not very surprising given the positive emotional lading associated with “constructivism” among professional educators. As Ian Hacking recently noted, “the phrase has become code.18” In educational circles, to ally yourself with the “constructivist” camp is to lay claims to progressivism, experimentation, technological adaptability, pedagogical creativity, democratically negotiated control of the curriculum, etc. Whilst Reeves does not incline to a preference for with interactions for these reasons, it seems to me that he departs somewhat from his stricture that it is “imperative to open up the ‘black boxes’ of instructional alternatives and reveal the relevant pedagogical dimensions they express if evaluations are to be meaningful and have utility. Pedagogical dimensions are the keys to unlocking the black boxes of various forms of CBE19 [computer based education].”
Interaction in Higher Education Electronic Forums: Cases Studies
Computer conferencing and mailing list exchanges both fall within the boundaries of technology mediated communications that are included in the with category of interactions outlined by Reeves. As both are platforms that allow for the exchange of views, cooperative problem solving, multi-participant imparting of information, the elaboration of meaning, and the appreciation of understanding, they allow movement away from didactic, transmission models of instruction. According to Oblinger and Maruyama, “Interaction- student-to-faculty, student-to-student, and student-to-information- is directly related to improved learning20.”
According to Sherry and Wilson21, in the transmission model of communication, “the instructor-as-expert delivers instruction to the students. The student is supposed to process the information mentally, much as a computer follows an algorithm to carry out an information processing sequence.” As can be inferred from the tonality of the discourse, this is perceived by the authors, along with many other educationalists and instructional designers, as a largely negative pedagogical orientation.
Transformative pedagogy, with which it is
contrasted, is generative: “Instructors learn along with their
students. As a result,
instructors and students alike are transformed as learners by the
process of communication. Through
such collaborative discourse within the learning community, a two-way
dynamic system comes into being.
The active learning that occurs then begins to push the
frontiers of knowledge.” Among
the many benefits to be derived from a transformative pedagogic
approach to learning, the following are especially desirable:
Although it is entirely feasible that collaborative electronic forums that are employed in the context of educational delivery - conferencing systems, newsgroups and mailing lists, for instance - can be transformative in the above sense, my own research indicates that this is extremely difficult to realise, at least in certain educational environments and electronic forums. The minimal precondition is that an interchange should actually occur. If there is no exchange, merely the depositing of information by successive actors in the same electronic space, there can be no transformative pedagogy. Unfortunately, this is all too often what occurs.
In the course of exploring some of these issues I
have examined interactions in two types of collaborative electronic
forums, computer conferences and mailing lists.
My experience in employing computer conferencing
extends over a period of six of years teaching on the Social Science
degree, and being the First Class Administrator at the University of
the West of England. The
conferencing application that has been employed is FirstClass, which
is used extensively by the Open University and many other institutions
of higher education in the UK, North America, and elsewhere.
The students who participated in the conferences
that I investigated were all undertaking undergraduate programmes, the
overwhelming majority of whom were 18 to 19 year-olds who entered
university directly after the completion of their secondary education.
All students undertaking these courses had been provided with
the opportunity of attending IT induction sessions which includes
familiarisation with the use of FirstClass conferencing.
The students whose conferencing work forms the
basis of the discussion and analysis below were taking the following
course modules. The term
assigned work below refers to coursework other than tests or
(i) Methods of Analysis. A 1st year undergraduate module that all students studying
Social Science programmes are required to take.
Its aim is to provide students with critical appraisal of
qualitative and quantitative research methods.
The analysis and discussion below is based on work undertaken
by students during the first trimester of the 1999/2000 academic year.
There were 119 conferences. The total number of students taking this
course in the first term of 1999/00 =420.
Comparison was made with assigned written, non-conferencing,
work carried out by students taking this course in 1998/99, the number
of students then =290
(ii) Introduction to Social Psychology.
This is a compulsory module for those majoring in Sociology but
optional for all those taking other Social Science programmes.
It may be taken by either 2nd or 3rd year students.
Analysis is based on assigned work undertaken during the first
trimester of 1998/1999, N=61, divided into 19 conferences, membership
ranging from 3 to 6, 11 conferences of which had 4 members, and one
with 6. Comparison was made with performance on assigned and
examination work on other modules taken by the students, excluding
Students were posed essay type questions relating
to the subject matter of the courses that they were undertaking and
were required to discuss this through the medium of the FirstClass
conferencing system. Because
of the large numbers of students involved, and student commitments and
time constraints, very few of these students met face to face in
connection with the fulfilment of conferencing course requirements.
Students were allocated to conferences alphabetically, or on
the basis of surname after they had chosen an assignment topic.
They were assessed on the basis of the quality of the
contributions that they made to the conferences, and written work that
summarised their own conclusions concerning the essay questions.
Students were given detailed information
concerning what was expected from them as far as the volume of
contributions they should make, when these should be made, the range
of issues that should be covered (e.g., methodological issues,
relevant theoretical frameworks, status of empirical data), and, in
the case of course (i) above, requirements concerning alternating
turn-taking in assuming a lead and reactive/interactive contributing
role. In addition to the
induction training, mentioned earlier, all students were given the
opportunity of an additional 30 minutes training session using the
overall course grades for (ii) and (iii) above are made on the basis
of the assigned work and a final examination, each contributing 50
percent to the total. The
assigned work was a mix of conferencing contributions and written work
related to the question posed for conferencing contributions.
All other modules on the degree scheme are also assessed by a
combination of written coursework and final examinations, each
contributing, with few exceptions, fifty percent of the total.
None of these other courses use conferencing for assessment
purposes, although instructors on many courses employ the conferencing
system as a broadcast medium.
Students take a total of six courses per year,
with the exception of the very few part-time students.
The performance of the students on the conferencing courses was
compared with their performance on the other courses that they took in
the same academic year. The
comparison was with the average performance on coursework grades,
examination grades, and the overall average of coursework and
examination grades on these other courses.
In most cases these were averages of performance on five
courses. However, in some instances the comparison was confined to a
comparison of performance on the conferencing related module with
performance on four other courses, as some students opted to study
both courses in the same academic year.
As far as the methods course was concerned, (i)
above, comparison was made between the assessed work on the
conferencing system of students in the first term of the 1999/00
academic year, with that of written coursework undertaken by students
taking the same course in the first term of the academic year 1998/99.
These latter students did not use the conferencing system for assessed
work in any courses during that year.
Although I designed the essay questions, wrote
the guidelines relating to conferencing work requirements, and
administered the conferencing system, the assessment of conferencing
contributions, written, and examination work, was undertaken entirely
independently by the course seminar instructors. The methods course
had 10 seminar instructors, whereas (ii) and (iii) had one each. None
of the conferences were moderated.
None of the instructors made any contributions to the
conferencing discussions, with the few exceptions when it was
necessary to intervene for administrative purposes, for instance,
informing students that they were sending the message to the parent
conference rather than to the project group conference.
Consequently, students undertook all conferencing work
With respect to modules, (ii) and (iii) student t-Tests, paired two samples for means, were carried out on a number of data series, the Null Hypothesis being that there was no difference between the means attained on conferencing work modules and the averaged performance of students on all other modules. For module (i) the t-Test two sample assuming unequal variance was employed. This was undertaken separately for the assigned coursework and examination grades. No significant difference was found at the .01 level in respect of (iii) for the second term. There was, however, a significant difference for (iii) in the first term, the mean for coursework on the conferencing module being 3% higher than for the average for all other modules. There was a 6.7% difference between the final mark on the conferencing module and the overall final mark, for (iii) in the first term. Significant differences persisted when the tests were carried out separately for males and females. However, for (iii), term two, no significant differences were found respecting any of the data series, although the means for performance on all of the data series relating to the conferencing modules were higher than those with which they were compared. The differences between terms (i) and (ii) could conceivably be interpreted as being a product of the wearing off of the novelty effect, but many other explanations are equally plausible.
For module (ii), the only significant difference
was between the means for the overall grade for the module and the
average overall grade on other modules, the mean for the former being
nearly 6% higher. The means in all other comparison were higher for
the conferencing module.
For the methods course, (i) above, the t-Test
between the written assignment work for the 1998/99 and the 1999/00
conferencing work was significantly different at the .01 level, the
means differing by 4.2%, being higher for the conferencing work.
The t-Test between the 1998/99 and the 1999/00 written work was
not significantly different at the 0.05 level, the mean for the former
The analysis, along with mixed effects regression
and correlation analysis, not reported upon here, indicate that
conferencing undertaken without the benefit of moderation is not
reflected in poorer performance, as measured by grades in written and
examination work, compared with courses using traditional higher
education instructional modes. In
fact, students performed better on average on two of the conferencing
modules (ii, iii), than they did on other courses.
The above findings are in line with other studies
that indicate that students whose instruction involves technologically
mediated collaborative work do at least as well as students relying on
more traditional instructional contexts23.
However, the findings from this and some additional case
studies that I conducted, but which are not reported on here,
cannot be taken as indicating that the students were involved
in, or underwent, transformative learning experiences, or, indeed,
that their learning took into consideration the exchanges that had
occurred in these forums.
The fact of the matter is that although we can
contrast the performance of students involved in instructional
programmes with differing mixes of computer mediated communications,
or, in Reeves’ terms, interactions, we are not in a position to
conclude that their demonstration of achievement derives from the
process of interaction with others in collaborative forums, rather
than with their own non-mediated cognitive processing of learning
resources. It is even very difficult in the case of the conferencing
work undertaken by the students on these courses to arrive at
conclusions as to the extent of the interaction that has occurred, and
this for a number of reasons.
First, it is not possible to develop
unproblematic indices of transformative interactive exchanges.
Although most conferencing systems incorporate threading,
students on the various courses whose conferencing is reported on
here, rarely respond to the messages of others by employing the reply
feature, despite being repeatedly instructed to do so.
This need not be taken to indicate that they are not
responding to the messages of others as there were numerous
instances in which messages that were not threaded included statements of the form: “as
X pointed out”. Similarly, there were other communications in which the reply
feature was employed, but where the content did not indicate that the
present communication was a response to, or took into consideration,
the communication to which it was a threaded response to.
Secondly, even when the communication is
threaded, and the content indicates that the author is taking note of
a prior communication, there is no means that enable us to ascertain
whether this has been incorporated in the author’s learned
material, especially as student’s have been informed that there
is an expectation that they should interact meaningfully with others
in their conferencing group. They may include sentences such as “In
response to X, I think,” simply because they appreciate that doing
so may be rewarded in assessment terms. There is, as far as I can see, absolutely no way of resolving this problem
The data collected from these samples did not
indicate any factors that significantly influenced the volume of
exchanges that occurred in these conferences.
There was no gender composition or group size effect.
Examination of the number of contributions made by individuals
to conferences, and their volume, over successive terms in which they
dealt with different subject matters, and, in the case of one sample,
were in groups with different individuals, suggests: (i) that these
students are generally unlikely to exceed the minimum requirements in
terms of the number of exchanges that they are instructed to make, and
(ii) that students make a similar number and volume of contributions
in successive group collaborative ventures. In other words, the number
of messages contributed and the volume is a function of a combination
of specified requirements and the students’ sense of what is
appropriate or required. Even
though course tutors make it abundantly clear that detailed,
considered, analytical and well-referenced conferencing work is what
they are looking for, this does not appear to have much impact.
The main database that I have used is the Mailbase series of lists. Mailbase25 is an electronic mail discussion list service, currently based at the University of Newcastle. It is one of a large number of programmes that has been financed by the University and Higher Education Funding Councils in the UK, all of which are directed at encouraging and facilitating the employment of electronic based facilities and materials in higher and further education. Its purpose is “to support collaborative work amongst geographically distributed groups of researchers and associated support staff from within the UK higher education and research community.26” Accordingly, many of the exchanges on these lists are contributed by academic staff or allied professionals. Although students can also subscribe to lists and contribute exchanges, on many of them they do not appear to do so.
in 1989, Mailbase has provided the hardware and software facilities
for the ongoing management of these lists, archives of past
communications, interactive and electronic mail helpline facilities,
workshops to inform academic staff of the availability of the service,
and support to listowners. Given
certain conditions being met, anyone can apply to Mailbase to set up a
list. Currently, June 11,
2000, 12:40, there are
2916 lists with a subscriber base of 212,726.
Most of these lists are open, in the sense that anyone can
subscribe to them; others are only open to particular constituencies.
The Mailbase lists are a useful source of
information on the scope and patterns of interactivity that occur in
these particular electronic forums because statistical information
relating to such variables as the numbers of subscribers, numbers of
communications per month, period over which lists have been active,
and the numbers of messages sent to a list since being established,
are all available on line. In
addition, message archives for each list can be accessed by subject,
thread, and author.
Rather than employing random sampling to extract
lists for analysis from the complete Mailbase database, all of the
lists dealing with a number of main subject/sub-subject areas were
examined, to ensure coverage across discipline areas and to exclude
some of those directed at higher education policy makers and
administrators. The subject/sub-subject lists included are grouped
under the headings of Computing (24 lists, 3 sub categories),
Education (5, 1), Engineering and Technology (29, 3), Humanities (48,
2), Library (23, 1), Maths and Statistics (31, 1), Physical Sciences
(20, 2), Social Studies (94, 4), Teaching and Learning (36, 2).
This gives at total of 310 lists. Although this does not
constitute a random sample, comparisons I have made with non-selected
lists indicates that the analysis findings can be generalised to the
complete database. Data
was collected for the time frame December 1998/December 1999
inclusive. The bulk of
the data was collected between 17 and 21 January, 2000.
Some additional data was collected between 1 and 7 February
These lists were subdivided into two groupings:
the basic list, which includes all the lists, and a high interactivity
group. The high interactivity group includes those lists that, at
least potentially, are characterised by a degree of interactivity.
There were 61 lists that met this criterion. By interactivity is meant
communications that take into consideration past exchanges to the
list. Interactivity in
relation to a particular message was taken to exist if there were at
least two messages included under the same subject heading
The dependent variables for high interaction
lists were (1) the list interactivity ratio, the ratio of interactive
messages to total messages for the three months with maximum
communications; (2) the
list communication ratio, the ratio of the number of members to the
average number of messages per month sent to the list in the data time
frame; (3) the average number of messages sent to the list per month
in the data time frame. For
all lists the dependent variable was the average number of messages
sent to the list per month in the data time frame. Independent variables were: for all lists: (1) number of
subscribers; for high interactivity lists: (1) number of subscribers;
(2) the average number of messages per month; (3) the number of
authors contributing to the list; (4) the ratio of ac.uk domain
subscribers to all subscribers; (5) list owner input, being the ratio
of communications by list owners to total messages to the list for the
month with the maximum number of communications in the data time
For the 310 lists the mean number of members was
170, the median 93, and the range from 0 to 3244.
Patterns of communicative exchanges and
interactivity were analysed by employing descriptive statistics,
correlational analysis and regression modelling.
The Pearson correlation between the number of subscribers and
the average volume of communications per month was 0.46 (N=311), for
the time frame Dec.98/Dec.99,which was lower than that found by Rojo,
0.7 (N=12). The correlation over the life of the list was only 0.3.
The range for main subject categories was from 0.96 (N=5) to 0.21
(N=94). The correlations
for the first and second percentiles were quite weak (0.3, 0.14), as
they were for the ninth and tenth (0.01, –0.18). In percentile
calculations lists with no messages were excluded from the range.
The mean number of average messages per month was
11.06, the median 2.3, and the range from 0 to 407.9.
There were 71 lists with 0 messages, and 116 with less than
one. The Communication
Ratio is a measure of the number of members on a list required to
generate an average of one message per month.
For the 241 lists where CR>0 the mean was 49.78 and the
median 26.08. The range
was from 797 for the list cogsci to 0.72 for the radical-psychology
network. The Interactivity Ratio measures potential interactivity on
high interactivity lists. This
ranged from 1 to 0.11. A ratio of one signifies a total absence of
interactivity (N=1), whereas 0 indicates complete interactivity, that
is, all messages included in threads of at least three messages.
No list met this criterion for complete interactivity. The mean
was 0.48, the median 0.46.
In regression modelling, as noted above, the main
dependent variable was the Interactivity Ratio; the average number of
messages per month was also used as a dependent variable.
The variables that were considered to be potentially relevant
were the number of subscribers to the list, the relative volume of
contributions by list owners relative to the total, and the number of
message contributors to a list, and the ratio of ac.uk subscribers to
the total. The regression was run for the high interactivity list as a
whole, and for the main Mailbase subject categories (i.e., computing,
social studies, humanities, etc.).
The regression model employing all these
variables, with dummy variables for the main subject category lists,
indicated no significant relationship at the .01 level, with the
exception of that for Library lists where there was significantly more
interactivity, with a t coefficient of –2.3, indicating that as far
as these lists were concerned there was a relationship between the
variables entered and the level of interactivity.
For the high interactivity list, the only variable contributing
significantly to the Interactivity Ratio, was the number of members,
significant at 0.01 level, with a t test value of 0.29.
When employing the average number of messages per month as the
dependent variable, the only significantly related variables at the
0.01 level were the number of authors, with a positive t of 10.07 and
the number of members, t= -3.9. The
number of members is not in the expected direction, i.e., an increase
in the number of members reduces the number of messages contributed.
Included in the Mailbase database are mission
statements relating to the purpose of the lists.
These invariably take the form of “to facilitate discussion
on”, “to discuss the use of”, “provide a forum for the
exchange of ideas, information and news,” and similar.
The Mailbase system was clearly set up with this in mind.
However, the data relating to the 310 lists included indicate
that the level of interactivity is very low, with only 60 lists
meeting the criterion for potential interactivity.
These Mailbase lists, for whatever reasons, are,
on the whole, not generating sustained interactivity, there being only
a very few exceptions. The
exceptions tend to be task-oriented lists, of which the Library Lists
are the most important exemplar in the sample, virtually all of those
included being task-oriented, being concerned with developing metadata
criteria for the Dublin Core. There
are some lists on which there is a very high level of interactivity
and exchange, such as postmodern-christian,
radical-psychology-network, medieval-religion and local-history.
However, none of the variables employed in this study
differentiated these lists significantly from others.
Variables indicated by other researchers as being
positively related to interactivity, such as the number of
subscribers, the number of message authors, the volume of
contributions of listowners, or the total volume of communications,
were not found in the current sample to have a significant bearing on
the extent of interactivity or the volume of communications.
It is clear that a more detailed qualitatively oriented
approach needs to be coupled with macro-statistical analyses in order
to draw up a more adequate typology of interactive/non-interactive
lists. The current
research indicated that there are lists with small numbers of
subscribers that are highly interactive, lists with small number s of
subscribers in which there is hardly any interactivity, and homologous
entries for lists with medium and high levels of subscription.
One of the oft-touted affordances of computer
mediated communications in the educational field are the opportunities
provided for increased collaborative exchanges. CMC
does not need to be synchronous. Anytime/anyplace communications are
assumed to provide the context for “reflective” exchanges.
Reflective exchanges are contrasted with those that are immediate.
Immediate exchanges are associated with the much-maligned, and
now generally undesirable, traditional lectures and seminars.
As Khan, one among many, notes, “Collaborative learning
emphasises cooperative efforts among faculty and students.
This learning process stresses active participation and
interaction on the part of both instructors and students.
WBI (Web Based Instruction) creates a medium of collaboration,
conversation, discussions, exchange and communication of ideas.
The sharing of knowledge and resources engages students in
higher level thinking skills, which promote active and interactive
learning from multiple perspectives.27”
No one involved directly in educating is likely to deny the desirability of employing resources, technologically mediated or other, that achieve the objectives outlined in the above quotation from Khan. However, as has been noted on many occasions, providing technologically mediated resources that allow such attainments is no guarantee that they will be secured. Most of the literature that extols the benefits of CMC and contrasts it with more traditional methods, as has been pointed out, among others, by some of the authors I have referred to, is methodologically deficient. The claims made for it have not been substantiated by adequate empirical analyses. This, of course, does not mean that the benefits alluded to cannot be realised. My analysis of conferencing and mailing list exchanges, the former focusing on collaborative communications between students, the latter between academics and professionals, does, however, suggest that the achievement of these objectives may be difficult to realise.
1. See, for example: ODL in Motion: Current
Actions and the Way Forward. Working Papers. Draft. Nov. 1997.
European Commission DGXXII-A4
2. Their attainment, of course, is frequently
interpreted in terms of their potential economic and job-related
3. See, for example, The learning
era-involving all citizens, ESIS Conference
on “The information society developments in the EU: best
initiatives and practices for the future.” 18/19 March 1998, http://www.ispo.cec.be/esis/EsisConf.html
Accessed 27 April 1998
4. Two of the most prominent, CAUSE and Educom,
“recognising a remarkable convergence of mission and goals” were
incorporated as EDUCAUSE in July 1998.
Its mission is “to help shape and enable transformational
change in higher education through the introduction, use, and
management of information resources and technologies in teaching,
learning, scholarship, research, and institutional management.” See
its Web site at http://www.educause.edu/about.html
for information on
the scope of its activities.
5. Europe and the Global Information Society:
Recommendations to the European Council. [Referred to frequently as
the Bangemann Report] 1994.
Accessed 28 June 1996;
Living and Working in the Information Society: People First.
Green Paper. 24 July 1996 http://www.ispo.cec.be/infosoc/legreg/docs/peopl1st.html
Accessed 08 May 1997; Towards a Europe of Knowledge. Communication
from the Commission. 11 November 1997. http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg22/orient/orie-en.html
Accessed 27 April 1998.
example, the TLTP, CTI, and Mailbase initiatives.
See Teaching and Learning Technology Programme, May
1993; TLTP Catalogue: Phase 2, Spring 1996; and the periodic
issues of Active Learning from the CTI and the TLTP
7. “13.1 As will be clear from other chapters
in this report, we believe that the innovative exploitation of
Communications and Information Technology (C&IT) holds out much
promise for improving the quality, flexibility and effectiveness of
higher education.” http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ncihe/index.htm
09 June 2000.
8. See, for instance, Online Educa Berlin: Book of Abstracts. International Conference on Technology Supported Learning. October 29-31, 1997; Universities in a Digital Era: Transformation, Innovation and Tradition. Proceedings of the 1998 EDEN Conference. Two. Vols. Budapest: EDEN, 1998; Proceedings. ED-MEDIA 1999. World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications. Seattle, June 19-24, 1999; Book of Essays. The First Research Workshop of EDEN: Research and Innovation in Open and Distance Learning. European Distance Education Network. Prague, 16-17 March 2000. Budapest: EDEN, 1999. There are hundreds of other conference papers dealing with similar themes deposited on publicly accessible Internet servers.
9. Reeves, T. Evaluating What Really Matters in Computer-Based Education. (1996) http://www.nib.unicamp.br/recursos/distance_education/evaluating-cbe.html Accessed 09 June 2000
10. See, for example, Information Technology Assisted Teaching
and Learning in Higher Education. HEFCE Research Series, July 1997
11. Reeves, T C. A
Research Agenda for Interactive Learning in the New Millennium.
ED-MEDIA 99 Key Note Address.
http://itech1.coe.uga.edu/EM99Key.html Accessed 09 June 1942
14. Clark, R. E.
(1983). Reconsidering research on learning with media. Review of
Educational Research, 53(4), 445-45
J. (1994). No computer know how. Electronic Learning, 13(5),
Shlechter, T. M. (Ed.). (1991). Problems and promises
of computer-based training. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing.
17. Joy E H, Garcia F E (2000). Measuring Learning Effectiveness: A New Look at No-Significant-Difference Findings. JALN, Vol.4, Issue 1 http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/Vol4_issue1/joygarcia.htm
Accessed 09 June 2000
18, Hacking, I. The Social Construction of What? Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999
19. Reeves, T. Evaluating What Really Matters in Computer-Based Education. (1996) http://www.nib.unicamp.br/recursos/distance_education/evaluating-cbe.html Accessed 09 June 2000
20. Cited in Khan, B D (1997), p.5 “Web-Based Instruction (WBI): What it is and Why Is It?” In B D Khan (ed.) Web-Based Instruction. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Educational Technology Publications.
21. Obligner D, Maruyama M K. Distributed Learning. Cause Professional Paper Series, #14. n.d
22. L Sherry and B Wilson (1997). “Transformative Communication as a Stimulus to Web Innovations”. In B D Khan (ed.) Web-Based Instruction. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Educational Technology Publications, p.67
23. ibid, p.69
24. Benbunan-Fich R, Hiltz S R. (1999) “Educational Applications of CMCS: Solving Case Studies through Asynchronous Learning Networks.” JCMC 4 (3) March 1999
(1997) The Higher Education Funding Councils Review of Network
27. Khan B D (1997) “Web-Based Instruction (WBI): What it is and Why Is It?” In B D Khan (ed.) Web-Based Instruction. Educational Technology Publications. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
ESS Home Page
Kosovo Index Page
Holocaust Index Page
Genocide Index Page