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are Invited to Participate
Greetings! I am excited to announce that I will be
moderating an Internet discussion with IFETS from August 27-September
8, 2001. The discussion topic will be "Online Resource Page:
Using Technology to Enhance the Teaching and Learning Process."
The University of Phoenix (UOP) will be launching a new online resource
page for their courses. UOP provides online educational opportunities
for over 26, 000 students.
If you would like to participate in the discussion, please
complete the free registration with the IFETS at: http://ifets.ieee.org/
Editor’s Note: Brent Muirhead
is a master of online peer-to-peer discussions – the productive
and evocative digitization of academic colloquia. In conjunction with
his academic team, he produces a pre-discussion paper to focus the key
issues. Discussion dates and web site are announced, discussion continues
for a ten-day period, and outcomes are summarized. These discussions
are a project of IFETS, the International Forum of Educational Technology
& Society, a subgroup of the Learning Technology Task Force of IEEE,
the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. You are invited
participate in the online discussion. The pre-discussion paper below
is on the forum website: http://ifets.ieee.org/discussions/discuss_august2001.html
Online Resource Page:
to Enhance the Teaching and Learning Process
Brent Muirhead, Jane McAuliffe and Marla La Rue
International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS)
Today’s computer-mediated or online administrators
and instructors are investigating ways to foster a dynamic learning environment.
Currently, “Internet technology empowers the joint exploration of the
delivery mechanisms of previous generations, adding stronger collaborative
learning elements (Passerini & Granger, 2000, p. 3).” Contemporary
Internet technologies are helping remove the idea of distance from online
education. The online teaching and learning process could produce more relevant
and consistent interaction than what is produced in the traditional undergraduate
classrooms. A large traditional classroom does create communication barriers
that make it more difficult for all students to participate in class discussions.
It is interesting that university students are using emails more often to
share with their classmates and teachers. The Internet is providing a practical
way to remove learning barriers and encourage greater access to intellectual
resources. The idea of distance education has fostered the pursuit of new
educational paradigms that encourage online education to be more personal
and student centered.
A major concern among academic officials has often focused
on the quality of educational experiences within an online class. Carnevale
(2000) relates that research studies indicate that the essential features
of a good course include “interaction between instructors and students,
a student-centered approach and built-in opportunities for students to learn
on their own (p. A46).” Creating and sustaining a quality online degree
program is a challenging venture. There are a variety of factors that can
have either a positive or negative impact on the online educational setting:
the level of expertise of the online faculty (technical
& online experience),
the degree of administrative financial support,
the technological infrastructure the of school,
student support system to handle academic and computer
the depth and quality of faculty training and professional
development programs (Cooper, 2000).
A challenging problem for distance education systems is
how to provide a large number of students, across diverse geographical areas,
with consistent materials and resources that will ultimately allow them to
achieve their personal and professional goals. This will require a change
in the way technology is used in schools (Grabe, 1998). In order to address
this problem, one university has eliminated the need for all “hard-copy
materials” by developing an online “resource page” for students
and faculty. Instead of buying a textbook at the beginning of a course, students
will pay a resource access fee that will make available their learning resources
for their entire academic program.
In recognition of the fact that all students have unique learning
styles, the University of Phoenix Online will soon begin the implementation
of , an exciting new product and the new standard for
delivery of student and faculty materials. This product is a set of learning
tools that are designed and presented in a variety of modalities in order
to meet the needs of all learners. These materials will be delivered via the
Student and Faculty Web on a course-by-course basis. To facilitate
this strategic initiative, the Company is partnering with a variety of publishers
to provide content and other ancillary services. UOP currently has partnership
arrangements with Thomson Learning, Pearson Publishing, McGraw Hill, Course
Technology, and John Wiley. Today, the University of Phoenix Online has 26,
000 students enrolled in their classes and 2100 faculty members.
The resource page is not only an “e-Book” –
it is a collection of electronically delivered learning resources, (one element
of which is an “e-text”) which are closely aligned to the course
objectives. These collections can be differentiated as visual databases, multimedia
libraries and more (Barron, 1994). For example, instead of a textbook with
perhaps, 20 chapters from which reading assignments would be chosen for assigned
reading, the instructor can assign the specific portions of the e-text of
their resource page to correspond with the number of class meetings or workshops
and the material will relate specifically to the learning objectives. PowerPoint
presentations that correspond to the course objectives, as well as self-assessments,
multimedia activities and current articles from the digital library will be
available. This allows each faculty member to maintain more distinct focus
on course or workshop objectives. Additionally, students will have access
to their entire “reference library” of university materials from
their desktop or laptop and will be able to access their library (with automatic
updates) as alumni.
Resource Page: Detailed Descriptions
University of Phoenix Courses will contain the following materials
as part of this new initiative. Please note a snap shot of resource page on
The UniModule is the recommended curriculum for a given
course; it is developed in a format that provides course guidance for instructional
training, whether conducted in the classroom, online, or in a directed study
format. This document contains course topics, objectives and assignments,
as well as a content outline for instructors. Faculty members have the flexibility
to make modification to the curriculum, as long as they adequately address
specific course objectives as outlined in the UniModule. In doing so, the
University ensures that course content is consistently delivered to students
across all campuses.
The e-text is the selected “textbook” for each
course. In some cases, this material is simply an electronic copy of an existing
textbook; in other cases, the e-text is a compilation of material from multiple
sources, including chapters from several textbooks, associated selected readings
and other printed materials. Students view this material using Microsoft®
Reader or by printing all or part of the text from their personal computers.
Information contained in this link will vary from course
to course. It may contain course-specific Power Point presentations, assessment
tools, case studies, unique learning activities, topic-specific tutorials,
video clips and more.
Each course comes
with a set of selected readings, which are a compilation of journal articles
and other scholarly literature from the University’s Online Collection.
These articles have been specially selected by course developers to supplement
the readings in the E-text and to further ensure students are prepared to
meet the course objectives.
Each course will also have 2-5 associated web links. These
links direct students to areas on the web that will further enhance their
professional development. Typically, students will explore the sites of professional
associations, other related organizations and sites that encourage professional
collaboration and/or community involvement.
The University has partnered with several companies to
allow students to develop ancillary skills that will further facilitate their
learning. In this section, students are provided with a variety of tutorials,
from novice to advanced levels, designed to enhance their technological and
professional skills. Examples of online tutorials available to students are:
Windows, Word, Power Point, Access Excel, and more.
The Online Collection, the most popular part of the Library Web
Site contains databases with millions of full text articles, documents, reference
sources, directories, and financial data. Students may use the Online Collection
to obtain direct access to subscription resources not normally found through
Internet search engines. In addition to the subscription databases in the
Online Collection, there are also many helpful Web sites for research available
at no cost on the World Wide Web.
The University’s Virtual Writing Lab is a free service,
offered to all students. The "lab" is actually an email address
where students can send their written materials (papers, projects, etc.) to
be reviewed by qualified University of Phoenix faculty members and receive
feedback. The lab is not an editing service. Faculty will not revise student
papers. Rather, they will review work and give detailed feedback on how to
improve specific papers, and on writing style in general. Feedback will focus
on format, grammar, organization, punctuation, and usage, but not course content.
Currently, the writing lab is receiving over 4,000 papers a month from students
The Skills Enhancement Center contains math, critical
thinking and English tutorials. Each tutorial contains instructional material,
learning questions, quizzes, and practice exams. This material will assist
students in preparing for their proficiency exams.
The Testing Center contains the official math, critical
thinking and English proficiency exams. Students are required to take one
or more of these assessments, depending on specific program requirements.
Tests are available online and students receive immediate feedback upon
completion of the exams.
Program handbooks contain program specific information
for students, including program sequence, course descriptions, gradation requirements,
etc. This “virtual” document replaces the traditional hard-copy
books previously supplied to students upon enrollment.
This section provides students with free downloads for
the following resources:
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®
Electronic Portfolio (Education Programs)
This is a link to the students’ individual electronic
portfolios. This dynamic site represents a teacher’s continuous progress
and development throughout his/her program and career. Elements of the portfolio
are designed to ensure that students meet state, national, and program standards
and are evaluated using formative and summative methods. This tool is introduced
during the first course and reinforced by faculty in each course.
Teachers also post their Teacher Work Sample Project in this portfolio.
This product is a 4 week, standards-based unit that include the following
- Unit learning goals
- Contextual information
- Assessment plan
- Pre-assessment analysis
- Design for instruction
- Description of two featured students
- The instructional process of the two, featured
- Analysis of learning results
- Reflection on teaching and learning
Teacher Preparation Accountability
The resource page seeks to address teacher preparation
accountability issues involving computer-mediated instruction. Therefore,
the resource page will house performance assessment pieces of their teacher
preparation program: electronic portfolios and teacher work samples. The University’s
teacher work sampling model is based on work done by the Renaissance Partnership
for Improving Teacher Quality (adapted from Pokay, P., Langer, G., Boody,
R., Petch-Hogan, B. and Rainey, J., Renaissance Partnership for Improving
Teacher Quality and Western Oregon’s Teacher Work Sample, 2001). The
teacher work sampling is infused in applicable University programs that focus
on Pre K-12 classrooms.
This model suggests that successful teachers:
- Support students’ acquisition of substantive learning by designing
units of instruction that employ a range of strategies that build on each
students’ strengths, needs and prior experiences.
- Align learning goals with state and district content standards.
- Adjust the classroom environment and instruction to address important
contextual characteristics of the classroom.
- Employ a variety of instructional resources to help students attain learning
goals and to offer them new opportunities to explore important ideas or
to learn new skills that have relevance to their lives.
- Use multiple assessment methods that appropriately measure learning gains
towards the selected goals.
- Explore students’ understanding and thinking processes while evaluating
the effectiveness of their teaching.
- Analyze student learning by examining individual, small group, and whole
- Use their analysis of student assessment to guide instruction, to provide
feedback to students, and to plan for professional development.
- Provide credible evidence of their instructional effectiveness through
student performance (Pokay, et al, 2001).
This area of the resource page will allow students to document
how and when they meet the program standards. Additionally, it will offer
data for faculty, administration and accrediting organizations with an opportunity
to regularly evaluate student performance and examine program effectiveness
(D’Ignazio, 1996). Instructors can monitor student achievement to insure
that the course materials are closely aligned with the course objectives.
Ultimately, a variety of resources will promote individualized instruction
for a diversity of student learning styles and encourage optimal learning
The creation of the electronic resource page is intended
to foster a dynamic learning climate. It ensures that students will have access
to diverse and a larger number of information resources. Online instructors
can insure that students have access to the same materials that are tailored
to specific course objectives. Yet, teachers can use their subject knowledge
to creatively add materials such as PowerPoint presentations or video streams.
The has real potential to individualize online instruction
and promote rich educational experiences that are relevant for today’
students. Our discussion of the online resource page will involve discussing
a variety of educational issues:
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of e-books?
- How does the influence the classroom learning environment?
- How can today’s instructors use the to enhance online interaction?
Baron, A., Breit, F., Boulware, A. & Bullock, J. (1994).Videodiscs
in education: Overview, evaluation, activities (2nd ed.). Tampa, Fl: University of South Florida.
Carnevale, D. (2000). Study assesses what participants
look for in high-quality online courses. Chronicle of Higher Education,
47, 9, A46.
Cooper, L. (2000). Online courses. THE Journal,
27, 8, 86-92.
D’Ignazio, F. (1996). Restructuring knowledge:
Opportunities for classroom learning in the 1990’s.
Computing Teacher, 18, 1, 22-25.
Grabe, M. & Grabe, C. (1998). Integrating technology
for meaningful learning. Boston, MA: Houghton
Passerini, K. & Granger, M. J. (2000). A developmental
model for distance learning using the Internet. Computers & Education, 34, 1, 1-15.
Pokay, P., Langer, G., Boody, R., Petch-Hogan, B., &
Rainey, J. (2001, February). Exploring a way for teacher candidates to
demonstrate student learning. Presentation
at the 81st Annual Conference of Teacher Education, New Orleans,
About the Authors:
Brent Muirhead has
a BA in social work, master's degrees in religious education, history,
and administration, and doctoral degrees in education (D.Min. and Ph.D.).
His Ph.D. degree is from Capella University,a distance education school in
Minneapolis, Minnesota. He took the majority of his courses online and gained
valuable experience in distance learning. His dissertation studied interactivity
(communication, participation, and feedback) between students and between
students and their professors in a computer mediated graduate school.
Dr. Muirhead is a prolific writer with 60 publications
about social and technology issues in the past three and half years. He has
published letters in USA Today, The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
His interactivity research is published in Educational Technology and Society
(for which he is an Executive Peer Reviewer), Education at a Distance, and
OLS News, a British academic publication.
Dr. Muirhead is area chair and teaches a variety of courses
for the MAED program in curriculum and technology for the University of Phoenix
Online (UOP). He also trains and mentors faculty candidates, conducts peer
reviews of veteran faculty members, and teaches graduate research courses
in the new UOP Doctor of Management program.
Tel: + 1 770-751-1783, email email@example.com
Jane McAuliffe is
Dean for the College of Education, University of Phoenix, where she oversees
education programs offered in multiple states. She was previously Associate
Dean for the College and a Program Director at their Phoenix Campus.
Jane's education and background has been focused in
special education. Her doctoral degree is in curriculum and instruction and
her masters and bachelor's degrees are in special education. She was an
Instructor and a Director of a Special Education Evaluation Clinic at Arizona
State University. She is a certified teacher with experience in teaching students
with learning disabilities, mental retardation, severe and profound disabilities,
and behavior disorders in both the public and private school setting. For
the past 6 years, Jane has also served as the Conference Coordinator for an
annual special education conference focusing on students with behavioral disorders.
Marla La Rue is
the Associate Dean for the College of Education at the University of Phoenix.
In this capacity, she is responsible for the development and expansion of
programs for pre-service and continuing teachers. Prior to this position,
Dr. La Rue served as the Director of the Center for Teacher Education at the
Phoenix Campus, University of Phoenix.
She holds a Masters degree from the University of Michigan,
her doctorate in Management of Educational Programs from Nova Southeastern
University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.